24 September 2009

Still good after all these years

These are our cake toppers.

Over ten years ago, when we were planning our wedding, we knew we didn't want to have the traditional cake toppers of a bride and groom. We wanted something that reflected us as people and wished we could find little surfers for our cake.

Bryan comes home from tour and presents us with these two figures, telling us he saw them while he was on the road and it made him think of us so he bought them. He had NO IDEA it was EXACTLY what we were looking for - he did it out of the goodness of his heart and nothing more.

They were and still are, perfect.


For our party I made two different kinds of mini cupcakes. I forgot to photograph the Chocolate Cupcake with Mocha Icing before I served them - there were none left. There were also Ginger-Vanilla Cupcakes with Rosewater Frosting. Again, I got the recipes from The Gluten-Free Goddess, Karina Allrich.

For the Mocha Icing recipe, click here.
For the Chocolate Cupcake recipe, click here.

I used Karina's recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes as the jumping off point for the Ginger-Vanilla Cupcakes... Instead of using rice milk, I used a combo of Almond milk and Coconut milk. I also added a 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder and a good amount of ginger pulp - which I got from juicing ginger in my Breville juicer.

The recipe for the Rosewater Frosting is adapted from VCTOTW. I took the original Vanilla "Buttercream" and instead of using vanilla, I added rose water. To make the icing pink, I added about three to four drops of red food coloring.

Audrey helped me frost the cupcakes - we did it with knives instead of piping bags. Next time I'll try my hand at piping - it could be messy, good fun!

Anniversary Weekend

We celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary September 18th.
It was a GREAT weekend! Filled with surfing, spending time with friends & family - good food and good times!
The weather was PERFECT and EXACTLY the same as the day we got married. I couldn't have asked for more - Well... except MANY more decades of life this good and better.

Kicking off Anniversary Weekend with a Youth Brigade show at The Lanes.

Lizzie - champagne & pizza

Miss Megan

Broomcakes & CPM

Look at this CAKE!!! (from L&M Bakery)

Mike and my sombrero

My love & Uncle Jim

Fly ladies


Thanks to everyone that made it and extra big thanks for all the help!
When I'm feeling less tired, I'll actually try to write something a little more descriptive about the whole weekend. Until then - See the rest of the photos here.
Much love to you all!

15 September 2009

Holiday Weekend Visitors

Labour Day weekend was busy at our house. We had lots of out of town guests. Heather Ryan came to spend a few days at the beach before she started her next tour. Mike and his new girlfriend Sarah stayed until Monday morning and then Monday afternoon, Rob, Rob & Nada decided to leave the city and check us out. We made and ate good food - visited the beach - rode bicycles.

baked goodness

Labour Day weekend the weather had cooled significantly and it was time to fire up the oven. I hadn't baked anything in months - it was too hot - and if I'd even dared to, M would have divorced me on the spot. No baking in the house when it's hot.

I woke up Sunday of the holiday weekend (before anyone else in the house had stirred) and decided to make the following two recipes: Summer Peach Cake and Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Icing both by Karina Allrich of Karina's Kitchen.

The peach cake was only supposed to bake for thirty minutes. Mine took two hours. Yep, TWO FREAKIN' HOURS!!! It was my mistake for not actually measuring out how many fresh peaches I'd peeled and sliced and then my 9-inch round pan wasn't exactly nine inches. It was more like 8 3/4. Let me tell you what a difference that little quarter of an inch makes while you're baking!

The cake exploded over the sides, littering the bottom of the oven with gooey peaches. I couldn't open the door to put a cookie sheet down until the first thirty minutes were up. I didn't want the cake to fall. So I sat and watched through the window as the batter and peaches oozed over the sides. At thirty minutes it was painfully obvious the cake was nowhere near done. The center was still molten. I slipped a cookie tray on the bottom rack, turned the temp down to 325 degrees - watched and waited. (By this time everyone in the house was awake and they even left to go to breakfast at Frank's - I stayed behind - I wasn't about to abandon my cake!) Every 20 minutes or so I would stick a wooden skewer in the middle of the cake and it just wouldn't come out clean. I waited some more - checked some more - turned the cake - and finally - close to the two hour mark the cake was finally done!!! I didn't even burn it! It was a miracle.

After averting the near disaster with the peach cake, I popped the cupcakes into the oven and those baked without issue. However when I was making the icing I got a little sloppy and spilled too much coffee into the bowl with the sugar and shortening. The only way to make it stiffen was to add more sugar, which I didn't want to do, so I ended up with glaze. We made a little hollow part in the cupcakes and poured the glaze in. DELICIOUS!!!! I would have drunk the glaze straight from the bowl if that wouldn't have been so gauche.


This carrot came from my tiny garden. It wasn't quite ready to come out of the ground, as you can see. Oh well, I still have four more to let sit until they're ready. I'll be able to make one glass of juice.

11 September 2009


This is the first time in eight years the sun is not shining on this day. The sky is not a bright, clear blue. The temperature is not a crisp, 70-something degrees. Instead, today is blustery and cool. There is a tornado watch in parts of New Jersey. It is raining.

