Burger Time!

I need to keep things 100 with y’all- these tiny cupcake burgers are freakin delicious.

I made these little dudes to take to the hair salon with me tomorrow. After taking the pictures, Jon walked in and asked about these “burger muffins.” He thought they were muffins because the tops of the cupcakes are nude. Scandalous, I know. Baking pro tip: this means you need to use a toothpick instead of a fork to check if they are ready because the top is exposed. Just a heads up.

Now that I think about this… the assembly of these cupcakes is an interesting one. I have a few tips to make this more streamlined:

  • Use a scoop for the chocolate frosting. Otherwise, spreading it on a cut cupcake just moves a bunch of crumbs around. Dollop some frosting on top, then squish with the tomato (strawberry slice) and bun.
  • Use one or two strawberry slices per cupcake. These should go on top of the frosting to help with the squish.
  • I have seen recipes where the burger patty is a brownie. I like this idea- brownies are amazing- but I feel like a cupcake needs frosting. You do you, boo.
  • I used a simple syrup of honey and hot water to brush on the tops of these so the sesame seeds would stick. These are not placed on the muffins cupcakes pre-baking. Now Jon has ME calling these muffins. They are cupcakes. But also burgers. Not muffins, though.
  • This version of a cupcake is messy to eat. HOWEVER, you get an even amount of frosting in each bite. Don’t pull a George Costanza and eat this with a knife and fork. Ovary up and eat it with your hands, people. 🙂
  • Technically there are strawberries and lettuce (made from green icing), so it is a fruit and vegetable serving.

That last statement was not entirely true. But it reminds me of the time I tried to convince a leader at Weight Watchers in the early 2000s that a banana split should count as a dairy AND fruit serving. I said what I said. There’s a whole banana. Come on, now. A rose by any other name?

Back to burger time: Here is my IKEA assembly picture set up (this time I did circles and highlighted the importance of Mise en Place- aka having everything in place before assembly):

That’s it. Easy peasy. One might say easier than trying to explain to a Weight Watchers leader that A BANANA IS STILL A FRUIT, EVEN IF THERE’S ICE CREAM AND HOT FUDGE ON TOP. Listen to reason, woman.

Until next time,

Espresso Keto Cheesecakes

I think it is fitting that I am writing a post about caffeine-infused sweets, as I woke up at 5:00 a.m. today, apparently VERY excited to begin my week. 🙂

I previously made Keto No-Bake Cheesecakes, which I enjoyed quite a bit. There were two small differences that made it clear these were not baked:

  1. The texture of the no-bake cheesecake was not a “solid” layer
  2. The crust was also not a solid layer and these two mingled together once eating the dessert.

I wanted to make a baked keto cheesecake AND have the distinct layers I missed whilst eating the last dessert (Though I want to be CRYSTAL clear- if you don’t want to turn on an oven that no-bake cheesecake is delish! I just wanted the layers for the gram and the satisfying snap when a fork or spoon takes a bite of cheesecake).

Per usual, here is my IKEA Instruction Recipe Rundown (I used this recipe, but used NuNaturals 1:1 sweetener instead of Swerve):

The final product was cooled until ready to be refrigerated. I put it in the freezer so they would be easier to remove from the silicone molds. After they came out, I put whipped cream on them. This was the layered amazingness I was looking for!!!! I had to use up this shelf-stable whipped cream by the end of the month so I added some NuNaturals Vanilla Syrup and stevia to it.

I have an issue with garnishing. Like… I want to add more to things. So I have two examples of this below, both using the aforementioned keto whipped cream. First, I decided that these layered cheesecakes looked BALLER from the sides, but not the top. So I added a cat stencil using cocoa powder. Next, I made my man orange jello (using NuNaturals gelatin) with mandarin oranges inside. I felt like those looked lonely with just whipped cream, so I added an orange slice. I stand by these decisions, and wish I had a bowl of this whipped cream right now.

I should add that this cheesecake recipe was made in a silicone mold I purchased for the oldest daughter of my decades-long friend Matt, aka The Domestic Specialist. She has been KILLIN IT with desserts and I thought it would be fun to see what she made with the same mold. She and her younger sister are both artists (I know this isn’t fair to the rest of the world, but her parents are amazing so it is not shocking). I asked her younger sister to decorate the box.

This was a test round…. but I have my idea for the mold ready to go. I’m ready to get completely destroyed by her amazingness.

For reference, look at a macaron side-by side:

Hers have the “feet,” which have been elusive to me. I have made two batches. While this one was miles better than my first, I still didn’t have feet. She did. She’s 11.

Remember when that little drummer prodigy girl kicked Dave Grohl’s butt in a drum-off? That’s what is going to happen here. I’m toast. 🙂

P/S- If you’d like to play along, I got the mold here. I do not get $ from Amazon or anything. I’m a baller on a budget and wanna share in case you’d like to make something, too.

