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video: anniversary party

So, to celebrate our anniversary last weekend, I decided to throw a party!  And of course, when I throw a party, it means a whole *lot* of cooking.

Fortunately, a few weeks ago, I received an amazing package from New Balance [3] so I could try out their awesome new TrueBalance sneakers [4] — and take some video of what I did in them!  So I took my brand new Flip HD videocamera for a spin as I prepped for the party, and burned some extra calories wearing these sneakers along the way.  Truebalance sneakers are supposed to tone your legs more than regular shoes as do your normal daily activities, and since it’s pretty rare that I get myself to the gym these days, I was super excited to try them.

And maybe it was the eight straight hours that I cooked for this party, or the sneakers, or the video camera that would catch me nibbling on cupcake frosting while I was cooking, but I managed to cook all day without putting too much of a dent in my diet.  And by the time my guests arrived, my legs were exhausted!  So I basically plan to wear these everywhere from now on.

I took so much video that I split it into two parts — in this first one, you can see my cupcakes with nutella icing and the watermelon-honey cocktail that I made for our friends!  My artichoke hummus and chocolate chip brownies, which I made the day before, are also in this one.

In the second video, which I’ll post next week, you’ll see my corn and zucchini pastry cups and tomato and mozzarella skewers with fresh basil.  All of it was completely delicious, and it was a great way to celebrate with our friends, many of whom watched us get married a year ago!

Thanks so much to New Balance for thinking of Sugarlaws for this awesome campaign, and look forward to more videos soon!

More pictures and *lots* of recipes below — enjoy!


Watermelon Punch Recipe

3 pounds seedless wantermelon, cut away from the rind
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vodka
12 ounces seltzer water

In a food processor or blender, puree the watermelon and honey until smooth.  Strain the watermelon juice and discard any seeds or large pieces of pulp.  Stir in the vodka and seltzer water and serve over ice.

Serves 6-10.


Chocolate Chip Brownie Recipe

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup Kahlua
1/4 cup hot water
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 by 13 inch pan with cooking oil.

In a large bowl, mix the cocoa powder and baking soda.  Add 1/3 cup vegetable oil, vanilla, salt, Kahlua and water.  Stir in the sugar, eggs, and remaining 1/3 cup oil.  Add the flour and mix until combined.  Spread into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part comes out with a few crumbs attached.

Makes 30 bite-sized brownies.


Artichoke Hummus Recipe

2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas (only drain one of the cans)
1 14-ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained
2 clove garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Roast the garlic at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes in a little bit of olive oil.  When the garlic is done, in a food processor, combine the chickpeas (including the water from one of the cans), artichoke hearts, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt and olive oil.  Process until smooth.

Makes about 4 cups of hummus.


Cupcakes with Nutella Icing Recipe

For the cupcakes:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup light cream

For the icing:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup nutella

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla and salt and mix well. Add the light cream to the batter and mix again.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the bowl, a little at a time. Mix until incorporated evenly.

Line a muffin pan with cupcake wrappers, and fill each to just below the top with batter. Bake for 30 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Set the cupcakes aside until the pan cools, then remove them to a baking rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and vanilla. Sift the confectioners sugar into the mixture and mix until smooth.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, frost the cupcakes and serve.

Makes 14-16 cupcakes.