Heavy on the Baileys

All I had on my grocery list was Guinness and cupcake liners when I went to pick up the last of the baking necessities yesterday during lunch.  Fine, I probably would have stared, too.  And wondered, “what the hell is that girl doing with cupcake liners and Guinness at noon in the middle of the work week?”.

Yesterday I probably could have gotten away with it- rough morning.

Preparing myself for a Mardi Gras Baking Extravaganza!  Randomly, I would like to point out that I really like the word “extravaganza”.  It makes everything seem that much more spectacular when you put it at the end of something.  Try it.  Like today, when I got up, I participated in a “Pimp Your Oatmeal Extravaganza”!  Really, I just added flax and a little cereal.  But I bet you got really excited about my breakfast for a minute, didn’t you?

But my breakfast is not the reason you’re reading this.  I know you all are dying to see what was the end result of my stockpiling butter, sugar and liquor all week.  Well here you go.

I adapted this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  And started out with the Guinness:

I had never tried Guinness before.  I’m not the biggest beer person and when I drink it, I’m a bigger fan of pale ale and such… so I definitely made the face- didn’t really enjoy it.  But to each their own!

It worked well in the cupcakes, though!

And then I added the whiskey caramel:

Holy cow, I almost died in sugar heaven right then and there after I was done. But then came the icing.  Ididn’t quite follow the original recipe on that one.  I used a very heavy hand with the Bailey’s.  Heavy hand as in I had the mixer in one hand and started giggling as I continued to pour liquor with the other.  I had a glass or two of wine while doing this, so that explains that decision.  But it worked out well: 

My friend Mon was there to experience it all.  We were both giddy with excitement at this point.  Then we shared this:

After that, we were both cracked out with sugar and wine.  Not pretty… especially because it was nearing midnight and I knew sleep would be difficult. 

I made blondies in the middle of the cupcake assembly as well.  They’re not nearly as pretty to take pictures of.  But I did use all this:

I have a feeling the boys will be content.  Here’s the final outcome chillin’ in the refrigerator:

Yep.  Amazing.  I’m taking some to my friend Annie this morning as well.  I’m sure they’ll go over well…  Feel free and try to lick the computer screen as you’re reading this.  I almost did while writing it, and I’m still on sugar overload. 

Have a good Thursday, kids!  I’ll be roadtripping through boring ol’ Illinois soon.  Good times…

Oh and just so we all know- I hammered out the 2.5 miles no problem last night.  Had to wait for a treadmill, so I just did weights there instead of also doing The Shred.  But this morning I was able to fit in a little time with Jillian and also pull out another 2.75 miles!  Like either one of those runs will make up for the baking damage, but hey- I’m done consuming.  Time to share!

Let’s try this again

This morning needs a do over.

Apparently there was an earthquake at 4:00 this morning and the Chicago area could feel it.  I slept through it.  Good to know how aware my body is.  But that’s not the only thing I slept through.  I woke up wondering how it could be so light in my room.  Oh- it’s 7:30, that’s why.  Wait- 7:30?!?!  OMG.  I’ve never jumped so quickly out of bed in my life.  Well, that’s a lie- but I was up in a flash, nonetheless.  Somehow the earthquake must have turned my alarm clock off and made me sleep in 45 minutes later than normal.  That must have been it.

Then came breakfast.  So after my first oats in a jar fail, I decided to try again.  Because I’m not a quitter! 

Ignore my super dry hands- this winter has been a rough one for my delicate skin…

And yes, I got through my almond butter in lightening speed.  Don’t judge.  So I got it all  in the jar and threw it in the microwave…  I wasn’t really watching it.  It didn’t explode like last time, but there was a bit that escaped from the jar and all over the bottom of my microwave.  Awesome. I ate it anyways. 

Back off Vince, this one’s mine.  Make your own.

Yes, I was able to sit down to enjoy it because I had made up a considerable amount of time (or so I thought).  On my later week, I wake up earlier than I actually have to so I can watch the news and piddle a little bit.  This morning was not as relaxing, but I was still able to listen to the news and have a word or two with Vince as I checked my email really quickly. 

So when I walked out the door, I was only about five minutes behind schedule.  Not bad.  And then I get outside and see my car.  Damn.  That is my car, right?  I think so, I’ll just start digging…  Yep- my car!  Good… that only took 15 minutes… blah.

Luckily, I still beat my boss in because he got stuck in his alley and had to recruit people to push him out. 