XO,

Come and knock on my doooor…

That reference may be dated, but I love John Ritter.

I LOVE baking, but some weeks are busy and other times I want to see what other people are doing or making. I am inspired by everything on Instagram, but I cannot eat those things… though full disclosure- when I finish my mileage for the Trail Racing Over Texas Trans-Texas Virtual Run I WILL be ordering these cookies from Levain bakery:

I took this picture from their Instagram. WUT.

Generally speaking, I am the one who knocks (shout out to Heisenberg) when I mail treats. But, I know this shocks NO ONE, I also like eating baked goods from the mail. 🙂

So, this post is dedicated to my homies at Farmhouse Delivery. I have tried a few of their baked goods over the past few months and wanted to share them with you here. There’s no baking required (except for the last one and WORTH IT). Like all other Farmhouse items (including fresh flowers, eggs, etc.), these bad boys just show up on your front porch. And you even get a text so you know to awkwardly hover near the door. Ha!

Blueberry Muffin

Farmhouse deliveries include local farmers AND local businesses. Texas French Bread has several offerings in their bakery section, including this amazing Blueberry Muffin. The thing weighed like 40 pounds.

One of the reasons I was SUPER excited for this muffin was…. Well first we should cover the fact that I put butter on all fruit filled muffins. I used to get this BALLER orange muffin from Marshall Fields restaurant and I put butter on that. And Blueberry muffins. I just do, okay.

Anyways, sometimes the cold butter rips the muffins. That’s where a BUTTER CROCK comes in. You put cold water in it and it keeps butter soft on the counter. It took its maiden voyage for this blueberry muffin moment:

Full disclosure, taking pics of this buttered muffin was similar to a dog balancing a treat on his nose (which are always labradors. Labradors are too polite sometimes, man…).

If you do not have a butter crock, my dad used to put his hot coffee cup on a pat of butter at restaurants (wrapped in foil, obvs). Perfect spreadable butter. Freakin genius.

Cinnamon Sugar Croissant

This croissant is also from Texas French Bread. It was delivered in my CSA box and I was NOT disappointed. Look at the sparkly sugary goodness! It actually looks fake. But I know it was not because I ate it. Promise (like you had doubts).

I know that Paul Hollywood is all about laminated dough when it comes to pastries like this, so I also have a shot of how this looked when cut in half:

Texas Strawberry Pies

These beautiful bebes are from Flourvine and were SO DANG DELICIOUS. They even put a little note inside asking me to slice a few holes on the top before baking. Thanks, friends. I did and it was perfect. I added some egg wash and turbinado sugar before baking because I am that guy who says “this is great! I modified it though…”

I would also like to add that those baller strawberries that were basically the size of these hand pies were also Texas strawberries from Farmhouse. They are the best, y’all. 🙂

My “To Try” List

There are still several items on Farmhouse Delivery’s baked goods/desserts section that I have yet to try. I have several weeks of baking plans on lock, but when those are finished I am going to try some of these bad boys:

Sausage and Jalapeno Croissant from Texas French Bread

Raspberry Croissant

Bake at Home Buttermilk Biscuits

I had the kit Farmhouse sold this fall, where you made the dough using ingredients in separate containers (from Dai Due). It was SO good! I don’t see that one anymore and like the idea of a square biscuit. So this will happen.

And Finally….

This is called “Late Night Fridge Grab Dessert Box” and I have ZERO chill. Pun unintended, but I am amused and it stays. This looks SOOOOO good, but I would need to buy it for a night where I am hanging out with friends so we could all try a bit of it. I cannot imagine this would end well if these were all in my fridge for just me.

I don’t have to imagine, it is written in stone. I would eat all of it at 2 a.m., then Jon would find me in the morning covered in cookie crumbs laying on the kitchen floor sleeping whilst smiling.

Even so, I will wait until I can share it.

Thanks, Farmhouse!

I love how all of these items are local. There are also baked goods from Easy Tiger, Sugar Mama’s, Rockstar Bagels, Slow Dough, and Tiny Pies! We had the Texas Pete pie from Tiny Pies, but I did not include it in this post because that was a savory pie. I didn’t want to have to check the “savory” tag, then disappoint people when there was a post full of sugar. 🙂 Anyways, the pie was vegan and delicious. I look forward to slowly checking everything off this list as groceries are conveniently delivered to my door.

XO,

Chia seeds, Collagen, and Gelatin- Oh My!

I mentioned last week that I am trying out keto recipes. I am not a keto gal, but I like a challenge and NuNaturals products work well for Keto lifestyles. Last week I made a no-bake cheesecake. This week I decided I wanted to make a keto chia seed pudding with matcha powder. Look at this majesty:

Keto Trifle made with Chia Seed Pudding, Vanilla Collagen Pudding, and Berry Gelatin

  • 1 tsp matcha bloomed in hot water
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 packet of NuNaturals Stevia

Once the matcha was mixed in with the hot water, I let it cool a bit then added almond milk and chia seeds. I poured this into two dessert cups. Then it chillaxed in the fridge while I made some pudding.

