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Blog Update

August 23, 2010
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Hi everyone,

Sorry for the long break in posting, we’ve missed you all.  Thank you also for the words of encouragement and support!  Unfortunately, we are still working with WordPress to resolve the ‘link’ problem.  This has been incredibly frustrating, but has also led to a lot of brainstorming between the two of us.

We have loved working together and creating this blog over the past few months, and are so excited by any and all feedback on it.  Due to Caroline’s new work and travel schedule (congrats to her for her new great job!), we’ve been struggling to come up with a way to keep youngDCliving up and running.  After all, this blog wouldn’t exist or be the same without both of our inputs and contributions.  As each and every one of you probably knows, one of the best things about blogging, in general, is that you begin to discover your own ‘blogging passions’ throughout the process.  Neither of us are exceptions to this rule.

Since our schedules and jobs are making it increasingly more and more difficult to work on this blog as a team, we’ve decided to shake things up:

The New Changes:


www.bloggingoverthyme.com

I (Laura) have discovered that what I really enjoy sharing with readers the most are recipes, food-related posts, and my recently discovered love of photography!  While this blog has been taking a short sabbatical, I’ve been in the process of creating a completely new site (self-hosted, much to my technology woes).  While there is definitely some overlap with this blog, for example: sharing my life in DC, as well as some old recipe posts and restaurant reviews, you’ll also be finding some new topics and pages, dedicated to photography, as well as a more easily-navigable recipe page.   In the past, recipe posts have mainly consisted of the food recipe itself, with a little bit of background on the recipe.  In the future, I’m excited to share more of my adventures and (mis)adventures in the kitchen, as well as the stories behind them.

While I’m still in the middle of the process of moving old posts over (individually!) and finalizing the design of the site, I’d be thrilled if you came to check out the new blog.  Check out my “About” page for a brief description and background on what it’s all about, as well as the meaning behind the name!

Technical Difficulties

August 4, 2010
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Hello everyone! It appears that all links to our blog posts on all youngDCliving pages (excluding the home page) are currently out of commission.  At the moment, all links will bring you a webpage saying “the link cannot be found.”  As of yet, we’re unsure whether it is an issue with the WordPress server or an issue with the blog itself.  Please stay patient while we figure this whole mess out!  Or check out our “recent post” menu on the homepage, which still works! Thanks so much,

Laura & Caroline

P.S. Hopefully we’ll be able to figure out this (frustrating) issue soon and regular posting will ensue!  Be sure to let us know if you’ve noticed any other funky techno happenings on the blog lately.

Scenes of DC: Birthdays Galore

August 4, 2010

The beginning of August always marks the end of a great celebration of family birthdays.  Both my mom and I have birthdays back-to-back, followed by my great uncle the next day, and my cousin two weeks before.  So many chances to celebrate and splurge!  My own birthday was filled with great home-cooked meals, cocktails, a breakfast outing complete with a birthday pancake, as well as a near tornado.  The last part wasn’t so much fun…I definitely didn’t want my birthday to be forever known as the day a tree fell on top of my house.  Crisis averted, thank god.

Check out some of my favorite pictures from my special day below.  In fact, I bought a particular birthday present for myself this summer that I am super excited about.  Any guesses?  Hint: It is directly related to our “Scenes of DC” series.  Guess away!

Like what you see?  Add youngDCliving to your RSS feed or sign up for our email subscription using the button on your right!  ♥

The Cupcake Fad Comes to DC

August 3, 2010
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Photo Sources: Georgetown Cupcakes

Is it just me or are cupcakes huge right now?  Maybe it all originated from that Sex & the City episode, where Carrie and Miranda meet up at the famous Magnolia’s Bakery in Manhattan for pink-frosted cupcakes.  Either way, DC has not been immune to this new trend at all.  In fact, over the past year or two, several cupcake bakeries have sprung up throughout the area and they don’t seem to be disappearing any time soon.  In fact, one particular cupcake shop, Georgetown Cupcakes, has gained so much national attention that the TLC network has premiered an entire new series, DC Cupcakes, dedicated to it.  By the way, in case you’re curious to see what it’s all about, the series airs on Fridays @ 10/9 pm central.  It’s not the greatest show, but you’ll get the idea.

