I snuck in by the skin of my teeth on this one. I couldn’t really use this skull plate on November 1st. That’d be a bit odd, right? So the procrastinator in me just waited until Halloween night.
Speaking of Halloween night, I thought about watching episodes of American Horror Story tonight. But that show is just too scary to watch at night! I can only watch it at high noon!! Oh oh oh….and Dylan McDermott…so hot!! Can you believe he’s 50!?!?! Ridiculous!
I couldn’t decide whether these should be pumpkin muffins or pumpkin cupcakes. The glaze versus frosting seemed like muffins to me. I took them to my parents’ house on Sunday. My sister-in-law said if you eat one before noon, call them muffins. And if you eat one after lunch time, call them cupcakes. She’s a smartie! And after both of my brothers asked if they could eat them before lunch, I went with muffins.
Pumpkin Muffins with Brown Butter Glaze
Recipe from Bake Me Blush
Yields 15 muffins
For the muffins:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the glaze:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoon milk
To make the muffins:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray. Dust with flour. Tap off the excess. Set tins aside.
In a small saucepan, melt your butter over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until your butter turns golden brown. Skim the foam from top if needed. Pour the melted brown butter into a bowl to stop the cooking and allow it to cool.
In a bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
In another bowl, whisk together your pumpkin, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and melted brown butter.
Add your flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Whisk until just combined.
Divide batter among your muffin tins. Bake your muffins for 10 minutes. Rotate your pans. Bake your muffins another 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Place your muffins on a wire rack while you immediately make the glaze.
To make the glaze:
In a small saucepan, melt your butter over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until golden brown in color. Remove melted butter from heat and pour into a bowl.
Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milked to your browned butter. Stir until smooth. Add another tablespoon milk if necessary. You want a thin enough consistency that you can dip the muffins into the glaze.
Immediately dip the top of each muffin into the glaze while the muffins are still warm. Let the glaze set before serving.
If you missed part one, click here!
After our Whole Foods gawking, my aunt & uncle and I headed off on a 90 minute tour of Austin courtesy of Austin Overtures.
Some of the highlights you get to learn about on the tour:
- Austin City Limits, The W Hotel
- Restaurant Row
- The Driskill Hotel
- Camp Mabry
- Congress Avenue Bridge and the Bat Colony
- French Legation
- Hill Country Views
- Lake Austin
- LBJ Presidential Library
- Mayfield Park
- Texas Capitol
- Lady Bird lake
- Auditorium Shores
- The University of Texas at Austin
- 6th Street
- The Warehouse District
- Wild Basin Preserve
- Zilker Park
Later that night, my aunt Jill & uncle Carl and I ventured back up to the Congress Ave area to go on a sunset boat tour on Lady Bird Lake to see Austin at night skyline and to see the BATS!
People lining up on the Congress Avenue Bridge to see the bats come out at sunset.
An estimated 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats live under the Congress Avenue Bridge. It is the largest urban colony in North America.
1.5 MILLION BATS! How do they all fit under this bridge?
Those aren’t birds flying south for the winter…
Any more bats in there??
Two great tours and a great day!!!
Sunday was a GREAT day in Austin. I spent the day exploring the city and getting the vibe.
But first off, brunch!
Threadgill’s had been around since the 1930′s and it said to be where Janis Joplin got her start.
Dang. It’s that good.
What are sport peppers??? I tried to get my cousin’s son to try one, but he wasn’t brave enough. I googled it and sport peppers are typically added on Chicago style hot dogs. Now I know!
My brunch: potatoes, eggs, watermelon, sausage, biscuit & gravy. And coffee, of course!
They put tortilla chip strips on top of the eggs. Is the normal in Texas?? It was good, but didn’t necessarily add anything to them.
I enjoyed the vibe at Threadgill’s. There are pictures everywhere of different musicians that have played there. There was also a really nice Gospel band playing in the back room on Sunday. I would like to go back at night to hear other music and have some beers.
After brunch, I was off to spend the afternoon with my aunt Ann & uncle Bob!
One of the top things on my list…
The Whole Foods flagship store!!!!!! O.M.G. it’s so big and wonderful and magical.
I love sandwiches about as much as Joey from Friends.
Seriously?! It’s a never ending salad bar.
Holy Cow! Literally…holy cow…look at all of that cheese!
Between the wine tasting, beer tasting, and all the free sample stations…you can have a good time at Whole Foods!
Standing by all this fruit made me feel healthy. Ha!
Part two tomorrow…..with BATS!
On day two of vacation, I didn’t make it to Austin. Oops!! I stayed down in Kyle (where my family lives) and San Marcos. On Saturday morning, we went to my cousin’s son’s T-ball game.
Run!!!!!! I have to say my cousin’s son, Austin (they named him that before they moved to TX), is pretty awesome! He’s super talkative which I loved. I haven’t seen him in a few months, so I figured he’d be shy at first. But he was a chatterbug the whole time I saw him. We’re BFF’s.
