Monthly Archives: July 2012

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I’m not a huge fan of lemonade – odd, I know – but add raspberries… and yummy! Since I had seen so many summer recipes for lemonade cupcakes, I figured I would add my own raspberry-yummy-touch-with-liquer-of-course! So, here it is…

“Adult” Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Raspberry Lemonade Cake:

As always, keep it simple and go with the box…

1 box Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme Cake Mix 

1 cup fresh (organic, if possible) Lemonade

1/3 cup fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice

1/2 cup recently reduced, chilled Raspberry Compote

2-3 tablespoons freshly-grated Lemon Peel

Tangy Raspberry Lemon Buttercream Frosting:

3-4 cups Confectioners’ Sugar

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter

1-2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice

1-2 teaspoons reduced Raspberry Juice (from the compote)

1-2 teaspoons Raspberry Cordial

Suggested Toppings:

Try a short straw, it just makes it look so much like a cupcake cocktail – how freakin’ cute!

Instructions:

As always, set out the butter early in the day to reach room temperature so that your frosting is the right consistency!

For the cake, combine the Cake Mix, veggie oil, & eggs. Instead of adding the suggested water, replace at least 1 cup with lightly sweetened Lemonade and up to 1/3 cup with freshly-squeezed Lemon Juice. This will help to cut the slightly overly-sweetened base of the lemon cake. Scoop the batter into cute & summery cupcake cups, adding a dallop of Raspberry Compote to the center of each cupcake. Top each cupcake with some of the freshly-grated Lemon Peel to bake onto the top and add that bit of extra zing! Bake at 350F for roughly 20 mins.

For the frosting, grab that good ol’ Kitchen Aid (or very strong and tireless kitchen buddy) and beat the room temperature Unsalted Butter on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until thoroughly creamy. Next, reduce the mixer speed to low and begin slowly adding in up to 3 cups of the Confectioners’ Sugar – let it get creamy again between each add. Now this is where things get a bit high-school-chem-lab-ish… begin adding just splashes of the Lemon Juice, Raspberry Juice, and Raspberry Cordial in equal quantities. This will quickly reduce the thickness of the frosting, so do this slowly, tasting often, and adding the remainder of the 1 cup of Confectioners’ Sugar, as necessary. In the end, your frosting should taste remarkably similar to sweetened & lightly spiked raspberry lemonade, with a consistency slightly more liquid than a typical buttercream. Once finished, place in the fridge to hold and chill just a bit.

When the cupcakes are entirely cooled and the frosting has cooled to a slightly stiffer consistency, the frosting can be piped onto cupcakes and stabbed with a straw or top with some other cute item. Serve alongside some lemonade with raspberry cordial, on the rocks, and don’t forget to add a “virgin” version of all your sips and sweets if there will be any kids around…Enjoy!!

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Mill Ends Park

Mill Ends Park, as described by the one and only Wikipedia, is just too perfect to alter in any way. So here you go:

Mill Ends Park is a tiny urban park located in the median strip of SW Naito Parkway, approaching the esplanade along the Willamette River near SW Taylor Street in downtown Portland, Oregon. The park is a small circle 2 feet across, with a total area of 452 sq inches. It is the smallest park in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, which first granted it this recognition in 1971.

The park was dedicated on St. Patrick’s Day, 1948, as “the only leprechaun colony west of Ireland,” according to its creator, Dick Fagan. In 1948, the site that would become Mill Ends Park was intended to be the site for a light pole. When the pole failed to appear and weeds sprouted in the opening, Fagan, a columnist for the Oregon Journal, planted flowers in the hole and named it after his column in the paper, “Mill Ends” (a reference to leftover irregular pieces of wood at lumber mills).

And did I mention that this is real?? And so damn cute. See it. Now. Go.

Hood River’s Fruit Loop

You’ll find adorable Hood River at the end of a 90 mins. drive east on scenic byway US 14 (or a 75 mins. drive on I84) – after mountainside tunnels dipping into the Columbia River Gorge, you’ll be rewarded with adorable shops, flowerbox streets, and tasty cafes. But if you’re up for a bit more driving (or riding!), then take advantage of Hood River’s Fruit Loop: a 35-mile drive that you can spend an entire, meandoring, drive day enjoying the road side fruit stands, u-pick farms, wineries, farms, and beautiful scenery.

Not sure what to do for an entire day? Take Travel Oregon‘s simple suggestion:

“Sample delicious fruits and take your favorites home, visit a winery, experience fields of fragrant lavender, meet adorable alpacas, savor delicious baked goods and savory dinners.”

I would only add to that: look around and smile… this scenery is breathtaking!

Be sure to take a look at a Fruit Loop Map so that you can plan your stops, picnic spots, and post-trip dinner. [And on a side note/the topic of dinner, we would highly recommend Celilo, right on Hood River’s main strip with super seasonal & fresh ingredients and interesting twists on some dinner classics. Check out the yummy photos below!]

So when do you go to the Fruit Loop? While you can technically drive the loop year round, the best visiting times are May-October. Here’s what’s happening during the seasons:

April-May: Flowers, flowers, everywhere! One of the best times to visit the loop and see all the fruit trees in bloom before the fruit arrives!

June-July: Berries begin! You can track down strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, as well as my favorite – cherries. (Plan a visit during the Wine Festival or Cherry Festival for extra activities)

August: This is when the fruit season gets serious! In addition to lingering berries, you’ll also find apricots, peaches, pears, apples and tomatos (the semi-veggie), as well as corn, fresh lavender, and other herbs. (You can schedule to hit the Gravenstein Apple Celebration to get some extra enjoyment out of the start of apple season)

September-October: Bring on the autumn harvest! More apples, more pears, and of course, gourds, pumpkins, and chestnuts! (Check out a Fruit Loop Harvest Festival for plenty of great u-pick food & decorations)

And no matter when you go, you’ll always get great views of Mt. Hood, tons of beautiful scenery, and plenty (plenty!!) of great foods and snacks for the road. Enjoy the ride!

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