Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Spider Cupcake

The weather outside is nasty but Halloween is almost here. I finally got a day off after all the work trip so I stayed at home and made these devil food chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting. They are decorated with vanilla frosting spider webs and Skittles spiders! I think my nieces and nephew will like them when I bring the cupcakes to their house before the trick-or-treat. Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Spider Attacks!

Finally came back to Wisconsin for my last long Florida trip. The weather is definitely cooler up here. All the leaves have changed colors and it is really pretty this year, gold, yellow, red, orange, and green everywhere. Halloween is coming on this weekend so there are Halloween decorations everywhere.

Somehow, giant spiders on the house seem to be the fashion this year. There are so many of them around my neighborhood!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

It is another working trip down to Florida. The weather down here is just wonderful, sunny, 70 degree (20'C). Since I missed all the autumn colors on the north, I decied to take some time off on this past weekend to visit the local famous Kanapaha Botanical Gardens before the crazy Florida Gators vs Arkansas football game. One of its signature plants is this giant Victoria water lilies. Look at the size of the leaves and you would know why Amazon people used to put kids on the top of it! The most amzing thing is that they actually grow the water lily as annual from seeds every year in that garden!

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a 62 acre facility developed and operated by the North Florida Botanical Society, a non-profit educational organization. It is comprised of 24 major collections including Florida's largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast of USA. My favorite parts of this garden are water garden, herb garden, bamboo garden and rock garden, of course. If you look closer in the picture on the left, you will find out that it is not a falled trunk but a bending flower stalk due to the heavy flower heads! It was surely good that I visited thos garden on this past Saturday because I ended of working the whole day on this past Sunday. After all, it is a work trip.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

100 Days Of Holiday Cookies

Is there a such thing as too early to prepare for holiday cookies?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake - Gluten Free

Finally, I am back to Wisconsin after spending 2 weeks at Cleveland for work. However, it is the same crappy cold and wet weather. I don't mind the cool weather but really dislike when it rains in the fall. It knocks down all the beautiful leaves before we get to enjoy the autumn scenes. Since it is raining outside, I decide to test the Betty Crocker Gluten Free cake mix. If you have family and friends who are allergic to gluten but really like the cakes and brownies, this is something you must have then! I used the yellow cake gluten free mix as the base and made this delicious banana chocolate chip cake wit run syrup. It is a little more dense than the usual cake but much more moisture! Really delicious! You now should be able to find either gluten free yellow cake mix, chocolate cake mix and brownies mix in your usual local grocery stores. Give it a try!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Moon Cake And Autumn

This coming Saturday will be the annual Moon Festival again! It also means that fall should be in full swing now. Went to the Cleveland Chinatown and bought some moon cakes. Most of the moon cakes have the salty egg yolks which I really do not like. I still remember to get spanked by digging yolks out of the moon cakes and throwing it away when I was a kid since egg yolks were the expensive part of the moon cakes. So I bought the kind with only lotus paste in the moon cakes. That small piece of moon cake costs almost $5. The package is just too beautiful to eat and I suspect half of the cost goes into the package instead of the real cake.
Hard to believe that it gets quite chilly here in Cleveland too. And almost 60% of the leaves have changed the color if they were not knocked down by the heavy rain and gusty wind early this week. By the way, I found this in the Chinese supermarket! What a surprise! It brings back so many childhood memories. The economic condition of my family was not too good when I was young. We could not afford to buy any candies and snacks. But my mom would always try her best to get something besides the daily meals for us. This was one of the snacks we ate. Mom boiled them and we would wait anxiously next to stove for them to be done. And we were so happy to eat them. It brought us more joy than going to the theme park or having all the candies. It is amazingly how simple and cheap things could bring so much fun back to those poor days.