After the game, my aunt Jill and I went to San Marcos to hit up the outlet malls!!!! They have two big outlet malls in San Marcos, which I couldn’t pass up. We actually only made it to 1 of the malls before I was
Some of my purchases:
Skirt from the Gap (I got 2 shirts & a sweater from Ann Taylor Loft too that I didn’t photograph.)
These cute coffee dessert plates. I’m saving them to display in my new kitchen for whenever I move (next April hopefully!). It will be my design inspiration piece.
Fall place mats from Marshall’s
Halloween cookie cutters, which I’m 100% sure I won’t use before Halloween. But it will be fun to forget about them and then find them again next year when I unpack Halloween decorations. Surprise!! I should use the fall leaf cookie cutter before Thanksgiving though! That’s a good tangible goal for me.
Toasted coconut body wash & lemon lotion….which I needed like a hole in the head, but I’m a girl and couldn’t resist.
Blue wallet from Fossil and an owl wallet from Marshall’s. When I checked out at Marshall’s, the cashier asked me if I saw the panda wallet too. I said, yes I did…but owls are more awesome, first off. And secondly, at 32 years old I’m already too old for this owl wallet probably…and I’m DEFINITELY too old for a panda wallet.
I do get compliments on my owl wallet from the 19 year old baristas at Starbucks though.
Blue/grey clutch from Fossil….$15, y’all!
Grey purse from Fossil…….I got a watch from Fossil too and a bracelet that I failed to photograph.
Dang, I spent a lot of money. I blame my aunt. She was an enabler. “Oh you’re on vacation!!” “It’s okay to treat yourself!” “Just use a credit card!” Ha!
And my most favorite purchase……
Say hello to my gold Coach bag. I heart it. She’s my new baby. I feel like a fancy pants when I tote it around.
After spending all that money, I needed alcohol! It was back to my aunt & uncle’s for a BBQ.
Would you like a margarita or a Bloody Mary? I opted for one of each. My uncle Carl was a great bartender. He made me a Bloody Mary the next morning too.
My aunt Jill & aunt Ann
The 3 of us boozing it up!
OH OH OH…..if you live anywhere there is an HEB grocery store, BUY THIS.
Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Dip….oh, you can buy it online too. I need to do that.
Take that baby & pour it over a block of cream cheese.
Devour it with crackers. Nomnomnomnom.
Cheeseburgers. I never did figure out why one lone burger had a Kraft single and the rest had “real” cheese.
Queso & chips. Now, they dip their Nacho cheese Doritos in queso. That’s….weird, to me at least! I tried it. I’m adventurous like that. I still prefer the classic plain tortilla chip for my queso though!
After dinner, we played poker. I lost. No surprise there!
That wraps up my day of helping revive the economy with my spending!
(This recapping is fun for me! I’m getting to relive the whole trip. Not sure why I procrastinated on blogging for so long!!)
If you missed part one, click here!
After hitting the candy store, we went across the street to check out the food trucks. I learned that about 5 years ago there were about 80 food trucks in Austin. And now there are about 2000!! Holy food trucks galore!
“We don’t say ‘Fried,’ we say ‘DEEP Saute’.”
I was just in search of one food truck. The Hey Cupcake! food truck!!
I ordered the Pumpkinator….of course!
It was delicious. It’s a good thing I’m not in close proximity to this food truck on a daily basis (yet!).
My uncle got a red velvet cupcake. My aunt & cousin split a Michael Jackson. I had a bit of the Michael Jackson and it was SOoooooooo good. That chocolate cupcake was the moist-est cupcake ever. I’d order that over the Pumpkinator next time .
After devouring our cupcakes, we went to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.
These dang stars are EVERYWHERE in Texas. I told my aunt that if (when!) I move to Austin, I refuse to own one of these stars.
It’s hard to take good pictures when you’re not allowed to take pictures. Everywhere we went there were signs about NO PICTURES! But I didn’t use the flash and I was stealthy. I think I was giving my cousin a panic attack with my ignoring of the rules.
Are you more of a reader or just a looker at a museum?? I get through museums quickly, because I don’t read the information about things. Sorry to the history buffs. But I did get drawn in by this large liberty statue (even though she’s holding another flippin’ star).
Woohoo, I read it The Goddess of Liberty statue sat onto of the state capitol building for almost a century. After it starts to show wear, it was decided to bring it inside the museum to preserve it.
See, I learned something about history during my first day in Austin. And I learned where to get great cupcakes.
Which factoid will I remember longer…..
Oops. I’ve been back from Austin for 2 weeks and haven’t blogged. I’m going to try to get back on a quasi-regular schedule here. Sometimes after a long day, you don’t want to blog. You just want to watch episodes of Breaking Bad and eat Fruity Pebbles….and then you repeat that pattern for 2 weeks.
Anywho, I spent a great few days in Austin over Columbus Day weekend visiting family. I arrived at my aunt & uncle’s house on Thursday at 4 pm. My aunt immediately said, “You’re just in time for happy hour!” I was promptly handed a glass of wine. Oh yeah….I knew it was going to be a good time in Austin right away.
