Twitter Brunch Bunch

Every week, on Sunday around noon, my lovely Twitter friends and I get together for what we call, the Twitter Brunch Bunch.

It has since grown to include more than just the originals…

@ericcox @bigred77 @ok2baprincess @justex07 (me) @turtis

Now we can add to the roster

@mdanbom @jlwest @brooding_soul @eapenthampy @fotofobe

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It continues to grow and we’ve moved it from Bleu to @TopTenWines.  Instead of buying food and wine, we bring our own food, sort of a pot luck deal, and drink the wine from @TopTenWines.

It’s an awesome time. Join us next Sunday?

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BBQ at the Palace

The Princess invited a few friend over for BBQ at her place last weekend. It was just such an awesome time! The people were great, the wine was awesome and the food… amazing. Her hubby can really cook!

The entire time, not matter what we did, booze, food, Guitar Hero… this girl kept getting all of the attention. Gah!

Even Ben had no power over the baby.

Well, actually, that talk about nothing be able to draw them away from the baby? That wasn’t exactly true.  Ryan was allll about the doggie.  It was the cutest thing, and it’s what happens every time Ryan and I go to Karen’s.

We really need to get a cat or dog… or bunny.  It seems like Ryan was just made to have a pet. It’s just too adorable.

Curtis was kicking ass at Guitar Hero and then I’m not exactly sure what happened…  Karen walks over to Curtis, bends over….

Curtis starts to pull $1 bills out of his wallet. I’m not saying Karen was extending “favors” to Curtis for change but shortly after she was playing cards with nickles.

I’m just sayin’!!!

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve got another recipe for you guys. This one I made for the last Cake and a Movie night.

We watched the movie, Hard Candy. Wow. This film was incredibly well done. Razor sharp, absolutely awesome… But not for the weak stomach at times. Definitely not a movie you’d pair with a carrot cake. It might be better paired with a glass of Vodka. Straight up.

We had a great group of people come over, 15 in all, though not all stayed the entire time. The movie got off to a late start as we couldn’t stop talking and socializing… not a bad problem at all!

Here are the tweeps that showed up

@j_tigers @laurenreid @mdanbom @ok2baprincess @madmax69 @turtis @kaleb1983 @aurablush @brooding_soul @savannahbrooke @clettenberg @coreyschmidt

And now for the cake!

This is a really great cake and holds a few firsts for me, mostly an original recipe and my first carrot cake. I was a little nervous about it coming out but it did just fine! A very forgiving formula, light and fluffy yet miraculously dense where it matters. The cake is spicy and moist, the frosting sweet and creamy. Let’s get to it!

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot Cake Base
Makes about 7 1/2 cups

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 5 cups shredded carrots

Start by washing, peeling and grating carrots, the smaller the shreds of carrots the better. Put aside.

In a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger until well blended. Add sugar and oil until well blended, batter will be thick. Add in eggs one at a time, ensures a consistent batter. Scrape the batter from the sides of bowl and add carrots, let this mix until smooth and well blended.

Spray three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with baking oil (I prefer to use the kind with flour). Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper as well.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans, about 2 ½ cups per pan, and bake the layers for about 40 minutes each, or until a tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes before placing in the freezer while you make the frosting.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 24 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

All ingredients need to be at room temperature.

Using the stand mixer, whisk all the ingredients on medium until fluffy and smooth. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.

Remove cakes from the freezer, frosting from the refrigerator. Remove one cake from the pan, topside down on the cake platter. Peel away parchment paper. (You can choose to level the top of the cake by cutting it or just flip it upside down to save time and have an extra tall cake, doing so might require more frosting)

Frost the flat top of the first layer and add the second, and then the third and finally, frost the sides of the cake.

Place in the refrigerator until ready to cut and serve.

I choose to top the cake with some extra carrots that I shredded with a micro-plane to create these tiny, soft, bright orange carrot topping.

You can see the entire process in this slideshow.

I hope you enjoy this cake! Let me know if you bake it or have any suggestions. I didn’t include nuts in this cake because I’m allergic and no raisins because some of my regulars have voiced their opposition to the raisin haha.

It’s a HUGE cake when all is said and done. So tall that my glass dome wouldn’t sit on top. It’ll end up being about 6-7 inches tall, 9 inches wide. Mine served 15 with two slices to go, and we went with some really thick slices. You could easily serve up to 20 people with a cake like this.

Also, try substituting half the oil for applesauce or yogurt. You can also use fat free cream cheese for the first 16oz (if you do all fat free the frosting won’t have the proper consistency). You can even cut the sugar by using Splenda’s baking sugar substitute. Do all of this and it’s the perfect cake for those looking at their waistline after a few Cake and a Movie nights have hit their belt! It’ll still taste great and be super moist, I promise!


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The Princess’s Birthday

Holy cow. I had a ton of friends with birthdays yesterday.  It seems like people that had birthdays yesterday are just really awesome friends. Kohl, Patrick and of course, Karen in particular.

Karen (@ok2baprincess), it turns out, is super popular.  Nicole, who set this whole deal up, had something like 30 people at Sycamore’s for her birthday dinner.  How she got everyone together from such different circles, who really knows.

The wait at Sycamore was pretty intense, but a few of us decided a bottle of wine would fix that.

Oh, and for this post, just click the little pictures to see them larger. Didn’t want to make the page super slow to load. Also, you can click the right side of any picture to go to the next one.

After our delicious dinner, we headed over to Top Ten Wines for a few glasses and some ping pong. Just about our entire troupe of people made the voyage. We totally took over that place haha.

Oh, and the wine was amazing.

Uh oh, now I’ve gone into a rant…

I don’t understand how people can NOT just love a good wine. Here in Missouri, many people don’t know what a good wine is. There are several Missouri wineries but most make crap wine, in my opinion.

Those who think they are connaisseurs of wine out here TYPICALLY think Yellow Tail is a top notch wine and Korbel, or worse, André are fabulous champanges, don’t even try to explain sparkling wine to them.

I’m not hating on Missourians, just leading up to how incredibly happy I am that most of my friends aren’t these people, especially those I was with last night.  And even if you do love André and even Riverboat Red, that’s totally fine. I’m glad that you like those wines. Just saying, I don’t and can’t stand when people compare their $8.00 bottle of Hahn Estates’ Cycles Gladiator to my Seghesio.

See it isn’t about the price so much, there are awesome bottles of economical wine. Just do the research.  A bottle of Seghesio costs you under $25 and will mop the floor with that stupid Hahn Estates’ Cycles Gladiator that my father’s side of the family is so obsessed with right now.

Though I pretty much love anything from the Dry Creek Valley.

Where the hell did that come from? Back to the festivities. So we played some ping pong and drank our wine, had our conversation. Awesome time.

Time for some more pictures!

After Top Ten, we broke up a bit, some went for karaoke while others headed home.  Of course, @bigred77 @ericcox and @turtis couldn’t help but model for the camera as we walked to our cars haha.  I love those tweeple!

The night was so much fun. We talked about changing out Sunday mornings around a bit too.  Very excited about that, oh and Cake and a Movie night.  The next one is tomorrow, Monday night! I need movie and cake suggestions.

Happy Birthday Karen! HUGS!

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