Monday, July 26, 2010

Sweet tea cupcakes!

I mentioned, in a previous post, that I am very into cooking and baking, yes? Well, I decided that from now on I would share on the blog every recipe I try, along with the results. :)

Today, I've finally made the sweet tea cupcakes I talked about briefly, which is fortunate because I also discovered that I have an excess of tea in the cupboards [something which is still a mystery to me, since I drink tea everyday, and in no small amount] and this recipe knocks out 8 tea bags in one go!

The cupcakes are very delicious, but slightly dry... so an accompaniment of milk is a definite requirement! Instead of using the given recipe for the Raspberry Lemon Iced Tea frosting, I just used some store-bought cream cheese frosting, a move that I was a bit dubious about in retrospect. But, after trying it, I was just as happy with it. Still, next time I'll try the given recipe. I also left a few unfrosted, since my grandmother has diabetes, and those actually taste really good with tea.

Sadly I didn't really take any pictures until the cupcakes were done and out of the oven... but I did manage to get some during the frosting process :) But first, the recipe!

Sweet Tea Cupcakes with Raspberry-Lemon Iced Tea frosting
[This recipe comes from Amanda at Like a Cupcake to the Head :)]

for cupcakes:
1/2 cup milk (soy milk, half and half, 2%, your choice)
8 standard size tea bags
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

for frosting:
3 sleeves instant iced tea with lemon powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp raspberry extract
approx 2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbs heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350. Line 12-cup muffin pan with liners.

Heat milk in microwave for 30-45 seconds. Place all 8 tea bags in milk and force down to absorb all liquid. Let this steep for at least 20 minutes.

In a medium bowl mix together sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir in milk/tea mixture until well blended. Then add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine.

Divide into a 12-cup muffin pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool.

To prepare frosting:

Beat butter, iced tea powder, salt and raspberry extract for approximately 1 minute. Then add powdered sugar and beat slowly to avoid being covered in sweet, sugary dust (unless you like that sort of thing). Add heavy cream if frosting needs thinning.

Frost cupcakes when cool.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nike was the Greek Goddess of victory.

This is one of the most famous exhibits at the Louvre, having been on display there since 1884. It is a sculpture from Greece, in the second century BC. The full name is Nike of Samothrace, or Winged Victory of Samothrace... usually shortened to just Winged Victory. I was lucky enough to see this beauty when I was in Paris a few years ago, though these pictures aren't mine.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am absolutely crazy about Greek mythology. I am pretty familiar with a lot of it, or at least I'd like to think so... but I still constantly find myself learning new things. For example, the fact that Nike was the Greek goddess of victory. Think about that next time you buy a pair of gold high-top Air Dunks with black sequined panels ;)

Speaking of... those may be my favourite shoes ever. My grandma bought them for me as a 2-in-1 for Christmas and my birthday... since they were so expensive, and my birthday is only four days after Christmas, I asked her to just get me this one present for both occasions. I can't very well say that I regret my decision!

I also really adore this shirt... which I actually took from my aunt in Iran. Well, she gave it to me, after seeing how much I liked it. My aunt is... shall I say, a little meatier than me, so this shirt is slightly baggy on me. It sort of has a boyish fit that I love, and it actually inspired me to try and find another shirt with a similar fit. I sort of succeeded: I found a plain striped t-shirt from Forever 21, of which I got the large size. It actually looks pretty nice, and it was only about $6, so I'm happy! I might even go get another colour or two sometime later :)

Not much more to say here... though I note that my hair does not normally look this horrible; it was wet when these pictures were taken.

The fabled Air Dunks.

striped t-shirt from my aunt
my first pair of skinny jeans, from forever 21 [bought years ago... so ancient that they have a huge hole in the knee :)]
my beloved gold nikes
clear lenses
jewelry, jewelry, jewelry.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A 2-in-1 post, sort of.

Looking at my older outfit posts, the ones I'll do from now on will look so much better! This is probably because of two things: one, my style is better now [or at least I'd like to think so], and two, instead of relying so much on self-timed pictures in front of my bedroom door [even though I still take some of my own photos... and those are blurry!] I've started going outside and recruiting my mother to take pictures. You can laugh, but it's not like I have anyone else to do it! I left my brothers in Iran, and sadly they are the photographers who would be perfect for the job.

