Vacation Highlights

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I think everyone has their places that feel like a second home. For me, it's the beach. I've spent my whole life traveling to the beach for vacation. Before my parent's purchased their spot, we rented a house for a week with family. Out of everything I remember from my childhood, memories from the beach are probably some of the strongest. 

As an adult, I've loved being able to share my love for the shore with Tim (who pretty much already loved the beach anyway, so it wasn't very hard to get him loving it again). We've even begun unintentionally creating our own little beach traditions that fit what we love to do (and eat!) This past week was a complete relaxation. We slept in a bit, relaxed on the beach, rode bikes, walked the boards, grilled, and had two campfires complete with s'mores. Safe to say we are looking forward to the next weekend we get to spend down there!

Photos: Lake in our campground / Car ride to Ocean City boardwalk / OC Boardwalk / Beating Tim in $4 mini-golf / Batting cages / Our hammock / Local herbs from West Cape May Farmer's Market / Tim with our watermelon drink / local eggplants and squash / I've been into tie-front tops lately / His & Hers from our second tasting at Cape May Brewery (This place is phenominal) / So many varieties on tap! / Honey Porter eyes / Kohr Brothers in Wildwood.

July Around Here

When life gets interesting, our apartment gets dirty, clutter, and the boxes still sitting around from the move go unemptied. I guess that goes with the territory though. We've had a series of lovely weekends around here, which has caused things around the house to build up. Summer has just been so good to us this year, minus that little heatwave plus serious humidity we just finished. How's your summer going? 

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

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I put together this Orange Creamsicle Cupcake recipe as a guest post on Megan's lovely blog, Homemade Ginger. Make sure to swing by her blog and click around; it's filled with recipes, projects, and genuinely cute stuff all around. Love it!

You can also find the recipe below, for those viewing here. Yum!

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Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

Yields 48 cupcakes

  • 2 ½c flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ c vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ c milk
  • juice from an orange
  • zest from an orange

In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until combined and fluffy. Add each egg, one at a time. Add oil, vanilla, orange juice, and orange zest. Combine.In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating between dry and milk. Only mix until combined so you don't overmix. Overmixing=dry cupcakes.

Fill each cupcake liner maximum 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes. After 15 minutes, keep a very close eye on them as you want them to stay pale on top, but still set inside. Once they are cooled completely, remove the center of each cupcake with a pairing knife. 

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Cream Cheese Frosting

Yields enough for more than 48 cupcakes

  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 3c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • orange food coloring
  • milk, as needed

Cream butter and cream cheese together until combined and fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla. Add milk has needed to get the perfect consistency. If you want to pipe the frosting, try not to loosen it too much.

Separate the frosting into two bowls, dying one orange and leaving one creamy white. Using a pastry bag and tip, pipe the white frosting into the centers of the cupcakes. Using a different pastry bag, pipe the orange frosting onto the top of the cupcakes. I piped mine with a 1M Wilton tip, but anything will really do. If you are good with an icing spatula, that would look great as well!

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These are best is served within a day or two. You don’t want to let that cream cheese frosting sit around too long.

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Yum! Happy Summertime!

July Goals

Last month was a bit of a fumble. Started out strong, got a little rocky towards the middle and is just beginning to work it's self out. We had a couple of wonderful (and well-needed) weekends down the shore, and our move was pretty stress-free. We're going to give another go at getting healthier this month and not talk about it too much. :)

  • Give getting healthier another go. Didn't work too well last month, and that's all I have to say about that.
  • Get outdoors more. I spend a lot of time indoors between work and our standard get home, make dinner, clean a bit routine. I'm excited to get out more. (Zip Lining!)
  • Finish up the last couple of dead spaces in our apartment. It's starting to come along around here, but the last couple of corners with lingering stuff are really starting to get to me.

Happy summer!

Blue & Red Velvet Cupcakes

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In hopes of being invited to a BBQ over 4th of July weekend, I wanted to figure out a perfect cupcake to celebrate with. It would have been easy to dye some vanilla cupcakes, but I have a few chocolate and more than a few red velvet fans around here, and I wanted to go with the majority. It's super easy, so here we go...

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Red (and Blue) Velvet Cupcakes

Yields 24 cupcakes

  • 3/4c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2c sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2c flour
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1c milk
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 2tbsp unsweeted cocoa powder
  • red and blue food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, Combine. Add vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dry mixture to the butter mixture, alternating between dry and milk. Only mix until combined so you don't overmix. Overmixing=dry cupcakes.

Split the batter into two bowls and add red food coloring to one, and blue to the other. The amount you use will depend on the kind of food coloring you're using. I used Wilton Icing Color from Michael's (similar to these) and about a 1/4 tsp in each bowl. Fold in color until combined, but again, try not to over mix.

Fill each liner almost half way with one color, then add the other color so each liner is 2/3 full. Try not to mix the colors too much. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

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Cream Cheese Frosting

Yields enough for more than 24 cupcakes.

  • 1 package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2tbsp milk, if needed

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla. Add sugar one cup at a time. Once first four ingredients are combined, add small amounts of milk if too thick. 

With a large round tip, pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. You could add little flags made from washi tape, or red, white, and blue decorating sugars, but I choose to just stick a sparkler in mine. Because who doesn't like sparklers!?!

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Here's hoping everyone has some fabulous 4th of July plans! I hope they involve BBQs, sun, and a great adult beverage or two.

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