Thursday, June 27, 2013

Are you an 'adult'? I'm not...

I did a guest post recently for Kate over at Classy Living yesterday and thought I would share an excerpt of that here. It seemed appropriate since tomorrow is my day of doom birthday and all...

Age wise, I'm old enough to be married... with children. But let's not go down the age route. I'm turning 28 this year  tomorrow (!!?!) and having more than just a little anxiety about that!  Two of my best friends from college got married last year, another's wedding is coming up in September and I was a bridesmaid in my best friend from high school's wedding last May. I think marriage is great and I look forward to being married one day. But, I think of all the things in life, getting married makes you officially an adult

A D U L T. That word makes me cringe. For some reason I'm one of those people that's been fighting 'growing up' forever. On paper I'm plenty 'grown up'. I work a 9-5 8-6 M-F job, have a car payment, rent, a 401k, a savings account, 2 dogs and a long term committed relationship. But for some reason I still don't feel like an adult. This past fall I paid off my last car and officially bought & financed a brand new car all by myself... with my mom by my side. Even the car salesman made fun of me. The two of them decided that buying a car by yourself made you an adult. See?



Those aren't my adult papers. I refuse. So, my question is: When did you feel like an adult? Or do you? My mom says she still doesn't feel qualified to be an adult, doesn't even feel much different now than she did as a teenager. Is that true? Do you always feel the same? 

This pretty much sums up where I am in life:

*excuse the language!*

What about you? Do you have it all together? I remember thinking about people who were 28 when I was younger and they seemed so old. So very adult. Me? Not so much. I like cookies, naps and playing with my dogs. Very similar to my interests as a 5 year old. Maybe one day I'll finally feel like an adult... or maybe I'll just come to terms with the fact that I *am* an adult whether I feel like it or not!




Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Winnie Wednesday?

I'm declaring today 'Winnie Wednesday'. If you read my blog then by now you know I have 2 dogs. Winnie and Annabelle. Winnie is my clear favorite. She does something every day that just makes me laugh. Plus, she's pretty much just the easiest, happiest dog ever. Annabelle is always either sleeping somewhere or trying to steal food. She does something every day that makes me cringe or makes me mad. They are polar opposites. 

So, I'm making it Winnie Wednesday. This will probably last all of... one week. So, today. But oh well, just go with it ;)

Winnie the WonderDog

To start off I suppose I should formally introduce Winnie. Or, Winnie the WonderDog as we like to call her. She's a 3 (almost 4!) year old Flat Coated Retriever (probably mixed with border collie?). I got her from the shelter for my birthday when she was 11 months old. She was an owner surrender along with her littermate. She had been at the shelter for a month with signs all over her run that said things like "Very nervous, don't touch" etc. etc. She hadn't even been evaluated yet for temperament or anything - hadn't even been taken outside. When I walked past her run she was laying at the very front just watching us and thumping her tail. I crouched down and held my hand out - she reached out her paw, grabbed my hand and pulled it towards it and licked me. I seriously almost cried. And then I knew I had to have her. 

At the time, we had Annabelle - to say she doesn't like other dogs is an understatement. She just doesn't really like anything. Period. So of course, James said "Well, if Annabelle likes her then we can get her" thinking there's no way that would ever happen. After a few weeks of trying to convince the shelter to let us visit with her they finally agreed to let us take her on a walk with a volunteer. She was PERFECT. We brought Annabelle to meet her? Again, perfect. They sniffed, then ignored each other and went about their business. We brought her home? She walked in like she'd always lived there. Attempted to hop on the bed with Annabelle and was promptly chased across the house by the screaming demon. She hasn't gotten on the bed since!

Anyway, this is getting long winded. But basically, Winnie's perfect and you will probably hear more about her in the future. Sorry for all the non dog lovers out there. I'm obnoxiously obsessed with mine.


If you made it this far listening to me ramble about Winnie, you're a champ! If you skipped to the end, I forgive you. Either way, head on over to visit Kate at Classy Living - I'm guest posting there today!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Is this Good For Me?"