Moving on to a happier note… Happy Hump Day!  Not to rub it in- but yesterday was hump day for me.  Ok, maybe I am just a little…  Today is like my Friday- last day of work for the week!  So yes, the Friday dance will be happening as soon as I get home.  But not for too long- I have 2 1/2 miles to  pound out at the gym along with my fav new 20-minute work out, The Shred.

Then what, you ask?  The baking madness begins.  I originally was just going to make the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes.  But then realized how many people I had promised to bring them to.  And since I’m making the majority of them for boys with bottomless pits for stomachs, I figured I might as well throw something else in there.  So I’m revisiting the blondies I made with Snickers and Reeses Pieces.  Just to make sure they don’t go hungry.  I love to bake.  And I love having people to bake for.  So even if I’m going to enjoy them in moderation (of course), I want to make sure I’m not the only one…  Adam’s hosting quite a few guys at his place over the weekend.  And he may be able to cook up a few mean dishes, but I think he’s pretty much lost to what the inside of his oven can do.  So hopefully they’ll all appreciate it a little to have something to munch on as we all party it up in St. Louis.  :)

My parents and brother are coming up on Thursday to hang out with me my first night in St. Louis.  Which is really nice because I haven’t seen them since Christmas.  We’re staying at a casino.  Yes, my parents have a hobby they enjoy so much that they get free rooms on occasion.  I don’t mind.  It’s also nice when they actually win a considerable amount- I get a little cut of it in the mail.  :)

I’m really not a gambler- can’t say I enjoy it at all really.  But I won’t stop them from doing it so I may reap the benefits from time to time.

Have a good day!  Hopefully my streak of luck won’t get much worse.  Knock on wood…

It’s harder than you think

That’s what she said.

Ahahaha.  Sorry.  It’s Monday morning.  I haven’t gotten regular sleep in a few days.  It was bound to happen.

Moving on…

Yes.  Hellooooooo Monday!  :)  This is 2/3 of the alcohol I had to acquire for the festive cupcakes I’m about to make.  Any ideas of what I’m doing yet???  And, for the record, I went out of my way to a liquor store specifically so I could get pint-sized versions of these bad boys.  Of course, he didn’t have the smaller version of either.  Ugh.  Because I don’t drink either one of these on a regular basis.  Seriously.  Jameson is bad news in my book.  And a select group of people who were in a select bar in St. Louis at a select time probably remember why as well…

Moving on quickly…  I bought those last night before Annie came over for the Super Bowl.  Jaime sadly couldn’t make it.  She had too much chili and food at Super Bowl spot #1.  But that’s ok.  Remember that note my dad sent me with money for deep dish pizza?  We finally used it!  Medium sausage and mushroom Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish.  YUM.  And Annie also provided a delicious salad (which she was so kind as to leave some behind and I have a wonderful lunch planned now).  And we had Goose Island 312.  Because it’s the best.  :)

So for these crazy cupcakes, I wanted to make this caramel sauce I found.  But you have to light a 1/3 cup of whiskey on fire to burn off some of the bitter alcohol taste.  Others just added a teeny tiny of whiskey into the final mixture, but I really wanted to try this because it looked AWESOME. 

Obviously I have all the right culinary tools needed.  We used the deepest pan I had (thank god Jaime gave me that wok a few months ago) and were ready to go with a wet rag and baking soda ready.  I stood back and pondered for quite a while.  Annie had to ask several times if I was ready and she said, “Amy, we’ve read the directions three times.  We’re ready if anything happens.  You can do it.” 

Kids, do not attempt this at home.  Like we did.  Because we’re not right in the head.  Clearly.

We both attempted.  And failed.  Again and again.  Apparently whiskey does not light on fire nearly as easily as you would think.  At one point, we got a little blue flame started on one side, but it was out just as quickly as it started.  And didn’t go over the entire area of whiskey. 

So yeah.  Disappointment…

But I figured I’d attempt a make at the caramel anyways and see what it would taste like with just a little whiskey (not even a shot) mixed in.  I really didn’t think the caramel would work out.  There are a crazy amount of steps in making it.  So imagine my surprise when it actually did!  It’s got some tiny lumps of sugar mixed in, which was on the spoon and hadn’t dissolved completely.  Whatev- it’s homemade.  It’s got character that way…

Oh and on a side note- I knew caramel was bad for you.  But what the crap?  It’s like you mix all the things you shouldn’t eat into one and that’s what you get.  The stuff I made had butter, sugar, whipping cream, and corn syrup in it.  Woah…  Holy heart attack!

