Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yummy Balls

Get your mind out of the gutter people!

I am talking about some melt-in-your mouth amaretto and rum balls my friend Iwona made me. Look at these! They are even more delicious than they look. Oh and that rum packs a punch...mmmhmmm.

I have my ups and downs with this blog and I am consistently inconsistent with my posting. I sometimes feel defeated or overwhelmed when I haven't posted for a period of time. Other than that, this blog has brought good people into my life (you know who you all are!). Thank you everyone who reads this blog and thank you Iwona! Your balls are delicious. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

These are a few of my favorite...ornaments

The post title says it all. I'm feeling quite festive and cheerful so I figured I'd share some of my favorite ornaments. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sprecher Brewery

I swear I feel like Zane Lamprey lately with all these blogs about wine and/or beer. I still have things to post about my Michigan Winery tour. I blogged about my first and second stops and still have five more. Oh boy. Eventually they'll show up.

Since my Milwaukee visit is fresh on my mind, I thought I'd blog about my visit to Sprecher Brewery. I've been there once before and enjoyed it. The tour is $5 and you get four samples and an etched glass.

The tour isn't terribly exciting. Although I love this painting inside the brewery:

I also love this, my tickets to free samples:

Slurp slurp.

Hoestly, I'm most excited about their sodas. I'm not a big soda drinker but we did pick up a few bottles for the occasional soda craving. Yum x 10.

If you are ever in Milwaukee, check out Sprecher Brewery!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


It's been ages since I've blogged! I swear I say that all the time. Times have been busy but I've got a lot to say and share so more posts coming soon. This week has been amazing. It was Rob's birthday this past Saturday and we went to Milwaukee for a little weekend getaway. Lot's of fun as usual. Tori was playing in Chicago on Rob's Bday and since we were in Milwaukee we (obviously) didn't get to see her. BUT...I was able to attend Tori's taping of the Rosie Show Monday. Amazingness on so many levels. I'll be devoting an entire post to that experience. I'm still on cloud 9.

So much happiness. :D

PS...I snapped the above picture outside the Hi Hat Garage in Milwaukee. Delicious mimosas and bloody mary's and brunch foods.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hipstamatic: Chicago Style

I wanted to share some pictures I've taken out and about in Chicago with my Hipstamatic app. I take more pictures with this app than I do with my regular camera. These are some I've taken over the past few weeks. Enjoy, and happy 11/11/11!

View of Chicago from the Planetarium

View of Chicago near Buckingham Fountain

Takin' a break..oh yes.

Lakeshore Boulevard

Someone sit next to me please.

The alley next to my house

Morning sunrise while waiting for the train. Beautiful.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Michigan Wine Tour...Second Stop: Tabor Hill

Whoa. I'm so behind with the wine tour postings. Seven wineries in two days and so far I've only blogged about one! I'll be honest, after so many tastings things start to blur. But this was only our second winery so I was still coherent. Actually, I was coherent the whole time, really. Yes, really! Samples in general aren't very big and I weigh 225 pounds so it takes a bit for me to feel the vino. So bring it on!

Am I making any sense?

Okay so, obligatory vineyard pictures to follow. But first I'd like to say again how beautiful the weather was for mid-October. I was wearing shorts!

I loved Tabor Hill. It was truly picturesque. My only complaint is that their tasting room was tiny and there were a lot of people packed in trying to sample wine. We were told they were in the process of expanding. Hallelujah! Wine lovers rest easy tonight.

 Pretty, pretty vines

 Wine and food. Mmmm!

 More pretty, pretty vines

Tabor Hill had a complimentary wine tour. I love a good tour. Rob snapped this photo of me. Notice our lovely tour guide in the bottom left corner. I can't remember her name. I blame my age, not the wine. Ha....ha.   

 Wow those things hold a whole lot of wine....

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Bumpy Pumpkin Update!

My carved pumpkin! I did a drawing years ago of a sleeping moon. I always wanted to carve something similar on a pumpkin. My pumpkin was not nearly as detailed as my drawing but I'm happy with it.

Sleepy Moon Pumpkin

The original Sleeping Moon drawing

So, not quite as detailed like I said. I mean, it would have taken me 7 hours to replicate that drawing so it's close enough!

Rob got creative and decided to carve the back of the pumpkin. Ha ha. The back was really bumpy and he made a scary face. A friend of mine said the pumpkin had split personality. I think she was right!


Friday, October 28, 2011

My Bumpy Pumpkin

Some of my Facebook friends may have seen this yesterday. I searched high and low for a pumpkin but it's nearly impossible to find one in the city this close to Halloween. I was super lucky to rescue this pumpkin. It was the last one at the store. No one wanted him and he had no other pumpkin friends. Sad face. So, I adopted him and carried him home a mile and a half in the rain. It was quite a bonding moment. This pumpkin and I...we are close now. Happy face.

I can't wait to be creative and carve it and make him look extra special. :D

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Michigan Wine Tour...First Stop: Round Barn

Rob and I recently went on an extended wine tour through Southwest Michigan. They call it the Napa Valley of the Midwest. Conditions are great for growing because it it east of Lake Michigan. The temperature of the lake moderates the climate and weather, creating excellent grape-growing conditions.

We visited a total of seven wineries in just a couple of days. Yikes! I think my tongue is still numb from all the wine. We had perfect autumn weather. It actually couldn't have been more perfect.

Our first stop was Round Barn Winery. The tasting room is actually in the big round barn.The ceiling looked like a work of art!

