Cupcakes all the way

The Food Channel recently published a list of the top food trends of the decade (2000-2009). Interested? Thought so, here you go:

1. Sushi
2. Bacon
3. Cupcakes
4. Sliders
5. Gourmet Burgers made with Kobe or Angus Beef
6. Superfruits such as Acai, Pomegranate and Blueberry
7. Oils, such as olive oils and truffle oils
8. Whole grains
9. Artisan foods, particularly in breads, cheeses and dark chocolates
10. Coffees, teas

Obviously, #3 is my favorite, although I will say the RD in me is happy to see things like # 7 and 8 on the list.

Everyone knows my true love for cupcakes. I make it a point to visit a cupcake bakery in most every city I travel to. I have come to prefer them over regular cake (and think that wedding cupcakes are perfect!). In fact, I baked a batch of red velvet this weekend, and have been enjoying several on a daily basis (they’re little guys). There’s just something that feels special about cupcakes. A treat. A cute little delicacy.

So why all the cupcake talk? Because apparently McDonald’s is unveiling a line of cupcakes (named after New York burroughs of course) in their Germany stores. What!? Thanks Micky Dees. Ruin yet another great culinary item. You can check it out here (but probably best if you can read german.. haha).

Weekend Good Eats and Cupcake Memorabilia!

Hi there!

I’m writing this post Sunday morning, but it probably won’t be posted until tomorrow, Monday, when I get to Charlotte and can find wireless for my laptop. I have some photos to share, and the dial-up connection here at the farm just won’t cut it for that.

I hope everyone has had a fun and relaxing weekend! We had some guests for the weekend – my mom’s best friend from college (and a Registered Dietitian!) and her teenage daughter (a vegetarian!). Not surprisingly, the weekend was full of good eats :)

My mother was inspired by a trip to a local bakery (Sweet Celebrations in Maryville, TN) to make a lemon chess pie for their arrival. It was pretty delicious. Apparently she was quite the pie baker back in her youth, but after one unfortunate dough incident, she never baked another pie. We’re glad this one was the return of Kitty’s pies!

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The weekend’s meals have been full of trusted, old favorites. Friday night I made my Faux Crab Cakes – a recipe that we’ve had at least once a week while we’ve been here. Great for those who are overwhelmed with a large summer supply of zucchini! As many of my friends know, crab cakes is one of the few items that I have dearly missed since becoming vegetarian. Luckily, these babies do the trick! The cakes are easy to put together:

  • 2 cups grated zucchini, pressed of excess water
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (I use half panko, half italian seasoned)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp light mayo
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (the secret ingredient!)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced bell pepper (color of your choosing, red looks pretty)

You just mix it all together, form 8 patties, then fry them up in a little canola oil, and voila! We serve them with homemade cocktail sauce, but you could use whatever you want. Sorry, no picture :(

After dinner, I was presented with a "Congratulations for passing the RD exam!” gift from our guests. It’s a beautiful cookbook charm – complete with a cupcake on the front, and my initials engraved on the back “ES, RD”. Glad the comma is there and people don’t think I proudly promote End Stage Renal Disease. hahahaha

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Isn’t it cute? Thanks guys!

We stopped at TJMaxx on our way to the movies Saturday afternoon (went to see Time Travelers Wife – a little confusing to follow, and could’ve been better with Bana’s aussie accent.. haha), where I picked up my latest happy bowl for hot breakfasts/beverages. Check it out!

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 I can’t wait to use it soon! This morning’s breakfast was a cup of earl grey tea, and the remnants of the delicious cinnamon raisin friendship bread that our weekend guests brought. In the words of my sister: om nom nom nom!

Speaking of my sister, she recently moved into her first apartment, and is about to start her second year of college next week. Word is that her and her roommates enjoy reading my blog – so a shout out to you girls! From what I’ve been hearing, there are going to be many good eats coming from that apartment this year. Maybe I can visit someday :)

Our post-movie dinner was at The Tomato Head, our favorite restaurant in town which has become a weekly event for us. I love their vegetarian friendly menu and haven’t had better tofu anywhere else! This time I left with one of their t-shirts. Maybe if I wear it during my next visit I can get a free dessert? Their vegan cookies have looked quite intriguing….

OK, the oven is calling my name. I’m baking my famous (well, in my family..) Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas for a nice hearty lunch before our guests hit the road. And then I’ll be busy this afternoon getting ready for my road trip and interview! Wish me luck in Winston-Salem!

Today’s Studying

After yesterday’s high level of productivity, I decided to return to the library today. I was up, showered, dressed, fed and out the door by 10am with all my goodies. As I drive into the parking lot, I’m wondering… “where are all the cars?”. Oh but of course, the library is closed on Fridays. Ugh I hate that! I feel like I have run into this wall at least a half dozen times, and yet I still forget. If it were a Sunday, that I could remember, but why is it closed on Friday?

