Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Apple Bread

This is a great recipe, I was able to make it with ingredients I have around my house (it's just standard baking stuff and some applesauce, which I always have around, exclusively for baking because applesauce is gross awesome for baking.)

Considering that fall is still in full swing, I am loving baking with spices!  This is the time of year when I plan on making apple bread and realize that I'm out of nutmeg (and then wonder if "normal" people have this issue as often as I do.)  It has such a warm feel to it and it just makes my heart smile!

I always try to keep cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice in my pantry.  They are great together when baking with pumpkin or apple, or you can use just ginger and cinnamon when baking with molasses, they are all around spices!

So let's get going on this bread, we gotta get it in the oven! (PS don't start making this at 10 pm when you have to be at work at 8:30, you will be made at yourself.)

Apple Bread 
Adapted from My Baking Addiction
makes 1 loaf

1 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/2 of a granny smith apple

Preheat oven to 350.

In the bowl of your mixer add the applesauce, eggs, vegetable oil, water, vanilla and sugar.  Mix these  on medium-high until just starting to thicken.

In a small bowl mix together your flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  Turn the mixer to low and add in about half of the dry ingredients.  Allow to incorporate and add the remaining flour mixture.  Mix until just incorporated.

Scrape down your sides.

Spray a loaf pan with pan spray, I use a spray that contains flour, but if you don't have that then you should also flour the pan.

Pour the batter into the pan.

Cut the granny smith apple into wedges, making them as thin as possible.  Then toss these with about a tablespoon of sugar, a tablespoon of flour, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.  

Lay the slices on top of the batter, making whatever design you would like.

Put into the preheat oven and allow to bake for 60-70 minutes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Introducing: No Spend November!

Instead of celebrating our men's beloved "No Shave November" because let's face it, a woman not shaving can get pretty scary, November is officially "No Spend November."

Don't worry, we're not taking away all your freedom to spend.

The idea is to just work on one area of your spending.

So, select your area (mine is eating out) and stop your spending for 30 days.
No Spend November
And it's okay, because a few other people are going to be doing it with you. Your hosts Paige from A Dose of Paige, Heather from The Life Unexpected, Olivia from The Lovely Sisters, and Kenya from My Pending Life (and of course me!) are doing this all right along with you!

So how does it go down? It's pretty simple.

On November 1st, come to one of our blogs and link up a post about what you're not spending money on in November. It could be anything from not eating out to not buying anymore books. Tell us why you're not spending money on it and tell us what you're going to do when you're tempted to go spend the money. Like, when I'm tempted to go shopping, I'll go play with my dog instead.

Then, stop your spending, unless it's a necessity. Like, if you start a new job and need a new uniform, but you're not spending money on clothes, obviously, buy your uniform. I promise we won't come after you with pitchforks.

On November 15th, come and link up a post on how you're doing. Maybe you're doing fantastic and want to brag about all the money you saved or maybe you're really struggling, maybe even went out and bought a few things/spent money on something and need some encouragement. Either way, we want to hear about it!

Finally, on November 30th, come back one more time and tell us what your experience was. Maybe it was awful and you hated it, even with all the money you saved. Or maybe you're super excited and realized you don't need the thing you stopped spending money on anyway, you love all the money you saved. Maybe you've realized that you can't possibly ever go without the thing you stopped spending money on or maybe it opened up your eyes.

Even if you stop partway through, please link up and share your experience on November 30th!

Whew, that was alot I know but I wanted to make sure you had all the details.
So tell me, are you coming back on November 1st and participating?! Sound off in the comments about what you're not going to spend money on!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

You Look Great

Last night a friend of a friends told me "you look great, you've lost so much weight!"  This is likely a true statement, I've been lifting, gaining a lot of muscle, muscle increases my metabolism.  The thing is though, that I haven't been getting on a scale weekly.  

You see, I was pretty content with my body, it wasn't perfect but I liked it.  I started lifting because I wanted to be healthier, to feel better.  I still eat pretty much whatever I want, for the most part I try to be good, but that doesn't stop me from having the occasional cheeseburger, with fries, and likely bacon. 

I know that when people comment on how much weight you've lost they're trying to be kind, to be encouraging, and I'm not upset with this acquaintance of mine.  It can be encouraging to hear that.  Here's the deal though, here's what really weighs on my heart.  Do we really have be "skinny" or "thin" to look great? 

I spent a lot of time hating myself.  I hated myself for how fat I was, how I couldn't hold a conversation (not a true statement), how I said such awkward things.  None of this was worth my time.  I eventually realized that, I gained confidence.  I would throw on a pair of heels and stomp around in them like nobody's business.  I was getting to know myself and I decided that I was a pretty cool person. (Fun fact, it helps to have friends around who love you, and don't knock you down all the time.) 

So all of that to say, I don't think I have to be skinny to look great.  I don't mind that one of the affects of lifting is losing a little weight, but it's not really the main goal here.  The main goal is the be strong, gain confidence, get healthy.  Next time you have a friend who has been losing weight, just stop at "you look great."  The weight doesn't matter, it's probably just a new found confidence shining through.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cupcake Tuesday-Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes

When the weather starts to get cold I always get really excited.  While the bright sunshine of the spring/summer is certainly beautiful, I just love the cold and DESPISE the heat.  I love being able to wear cardigans and big puffy sweaters.  I love cuddling up with a warm drink and a blanket.  I love the beauty of the snow as it blankets our trees and yards.
The finished product.