You should know by now, nutrition is not my thing. Like, at all. I also don't really believe in 'meals' per se. I just want to eat whatever I'm in the mood for when I'm hungry. Cereal counts as a perfectly well balanced dinner to me. So does cake, for that matter. So last night I was on my own for dinner and was looking forward to it allll day. See, James is a meal person. Often times a meat & vegetable person. But I knew that in the fridge we had some delicious Red Lobster biscuits left over from when I somehow conned half my family into going there this weekend. And that's all I wanted for dinner. And it's all I ate for dinner. And it was heavenly. And started sentences with 'and' is totally not proper but I'm doing it. And I like it. 

Delicious, nutritious, well round meal. Yes?

Oh, and this little shark circles the table as I eat. Maybe if I acted like a grown up and ate at the kitchen table instead of the coffee table this wouldn't happen. Only problem with that? My kitchen table is really more of laundry limbo - where folded laundry goes to wait forever until I finally cave and put it away. So, coffee table dinners will continue. And I will continue guarding my food from the shark.

The shark.
Doesn't everyone have to eat with a spray bottle to help guard their food from the circling shark? No? Weird. 

Anyway, after that oh so nutritious dinner I decided to make a cake. I've gotten a ton of help recently from some coworkers at work and I'm pretty sure there's no better way to say 'thanks!' then food. Especially sweets. I've obviously been on a huge cinnamon kick and was seriously craving this Cinnamon Roll Cake. Several coworkers are gluten free so I decided to make a GF version. It was super easy, and while it didn't turn out tasting exactly the same as the original, it was pretty darn good. I was actually pleasantly surprised as I really had no idea what I was doing, I just decided to wing it.

Here's the adjustments I made. Original recipe here.

-Flour - I used 3 C King Arthur's AP GF Baking Mix
-Xanthan gum - I added 1.5 tsp xanthan gum
-Milk - I added a teeny bit of extra milk to help keep it moist
-Butter - I didn't add any extra butter, but next time I think I would - it doesn't have as much of that gooey, buttery cinnamon taste as the original. I would definitely add more to the topping & probably just make extra topping in general. 

All in all it turned out quite good - the texture is good, its not too crumbly at all and it definitely satisfies my cinnamon craving. While on his THIRD piece James asked "Is this good for me? I mean it's gluten free, right?" Answer: Sure, as long as you ignore the 2 C of butter & 2 C of sugar. He has some trouble understanding gluten free doesn't necessarily mean healthy - but hey, any excuse to eat more cake is fine by me :)

Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Cake




Monday, June 24, 2013

Making Plans is a Waste of Time

I'm not a big planner, but that means when I do make plans I tend to get really upset if anything threatens to change them. I've been working on this which is a good thing since this weekend was full of plans that never actually happened. 

Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

Friday Night:

Friday I was supposed to have gotten tickets to go see Zac Brown Band, but I never got around to that. Turns out that was a good thing as I didn't leave work until after 7pm. We ended up just heading to BurgerFi for a late dinner and finishing it off with one of their custard shakes. Coffee Mocha with Brownie mixed in. Um, delicious. Afterwards we came home and watched a movie... and by watched I mean I played on my phone for a bit and then passed out. Party. Animal. Don't judge me, it was a 50+ hour work week and I was exhausted. Almost as tired as Winnie was after lining up all her favorite toys. Rough life.



Saturday...

We had been looking forward to Saturday for a long time. James is obsessed with really likes planes and my dad is a pilot. For James' bday my family got him a flight lesson which him & my dad were supposed to do Saturday. So, they were going to be doing that, I was going to bake chocolate fudge brownies and we were all going to meet up at my parent's afterwards for a Father's Day cookout. None of the above happened. Although we did finally make it to Monuts Donuts for breakfast. It's a good thing we don't live closer or we'd be broke and obese. And dangerously close to a heart attack. We had bagel sandwiches AND bought a dozen donuts to take to my parents. Vanilla glazed, toasted amaretto, bourbon peach and apple cider. If you live anywhere near Raleigh/Durham I *highly* suggest you go. But go early, the line was almost out the door by the time we got there.