Actually, I want to see how it keeps before I use it in a couple days.  And I learned how easy it is.  So I can always make more.  It was quite delicious when we tasted it last night.  I would have licked the spoon if it wasn’t so late- and bounced off the walls for a while instead of going to bed.  I’m not sure if heart palpitations would have been a positive way to end the night, though.

Big thanks goes to Annie for helping.  And we had a lot of fun having a girly football night… 

On to tonight- 2.25 miles to run.  The Shred to do (since I ignored doing it yesterday).  And I’m throwing in some plyos.  Gotta perfect that form…  ha ha.

Happy Monday.  I guess if it’s a crappy one, I have “assistance” for when I take a break this evening, huh? 

Seriously… what am I going to do with all this Jameson?  eek.

I’m Doing It!

So I woke up today feeling fantastic!  Surprisingly, considering I should have had a carb or wine or combination of both hangover…  But that’s not the point- I’m talking about the leg.  No pain.  And I’m still being cautious.  But I decided I was ready.

Sooo…..

Yeah, I forked over my money.  I may not be where I was a few months ago.  I may not be fast at all.  But I’m gonna finish this thing either way.  Hooray!  Otherwise, heaven forbid I re-injure myself, I may just have to call on Courtney again to pick up another race for me.  ;)

I’m very excited.  I think we’re going to make it a little family weekend- my parents said they’d come up with my aunt to watch Niki and I run it.  My friend Annie also said she’ d be there to cheer me on!  Ahhhh- I just really hope it doesn’t snow this year!!!

And thank you everyone for being SO supportive and just completely awesome as I moped through my stress reaction that seemed to take FOREVER to get better! You have no idea how  much it was appreciated!

I’m already done running errands for the day.  Just finished cleaning up around the apartment for tomorrow- we’re having a little impromptu girls get-together during the Super Bowl.  No worries- it will still include pizza and beer (whereas any proper Super Bowl get-together should).  :)  One reason the whole idea for our little Super Bowl night is I was talking about the cupcakes I’m going to make for my upcoming Mardi Gras trip.  I’ve been DYING to make them- I’m not giving away too many details yet (just in case they turn into an epic fail and I’ll have to whip up something less exciting (although equally delicious,  of course).  But the filling is a caramel filling.  And I want to add whiskey.  Well, let me tell you, it’s hard to just try and search out “whiskey caramel sauce”.  But the best filling I’ve found, which is giving me serious anxiety, requires me to actually start a 1/3 cup of whiskey on fire in a saute pan.  ON FIRE.  This is a whole new level for my mediocre baking skills.  EEK!  But this looks like the yummiest out of anything else.  So I’m going to attempt it.  And have another recipe on backup in case this one doesn’t work out.  Which only requires dumping a teaspoon or two of whiskey in after you’re done making the caramel. 

So I was discussing how I’m a little scared to do it, and really feel like I need adult supervision.  And someone to hold a fire extinguisher.  Because getting arrested for arson would really be a buzzkill to my upcoming weekend.  So Jaime volunteered.  And then Annie came on board.  So we’re making whiskey caramel tomorrow (the recipe says it will keep for a while in the refrigerator until I need it).  Hopefully.  Stay tuned for that one…

I gotta go- just because I’m not running today does not mean I’m completely taking the day off.  I did yoga this morning before my running around getting errands done.  And now Jillian’s giving me the stink eye from the dvd case on my tv console.  FINE, Jillian- I’m getting up…  Here goes another day of the 30 Day Shred!

My Friday Night in Pictures

The weekend is finally here!  After the crazy-busy weekend last week, I have no set plans and couldn’t be more content!  I’m looking forward to a relaxing evening… after my 45-minute Yoga Fitness Fusion, of course.  And this is how I’m planning for it to go.

