Apple Spice Bread with Apple Cider Glaze

My current options right now are:

1. Be a good student and study,
2. Eat delicious left over chocolate cake,
3. or blog.

Now the obvious choice is definitely the chocolate cake, wouldn’t you agree? However, I did just stuff my face with a container of mashed potatoes, so I should probably give me stomach a moment to rest.

I have been spending a ridiculous amount of time with my cat.  I think I might be destined to become a crazy cat lady one day.  What can I say? My cat makes a wonderful companion when I decide to sit and down half of an apple spice bread by myself.

Autumn is full of nostalgia for me, it brings back some wonderful memories and feelings.  The sights and smells of fall are very close to my heart, and along with that comes the food of fall.  Butternut squash, pumpkin, and of course, apples.  As much as I love pumpkin, apples will always hold a special place in my heart.  Some of my best memories are from apple picking at the orchard right near my house and eating fresh apple cider donuts.

Clearly when I saw that there was an apple cider glaze on this bread, I knew I had to make it immediately.

This bread was moist and delicious… so much so that I shamelessly stuffed my face with it on Saturday night while watching The Notebook for the millionth time with my cat and sat crying on my couch.

Don’t judge.

Apple Spice Bread with Apple Cider Glaze
recipe from Eat, Live, Run

ingredients

2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp molasses
1/2 large apple, grated and pressed with a paper towel
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

for glaze:

1 cup confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp apple cider

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, molasses, butter, applesauce and grated apple. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined.

Scrape batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let loaf cool completely before glazing.

To make glaze, mix together the confectioners sugar and apple cider. Drizzle over completely cool loaf.

I hope you all are enjoying the fall appropriately! I started my morning today by baking a batch of my carrot cake cupcakes for something my dad was going to tonight.  They just got some major approval for my mother and are very fall oriented.  I highly recommend whipping up a batch of these too ;)

for now, I’ll leave you with a picture.  Have a wonderful week my friends <3

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

ups & downs

I have exercised only once in the past two weeks.

I ate about a pound of vanilla bean buttercream frosting tonight.

I cried more this week than I have in the past few months.

I’m a bit of a mess.

It has almost been a month since I’ve last blogged, and I want to say I’m sorry.  Life has truly been getting in the way, and to be honest, I feel like I’ve barely been cooking and I have not been baking at all.

I’ve been dealing with a few personal things the past month.  I’m okay, but I have had a few things that have been weighing very heavily on my mind as well as a full academic schedule and work schedule this semester.  I am thankful for almost a month of the semester being over, and I actually really love almost all my classes this semester.  I’m sure I won’t be saying that in two weeks when my midterms are in full swing and I have a bunch of papers due, but this semester almost makes me sad in a way.  I realize now that if I had followed what I had always enjoyed in school, I might have actually enjoyed the past four and half years of undergrad.  It is what it is though and I just have to really make my last semester matter.

As my last semester of school winds down and my twenty-second birthday approaches, I find myself excited with the perspective of a new life ahead of me and terrified at the same time.  I know I want to go to culinary school, but I’ve also realized I am in desperate need of some time off and getting my life together a bit.

Thanks to everyone who reads my blog, while I may be sporadic with my posting, I really do enjoy it and don’t plan on abandoning blogging any time soon.  With that said, posts for the next two or three months might be a little more infrequent.  I’m hoping to re-focus my blog once I graduate in December and maybe even redesign it a bit.

For now, I will leave you with these awesome cupcakes I made tonight.

Seriously, if you have not made these cupcakes yet, DO IT NOW! They are amazing.  I also substituted vanilla bean paste for the vanilla in the frosting and the results are rather delicious if I do say so myself!

Also, if anyone would like to donate to the Emily-needs-more-pastry-bags fund, I would be incredibly grateful ;)

I hope you all have a wonderful week <3

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Puffy Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips

It has been a very long day. These cookies might be the only redeemable aspect of this Sunday.

I apologize for being so MIA this summer, but the truth is that I have been too busy to blog and my kitchen has been too hot too bake.  I think I might be the minority when I say that summer is probably my least favorite season.  I am so thankful it almost September and almost autumn.  I love the fall and I am most certainly looking forward to all things pumpkin & apple and the cool weather.

It is also my last semester of undergrad (yay!) and being back in school means schedule and routine once again.  I’m hoping that the humidity might finally go away and baking will once again be back in my life.

So, back to these cookies.

You need to make them ASAP.  They are awesome and delicious and easy.  I literally used a bowl, whisk, and wooden spoon… and my hands to bring the dough all together at the end.

The only downfall to these cookies is that you can easily eat an entire batch by yourself.

