Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The perfect time of year for...smooth, creamy butternut squash soup

Hey guys and gals...it's been a while again...I know.  You see the thing about this year as I have been trying to figure some stuff out, trying to get a business off the ground, and still trying to concentrate on my family, though small it may be.  I have been feeling a bit lost recently, which leaves me with out words to write here too.  I think I am ready for some sort of change, even if its just buying a new sofa and keeping the house cleaner.   You see the thing about having a tiny kitchen and needing to bake or cook, is well...after cooking in it for three years, I am a little over it.  I just want a kitchen with a window that is bigger than the 10 feet it takes up currently. But cook I still do, and I was so ready after being in California and Phoenix for two and half weeks between October and November, to embrace fall.  This soup was me trying to do just that.  I know, I know this is a baking blog...but hey this soup is mostly about what goes on in the oven, and less about what happens on the stove top.  

This soup is simple, delicious and healthy.  It really is only roasted butternut squash, onions, apples and carrots, with curry powder, nutmeg, ginger, salt and pepper...plus some turkey stock.  It is a soup you can make in advance and freeze, or one you can make the night of and serve immediately.  It is creamy while having no cream in it and loaded with vitamin C!  Give it a try, it will not disappoint.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Sometimes life gets in the way...

Okay you guys, I underestimated the amount of time in life that real work, and a side business would take.  Life has gotten real this year you guys...there was a 5 week stint where I was gone 3 out of 5 of them, and in 5 cities over those 5 weeks. There has been a marathon, a half marathon, a 56 mile bike ride and a 67.5 mile bike ride.  I did get to take a couple of days off and hangout with some good friends in Key West in the spring, and a fantastic summer vacation with my best friends in Seattle.  What more can I ask for?!? Oh and I turned 30! So to get back into this lets just start with a few photos of adventures and all of the food I have been baking since well you know March when I last posted.  Oops my bad!  Life just got in the way and lots of really yummy food.

One of the few springs when I was actually in DC to see the Cherry Blossoms blooming.

And for the first year at one of my favorite events of the year, my wedding planning company was able to help out with Taste of the Nation, by donating the Chef bags!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Lemon Blueberries & Creme Scones

So this past weekend kicked my butt...both mentally and physically.  Anyone who has ever run a race with any great distance...10+ miles will understand.  Over the course of what would ultimately be 26.86 miles, not just 26.2 because you always end up running more than the actual race distance, I wanted to quit at least 5 times.  I first wanted to quit because I knew I could just stop at the half marathon distance and I would have been happy with my time.  I wanted to quit because I was bored with running by miles 15, but I knew I would be disappointed in myself if I quit at something I knew I could complete.  I wanted to stop and walk when there were hills between miles 22 and 24, and by then there weren't people cheering you on anymore.  

Do you ever feel that way, like you just want to not do something anymore even though you know you totally can?  Like I know I could do "xyz", but it is going to take a lot of time and I just don't feel like putting in that time and energy right now.  Sometimes I feel that way about baking.  Like I don't really want to make a cake right now, not because I don't want cake and couldn't make it, but because I don't want to have to then clean up the kitchen and wash all of the dishes.  My kitchen is small and sometimes I don't get excited to bake in it simply because of that.  

But the other weekend I was very excited to get to bake for my DC Taste of the Nation silent auction friends.  We were meeting on a Saturday, and I really wanted to bake them something, since I don't get the opportunity to very often.  When I found some really nice looking blueberries at the store, I new immediately what I wanted to try out...Lemon Blueberries and Creme Scones.  They have just the slightest hint of lemon to add a light brightness for spring with the plump juicy blueberries.  Plus, these are the easiest from scratch scones you will ever make.  They come out light and fluffy for scones and are super moist from the cream.  You should definitely give these a try this spring, and Enjoy!

I won't put my after picture up, here because no one looks great after running for 4+ hours (and it's on instagram let's be real), and I keep saying I won't do another one...but talk to me a year from now.  I couldn't do it without my friends and family who came out to cheer me on though.

On to the seriously delicious scones...these are so easy and I can't wait to make them again.