Here is where I will be sitting:

Yeah, my futon.  I’m so college-like… And this is what I’ll be staring at:

Obviously, I choose to spend my money on entertainment instead of comfort (refer back to picture of the five-year-old futon I snagged from my little bro when they didn’t have room for it in his place).  This was my gift to myself, if you don’t remember, thanks to gift cards and Christmas donations (I would have never bought it completely by myself, I assure you). And this is what I’ll be watching on it at some point: I’m not the biggest follower of the whole Conan/Leno scandal, as big of a mess that it has become, but I’m curious as to how his last show is going to go.  Plus Will Ferrell’s going to be on.  And I heart Will.  As I watch, I’ll be drinking this:

Yep- that sure is $2.99 wine from Trader Joe’s.  It’s not my favorite, but for that price, it can come pretty close! Sadly, I’m going to empty the bottle soon.  And like I said earlier, no grocery shopping for a bit in order to detox the pantry.  So I’m enjoying every last drop- just short of licking the bottle.  Well… who knows.  Maybe I will if I’m thirsty enough. 2008 was a great year for wine… I’m so classy.

I just got a letter from my parents today with two things.  From my mom- an article containing a recipe for some chocolate coconut-filled cupcakes because she knows how I like to try my hand at gourmet cupcakes.  Those will have to wait- I’ve got a few others on the top of the list that I need to try first.  But they will be made at some point.  From my dad- $40 and a note that said to order a Lou Malnati’s deep dish and pick up some Goose Island 312 and to call him after to let him know how good it was.  My fam loves the deep dish and I always find a place to get some from when they come to visit… so he always asks if I’ve had any good pizza lately.  Guess I’ll have to order some soon… anyone hungry???  Those things are massive!  I’m making a point of saving that cash specifically for that- but it will have to wait until after I’m getting a little more cardio in on a regular basis- don’t really want a massive ass or heart-attack because I decided to indulge before then.  Well.  The heart-attack might happen either way.  But at least the ass issue will be under control.  Still dead- but great ass.  Yep… my logic amazes me.  But back to what I was trying to originally get at- my parents are so sweet!

Have a good weekend, kids!  I’m off to make myself long and lean.  And I might start on the Core Challenge Kloe started over at Three Green Leaves…  watch out now!

In a Rut

Yes, I believe it is so.  I’m in a rut.

I think I’ll blame the weather.  I’m pretty sure, good or bad, the weather can be blamed for everything.  Rainy?  I can’t concentrate, this weather is just so depressing.  Sunny?  I can’t concentrate, this weather is just too pretty to spend the day inside.  So inevitably, this pending snow storm/deep freeze has put me in a funk.  Before it even gets here…. yes, that must be what it is…

Or maybe since I re-introduced sweets back into my diet?  The sugar rush is too much?  It’s possible.  I had to throw out the rest of those cupcakes…. cookies with icing… whatever you would like to call them.  I brought them to the girls to try and decided against bringing them for the whole office.  I don’t want them to judge my baking skills on such lackluster creations… And I’m sure as hell not going to eat them all.  So in the trash they went.  I think we’re all a little better off with their disappearance (ok, it was only six or so that got thrown away- don’t freak out, they would have been stale in a day or two anyways).  I think I’m gonna have to start up the No Sweets Week again.  I really think that helped me not feel so sluggish in the afternoons. 

At least I get to go work on arms and abs at the gym today!  I like to pretend my heart rate raises more than it actually does when I do my routine- trying as hard as possible to stay positive about the lameness of my workout abilities.

That being said, I’m wondering the feasibility of being able to train for a 10-mile run that isn’t until the last weekend of May?  Seems a little crazy.  Not to get my hopes up, but I really REALLY want to do the Soldier Field 10.  We’d get to finish inside Soldier Field (and I’m a Bears fan who’s never been inside yet)!  I’m wondering if it’s possible that I’d be ready.  Has anyone done it?  How rough is it?  Is it gonna kill me?  All things I need to find answers to before I sign up…  I know even the Shamrock Shuffle will be a stretch.  A lot of it depends on my progress report on Monday.  I know, I know- baby steps.

And there’s always my Mardi Gras trip to St. Louis to look forward to (completely unrelated and quite the opposite from my little fitness rant)!  If I haven’t already started thinking about it, my friend Adam reminds me about it just about every day.  Sadly, that will probably be my first vacation day off since the holidays.  I’m sure it’ll be cold again this year.  Nothing like drinking beer and hurricanes in the cold and wind in downtown St. Louis… That I could honestly care less about- I’m just excited that it’s an excuse to see all the college friends together in a large group.

Mario Kart racing was last night.  I won 2 out of 16 this time around.  Progress- in three months, I’ll be kicking his ass!  Yesssss…..

As I look over this post, I’m realizing how doom and gloom I sound…  I swear I’m a happy person!   :)  Look- a smiley!