Puffy Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips
recipe from How Sweet It Is

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick)
6 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups of chocolate chips

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

In microwave safe bowl, melt butter and peanut butter together.  Stir together with spoon.  In separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.   In another large bowl, whisk together butter-peanut butter mixture with brown sugar and regular sugar until completely combined.  Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until combined.  Using a spoon, stir in the flour.  Fold in the chocolate chips with spoon until well combined — do not worry about over mixing and use your hands if necessary.

Make golf sized balls and place on cookie sheet making sure cookies are one to two inches apart. Press down on cookies just to make them slightly flat.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  They may seem slightly undercooked, and if you prefer a less “gooey” cookies another few minutes.

Let cool and devour! :)

I hope everyone has stayed safe this weekend! Have a wonderful week <3

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Mocha Coconut Cupcakes

I go to Starbucks a lot.  I do my studying for school there, its the only coffee shop in the mall that I work at, and I would pick it any day over Dunkin’ Donuts.  While I love to support local coffee shops, I find that where I typically end up during the day there aren’t many around so Starbucks is the next best choice.

I love lattes, cappuccinos, and iced coffees. And luckily, there are many ways to make these drinks more “ass” friendly by using skim milk or soy and sugar-free syrups.  However, my one true love at Starbucks is the beloved frappucino.  Now prior to my weight loss, I probably would get these once to twice a week because they’re so delicious.  Now, I rarely order them honestly.  I don’t consider myself on a diet, because that would mean I am restricted, but there are things I have chosen to cut out of my daily eats for the most part and frappucinos are one of these items.

However, at the beginning of the summer, I saw a combination I knew I would not be able to resist: Mocha Coconut Frappucinos.  My mouth practically watered when I first saw it on the menu, and then all of the commercials on TV made it even more tempting.  I finally decided about a month ago to treat myself to one, especially because you got 10 free iTunes songs if you bought one :) And it was just as delicious as I imagined it would be.

Since then, I’ve been trying to think of a great cupcake recipe to incorporate all of these wonderful flavors.  Over the past week, I investigated all over the internet, and finally came up with this delicious recipe.  It might be the best cupcake I’ve ever made, the chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes have some serious competition.

These are a little time consuming, but 100% worth making :)

Mocha Coconut Cupcakes
makes 18 to 20 cupcakes

Ingredients

for cupcakes
1-½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-½ cups sugar
1-½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup of warm brewed coconut coffee
½ teaspoon of espresso powder

for coconut cream
1 cup full fat coconut milk (make sure it is cold and has been in the fridge for a few hours)
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
¼ cup powdered sugar

for espresso buttercream
2-¾ sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
3-½ cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of espresso powder

Directions

for cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla, coffee, and espresso powder.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and with an electric mixer, beat together until fully incorporated and smooth.  Make sure to scrape down sides of bowl so all of the ingredients are fully combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, about two-thirds of the way full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of cupcake. Let cool for 5 minutes in the tin, and then let completely cool on baking rack.  Once completely cool, cut a small cone shaped hole in the center of cupcake that doesn’t go all the way to the bottom.

for coconut cream
With a standing mixer, beat the coconut milk for about 5 minutes, scraping down sides as needed until fluffy.  Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat for another two to three minutes until light and fluffy.  Put in pastry bag and fill center of cupcakes.

for espresso buttercream
Whisk together the espresso powder and vanilla in a small bowl.  Set aside.

It a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the butter at a medium-high speed for five minutes, scraping down the side as needed. Add the powdered sugar a half cup at a time on a low speed until all of it is just combined.  Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, beat a medium to high speed until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides and add espresso and vanilla mixture.  Beat at high speed for about another minute until light and fluffy.

*Decorate cupcakes as desired.

recipe adapted from:
cupcakes - Martha Stewart’s One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
coconut cream – Vegan Coconut Whipped Cream
espresso buttercream – Brown Eyed Baker’s Espresso Buttercream

*Note – I used a large cake tip to frost the cupcakes and then made a mocha sauce to decorate on top of it.  The mocha sauce came out great, but I couldn’t tell you the exact measurements.  I based it off of this recipe, but multiplied all the measurements by about 6 to make a large batch of the sauce.  I also added a lot more cornstarch than they suggested, because I wanted a thick sauce.  I would suggest at least a tablespoon and a half.  Make sure when you make the mocha sauce you let it cool completely before putting it on buttercream or it will melt the frosting.  I would definitely suggest making it or buying it to decorate the cupcakes because it really completes the flavor of the cupcake :)

Are you a Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks person? What is your favorite fancy coffee drink? Would you eat a mocha coconut cupcake?