Anyway, ecco two variations on the same outfit. I'm absolutely in love with these fake glasses, which I got for $5 in Downtown. I really would wear them much more often if I didn't sometimes feel so silly going out in public with them. The reason for the second variation is because in the late afternoon and evening that day [Tuesday of this week] I went out with my friends for the first time since I got back from Iran. We went to the Grove, which I always love seeing since it's a rare treat for me! It's actually sort of mind-blowing to me how little of Los Angeles I actually know, despite having lived here for over 19 years [this number comes from the fact that we moved here to a suburb of LA when I was two months old, and I am now just 5 months short of 20]. I suppose it's a good thing I'll be attending UCLA, which is almost at the heart of this city.... which is becoming increasingly more beautiful and intriguing to me by the day.

[Please click on the pictures to view them big, since they look much better that way!]

Here's the second variation... though I personally like this one better, unfortunately I didn't take as many pictures of it, since I was in a rush to leave the house. Maybe someday I'll do the outfit again, and take even better pictures.

h&m grey blazer, a new purchase :)
simple white tank from target
black denim shorts from forever 21
steve madden studded gladiator sandals
coral pink scarf from forever 21
billabong black jeans, a gift
rose, pearl, and gold necklace from forever 21
my new favourite bag, a gift from my aunt in paris!
fake wayfarer clear lenses from downtown
rings from iran, forever 21, and artesia [and some gifts]
bracelets from downtown, haight-ashbury, iran, found, and gifts

Life update.

I've decided to try and restart my blog again! I've been so busy these past few months. A few important things:
  1. I never did get a job.
  2. Also, no Miami this summer. Ha!
  3. I am going to UCLA this fall! I will actually be taking the last summer session there, just prior to the start of the fall quarter [September 23], so I actually start there a bit earlier than some of my friends... August 2. I will be living on campus, in a dorm, and I am SO excited to finally be moving out! It's really beyond unbelievable :)
  4. I went to Iran! I just got back last Thursday, the 15th of July, and I'm STILL not finished uploading all the pictures onto Facebook... probably because I have over 2000! The trip was actually really helpful for me, because we flew with Alitalia and had an 8-hour layover in Fiumicino [the airport in Rome] on the way there! I got to practice some Italian [though admittedly not very well] and I picked up a few of the in-flight airline magazines on the way back. I'm so excited to be studying a semester there next fall [if all goes according to plan!]. Flying over much of Europe and seeing everything from an aerial view let my imagination run wild during those 11 long hours from Los Angeles to Rome, and it made my strong ambition to someday live in Europe and ideally see every country there piĆ¹ forte, as they would say in Italia :) But enough about Italy and Europe: Iran was even more amazing than I could have dreamed. The family I have there are all so amazing... I even picked up two brothers [my cousins... my mother's sister's two sons. The older one is Sepehr, who had just turned 13 a few days before we arrived, and the younger one is Soheil, who is 9]. I can't believe I only had a month there with them. I still feel as though I can just walk a few blocks and be in their house any time I want to see them. I wish they all could come live here [or maybe we could all live together in Europe ;)] because they truly are better than any of my family here, and I miss them so much... but as you know it's almost impossible for Iranians to get a visa to immigrate to the US. We try to Skype with them every day, but it's really difficult for them to have internet there because of the situation. For now, I suppose we just have to be patient.
  5. Romanian music still rules my life... completely! I honestly can't get enough of it. A funny story: one day in Iran, I was in the bedroom ironing one of my shirts, and my cousins were watching one of the music channels on satellite. I think it was an Italian channel, so they were obviously playing a lot of European music. From the room, I heard the first few seconds of the new Akcent song Love Stoned, and I was so ecstatic that I screamed at the top of my lungs, dropped my shirt and nearly the iron too, and ran into the room to watch the video, even though I've seen it almost a million times! My family had no idea what was going on for the first few seconds, and they thought I had seen a bug... since I SOMEHOW picked up the reputation of being deathly afraid of bugs and insects.
  6. I finally got a Lookbook, so now you'll be seeing a lot more fashion-related posts! I've already put up a few outfits, but never really took the time to make blog posts for them. I suppose I should do those soon.
  7. I've been spending almost the entire last few days browsing through hundreds of articles on Wikipedia. Most of the articles were various places of the world I would like to visit... or places I visited in Iran and wanted to know more about. Also "researched": various cultures and cuisines, movies, books, actors and actresses, etc.
  8. A minor note, I've been picking up cooking and baking. So far I've made quiche lorraine, garlic basil pesto, nutella swirl cupcakes, and nutella olive oil cupcakes... all from scratch! Today I hope to make some sweet tea cupcakes to use up some of the flour... since we seem to be getting the first batch of the summer ant rush -___-
That's all I can think of so far! I've taken quite a few outfit pictures these past few days, so I'll be putting those up shortly. Ciao!