Wasting the Weekend Away…

I had such a nice weekend… on my couch (see previous post).  I did exactly what I said.  I finally got my happy ass off the couch and into the shower on Friday night.  Mon picked me up and we were off to the movies.  We saw Brothers, and I have to say- it was really really good!  That being said…  it was also one of the most depressing movies I’ve seen since Revolutionary Road.  Seriously.  Horrifyingly sad.  It’s not one of those movies that brings on the tears, but you just walk out feeling blah…  Mon and I looked at each other as we walked out.  Neither one of us knew what to say, so she just said, “well…”  And then we looked at each other again and just started to giggle.  And then laugh.  Uncontrollably.  Neither one of us do well with awkward silences.  So we laughed.  Other movie-goers shot us dirty looks.  I don’t blame them.  I wasn’t laughing at the movie, though.  I swear. 

Saturday was another day of nothingness.  My only outting was going to the workout room.  Abs and arms, abs and arms…  Damn treadmill staring at me from the corner.  Soon… f-ing treadmill… soon.  I thought about going out for a minute.  But that minute passed.  And I don’t regret my decision to stay in.  Yesterday the temperature got up to maybe 15 degrees.  Sorry… I’d rather not risk hypothermia for a couple shots of vodka.  Low motivation makes me think crazy things. 

Today was a big day, though.  I decided to embrace my newfound love of rotting my brain one episode of The Soup at a time by purchasing my new flatscreen tv!  I’ve kept an eye on all the ads for a while now.  Thanks to a nice Christmas full of gift cards and cash, I went into Target and walked straight up to the salesman and said, “yeah, I want that one!” and pointed to the 42-inch Philips flatscreen that is now mine.  Mon came over and helped me get it up the stairs.  It’s not heavy- just awkwardly big.  It took us a bit to set it up (two girls = inadequate technical know-how), but I was watching VH1 in no time! 

When I first asked, I told Mon I’d bake her some cupcakes in the near future (it’s a bribe that seems to work well for me).  But she was talking about how she’s not looking forward to work tomorrow and asked if I wanted to break open some wine tonight, so I decided to just bake them for her now. 

There are a few things wrong with spur-of-the-moment baking.  First of all, it’s hard to figure out what to bake if I haven’t been thinking about it…  I decided on one of the recipes from my new 500 Cupcakes cookbook (thanks Jaime).  Peanut Butter cupcakes!  And I decided to switch it up with doing chocolate ganache filling (seems to be my signature move in attempts to make cupcakes the most fattening as I possibly can) and chocolate icing with peanut butter cups on top. 

Another issue with my sudden decision was I didn’t quite have everything on hand.  Which was fine when it came to the icing, because I had to go out to hit up a RedBox anyways.  But I didn’t have self-rising flour.  The recipe called for that.  I said what the hell and used all-purpose.  Umm…. no…. don’t do that.  I’m surprised Julia Child didn’t appear and bitch slap me.  My cupcakes became crumbly and not the fluffy cake texture it usually is.  Duh- they didn’t really rise as much as they should have.  I didn’t know what the difference was, and now I know.  Although- the batter was still quite delicious.  I blame the peanut butter… 

So these were my weapons- two Christmas gifts: 

The mechanical pastry decorator looks dirty.... hmmmm

I call them cookie cupcakes.  Because that’s how they turned out.  That covers up my FAIL.  At least they look pretty…  

Yes- there are technically two different icings on top.  But that’s because I didn’t realize how short I’d fall with the original chocolate icing recipe.  So when I realized what was going on, I just threw in the rest of the whipping cream and powdered sugar.  Turns out, the lighter chocolate icing tasted better in the end.  I got constructive criticism from Mon when she came over with her bottle of wine for an impromptu movie night. 

So as it turns out, my first attempt at cupcakes from the 500 Cupcakes recipe book was a fail.  Yes, a fail.  I’m almost embarrassed to bring them to the girls at work.  But they’re still decently good.  And I need them out of my house.  I need to do another No Sweets Week soon and they will not help… Besides, the guys at work will eat anything if I throw some chocolate on top.  Throw those New Years diets out the window, kids.  

I made those cupcakes before dinner.  Needless to say, my planned dinner seemed a little much- so I just had humus and pita chips.  Five bucks says oatmeal in the morning will seem unappetizing as well.  Especially since I usually throw some peanut butter in it for texture. 

