Tag Archives: Smitten Kitchen

Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet Event

Last week, I had the opportunity to head into the city and be a part of Fitness Magazine’s Meet & Tweet blogger event! I remember reading a lot about it last year and wishing I had been a part of the fun, so when I heard that they were looking for bloggers to sign up for the event I made sure to get my name in, assuming I wouldn’t be one of the chosen bloggers out of the hundreds that applied. So you can imagine my excitement when I learned that I had been selected to attend!

The event was held at The Mercedes Club, an upscale gym on West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan. Since it started at 9am, I had to take a 6:30ish train into the city to make sure I was there with plenty of time to meet up with some other bloggers and head over from Penn Station. Originally I was dreading the idea of getting up so early and taking NJ Transit during rush hour, but it was a completely uneventful morning – just the way I like it! A few days before the event I connected with Brianna, Toni, and Jen on Twitter and Facebook, and since they were coming either from Long Island or Upstate New York, we decided to meet in Penn Station and head over to the gym together. It’s funny to think how “meeting people on the Internet” was SO dangerous and somewhat taboo only a few years ago, and while it still can be (very) dangerous, I’ve met so many wonderful people and made great connections thanks to the Internet and social media in the last few years!

Once I met up with Brianna, Jen, and Toni, we decided to walk from Penn Station to the gym rather than take the subway since it was a beautiful (albiet a little humid) morning. We made a quick pit-stop at Cafe Olé across the street where a few other bloggers were meeting, and then went right into the event!

fb

Picture courtesy of Brooklyn Active Mama!

As soon as I walked into the Mercedes Club I couldn’t help but be just a bit envious of the gym’s beauty. To be fair, I only belong to a $20/month gym that’s barebones, but it sure would be nice to workout at a location with an awesome facility and beautiful views! But anyway, we checked in, received our schedule for the day, and our name tags that made me feel oh-so-official.

Too legit to quit.

Too legit to quit.

We were able to grab some breakfast (muffins, eggs, Elixir juice), and headed outside to await the event’s speakers. There were a bunch of different speakers, ranging from Sara Lucero, a make-up artist to the stars, to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, to trainer Brett Hoebel, to a pannel of bloggers including the first food blogger I started reading (Smitten Kitchen!), and Rocco DiSpirito.

Posessionista, Smitten Kitchen, Jill Hanner, and Fit Bottomed Girls!

Posessionista, Smitten Kitchen, Jill Hanner, and Fit Bottomed Girls!

It was really great to listen to the speakers talk about different topics (health and wellness, beauty, food, blogging, etc.), and I loved that we got to sit outside and enjoy the day while listening. I must admit I was a little sad to hear both Dr. Ashton and Rocco talk about limiting carbs, but as a runner I know I need them. Plus, let’s be honest – bagels are delicious (so delicious, in fact, that I had three in the last 4 days). But other than that, I really appreciated the honest and genuine talks each person (or persons) participated in!

He's pretty dreamy.

He’s pretty dreamy.

After the awesome speakers, we were given the opportunity to grab some lunch, and check out the vendors. Of course I made a beeline to the Saucony booth, and was thrilled to find out we’d be getting our own pair of Kinvara 4’s! I’d been eyeing these sneakers for awhile, mostly because of their bright and awesome colors, but also because it seemed like everyone who tried them loved them. But I wasn’t in the market for a new pair of running sneakers, so I couldn’t justify buying them… so thanks to Saucony I didn’t have to!

There's magic in there!

There’s magic in there!

I enjoyed stopping by the Reebok booth as well, because I got a chance to look at their sneakers, enter a raffle, and take a sweet picture. I’ve been eyeing the Reebok sneakers for cross-training for what feels like years, but never bit the bullet and bought a pair. Most of the time I do my cross-training in my living room sans-shoes, so I just didn’t see the need for them. I was obviously thrilled when I found out we’d also be receiving a pair of their sneakers! We were encouraged to write something fun on a whiteboard and take a picture, so naturally I went with something about food (cupcakes specifically).

Obviously.

Obviously.

My final stop was another favorite – Smart Balance! My parents have been buying their butter for years, and I’ve tried their peanut butter and love it. So when I saw they had chocolate peanut butter balls, you better believe I snatched one right up (of course as soon as someone started talking to me… so classy). We were given a free jar of peanut butter if we balanced on a bosu ball at their booth. Everyone was doing fun poses, and I was trying to come up with something neat – and then I got on the ball. I could barely stand, let alone maneuver to strike a pose! So after catching my balance, I just stood there and smiled. Better than nothing, right?

Sweet outfit, bro.

Sweet outfit, bro.

While I didn’t take pictures of the other booths, they were equally entertaining. I really loved the Marmot table, since Paige, a professional climber, was there telling us about her year long, world-wide climbing adventure! While I’ve never climbed before, her trip sounded amazing and an once in a lifetime opportunity, all while raising money for a good cause. Really inspiring!