  • 1 packet of Vanilla Pudding (stevia sweetened- no sugar)
  • 2 tbsp NuNaturals Collagen
  • 1.5 cups milk of choice

I put these three ingredients in my kitchenaid mixer and “lett’r whirl” for 2 minutes. PUDDING! This was spooned on top of the chilled chia pudding (now solid because it was in the fridge).

Finally, I wanted to make some gelatin as a top layer. I forgot that it is super hot when you make it and I did not want to melt the other layers. So this was cooled in two separate dessert cups and added to the top at the end. The ingredients for this layer (more like a little hat):

  • 1 tbsp NuNaturals gelatin
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 cups water
  • NuNauturals Vanilla Syrup (to taste)

I bloomed the gelatin in 1/4 cup of the water. The rest of the water, raspberries, and syrup were heated on the stovetop until it started to boil. I then removed it from the heat, added the bloomed gelatin, and whisked it until everything was incorporated. Finally, I strained the gelatin into a cup. Each little gelatin circle had a strawberry slice. So fancy, y’all.

Protein Pudding and Jell-O Coupe

I had extra pudding and gelatin, so I made a lightened up version of one of my favorite childhood desserts. We used to get dinner at this place called The Forge. They sold red jello with whipped cream as a dessert and, in spite of the fact that this seems like a hospital dessert, I wanted it every damn time. Don’t ask kids why when it comes to food cravings (or me in general, TBH). I made a lightened up version of this using the leftover ingredients.

First, I poured the leftover gelatin in two coupe glasses. Then I added diced strawberries. These sat out until they were at room temperature, then they were placed in the refrigerator (I also did this for the strawberry “hats” shown above).

I chilled these four bebes in the fridge. The littler ones are the “hats” on top of the chia pudding trifles. I put those back in the refrigerator to work on my homage to the Forge dessert. I spooned a mixture of the leftover pudding and cool whip on top of the gelatin layer. This was decorated with a little whipped cream cloud and 1/2 a strawberry.

Look at this elegant leftover feast:

I am going to attempt a baked keto espresso cheesecake for next round… stay tuned!

XO,

A few thoughts as warmer weather approaches…

Hello, friends!

Now, I am not one to “Keep up with the Kardashians,” but I am one to follow Jameela Jamil. She is a warrior for inclusivity and authenticity. Jamil posted this on her Instagram page a few days ago:

I don’t know why this hit me so hard, but it did. At first I was all “get over it, Khloe.” Then I remembered all the times I’ve cringed at photos, untagged myself in photos, etc. Social media is tricky that way.

I have often opted to post shots of myself that were “flattering.” However, I also know other people take pictures that include me and those pics are… less awesome? Ha! I have worked REALLY hard the past few years to not politely ask my husband to not upload pictures where I am shown from a weird angle. This “work” is because being a human is hard enough without worrying that an unflattering picture exists- especially when the rest of the world does not think said photo is unflattering.

I saw the “unfiltered photo” that Khloe wanted removed. She looked legit, but due to body dysmorphia (takes one to know one, Khloe) and her penchant for filtering/editing a normal picture- her brain deemed that picture bad or unacceptable. Authenticity be damned.

Now there’s a point to be made that all of us should get to choose how we present ourself to the world. I prefer to have makeup on. Spoiler alert: my hair is not actually red. It is “mousy brown.” Well…. it was mousy brown, now it is mousy brown peppered with shiny grays. It happens.

I love Instagram and I love a filter, especially when my aforementioned roots are cray. But this editing does result in a potential sacrifice of authenticity and sends a message to the ourselves: I’ll be/look better if…

Jamil’s Instagram post got me thinking. We live in Texas, which is basically living on the sun in July and August. Every time the weather turns and it starts to creep into the 70s, then 80s, women across planet Earth collectively sigh and worry about “summer bodies.” No one would complain about having Khloe’s unfiltered “summer body.” But she didn’t want that particular view/angle/untouched pic to be be shared. And I am not going to share it. You do you, girl. That said, this is the time of year where women cringe in anticipation of warmer weather and fewer layers.

Men deal with this too, btw. This is not a gendered response, but I identify as female. If you are a dude, I recommend that you listen to Armchair Expert’s episode called Men’s Bodies. The episode covers body image issues, body dysmorphia, and three famous dudes celebrating the male form. It is hilarious and also covers body image for men, which is rare to experience. If you’re a babe, it is still awesome. Listen to it.

