Tuesday, March 31, 2015

carrot cake fever

it's hard to believe that today is already the last day of march, and that easter is just a few days away.  easter and carrots seem to be synonymous in my mind.  i'm always in the mood for carrot cake this time of year because it's such a classic.  whether it's in cake format or in cupcake format, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting can't be beat.

carrot cake isn't just for dessert.  you can incorporate carrots into your easter brunch with hot cross carrot cake pancakes or carrot walnut pancakes.  you can even drink your carrots in carrot apple ginger juice.  the easter bunny would be proud.

here are some other great carrot-cake inspired recipes that sound great for easter . . .
- carrot cake cookies
carrot cake scones
- carrot cake cheesecake
- carrot cake doughnuts
- carrot cake biscotti
- carrot cake muffins
- carrot cake waffles
carrot cake crepes

what are your favorite carrot cake recipes?
love, laurie

Monday, March 30, 2015

it's monday.

last week was a doozy, and this weekend was exhausting.  i am very much looking forward to when our schedules will ease up and when we will finish several of the projects that are chewing up so much of our time right now.  our goal is to try to survive the month of april and then finally relax come may.  it's monday today . . . enough said.  i came across this and this today, which made me laugh.

hope you have a decent monday. 
love, laurie

Friday, March 27, 2015

thursday night mother-daughter dinner date

last night after work i had a dentist appointment.  ryan was tied up working on the next show that we are doing, and my dad was at work, so my mom and i got together for a mother-daughter dinner date after my dentist appointment.  normally, i don't get to see my parents unless it's a weekend or a holiday, so getting together with my mom was such a nice mid-week treat.

we went out to dinner at a new restaurant that she found called mikuna kitchen.  it is a really neat place that combines indian and ecuadorian cuisine.  the menu changes seasonally and their ingredients are sourced from local farms.  our dinners were so good.  i had an indian vegetable stew and my mom had a delicious falafel sandwich with a cup of fresh passion fruit juice too.  for dessert we split plantains foster.  we loved how it was plated in a long slender dish.  the fried plantains were so good with the vanilla bean ice cream covered in salted caramel sauce.  yum!

it was really nice getting together with my mom for a little mother-daughter dinner date!

have a great weekend!
love, laurie   

Thursday, March 26, 2015

easter egg decorating ideas

it's hard to believe that easter is just a little over a week away.  with easter so close by, here are a few fun easter egg decorating ideas . . .

silk tie dyed eggs
sharpie dot eggs
ombre eggs
mosaic eggs
crossword puzzle eggs

what are your favorite ways to decorate easter eggs?
love, laurie

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

peanut butter chocolate chip waffles

we wrapped up one show this weekend and moved right onto the next show on monday.  to celebrate surviving another successful show, we made waffles for breakfast.  why not?

we are huge fans of both peanut butter and chocolate, and we love the two combined.  so, peanut butter and chocolate in a waffles?  yes, please!

the peanut butter gives these waffles an awesome flavor, and the mini chocolate chips make them extra special.  surprisingly, they are not sweet at all.

we topped our waffles with slices of banana, roasted peanuts, mini chocolate chips, and warm maple syrup.  they certainly were a wonderful treat!

peanut butter chocolate chip waffles
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 5 minutes
yields: 2 large servings
adapted from annie's eats

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon salted butter, melted
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

preheat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions.  in a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, sugar, peanut butter, eggs, and milk.  whisk well until combined.  stir in the melted butter.  fold in the chocolate chips.  pour enough batter into the waffle iron to just barely cover the waffle grid (usually about 1/2 cup of batter per waffle).  cook 4-5 minutes, or until the waffles are golden brown.  once cooked, transfer the waffles to a cooling rack while you prepare the remaining waffles.  serve warm, topped with sliced bananas, peanuts, mini chocolate chips, and warm maple syrup.

love, laurie

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting

over the weekend, we celebrated ryan's mom's birthday.  for dessert, we made a three-layer yellow cake with chocolate frosting, topped with colorful nonpareil sprinkles.  

yellow cake with chocolate frosting is such a classic for birthdays.

one of our favorite bakeries to visit when we are in nyc is magnolia bakery.  they are known for their delicious cakes and cupcakes, and one of their most popular items is their traditional vanilla cake.

this classic yellow cake recipe is adapted from the magnolia bakery cookbook, which ryan bought me a few years ago for christmas.

this cake is easy to throw together and holds up well as a layer cake.  the cake's consistency is somewhere between a traditional cake and a sponge cake.

it has a great flavor that pairs perfectly with rich chocolate frosting.  it's an ideal cake for a celebration or for any day of the week!

classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting
prep time: 10-15 minutes
baking time: 25 minutes
yields: one three layer 9-inch round cake (18 servings)
cake adapted from the complete magnolia bakery cookbook

cake ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

frosting ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4-5 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons half-and-half cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

to make the cake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  grease and flour the sides of three 9-inch round baking pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.  in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter  for 2 minutes.  add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  in a separate bowl, sift together the flours and the baking powder.  add the flour in four parts, alternating with the milk and the vanilla.  beat well after each addition.  divide the batter evenly among the three pans.  bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.  once baked, allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans and allowing them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

to make the frosting, in the the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the butter.  add the cocoa powder, 2 cups of the powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of the cream, and the vanilla.  beat until combined.  gradually beat in the remaining powdered sugar and cream until you reach your desired frosting consistency.  frost the cake once it has cooled completely and top with colorful sprinkles.

love, laurie

Monday, March 23, 2015

celebrating ryan's mom's birthday!

on saturday, our parents came up to see the show that we have been working on.  while they were here, we celebrated ryan's mom's birthday with pizza, cake, and presents.  it was so nice to get together with everybody.  leko sure had a good time biting the bows off the presents too!

love, laurie

Friday, March 20, 2015

think spring!

happy first day of spring!  technically it's spring today, although it doesn't look like it.  there are snow flurries floating around in the air.  however, i'm still doing a happy dance since winter is now officially over!  last night ryan and i put away all of our winter decorations around our house and pulled out our spring and easter decorations.  now, if the weather would just cooperate we would be in great shape!

i'm thrilled that it's friday today.  the show that we have been working so hard on opens today and runs this weekend.  our parents are coming to see the show this weekend, and we are looking forward to seeing them!

ps: since today is the first day of spring, rita's is giving away free italian ice!

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

. . . 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

happy birthday!

happy birthday today to ryan's mom!

love, laurie

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

show week

it's show week . . . or what we lovingly refer to as "hell week" in the theatre.  the musical revue that we are currently working on opens on friday, so this week has been filled with long late-night rehearsals.  i feel like a walking zombie.  i stumbled across a funny post on buzzfeed from a fellow theatre friend, and thought it was appropriate since we're right in the middle of this show.  so, in honor of show week here are 22 secrets musical theatre actors will never tell you.  (#1 is definitely true right about now!)

happy wednesday!
love, laurie