The thing that really sets Georgetown Cupcakes apart from other bakeries and stores is their choice of quality ingredients.  In general, I’ve never been a big cupcake fan.  Not because I’m against dessert or anything (um, hello, have you seen my favorite recipes list?), of course, but because the cake part tends to be dry and dull or the icing tends to taste like chemicals or is just way too sweet for even the biggest sweet tooth. Georgetown Cupcakes has changed my opinion of what cupcakes can be.  Let’s just say that their in the luxury, designer cupcake league.  Why exactly?  Well, check out the following:

  • Georgetown Cupcakes only uses premium Valhrona and Callebaut chocolate for their icings, cake batters, you name it!  High cocoa content makes these chocolate cupcakes like no other.
  • Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract–the most expensive and highest-grade vanilla out there–is a staple in all their baking products.
  • European style sweet cream butter (and lots of it!)
  • Fresh fruit–for any and all fruit-infused cupcake flavors.  Example?  You can see fresh zest in each of the Lemon Blossom and Key Lime cupcakes.  Yum!
  • Fresh cream cheese or buttercream frostings!  My personal favorite is their cream cheese, because it tends to be less sweet.  Equally as rich, though.

Ok, they also offer specialty coffees as well, but who pays attention to any of that?  Most of the people coming to the store, all day mind you, are coming to get cupcakes in ones, pairs, dozens, or even bagged boxes.  Georgetown Cupcakes has two locations (at the moment, we’ll see about that…), one in Georgetown and one in Maryland at Bethesda Row.

However, you’ll experience long lines at both, even on weekdays.  They are known to have lines out the door (I experienced one on my most recent visit on a Friday!).  Once you enter the shop, you’ll be greeted by a warm, preppy, and cute interior.  Stainless steel cupcake tiers, pink and black everywhere, marble countertops, and industrial style pendants.  You’ll also be met with the cupcake flavors of the day, as well as their regular staples.  Check out their website for a full menu!

One of my favorite (and frustrating) things about Georgetown Cupcakes is how they mix up the menu and provide unique and out-of-the-ordinary cupcake flavors throughout the year.  Winter time?  Check out their White Chocolate Peppermint cupcake or how about Chocolate Egg Nog? While this change provides a fun aspect to visits, it also means you may miss out on some of your favorite flavors (Carrot Cake cupcake, anyone?) if you can’t hit up the store on a particular day of the week.

On my most recent visit, I decided to get three daily special flavors–any cupcake orders of more than one get placed in a nice pink box with travel-friendly cupcake holders —Lava Fudge, Lemon Blossom, and Vanilla Squared (vanilla on vanilla).  All three were great, but my personal favorite was Lemon Blossom.  It was full of great, natural lemon flavor and zest and incredibly moist.  A close second was Lava Fudge–which to my surprise, was filled with a gooey and delicious chocolate fudge center and topped with their excellent cream cheese frosting.

Their incredibly rich, so my personal recommendation is to get a couple to share with friends and family and try out different flavors by (messily) cutting them up in halves or quarters.  This way you get to taste them all!  If you’re in the DC area, definitely check them out, but be prepared for lines.  If you’re not in the area, but want to see what all the fuss is about, check out their TLC series.

Price:

$2.75 each  |  $15 half dozen  |  $29 dozen

Locations:

Georgetown                                                             Bethesda

3301 M Street (corner of 33rd & M)                   4834 Bethesda Avenue

Washington DC 20007                                   Bethesda, MD 20814


Any readers with great cupcake bakeries in their area?  Any DC resident readers who’ve checked out the goods themselves?  We’d love to hear all about it.  Leave a comment or send us an email!  Like what you see?  Add youngDCliving to your RSS feed or sign up for our email subscription using the button on your right!  ♥

Blogging Update

August 2, 2010

Hey everyone,

I have loved working on this blog and sharing things with you all, but I’ve just taken on a full-time job and with my new work commitments and busy travel schedule I am going to have to step aside from the blog world for a while.  I’m hoping to pop in every now and then with travel updates (I get to spend a few weeks in New York!), but in general Laura will be the captain of this blog for a while.

