Pomegranate Sunrise… Ole!

In celebration of it being Cinco de Mayo today, I was inspired to create my own version of the classic Tequila Sunrise. It reminds me of summer and vacation and just relaxing… I modeled my drink after this sweet, fruity summer cantina staple… I call it the Pomegranate Sunrise.

 

 

What I love about mixology is that you don’t have to use exactly what is called for and you can easily substitute things you don’t care for or don’t have on hand for something that you do. I don’t keep tequila on hand, mostly because I don’t make a ton of margaritas, but as Ted Mosby would say, kids.. don’t drink tequila.

I don’t have tequila, but boy do I have coconut rum… Usually I keep orange juice on hand, but Brian wanted to try the tangerine Cuties juice and it is a nice substitute. It adds more of a sweet, smooth flavor with no pulp.

 

 

Start by adding ice to your cocktail shaker. Then add one measure (about 1.5 fl. oz) of the coconut rum and 3/4 cup of tangerine or orange juice and shake away!

 

 

 

 

 

Have a tall glass with ice ready to pour the mixture into. Now is the fun part… in the classic recipe, tequila sunrises call for grenadine syrup. But once again, I don’t have that and it’s not my taste. But I do have pomegranate syrup…

 

 

This next step needs to be done slowly and carefully to be effective. Slowly pour about half a measure of the pomegranate syrup into the bottom of the glass and allow it to settle. The goal is to get the fun color variation that the sunrise is known for.

 

 

 

After it settles, garnish to your liking. Some suggestions are an orange slice or a cherry. I had some drink umbrellas, so I thought those were very fitting and reflective of vacation and summer. Don’t forget to use a straw so the color variation doesn’t mix together as you drink it.

 

 

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Bathroom Organization

This past weekend I was not only spending time with family, but on Saturday I cleaned and organized the house hardcore. This included the long overdue bathroom cabinets…

We have two sets of cabinets in our bathroom. One set is the typical under the sink variety with two small drawers on either side. The other ones are actually kitchen cabinets I found at Goodwill and painted a cheery yellow.

I generally like to keep everyday items in the cabinet under the sink and I use the yellow one more for storage and items I don’t use everyday. First I’ll give a bathroom organization tour and then I will provide some of my storage tips and things to think about to customize your own system.

Now to show you my bathroom!

I’ll start with under the sink. I do my makeup and get ready on the floor in front of a long mirror in our bathroom, so I built my system around that. I previously kept my everyday makeup in a large makeup bag on the floor with no real system. My brushes and eyeliners were in jars on a shelf that I couldn’t reach from the floor and they often got put on the bathroom counter after I was done using them. I moved these jars inside the cabinet where I could reach them better. Instead of the big bag for my makeup that I couldn’t tell what was in there, I divided up my makeup into where it is applied to the face. Eyeshadow is in a separate candle jar, lip colors are in a jar, brushes and eyeliner each have their own mason jar. Things like foundation, blush,  and other face products like primers go in a small plastic bin. I also keep my daily-use palates and compacts in this bin because they fit best in there and are very accessible.
I used a turn table to easily store hair and skincare products within reach. These are ones that I might not use everyday, but still need access to at a moment’s notice. The wicker basket (which is really a magazine rack) holds my styling tools like my flat iron, curling iron, and blow dryer when not in use. The medium plastic bin holds most of Brian’s items and also some miscellaneous items like peroxide, etc. There’s also two empty candle jars in front to hold cotton balls and q-tips, eliminating the ugly and bulky packaging.
The yellow cabinet holds more of the occasional use items that I still need access to quickly. The top shelf holds nail polish. You might notice that I don’t use bins for my polish collection. I tried containing my collection, but I find that my polish multiplies quicker than I can keep up with, so I just try to keep it all on the same shelf. I also have a makeup bag with all of my manicure odds and ends like nail files, separators, and polish stickers. To the other side of the top shelf I have some body sprays and perfumes. The second shelf has items that I use pretty frequently but not everyday like pore strips, lip colors, extra cosmetic wedges and spare razors. I put my “going out” makeup in the pink and gold makeup bag.. these are all the glittery things that are definitely not for everyday. The blue bin holds extra cotton rounds and hair clips. The bottom shelf is where the most action is. I have a confession… I’m a shampoo and conditioner hoarder. I am obsessed with Organix products and refuse to use anything else. So the bottom is where the stash is along with body wash, extra shave cream and some extra styling products.
Lastly, the linen closet that is steps away from the bathroom holds several bins of occasional use items… there’s a bin for extra makeup bags, extra shaving items, travel size toiletries, and sun care items. It helps to use this space for a little added storage.

