Budapest, Hungary & Vienna, Austria

Wow, I am very behind here! I went on a short weekend trip to Budapest and Vienna last weekend and had a great time. I’d never imagined going to Hungary, but it was very beautiful! I only got one day in Vienna, so I am definitely planning on going back.

Budapest, Hungary

I thought this building was so beautiful. It reminds me of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

The streets of downtown Budapest were lined with buildings similar to this one. Very beautiful!

Saint Stephen’s Basilica

The inside of the basilica

Matthias Church

Me in a street in Budapest

Hungary is famous for its lace, so I couldn’t resist this little bit of handmade lace.

Vienna, Austria
The day was rainy, and we only had a few hours to spend in the city. It was beautiful but deserves a redo! Austria is one of my favorite places I’ve traveled to, and I think I need two or three days to fully enjoy Vienna.

The Michael Wing of the Hofburg Palace

Joseph and me in front of the Hofburg Palace

Veal weiner schnitzel–one of my favorite meals!

Apple strudel, to top off my very cliche (but delicious) lunch

Rainbow Cupcakes

I’ve seen recipes for rainbow cakes and cupcakes going around the internet for a while. I’ve never had much interest in them even though I like the way they look, but this morning I woke up really wanting to make some! They are cute and were fun to make–I imagine these would be a bit hit at a birthday party or bake sale!

To make these, prepare white cake batter. You can use a boxed mix, but I would suggest a heavier cake to keep the colors from mixing, like this Martha Stewart recipe listed below.
Prepare whichever recipe you are using as usual. Before pouring batter in a pan, divide into separate bowls. Use food coloring (I prefer gel) to achieve the colors you would like. Then spoon each color one by one into cupcake liners. Many people like to spoon one directly on top of the other to create layers, but I like mine a bit messier. Have fun with it!

Before they baked they looked like this:

After they cool I iced them with a heavy and rich cream cheese frosting.

My recipe suggestions:

Vanilla Cucpakes, from Martha Stewart

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cup sugar
4 large eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard two muffin tins with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Beat in vanilla.
3. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture and sour cream in alternating batches, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean and the top is springy to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely before spreading with frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

16. oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 cups confectioner’s sugar

Cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Add sugar and beat until you’ve reached the desired consistency. For a sweeter taste, add more sugar.

The above recipes should make and generously frost 24 cupcakes, 48 mini-cupcakes, or one cake.

My Little Town in Northern Italy

The weather has been perfect around here lately. I love walking around this little town, especially now that I can leave my coat at home and just wear a cardigan!

This is the view from my bedroom window. I love the mountains–living at the foot of the Alps has its perks!

This is one of the main roads in my town. Look at how small the “sidewalk” is! By Italy’s standards, this road is actually pretty big.

Every Italian town is built around a cathedral–if you’re ever in Italy, just follow the signs reading “centro” to find the center of the town. Ours is very simple! There is a line of benches right next to the church where I always see the locals eating gelato.

The clouds were perfect that day!

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Wow, I can’t believe I forgot to blog about this.

My mother-in-law visited last week. She had to do most of her traveling on her own, but we did get to take her to one of our favorite cities, Ljubljana, Slovenia! We went to Ljubljana last winter and were completely unprepared for the cold weather; even though we enjoyed the city, we were miserable! I knew it deserved a re-do and I’m very glad we went back. It’s a beautiful little city to spend the day in and was only a two-hour drive from us.

Old Ljubljana. Doesn’t it look perfectly picturesque?

I love these crazy roofs!

We went for a stroll around the castle and found a spot to view the city from.

Joseph and his mother Lezlee.

There was a big fruit market on Saturday. Everything looked amazing! We visited Ljubljana on a Sunday last year and saw a huge antique market; we are still regretting not buying a old sewing machine we spotted! I think I will plan a trip to Croatia where we can swing through Ljubljana on a Sunday to visit the market again.

I love owls!

The Slovene Parliament is adorned with naked people!
Off topic: I remember seeing a series of paintings of naked people doing farm work. I believe it was in Austria (maybe Innsbruck?)–would any of you remember what I’m talking about? It has been driving me mad trying to remember where I saw that!

We ate at the delicious restaurant Gostilna Sokol–I would highly recommend it! Slovene food is one of my favorites.

Enjoying the Ljubljanica river at night.

Right now we are planning an April trip to Paris. I’m so excited!

Grandmother's Rings

Over the last few years my mathernal grandmother has been giving me some of her most meaningful jewelry and it’s very special to me. When I started high school she gave me her high school ring, when I started college she gave me her college bracelet, and when I got married last year she gave me her wedding ring.

Luckily I am the only one in my family with limbs small enough for her jewelry to fit, but we also have similar tastes! I’ve heard that I’m a lot like she was at my age, and I don’t at all find that hard to believe.

My grandmother went to the same high school I did, graduating 59 years before me. Most of my family has gone to the same school. I wore this ring all throughout high school. The school colors are blue and white, but the ring is adorned with her (and my) birthstone–Ruby.  I wasn’t interested in any of the class rings that were for sale when I was in high school, but I think my grandmother’s is beautiful and of my taste, so it worked perfectly as a third-generation class ring.

Her ring on the left, mine on the right
When I got married my husband was deployed and we hadn’t even thought of rings. My grandmother lent me hers and I loved it so much that when we got around to buying our own I wanted mine to be similar. After a couple months with the ring she assured me she would like to keep it. My grandfather is no longer alive, and I feel so honored that she gave me something of so much sentimental value.

I am a very sentimental person also and can definitely be trusted to care after these things! I don’t wear much jewelry unless it has a special meaning to me, and family heirlooms are used often when given to me.

I bought these pearls in Okinawa, Japan when I was 16. They are two separate necklaces that can be twisted together–one pink strand, and one white strand.

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