I took this wine tour seriously. Very seriously. I want to expand my knowledge of wine and truly mature my palette. Can you hear the sophistication in my words? Or maybe a little bit of drama? Hey, I'll be honest, I just wanted to try a lot of different wines! And I actually did learn quite a bit along the way. I learned that I really like wine. Ha! Here I am sitting outside on a beautiful day enjoying a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Mmmmmm....

Let's zoom in on that light fixture behind me. I loved it! I want one for my house even though I would have no idea where to put it.

And now, the obligatory picture of the grape vines! Ehhh, I guess if you've seen one grape vine, you've seen them all.

Stay tuned for more upcoming wine tasting adventures! Sluuuurp.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple Crumble

So easy you can make it in your sleep!

Printable Recipe


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter - cold
1 cup of old-fashioned oats
3 pounds of apples - peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and put into flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, combine ingredients until they are crumb-like.

3. Add oats and mix with hands until combined and chunky. Put mixture in the fridge while you prepare the apples.

4. Put apples in a large bowl. Evenly sprinkle vanilla and lemon juice over the apples and stir. Add the white sugar and cinnamon and stir again to evenly coat the apples.

5. Grease a 2 quart glass baking dish with butter. Place apples in the baking dish and evenly distribute crumb topping. Bake until bubbling, about 60-70 minutes. Be sure to put foil or a pan underneath the baking dish.

6. Remove and allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving.

It's great with vanilla bean ice cream. Mmmm.

Also, be sure to 'Like' Baking Boy on Facebook or follow Baking Boy on Twitter!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hummingbird Cupcakes

 nom nom nom

This is the first time I have made hummingbird cupcakes so I used a Martha Stewart recipe. I had to omit the walnuts since I am allergic but feel free to add them if you like them! I love these cupcakes. I've been eating them in the morning (unfrosted) with a cup of coffee and they are delicious. Go make these now!

Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes roughly 24 cupcakes
Printable Recipe


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
8 ounces crushed pineapple
1 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


8 ounces cream cheese - room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter - room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 ounces (1 pound) powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3. Using a mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter, vanilla and sugar until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well with mixer before adding the next egg. After all 3 eggs have been added, beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.

4. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas well. Add the pineapple, coconut and walnuts (optional) and combine. Add to the egg mixture and combine well. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, and combine all ingredients.

5. Divide batter evenly in the 24 cupcake pans. The batter should go almost to the top of the liners:

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes (rotate pans halfway through baking) or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before icing.


1. Using a mixer and a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until combined.

2. Add sugar, little by little, while beating with a mixer and combine well.

3. Put icing in a pastry bag or a heavy-duty freezer bag with the tip snipped off. Pipe icing onto to cupcakes.


Also, be sure to 'Like' Baking Boy on Facebook or follow Baking Boy on Twitter!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Low-Fat Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes

I'm really loving this recipe! I found a cheesecake swirl recipe from Annie's Eats and changed it up a bit to my liking. I love cheesecake but I don't like all the fat that comes along with it so I made a low-fat version. And they are delicious! My only complaint is that the blueberry taste was not strong. Next time I'll experiment with different fruit flavors (like strawberry or raspberry) and see which one works best.

Adapted from: Annie's Eats
Printable Recipe


1 1/2 cups of finely ground graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 tablespoons melted margarine


2 pounds (32 ounces) of fat-free cream cheese - room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs


1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Line 24 muffin/cupcake tins with liners. In a small bowl, stir together the graham crackers, sugar and zest. Add the melted margarine and stir until combined. Take 1 full tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture and put into the bottom of each liner. Take a small glass and flatten the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake. Bake for 6 minutes then set aside to cool for 10 minutes.


1. In a large bowl, whip the cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy-about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and the vanilla and mix for another 1-2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, while mixing and combine well.

2. Pour 3 tablespoons of cheesecake batter over each of the pre-baked crusts.


1. Combine blueberries, lemon juice, water and sugar in a medium-sized pan. Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes or until the blueberries have broken down and become juicy.

2. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve. You want about 10-12 teaspoons worth of thick blueberry juice for the cupcakes.*

3. Using about 1/2 a teaspoon of the juice per cupcake, place 3 dots on each of the cupcakes.

4. Using a toothpick (and some creativity), swirl the blueberry mixture around.

5. Bake 325 F for 22-25 minutes or until the cupcakes have set.

6. Set aside to cool for 1 hour then put in the fridge for 3 hours to chill completely before serving.

* Save the remaining blueberry mixture to top ice cream or yogurt. It's delicious!

Also, be sure to 'Like' Baking Boy on Facebook or follow Baking Boy on Twitter!

Friday, September 16, 2011

MillerCoors Brewery Tour

I'm not a fan of Miller beer (sorry Miller). But recently, on a visit to Milwaukee, Rob and I decided to take a tour of the MillerCoors brewery. My favorite Milwaukee breweries are Lakefront (yum!) and Sprecher. The MillerCoors was a free tour with three free samples, so...why not. It's a massive operation so it was interesting to see. That's about it...ha! Enjoy the pics. :)

The Girl in the Moon logo...hey hey!

The bottling plant...huge.

We were like a herd of cattle being directed through the long hallways...moooove.

A massive Miller sign on the side of the brewing building. I'm dizzy.

The huge brew kettles

The Girl in the Moon, inside the cave.

If you look closely...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Fonz!

So excited to finally see the famous Fonz statue in Milwaukee!