10 September 2009

The Health Care debate & moving forward

Firedoglake is one of my favorite blogs and there is a really great post by Lane Hudson about President Obama's speech on the health care reform debate and how to move forward.

One of the (many) notable graphs from this story is the following:

The bottom line is insurance companies don't care, Democrats have a real mandate, Republicans won't support anything, and it's time to flex some muscle. Before the discussion even began in earnest, insurance companies already won when a single payer plan was replaced with a goal of universal coverage. Let me say what no one is saying:

"- Health insurance companies are corporations with a fiduciary responsibility to earn a profit for its shareholders.

- They do not have a legal responsibility to provide medical care.

- Yet, health insurance companies are the primary means of access to medical care for Americans.

- All of the above points to a system that is badly broken."

The story makes many other good points and I urge you to read it. We need some meaningful reform and we need it NOW. The Dems have enough votes to pass a good bill without any help from the Republicans, who have proven since the day Obama took office, they are in this only to help themselves - no matter what.

08 September 2009

Be at Peace - Richard F. Cunningham Jr.

Richard F. Cunningham Jr.
E-mail Visit Guest Book
Richard F. Cunningham Jr., 32, of Milltown found his peace on Friday, Sept. 4, 2009. Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6, and a service will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 7, at The Crabiel Home for Funerals, 170 N. Main St. at Riva Avenue, Milltown, NJ. You may sign the "obituary" e-mail condolence "Guestbook" at www.Crabiel.com. Memories and messages to the family can be posted at www.armyofrich.org.

Born in Livingston, raised in Irvington and Matawan, Rich went on to graduate from Rutgers University in 1999 with a degree in labor studies. In 1995 Rich formed Happy Days Records and gave the world a first glance at bands such as Hot Water Music and Ink & Dagger, as well as other great records by artists such as Endeavor, Human Remains, and Time's Up. Shortly after graduating, Rich moved his efforts, experience, and passion to begin a career in labor organizing. He formed New Labor, an alternative model of worker organization centered on organizing and building power for low-wage, young, immigrant workers in central New Jersey. New Labor has grown to over 1,500 members since its founding in 2000. His work as executive director of New Labor led to another labor partnership and the founding of Laborers Local 55 in 2009, a new local focused on emerging industries such as green construction and energy conservation. Most recently, Rich worked as a business manager with Laborers Local 55.

Although his professional accomplishments were many, his greatest personal accomplishment was being an amazing father to his girls. He was predeceased by his father, Richard Cunningham Sr. His spirit, passion and love lives on in his wife, Heather Knapp Cunningham; his twin daughters, Lily Ava and Reese Sydney; his mother Karen Gebhardt Cunningham; his sister, Melissa Cunningham, as well as the countless other family, friends, and co-workers whose lives he touched.

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to www.armyofrich.org, www.thetjlfoundation.org or www.challahfoundation.org.

04 September 2009

Happy Birthday to you

I'm a big enough fan of Aveda that I'm going to post this on my blog...

Join Aveda's Birthday Program today and get a free, full-size product on your birthday!

You get a little post card that you take to your nearest Aveda store and they give you a lovely little gift. All for the trouble of just signing up - nothing more.

Easypeasy and Happy Birthday to you!

02 September 2009

That CA & NJ were somehow not so far apart

Stephanie & Sadie came to visit at the end of August. I hadn't seen them since March, when I went out to visit them in California. I can't believe how much Sadie has grown - she is walking, not crawling - and saying TONS of words. She's such a smart little thing, it blows my mind.

I picked Stephanie & Sadie up in Middletown Sunday afternoon, so they wouldn't have to be on the train so long. We drove on a road and passed a school with a really funny name.

It was really hot and humid the day they arrived, so we mostly just sat around the house and tried not to sweat. In the late afternoon, we went up to the beach where I surfed and Sadie and Stephanie played on the sand. We didn't eat dinner until SOOOOO late - first all the sand had to be washed off and food prepared. Nothing too fancy, just some pasta & sauce with some fresh Jersey tomatoes thrown in.

Monday we stopped by Kate's house before her next European adventure and then I took Stephanie for her first Wegmans experience. In the afternoon we hit the beach again for more surfing and running around.

Tuesday we made some Cantaloupe Soup in the morning (the recipe is from The Joy of Cooking) and then hit some stores, did a lot of walking around, hit the beach late in the day again and then took Stephanie and Sadie to Vic's for the first time. The food there is always delicious - Stephanie loved it and for the holidays I will try to overnight her some sauce. It's THAT good.

Wednesday was kind of sad, since we had to go to the airport and say à bientôt. Stephanie wrote about her time in on the Right Coast here. You can also see her photos of the visit by clicking this link. You can check out the rest of my photos of their visit by clicking here.

I wish Emeryville wasn't so far from Bradley Beach... (sigh)
Can't wait til the next visit!!!!

I love this kid

I don't want kids of my own.
But if I did have a kid, I would want her to be just like Sadie.