The key to organization is to stay organized. If you implement a system that you can’t maintain, it’s pointless and frustrating. You need to make sure your system work for you and your routines. Here are some quick suggestions for when you decide to create your own system:

  • How often do you use the item? Think of what you use daily and what you use less often which can be in storage. Are there things that you may not use everyday, but on a frequent enough basis that you want to get to it easily?
  • Where do you get ready for the day? Think of your morning and evening routines and where you need to store your everyday items that you need to be accessible? Do you get ready in front of your bathroom mirror? Or do you prefer your dresser mirror? One of my friends actually gets ready at the kitchen table while her daughters eat breakfast. It really doesn’t matter where, it’s just what works best for your life.
  • The right storage containers and systems make a world of difference! A must to maintain a system is to have a place for everything so there is no question where something is or where it is supposed to go back. Some helpful storage solutions I’ve found to be helpful include small baskets and plastic bins, empty candle jars, mason jars of all sizes, turn tables meant for spice storage, and makeup bags.
Well, that’s the tour of our bathroom organization system. I hope my tips and tour inspire you to rethink your storage and offer some solutions for any trouble-areas you didn’t know what to do with. Let me know what you think or if there’s other areas of the home that you want to know how I organize!

 

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter this weekend! I spent my day with my dad’s side of the family.

I offered to make the dessert and my grandparents requested a cheesecake of some variety. Even my grandpa who is not a big fan of chocolate said it was okay to have some chocolate in there. So I made a chocolate cherry cheesecake. It was a big hit and everyone was asking for seconds!

 

 

I adapted this recipe from The Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook. I did make the Turtle Cheesecake for Christmas this past year and that is a great one too. Here are my tweaks to the recipe:

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

24 Oreo Cookies, finely crushed
6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
3 pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 can cherry pie filling
Chocolate syrup, to drizzle

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and two inches up sides of greased 9-inch springform pan.
3. Drizzle chocolate syrup over crust. Set aside. 
4. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
5. Bake 1 hour 5 min. to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate four hours.
6. When ready to serve, drizzle chocolate syrup over top. Add cherries on top of each slice before serving. If desired, drizzle more chocolate on top of cherries.

 


Aren’t my grandma’s dishes just adorable?

This is a pretty simple and buildable cheesecake to make. I like that it’s not a ton of different ingredients like some cheesecakes and it is very adaptable. You can add whatever toppings you want or can add in different ingredients to the cheesecake part.

Also, a couple notes: I added the cherries on top of the entire cheesecake before cutting into it, which is very messy… so next time I would slice the cheesecake first and then add the cherries. For the Oreo crust I used the ones with the mint filling simply because that is what we had and I was not about to buy more Oreos just to make this… but it turned out really great because my family said that it was good with the mint. Don’t you love when things just work out?

I’m looking forward to using this basic recipe again for other variations. What kind of adaptations would you like to try or see me make for another time?

…I’m Back!

It’s been about a year since I last posted here when it was named Hipster Housewife. Life was also very different one year ago. I worked at the company next to my dad’s business and did a lot of blogging in my free time at work. I was engaged to the love of my life and we were searching for the perfect apartment to call home. We have lived in our homey Germantown apartment for 9 months now. We also have two little kittens running around, or at least until nap time. We got Alice and Zooey from Brian’s sister Amy and her husband Camron. 

 



Suspicious and excited, I asked my mother-in-law one day if they were getting us a kitten for our wedding. Smiling, she said no, and didn’t let on that they were getting us not one, but two kittens. Now they are almost one year old!

 

 



Another huge life change – we got married! It’s still a little weird to think about, but it’s a very good weird. It was nothing short of the best day of my life.