Friday, March 4, 2016

S'mores Shortbread

So last weekend I got lost.  I was running along, only planning on running 8 miles Sunday morning in Charlotte when I got lost.  I was trying to follow map my run, and the route they picked out, but clearly I wasn't doing it properly.  Clearly I am now so dependent on someone literally telling me where to go at an exact moment that I had lost those map reading skills.  What do kids growing up now do?  Like what happens if they are in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal, and have never needed to read a map before.  I mean do they even have a map in their car?  Of course, what do I do but, plug in their address and started once again listening to an electronic voice tell me where to go.  But then I had a moment of panic, and used a few harsh words, as my phone crashed as it was giving me directions to my brother and sister-in-laws house.  A) I still didn't know if I was heading in the right direction and B) I couldn't even order an Uber to get me to their neighborhood and I had no cash on me.  It is amazing how dependent we can become on technology.  It also made me think about how important it is to just set the phone down sometimes, stick it in a draw and actually enjoy your life, not living vicariously through others.  Thankfully my phone came back up, I stopped listening to music and just listened to the occasional direction I was given.  I paid a more attention to what was going on around me, and all of the RIDICULOUSLY large houses I was running by and not even really noticing before.  

But before last weekend, and actually the weekend before...what can I say I am a little behind...I made these s'mores shortbread for my office.  Sometimes everyone needs a little treat on Monday!  The best part about these was toasting the marshmallow just before the shortbread was going to be eaten so it was super warm and toasty.  Using a torch to do this even caused the chocolate to be somewhat melty just making these little shortbread even better.  

I am a little behind here on the blog, and I should come up with excuses, but I have been baking.

Like on the same day I made these shortbread, I also made chocolate dipped Hazelnut shortbread for Charles' office.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

An Updated Black Forest Cake

Do you ever feel like waiting patiently is the hardest part? Waiting for a cake to bake and then cool?  Waiting for pie crust to spend a little time in the refrigerator? Or for butter to soften?...but then in the end the time spent waiting patiently is worth it.  Sometimes we are just waiting anxiously to get a text back from a friend.  Or I remember the days...several years ago now when I would wait, what felt like hours in college, for a phone call from Charles.  Or right out of college just hoping and waiting to get an email back from and of the what felt like 100s of companies I had applied for jobs with.  Ultimately though the wait tends to be worth, the right person, thing, job comes along or the cake that took hours turns out just the way it is supposed to...almost as if it were fate.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Chocolate-Chocolate Lavender Cake

So it's January, sooo new year, new start right?  Why does it sometimes feel like nothing changes though, or that the things you wish would change just don't?  Like there are things you can personally control...I can try my hardest to blog more frequently in 2016; I can try to cook dinner more frequently; I can be more proactive about planning out my lunches; or you know the normal I can aim to be more healthy and workout more in 2016.  There are some things though that you really, really wish you could change, but that you have zero control over.  But, truthfully I will always keep trying to change some of those things whether at work or when I once again let my blogging fall off because sometimes life just gets too busy.  What is it that you want to change in 2016?  For me the questions is...what do I want to accomplish before I turn 30 in August?  Bungee jumping anyone?

Okay down to the food, and this time I mean cake, three layers of rich chocolate-chocolate, straight out of the movie Matilda, chocolate cake. BUT I did make this just a bit more grown up, so this is actually a chocolate lavender cake.  This cake is moist, light and fluffy with just a hint of lavender flavor, with rich fudgy chocolate frosting that is worth licking the spatula over. You might be thinking that you don't really like lavender, or even...SERIOUSLY lavender in a cake??  But this cake even changed my mind.  So give it a try and Enjoy!

This is the Matilda Cake I was talking about.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cinnamon Chip Scones for a cold January morning

I have come to realize that there will always be people in life that you don't know what you would do without.  Sometimes, a person's role shifts and changes, but there are others that you know deep down you just need.  They are the people whose opinions you care about the most; the people you would do anything for at the drop of hat.  They are the people I want to bake for "just because."  Thalia at Butter and Brioche put it best I think, and I agree with her about the power of baking.  Baking..."It brings delight to taste buds, provides happiness and nourishment to heavy hearts, comforts those hurt and unites loved ones.  It is the language of connection, a labor of love…a small and everyday act that is one of the most powerful ways to show another person that you care for them."  This year I resolve to get back to the love of baking; back to the days and nights and weekends when I looked forward to it.  For it to not feel forced and like something I "have" to do.  

So this year I am starting with something I wanted to make just because I wanted to eat them...cinnamon chip scones that is.  These are light, and moist for being a scone, with great cinnamon flavor and texture.  The cinnamon chips are the perfect little breakfast treat.  Definitely give these a try and Enjoy!

P.S. Now is the time to get cinnamon chips at the store. They are found near the chocolate chips in the grocery store.