Sunday, September 18, 2011

Southwestern Corn Chowder & Mossy Monogram Project

Hi everyone!

I finally have a recipe to share! As promised, I cooked a warm fall soup this weekend: southwestern corn chowder. I got the recipe from my Betty Crocker app, and be forewarned - it's pretty spicy. Here's the recipe... FYI: I tripled mine and it was enough for about 4-6.

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth (I used chicken bouillon cubes, but you can do either)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper (I didn't have cayenne so I just used flakes)
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1 can (11 oz) Green Giant southwestern style corn (I only found Mexican, which seemed close enough)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • Additional chives for garnish, if desired
  • In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add onion and cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.
  • Stir in flour until well blended. Gradually stir in broth.
  • Stir in salt, black pepper and red pepper - heat to boiling.
  • Reduce heat and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened.
  • Stir in half-and-half, corn and chives. Cook until thoroughly heated.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!
This was the perfect fall meal, and Mr. G made a delicious broccoli side to go with it (fresh broccoli + butter + water + chicken bouillon + garlic salt + red pepper flakes). I want to make chili soon, too, as well as some pies and fall-inspired cupcakes. I was also hoping to make hot cider this weekend. I even bought apple cider at the store, but I ran out of time. :( Hopefully I'll get a chance to make it sometime this week or next weekend. Nothing makes me think of fall more than hot apple cider. :) Good news is, I have leftover corn chowder to bring to work tomorrow! Much better than a Lean Cuisine.

In other news, I also finally got started on one of my craft projects! Remember the mossy monogram I mentioned way back in April? (if not, here's the link to my post on it). Well, I bought the supplies for it forever ago, but tonight I finally got to work on it. Maybe the fall weather inspired me? Anyway, I'm actually almost done with it. I would have finished it, but I ran out of hot glue.. Didn't expect to use the whole bag! It's not terribly hard to make, but it is pretty frustrating because the moss keeps falling off and the hot glue gun and I are NOT friends. I burned my pointer finger countless times and then actually gave myself a second degree burn on my knee, of all places... I had my pants rolled up and some glue oozed out of the gun onto my knee as I was replacing the stick. I screamed bloody murder and scared poor Mr. G and Molly. I'll have a nice scab there now, and I might walk a little funny for a couple days because it's on an awkward part of my knee... My coworkers will get a kick out of this injury. Not to mention this was my second burn of the day - my first was this morning with the curling iron. Who knew hair styling and crafting would be so dangerous?! But hey, after icing my knee, I kept on crafting like a champ. ;)

I'll post pics and a tutorial for the moss letter after I finish it. I have two other letters to go after this one, and I'm still deciding whether or not to go through with them... They're smaller at least, and I have a great place to put them. So I probably will. But I may wait a few more months...

Do you have any funny crafting horror stories? If so, please share! I hope I'm not the only one with a glue gun handicap...

<3 Mrs. G

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes & Fall Bliss

Hi everyone!

Hope you're all having a lovely week. I don't know about elsewhere in the country, but our weather here in the Twin Cities has been AMAZING this week. Fall suddenly came with a vengeance; the temperature hasn't risen above 60 the past couple of days, and I couldn't be happier about it. I'm so excited to break out my boots again. :) Fall is definitely my favorite season - I love the weather, the leaves, the clothes, the holidays, the activities and, of course, the food! In fact, I was thinking about making some fall treats this weekend... namely apple cider and either chili or corn chowder. I would also love to make some pumpkin spice and/or chai cupcakes soon. So many ideas! Let me know if you have any goodies to recommend. :)

For now, though, I have another cupcake recipe as promised! For my mother-in-law's birthday last weekend, I made classic chocolate fudge cupcakes topped with a yummy coffee buttercream. I wasn't crazy about the recipe I used for the cakes - they were a little bland and very dry. The dryness may have been my fault, though, because I stuck them in the fridge without covering them. Nevertheless, the buttercream was delicious. I decided to go with coffee because Mr. G's mom is an avid coffee drinker and it's more fun than plain buttercream. :) I got my recipes from my 200 Cupcakes book. If you have a delicious chocolate cupcake/cake recipe, please share!

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes


  • 1/2 cup lightly salted butter, softened (I always use unsalted - not sure if that makes a difference)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Line muffin pan with paper cake liners.
  • Put all ingredients in a large bowl and beat for about a minute, until light and creamy (I started with dry ingredients then added wet).
  • Pour mix into pan - fill each cup about 2/3 full.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until risen and just firm to the touch. 
  • Make buttercream while cupcakes are baking.
  • Makes 12 cupcakes.
Coffee Buttercream

  • 1 tsp espresso coffee powder (I just used regular coffee)
  • 2 tsp boiling water (add any more and it's too runny)
  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • chocolate chips for garnish
  • Beat ingredients in a bowl until pale and creamy.
  • Spread or pipe buttercream on cupcakes after they are cooled down.
  • Makes enough for 12 cupcakes.
  • Enjoy!

I have to admit that I almost messed up the buttercream, too... I wasn't thinking and put the whole stick of butter in, then I tried to fix it by adding more of the other ingredients, which was a complete fail. So I ended up throwing it out and starting over. Ha oh well, at least I got it right the second time.

Let me know your fall recipes! I'll post mine if I end up making them this weekend. 

P.S. If you're on Pinterest, you should follow me. :) If you're not, read my post from yesterday to see why you should be!

<3 Mrs. G

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Favorite New Apps

So I'm using the Blogger app for iPhone right now, and it's pretty nifty. About time they came out with one, too! Blogger mobile just wasn't cutting it. The only thing that's missing is the Analytics feature (unless I just overlooked it), which is unfortunate since quite a few businesses use Blogger. I'm sure it will come around before too long, though.

