Monday, September 20, 2010

I Love Gerbera Daisies!

Aren't these flowers gorgeous! They are so fall. I love them!!!

Caramel Crunch Bars (warning...these are addicting!)

This weekend my family came to visit so I made a special treat. They were soooo good!
Carmel Crunch Bars
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
For the Base:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder (I used Postum)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
For the Topping:
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup Heath Toffee Bits
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9 x 13 inch pan lined with foil.
Whisk together the flour, Postum, salt, and cinnamon.
Working with a stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth, about 3 min. Add the sugars and beat for another 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light and creamy. Beat in the vanilla, then turn off the mixer. Add all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated. Add the chopped chocolate and mix only until the dry ingredients disappear. Scrape the dough into the butter pan and spread into a thin even layer.
Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the base is bubbly and puckery. Transfer the pan to a rack and turn off the oven.
Scatter the chopped chocolate evenly over the top of the hot base and pop them back in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, until the chocolate is soft. Remove from the oven and immediately spread the chocolate over the bars, using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the toffee bits over the chocolate and press them down lightly with your fingertips. Place the baking pan on a rack to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate them to set the chocolate if necessary.
Serve with ice cream!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Classic: Vanilla and Chocolate

I haven't done a ton of baking since I have been here in MD. I have a miniature oven and was quite discouraged when I baked my first batch of chocolate chip cookies and found that the bottoms were burnt and the tops raw.

It has taken a little experimenting but I have finally figured out my oven and it works really wonderfully.

For a work picnic, I made a classic Dark Chocolate cupcake and swirled on a "little" Vanilla Bean Swiss-Meringue Buttercream.

I usually don't eat the treats I make because I know how much butter goes into them. But these turned out amazing and were definitely worth the calories!!!

Memorial Day at Arlington

While I missed being in Utah for the annual "Zumbrennen Bike and BBQ", it was a truly amazing experience to be in Arlington Cemetery for Memorial Day this year.
Every grave marker had a flag perfectly placed in honor of our fallen heroes.

The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was just as fantastic as I remembered.

Love this picture with the flags.

I want the Washington Monument as my grave marker!

This is Senator Teddy Kennedy's cross. He lies very close John and Bobby.

May we always remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Happy Memorial Day!


In February of this year, I was in a little accident. We had a sudden snow fall on a very very cold day. I was late for stake conference and was driving a little too fast. I suddenly found that I was sliding out of control and had two options: turn the wheel and run into the curb or head straight on into a busy road full of traffic. I opted for the first option but cracked my hubcap in half as a result.

With one thing and another, I didn't have the chance to replace the hubcap before moving to Utah. So I drove across the country in what my friends would refer to as a "ghetto car". When I arrived in MD, I ordered a hubcap online and quickly installed it.

Unfortunately, I didn't know that Honda hubcaps have to be bolted on with the lugnuts and not just clipped on like most other hubcaps. I therefore lost my new hubcap only a few miles.
6 months, 2200 miles, and 2 "new" hubcaps later, I finally have a car that my friends will no longer call "ghetto".
P.S. I also got Maryland plates so I am officially a resident!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Date with the White House

My friend Julie came to visit from Utah for the weekend. We had tons of fun.

Our main goal was to see the white house gardens. They are only open 4 days a year.

We got up super early so we could be downtown by 8am to get tickets. All of the websites said that there are thousands of people that go every year and if you don't get there early enough, you won't get a ticket. We got there at 8:30 am and guess how many tickets they had left? Thousands and thousands! We decided to get tickets for 3 pm and head back to Bethesda for breakfast and BED.

We ate at the cutest French bakery/cafe. It's called Le Madeleine and I think I am officially in love. I will definitely go back there again...and again...and again.

After our nap, we started our day all over and took the metro downtown. We waited for about a half an hour before we were let through the gate. And then...we waited in line again.

This time we had to get through the security line. Julie had a ton of food in her bag so we decided to "hide" it in the pockets of my jacket. Unfortunately security was very thorough and soon enough I heard the security guard say, "This jacket is chalk full of food!" I almost laughed out loud. One way or another we got through security with ALL of our belongings.

We were able to get super close to the white house.

There weren't very many flowers. Except around the children's garden...aren't the little chairs so cute!

This is Sasha and Malia's swing set. President Obama can watch his kids play from the Oval Office.

We saw Michelle Obama's infamous vegetable garden.

After schmoozing with the Obama's we walked to Ford's Theater and the "House Where Lincoln Died" (very descriptive name isn't it?). We finished our day with some super yummy drinks at Hard Rock Cafe. Thanks for coming Julie. I had a blast!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I have been wanting to post a video of my new apartment for a while but I had some major cleaning to do before I could really get moved in. I found this little family of dead potato bugs beneath my bed. Now I understand that this is a basement, so I should expect more bugs than usual, but I would prefer not to feel like I'm camping when I'm in my home.

So at long last here's a short video showing my new digs. You may want to take something to prevent sea-sickness before you watch it because it's a bit bouncy! :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cherry Blossom Fest

Dad stayed with me a few days in Bethesda to help me get settled (THANKS DAD!!!) Before he took off for Utah, we decided to check out the Cherry Blossom Festival and some of the memorials downtown.

The cherry blossoms were beautiful!

I saw the Korean Memorial for the first time... It was very moving.

At the Vietnam memorial, we tried to find a Zumbrennen. The closest we could find at 24 W line 25 was "Zumbrun". (Can you see it?)

It was a beautiful but cold evening in DC. Hopefully some of you will come and visit me in DC!

Dad and Kymmies Big Adventure

Well, it was finally time for the big trip. We had planned for 3 days to travel ~2100 miles to Bethesda.

I rented a trailer from U-Haul to pull behind my car. I's hideous! Julie told me to make sure that I wear my sunglasses so no one would know that it was me pulling the ugly bomb shell! Thanks for the advice Julie. :)

We decided to take I-80 because there was a huge storm in Denver, CO which would make traveling on I-70 a little treacherous. We made good time for about 100 miles and then found out about a 100 car pile-up at Rock Springs, CO. We spent all afternoon in Rock Springs with 100s and 100s of semi-trucks!

After a few hours waiting in Rock Springs, we decided to take the long way around to get to Rawlins, WY. It was only supposed to take 2-3 hours but it took us 4. (My car could only go about 50 MPH when going uphill.) But we finally made it to the Hampton Inn in Laramie, WY.

Downtown Laramie is super exciting...not! But this was Dad's favorite hotel that we stayed in.

We saw lots of exciting things while we were traveling...

Trailer parks...

Windmills...Trains, Cows, Horses, Turkeys...

And lots of rest stops. This one had tiles showing different quilt patterns.

4 days and 2305 miles later we had finally made it. (This is a long exposure of the Washington DC Temple at night).

My cute landlords had cut fresh flowers for my apartment! How nice!