Oh, it truely is the sweet life, now. Knowing that there is finally an adorable, creative, tasty, and socially and environmentally conscious bakery nearby!
Last week I was killing a little time in Vineland when I came across the most adorable little bakery in the whole world. I was hesitant to go in though due to my past experiences with bakeries in this part of south Jersey (I'm not sure if most people are required to know spanish when the walk into a bakery in America, but apparently it's becoming more common..). Well that night I typed the name into google and wa-la! The Sweet Life.
I was so amazed at the photos of the wedding cakes and desserts I saw and that they were based in Vineland. Their gorgeous wedding cakes designs are so much more modern then the other bakeries in south Jersey, they remind me more of the great bakeries in Philly that I'm always researching for my internship then of the very "old-lady" type cakes you normally find in the bakeries around here.
Anyway, So I was talking to my mom about how we desperately need to stop in a get some goodies ASAP. Well this morning my mother happened to find herself in Vineland and called me about 20 times (one time to tell me she was trying to find it, another time to tell me how cute it looked from outside, another time to tell me about everything they had in there and ask what I wanted and then again when she left to tell me how incredibly nice they are there). I could barely wait for her to get back!
Fantastico! Everything was so great! Although, I didn't get to try the cupcake. I was saving it to have as a snack tonight and went out to run my errands and by the time I got back my sisters boyfriend had already chowed it down (apparently it was good). That fine though because it just gives me an excuse to make a trip over there and get some more tasty things this week.
If for some reason you don't believe how awesome this little bakery is you can also check out their flickr page, or their blog!
I was taking my boyfriend to the airport memorial day morning when Emily called inviting me to come over for some memorial day grilling and saying I could bring over some dessert, "if I felt like it." Do I ever not feel like making something for dessert? dessert is the most fun thing to make in the world, I swear. Especially if it's something that you can lick off of a spatula while its baking in the oven. On my way back from the airport I decided to stop at Walkers Produce Stand to pick up some veggies for my mom. As soon as I walked in I smelled something other than veggies....JERSEY STRAWBERRIES. Oh that smell! Oh how I've missed it and longed for it over those long winter months! Import strawberries have never and will never smell and taste as super-ripe, fresh-picked Jersey strawberries. At that point, it didn't matter how much those things cost - I would have given them my Marc Jacobs bag to have a quart of those things (luckily, it didn't come to that). On my way home, I indulged in that smell and spent the ride dreaming of what I could make with those beauties. I know it's cliche, I know it's overdone, but I couldn't help but succumb to making the obvious: Strawberry Shortcake. but I didn't want to do just the regular strawberry shortcake, I wanted to do something as grand as these strawberries (can you tell I really love strawberries yet?). So...Strawberry shortcake cake! I got the recipe for the cake from good ol' Martha, and the Whipped Cream Frosting from CupcakeProject (although, at the last minute I decided not to put strawberries directly in the frosting). The strawberries were so ripe that I didn't even need to use sugar to pull out the juice, I simply put them in a food chopper and they became a juicy, chunky, delicious mess!
Memorial day is a great excuse to just eat and sit around making stupid jokes with friends. Emily and Phil have the perfect house for this sort of thing too, with a great porch looking over their back yard where you can hear the kids running around a being crazy, as they always are.
The shortcake cake went over great. When I was leaving with the leftovers the guys shouted out at me, "wait, you're taking that?!" I would have left it with them, but I had already promised any left-overs to my family who had been drooling over it when I left.
I went back to the fridge this morning to try to get a better picture of the cake, but this is all I found...
Apparently someone was feeling snacky last night! oh well!
The beginning of this week I wandered into my local butcher shop and picked up a beautiful cut of filet mignon. You see me and my boyfriend are restaurant whores. at least once a week we're driving up to philly to have dinner at any of the fabulous restaurants in the city (all of whom I like to review on yelp!). While its fantastic to go out and have such fantastic food, we figured we should cut back a little and I offered to do some cookin' for us.
ahh beautiful pieces of meat right?
I marinated them both in olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh pepper for a few hours. I then cooked them on a stove for about 3 minutes on each side and then stuck them in the oven for about 10 minutes (we like it medium wellish). and of course you can't have steak without some sort of potatoes, and what in the heck is better then mashed potatoes?! and to make it all healthy theres a few vegetables on that plate (hehe)..
It was pretty good if I dooo say so myself (and I do!)
For dessert we had some of the flourless chocolate cake that was leftover from yesterday with vanilla iced cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon (mmmmm!).
I've been seeing these lists popping up all over blogs lately (I saw it first on howtoeatacupcake who got it from thebrowneyedbaker) and couldn't help but make a little list of my own except I decided to also do one for things i'd like to cook as well, enjoy!
another day of rain....everyone's feeling lethargic and lazy. Ever since it started raining I can't even bring myself to my morning ritual of yoga. *sigh*
even the animals are just laying around!
my poor baby is exhausted!
even my sister's insane three-legged cat was laying around!
anyway...so for lunch I decided it was just one of those days you need to curl up with a bowl of chili and warm cornbread.
mmm cooking on the stove!
The one thing I have enjoyed from moving back into my mothers house is cooking from scratch almost every day. Either I'm making lunch to take to my sister at work or a "gourmet" dinner for me a my boyfriend. Whatever I'm making I try to always make it from scratch with the freshest ingredients possible. The thing I love about all these food blogs that have been popping up is knowing that there's actually americans out there that are making real food! not just stopping at KFC for dinner or pulling out a frozen meal-but are actually making something! I think everyone out there who is refusing to give into settling for a soggy hamburger deserves a round of applause!
Anyway... I don't have an exact recipe for my chili but I always start by sauteing onions and bell peppers in olive oil and a tad bit of cinnamon. then I add a big ol' can (well hopefully not OLD) of pureed tomatoes and 2 small cans of red kidney beans. then I just add in plenty of salt, ground pepper, red pepper, and chili powder. nothing fancy. just simple and delicious.
and here it is...
what? you didn't think I'd stop at just chili right? I am a firm believer that you can't have chili without cornbread! and what goes better with chili and cornbread then home-made sweet tea!