Ohhhh I do not want the work week to start.  One of my fav boys is coming over to “try out the new tv” when I challenged him to another night of Mario Kart.  So at least he’ll be a bright spot in my Tuesday night.  :)  Oh god… what am I doing???

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!  I woke up super early this morning (yeah, the sleeping is still not going so well- I still blame the inactivity of the last couple of weeks) to a fabulous combo of snow and ice.  Last night it poured rain on the way to Christmas Eve Mass- but my brother was a perfect gentleman and dropped me off at the door while he parked the car.  Someone taught him well!  :)

My aunt didn’t make it out this year due to a massive snow storm in Kansas City.  So it was just the immediate fam that sat down to dinner after church was done.  We still had a good time.  As I predicted, mom was not a fan of the name of the wine I brought.  Although she was a fan of how it tasted… So was I.I’m a big fan of Christmas dinner in general.  I wait for a lot of delicious things- such as the turkey, my mom’s overnight salad and povitica.  All things that should be eaten in moderation.  Poviticia is a Croatian bread, which is sweet and more like a pastry, that my uncle used to bring out for us.  I like it so much, he started bringing a loaf just for me.  Not until very recently is when I found out how unfortunately fattening it is- before I never really thought about it.  We didn’t have it for dinner (alas, he is with his other family today), but he had brought some out for me over Marty’s graduation weekend.  I’ve already dug into it- but froze a good majority of it for breaking out at some other time.  Yummm……  Here’s me with my mouth watering over the salad- the bacon mixed in really puts it over the top! After dinner we decided to change up the Christmas traditions and just open everything on Christmas Eve.  Here are two of my favorite gifts! The cutest cupcake stand ever!  This is one thing my mom picked out on her own and, I have to say, it is AWESOME!  It’s been a baking Christmas for me- the mechanical piping bag from Cathryn, two cupcake cookbooks from Jaime, and now this from my mom.  Oh boy… the next couple rounds of cupcakes are going to be DELISH!

And this is one thing I requested!  The Nike Sports Band so I can start keeping better track of my mileage and pace on those longer runs- once I work my way up to them again.  It’s not a Garmin, but I’m hoping it will do the trick!  :)  Now I get at least a couple more weeks to figure it out before I start to use it.  When I first learned about the stress reaction, my mom still asked if I wanted it.  I said heck yes I did- this is only a minor setback in my goal to become a crazed and obsessed runner…

Our traditional Christmas brunch is over and we’re getting ready to head to my Aunt and Uncle’s (on my mom’s side) for the massive family Christmas.  Which, for me, means relaxing and sitting around with the cousins in my general age group, and digesting food from earlier.  I may have had two sugar cookies when I first got up while having tea with my mom.  Hey- if No Sweets Week starts tomorrow, I guess I’m gonna have to enjoy them today!  :)  So I better start getting ready- my dad is infamous for setting a leave time and then sitting in the car with it started and honking the horn 15 minutes before said time.  I blame him for my always getting seriously anxious and stressed when I realize I’m late for something when I had planned to be early.  Thanks Dad for making me neurotic.

Happy Holidays!

Look at me, mom! No crutches!

I have been very busy.  And am momentarily in Mid-Missouri (You can start humming the Deliverance tune in your head- I promise I won’t get offended).  It’s my brother’s graduation and because of unfortunate planning, I will be driving back to Chicago on Sunday, to work three days, and then do it all over again for Christmas.  Fun stuff…

We had our holiday party for work on Wednesday.  It included a holiday potluck and a comedy show at Second City.  Second City was fantastic!  It was my first time going and I loved it.  I think it and the potluck were a big hit with our group (whew!- I was one of the girls that planned it). 

Second City had been celebrating it’s 50th anniversary for the last couple of weeks, but we happened to be there on the very night of their first show 50 years ago.  So after the actual planned show, all the waiters and waitresses came out with trays of cheesecake and champagne for everyone and the group did improv for another half hour.  Loved it!  (Especially the champagne)

Needless to say, this little girlie didn’t get to bed until super late.  Which was unfortunate because I had a long day ahead of me.  See below:

X-Rays at the doctor’s office in the morning.  Guess what?  NO MORE CRUTCHES!  Granted, I had been wandering off of them more than I should have.  But they were still quite the pain in my ass.  It took me two to three minutes just to get up the stairs to my apartment everyday.  That’s no way to live…  Anyways, he said I still have to take it very easy and to come back in three weeks.  But surgery and the insertion of pins can be avoided (hooray- because that was a terrifying thought) and that it seemed the possibility of a fracture was also becoming a nonthreat.  He said I’m still not allowed to run or do heavy lifting, and I inquired again about lower impact things such as the elliptical.  He looked at me like an idiot and said, “Amy, we’re trying to make it better, not worse.  Stay off of it.”  Damn… thought I’d give it a shot.

