I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween night in the city. New York’s streets get packed with drunk people in zombie masks, and I get scared!! I went to the Halloween Parade once so that I could cross it off my list, and I’ve never gone back. Most years, I’ve been able to avoid the mad scramble to pull a costume together. Last year, for example, Erin Gunn got married on Halloween. I had a ready-made costume in the form of my bridesmaid dress:


(Photo courtesy of Andrew Kelly.)

This year, however, the same Erin Gunn convinced me that I needed to attend a costume party, and I agreed in honor of her one-year wedding anniversary.

Obviously, I had to find a way to dress as a cupcake.


I found a pink fleece blanket at the dollar store and went to town with my sewing needle. The process, however, was not as smooth as anticipated.

it's not easy being a cupcake.

I forged ahead, though, and I still have the needle pricks in my fingers to prove it!

The finished product was worth the pain:


Yayyy, I’m a cupcake!

Anyway, the appointed hour eventually arrived, and Erik and I hopped on a NJ Transit and rode it forevvvvvvvvvvver until we arrived in New Jersey’s farm country and at this beautiful house, appropriately festooned:


Where our impeccably attired hosts, Elena and Chris, were waiting:


(Photos courtesy of Andrew Kelly.)

Plus co-host, the corpse bride herself, aka Erin Gunn.


The hosting committee had done an outstanding job with decor:

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(Erik was a bedbug victim, in case that’s not clear.)

The themed snacks were amaaaazing and brilliant:


Deviled eggs with olive spiders:


Cheese-ball pumpkins:


Puff-pastry fingers with onion fingernails:

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Hot dogs with puff pastry and mustard:


Chicken cordon bleu balls:


Mini-quiches and spinach pie:



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(Photo courtesy of Andrew Kelly.)

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Beer pong:

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(Photo courtesy of Andrew Kelly.)

Erin Gunn was on dessert duty, and she made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing:


Pumpkin brownie squares:


And rice crispies franken-treats:


The cupcakes were delicious!


It is probably a good thing that I did not keep track of how many I ate:


I must say that this costume provided excellent camouflage for the expansion!

The night charged on. Someone unfortunately got trapped in the freezer:


Captain Kirk danced …


The rockers rocked …


(Photo courtesy of Andrew Kelly.)

Uncle Jesse collapsed in exhaustion …


And the cupcake had a sugar crash:


(Photo courtesy of Andrew Kelly.)

The built-in cushioning was very convenient!

In conclusion, I loved being a cupcake, and I wish I could be one every day. Life would be so comfortable … 😀

Was your Halloween costume comfortable or uncomfortable?


A few weeks ago, my CSA had a Meet & Eat Potluck gathering in Carroll Gardens. Obviously, I did not want to buy anything new to bring to the event. Since we had been receiving 12-14 plums every week from the CSA, I googled plum recipes and found this from Barefoot in Paris.

I loosely followed the instructions and filled the bottom of a baking dish with lots of plum halves, cut side down. I browned a mix of Sugar in the Raw and water (I had to guess because it was brown to begin with!) and poured it over the plums.


I also made two baby ones for taste-testing purposes:


Then, I smeared batter over the whole thing. I used yogurt instead of sour cream, lime zest instead of lemon zest, unsweetened coconut flakes instead of vanilla extract, 3/4 whole wheat flour and 1/4 white flour instead of all white, and somewhat less sugar than required, given that the whole thing was doused in that melted sugar caramel concoction.


I baked it and cooled it and then inverted it.


I was obviously in love with how pretty it was and could not stop taking pictures.


Sprinkled with coconut (instead of powdered sugar):

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When I cook things for myself, I tend to go nuts on the substitutions and make it as healthy as possible. I have to reign in those instincts when I am cooking for others. I think I made a good compromise on this cake and was excited to share it at the potluck.


Aside from the cake, we had tons of delicious food including lots of salad, pesto pasta, wheatberry salad, freshly baked homemade bread, and the list goes on.


The cake was a hit 🙂

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Yay, CSA!


P.S. If you were cringing at my disgusting stovetop in those cake pictures, do not fear! I also did a big scrub-down when I finished with the cooking saga:


Much better! It’s amazing what some steel wool can accomplish. The End!

Swingles club

At the very end of September, right before I took the LMSW exam, I decided I needed a break. I needed water, and I needed dessert. I researched a way to get both.

Erik and I took the free IKEA shuttle bus out to Red Hook and started following the beach grass:


Red Hook is a formerly industrial area turned residential and swanky. We passed IKEA …


… and eventually sighted water!


Back behind IKEA, there is a whole world of waterfront parkway honoring the industrial history of the area.

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We did some modeling …

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… and then continued on our dessert mission.

This sign was not incredibly helpful with helping us locate our destination, but we forged ahead nonetheless.


A ha! Getting closer …

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Warmer …

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Finally, when we thought we could not follow one more arrow, we arrived!!


We each ordered a swingle, the dessert of my dreams.


A swingle is a 4-inch key lime pie tart, frozen on a stick and dipped in dark chocolate.


Pretty much the best dessert imaginable:


Right across from Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie shop, we saw this:


The best garden ever to go with the best dessert ever!

The garden was lush with tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplant, and tons of other beautiful veggies, including some Italian zucchini craziness!

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I had never seen anything growing like this before! They looked like giant, thick pea pods growing from overhead vines. I had to call in the expert (my mom) to ascertain their exact identity.

We walked out past the garden to more waterfront parkway and enjoyed the view. Once again, note the industrial-turned-residentialness of it all:


Plus the swank of a departing cruise ship:


And prime viewing of the Statue of Liberty.

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We took a quick run through this adorable old barge/museum:




We relaxed with the water a bit more and then set out for our secondary destination:




We stocked up on some extras that we don’t get through the CSA and then meandered back toward IKEA to get the return bus.

We were sidetracked, however, into making a record-time swing through the showroom, since Erik had never been.


I feel in love with some bedding, so we did make a small purchase, too.


Yayyyy, new duvet set 🙂 I am so excited to sleep under these pretty sheets every night now. I spent the next week studying on top of them and eventually passing my test. So there is something to be said for the motivation potential of water, swingles, and new bedding. And Brooklyn for providing it all.