The day finished up with group exercise – either a run with Saucony, a cardio dance class with Athleta, or yoga with Reebok. While I was tempted to sign up for the yoga, I ultimately went for the run, and had a blast running with Dorothy of Mile-Posts and other runner-focused bloggers. I didn’t talk much on the run because I was too busy taking in running on the West Side Highway (city running is my absolute favorite), but I enjoyed it!

After the run I was nice and sweaty, so Brianna and I tried to cool off, and then headed back to Penn Station with our giant goodie bags. As you can imagine, walking through the city with all this stuff wasn’t easy, but it was worth it! After a nice and cool train ride home (I’m pretty sure I smelled, oops), I met up with my dad at his office who was able to drop me off at home, where I unloaded all of my goodies.

So. Much. Swag!

So. Much. Swag!

I’ve already dug into a lot of the swag, and am slowly making my way through the rest. I’ll likely have some reviews in the future for stuff that I really loved (i.e. I would absolutely buy it myself), since a lot of the stuff is from new-to-me companies… and awesome.

It was such a great day – nothing like heading into the city, hanging out with a bunch of people that have the same interests and passions as you, and connecting with brands and people you love! This event just made me wish I lived closer to (or in) the city… it’s where all the fun stuff happens! Thanks again to Fitness Magazine for the amazing opportunity!

4 Comments

Filed under Food Blogging, Life, Running

Guinness cupcakes with Bailey’s buttercream icing

To start, Happy New Year! I really can’t believe it’s 2010 already.

I was able to ring in the new year with lots of food, good friends, and explosives; I don’t think I could have asked for a better night!

For the party, I decided to make Guinness cupcakes with Bailey’s icing. These are close to the “Irish Carbomb” cupcake, but without the chocolate ganache filling. I wasn’t comfortable enough with filling the cupcakes since I’m still pretty new to baking, so I skipped that part. I’m sure they would have been even more delicious with the chocolate and Jameson filling, but I think they turned out pretty darn good without it!

As I mentioned in my last post, I got the 500 Cupcakes cookbook for Christmas. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any New Years Eve/Day specific cupcakes, so I prowled the internet for a boozy recipe. Let me tell you, I found A LOT of recipes, that were all basically the same. I had originally seen the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. However, this time I went with We Are Not Martha‘s recipe since as a novice baker it had some more detail to the instructions (though the recipes are the same).

The cupcake recipe was pretty easy and straight forward (see below), and it didn’t take any longer than a regular mix would. The cake itself was a deep chocolate brown and smelled amazing when they came out of the oven. They had a really great texture, too.

The icing, however, was a little more tedious. For this, I went with Smitten Kitchen’s recipe (see below), since We Are Not Martha had a regular cream cheese frosting. The icing was definitely boozier than the cupcakes, since no heating was involved, leaving all of the alcohol.

Now let me tell you, making buttercream takes a lot of work! I had no idea whatsoever as to the ingredients, the process, or anything. The icing definitely took me the longest. One benefit was definitely the great arm and hand workout I got! I started off creaming the butter with an electric mixer, but then once I added the confections sugar, I decided just a spoon would work better.

Overall it was a long process, since I only have one 12 cupcake pan, I had to do each batch separately. Making the buttercream also took awhile. I spent about 2 hours or so in the kitchen, but I think it was worth it in the end!

I was definitely nervous about the outcome, more so of the icing than the cupcakes themselves, though. I knew the chocolate and Guinness flavors would go well together, but I was apprehensive about the Bailey’s, and especially combining the two. Thankfully, they turned out deliciously! All 24 cupcakes were gone by about 1am, and I got tons of compliments. People were shocked at the ingredients, but really interested at the same time.

On my hunt I found some other really interesting boozy cupcake recipes, such as Jello shot cupcakes, gin & tonic cupcakes, red wine cupcakes, and others. I’m definitely going to try and make another alcohol infused cupcake for the next party I attend. Maybe in the future I’ll try to tackle these again, but with the filling.

I definitely suggest trying to make these if you have the time; they’re great for a party!

Here are the cupcake and icing recipes… enjoy!

Guinness Cupcakes (makes about 24):

What you’ll need:

  • 1.5 C Guinness
  • 1 stick butter, plus 1 T (unsalted)
  • 3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 C dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 C sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 1/2 t baking soda

Directions:

Chop butter into little pieces, and melt in saucepan over medium heat with Guinness
Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in cocoa and sugar
In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, egg and vanilla
Combine the beer and cream mixture
In another bowl, sift together flour and baking soda
Fold the dry ingredients into the Guinness and cream mixture
Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Let cool

Bailey’s Buttercream Icing:

What you’ll need:

  • 3 to 4 cups confections sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Directions:

Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes till light & fluffy.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.*
When frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle Bailey’s (or milk) and whip until combined.
If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.
Ice and decorate!

*The slower the better! When you add the sugar slowly, quick buttercream frosting will be less grainy, and tend to require less sugar to thicken it up!

A special thanks to my oh so wonderful boyfriend for using his nice new DSLR camera to take the beautiful pictures of the cupcakes!

So here’s to 2010 and some seriously delicious nomzing!

3 Comments

Filed under Baking