Sunday, May 31, 2009

Desserts du Jour

Yesterday Rob and I went to the Beiers Welcome Summer Potluck BBQ and I decided to bring a couple desserts.

My favorite were the Margarita Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting. I have a thing for lime in the summer - it's so refreshing! I did not include the alcohol (tequila and grand marnier) but they still were tasty. I also made Rocky Ledge Bars which I wasn't that excited about. People liked the cupcakes but I think the bars were a bigger hit, go figure!

Margarita Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

1 box white cake mix
8 oz margarita mix (liquid)
2 oz tequila
1 oz Grand Marnier
3 egg whites
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp grated lime zest

Lime Buttercream Icing:
8 Tbsp butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp lime juice (approx 2 fresh limes)
1 Tbsp margarita mix
1 tsp lime zest
5 cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar
cane sugar & fresh limes (for garnish)


1. Preheat oven to 350º and prepare muffin pans.

2. Combine margarita mix, tequila, and Grand Marnier in a large glass and stir well.

3. In large bowl, combine cake mix, egg whites, lime zest, vegetable oil, and margarita mixture from step one. Stir ingredients together, then beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for approximately 2-3 minutes.

4. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin pans. Fill each cup/liner about 2/3 full.

5. Bake at recommended temperature on cake mix box (usually 325º - 350º) for 20 - 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

6. In a large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, lime juice, margarita mix, and lime zest. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

7. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and continue beating until smooth. If icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar, a couple tablespoons at a time.

8. Spread icing generously on each cooled cupcake* or use a pastry bag to frost. Sprinkle cane sugar around the edges of the cupcake for a “salt rimmed” look and garnish with lime wheels & wedges.

*Make sure to remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely before frosting.

Tip: Leftover frosting makes a great dip for fruit!


If you don't have a cupcake carrier, I highly recommmend this Crate and Barrel one.

Rocky Ledge Bars
*Picture borrowed from Martha

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 cups packed dark-brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup butterscotch chips
18 soft caramel-candy cubes, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the longer sides. Brush parchment with butter (not overhang).

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until well combined. Mix in flour mixture until combined. Fold in half of each of the marshmallows, chocolates, butterscotch chips, and caramels.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Scatter remaining marshmallows, chocolates, butterscotch chips, and caramels on top. Bake until top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Lift out of pan, and transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes.

Remove parchment, and cut into about 16 triangles. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up.


Thursday, May 28, 2009


I am really loving swaptree. Swaptree is a website where you can trade (for free) your books, CDs, video games, movies, etc. with other people. You list all the stuff you are willing to part with and you create a wish list. Swaptree sends you an email when they find a match. I listed only 3 books in the last week and I've had 2 matches! All you have to do is pay for shipping and shipping materials which seems to run about $4. Cheaper than buying a new book and good for the environment!

This might not be good for people who like to hold on to their stuff like my father in law who has newspapers that date back to the 1970's (or farther back?) stacked in his garage, just in case he needs them someday. He'll have the last laugh, I'm sure, when one of those newspapers comes in handy someday.

Anyway, check it out:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Weeds Part 2

The weeds are back.

I feel the need to explain that our house is not on the bad side of town where everyone's yards have weeds taller than yours truly. No, we live in a nice family oriented neighborhood where just OUR house seems to grow said weeds.

Truth is, it hasn't always been this way. No, when we looked at the house, one of the things we loved was the landscaping. The prior owners paid a pretty penny on the exotic plants they have in front of the house and in the back yard. What didn't come with the house, unfortunately, was a gardner to keep the place looking as good as it did when we moved in. The gardner did offer to continue his services - for a price. We weren't ready to indulge in such luxuries as someone pulling our weeds and mowing our lawn so we said "thanks, but no thanks - we can handle it."

Fast forward 10 months (wow - has it really been 10 months?!), we have this in our exotic botanical gardens:

Rob has been really good about keeping the pool in swimmable condition, and mowing the lawn on most weekends but "life" keeps creeping up on us and sometimes, we just dont' have time to put the elbrow grease into the yard that it so desperately needs.

Rob and I vowed to devote more time to our yard so next time you come over, don't judge us. We're working on it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Flashback Friday

October 2006 - Visiting Gena in Santa Barbara

A month after getting married, I went to visit my good friend Gena who goes to UC Santa Barbara.

The night I drove in, she made me dinner and we stayed in for the night catching up since any converstations we had had for the prior 17 months were all about my wedding.

The next day she took me kayaking. It was my first time and I had lots of fun but it was filled with a lot of "Uh...Gena!" Gena is a dare devil and I can be a little timid. Plus, she has a history of kayaking with whales - yes whales, not dolphins, whales. She has a video of it and it's insane. Correction: she is insane! But that's why I love her.

That night we went out on the town.

That night I got a mild concussion, in Gena's bathroom. Somehow while going to the rest room, I lost my balance and hit my head on her little table in the bathroom.

The next morning we took ourselves to get a hangover breakfast: bagels and coffee.

I went back for another visit the next summer in May 2007.

Gena is graduating this quarter - I hope I'm able to visit her again before she graduates and starts her next new adventure.

Looking forward to seeing you in July, Gena!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mexico - Part 1

We survived the swine flu.

We got back on Friday night after 6 nights in Cabo with our friends Dorothy and Keith, and Maryanne and Brian. We had a lot of fun with our friends which was sprinkled with some annoyances regarding the hotel staff. All in all it was a good trip.

During this trip, we learned:

1.) Wagners will probably never go back to Mexico.
2.) Six nights is a little too long to stay in Mexico.
3.) Pepper is crazy.
4.) Keith's grandma was hot.
5.) "Extreme rocking" is sweeping the nation.
6.) US Mexican Food is better than real Mexican food. Yo quiero taco bell.
7.) Pina Coladas at our resort were awesome.

That's all I can remember for now. All couples took pictures so I'll post more Mexico once I get the pictures from everyone else.

Rob and I on the plane. Notice the Beiers in the background. They were nervous about the flight so they both received tranquilizers.

I was confused by this sign but Dorothy cleared it up for me: "If there is a bump, do the running man."

Our view.

Dinner at La Frida.

After dinner we went to the drug store - they sold viagra over the counter!

We weren't ready for bed yet so we decided to rock. Rob invented "extreme rocking."

One day we decided to head downtown and go shopping. Just what we were looking for: a nacho libre mask!

After shopping, we went to Mi Casa restaurant.

Dorothy received a fortune from Pedro the bird.

Getting randy with the statute.

We did this a lot.

We went to The Office for dinner on our last night in Cabo. The entertainment for the night was watching women going through mid life crises' taking tequila shots on stage.

This was probably around hour 6 of 14 of travel on Friday. Keith was showing off his manicure skills.