Alaskan Cupcake Gold, Hungry Animals and the Nats

Get ready for a grab bag of a post! It’s a bit here and there, just like I have been myself!

While walking past an ice cream store in Skagway, Alaska (and considering whether or not to make an ice cream stop…), my friend and I heard this conversation between a mother and child leaving the store. The kiddo had ice cream:

Kiddo: Mom, why didn’t you get ice cream?

Mom: Because I want a cupcake from Sugar Mamas.

What’s that? A cupcake? Yes please! I did what any good cupcake hound would do and tailed them down the block and around the corner. I was rewarded with this sight:

Sugar MamaInside this adorable pink store, my friend and I were treated to a selection of luscious looking cupcakes as well as some fun little treats for sale and a very friendly dog. I believe his name was Carlos. The pup took the time to ask my friend to toss his stick back and forth. I should have snapped his photo, but I have this one for you instead:

Lovely!Look at the icing!! You may be able to read some of tags in the case. There were carrot cake cupcakes, fresh strawberry cupcakes with sprinkles, and several other kinds. It was NOT an easy choice, and I wish I had gotten a few to try later after I realized how great they really were. We both chose the Not So Plain Jane white chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting, and it was one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had. This icing was buttery and sweet without being overly greasy and heavy (I hate greasy buttercream!!), and the cake was perfectly moist and sweet. I’m so happy that I was eavesdropping at just the right time. πŸ˜‰ If the carrot cake had been equally as good, which I suspect would have been the case, I might not have gotten back on the boat!!

Now that you’ve had a little dose of Alaska (and you can expect some more for a few days more…), let me tell you about the Saturday I spent playing tourist in my own backyard. Of course, when you live just across the river from NW Washington, D.C., it’s pretty easy to find plenty of things to do.

A friend of mine, we’ll call him Mr. T, got a big new lens for his camera, and he thought the National Zoo would be a good place to try it out. I don’t love the zoo, typically. I especially dislike the apes. The way they stare back gives me the creeps! Primate issues aside, the weather was nice and the idea of walking around with good company for an afternoon sounded pretty good to me. Off I went!Β 

I took a ton of photos, but I’ll just share a few. Since this is a food blog, here are Tian Tian’s eats for the day.Β 

BambooliciousMmm… bamboo. I will spare you a photo of the Magpie’s eats for the day. Watching him chow down on dead mouse was pretty disgusting, but to each his own. Here is an elephant munching on some grindage (points if you remember that movie…) with me in the foreground. I think my diet might closely resemble the elephant’s!

Elephant DinnerThis tiger was just lounging in the shade, which is what I felt like doing after walking around all afternoon!

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright...I think these flamingos needed a snack. They seemed to be having some issues, and the vibe was NOT a happy one… Low blood sugar?

Fighting FlamingosIt was such a nice day to be out and about, and I can’t wait to see the photos Mr. T took! I’m sure to be quite jealous of his new gadget!! The weather was so nice that we decided to go and catch a National’s game after the zoo.Β 

NatsThere was a pretty big crowd for a Nats game since the Nats were playing the Baltimore Orioles. There were lots of O’s fans in town for the game, and there was a lot of orange in the stands. Unfortunately, the Nats did not win 😦 , but we had a great time anyway! I’m not a big sports fan, but I do like going to baseball games. There’s just something about it! Usually, I pack healthy snacks before going to the ballpark, but since it was a spontaneous decision, all I had left in my bag was a little package of dried apple snacks. Those would certainly not do as dinner and wouldn’t even fill me up as a snack. What to eat? Well, here’s what I came up with:

Ben's ChiliBen’s Chili Bowl is a Washington, D.C. institution, and their chili is really great. It’s nice and spicy with lots of juicy beef and plump beans. I have found that chili can be a pretty healthy choice, and it seemed like a better option than many of the other choices at the park. As much as I would have loved a big boat of French fries underneath my chili, I just got mine in a bowl with a bit of nacho cheese sauce and some chopped onions on top. I added a bit of yellow mustard, because I kind of like that in my chili sometimes. Anyone else do that? Is it just me?Β 

Of course, I needed dessert. There were tons of ice cream options, but Cracker Jack seemed like a better choice. It also didn’t hurt that the nutritional information was on the side of the bag so I didn’t have to guess at the number of calories I was about to eat. I appreciate knowing things like that most of the time! This whole bag (3 servings) was 350 calories. πŸ™‚ I was a happy– and full girl!!