Thank you for such a fun experience, and please bear with us while we figure out our new blogging schedule and shift gears.

Have a great week, and talk to you soon!

Caroline


In other news…

If you are still considering catching a Legg Mason match this week in DC or are deciding whether you should mark it on your calendar for next summer, take a look at this photo I shot…see how close I was??  Not too shabby for $20, right?  True, I mainly saw qualifiers, but every star has to start somewhere.


There was even a UVA graduate playing!  Michael Shabaz.  Remember that name.  I’m hoping for big things for this fellow Wahoo, and it seems he is on his way.  On Saturday, there was a major upset when Shabaz, who was just a qualifier, beat No. 6 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia.

And, of course, there is always Andy Roddick.  Next year, it’s official:  I’m splurging on tickets to a Roddick match.  Camera in tow.

August 1st: Download of the Week

August 1, 2010
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This song has rapidly gone to the top of my playlist this summer.  It’s fun, catchy, and beats the blues of the morning commute.  Ok…you’ve probably heard it on the radio recently, but I couldn’t help adding it to our growing “Download of the Week” archive list.  By the way, you can check out the full list, which conveniently includes links to the YouTube videos, on our “For Your Entertainment” page.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for our regular blog posting!  Happy Sunday!

These Are a Few of My Favorite…Cookbooks

July 30, 2010
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Since we’re often writing recipe posts on this here blog, I thought it would be fun to provide you all with a list of some of my most favorite cookbooks–ones I look to for recipes, inspiration, and ideas on a regular basis.  While the internet and websites like Epicurious, Food Network, Taste Spotting, Food Gawker, and other food blogs provide an almost unlimited number of resources for the newbie, as well as seasoned chef, they’re not always as useful and easy to navigate as real deal cookbooks. You know…the ones made of paper?

While there are numerous sites that enable you sort through recipes based on ingredients you have in your own pantry, or ones you wish to use and/or avoid in a meal, you are often left overwhelmed with a ridiculous number of search results, a headache from staring at the computer screen too long, or plain old doubt as to whether it actually is a good recipe.  After all, can you really trust the 5 star ratings of the 2 people that actually chose to fill out the reviews  Biased information, anyone?  Enough said.

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t always need or, for that matter, want to shell out money for a cookbook that only has a couple interesting recipes in it.  We’ve probably all been there and done that.  There are definitely cookbooks I own that pretty much just sit on the shelf and only make it out on special occasions for that one fabulous recipe it contains.  Sometimes I come back to them after a few years just for kicks and discover new great recipes, often times my original judgment stands.

However, a great cookbook is different.  A great cookbook is one that is not only functional, versatile, and inspirational, but is also chock full of interesting, appealing, as well as both simple and challenging recipes.  You know…the kind that you flip through quickly and pretty much every recipe immediately triggers a desire to start baking or cooking.  Ok, and a couple of mouth-watering pictures don’t hurt either.  Yes, these are few and far between, but they are out there.

Here is just a short and sweet list of some of my own personal favorites (many of which have online counterparts, which are listed below):

The Basics:

Every kitchen needs a couple basic cookbooks, where you can learn any and all cooking and baking techniques, basic cooking equipment and tools, and general how-to advice.  For example, if you need to learn how to make a basic pie crust, stuff a chicken breast, filet a fish, or roast a turkey–these are great tools.  My favorites, and personal recommendations of ones to invest in, are Rambeur & Becker’s Joy of Cooking and Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. Bittman’s motto “Anyone can cook, and most everyone should” pretty much sums up these cookbooks in a nutshell.

These books are great for easy and simple recipes and well-known dishes or baking treats, like simple brownies, crepes, and roasted chicken.  They are also provide great recipe foundations for experimenting and adding your own creative spin to a dish.

Online Options: Mark Bittman’s Website &  The Joy Kitchen

Great All-Around Cookbooks:

Baking by Dorie Greenspan:

This has rapidly become my favorite baking cookbook.  It’s a big book, both literally and figuratively, with over 230 recipes, ranging from breakfast sweets, cakes, and tarts to puddings, custards, ice creams, and crisps. The book includes both simple and more challenging baking recipes, as well as healthier options, such as her recipe for Oatmeal Breakfast Bread (incredible!).  Every recipe I’ve made from it has been excellent, period.  She incorporates her own take on traditional staples, such as pound cake and chocolate chip cookies, while also adding her original twist, such as recipes for Devil’s Food White-Out Cake (pictures on cover), Granola Grabbers and Cranberry-Chocolate cookies.  The layout of the book is excellent as well with great pictures, easy to read and follow instructions, as well as an anecdotal background and story for each recipe!

Check out Dorie Greenspan’s Blog, In the Kitchen and On the Road with Dorie!

The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley

This cookbook just won, and rightly so, the James Beard Award, a major deal in the food world.  All of the recipes are vegetarian, but the vast majority are vegan.  I eat meat…and I absolutely adore this cookbook! Peter Berley is the former executive of the world-renowned Angelica Kitchen restaurant in NYC.  If anyone could convince me (not that I need convincing..) that I could become a vegan or vegetarian and not miss out on great food, it would be this guy.  The book is full of recipes for both soups and stews, seasonal salads, vegetables, whole grain dishes, beans, breads, desserts, and vegetarian protein sources, such as tofu, seitan, and tempeh.  Not every ingredient in all of his recipes can be bought at the average supermarket, but the ingredient lists are not exhaustive by any means!  My absolute favorite so far has been his recipe for Autumn Quinoa Risotto with Pumpkin & Sage–to die for!

Check out Peter Berley’s website, where you can find more information, as well as some free recipes!

Seriously Simple by Diane Rossen Worthington

The motto of this cookbook is “Easy Recipes for the Creative Cook”–sign me up!  Seriously (hehe) though, this cookbook is great for a handful (90 to be exact) of simple recipes with great flavors.  Many other cookbooks that attempt to pull off this feat fail, where Worthington does not.  Simple ingredients, little prep time , and creative flavor combinations make her recipes stellar.  Trust me, you’ll want to make every recipe in the book!  My favorite recipes (so far…) include Zucchini, Spinach, and Lima Bean Soup and Lemon-Lime Pound Cake.

Check out Worthington’s website, where you can find her blog, recipes, and more!

Once Upon a Tart by Frank Mentesana & Jerome Audureau

This cookbook offers 225 recipes for both savory tarts, soups, sandwiches, salads, condiments, desserts, and quick breads, originated as a result of their incredibly popular and famous bakery Once Upon a Tart in New York City.  The book provides mouth-watering recipes,  instructional tools (for example: “Frank on How to Peel, Slice, and Otherwise Deal with an Avocado”), as well as personal tidbits and stories.  I am never disappointed in a recipe from this cookbook, and it ain’t shabby to look at either.  It is full of beautiful photography and has a great easy-to-read layout and design.  My only critique is that most of the recipes are not low-calorie at all–think lots o’ butter.  But at least they recognize it and joke about it in the book!  Favorite recipes include: Roasted Eggplant-and-Tomato Tart with Basil, Smooth Garlic-and-Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Fresh Thyme, and Spiced Pumpkin Scones with Fresh Cranberries!

Check out their store’s website for catering information, location, and more!

Happy Cooking!  Do you have any favorite cookbooks that we didn’t include in the list above?  Be sure to leave a comment and share the goods!  Like what you see?  Add youngDCliving to your RSS feed or sign up for our email subscription using the button on your right!  ♥