Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Pink Saturday!

It's a Party!

A Birthday Party for Beverly's Pink Saturday

Today Beverly @ How Sweet the Sound is celebrating two years of her now famously popular weekly meme, Pink Saturday. This weekly meme has occurred every Saturday since Beverly posted her first Pink Saturday photo on May 31, 2008. It has steadily grown to include over 700 different people participating at various times over the previous two years. Join me for a bite of a pinkolicious strawberry cupcake in honor of this occasion.

Beverly make a wish and blow out your candle!

Happy Birthday, Pink Saturday!

hey cupcake! An Austin Original

The cupcakes for today's party are from 

hey cupcake! an Austin original.

The strawberry cupcake is hey cupcake's newest flavor, and is it yummy. This is the eighth flavor, and is made with strawberry cake and a strawberry cream cheese icing.

hey cupcake! has seven additional flavors as well. Each is made from rich, moist cake and topped with a creamy icing and sprinkles.

Check out the menu board and place an order for a dozen to take home. You'll get an extra cupcake free!

The most popular flavor hands-down, 

according to an employee, is the 

Red Velvet with cream cheese icing.

Airstream Location on Congress Ave.

Started in 2007 by a young man named Wes Hurt, today hey cupcake! has four Airstream locations and one actual storefront. The storefront location is in connection with the business office and bakery and is designed to look like the inside of an Airstream.

Menu Board of the Offerings

The menu board now features 8 choices: Vanilla Dream, The Standard, Double Dose, Snowcap, Red Velvet, Michael Jackson, 24 Carrot, and Strawberry. There is also a vegan option sometimes. When a flavor is gone a little "Sold Out" magnet is placed over that variety. One can also ask to make the cupcake a "whipper snapper". That's when they inject it with fresh whipped cream.

Billboard Sign at the Walk-in Location

This is the clever sign that is posted outside the main office and bakery. It's just a hint at the creativity that one encounters once inside. I think Wes Hurt must have a terrific sense of humor.

Order Counter

Once inside of the store you feel like you could be inside an Airstream. It's a small space with just a few tables, and the order counter is constructed from actual parts from an Airstream. Lots of shiny stainless steel and accents of chocolate and bubblegum pink create the yummy mood.

Cruising Along in the Airstream

There is even a "window" which streams video of footage as if one were actually cruising along the streets of Austin in the Airstream.

The menu choices are the same at each location. Baked fresh at the storefront location, the cupcakes are transported to the Airstream locations daily. The Red Velvet and the Vanilla Dream are the best sellers. hey cupcake ! sells thousands of cupcakes a week. Better get there early though before your favorite sells out.

Trivia Board

One wall has this large board that displays interesting trivia about cupcakes and Airstreams. Another wall has one of those wavy mirrors like what I remember from the House of Mirrors at carnivals of my youth. If you stand in front of it you look elongated or wide or whatever. You get the idea.

The Snowcap

Those of you who follow my blog have seen this one featured in a previous Pink Saturday post here. It's chocolate cake with a buttercream icing and still my all-time favorite.

Wes Hunt's Great Sense of Humor

Yum....oh so good!

Happy Birthday, Pink Saturday!

Click here for more Pink Saturday Birthday Celebrations.

Since cupcakes are some of my favorite things,
I'm also linking this to Laurie's A Few of My Favorite Things

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

S is for Storks

S is for Stork

A few years ago we had the opportunity to spend a week in Marrakech, Morocco. The White Stork was a dominate figure on the landscape in this ancient walled city. These birds are considered holy in Marrakech.

Known to be monogamous, the White Stork often returns to the same nest year after year.

They are large birds with long legs, a long neck, and a long stout bill. Completely white except for the black feathers on the wings, these birds can weigh 10 pounds.

We sat and watched the activity of this nest from the terrace of our room as this pair of white storks came and went. They were most attentive to the young hatchlings in the nest. It was difficult to catch the babies with the camera, but we could see them on occasion when one of the parents returned to feed them.

The nests were huge, and as you can see were perched atop these towers. There were stork nests high up on the minarets and the towers of the kasbahs throughout the city.

Storks are mostly silent and do not have a bird call. Instead they click their bill together to cause a clattering sound as their mode of communication. This clattering could be heard when the parents were together on the nest.

Storks generally lay 3-5 eggs. We occasionally saw little heads pop up from inside this nest off and on.

Being heavy birds with a wide wing span, storks mostly soar or glide rather than flapping their wings. This helps them to conserve energy in flight.

Storks fly with their neck outstretched and their long legs stretched out behind them.

This hand crafted silver bookmark is one of the souvenirs from our trip. This graceful cigogne has a delightful tassel that hangs from the feet.

Anyone who enjoys embroidery, needlepoint, or counted cross stitch will likely recognize these gold-plated stork scissors. Long a classic scissor design used in the needle arts, the scissors shown above on the left were my very first pair of handwork scissors. They are German made, while the newer and somewhat smaller one on the right is Italian.