Cracker JackI would have photographed my prize, but it was so LAME! I miss the lick and stick tattoos and the games with tiny plastic ping pong balls in a maze. My prize was disappointing, but at least my Jacks were good. πŸ™‚ I wanted something else, but managed to settle for a camera shy fountain Coke Zero. I’m not much of a diet soda drinker at all, but I like Coke Zero. Since I rarely see it as a fountain drink option, I decided to go for it. What is your favorite stadium food– healthy or… not? I do love a good hot dog, and the new stadium has Five Guys burgers, which are always an enjoyable treat.Β 

Saturday was such a nice day! I managed to keep my eating on track while staying in motion. I worked out in the gym on Saturday morning, and followed that up with several hours of walking around. It was definitely the sort of active day I needed during my “cruise recovery” program. πŸ™‚ Β As for my Sunday, well, it has been a pretty laid back day. I still need to go to the grocery store, so I haven’t really done much cooking. I did make a sweet little treat that I wanted to mention: Chocolate covered bananas!

First, I peeled two bananas, sliced them in half, inserted some skewers, and put them on a plate covered with waxed paper:

Pre-FreezeI popped the plate in the freezer to let the bananas firm up for about three hours. Then, I melted 3 ounces of 77% dark chocolate with cocoa nibs (yummy), in the microwave in a small pyrex measuring cup:

Melted ChocolateI used to use the double boiler method whenever I melted chocolate, but, unless I’m making something super fancy, I think the microwave method works just fine! I’d say that you need about 1 1/2 ounces of chocolate per whole banana. Put the chocolate in a microwave safe dish and zap it for 30 seconds. Take it out, stir it, and zap it for 30 seconds more. Repeat this until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Then, dip the bananas. I decided I needed to use a rubber spatula to make sure I got the chocolate all over the bananas. After they were coated, I put them all back on the plate and popped them back in the freezer. You can see that the chocolate was already pretty much hardened up even before the second freeze:

Chocolate Covered BananasYou can see the bumpy little nibs too. Yum! Theoretically, these should stay in the freezer for awhile to allow the banana to re-freeze after being dipped in the hot chocolate. Realistically, I decided that 10 minutes was long enough!

Yum!I considered dipping these in nuts right after they took a swim in the chocolate, but the cocoa nibs in this chocolate bar gave it a crunch so I decided I didn’t need anything more. These are so easy, and quick. I’m not sure why I never made my own! I’ve seen some pricey ones in the freezer section at my Whole Foods, and those just seem extra silly now that I know how easy they are to make. Plus, I get to pick the chocolate I want. πŸ™‚Β 

That’s the scoop on my weekend, and I’m so happy to have a bonus day off. I need another day like today to get things back in order after my trip, and I’m happy to be able to sleep late too!

Before I go,Β Christina made a batch of my cabbage nests and topped them with, get this, GRAVY! Genius! I’m so flattered, and so glad that other people are enjoying my recipe. πŸ™‚ This really is a versatile recipe. Remember my barbecued chicken pizza nests? How about when I topped a nest with a fried egg? I feel like the possibilities are endless!

Now that I’ve got you all caught up, I’m off to bed with a book, Underworld by Don Delillo, that I’ve really been enjoying. Since I don’t have to work tomorrow, I may stay up late with my book. I love when I’m able to do that! Ciao for now, and I hope everyone has a lovely Monday.

Happy Memorial Day!!

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19 Comments

Filed under Alaska, Bananas, Chocolate, D.C., Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Washington, Weight Loss

19 responses to “Alaskan Cupcake Gold, Hungry Animals and the Nats

  1. WHOA, love it!!!! Everything looks so delicious, and so much fun!!!!!!

  2. Everything looks like so much fun! The panda is so cute, and I love that pic of the tiger. Those banana pops look delicious, yum!

    Have a great Memorial day!

  3. The frosting on those cupcakes looks divine!

    I can’t believe you don’t like the apes! Those are my favorite part – the silverbacks at the Brookfield Zoo are phenominal! Last time we spent an hour in the primate section watching the 6 silverbacks and I could not have been in more awe! Although, I agree – the big “alfa” guy has got to be the SCARIEST with his stare – I’d much rather meet a bear or lion in the wild than him!

    I love that you made your own frozen bananas! I get them sometimes at TJ’s but will have to try my own, you make it look so easy (and cheap!).

