Thursday, May 27, 2010

Love is Pretty

Don't have a conniption! I am totally making two (TWO) post in one week! Don't get too spoiled either ;) This entry has nothing to do with food or accesories or clothes or shoes. It has a lot to do with love and I think love is pretty. Yea, I'm a sap. I cry at movies (and books) that's just the kind of woman I am and I'm ok with that.

Yesterday, despite how crazy my schedule is this week I managed to squeeze in an engagement photoshoot with my ex co-worker turned awesome bff, Lauren and her equally awesome fiance, Bryant. They actually got engaged a few months back and I told her then that I wanted to do a photoshoot with a gift :) Schedules and life makes it hard to just get up and do a photoshoot and I was glad we finally got to do it yesterday. I had originally wanted to do it at Florida Botanical Gardens but the couples' schedule and mine wouldn't make it before they closed. We decided to do it at their house first (which didn't work well as there were too many shadows)but then we headed out over to Howard Beach Park to get some sunset-y pictures...WIN! Despite that it was windy, and the light was ever changing, I've to say I captured some pretty nice moments. I've never been the "director" kind of photographer. I like to capture candid moments...real moments *not* moments made to look real. I would like to think that I was able to capture the love that was emanating from Lauren & Bryant. I would love to one day have that kind of love. The future husband and wife loved the pictures (and so does their family) and that's what matters :)

Here are some of my favorite shots:

P.S.If you want to see the rest of the Fleck-Haney Engagement Photos go here.

P.P.S. I forgot to mention that Lauren asked me this week to be one of her bridesmaids :D Of course, I said yes!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I swear I'm not dead...yet!

Hello? Is there anyone still out there? I know I have been MIA and I do apologize. I've had this freakin awesome ideas for blog entries but life keeps interrupting my blogging! There are a lot of things going on this weekend. First of all it's my 28th birthday (if anyone wants to buy me gift(s) feel free! ;)) Second, we're celebrating my son's 2nd (yes, SECOND as in 2!) birthday on my birthday, May 30th. Third, later that afternoon is one of my good friend's engagement party! I am booked solid this weekend and not to mention schoolwork that needs to be done.

This lil guy is turning 2!!! I know I can't believe it either!

I am planning on making a mini beach themed cake for Jordan (my son) and letting the kids decorate their own cupcakes. I'm also making grown-up cupcakes for me and my adult guest and another batch (or 2 or 3) of engagement cupcakes for my friend, Lauren. Super stoked but it's a helluva lot of work! I promise to post pictures when I get em done...and a recipe or 2 :)

Sooo..what do I have for you guys today, you might ask? Well...since you guys have been so patient, i sposed I could give you a little cupcake ;) Last April, I had a house-warming party and it wouldn't be a party without cupcakes! The date of this party also fell on my friend, Derrick's birthday so I asked him what kind of cupcakes he would like. He said LEMON! Mind you, I'm a chocolate girl through and through so a lemon-y cake is not something I would've chosen but hey, I aim to please ;) Then the search began... 1 Google, 2 Google, 3 Google CLICK!

I found Brown-Eyed Baker's Lemon Limoncello Cupcakes Her pictures made my mouth water! I didn't have the time to make my own limoncello and I wasn't about to spend money that I didn't really have to make some limoncello so I used lemon-flavored vodka mixed with corn syrup and a some lemon extract for extra lemon-y flavor.

Lemon-Limoncello Cupcakes

Yield: 1 dozen

For the cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons limoncello
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup lemon juice
Zest of one lemon

For the lemon curd:
Zest of 2 lemons
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk

For the cream cheese limoncello frosting:
2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon limoncello
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1. Prepare the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the limoncello and beat an additional minute. On low speed, add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.

2. Prepare the lemon curd. In a heavy medium saucepan, stir together the lemon zest, juice and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk. Whisk the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper them. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let cool completely.

3. Prepare the cream cheese limoncello frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the limoncello and beat for an additional minute. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.

4. Assemble the cupcakes. Cut a hole into each cupcake with the large end of a melon baller or the back end of a large pastry tip. Fill each cavity with the lemon curd. Fill a pastry bag with a star tip (I used Wilton 1M) with the cream cheese limoncello frosting and pipe onto each cupcake. Decorate with lemon and berries, if desired.

***I double this recipe and got 2 dozen. Don't forget to double the custard recipe too. I used the cone method in filling the cupcakes. Cut a cone shape through the center of the cupcake and chop of the point part, fill with filling then top the hole with the round part of the cone (sans points) I did use a raspberry to decorate it but then I used melted (then hardened) sugar drizzle.

How do you make sugar drizzle
Put a cup of granulated sugar it non-stick pan on medium/low heat. Stir till sugar melts and turn to caramel. Be careful to not burn the sugar, it will not taste good! Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When sugar is all melted (work quickly) get a spoon and scoop some caramelized sugar and drizzle onto parchment paper. Be creative!