This pair is unmarked, but newly made. Note the interesting "feet" below the finger holes on the one on the left and the flat tipped bill of the one on the right. I'm not certain what the intended purpose is for the "feet", but the flat tipped bill comes in handy for pulling a needle though heavy layers of thread.

This one was hand forged by a talented blacksmith from Uzbekistan. I purchased it last summer at the International Folk Art Market held in Santa Fe, NM. You can read a previous post about this annual event here.

Storks have long been associated with happiness and prosperity. The White Stork is also associated with childbirth in Western culture. The stork's role in nursery stories and folklore most likely originated in Germany or the Netherlands. The image above of a stork delivering a new born baby has been common since Victorian times.

For more Letter S Lessons, click here to glide on over to Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.

This post will also be linked to the following weekly parties hosted by these lovely ladies:

Monday, May 17, 2010



By Michael Lee West is available here on Amazon.
I give this book *****.

This is my 7th book review linked to Food for Thought hosted by the incredibly talented Jain of Once in a Blue Moon and Food with Style. Those of you here for Pink Saturday will find pink scattered about. This post is also linked to Foodie Friday which is hosted by the talented author of this book, Michael Lee West.

I started early~Took my dog~
And visited the Sea
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me
~ Emily Dickinson ~

The title, MERMAIDS IN THE BASEMENT, was inspired from the first lines of Emily Dickinson's poem. The novel is a charming tale of relationships: those between women; those of mothers and daughters; those of fathers and daughters.

Author, Michael Lee West

It's interesting to note that Michael Lee wrote the first version of this book two decades ago. She wasn't satisfied with it, packed it away in a shopping bag, and left it to languish in the attic. Luckily for her fans, Michael Lee retrieved those pages, reworked the plot, and the end result is this delightfully funny and heartwarming novel.

Thirty-three year old Renata, a Hollywood screenplay writer raised in New Orleans and coastal Alabama, has recently lost both her mother and stepfather in a fatal plane crash. Mourning her loss, Renata retreats to her deceased parents' beach cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Michael Lee said, "The title serves as a metaphor for Renata's depression and for the hidden past, bringing the truth out of the darkness, into the light."

Renata has spent six weeks by herself at the cottage working on her screenplay while Ferg, her filmmaker sweetheart, is on location in Ireland filming his current project. With writer's block sabotaging her work, an extra 20 pounds gained from indulging in salt water taffy, and a tabloid story about her sweetheart having an affair with a hot young actress, it's no wonder this character is feeling depressed.

A trip to Point Clear on the Gulf Coast of Alabama to spend time with her grandmother and former nanny, leads to some remarkable family discoveries. With a mug of jasmine tea, plate of gingersnaps, and a family photo album, family secrets begin to unravel.

To complicate matters, Renata's emotionally distant father is about to marry for the fourth time. An engagement party with champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, and a mysterious incident thickens the plot.

Though Texas isn't thought of as being part of the deep south, there were many references in this book that I could easily relate to and laugh about. Where I grew up, no one had cooks or full time help in the home, but the food references . . . yes, indeed. This book is a treasure chest of southern hospitality.

Even though it's not about mermaids, a theme of mermaids is woven through the stories told within this book. Full of references to southern food, MERMAIDS IN THE BASEMENT is a perfect novel for an edible book review.

Much of the stories take place in New Orleans and Louisiana, so I pulled out some appropriate cookbooks.

Crab, shrimp, oysters, and a number of fish dishes came to mind.

But a bowl of shrimp gumbo is what I chose.

Spicy gumbo with garlic French bread

Louisiana Shrimp Gumbo made with a dark roux, shrimp, and okra

And for dessert . . . southern pecan pie

A treat from the mermaids

Sweet, dark, and oh, so rich

Do you hear the song of the siren calling from the deep?

Be cautious or she'll entice you with her sweet voice and lure you to the sea.

If you find yourself on a beach this summer . . .

I recommend you take along a copy of this book and see for yourself how a string of pearls and chocolate covered strawberries put the bride-to-be in a coma.

Michael Lee West, the author of five novels, is a marvelous story teller. Her characters are full of personality, and the words on the pages ooze southern charm. You can visit Michael Lee's web site here. To learn about the simple pleasures of farm life, visit Michael Lee's blog, Designs by Gollum, where you'll find inspiration for interior design, cooking, and setting beautiful tables.

More edible book reviews for today's Food for Thought can be found by clicking here.

I've recently discovered a charming blog full of beautiful poetry and photos. Pop on over to Heart of a Wizardess to enjoy a lovely pinkolicious post and welcome this first time Pink Saturday participant. You'll find a complete list of other Pink Saturday participants @ Beverly's How Sweet the Sound.