17 February 2013

am i the only one?

Pin It Sometimes ya gotta get ugly to get pretty.  Slather that coconut oil all over your face and hair, throw everything up in a bun, wear the leggings, and do some pilates on the living room floor.  It's okay, your man isn't home.  You can quit the leg lifts after 100 and no one will know.

16 February 2013

vegan chocolate pudding

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You ready for this?  Vegan chocolate pudding.  Yes, vegan.  Pudding.  Vegan chocolate pudding.  If I say pudding again does the word start to look weird to you?

You know what's not weird?  Whipping up some avocado and chocolate.  Okay, maybe it sounds weird if you've never been there before, but so does Djibouti.  I assure you... it's a good place to go.  The avocado part.  I haven't been to Djibouti.... yet.

Yep.  I don't lie.

This is the simplest, no-bake, chocolate heaven dessert.  Ready in 5, just like a low maintenance chica. Whiz it all up in your blender or food processor and dig in.

Recipe for Vegan Chocolate Pudding, serves 1 generously (adapted from Out to Lunch)

1 avocado
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp almond milk

Combine.  Blend until smooth.  Easy enough, eh?

12 February 2013

red velvet whoopie pies

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Valentine's Day means some head spinning for me.  Pink cookies, heart shaped everything, chocolate covered strawberry demands, AH! Stop the madness!  I like the holiday, but I am going to be glad once it's over.

Luckily, I have a very low maintenance man.  All I have to do is bake enough sugary snacks to keep his belly full.  We're also sneaking in a little v-day time tomorrow night and having dinner together.

I made these heart-shaped Red Velvet Whoopie Pies for you guys, but Brian absolutely loves them.  He claims they taste like they are straight out of a Little Debbie's package.  I think this is a compliment?

These were kind of an experiment.  I was afraid the batter would be too runny to pipe into heart shapes, so I did a little tweaking.  They turned out PERFECT and I even made you a little video last night when I was up late watching Fashion Police.

Anyhow, if you are looking for an easy and super cute treat to make for this Thursday, these are it!  Adorable, don't need to be refrigerated, and taste like they are mass produced... what more could you ask for this Valentine's Day?

Recipe for Red Velvet Whoopie Pies  (makes 18), adapted from Annie's Eats

2 cups flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4  tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 oz red food coloring

(for the icing)
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2-3 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375F.  Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in large bowl and set aside.  Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients, buttermilk, and food coloring and beat until thoroughly mixed (about 30 seconds).  Be careful not to over mix.

Pipe into 2in hearts onto parchment lined baking sheets, leaving about an inch between each.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating halfway through.

For icing, beat all ingredients together until smooth.  If icing is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk (or water) and beat until proper consistency.

Pipe frosting onto half of the cookies and top with a matching heart.  Voila!  Happy Valentine's Day, you sap. :)

06 February 2013

inspiration juice

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I've logged in two days so far at the new store and so far things are looking up!  It's not necessarily easy moving into a team that is already established and trying to fit in, let alone trying to be a leader.  I'm sure they are all thinking I am insane, as my primary way of breaking the ice is dancing like an idiot and speaking in Spanglish.

Anyhow, you gotta start somewhere. I'm committed to raising morale.  Somewhere, deep in my heart, I've always wanted to be one of those inspirational leaders.  The teacher that everyone loves.  The motivational speaker that changes your day, life, week... whatever.  The magic that people like that possess amazes me.

After some soul searching, and a little bit of you-tubing; all I can definitively conclude is these people deeply care about others.  There aren't any motivational factors except the fact that they truly care about making a difference and they have a ton of energy.  Good thing the juice bar is right next door to the bakery.

Nothing gets me going more than juice like this.  Coffee, sure... I need it to step out the door in the morning.  Those little chocolate covered caramel hearts?  They get me jazzed for a minute or two.  But the juice?  A good, green, kale-filled, lemon-y, ginger juice?  Sustainable, clear-headed energy at its finest.

I made this juice at home this morning with some random fridge ingredients, more specifically: cabbage, kale, lemon, apple, ginger, carrot, & broccoli.

02 February 2013

If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

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So, I didn't do the juice cleanse yet, but I'm still on the healthy life train.  I've been writing down everything I eat, hitting the gym more, walking the dog, and trying to limit my stress.  I have committed myself to my own well being, which sounds selfish, but I think it might be my ticket to the good life.

I always wear myself out by trying to please everyone else.   This hardly ever works out the right way and I'm usually left tired and annoyed.  I'm learning that taking care of myself first is not selfish, it's actually the best thing I can do.  No one will be left picking up my pieces and anything extra will be because I want to, not because I feel like I should.

I know this might sound like a duh moment, but deal with me for a minute here.  I'm growing.

I'm learning that I can only commit myself to my own expectations.  If I make them clear and concrete, I can accomplish them.  If I take the time to care about myself enough to have that hour of quiet time, to let myself doodle in a notebook on a Tuesday night, or to treat myself to the $12 manicure that makes me feel like a million bucks, it makes me a much better person to be around.  And THAT is all anybody really wanted from me anyway, right?

So, I may not be able to fix everyone's problems, to make everyone smile at work, or to make it to every birthday party.  I might do my laundry before I do yours.  I'll make salad for dinner tonight, even though I know you'd rather eat a cheeseburger.  But on a Saturday morning when it's cold and snowy, I'll make you cinnamon rolls with lemon icing.  I'll do it because I love you and it makes me happy, not because I feel like I'm supposed to.

Recipe for Lemon-Glazed Cinnamon Rolls, makes 16

1 3/4 cup warm water (shooting for around 110 degrees)
1/4 + 2tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tbsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
5 cups flour

Cinnamon Sugar Insides:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, melted

1 stick butter, melted
dash of salt
3 cups confectioners sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
Zest and juice of 1 lemon