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Creamy Basil Pesto with Penne and Zucchini

One of the benefits to living at home is that I have access to lots of fresh herbs and vegetables right from my own garden.  Every summer, my favorite herb to use by far is fresh basil.  Yesterday, I had the worst craving for pesto and I looked outside to see over grown basil in the pot and immediately knew what I was cooking for dinner.

Creamy Basil Pesto with Penne and Zucchini

Ingredients

  • 2 small zucchinis
  • ¼ cup to ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of fresh basil
  • ½ cup to ¾ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 8 ounces of penne 

Boil the water and cook the pasta to al dente.  Reserve ¼ cup of pasta water.  Chop zucchini into bite size pieces.  Zest and juice a lemon in two separate small bowls. Chop 2 cloves of garlic.  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add garlic and ½ teaspoon of lemon zest for 30 seconds to a minute or fragrant.  Add zucchini, salt, and pepper.  Sauté until cooked and add 1 tsp of lemon juice at the end of cooking.  Place zucchini in a bowl.

In a food processor, chop fresh basil finely. Add 2 cloves of garlic, pepper, and pine nuts and chop until well mixed together.  Scrape down sides of food processor if necessary. Drizzle olive oil into food processor while it is on low speed until mixture is completely blended together.  Put pesto in a bowl and mix in parmesan cheese until combined.

It a pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a half cup of pesto. Stir vigorously with a whisk and add in 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and continue to stir.  Once the mixture thickens, turn off heat and add pasta and zucchini.  Combine and serve.

 

This was a great and simple dish, definitely try it :) Hope you all have a great weekend!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

August Goals

It’s August already folks, which means that autumn is approaching soon! I’m sure some of you will want to punch me for mentioning that summer is halfway over, but I’m really excited for the fall because its my favorite season :)  Apple picking, pumpkin spiced flavored things, and cool, crisp beautiful weather with leaves changing color is my idea of paradise.

As August approached last weekend, I realized that I had really lost focus of myself since June.  Between summer classes and limited time to do anything fun, I had not let myself relax and was stress eating a lot.  I’ve been maintaining my current weight with about a 4 pound flex range which I guess is good, but I’m ready to lose that final thirty to forty pounds, so I’ve decided to regain my focus.  Setting some August goals I believe might help me to do this, so I’ve broken it down into three categories: Fitness, Food, and Life.

Fitness Goals

  • Workout four days a week
  • Do one workout a week outside
  • Try a yoga class

Food Goals

  • Try a recipe out of a cookbook once a week.
  • Limit eating out to only twice a week
  • Try to go to a farmer’s market twice this month

Life Goals

  • Do not spend more than $100 on shopping this month
  • Get back on the weight loss bandwagon — try to lose about four pounds by Sept. 1st
  • Read a book for enjoyment

 

I have definitely recommitted myself to working on all of the goals I set at the beginning of the year, and despite a few obstacles this summer, I truly believe that I can end 2011 on a positive note!

Do you have any goals for August or the rest of the year?

*I finally added a recipes page to my blog! If you have any trouble with a link, please let me know so that I can fix it :)

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Bridal Shower Cupcakes

I apologize for being so MIA lately, but my blogging inspiration has been non-existent, and usually when I’m feeling uninspired to post, I will bake something.  Unfortunately, it has been brutally hot & humid in upstate NY this past week, and my desire to turn on my oven, in my kitchen that doesn’t have central air, would probably be a death sentence.

However, one of my best friend’s sisters is getting married and they asked me to make the cupcakes for her bridal shower.  I was so excited, a real excuse to bake and I wouldn’t have to eat the cupcakes all by myself ;)

The theme was pink lemonade, so they wanted some lemon cupcakes and wanted pink & yellow decorations.  I had a few recipes saved that I thought would be perfect.

The first dozen I made were Pink Lemon Heart Cupcakes.

These were really easy to make, but if I did the heart decoration again, I would probably buy a slightly smaller heart cookie cutter because the edges kept breaking. I didn’t actually taste the cupcakes, but the frosting was good :)

The second dozen that I made were Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes:

The frosting on these cupcakes is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! The strawberry puree makes it so delicious :) I would definitely make these cupcakes again.

The last dozen I made were Funfetti:

For the funfetti colors, I used pink and yellow sprinkles and I thought they came out really cool! The cake almost looked like tie dye :)

My friend told me the cupcakes were a hit! I’m so glad everyone enjoyed them.

