Spring Wishlist

The temperature is rising, and with the emergence of the snow drops in my front yard and the azaleas in the back, it really seems like spring is here or at the very least on it’s way. This time of year always leads to a general lightening of life for me, everything from clothing, to hair color, to mood. Heck, I even wear less make up: some tinted moisturizer (with SPF of course), a swipe of highlighter, and a natural lip color, and I am good to go, which, in hindsight, is probably good considering Florida’s weather is notoriously fickle and at least once a week I’ll find myself stuck somewhere without an umbrella because of unexpected rain. I love it though, it’s such a brief season here, and it leaves me lamenting my hours spent at the office instead of enjoying the rare glorious weather. When I lived on campus while I was in college, I’d load up my tote bag with books and water and then spend the afternoon stretched out on the green in front of the library.

  1. Samantha Rain BootsTarget
  2. Pastel Pink Daily ConditionerOvertone
  3. Somerset HatTerrain
  4. VonShef Wicker Picnic BasketWayfair
  5. Lace Up Neck MaxiSoma
  6. Mac Viva Glam VIMacy’s
  7. Summer Bloom ToteFree People
  8. Metal Crush Highlighter PalletSephora
  9. Floral Garden UmbrellaUncommon Goods

My mom is here visiting for a couple of weeks so I am hoping that she and I will get a chance to do some spring-ish type activities. Things like walking around some of the local parks, eating lunch outside, and maybe even doing a little gardening. What are you looking forward to this spring?

Black Cherry Disaronno Cupcakes

I like making cupcakes, and I am always looking for an excuse. One of the things I’ve been doing consistently for the last few years is sending cupcakes to work with Andy for Valentine’s Day. Let’s face it, even if you’re in a relationship, the holiday can be a bit intense, and what better way to brighten someone’s day than with a cupcake? I gotta make sure my diligent taste-testers are taken care of, right? In the past, I’ve done some more traditional flavors – chocolate, chocolate-covered strawberry, strawberry, white chocolate, etc. – so this year I wanted to do something a little less expected. I liked the idea of going a little darker and more mature with the flavor profile, but I still wanted a little holiday “cheese” so I decided to pair black cherries and Disaronno. So good! Plus the cherries really did bake up almost black, which made things interesting from an aesthetic stand point.



  • 1 Box Betty Crocker White Cake Mix
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 veggie oil
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cherry puree
  • 4 tbsp Disaronno


  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe here)
  • 4 tbsp cherry puree
  • 4 tbsp Disaronno


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Combine cake mix, egg whites, oil and water and mix thoroughly. Mix in Disaronno.
  3. Put two cups of mix into a separate bowl and mix in cherry puree.
  4. Fill cupcake wrapper 1/2 full of regular mix, top off to 2/3 full with cherry mixture. Swirl together with toothpick or skewer to create a marbled effect.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. While cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting.
  7. Add cherry puree and Disaronno to completed frosting and combine thoroughly.
  8. Frost cooled cupcakes and enjoy!.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

With a month to spare, I have finally completed #3 on my 31 before 32 and made the last of the 12 recipes from my Sweet & Vicious cookbook! There are so many great recipes I still can’t wait to try out, but I am happy to have the ones I “had” to do behind me. Since I’d done a few of the main recipes and a couple of the extracts, I wanted to try something from the back of the book. The frosting area seemed as good as any so I decided to tackle Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

So light and wonderfully fluffy! It made for some very pretty cupcakes.

I took some pictures of the process, just so you’d have an idea of how things were going to look as you went along. I find that sort of thing helpful whenever I’m trying out a new recipe.
The egg white/sugar mixture when I put it on ⇑ and took it off ⇓ the double boiler. 
How the meringue looked when it was ready for the butter. 


  • I think the thing I liked best about this was the sweetness. I like sugar as much as the next pudgy American, but I hate frosting that is sickly sweet. Standard buttercream is easy to make, but usually it’s a bit much and has ruined many a cupcake for me. It’s really nice to have this in my back pocket for future baking.
  • This recipe also pipes like a dream; I had wonderful frilly frosted cupcakes with minimal piping bag manipulation, and it held its shape and didn’t dry out overnight.