So anyway, I headed to downtown Nashville and my favorite library in the world. I would come here for my usual studying, except that you have to pay to park in the underground garage. 3 hours and $5 later… I felt like I studied well. Probably could’ve stayed a few more hours, but I was getting dehydrated, cold, and a litle freaked out. So, of course being downtown, the clientele at this library is significantly different from the suburban library I usually frequent. Many more homeless and low-income patrons. Which is fine, of course, the library is for us all :) But when this guy comes and sits at your table, right across from you, (when there are clearly other empty tables!) and stares at you for a good 45 minutes…. it’s weird. I don’t understand what was going on with him. He picked up a book, came and sat down, but I don’t think ever opened the book. He mostly rotated between: looking at the ceiling, looking at me, or sitting back in his chair and sighing. I google chatted with the boyfriend about my concern. He didn’t seem worried. Said that it would “be hard to kill someone in a public library”. Thanks for the support. Eventually I packed up and left, and was able to find a private study room, which was great aside from the fact that it was 30 degrees colder in there.

So studying went well. Then it was off to Germantown’s Cupcake Collection for my reward :) They had just been wiped out by a bunch of Green Hills moms, but luckily had a whole tray of my favorite – the Blackout cupcake. I can’t even describe how good those things are. Chocolate cupcakes, with chocolate ganache filling, chocolate buttercream frosting, and dipped in some type of chocolate crumbs. With a glass of milk, it’s pretty much heaven. Thank you Cupcake Collection.

Maybe I could be a dietitian for Cupcake Collection? mmm, I could offer my services and calculate nutrition information for them? Do cupcake customers really want to know the fat and calories in their ltitle treats? Yeah, probably not. Oh well. It’s such an adorable little establishment, completely run by the family (teenage kids man the cash register). Love it.

OK, better get back to studying. One of my fellow graduates/interns introduced me to online pacman, which may or may not cause problems in the future. I’m just saying…..

Recent adventures

Hello there!

What a gross afternoon. Well, actually it’s been quite nice for most of it, only there’s currently a strong line of storms getting way to move through. I can even hear the tornado sirens. I had my sliding door to my balcony open so I could hear the birdies in the trees, only then it was replaced by vicious wind and siren sounds. So now I’m wrapped in a blanket, on my bed, blogging and then planning on catching up on my TV shows. I’ve almost completely caught up on The Office, so my focus today will be Brothers and Sisters, and then eventually get around to House. Ugh. Why is it so hard to follow 3 shows? That’s all I watch! 

So… I have a few adventures to report. Yesterday, my friend and I volunteered at the Nashville Public Library for storytime. Since March is National Nutrition Month, we got to read books about vegetables and eating/food to the little kiddies. It was enjoyable – I haven’t spent time with little kids in so long! A few of our favorites were:

And can I just say that I think the downtown, main library in Nashville is one of, if not THE, most beautiful public libraries I have ever been in!? I just love it. It’s so big and grand, I feel like I’m in an old, famous European museum. There’s multiple floors, and a cute little courtyard area outside that I can’t wait to go sit in with a good book to read. 

After leaving the library, we drove through Germantown, an area that definitely deserves more of our time and exploration. Last weekend we explored East Nashville on foot and had fun with that. So anyway, in Germantown, with our never ending sweet teeth, we found the Cupcake Collection, a gorgeous little cupcake bakery on 6th Avenue. Tucked into a little house, the cupcakes were, in our opinions, superior to the diabetic coma-inducing monster sized cupcakes over at GiGi’s. The cupcakes are smaller (read: normal sized), better quality, and the frosting is much more doable. GiGi’s makes you feel sick after you finish one, and they’re not even that good!

Anyway, we ate our way through several cupcakes, and approved of each: carrot cake, wedding cake, red velvet, and ‘blackout’ (which is a chocolate cupcake filled with mousse and topped with cookie crumbs… delish!).

Today’s find was the Davis Kidd bookstore in the Green Hills mall. I’ve only been in there once before, to buy Nashville postcards, but didn’t realize how extensive of a store it was! I spent over 2 hours in there toady with a friend, and was able to leave with only 2 books from the bargain books table (hey, it’s all a poor intern can afford… otherwise I would’ve bought many a book). I picked up a copy of Chocolat, which I’ve been meaning to re-read for the past year of so, but couldn’t find my copy at home. I also got Blessed Unrest, which is a New York Times bestseller tracing the environmental/social justice movement. It looks pretty interesting!

Of course… so many other books that caught my eye and wanted to come home with me. In particular, I curled up on a couch and read numerous chapters of Molly Wizenberg’s book “A Homemade Life”. I’ve been reading Molly’s blog, Orangette, for a while now, and have loved how she translated the stories of growing up and family recipes into the book! Of course, I couldn’t shell out the $25 to buy it, but I envision future trips to the bookstore to read more…. haha

Oh look, the storm has past. Perfect timing! Now I guess I better start working on dinner. Black beans are being featured tonight; I’m going to re-attempt making a black bean burger. I can’t decide whether to use this recipe or this one, but either way, hopefully it’ll turn out wonderfully. I’m also going to make a batch of “Cowboy Caviar“, also known as black bean and corn salsa to have in the fridge. All this black bean cooking is making me hungry. Better get in the kitchen!