 





 



Brian still works at the same place but I have been on the move with jobs. I quit my high school job at a grocery store after seven long years; I worked at Kohl’s Corporate editing the online ads, thinking it would lead to bigger and better things, but it just didn’t pan out; I was laid off twice at other jobs in 2013, which really took a toll. But 2014 is already my year – I landed a full-time, permanent (which was soooo exciting after working temp jobs) receptionist job at an awards company that is ten minutes from our apartment. It has been such a relief knowing I now have stability in my work life. 


Now my next venture is a creative one: reinventing this blog. I renamed it Cupcakes and Kittens. I intend to post more about my love of baking, especially all the cupcakes and delicious desserts I bake in addition to my regular content.


Another hobby of mine is organizing. I love taming the chaos of everyday life and making my family’s or someone else’s life easier by integrating an organized system. Pinterest has fueled this obsession… 

And I can’t forget the latter of Cupcakes and Kittens… Our kittens Alice and Zooey are little troublemakers, but they are pretty darn cute, so I’ll be sure to share some kitten cuteness on here too. Case in point…. 

 



So please follow my blog, “Like” Cupcakes and Kittens on Facebook, follow me on Pinterest, and also on Twitter to get all the latest posts! I love receiving feedback, so please drop by and let me know what you think! Thanks and see you next post on Cupcakes and Kittens!

Pink Velvet Moscato Cupcakes

Yes, you read that correctly. PINK velvet… so good. I found this recipe on Pinterest and I’ve wanted to try it for a while. The Mary Kay Spring Product Preview was coming up and I thought pink cupcakes would be so fitting!

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Pink Velvet Cupcakes:

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp pink paste food coloring
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk

 

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Directions:

In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and food coloring until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

 

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Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.

 

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I made a delicious moscato frosting to go with the pink velvet. I suggest Barefoot Moscato as a reasonably priced and quality selection.

 

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Moscato Frosting:

1 cup butter
5 tbsp moscato
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups confectioner’s sugar

*I used more moscato and more vanilla than the original called for. If you prefer less, by all means, add what fits your taste!

 

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In a large bowl, cream the butter until it’s smooth and fluffy. Add moscato and vanilla. Continue to mix until combined. Add confectioner’s sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until smooth and light.

 

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March Forth for 100cameras!

I love photography. It’s one of my favorite things to read about and research and when I have the time, I love to go out and do photo shoots. I recently learned about an awesome organization where a friend, Jayme Markus is interning called 100cameras. It’s a charity that brings photography to children in need while providing aid to them and their community.

As the 100cameras mission puts it, “It’s simple, really. We give a camera to Jackson. Jackson snaps a photo. Then you buy his photo. 100% goes back to Jackson. And Jackson is empowered.”

100c.cuba.eduarto.age11 100c.cuba.jose.age13 100c.cuba.miriam.age15

I love that these kids have the opportunity to empower themselves and bring change to their community. We also get the chance to see through the eyes of the child through their photography and what their life is like.

andrew16   [child] joey19 jackson 12*

Co-founded in 2008 by four women in NYC, 100cameras has implemented projects in South Sudan, New York City, Cuba, and India.

In one year, the sale of the children’s photography has raised $10,000 that has funded hundreds of meals to neighborhood children and purchased 1,000 eyeglasses, 20 cameras, 6 sewing machines, and medical supplies that were delivered in November for community members that currently do not have access to these important supplies.  Additionally this winter, the remainder of this money will fund a vocational training project where women in the community will learn the trade of sewing in order to start their own business, helping generate income for themselves and their families. ~100cameras.org

This is just truly amazing to me… to empower young artists while raising such a large amount of money for their community… they must be proud and rightfully so!

josephine13   [child] kabang 04 kiden 10   [child]

You can purchase these and other prints from 100cameras.org. You can also read about the young photographers involved with each project! The funds from your purchase provide medical care along with food and pay for educational costs.

Ask a Vegetarian….

In the six or so years that I’ve been vegetarian I’ve received so many questions on the topic. I’ve also been discussing this with a good friend who is interested in eating healthier and incorporating some new foods into her diet. First the Q & A, then I’ll share my favorite vegetarian recipe in my next post!

