Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cinnamon Apple Raisin Dutch Oven Bread

What a week, what a week.  There was tons of work and just a little bit of fun, followed by a relaxing weekend back in DC.  Last week I got to hangout in Dallas, work a lot, run a bit and be part of the crossing off an item on a bucket list.

Welcome to Dallas!  One of the best parts about being a runner sometimes is getting to run around new cities.  To see parts of a town I normally wouldn't get to see when traveling for work.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guest Post #11: Southern Rum Nut Bundt Cake

There are three people in my life that are truly my oldest friends. They are girls that I still talk to regularly...and pretty much have since day care...like around the pre-k, we haven't gone off to elementary school yet, so we don't know what its like to be cool yet age.  Rachel is one of them and the first one of my girlfriends to tie the knot. Its crazy to think how much I have grown up with these girls from doing lemonade stands with slice and bake cookies and tea parties to now having a bachelorette party and brunches.  

Rachel especially is one of my closest girls friends, and I would have to say her family is one of those that I have adopted as part of my own.  It is her mom's cornbread recipe that is on my kitchen table and that I used in this recipe earlier this year (peach shortcake). So, as a true southern girl, I knew that when Rachel told me she was baking this cake that it would basically be amazing. One of those cakes filled with love and well a little liquor. A cake that is sweet and inviting AND will warm you up inside...literally. So if your in a boozy cake kind of mood, this southern rum bundt cake might be just what your looking for. Enjoy!

From Rachel:
Lauren and I go way back - to daycare, in fact. Ever since I have known her, she has loved to bake. It seems that she has rubbed off on me lately in the sense that I have been baking more often. My most recent endeavor was taking on a favorite of my Grandma’s.

I was in the middle of last minute wedding plans and was looking for any stress-reliever I could find.  Hello, baking! My grandmother passed down my favorite cake recipe at my bridal shower and I was so excited to make it myself. This particular cake I have only had from her kitchen so the combination of being inspired by Lauren and trying to put my best baking-foot-forward as a new wife, I was up for the challenge.

Friday, October 19, 2012

It is most definitely pumpkin biscuit time

So the truth is, it has been a crazy busy week at work and I needed to bake something, BUT it had to be something simple.  I also kind of needed to already have all of the ingredients in my house.  I wanted to be able to wake up at 5:15 am, eat a few pieces of toast and whisk something up, before my morning run.   I have also been thinking about what to bake this week for a few days now, and the answer to all of these things were these pumpkin biscuits.  (Lets just say that since about July I have been stocking up on pumpkin. Why? Because last September when I wanted to make yummy pumpkin things the grocery stores weren't stocking it.)  

So, as I was thinking about what to make, I kept dreaming of these delicious sweet potato biscuits that Cafe Carolina in North Carolina makes. (Cafe Carolina may or may not also be  my second job ever and the first restaurant I worked in.)  This is my twist on those biscuits.  These biscuits did not fluff as much as I would like, but they are still light and have great flavor, plus they can totally be made vegan.  (I agree with Molly that I probably over worked my dough, thus the flatter biscuit.)  I need to admit too, that I had to make these twice.  The first batch just never even made it to the oven, because I apparently was still asleep to start with.  I just did not follow the directions...whisking the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients without first adding the butter to the dry ingredients.  Next time, there might just need to be coffee first, then baking.  Well...Happy Friday and have a fantastic weekend!

Biscuits then a run by the old office that has this crazy statue fountain.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gluten-free Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches

Hey You! Yeah you reading this post.  How's life?  Got any big plans for the fall? Or winter?  What are they?  Are you baking and cooking lots of yummy delicious fall"ish" things?  I am serious though, what's up?  Sometimes I feel like I am just talking to myself in this littler corner of the Internet...I mean I kind of am talking to myself.  Right? Well I think you should totes leave me a comment.  Tell me what you're baking?  What should I be baking?  It really is just so awesome to hear from you all out there who just happen to be reading this.

Any who, this past weekend with my dad was great! We totes watched the homecoming parade and tailgated with my old friend Casey.  The band decided to stop near her tailgate too.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cinnamon Apple Walnut Scones

Good morning and happy Friday!  Can I just say how excited I am for the weekend?  Well I am! Its football season and homecoming weekend in Greenville, so I am heading down for a weekend with my dad and some Pirate football.  This is the time of year that makes me start to feel older; when I head back to Greenville and notice how young the freshman are.  I have been out of school for 4 1/2 years, which still just seems crazy to me.  Like when I think about that, I feel like I should be an "adult" by now.  That I should not still be renting a house; that I shouldn't still be trying to figure out "what I want to do when I grow up."  Although, I will probably still be asking myself that question 10, even 20 years from now.  But this weekend I will put those thoughts in the back of my mind.  I will enjoy spending the weekend with my dad at our alma mater, watching the homecoming parade and wearing purple and gold!  I might lose my voice from shouting GO PIRATES! It wouldn't be the first time its happened.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

Last week was just one of those crazy busy weeks at work and in "real life."  There was a lot of running around a really big hotel...seriously though The Grand America basically has a square on the first floor that links the lobby and the meeting space that is a quarter of a mile long.  On the plus side, I got my exercise.

Then for some crazy reason a month ago I thought it would be a good idea to fly home Friday from Salt Lake and then get up early the next morning for a bike ride...well the Sea Gull Century.  BUT James and I powered through, and after getting up in the 4 o'clock hour we started by 8:20 a.m. and finished by 3:30 p.m. 

Then Sunday was still busy with ups and downs.  The last Grey Market was Sunday, and with everything else going on, I did not participate this time, but instead stopped by and got some awesome lunch from these guys (Los Verracos) and some delicious salted caramels from BakeHouse.  I am really very sad that it was the last one...after having so much fun back in May.

Then it was off to Thomas and Peter's wedding.  I could not have been more excited for them!  So, this week I think I am going to try and take it easy...what do you think?

But first, lets talk about these brownies.  They might be the healthiest brownies I have ever made, since they are gluten free, with no oil or butter.  They would be vegan, but I decided to throw chocolate chips in at the last minute.  The pumpkin, although not very visible shines in these brownies, that are the right amount of chocolate and pumpkin spice.  These are not cakey brownies, but instead yummy, gooey, melt in your mouth and have with a glass of milk brownies.  Plus, you would never know they were healthy, so give them a try and Enjoy!

What a great view when you are flying from Phoenix back to DC!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Back to the Basics 2: Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Sometimes you just have to keep things simple.  Like with these cupcakes, they were a simple birthday request.  No twists, no turns, no special instructions to re-read.  I pulled out an old recipe, that has been well tested and enjoyed many times, but that I haven't made in a few years.  A recipe that came out of one of the first cookbooks I bought for myself.  These cupcakes don't require any browning of butter, there is no wait time except for of course waiting for the cupcakes to cool.  You don't even have to wait for the butter to soften, you only have to melt it.  They are simple and uncomplicated, for when you need at least one thing to be simple.  Because, as I know I have said before, life is about the little, uncomplicated, simple things.  Yet, these cupcakes are still light and fluffy and exactly what you want from a vanilla cupcake.  The frosting is chocolatey and creamy, the kind that makes you want to lick the mixer's beaters and then the spatula...then maybe the bowl.  Plus, would you believe they are low-fat??  Definitely, give this one a try, no one will know the difference, they will only be wondering if they can have another one.  Enjoy!

Maybe I can get someone to start leaving me post-it notes like this, when everything feels like it is starting to get complicated.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Butterscotch Pudding Cups with Salted Caramel and Toasted Marshmallows

So, I am in the "Genealogy Capitol of the World" aka Salt Lake City for work this meeting.  Did I have to Google things to do in Salt Lake City to discover this?  Yes.  Am I actually going to be doing anything on the list of things to do in Salt Lake City?  No.  Will I be enjoying the many local breweries?  Most likely.  Will I totally enjoy the view from hotel room while I can?  Definitely.  And lastly, will I being enjoying the crazy awesome pancakes and banana brulee oatmeal at The Grand America? Yes, Yes, Yes

Hey Salt Lake!  Happy Sunday!

Well, it is official.  Another meeting season has started and the first one was actually two weeks ago up in Connecticut at The Study.  The other Lauren in the office, who also happened to make these awesome Salted Caramel Butter Bars, ran the meeting and came back with this challenge. She had the butterscotch pudding for dessert at The Study, and came back with the challenge for me to try and recreate it.  This was my go at it, and if nothing else, having never made pudding from scratch before, I learned that butterscotch pudding can actually have whiskey in it.  Who knew?  Plus, it just gave me another excuse to use my crème brûlée torch.  Did I happen to go around the office for a few minutes handing out marshmallows and toasting them on people forks that day too? Maybe.