I had a Naked juice with breakfast... that makes it healthy. Right?!?

There were 10 clouds in the sky and occasional sprinkles so the flight school cancelled their lesson. My mom, sister and I had headed to the outlets with plans to meet up with them afterwards. Instead, they joined us. A girls' shopping trip just isn't the same with 2 guys moping following them around. Either way we had a good time and went out for a late lunch during which James accidentally walked into the kitchen in the restaurant instead of the bathroom. Twice. How does that even happen? 

We ended the day hanging out on our deck, enjoying some good drinks and listening to some old school 90's music. Are we the only ones who do that? If so, I'm totally okay with that. 

Sunday...

The worst part of the weekend? This.


My alarm for Sunday morning. Those extra 10 minutes were filled with magical sleep, I'm sure.
I had to go into work from 7-1 on Sunday. Getting up that early was painful. I drowned my sorrows after work with a classy lunch at CiCi's and a killer 2 hour nap. And yes, I said CiCi's. As in the $4.99 pizza buffet. Judge me if you want, but I could eat their breadsticks and cinnamon buns all day long. Oh, and naps. I definitely still nap. Every chance I get. You should too. 

The truly ugly part of this weekend?
It's now Monday... the beginning of my last week in my mid-twenties. As of Friday I will officially cross into my late twenties. Typing that sentence just made me nauseous. 

Truth.



*Linking up here and here.


Friday, June 21, 2013

High Five for Friday!


H54F this week is hard for me. It hasn't been a particularly bad week, there just hasn't been anything particularly good about it either. It just been... a week. I'm glad its over though as I'm definitely looking forward to this weekend!





1. We've started house hunting again. Our lease is up this fall, and for multiple reasons we don't want to renew. I LOVE house hunting - or the idea of it, at least. The actual act of it can be rather frustrating. We're not sure yet it we will rent again or buy, so we've been in contact with a realtor friend to let us know where to even get started if buying is an option. We'd be first time home owners so we literally have NO idea of what's entailed in even LOOKING for a house to buy. Either way, it gives me more of an excuse to sit on the couch and browse houses online so, I'm content ;) 




2. Had some serious FaceTime with this cutie this weekend (see more about that and other festivities from last weekend here). I've probably looked back at these pictures and the video of him saying everyone's names a hundred times this week. At least. 




3. Winnie wanted to show off her favorite trick. You can tell how much she loves it by the joyous expression on her face. And yes, those balls are deflated - she catches them so hard they always end up caving in on one side. She still loves them though, which is good because those danged things are way too expensive to replace all the time. $12.00 for two rubber balls? No thank you.




4. There's no real reason for this to be in here except that Annabelle doesn't want to be left out. I didn't have to go to work until 9 most mornings this week so I got plenty of morning snuggle time with her. It's really the only time I like her. All other times, Winnie is my clear favorite. That's probably bad to say, I'm sure PETA will come after me, but if you knew Annabelle you'd understand. Let's just say her cuteness is just a cover. She's actually a very bad little dog!



5. These bad boys. I have a bad obsession with snickers ice cream bars, but never want to eat a whole one so when James came home from the store with these I was super excited. They're not as good as the snickers, but still delicious and the perfect size. Now begins the hunt for the mini snickers ice cream bars...



As always, linking up with Lauren Elizabeth. Hope everyone had a great week and has an even better weekend!






Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Okay, by now everyone should know my obsession with chocolate chip cookies. If not, you can read some about that herehere and here! Also I should probably confess that when I made cookies last week I also may have eaten 2 cookies for breakfast almost every morning. I mean, there's milk for calcium & eggs for protein in there so that's a pretty well rounded meal, right?