I drove all the way to Mid-MO yesterday.  Started at noon… and it was just as miserable as always.  But I was ready.  I got to break out my St. Louis Cardinal hoodie for the occasion.  It doesn’t get much wear in the Chicago area.  I could wear it, but prefer to not have to deal with all the flack that comes with it.

The difference was that this time I had no cigarettes at all to get me through.  Quitting was easier than I thought (I was hardly smoking at all at the time the way it was).  And already a few months ago.  I had quit missing smoking when I drink.  But I forgot how even just one or two cigs could break up the drive- if only for just a little while.  I was on edge.  And if you’ve never driven through Illinois, this is why. 

An hour and a half into my trip:

Three hours into my trip:

You get the point.  It’s awful.  People usually say, “but Amy- you live in the middle of Missouri, what’s so different?”  They’re called hills.  Not depressing flat farmland for miles and miles and miles.  After two hours you start to feel despair and depression setting in.  Then you start to scare yourself with ideas about how if your car broke down- and if you’d then be dragged into the endless cornfields and never seen again- straight up children of the corn style.

And if that’s not bad enough, many of the stops along the way are seriously suspect.  No, Mr Local Owner of the only gas station in the next 20 miles, the 99-cent ivy dangled on the mirror does not make your bathroom with the huge crack in the toilet and flood on the floor any more bearable.  I pray I will not get herpes when I touch the sink to wash my hands…  Is that air freshener in the corner growing mold?!?!  Oh god, get me out of here…

Once I got to St. Louis I got a little break from driving.  I was bringing my friend Laura and her family cupcakes (because they always give me a place to crash when I come through and I heart them all).  My friend Adam got wind of this and I also ended up swinging by his place with a few cupcakes.  He got lucky he happens to pretty much be on the way to Laura’s.  And he lives by himself and I doubt his cooking consists much more than of heating up pizza or opening a can of something.  He needed some home-baked goods that were made with love.  :) 

I finally made it home a little after 8:30.  An entire day of traveling.  Blah…  Normally, I would have been freaking out because I would be needing to get a workout in at some point.  Obviously, I didn’t have that problem yesterday.  The crutches came along with the ride- my doctor insisted just in case it started to hurt.  I didn’t tell him that even if it did, I probably couldn’t use them during my brother’s graduation.  Besides, I’d look pretty silly crutching along in red pumps…

Project Christmas Cuppycakes!

WARNING:  There is really nothing healthy about this post.

I really haven’t done much holiday baking this year, so last night I really went all out.  I needed something to bring to my work holiday party, extras for the girls at work, my friend Annie, my friend Laura’s family (as I drive through St. Louis), and my own fam.  And I seem to have put all of my baking focus on cupcakes.  So I had to figure out what a decent Christmas cupcake would be.  I picked chocolate cupcakes.  With a Christmas-y flare…

So I made cupcakes… lots and lots of them… almost four dozen!

Half were regular chocolate.  I filled them with white chocolate peppermint ganache.  And then topped them with red and white buttercream with some more crushed peppermint mixed in.  Voila!  Candycane cupcakes!

The other half had Andes mints mixed in (ok, so really I was looking for a serious excuse to pick up a bag of Andes- yummmmm).  And these had a mint chocolate ganache filling with buttercream icing and Andes sprinkled on top. 

My fav workout buddy Monica helped supervise.  And pour the wine…  we made a little night out of it.  She taste tested and gave me the thumbs up.  Which was a good thing- I was so numbed from the taste of all the sugar as I was making them, I probably wouldn’t have been a very critical taste-tester (although I did have some, nonetheless!). 

I did decide to do the no sweets for a week thing- starting the day after Christmas.  That way, I won’t be dealing with the holiday “hangover”/Leftover heaven.  Until then, I promise to moderate my sugar intake!  I can say with confidence, I doubt I will have any more cupcakes after baking/tasting them last night.  I’m a big fan in what people say to get through the holidays- when it comes to parties, pick things you only get that time of year.

Wish me luck!  :)

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