Friday, I spent the day with my aunt Jill, uncle Carl, and my cousin, Kristy. Kristy picked our lunch spot…Hopdoddy.
They grind their beef in-house and bake their buns fresh daily. The buns! The buns! SO GOOD! I went with the Magic Shroom burger: beef, goat cheese, mushrooms, pesto. Delicious!
After lunch, we walked around Congress Ave to check out some shops.
Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds costume shop, very cool!
They had a boat load of Dumb & Dumber suits. Are those still popular for Halloween??
Uncommon Objects…definitely a store of oddities!
How do you know what’s valuable and what’s junk?
I need to walk around this store with the Picker Sisters.
Next up, my cousin insisted that we go into the Big Top Candy Shop. I figured that it was like any random candy store in a mall, so I resisted. I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOoooooo glad we went in. It is ahhhhh-mazing.
Eww or awesome?
I haven’t had Sixlets in forever!
Chewy Sprees! Be still my heart.
Candy cigarettes?! I thought those were illegal now.
Gummy bacon?!?!?!? Strawberry flavored!
And lastly, cupcake flavored dental floss to clean between your teeth after all those sweets. I think my gums would be in better shape if I had cupcake flavored dental floss.
More Austin fun to come soon!
This Is Where We Live by Janelle Brown
Did I buy this book because of the cover? Damn straight I did. And because it was 80% off at Borders.
Does this book have anything to do with strawberry shortcake? Nope, not at all. I’m really trying to think if they ate it in the book and I don’t remember it. I really think the cover was just a marketing decision. Obviously, it worked on me.
This Is Where We Live is the story of Claudia and Jeremy. They are a 30-something married couple faced with current issues. The book is very relevant to today’s times….unemployment, mortgage crisis, career decisions, etc. Although the premise is very relatable, I couldn’t get on board with it. It was a bit too hodge podge with the multiple themes for me.
The book starts off right away with an earthquake in California….and a sex scene on page 5. (I really thought this book was going to rock after page 5, ha.) But the earthquake didn’t do much damage and was never mentioned again. I suppose the earthquake was for the symbolism of the “cracks” in Claudia and Jeremy’s marriage. I felt it was unnessary though.
I couldn’t get too into the book because I didn’t even LIKE either of the characters. I found them both to be self-involved and annoying. And maybe that also was the point so that you understood their marital troubles.
There’s a point in the book where Claudia is thinking about directing a screenplay that she’s read. She hates the screenplay, but could use the money. She wonders if she’d be selling out by directing it. I wonder if the author sold out by just taking a hot topic and throwing some side plots into it and calling it a day.
So, in all, the premise of the book was good. Married couple…financial troubles…how do they cope. Got it. But by adding in the earthquake, screenplay writer turned teacher & her students, failing rock band, new roommate, returning ex-girlfriend, yadda yadda yadda. It was just too much for me.
But I do still love the cover.
2 stars of out 5 stars.
Hot Tamales spiced apple dessert for about 150 calories! Yes, please!!!
Red Hot Apple Pie in a Mug
Recipe from Hungry Girl
1 medium apple, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
15 pieces of Hot Tamales cinnamon flavored candy
1/2 sheet (2 crackers) low-fat cinnamon graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons low-fat Cool Whip
cinnamon to taste
Cut your apple into cubes. Pink Lady apples or Fuji apples work well. Put apple cubes in a microwavable mug. Don’t worry if you’re filling up the mug high. The apples will cook down considerably in the microwave.
Top your apples with the Hot Tamales.
Cover and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir. Recover and microwave for an additional 2 minutes. Stir. Set aside for apples to cool.
Top your contents with most of the crushed graham crackers.
The only downside is the sticky Hot Tamales that you’ll have stuck in your teeth. But totally worth it!
Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
This book ROCKS. Let me just get that out there. This book has been on my to-read list for awhile after reading all the great reviews. And hello, look at the cover. Sorry chicken, but you’re delicious…and dead.
Blood, Bones & Butter is the memoir by Gabrielle Hamilton, chef and owner of Prune in NYC. Hamilton tells the story of growing up in a family where her mother & father threw elaborate parties and everything was rosy….until her mother left her father and it kind of all went to crap.
Hamilton had to quickly grow up, virtually on her own since the age of 11. She got a job at a local restaurant near town and fell into drugs. She moved to NYC under the age of 18 and made her way working at bars without owners knowing her true age. She definitely went the alternative route to finding her way in the culinary world!
She worked several summers as a cook at a summer camp for kids:
“There were moments that summer where I felt more distressed by a nine-year-old’s disgust with a fleck of basil in the tomato sauce that I had in the entire previous decade…”
I love how she’s so raw in this book. She definitely puts it all out there. When she takes a risk and takes out a lease on property to start Prune, she is honest about the low points. She has to be all in…including taking care of a dead rat in the kitchen because no one else would. She’s deposing of dead rodents and then appearing on The Martha Stewart Show the next day, ha. Martha would be horrified.
Hamilton has led a very interesting life, that’s for sure. If you like cooking and memoirs, I highly recommend that book!
4.5 out of 5 stars