All of this to say that I also love the flavors of the fall and the winter.  The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, the warmth of a spiced cider.  It's all so lovely.  So I made it into a cupcake, because really what else would I do.

Apple Spice Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes
2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter, sugar, vanilla and salt.  Beat on medium until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and continue to beat on medium for about a minute.  (I learned the hard way that if you let this go too long it will severely affect the texture...oops!)  While the eggs are mixing in add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.

Once the butter mixture is smooth and just fluffy add 1/3 of the flour.  Mix on low, until just incorporated and add the applesauce.  Beat gently.  Add the baking soda and baking powder.  Add another 1/3 of the flour and continue mixing on low.  Add in the sour cream, followed by the last 1/3 of the flour and mix until everything is combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix one last time.

I use a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop to fill my cupcake pans, but you can also use two spoons and fill about 2/3 of the way full.  With this batter it's hard to tell because it's pretty thick, which is why the scoop is a good call.

Scoop into lined cupcake pans.  Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Allow to cool.

Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 8 oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup salted caramel sauce*

In a stand mixer, or a bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and the cream cheese until smooth, about 3 minutes on high.  With the mixer on low, start adding the powdered sugar, slowly.  After you have added about half of your powdered sugar, add in the caramel sauce.  Mix thoroughly.  Add the remaining powdered sugar until you have reached your desired consistency. (For me this differs every time, make sure to keep tasting as you go so that it doesn't get too sweet.)  You can add more salt if desired.

Pipe or spread on top of the cooled cupcakes.

*Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt.
3/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature

In a medium sauce pan, mix together the sugar, water, corn syrup and salt using a wooden spoon.  Bring to a gentle boil and allow to cook over medium heat until the sugar begins to turn the color of caramel, about 15 minutes.  Make sure to keep an eye on the mixture as it is heating, it can burn very quickly.  Once the sugar is golden in color, remove from heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream while stirring quickly with a wooden spoon.  Transfer to a squeeze bottle or just use a spoon to drizzle onto cupcakes.
My "sneak peak" of the cupcakes that I shared via Instagram.

To finish off my cupcakes I cut thin slices of granny smith apples and coated them in lemon juice (this helps prevent browning).  I then dipped them in the caramel and put them on top of the frosting, letting the caramel drip down.  To be honest, the original plan was to let the caramel stiffen before putting on to the cupcakes, it would probably look prettier and be less messy, but I got tired, and this worked great!




Monday, October 14, 2013

Working on Coming Back


What a year this has been so far, 2013 you have certainly made me a stronger person.  Here's the major bullet points.

I never expected to be so happy to leave my house after the sun came up.

  • January
    • My contract for my job at the television production company ended and there weren't any other shows to jump on to, leaving me unemployed.   I got a nice little six week "vacation"
  • March
    • I started a job in retail, making significantly less money.  My feet hurt a lot and I was very tired.  RETAIL IS HARD PEOPLE.  Anywho, the pay cut leads up to April.
  • April
    • Due to my paycut I got a second job as a baker.  I went in at night after closing up at the store I was working at, leading to many 10-12 hour days.  I would get to the store at 9:30, leave at 6:15, get to the kitchen around 6:45 and bake until 10.  Sigh. There were a lot of tears, I was alone in the kitchen so it made it easy to let down my guard.
  • May
    • I started POWERLIFITING? What!?! Yeah, I learned that pointless picking up over 100 pounds off the floor is really fun for me.  These days I'm benching 110, squating 95, overheading 70 and deadlifiting 185.  It's a fun time.
  • August
    • After working both jobs for a very long time, the owner at the kitchen I was working at offered me a full time job, working from 5 am -2 pm.  I accepted, I just couldn't work many more of those REALLY long days.  Also, after 6 months in retail, it was time for me to get out.
  • September
    • The job at the kitchen may have been the worst job I have ever had, but I showed up everyday and I work HARD.  I made some great friends, we did our best to have fun in a bad situation, and overall it was still better than working two jobs, however I was still on the hunt for a "better" job.  In my mind this involved a chair, and office, and a computer.  I landed a job as a receptionist with my dad's real estate company (hooray nepotism!)  I started working the new job in the afternoons after finishing up at the kitchen, again working 12 hour days, from 5 am - 5 pm.  At least this time it had an end date, I powered through for 2 weeks, and then it was October.
  • October
    • I started full time as a receptionist.  I put my heels back on, gussied up my hair and hunted down some blazers.  I get in to the office and throw on my headset and do work.  I really enjoy the new job.  I grew up in the real estate world, it's fun and face paced and always changing.  Also I have great bosses who always encourage me and teach me.  I really want to keep learning and see where this job takes me!
So you see the blog kind of fell by the wayside, well, it fell away quite a long time ago, and I'm sorry.  I was in a bad place, and I didn't want to spread that bad place around the interwebs.  

I'm happy to be back, I'm going to take it slow and try not to overwhelm myself.  I'm not going to stress out if I miss a post, or don't post for a week.  This is supposed to be fun and I'm going to try to keep it that way!

Anywho, here's a bit of what I've been up to.

110 pounds.  Boom.

My friends and I went to a chili festival in Pueblo, got chili?

SADDLE SHOES! Only 7 dollars, in my size at Savers.  YES!

My church turned 20.  My friends and I made dessert, it's how we roll.
Too many of my days looked like this, but NO MORE!  Thank goodness, I now wake up with the sun.

I'm happy to be back, we'll see where this takes us!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...