Monday, June 18, 2012

The Royal Ascot

Some of you may already be aware, but the Royal Ascot begins tomorrow, June 19th.  As much as the Races are about the actual racing, they are about fashion and how amazing of a hat you can find (for the ladies at least, sorry gents, you are required to wear only top hats). 

Press photo for the 2008 Royal Ascot.  Hat by Philip Treacy

Press photo for the 2012 Royal Ascot.  Designers unknown (edit: hat by Stephen Jones and dress by Antonio Berardi)

And beware, if you see these ladies coming up to you, you're doing something wrong.  (They've come to put a hat on your head or to cover too bare shoulders!)

Dress-code assistants

This coming week should see the web (and frankly all other forms of media that like to feature images of the royal family) flooded with pictures of incredible hats!  Can't wait :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sweet 16! Granola Rhubarb Muffins

Hello!  Once again its time for the sweet 16th!  (I'm actually writing this multiple days ahead *gasp*, but only because I will be out of the house all day on the 16th)

Today I'm going to share with you a recipe for muffins featuring one of my favorite fruits!  Wait, is rhubarb a fruit?  (googling...)  ok, I'm back.  Technically rhubarb is a vegetable, but according to wikipedia " ... in the United States, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties."

So where was I?  Oh yes, one of my favorite fruits: Rhubarb.   In muffins.  With granola.   Here, I'll just show you:

So I love oatmeal muffins, and frankly just muffins in general, especially with fruit,  and I happened to have both rhubarb and granola in my kitchen today.  And thus the granola rhubarb muffins were born.   These are a great breakfast muffin. They're fruity but not too sweet, plus they have the occasional surprise crunch from the granola.

Here's what you need:

1 cup granola 
1 cup milk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter (room temp)
1 cup sugar (consider using more or less sugar depending on how sweet your granola is)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chopped rhubarb

The first step is to let the granola sit in the milk for a while to soften it up.  I let mine soak for about 40 minutes, but you could skip this step if you want some extra crunch in your muffins.

You could use any kind of granola, the kind I had just happened to have dried fruit in it.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together till fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each.  Finally blend in the vanilla.

The next part I did by hand because I didn't want to destroy the nice large clumps of granola.  Stir the granola milk mixture into the butter mix with a flexible spatula until well combined.

Now you have two bowls:

Make a well in the center of your flour mixture and pour the wet ingredients into it.  Stir to combine but do not over-stir.  You just want to get the flour moist.

Fold in the chopped rhubarb:

and portion into prepared muffin tins, filling about 3/4 of the way full:

Bake these at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let them cool in the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to cooling racks.

And then eat them!  Because holy cow these are amazing warm.  They re-heat quite nicely too.  Just pop them in the microwave or toaster oven for a few seconds and they are just as good as fresh from the oven.

You could substitute other fruits in these just keep in mind the amount of sugar verses the sweetness of the fruit.

Toddler approved :D

Happy baking!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Brass Screw Steampunk Festival

Hello and welcome back to what will hopefully be a more regular writing schedule here. 

Today was the day that I have been working towards for the last several weeks, the Steampunk Festival in Port Townsend, WA.

I had such a fun time and met lots of fun characters, I only have a few pictures currently but will be getting some more soon of the festival goers and the general splendor.   In the meantime however, let me share some pictures of my costume and a few of my favorite hats that I brought with me which haven't been on here yet :)

Some fun shots of my outfit.  The ombre ruffle skirt and flower skirt I made last spring.  This spring I finally got around to the under-bust corset and accessories.    So often steampunk events happen in the fall or winter seasons so I really wanted to take the opportunity to do a spring/summer outfit. 

All of the hats which didn't sell today will be going up onto my etsy shop in the next couple of weeks.  Here are a few more of my favorites!

I'll be back again later this week with more pictures of the bazaar!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Birthday cake

Well here I am again with a long time between posts.  That should be getting better after next weekend and the Steampunk festivities are over. (still have lots of work to do and less than a week to go,  eek!)  

Anyways, I seem to recall mentioning that the little man would be turning 3, which he did.  And I would love to share some pics, just cause they're cute.  Plus the fun cake I made him!

He picked swirl cake which I then shaped into a rocket (he's been really into rockets lately).

Then we put some buttercream and marshmallow fondant on it.

Surrounded with cupcakes, the little man was thrilled!

Good times were had all around  (not to mention leftover cupcakes :D  )