Another app I'm all about right now is Pinterest. I hesitated to get on the Pinterest bandwagon at first because I have enough social media in my life and I didn't want to overcommit again (case in point: my sad Tumblr). And that may still happen, but as of right now I love it. It's like a combination of Tumblr, StumbleUpon and Flickr - you showcase your interests by "pinning" photos from the web (or "repinning" from other users) and organizing them on boards by topic. It's simple, creative, and actually pretty fun. Best of all - the social component takes very little time. Though it is easy to get sucked into browsing other pins for hours... It's a great outlet for (minimal) artistic expression, it's perfect for gathering inspiration (for weddings, home decor, etc.) and it's a useful tool for companies and bloggers to get exposure in a creative and unique way, provided their audience is women who like pretty photos (I have yet to encounter a male Pinterest user). So far, count me as a fan; time will tell if I remain active or get bored and move on.

Let me know your favorite apps - I'm always looking for new ones (especially if they're free).

Stay tuned this week for a new cupcake recipe. :) Happy hump day!

<3 Mrs. G

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11: Ten Years Later

I couldn't not post on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It is still such a vivid memory for me, as I'm sure it is for any American who was alive that day. Naturally, I remember where I was - I was sitting in my 8th grade Spanish class. I remember not knowing exactly what the World Trade Center was or why everyone was talking about it. I remember wondering what went so wrong that a plane would hit a building and why none of the teachers were saying anything to us. After the second plane hit, the hallways were abuzz with panicked discussions and suspicions. Everyone assumed now that it was an attack, and there was mention of the Pentagon and the Capitol. That's when I started getting seriously concerned. I thought of the former nuclear power plants not too far away in Oak Ridge, TN, and couldn't help but think, how far is this going to go? Some kids just wanted to know if school was going to let out early, which it did. As soon as I came home - to an empty house - I turned on CNN and caught up on what I had been missing. In complete shock, I was transfixed for hours. I know I called my parents, but I don't remember what I said. I don't even remember what happened the rest of the evening. For the first time, I realized that my country was not as invulnerable as I had been led to believe, and that was the most disconcerting thing I felt all day.

Now, as I watch and listen to all the tributes to that day, I still can't believe it happened. And what I really can't grasp is that there are children now who have no recollection of this happening outside of their history classes. Even more, that my own children will only view this event as a part of history, not as the real, unbelievable and horrific tragedy that it was to us. It's hard for me to comprehend that I would ever see something like this happen in my lifetime, and I wasn't even there.

The following is an excerpt from a post I wrote for a previous blog about those who leapt from the towers that day:

"As far as uncomfortable topics go, I think suicide probably tops the list. I watched a documentary about a month ago on the suicide "jumpers" of 9/11 who leapt out of the burning towers in desperation and resignation; the video was inspired by an article in Esquire that was based on the controversial photograph of the Falling Man that circulated widely after 9/11. Interestingly enough, the deaths of the jumpers were not documented as suicides or even jumps but as accidental deaths. I remember watching the live media coverage on that day and seeing some of the jumpers leap to their fates (before the media was instructed not to show them anymore). Those images haunt my memory more than anything else I saw that day - more than the limbless people, more than the blood, more than the fire, and more than the final collapse of the tallest towers in the world. I remember how I felt - it was a bizarre mixture of horror, sorrow, and paralyzing helplessness. It's hard enough to comprehend suicide abstractly, but being forced to face it directly - that's something else entirely."

Despite all the tragedy of that day, there was also an unparalleled resolve. When I think of modern-day heroes, I think of the firefighters and policemen of New York who risked their lives many times over to save others, I think of the passengers on United Airlines flight 93 who overtook the hijackers and crashed the plane to prevent another attack, and I think of the individual New Yorkers who came together - despite differences in race, religion and class - to help their fellow citizens.

I can't pretend to know what it feels like to have experienced 9/11 firsthand, and I would never presume to understand the grief that the victims' families have gone through. All I have to offer is my own perspective and memories of that day.

Here are some others:
Chicago Magazine: "9/11 and Social Media" (via @MNPR)
KDWB Remembers 9/11
The Wall Street Journal: "The Public Remembers"

I would love to hear yours. Please feel free to comment with your own memories of 9/11.

May God bless all those involved on that day and every day since.

<3 Mrs. G

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nashville Trip

Hello all!

Sorry for the delay in posts - I've had a crazy busy week! Mr. G and I got in from Nashville Tuesday night and have been going nonstop since.

We had a great trip, though. As I mentioned in my last post, we stayed at the Opryland Hotel for our Anniversary on Sunday, and we ate at a delicious restaurant in the hotel called Old Hickory Steakhouse. We had escargot (for the first time! Mr. G didn't know they were snails, though...), mashed potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, and of course, steaks (I had filet mignon, Mr. G had New York strip). It was fantastic. After that, we exchanged gifts, sipped champagne (a delicious pink moscato given to us by my parents), and we ate our wedding cake topper. Believe it or not, the cake was actually pretty good. It was slightly dry, but other than that it tasted as fresh as a year-old cake could possibly taste. No freezer burn, either! I was impressed.

Here are some photos from our trip:

at the church where we got married last year
my anniversary flowers from Mr. G :)

my Tiffany earrings from Mr. G

my gift to Mr. G - a Michael Kors watch
wedding cake!

As for the rest of our trip, I got to see my friends (and yes, we went to Las Palmas) as well as my family, and we even made time to play several rounds of dominos, none of which I won...

This weekend, Mr. G and I are going to a wedding and celebrating his mom's birthday. Maybe I'll have another cupcake recipe to share. ;)

Hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

<3 Mrs. G


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