Sunday, January 24, 2016

Slim Down Vegetable Soup

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope you're well :) So one week ago today, I decided to go sugar-free for the next 28 days. After I got sick a couple of years ago, I cut down my sugar intake considerably, but I never completely cut it out of my diet (partially because I bake so much!).
The truth is, though I DO love sugar, I love healthy food too! If you were to have come to my house last weekend, before I threw out the processed stuff, you'dve seen a counter and fridge full of fruits and vegetables! ...however, if this was a panoramic view of the kitchen, you'd also have seen some iced lemon cookies and some apricot-raspberry thumbprint cookies. Soo.... yeah. Haha! What can I say? I like balance.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas

HAPPY NEW YEEEEEARRRRR!!! :) It's 2016, and things are looking good! How do you guys herald the new year? Do you make copious resolutions to do better/be better/change things? Are you first in line at the gym to work off all those holiday pounds? Or, like me, do you start cooking? (I hope the answer is yes!)
I stopped making new year's resolutions long ago. I figured that if I have to wait until a new year arrives in order to make changes in my life, I'm probably not all that ready to change. You know? But that's just me. I wish you all the success this new year. :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

French Vanilla Cupcakes with (Eggless) Chocolate Chip Cooke Dough Frosting

MAN, I haven't been so proud of a cupcake concoction in a long time! I feel like I found a way to bring cupcakes to a whole new level of indulgence and comfort by pairing a well-loved, classic vanilla cupcake with arguably the most-loved cookie flavor ever: Chocolate Chip! I am tooting my own horn as loudly as possible from over here!
Even if I'm not the first to do it, I am absolutely thrilled with the way these turned out. Only downside: I didn't get to try one :( HA! But that's okay. I could tell that they were delicious by the way they looked and smelled!

Chocolate Fudge Hidden Kiss Cupcakes

I don't know about you, but I (usually) love hidden surprises in desserts! I really love hidden surprises in cupcakes-- a truffle center, a buried peanut butter cup, a secret cookie in the bottom--it makes me smile when there's more to a cupcake than meets the eye. It adds to the allure!
These cupcakes are just that, with a milk chocolate Hershey's Kiss right in the center. I made these for my sister to gift to her boss and his wife, as they had a death in the family and she wanted to cheer them up. I figured that while cupcakes are cheerful enough, finding a chocolate center could only enhance the experience!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Red Velvet Truffle Cupcakes with Oreo Cream Cheese Frosting

GUYS. These cupcakes are gorgeous. GORGEOUS! I don't usually toot my own horn...but man, I fell in love with these cupcakes the moment the idea came to me--and they did NOT disappoint in the looks department! (It definitely helps that they match my fabulous Christmas tree, Carmen! Yes. I named my tree. Judge all you want!!)
My sweet friend Annette came into the US this week and had a very specific request that I meet her at the airport with cupcakes and Gatorade. She flew about 16 hours total, from Ghana to here, with her 17-month-old daughter. She definitely deserved a little cupcake love. She didn't have any particular flavors in mind; she just asked that I surprise her.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Sparkling Apple Pie

Happy December, everybody! And Happy Thanksgiving! That's the holiday I missed with you guys (and the occasion for which I made this pie!) Man. Once November hits, the rest of the year always seems to fly by at breakneck speed. Goodness! Christmas parties and decorations and White Elephant gift exchanges and suddenly, it's the new year.
I had so much to be thankful for this year, as with every year--but tonight, I am particularly grateful for opportunities to learn more about myself and others. Self-knowledge is a great thing! It's not always easy to come by, but I am ever the richer and wiser for each new lesson learned.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Jumbo Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay. Is there anyone here doesn't love a good chocolate chip cookie?? (If you raised your hand, don't tell me. My heart is saddened. The only allowable exception is for people who have chocolate allergies or dislike chocolate, for whatever astounding reason). Moving on: I LOVE chocolate chip cookies! They're classic and delicious and customizable. Kids love them. Adults love them. It's a picky eater favorite.
Some people like their chocolate chip cookies with walnuts in them for extra crunch. Others prefer to use chocolate chunks or mixed (milk, semi-sweet, white) chips for variety. Still others throw some candy in there to keep things interesting! A select few gravitate toward a thin, crispy cookie; and others like them puffy and cakey.