Q. What do you eat?

A. I get this pretty frequently, which is understandable. Everyone’s dietary restrictions are different and I don’t blame them for asking either out of necessity or curiosity.
Before I talk about what I eat, I do NOT eat any form of meat. This includes the flesh, fat, or stock made from beef, poultry, pork, fish or other seafoods. I am a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, which I will explain next.

Quick Lesson of Types of Vegetarians:
• A pescetarian doesn’t eat mean with the exception of fish.
• A flexitarian or semi-vegetarian is someone who eats a mainly vegetarian diet, but occasionally eats meat.
• A Lacto-ovo Vegetarian doesn’t eat meat, but does include eggs and dairy products in their diet.
• A Lacto Vegetarian eats dairy, but not eggs.
• An Ovo Vegetarian eats eggs, but not dairy.
• A Vegan is someone who doesn’t eat any meat, eggs, dairy, or animal-derived ingredients (like gelatin). Some do not consume honey.

Q. Why are you a vegetarian?

A. This is as simple as I just don’t like the taste. Many people think I’m crazy when I tell them that, but it is the truth. Sure there are certain kinds of meat that I enjoyed, but I don’t miss them. There are so many great vegetarian dishes and substitutes now compared to when I first became vegetarian. Even though it started as me being a picky eater, my reasons began to include ethical issues like animal cruelty and the environment.

T_Vegetarian_1

Q. How do you survive meat-centered family functions?

A. The two things that come to mind are cookouts in the heat of summer and Thanksgiving dinner with everyone gathered around a juicy turkey. Doesn’t really sound like a good time for vegetarians… For cookouts there are so many varieties of veggie burgers or you can try a grilled vegetable sandwich! Morningstar Farms used to make a veggie Italian sausage alternative which was my go-to for tailgating at the Brewer game, but sadly it was discontinued. As for Thanksgiving, when I go to my aunt and uncle’s house there are so many dishes to choose from like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, dinner rolls, coleslaw, and much more that I’m always lounging on the couch later because I’m so stuffed! If it is a concern for you that there won’t be any vegetarian fare at your relative’s house, just ask if you can bring a dish to pass!

Q. What did your family think at first?

A.My mom was the most shaken at my decision. She is a very good cook and I appreciate that, but I think she was offended when I didn’t want to eat whatever meat she cooked for our family. It was nothing against her, but for her cooking is personal. For a while I just choked down what she made, but after a while I just did not want to eat meat anymore. I did what many new vegetarians did – I just ate the vegetables and potatoes, skipping over the meat without adding a protein. Hint: That’s not how you eat a balanced diet. She kept telling me to just get over it and that it was just a stupid phase, but I kept on with my opposition to meat.

You can’t let people you love determine your food choices and life decisions. Don’t let them deter you from why you decided to be a vegetarian. When people don’t understand your lifestyle, they might make fun of it or tease you.

Q. What do you eat at restaurants? How difficult is it to find vegetarian options?

A. It really depends what kind of restaurant it is… If you go to a steakhouse, then I wouldn’t really expect tons of options, but there is still a chance. I actually went with Brian to a steakhouse which is famous for its prime rib… sounds like I had zero options, right? That’s what I was expecting too. If you are ever in this situation where all of the main dishes are steak or similar fare, just look at the appetizer section! The restaurant we went to had haystack onions and breaded and fried vegetables! Plus there was a salad, which is always a safe bet, just be sure there’s no bacon on it! I ended up feasting on the appetizers, had a salad and then a side of buttered fettucini all at a steakhouse! For the record, we went there because we had a gift certificate from Brian’s uncle, otherwise Brian knows better than to take me to a steakhouse.

I am so surprised and pleased lately at the new options I’m finding at restaurants… I just went to Red Robin with Brian and our friend Cory last night after being told that they have veggie burgers now. I am sooooo glad I did because it was so delicious. Even places like Buffalo Wild Wings and Denny’s now have build your own burger menus with the option of a veggie burger or black bean burger! I am so happy about that because I used to get appetizers at those restaurants. While there’s nothing wrong with eating fries occasionally at a restaurant, it gets pretty old if that is your only option.

Red Robin

I will leave part one here since there are still a few more questions to be answered! If you have any questions about the above feel free to ask and I will address it in part two!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or dietician. This is my own experience with vegetarianism. Please consult your doctor before beginning a new diet.