Duck Donuts

On our recent trip to North Carolina, Andy and I discovered a wonderful new place to procure donuts when visiting his parents. Well…”discovered” might not be accurate, we actually learned about the chain from my brother in law; he and his wife had first encountered the chain when they were visiting the Outer Banks, and while we were all trying to find somewhere to go to dinner, he realized there were not one but two locations with in easy driving distance from our hotel. Donuts and adorable water fowl? I was definitely game for a trip.

I will admit I was a tiny bit trepidatious when we walked into this little shop. I know donuts are sugary and insipid, but this place was so damn pink and cheery. I’ve become a bit of a snob in my ripe old age, and I like my bakeries/restaurants a little more “small town local” and just this side of hipster-y. But we were already there and I was so tired at this point, so I figured “why the hell not”.
To give the place a fair shake, we ordered two of their pre-designed donuts (cinnamon sugar and blueberry pancake) and did two build your own (lemon blackberry & chocolate peanut butter). At this point, I got a little…well…pissy watching the two highschoolers haphazardly dumping toppings on our order and slapping our box together willy-nilly (I sound like such a grumpy old lady!), so by the time we got our order, I wasn’t even interested in trying the donuts and I put them in the back of our car so we could enjoy them as a road snack later… aka when I was in a better mood.
After all that, I’ll be damned if those donuts weren’t pretty freakin’ awesome. 5 out of 5 stars, would go again, highly recommend. We both liked the blueberry pancake the best, closely followed by the lemon blackberry. I am actually sad that this place is a 10 hour drive away. Oh well, holidays in the NC just got that much better. 

The take away from this: I’m a mean old grumpy pants when I’m sleep deprived and under the weather, and I should always trust my brother in law when it comes to awesome places to eat.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Slow Cooker Cake

I did a thing. I found this recipe video online, and it seemed too easy to be real. I mean slow cooker baking? This sounds like a crazy Pinterest thing that you pin, but never ever make. Which it was until we had a really shitty week at the office and I knew we needed to do something to boost morale. Cake makes people happy, I’m too tired to make it at home, and it could get a blog post out of it, so… here we are.

The moment when I realized that I should have brought a whisk from home. Salad tongs and spaghetti scoops for days, but not a single whisk or whisk like object to be found. So I kicked it old school and used a fork. 
Ingredients blended and set to bake. Fortunately, my office is near the break room because even though the video said to leave for 4 hours, things started smelling a little singed around 2.5 hours in.Slight burning on the edge, but it was easily trimmed off and the other 90% of the cake was saved. This was about the time people started poking their heads into the kitchen to see what I was doing and how much longer they had to wait for their cake. 
Some frosting magic and TADA! 
Oddly shaped, but sure enough this crazy thing actually came out looking more or less like a cake and even more surprisingly tasted like a pretty decent cake. 

I had two coworkers ask me to write down the recipe so they could go home and make it for their families.



  • 1 box Betty Crocker Moist Yellow Cake Mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup of butter
  • chocolate syrup


  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Reese’s cups


  1. Grease inside of the slow cooker.
  2. Combine the first five cake ingredients and mix thoroughly. Take out 2/3 cup of mix and then add a generous squirt of chocolate syrup and mix together. Swirl together batter in slow cooker.
  3. Bake on high for 2-4 hours. The video said four and mine was a bit singed after two and a half so just keep an eye on it the first time you make it.
  4. Combine the first three frosting ingredients and whisk together with a fork until smooth.
  5. Top the cake with frosting, extra chocolate syrup and chopped Reese’s cups.


  • Holy shit, guys, this works! It works! It works! It works! And you know what? It’s pretty good! It was all gone less than three hours after we frosted it. I will so make it again, and you bet your ass I will be baking more in my slow cooker.