Tag Archives: graduation

The Doctor is in!

A few weekends ago I tagged along with Smidget to the graduation ceremony for the University up here that she teaches at, hoping to get a glimpse of her in her brand spankin new digs. After years of studying and writing paper after paper, Smidget has finally finished her PhD in Business Administration! So she’s Dr. Smidget, to you.

“Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.” “Doctor.”

Check out that awesome puffy hat! It really is all about the puffy hat.

The graduation took place at a local high school, after the usual ceremony facilities had an extremely damaging incident this winter. Warning to those new to high-snow areas: if the snow builds up to extremes on the roof, it will collapse. So, instead, the graduates got to walk at the beautiful new auditorium/theater at Bartlett High School.

Bartlett is on the north side of town, practically in a place called Eagle River (which is still technically part of the Municipality of Anchorage, I believe, but is also its own thing) and does not really have the best reputation among the high schools in town. But I personally feel a kinship with the school and it’s students for one simpleish reason: for the girl’s hockey teams in high school, there were not enough girls interested to support teams for each school and as such they had us paired up; my high school, South Anchorage, was paired with Bartlett! I got to play with a good friend, whom I had played on competitive teams with for years, just because she went to Bartlett. Good times.

Anyway, the school itself has had a bit of a facelift over the past few years and was a great place to take some pictures!

While I went to a nice, brand new high school, Bartlett is quite pretty and really seems to be cleaning up nice!

But the real excitement is about Smidget receiving her doctorate (well, technically she graduates in June, but the school has given her to OK to be called “Doctor”). Wait, Doctor who?

Congratulations Smidget! And thanks for letting me take pictures of you in your new garb, even though I know how much you hate getting your photo taken!

One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor!

While still back in New York for graduation, my dad mentioned to me that we have a bag of powdered sugar here at home that has a hole in it. He said this with a slight smile and mischievous look in his eye as he followed with “we probably should use it up”.

I told him not to worry, that I had a plan up my sleeve, and boy did I. My family has celebrated with margaritas since, well, at least since I was in college if not before. Finally this summer I was able to join my parents in enjoying the celebration outside home when I turned 21. But so far, nothing beats a homemade margarita done by dad. Then again, there are always more to try! If you have a favorite margarita place, let me know!

Upon arriving back at home for a much-needed (and after four years of studying – well deserved) break, I checked out a recipe I had found on FoodGawker for, you guessed it, margarita cupcakes.

We usually use Jose Cuervo for the margaritas, but last summer our bottle ran dry with a batch in the blender, so we decided it was time to break out the big guns. My parents had a bottle of Patron stashed away in the food pantry, so we brought it out of hiding.

Since these cupcakes were in part celebration of graduation, I decided why not use the good stuff? Feel free to use any other kind of tequila if you don’t have an insanely expensive bottle of stuff stashed away that, as I can recall, was given to you as a gift. Be warned, though, that after the first bite of one Smidget’s reaction was “I’m drunk already!” (she was only kinda kidding, the tequila comes through for sure, but not that strongly).

Margarita Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes | Bake Time: 25 minutes

For the Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 tablespoons tequila
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

To Brush the Cupcakes:
1 to 2 tablespoons tequila

For the Tequila-Lime Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
Pinch of coarse salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
4. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. (The mixture may start to look curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come back together, power on!)
6. Reduce the mixer speed low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand.
7. Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pan at the halfway point.
8. Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila. Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.
9. To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice, tequila and salt mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes and garnish, if desired, with lime zest, and an additional sprinkling of salt.
*Note: If you would prefer to not use liquor in these cupcakes, you can absolutely omit it from both the cupcakes and the frosting with no problem. If you do omit it, I would add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to the frosting
(Recipe adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride) Taken from Brown Eyed Baker

Sidenote: I had a bit of an issue with frosting these guys, hence the large glob of frosting. I couldn’t find the disposable frosting bags and the nice one I found wasn’t cut right for the tip I tried to use. So I tried to MacGyver a plastic bag, but the tip itself was too small, so I just ended up pulling it out. This resulted in a large corner of the bag being cut off, so I just frosted them as I could. Still tasty!

Pomp and Circumstance

It’s been awhile since the last post, but here is why:

Me in front of Spellman Hall, my home for the past four years

As of yesterday I am officially an Alumna of Manhattanville College! I have received a Bachelor’s of Arts and spent the last four years working on a Major in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing and a Double-Minor in Art History and Music. My family traveled from all over: home in AK-Land, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island for the event, including my 91-year-old grandmother (Smidget’s Mom) and 92-year-old grandfather (Daddy’s Dad).

In fact, here’s a picture of me and him!

Me and Gigi in front of the famed Castle

It was a great day, the sun came out specially for us graduates, and the ceremony was lovely. I am heading home tomorrow and will be back to fooding it up in no time, plus I may have a few things waiting in the wings to post on. But for now I just want to say: Congratulations to the Manhattanville Class of 2011! We made it! 😀