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday <3

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

life lately (in bullets)


  1. I have watched an entire season of Friends in 2 days
  2. I organized my entire bookshelf and cleaned it. I realized I owned a lot of gross old make-up, an inordinate amount of headbands & hair accessories, and lots of Food Network magazines.
  3. I haven’t baked in almost a month. It makes me sad, but yet I can’t bring myself to bake in this heat.
  4. Weight loss doesn’t solve all of your problems.
  5. Reaching a plateau in weight loss is really frustrating… especially when you know a lot of it is because you are not eating the right things and not exercising.
  6. Your mother cutting up your credit cards is a big wake up call that you need to get your life under control.
  7. It’s okay if you’re not strong every day because that doesn’t make you any weaker.
  8. This is all really cliche and stupid, but I honestly don’t care.
  9. Sometimes I wonder if I should even blog anymore.
  10. I have nothing to worry about now that my classes are over and my credit cards are gone, but somehow that makes me more anxious.
  11. At the end of the day, I’m only twenty-one years old and I have an entire life ahead of me.  I need to learn that I am an adult, but I’m also a kid who is going to make stupid mistakes.
  12. I believe that I am meant to do something with my life even if I don’t know what that is yet.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Fashion Friday: Getting Aquatinted with the Old

Hello my friends! I apologize for my absence but its been a crazy three weeks.  After tomorrow, only one week left of summer classes until freedom :)  Three summer classes in four weeks is really intense so I have really been MIA from the internet in general.

However, I had some time tonight and decided to do a fashion friday blog post!  Losing weight has made me become even more of a crazy shop-o-holic than I was before because it seems every four weeks my clothes are getting too big.  While its great I’m losing weight and shrinking sizes, my bank account sure does not like me constantly spending money on clothing all the time.

I started to pick through my wardrobe tonight and tried some tricks to make things not look too big on me.  I used belts to cinch certain areas and tucked shirts that were too big on the bottom into my pants.  I think I found a couple of really cute outfits :)

Outfit #1
Plaid Shirt = Ann Taylor Loft
Black Shorts = H&M
Belt = Banana Republic
Black Wedges = Marc Fisher (Macy’s)

Outfit #2
White Cardigan = GAP
Shirt, Black Belt, & Grey Pumps = Banana Republic
Navy Crop Pants = JCrew

Outfit #3
Tunic = H&M
Belt = Banana Republic
Scarf and Leopard Print Shoes = American Eagle

Outfit #4
Printed Dress, Earrings, and Purple Belt = Banana Republic
Grey Pumps = Nine West

Outfit #5
Purple Dress = Gap
Leopard Print Shoes = American Eagle

Outfit #6
Striped Shirt & Jeans = JCrew
Belt = Banana Republic
Leopard Print Shoes = American Eagle

Most the outfits are pretty fall like, but I have to wear nice clothes for my job and its often cold where I work, so I probably would wear these outfits to work even during the summer.  Most of the dresses look like potato sacks on me now, so I made them into drop waisted dresses with belts and sashes.  This is a great trick if you have dresses that are too big on you because the extra material is perfect amount to turn them into a drop waisted dress.  Tucking in my shirts in my pants was also great because I am large chested, so the shirts still fit in my chest.  You would never know that they are too big on the bottom ;)

I’m so glad tomorrow is Friday.  I will hopefully be back to a regular blogging schedule as of next weekend and will finally have a chance to catch up on my google reader!

I hope you all have been having a wonderful summer <3

Do you have any fashion tips for making your clothes fit better if they’re too big, too small, etc?

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

4 years ago today…

…I graduated high school.

At the time, I felt like I had waited my whole life for that moment to come, and its really weird to think that it was four years now.  I look at myself and cannot believe how much I have changed and grown as an individual since my high school graduation, yet in many ways, I still remain that same insecure girl.  I have to constantly remind myself, I am a different person… I am a strong woman.

I am not afraid to be alone.

I am not afraid to be independent.

I am not afraid of being happy.

That girl in those pictures however was surrounded by a loving support group of girls who she has known all of her life.  Despite different colleges, growing up, and moving in different directions in life, there is an overwhelming sense of love and compassion that I still find from those girls.

In spite of our differences, I truly love them with all of my heart.  I don’t have siblings.  I am not close with my extended family.  My friends are my family.  They helped to mold the person I have become today and I am so thankful they are a part of my life.

That girl in those pictures from four years ago is now changing herself for the better.  She is making herself happier.  She’s becoming healthier.  She’s taking control of her life.

Although I may have looked like this last year,

I really believe gaining the forty pounds I did after high school was a part of my healing process.  I know it sounds backwards, but I sort of believe that weight gain had to show me how I could find happiness at any point of my life.

Now today, I am almost thirty pounds lighter than I was in that picture.  I still have a long way to go, but I’m healing.

I’m going to be okay.

This is also my 100th post on my blog! Thanks to everyone who reads my little blog that is kind of a healthy living blog/food blog/healing blog and I hope you stay tuned for the next 100 posts :)

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments