Sunday, September 25, 2011

Honey Beer Bread

For this week's baking experiment, I decided not to go with a sweet dish like I have the last couple of weeks.  Instead, I decided to go for what looked like a very easy bread.

The bread recipe was really pretty easy - flour, a little sugar, some baking powder, beer and honey.  Mix it all together and throw in the oven.  Can't get much easier than that.
All the ingredients

Bake it up in the oven for an hour

Enjoy yummy warm bread!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Banana Oreo Peanut Butter Cupcakes

While pinteresting the other day, I came across a recipe for Oreo Peanut Butter Brownies.  They looked heavenly in the pictures and I decided I wanted to make them sometime.  This afternoon while HA was playing some war game on the computer, I decided I would give the brownies a go.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any brownie mix and the closest grocery store was already closed for the day.

After rummaging through my pantry, I found a banana cupcake mix I had bought a while back and decided that banana goes with PB and oreos, so why not give it a try.

The ingredients and recipe are pretty easy.

Cupcake ingredients
Mix everything together to create the cupcake batter
The next part is about figuring out how much peanut butter you want to use.  The original recipe I found said to put PB between the oreos and on top.  Australians aren't as fond of PB as Americans so I chose to only do half of the cupcakes with the extra PB.

Here's all the oreos ready for cupcake batter.
Now you have to add in the cupcake batter.  Because the oreos take up most of the cupcake holder, I had to put the batter in, let it sit so gravity would fill in the gaps, and then refill it until all of the cupcakes are full.

Put the cupcakes in to bake for 20 to 25 minutes and then let cool.

They smell really yummy.  I'm thinking the banana cupcake was a good idea.  After a bit of cooling, I hand them over to my taster - more commonly known as HA in this blog.

I got a thumbs up from HA and a comment that more peanut butter could have been used (I'm slowly turning him into an American!).  I was pleasantly surprised with my experiment.  I would definitely make these again!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Two more passport stamps!

HA's brother turned 40 in August and to celebrate, he and his wife hosted a party on the Indonesian island of Batam.  HA and I were invited to the party back in June when I originally thought I was moving back to the US.  I was very disappointed because I had been wanting to go to Singapore for quite some time.  Thankfully, I was extended in Australia and was able to make the trip with HA.

Singapore is an island in Asia which has a total land mass of roughly 249.5 sq miles or about half the size of Phoenix, AZ.  The average temperature is about 80 F with about 85% humidity.  The island of Batam, Indonesia is about an hour's ferry ride from Singapore.

HA and I arrived in Singapore on Thursday evening.  The one thing I will remember about the Singapore airport is that they have the EASIEST immigration I've ever encountered.  On both departure and arrival, I did not have to wait in line and not once did I feel like I was going to be arrested (unlike when I come in Australia where I'm constantly afraid I forgot to declare something). 

On Friday, HA and I took a later ferry to Indonesia so that we could explore Singapore a bit.  Unfortunately, nothing opens in Singapore until after 10am so we had breakfast at Starbucks and then enjoyed walking around Little India to admire all the closed shops. We eventually gave up and went out to Orchard Road to do some real shopping.  Orchard road is 6 km's of stores - including a number of American stores.  The prices weren't any different than what you'd pay in Australia so HA and I didn't really buy anything.

My observations on Singapore:

1.  It's super clean - like anally retentive clean
2.  It's super quite - you never hear sirens or construction
3.  It's significantly more green than I thought it would be.  I had it in my head that it would be all high-rises with no green space - I was wrong.
4.  You can get anything you want - there were a number of American and Australian stores and fast food joints (there was even a Long John Silver's!).

Rooftop garden on Orchard Road
From there, we hopped the ferry and headed out to the island.  This Indonesian experience was very different from my Bali experience.  There weren't as many people up in your face and it was a much more relaxed experience.  The resort we stayed out was quite nice and right on the water.  Our room had a view of the ocean and of the pool right in front of us.  We spent Friday evening hanging out by the pool and having a nice dinner with all of the guests.

For Saturday, all of the boys went off golfing while the women stayed back to watch the kids and have massages.  A good portion of GW and AW's friends have children as well so this meant alot of time hanging out by the pool to make sure they didn't drown. Once the boys were back, everyone started getting ready for the evening festivities.

AW, HA's sister-in-law, arranged for the party to be held on the pier which is a beautiful location.  The party was fantastic.  Everyone had a really great time.  AW did a brilliant job with the organization!
The pier during the day

The walk out to the pier

Beautifully setup

On our way to the party

Lots of dancing

And even a little karaoke
On Sunday, we headed back to Singapore and had dinner with HA's family at a beautiful Japanese restaurant.  On Monday, HA and I didn't have to leave until the evening so we spent the day doing a bit more exploring of Singapore.  We rode in the Singapore Flyer, took a Duck tour, visited the Terracotta Warrior exhibit and tried to buy some electronics (but the prices were not any different from Australia).
The Watts family in the Singapore Flyer

The famous MerLion

Terracotta Warriors

Pop Art Exhibit