Friday, November 30, 2012

Just a little more pumpkin...Gluten-free Pumpkin Cake

Happy, Happy Friday!

Have I told you out there that I am doing boot camp??  I know right, just call me crazy...
1st...its boot camp, lets be real here
2nd...I don't know anyone else in the class, so day one you just show up in the dark and look for the other slightly crazy people up this early awaiting someone to tell them to run, jump and do push-ups
3rd...its at 5:45 a.m.
4th...its freaking cold at 5:45 a.m. in the morning and my bed is nice and toasty a result of boot camp, I am sore and walk funny some days...Don't judge me because I can totally feel you judging me.

But its actually fun, seriously.  I attempt to get ready on the drive to the class listening to  I Can Only Imagine or Feel The Love Plus, I am only doing it for a month, and although I shouldn't feel this way (because its not really how you get into shape), I definitely don't feel bad when I eat cake in the afternoon after doing boot camp in the morning.  I mean I'm not eating cake everyday, and this one is actually on the healthier side.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Thank You in the Form of Cupcakes...Honey Green Tea Cupcakes

There are some days when I just feel like I need to go home and figuratively speaking, change into my happy pants.  Those days where I need a little me time at work; when the head phones go in to tune out the world around.  Crazy enough for me, for some strange reason, this involves rocking out to Chris Botti or Josh Groban louder then necessary.   Have I ever mentioned that they are who I listen to when I need to get serious work done?  I don't know what it is about them.  

So, with all of the distraction of the holidays, and with Christmas music blaring in every store, I am trying to get work done when its time to get work done, and enjoy the season the rest of the time.  

Its the time of year to add a little spice and peppermint to the mix.  To whip up a batch of cookies, muffins or cupcakes, and share them with those around.  Like these cupcake for instance that were inspired by a co-worker's love of honey and hot tea.  (I know, I know, I just mentioned spice and peppermint, neither of which reside in these cupcakes.  Trust though that there is a whole month ahead for these things.) These cupcakes are also a super belated thank you for her part in giving me the giant whisk that hangs on my office wall.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mini Spinach Bacon Gouda Quiche

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  Although we should be thankful everyday, today is the day where our thanks are called out.  So here goes nothing...

I am thankful for my family, as crazy as we are.  I am grateful to have a loving and supportive mom, dad, brother and sister-in-law.  Plus two of the cutest nephews ever!

I am thankful to have the best friends a girl could ask for, who listen to me go on and on about the same stupid stuff.

I am grateful that I am healthy, as well as my family.

I am grateful for the everyday life things, having a job with fun co-workers in great location...for having hobbies that let me take my mind off of things...for the roof over my head and the food in my kitchen and my morning coffee...for the beauty in the everyday the leaves changing.

So today when you are hanging out with family and friends, cooking/baking in the kitchen, toasting to everything you are thankful for, just smile and enjoy the moment.  Take today to relax, because we all know everything is going to speed up for the next month when the holidays are upon us.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Pre-Thanksgiving Treat: Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts

So its official, the holidays are here.  I seriously can't believe that Thanksgiving is this week! Somehow I am on the ball and have already started Christmas shopping and before I know it, it will be time to start planning Christmas Eve brunch.  However, for now there was a post race brunch, with these pumpkin pie pop tarts, overnight caramel french toast and mini quiche with of course plenty of mimosas to go around.  This is the perfect post race brunch to warm you up while also filling you back up.  Have I ever told you that I love cooking for other people.  Seriously, I love feeding other people.  I am not sure what it is about, but getting to cook for other people is one of those small joys in life

A little mid-week planning to get things ready.  I am so happy to have been part of the committee planning the race this past Saturday.   Plus, a special thank you to Occasionally Cake for donating a gift certificate for the race's top finishers.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

An Interview with a Baker: Sabrina Campbell of Occasionally Cake

As someone who dreams of someday opening a bakery, I though it might be smart to learn from other bakers.  To start reaching out to local bakery owners to see how they got started, what they love about baking, and even what their favorite desserts are.  Sabrina from Occasionally Cake agreed to be first and I could not have been more excited...

When you walk into Occasionally Cake you feel like you are walking into a home.  The smell of fresh baked desserts envelops you.  This past Tuesday the aroma was of pancakes covered with butter and maple syrup, with a touch of butterscotch.   All I wanted to do was go into the kitchen, throw on an apron and start baking with them.  The smell was simply intoxicating.  As it turned out, they were baking a fresh batch of maple cupcakes with maple buttercream frosting.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars

Last week while I was in Laguna Beach for work I bought a card that said it all.  It really went with what I have been thinking about lately...

The small text...
"We must take with great seriousness the effect such a little thing can have on the soul."

Over the past year I have really come to realize that there will always be times in life when you want things to slow down.  Times when you want to be able to enjoy every single little moment, and be able to remember all of the laughter and the smiles.  Those moments that you hope create memories that will last you a lifetime.

Then, there are those times that you wish you could just get past, press fast-forward to a time that seems a little easier, a little less complicated and messy.  But no matter what you want, things always keep changing.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bailey's Caramel Crunch Cupcakes

A quick midweek recap from Southern California...

If you have to work on the weekend, an amazing view always helps!

The best part about traveling for work and my absolute favorite meeting location for morning runs is Laguna Beach.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Scones

I need to preface this post by saying I am not trying to be sad or depressing, but sometimes events happen that make you really start to think about what is really important.  Especially with all of the drama happening everyday in the world around the presidential election or whatever else happens to be floating across the airwaves.  When someone you have known practically your entire life passes away and you start to reflect on life.  When you have a chance to learn through your moms’ experiences about how things we can think are so important are minute and to be grateful for all that we do have.   That moments with family and friends that have become like family, are part of having a full life.  That sharing your joys and passions with others is an easy way to show your love for them. 

This past week I really learned how sometimes the smallest gestures make the biggest impact.  That sometimes we get caught up in smallest day to day things because they can be very important; things as simple as a phone call home.   I keep trying to figure out what my future is going to be.  Will I go back to school?  When will I move back to North Carolina, so I’m not 5+ hours from home?  Should I try to get into selling desserts at farmer’s markets?  Sometimes there are too many questions, and every now and again instead of thinking about next week, next month or next year, I need to start enjoying the small day to day things.  Things like these scones, which I was able to bake in my mom’s house when I was home for less than 24 hours, and was able to share with my families.