    And woohoo! to being mentioned. hehe I love love love the cabbage nests – they’re so versatile! Still need to try them with your fried egg on top, b/c I have to say that’s a pretty genius idea too! πŸ™‚

  4. First off, I love the step by step on the banana coated with 77% dark chocolate!! YESSS dark chocolate rocks!!! That looks even better than the ones they sell for $4 a pop at the grocery stores. πŸ˜€ Ohhh and I love love love the cupcake!! I totally went to a cup cake store today too but it was closed by the time i got there are 6pm. 😦 GRRR SUNDAYS!

  5. I should know better by now. It’s late, I’ve had a mojito and 2 margaritas and have raging munchies and I thought I would check out your blog. And then you have these pictures of bananas and chocolate and chili and, for god’s sake, cupcakes! Really, I must stop coming by here when I have munchies and/or met or exceeded my calorie limit. You’re killing me!

    I must go on an Alaskan cruise. I must.

  6. Mmm I haven’t had choc-covered bananas in so long…they are so good, and you’re right that making them yourself is the way to go!

    I’m usually a soft-pretzel girl at a game if I’m going to splurge, but the past few times the pretzels have been so dissapointing…dried out, not enough salt. I miss the good old pretzel days! (or maybe I don’t miss it??)

  7. What a cute little cupcake store! Carrot cake + cream cheese = YUM!! That would have been my choice but yours sounds awesome as well! Too many options!

    The frozen naners sound great! I’ll have to try that this summer!

  8. Stadium food: when I was in the high school band I used to get hot dogs, usually plain with mustard and sweet green relish. In fact that is what I’ll have today at my COOK IN around 5 p.m.

    Because it’ RAINING, and because of my allergies, asthma & COPD I stay indoors a lot. In my old age it just saves expossure to atmospheric triggers.

    Since the scales indicate I may on the way to dropping another pound, I’ll haveto be careful. We are serving hamburgers, hot dogs, with a variety of toppings, like sweet green relish, chili (a very healthy blend of soy bean and turkey), lettuce, tomatoes, onion, mustards, mayo, ketchup whole wheat buns and ice cream sundaes, accompanied by choices of tea, Pepsi, Mountain Dew. WHOA…

    I am saving points all day–no munching of my beloved Wheat Thins Select or Kashi TLCs. Servings of each are 15 pieces=2 pts. The Kashi TLCs have less salt and really good.

    I’ll probably have a BABY BOK CHOY for lunch. πŸ™‚

    • NitWit- Can I come over? That sounds awesome. πŸ™‚ I hope you have lots of fun!!

      I’m so sorry to hear about your allergies! I will say that Arkansas summers always drove me inside just by virtue of the heat alone. Oh… and the mosquitos didn’t help much either. LOL! They think I’m super tasty!

  9. Mmmmm… cupcakes. I still have to download photos and blog about the cupcake bake-off my sister and I had this weekend. There WAS a trophy involved!

    Don’t forget: It’s strawberry season. Another excuse to dip some fruit in chocolate πŸ™‚

  10. Wow….Sugar Mamas looks AWESOME. And yay for the zoo! I don’t know what it is about the zoo but it always makes me happy πŸ™‚
    I am bookmarkng this post to try to make those chocolate bananas! What a nice treat for summer!

  11. I live near DC too, but I never had that much fun in the city! I always thought DC was dead and boring…you’ve proven me wrong!
    man, those chocolate bananas…you would have fooled me that I’m eating some sinful and decadent dessert!

  12. Pingback: Snapshots, Salmon Cakes and Sweet Frozen Bananas « Just Sweet Enough

  13. Those cupcakes look mighty fine!

  14. Melanie

    The reference sounds like a Pauly Shore comment….Encino Man, maybe?

  15. Melanie- Welcome to my blog! I’m so happy you are here. πŸ™‚

    You were on the right track. It was Pauly Shore in the movie “Son in Law.” I’ve seen that ridiculous movie about a zillion times. Ah, the ’90s. I like to munch on grindage. LOL!

  16. Pingback: We Need to Get Caught Up! « Just Sweet Enough

  17. Rebecca

    Thanks for the great write up! I’m one of the two owners of Sugar Mamas and Carlos is my loveable pup. I’m so glad you enjoyed our cupcakes . . . and I was trying come up with a new treat for the summer to compete a little with ice cream, and I think chocolate covered frozen bananas might just be it!

    Sugar Mama’s, Skagway Alaska . . . mmm get some!

  18. go mama's

    Yummmeeeeee cupcakes

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