Anyway, aside from loving anything chocolate chip, I also have a deep love for anything containing large quantities of cinnamon, sugar & butter. These EASY cinnamon sugar biscuits I posted about here are a great way to get a quick fix, but sometimes I need something a bit more... serious than that. When those cravings hit its time for this bad boy. The Cinnamon Roll Cake... or the Cinnabon cake as we've started calling it. 



Ingredients:

-3C flour
-1/2tsp salt
-1 C sugar
-4tsp baking powder
-1 1/2 C milk
-2 eggs
-2tsp vanilla
-1/2 C butter (melted)

Cinnamon Topping
-1 C butter (softened)
-1 C brown sugar
-2 Tbs flour
-1 Tbs cinnamon

Glaze
-2 C powdered sugar
-5 Tbs milk
-1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs & vanilla together but don't over mix. Stir in melted butter. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. 
Mix topping ingredients together and drop evenly over cake batter. Swirl into batter with a butter knife.
Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes. The cinnamon topping will turn dark brown and bubbly. 
Top with glaze while still warm - and eat while still warm! 




This cake is best served warm, but does reheat well. If I'm taking it somewhere I just pop it in the oven when I get there for a few minutes to warm it back up so when baking its better to do it on the slightly underdone side. Plus its gooey that way which makes it oh so good ;)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cinnamon Sugar Refrigerator Biscuits

Want something ridiculously easy & delicious that you can go make right now?!? These are it. These cinnamon/sugar biscuits are SO good, and so easy - definitely a favorite around here and they reheat great so super easy to make one day and have a quick breakfast before work.


This is actually the GF version - recipe coming soon :)

Ingredients:
-1 can refrigerated biscuit dough 
-1/2 stick butter
-1/2 C sugar
-2 tbsp cinnamon

Glaze:
-1 C powdered sugar
-2+ tbsp milk (start with 2, then add 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency - you want to be able to drizzle it over the rolls when they're hot, but don't want it too thin)
-splash of vanilla, if desired

Separate the biscuits and flatten them out. Cut each one into 4ths and roll each piece into a ball. Combine cinnamon/sugar into a bowl. Drop balls of dough into bowl to coat with cinnamon/sugar. Place into pan so that they are all snug against each other(I just buy those little foil pans at the store.. 8x8? 9x9? Not really sure of the size!). Melt 1/2 stick of butter and pour over biscuits. Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon/sugar over biscuits. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes rotating halfway through. 

Whisk together milk, powdered sugar & vanilla. Drizzle over biscuits while they're still warm. Eat one now while its hot! 

I've also made these from scratch using a buttermilk biscuit recipe. I will share that along with the gluten free recipe soon, but I'm sure any biscuit recipe would work just fine. These are just so simple & good made the shortcut way that, unless I'm making GF ones to bring to work, I don't always find it worth the trouble ;) Especially since Pillsbury now makes their Simply Buttermilk Biscuits that don't have a ton of unrecognizable ingredients in them.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday... again?

This weekend was a nice mix of doing & relaxing. I feel like my weekends are usually one or the other - running around like crazy, or eating & napping all day every day. And that second one is not an exaggeration. We literally have our "lazy days" where all we do is eat and nap... and I don't hate 'em. 

Horses

This pony's name is Fudge. Hot Fudge. Ridiculously cute.
More farm sitting this weekend. This time for some horses at my friend's house, and then some at her parent's house. Thinking about turning this whole farm sitting thing into a more serious part time deal. It's a fun, easy way to make some extra $$ and get outside. Plus, Winnie loves the farm life and sleeps for days when we get back. Win/win.

Music



Saw The Lumineers at Koka Booth. This was actually Thursday night, but if you round up that's basically part of the weekend. Great show, great music, perfect night. That is also quite possibly the least flattering picture ever, but for some reason I love it. I had a big problem with closing my eyes in every pic so someone told me not to look directly at the flash. I took that to mean look in the complete opposite direction. Ah, well.


Face Time


Cutest nephew ever. 
My nephew moved to Portland in January which was pretty much the saddest thing ever, but FaceTime makes it so much better! There's little/no conversation that ever occurs, I pretty much just laugh at all his ridiculous antics and take screen shot of his insanely adorable smiles. This time I got to hear him say my name for the first time and then he blew me kisses. My heart completely melted. I was never really a baby person before, but this kid has me completely in love. I mean, it's a bit ridiculous. I talk about my dogs a lot, but I could probably talk about my nephew forever. And show a million ridiculous pictures. So excited for our big trip out west this fall and quality time with this nugget for his 2nd birthday!


Not Pictured:

-Silver Linings Playbook - finally saw it. Fell in love with Bradley Cooper... again.
-A couple epic naps
-Lunch at Cafe Caturra that included one of the best BLT's I've ever had. And I've had a lot!
-We tried these cookies from Pillsbury - meh. James liked them. I thought they tasted a little like golden grahams for some reason. I don't know, something in the flavor I didn't like. However, most refrigerated cookies make my stomach hurt like crazy (which makes me sad because I could eat them by the dozen) and these didn't. So, there's that. 


For something new and different, I'm linking up here and here.

PS - Recipe coming tomorrow filled with cinnamon, sugar & butter. What could be better?!? ;)







Saturday, June 15, 2013

One Day, Maybe

Whew, this has been a long week! The weekend snuck up on me somehow - I didn't even get a chance to do a H54F post this week although there were some pretty nice highlights. I feel like somehow recently life has hit the fast forward button and I don't have time for anything extra these days! Sadly, that list has come to include baking & this blog lately. 

The good thing is my lack of spare time has *mostly* come as a result of picking up some extra farm sitting, and some fun nights out. Most recently seeing The Lumineers at Koka Booth Thursday night. Such a great show and the nasty storms that blew through brought some amazing weather behind them for the show. If you're into that kind of music and get a chance to see them live, do it! We saw them in December when they opened for DMB, and they were just as good then as they were last night. 




Oh, and there were food trucks. Our 3 favorite food trucks, even. Food trucks have exploded in our area and we're loving it for sure. Not sure what makes it so fun, but it is. And we have some really great ones here. 




Anyway, in light of all that stuff I'm really hoping things will slow down a bit someday and I'll have time to get back to baking. If When that happens, here's somethings I've been adding to my food board on Pinterest that I'd really love to try!

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies - if you know anything about me, you know my love for chocolate chip cookies & my quest to finally make the *perfect* ones. If I accomplish nothing else on this list, I WILL make these.


via

Cookie Dough Truffle Brownies - Cookie Dough & brownies?!? Two of my favorite things. I mean, really. Whoever thought to combine the two is a genius. Pure genius.

Lemon Yogurt Cake - I love lemon pound cakes. So good.

via

And finally, this:
Hot Fudge Pie - I'm pretty sure the name says it all. If ever a dessert was meant for me, I'm pretty sure this is it.

via
So, there ya go. A few things that are hopefully in my future. I'm sure I'll have time to bake all of these... one day. Maybe ;)


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chocolate Chips

Have I Mentioned my Love for Chocolate Chips?


I'm currently waiting on a batch of chocolate chip cookies to cool so I can put them away before heading to bed. This feels like an exact repeat of last night... it's totally normal to make chocolate chip cookies two days in a row, right? Healthy life choices will start tomorrow... after I finish the cookies, of course.

In my defense(?) its really an experiment of sorts. I've read that letting cookie dough chill for 24 hours in the fridge produces a better cookie. Last night James had to work until almost 10pm, so I decided to be a good girlfriend and have some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies ready for him when he got home. As always I got distracted and they weren't even in the oven when he got home, but they only bake for ~10 minutes so no biggie :)  Anyway, I decided to save half the dough and put it in the fridge to test this theory. 

The verdict? I think its true. 



These are from the batch that was refrigerated. The texture is perfect and I feel like they have more flavor. It's quite possible this is all in my head, but I think it worked. Chances are I'll never actually have the forethought and/or patience to make dough ahead of time and wait 24 hours before I can have cookies, but I may just start splitting batches - have half before to soothe my impatient soul and the other half the next day. It's portion control, really. See? Healthy life choices starting already ;)

ps - Since I was making these at 10pm last night, I just used the recipe on the nestle tollhouse chocolate chip bag. They were good, but try it with your favorite recipe and see how it works! Or, if you're lazy like me, just use the tollhouse one ;)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

That thing I expected to be a complete flop...


I'll be honest, I didn't expect this to work. A few of my coworker's are gluten free. One of them happened to have a birthday over the weekend so if I was asked if I wanted to bring a cake. Her only request was something with cream cheese frosting. Of course I said yes and then immediately got nervous. I've made other GF baked goods in the past, but cake is cake... and no one wants to ruin cake. Plus, the texture of a cake is the most important part... and the texture is usually the part that's slightly off in most GF recipes. At least for me. This recipe? I fed it to James as carrot cake is one of his favorites (and he's my poor guinea pig) and he loved it. You can barely tell a difference. Success!

I will say, mine was a bit tricky to get out of the pan. I just made it as a sheet cake and I had a bit of trouble removing the first piece... it came out like this:



Not the prettiest piece of cake, but the taste was still delicious. I refrigerated it overnight and it held together today when we devoured it at lunch! If you're gluten-free and love carrot cake, make this. Now. But don't grate the carrots by hand. I tried that and 3 cups of grated carrots is a LOT. Hence this cake didn't get finished until almost 11pm. 

Ingredients:

Cake:
-2C sugar *
-4 eggs
-1 1/2 C veg. oil* 
-2C all purpose GF flour mix*
-2tsp baking soda
-2tsp baking powder*
-2tsp cinnamon
-1tsp salt
-2tsp vanilla extract
-1C chopped nuts*
-3C grated or shredded carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting:
-4tbsp unsalted butter
-3oz cream cheese
-1tsp vanilla extract
-2 1/2C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease cake pan (two round 9" pans, or one 9x13") or muffin cups if making cupcakes. 

Cream sugar & eggs together, then add oil & vanilla and mix until smooth.  While that's mixing, combine dry ingredients except carrots & nuts into a bowl and mix together. Slowly add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and continue beating until blended smooth.

Stir in nuts & carrots and pour into cake pans. Bake for 35-45 minutes rotating pan halfway through. Original recipe says 45-55, but I did 40 minutes and it was slightly overdone around the edges and on top. 

While cake is cooling cream butter, cream cheese & vanilla together in mixing bowl until smooth. Slowly and powdered sugar and beat until creamy. Add more cream cheese or powdered sugar until desired taste is achieved. This is a very mild cream cheese frosting which I loved as I'm not a huge fan of the tanginess of cream cheese. If you like really tangy cream cheese frosting you may want to add a bit more. James loves CC frosting though and licked both the beaters clean, so it was definitely a winner. I have to admit that even though I've always preferred buttercream, this was for sure one of the best tasting frostings I've made!

***
The ingredients listed are the amounts used in the original recipe. I made some slight changes, but I'm sure it'd be fine either way. I used just under 2C sugar as many reviews stated that the cake was too sweet. I didn't even know that was possible, but whatever. Some reviews also said the cake was too oily, so again I did just under 1 1/2C oil. It was plenty moist, but not at all oily. King Arthur's All Purpose baking mix worked great as the flour. It does NOT contain xanthum gum or guar gum though so I did add 1tsp of xanthum gum. Check to see if the mix you're using already contains one of those - if not you will need to add it. Also, I didn't know this until I started baking some GF things, but not all baking powder is gluten free. Check your labels! They all contain something to help absorb moisture and some contain wheat starch, though most use corn starch. If you can't find a gluten free baking powder you can make your own using this simple recipe here.

*Original recipe for this cake was found here.

Linked up with Gluten Free Yummy

Friday, June 7, 2013

H54F

It's Friday again! As always, I'm linking up with Lauren.









1. I was back out at the farm this past weekend. I went out there one evening after meeting up with my fam for dinner and realized I was just wearing sandals so I slipped on my super stylish rain boots from Target. I secretly love them and want a million more pairs of fun rain boots. 

2. This just made me laugh. It's a horrible picture that you can't really see, but this balloon is from James' bday in May and its been sitting in our dining room ever since. The other night Winnie just came walking into the living room with it & plopped it down on her bed. For some reason I found it hilarious. But, I pretty much think anything Winnie does is hilarious... and perfect. Maybe I'm biased. 

3. Saw this movie for a steal at Food Lion. I was *almost* tempted to spend the $4.99 and pop it in for entertainment's sake. Instead I didn't and know I'll probably always wonder why the (mega)shark is eating a plane. Or really, why the shark and octopus are fighting in the first place. And how on earth someone could/would actually make a movie about it.

4. We went on a mid-week date to the NC Seafood Restaurant at the Farmer's Market. O.M.G. If you live here, you need to go. I got the popcorn shrimp & James got the flounder. Both were excellent and enough food to feed a small army. And the hush puppies... oh dear.

5. This pretty much sums up where I am in life right now. This year is my 'golden' birthday - I'll turn 28 on the 28th and I'm having a little bit of anxiety about officially crossing over into my late twenties. Ick.

And here's a bonus:

Winnie helped me fill water troughs... by climbing in them. In case you haven't figured it out I'm crazy about this dog and no week is complete without way too many pictures of her doing her happy, dumb retriever things. 

The weather here is supposed to be awful this weekend. Thanks, tropical storm. I don't mind though because I'm on call all day Saturday and working until 1pm Sunday. I'm planning to catch up on the 1 billion loads of laundry I have and then bake something gluten free for a coworker's birthday. 

Hope you have a great (& hopefully more exciting!) weekend! :)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

One Month!

Today my blog turned one month old! Yay! I made it through the first month... that's gotta be the hardest part, right?!?  

Via google images

I've learned so much in this first month - here's a quick recap:

-I had to change my comments setting because I originally had my blog set to allow comments from Google+. Thanks to one blogger I learned that only my Google+ followers could comment on my blog.

-Brooke pointed out to me that I was a no-reply blogger. This post that I actually just stumbled upon today showed me how to fix that.

-In Brooke's comment she offered to help me fix that and I replied to her comment on my page. I also learned today that unless she checked back she didn't see that reply. Apparently you have to reply to the email you get about someone's comment rather than on your page or else they won't see it unless they keep checking back. 

And here are some goals I have for this blog:

-I just added Bloglovin - I should probably learn how to use it.

-Same with Google+. I've looked around on there before but don't really feel comfortable on there yet.

-Make a Facebook page for my blog. I've been debating about this, but its a quick & easy way to share posts with friends who don't have a blog, but also make it so all my fb friends don't have to read about blog posts. Plus pretty much any post I read with tips on blogging suggests having a Facebook page!

-Get better pictures. Most of the pictures I've used on here so far were taken long before I started this blog so they weren't taken with the intention of posting on here.

So, there ya have it. Just a few things I've learned and a few goals I have. Thank you to all who have given my tips and suggestions - keep em coming! I've really been enjoying this so far and love having a place to share & connect with others. I look forward to continuing to learn - maybe one day I'll figure this whole thing out ;)


'My' Cakes

As far back as I can remember I've always had my two favorite cakes. I'm not sure when or why they became my favorites, but they are. It's not that I've never had a better tasting cake, it's just that at the end of the day I would choose one of these cakes over anything else. 



The 6 layer chocolate cake. This is not actually a chocolate cake. It's a white cake with chocolate icing topped with chopped pecans. The cake part of it is a little bit dry, the icing is a little bit fudgy, and chopped pecans make everything perfect. We always have this cake when we go down to Florida where my mom's family is. My grandmother used to make it for us and after she got sick, Bert took over making it for us - and still makes it anytime we're there. Bert took care of both my great grandparents and after they passed away she took care of my grandparents. When my mom used to fly down to visit my grandmother Bert often sent her back with cake in her suitcase. It travels very well! 

I've always said that when I get married I don't care what the wedding cake is, I want one of these just for me. Everyone else can eat funfetti cake, I don't care, I just want this. My love for this cake is partially its taste, but largely sentimental I think. It just reminds me of Florida and my grandparents. We used to eat it for breakfast, lunch & dinner. I especially remember at night taking a giant piece back to the den and watching TV until I could barely stay awake (usually somewhere around 9pm for me!). My mom and I were also infamous for just 'evening out' the edges - constantly cutting tiny slivers to make the edges 'even' rather than actually cutting full slices. That way there are no calories, obviously. It also goes amazingly well with a cold diet coke in a can. I love diet coke in all forms, but its best from a freshly opened can. And when accompanied by a hearty slice of this cake. Maybe the 'diet' in the coke cancels out some of the calories in the cake. Maybe.

Source: Google images

German Chocolate Cake. My other all time favorite. I love this in all forms - cake, brownies, cupcakes. I don't care, I just love it. I especially love the coconut/goo part. I hate when people put chocolate icing on it - just add more goo! When I was younger I used to have ice cream cakes on my birthday every year, but now I always have this. My mom usually makes it for me and I look forward to it all year. For some reason I don't really ever have it throughout the year. Although, I did just see that Red Robin has some sort of German Chocolate brownie dessert that I might have to try.

I've never baked either of these. I honestly don't know if I have a desire to either. These are cakes that I like to be made for me. How bratty does that sentence sound? But it's true. I feel like they would lose some of their appeal if I made them. I'm planning a post about some of the desserts I plan on making to enjoy during my birthday month and I debated adding these on there but quickly decided that I'm happier leaving these to other people. I will probably make them one day, but for now I'll just stay bratty and leave the baking to other people & the eating to me :)

Do you have any food like this in your life? Are you as bratty about it as me? Maybe I'm the only one... and I'm okay with that ;)


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie - Healthy!

You'll Never Guess What This is Made of...


Have you guys heard of Chocolate Covered Katie? If not, you should go check out her blog right now. It's filled with tons of healthy dessert recipes. I posted already about my love for chocolate chip cookies here so when I stumbled across her recipe for a deep dish chocolate chip cookie pie that was healthy I knew I had to try it. To be honest, I really just tried it as an experiment and to see if anyone would be able to guess what it was made of. For the record, no one did. 

I only have a small 3 C mini food processor so it took way longer than it should have, I wouldn't really recommend trying this unless you have a better food processor than me! I had to make this in several small batches of 'dough' and then combine it all so it was kind of a pain - way more trouble than I'm willing to go through for a cookie. With a larger/better food processor though I think it would be fairly simply and definitely worth a try. It would probably turn out even better than mine did.

Anyway, enough chatting and onto the recipe.

Look at her pictures, they're way better!

Ingredients:

-2 cans white or garbanzo beans - drain & rinse (500g)
-1 C quick oats (I used gluten free ones)
-1/4 C unsweetened applesauce
-3 tbsp oil
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 1/2 C brown sugar
-1 C chocolate chips (or more! ;))

Preheat oven to 350F. Dump everything but chocolate chips into a *good* food processor (that also happens to be large enough to hold everything!) and blend well. Then just mix in chocolate chips & pour into greased pan - I just used a 9' round cake pan, but a springform pan would probably be preferable. Bake for 35-40 minutes and let sit before serving.

Eat & Enjoy - and share with others to see if they guess what it's made of! I did sneak 1tbsp butter into mine just because I had to. I did 2 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter. I can't help it, I love butter and just had to throw some in. I'm sure it'd be just as good (and even healthier) without the butter. 

**Original recipe post here