Ah, alliteration, you have such an amusing...oh forget it. I'm too tired to be clever tonight but I figured I owe you good people some type of post since that cheater post about SOPA/PIPA. It's been a roller-coaster of a New Year already, what with getting completely and utterly addicted to Pintrest. What with the cooking and the crafts and the photo ideas, I feel like I'm becoming a Real Adult. Then I look on Twitter and realize there is no such thing as a Real Adult anymore. You just get more stuff and less sleep. But at least I'm keeping busy.
I do have some decent pics to share, so, allons-y!
My dear friend Stefanie from over at MX5 Insanity came to stay for a few (not enough) days and thus we embarked on a chaotic, flour- and shutter-filled adventure. We both love to cook and bake and I had stocked the supplies for just such an occasion! The first night started off with my honey-dijon-bacon and cheese on chicken concotion, to which we added french-cut green-beans cooked in bacon grease with crushed almonds and garlic and Stef whipped up a couple loaves of the easiest and most delicious beer bread EVER. The recipe can be found here. She made two batches and used the beer a friend of my brother had home-brewed. It was supposed to be an English Bitter, but for some reason it was more of an "English Flop". Worked fantastic in the bread though--proof you don't have to use the bestest beer out there. I get paid Friday and assuming I have anything left over, I'm getting more beer to make more bread.
Waking me up in the morning is never a good idea if you value your life and limbs. However, waking me up in the morning with a cup of coffee and some of the aforementioned beer bread made into toast, now replete with boysenberry jam, will significantly improve your chances of me letting you live through the experience. Also, there's a very good reason Stef is my friend and doing things like this is why.
We spent the first couple of days just sort of hanging around, doing stuff. I had to work the day after she got in, so she entertained herself and took Sawyer out on some nice walks. Thursday is when the real fun started. Sawyer underwent a significant amount of torture in the form of a thorough bath in preparation for a photoshoot we were planning. He promptly undid everything by running through the river when we got to the location. It worked out anyway.
"Papillion Dress" by Anthropologie
This winter has been unusually warm, which doesn't exactly bode well for the summer, since we're way down on snowfall both for here and in the mountains themselves. But, it does make it very easy to take shots like this!
And while the water was still plenty cold, at least there wasn't a bit of ice to be seen:
There were a couple of guys doing some fly-fishing just downstream from us and apparently standing next to a highway wasn't enough to clue them into the fact that they weren't up in the High Country and there might possibly be other people around. Sawyer had on a long drag line and was having fun following me around the rocks and such and doing a few laps when he found a tennis ball. He was also barking a little bit at the fishermen, because he learned a few summers ago that fishing poles going back and forth means that at some point there will be fish attached and that means he gets a fish head snack. Hence, the barking.
Yes, this was taken less than 100 yards from a major highway
Apparently this was very offensive and they called the park ranger on us, because it's just too hard to come up and say something yourself. Did you know that a dog in a down/stay with a long line attached is still considered to be a "Loose Dog at Large" and you have to be physically holding the leash for it to count? I very nearly snapped into Argumentative Mode when Stefanie said she'd hold the leash and the ranger realized that I was just standing around in a river with a camera in my hands for shits n' giggles. Suddenly he got a lot more polite and said that he would also accept the leash being tied around something. I'm guessing he thought we were doing Senior Pictures or something, but he left pretty quickly. Stefanie had had enough of the river and "WTF mosquitos" that were hanging about by that time anyway, so we just moved locations.
I had fun editing
Sawyer made another appearance
We originally had plans to go over to a friend's house that night and play with their indoor studio setup, but after that shoot, both of us were rather tired. So instead, we made cupcakes. Lots. Of. Cupcakes.
Did I mention she's pretty handy with a camera?
I had tried out a recipe for White Russian cupcakes last week and they turned out SO BLOODY GOOD. I'm going to adapt a few mixing tricks I learned from this recipe into the next time I try the Carbomb Cupcakes and see if I can't make those any better. So for this week's Baking Blowout, we were going to mix up a double batch of White Russians and then I was experimenting with a version of Red Velvet.
This recipe includes copious amounts of Kaluha, plus some vodka, hence the whole "White Russian" moniker. If you're like me, you like to improvise a little with the directions. My recipes usually include a line for "make as much of a mess as possible because you're a hopeless klutz."
Mixing the batter
I do love spooning...
While those were merrily baking away, I started in with the next batch. The basic recipe can also be found on Baked Perfection (same blog as the White Russians) and is the Red Velvet Birthday Cake. About the only "red velvet" part about it is the red food coloring and velvet texture, but whereas traditional RVC is essentially a chocolate cake with red food coloring, this was more of your typical vanilla cake with red food coloring.
Or in our case, red and blue food coloring because we didn't have enough red
By itself, this batter was actually kind of bland. But once I mixed up some ganache with chocolate wine and used that as a filling, it was a great balance to the decadent ganache. We did use the cream cheese frosting recipe that came with the batter recipe, though we added some chocolate wine and a smidgen (maybe 1/4 tsp) of cocoa powder to tie the flavors to the cupcake.
Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the finished deliciousness because we were actually frosting these in a mad rush the next day because we were late to an event where these were highly expected. Suffice to say, the phrase "JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL" would not be out of place in describing just how brilliantly these came out. The White Russians are still my favorite, but the cream cheese frosting on the red ones is amazing. I will definitely be making them again!
We did, however, find time to use the frosting for nefarious deeds: