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Magnolia Bakery, Bleeker Street, NYC

A visit to The Magnolia Bakery was one of many things I wanted to do while in New York City. As an avid baker, I saw this particular excursion as a sort of research venture. We spent our Saturday afternoon in NYC browsing intriguing boutiques in Greenwhich Village, while making our way towards 401 Bleeker Street, and Magnolia Bakery.

The Magnolia Bakery

The place is pretty busy on a Saturday afternoon, with the queue at times stretching around the corner of the bakery. As if to further enhance the evident popularity of the place, the entrance to Magnolia was occupied by a young woman regulating the flow of people.

We were pretty lucky and only had to stand outside for about ten minutes before we were welcomed inside and instantly enveloped by the sweet aroma of cupcakes that awaited past the threshold.

The Magnolia Bakery

The shop window makes sure to tease passers by and the queuing sweet toothed crowd with generously frosted cupcakes.

The Magnolia Bakery

I got giddy with excitement the second we stepped inside and I saw the signature frosted cupcakes lined up in the glass displays. Cupcakes, cakes, and pies decorated to tickle my creativity. I wanted to sneak behind the counter, tie an apron around my waist, and grab the icing knife.

The Magnolia Bakery

The shop itself is no bigger than a corner deli, with a single table for lingering guests. Had my  mind not been dead set on trying the cupcakes, I would have easily been convinced to get one of the mini cheesecakes, pies, or tiered cakes with wavy icing in pastel colours.

The Magnolia Bakery

I made sure to carefully study the particular swirl of the frosting on the cupcakes, as groundwork for my future Magnolia-style baking projects.

The Magnolia Bakery

And as if directly catering to my interests, I got a  first hand inspection of the frosting technique as two girls stood behind the glass counter busying themselves with carefully frosting freshly baked red velvet cupcakes.

The Magnolia Bakery

We left the bakery with our own signature box of goodies, ready to be devoured.

The Magnolia Bakery

We got a vanilla cupcake with pastel green vanilla buttercream frosting (Tom’s choice), the seasonal Fall chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting (my choice), and I couldn’t resist asking for a mini red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting too, cream cheese frosting being both my and Tom’s favourite.

The Fall cupcake had a moist and airy chocolate base and was topped with a sumptuous amount of vanilla buttercream frosting. I like that they’re so generous with the frosting, they’ve got the cake to frosting ratio just right. My only complaint would be that the frosting was almost too sweet. The red velvet mini cupcake was a bit dry, and I dare say that I make better cream cheese frosting myself. I didn’t taste Tom’s vanilla cupcake, but he said the stuff I bake is better (no telling if he was just trying to flatter me).

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Tuesday

gym

Day two of experiencing torture every time I swallow. I feel like I’m scarfing down handfuls of needles. All I can think about is how badly I want to go to the gym. The gym is most definitely my second home, so when I don’t go, I feel off. Going to the gym has become somewhat of an addiction for me,  I guess, and has been so for the past 2-3 years. I can think of worse addictions.

I had to cancel both coffee with a friend this afternoon, and my plans to go to a museum with another friend this evening. Baah, can I just hurry up and get better now? This is wasting my precious time.

Anyone have a miracle cure for a sore throat or cold?

Foodie Pen Pals August 2012

When I travel, I always like to check out the local grocery stores. I love browsing the isles to see what’s typical for whatever country I’m in. Being a bit of a health nut, I especially like checking out health food stores – just ask my cousins in the US, my first order of business when I get to the US is always to go to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s!

Foodie Pen Pals

Foodie Pen Pals package from Amy

Last month I saw a couple of mentions on Twitter and Instagram about something called Foodie Pen Pals. Intrigued, I decided to try it this month for fun. In short, Foodie Pen Pals (or FPP) is a way for food and health bloggers to get to know each other and swap recipes, products, and ideas. Each month Carol over at Rock Salt pairs all the Foodie Pen Pals. You’re paired with two different people, one person sends you a package, and the other is who you’ll be sending your FPP package to. That way you get to know two new people, it’s not just a swap back and fourth.

Foodie Pen Pals parcel for Jessi

My Foodie Pen Pals package for Jessi

You start out by getting in touch with your FPP to get an idea of what they would like you to send them. I sent my FPP package to Jessi in Belgium (check out her blog to see what she thought). And in turn, I was paired with Amy from the UK who sent me a parcel. I was super excited when the package arrived! The box was wrapped in the British flag, and in her card, Amy writes that she wanted to include things that are traditional to England, so she’d gone with a British theme – cute!

Foodie Pen Pals

The first thing I noticed was a delicious smell of coffee. And then little coffee grinds trickled out from the box, uh oh..!

Foodie Pen Pals

The postmen had not been very kind with the package, it was pretty badly beaten when I picked it up. Unfortunately, the Pumpkin Pie coffee Amy had made for me had spilled out and the coffee grinds had dusted all the contents of the box. Good thing Amy was nice enough to include the recipe for her spice mix so I can make it myself.

I carefully unpacked my FPP parcel, and found all kinds of fun stuff inside.

Foodie Pen Pals

Here we go:

1. A beautiful hand made card by Amy describing the contents of the box and her idea behind it all.
2. A cute little bag that held a couple of Amy’s favorite tea bags.
3. A recipe for Cheese & Sunflower Seed Crackers.
4. (Spilled) Pumpkin Spice coffee, and recipe for the spice mix.
5. Oaty bakes (little crackers in various flavors).
6. Chili and vanilla flavored “munchy” seeds.
7. Chili paste.
8. Organic dark chocolate.
9. Rawfood “nakd” bar, ginger bread flavor.
10. Cupcake forms with the British flag.
11. Sunflower seeds.
12. A little gift box of two little sheep figures and orange marmelade.

Wow, what a box of goodies! I’m already making up plans on how to use all the stuff. But first things first…

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Of course I couldn’t resist making a cup of coffee and having the dark chocolate.

Thank you Amy! xx

For more information on Foodie Pen Pals, head over to Rock Salt and read about it here if you live in Europe. For US or Canadan readers, check out the American/Canadian version of Foodie Pen Pals at The Lean Green Bean (which is where Foodie Pen Pals originated).

Birthday dinner with Jenny!

My Birthday this year has been celebrated early on a number of sporadic occasions already, and my actual Birthday hasn’t even been yet. A couple of weeks ago I celebrated with my mom and sister, before they jetted off to the US. Then Lydia surprised me with an early birthday present when we went to the movies. And an awesome surprise gift just arrived from my friend Anna on Friday, and yesterday I went out to dinner at Trattorian with my friend Jenny to celebrate. I’m being spoiled good!

Me at Trattorian for Birthday dinner with Jenny

Me at Trattorian

Trattorian is an Italian style fancy restaurant with a really cool interior and atmosphere. We were seated right next to the open patio, so we had the best of both worlds – the pretty interior, and the magnificent view. We were lucky to have a really nice sunny day yesterday, so the evening was mild with clear blue skies and a nice sunset.

We started with an antipasti, I had melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto with melon, and then we ordered our mains.

Main course of chicken and roast vegetables at Trattorian

Grilled spicy chicken and vegetables

I had the spicy chicken with a side of grilled vegetables for my main, it was delicious. I love the odd cutlery, and rustic wooden table. The whole restaurant is decorated in this way, mixed and matched chairs, big candles, and bushy plants offering a cosy feeling.

Dessert of white peaches, raspberries, and pistachio ice cream at Trattorian

White peaches, pistachio ice cream, and raspberries

We were absolutely stuffed by the time we’d finished our main course, but one does not simply leave without dessert. I had the white peaches with pistachio ice cream and raspberries. I’d never had pistachio ice cream before so I wanted to try it, and boy have I been missing out! Jenny had the vanilla panna cotta with rhubarb compote and we couldn’t stop laughing at her jiggling the dome of panna cotta.

I’m glad we took photos of our evening, despite a middle aged couple seated to our left giving us horrified looks as we snapped photos of each other and our meals. I couldn’t have cared less, I was having such a good time that I just laughed at them thinking “Oh, come on! Live a little!” They looked like the most boring and stiff couple ever. They hardly talked, and didn’t smile or laugh once. Jenny and I concluded that their nasty looks were out of jealousy because we were having such a ball, laughing and talking up a storm.

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We’ve made plans to go for dinner at one of Melker Andersson’s restaurants again soon. I grabbed all the business cards for his various restaurants on the way out. I think I want to try Miss Voon next, it looks super cosy!

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Birthday present from Jenny

Jenny got me a 6 month subscription to our favorite baking magazine for my Birthday, as inspiration for our Christmas baking later this year. It made me want to pick up on my volunteer baking again. My schedule at Uni is going to be cray this Fall, but if I have any time to spare I’m going to bake for the patients again.

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate my Birthday, I smiled all the way home.

Home made almond butter and gluten free bread

Home made almond butter and gluten free Paleo bread

Home made gluten free bread and almond butter.

Who’s happy it’s the weekend so she’s finally got the time to play with her new kitchen tool? This girl!

I got a food processor as an early birthday present from my mom this week, and I finally had the time to give it a test run this weekend. First up, I made some gluten free bread that came out above and beyond my expectations, so good. Of course, you can’t have delicious bread without a nice home made nut butter to spread on it, so I made almond butter flavored with cinnamon and pure organic vanilla powder.

Sliced, toasted, and spread with a bit of my home made almond butter, it was thebomb.com. I can tell my food processor and I are going to be very good friends.

Breakfast bowl

Breakfast

A delicious breakfast bowl of oatmeal topped with raspberries,
cinnamon, chia seeds, and roasted coconut flakes.

I met mom after work on Wednesday for a quick catch up over some shopping and dinner, and she spoiled me with some early birthday presents. One of my big interests is health and exercise, I love browsing health food stores full of interesting organic products, so I had fun picking out some stuff at a health food store with mom. I got organic roasted coconut flakes, and organic cacao nibs (ground up cocoa beans).

I topped my oatmeal the other day with the coconut flakes, and yesterday morning I added some cacao nibs too, it was delish! If you can get your hands on this stuff – try it!