If you haven’t caught on yet, this blog post I will not talk about food. Amazing recipes will pop up next week like a patch of bluebonnets on I-35. In this post I will share four thoughts I have about all of this from a female lens.

One: We ALL deserve to feel comfortable

So… it is getting warm here already. Running outside can be hard. I always wanted to run with Sportsbra Squad ATX because I thought it was such a cool movement. But, before moving away from TX for a year, I was stuck thinking “I’m not ready yet.” Not ready running-wise… I thought I wasn’t “sports bra ready.”

Yep… you read that correctly. I thought to myself “I’m not physically fit enough to join an inclusive body neutral movement where women wear what is most comfortable in the heat.”

That is a terrible lens to view the world. I love when I see people comfortable with who they are. As someone who took nearly 40 years to get there, I am not leaving. Flag planted. Here I am, y’all. And you might see my belly button (that was a joke I would tell my husband: “this summer strangers will know I have an innie.” I also just googled innie to see if there was a better term. A full page of innies and outies, y’all).

Anyways, I am working on changing that whole “not yet” narrative. My body is strong. It can run longer distances than it used to and it can deadlift over 100 pounds. It also feels too hot with clothing intended to cover it up for the sake of covering it up.

So now my neighbors know that I have an innie. 🙂

I should add that when I ran in my sports bra it was warm. But I also made sure I was wearing a flattering outfit. Because this shit never stops, it seems. Jeez Louise. Baby steps.

Two: Just wear the damn thing.

When I was in high school I always wanted to wear the spaghetti strap dress over a t-shirt. Total 90s vibe. But I did not feel like I had the right body shape for it. Jon and I watched Derry Girls on Netflix, which has high school girls who were growing up in the 90s. I kept seeing that look and was jealous. Because somehow I STILL can’t wear it?!

SO. DUMB. Just wear the damn thing.

I did and it was cute! I felt the same way about a crop top. First, I was afraid to wear a crop. Then I was okay to stand in a crop, but did not want to sit because… bodies squish? Here I am squished, covered in rainbows, and I survived.

Just. Wear. The. Damn. Thing.

Three: Listen to Jonah Hill

I love Jonah Hill’s journey. He has really found what makes him happy the past few years: directing, fashion, surfing. It is inspiring. But this post meant so much to me.

I’ll let him speak for himself here:

Love you too, Jonah.

I was also taken aback by this next post, which bolsters my stance that we were likely our truest self as a child. What I mean is that over time our truest self is chipped away. This is due to societal norms, peer pressure, self-esteem issues, etc. Kind of a gut punch, right?

Look at Jonah celebrating that his truest self is finally free:

Four: Surround yourself with people, art, accounts that make you feel good.

This sounds silly, but it is true. You get to have some control over your social media and what you consume. My feed was mostly runners and food and academics.

One day I followed a Austin gal who dressed really cute and had a similar body shape- why not score some cool ideas? She labeled herself as “mid size.” I did not realize that there was a term “mid size,” which refers to curvy people who are not plus size, but aren’t Kate Moss either. I have several mid-size accounts in my feed and it brings me so much joy. I cannot tell you how lovely it is to see bodies like mine, and bodies that aren’t like mine, trying out cool clothes or taking a selfie because these chicks are just feeling fly.

Additionally, there are some art accounts that share “normal” bodies. This yoga print (free from Art by Moga) is my fave:

Look at that little soft tum doing yoga. LOVE. IT.

I also enjoy following athletes who are humble and fun. One of the dudes from Fleet Feet Austin has the BEST Instagram pics:

Earlier this year when it was still chilly, I shared this one and tagged him in the post:

It is fun to push myself in this way. I do not think of myself as an “athlete” or a “runner.” But truth be told, I am both. I have been working on this for years so occasionally I’ll ask my husband to stand across the street to take pictures of me running up and down a hill with cool wall art. It happens when you’re married to an athlete. Trust me. 🙂

This takes time.

I want to end this post with acknowledging that this takes time. I am not rocking the “beach body” I had hoped I would have by now. I am, however, the most comfortable I have been in my own skin. I am sure this comfort is somewhat tied to my consistent weight loss/maintenance as of late. But this is ALSO because I’ve been dipping my toes in the “self-acceptance pool.” Sometimes it is scary but it always ends up okay. As previously mentioned, on a hot day I decided to wear a sports bra and no tank. This was HUGE for me. So, before the run I strutted into my husband’s (home) office and said “see you in a bit-” showcasing my INNIE- BREATHING FRESH AIR FOR DAYS.

He was like “cool.”

(silence)

I said “be proud of me.” It took him a minute to figure out why, which is probably the coolest part of that story- other than my innie, which was straight up chillin in the breeze. He didn’t see it as brave. Utilitarian wonder boy over there…

If you need me, I’ll be laying on cold concrete after a 5 mile run, using a gross sweaty shirt as a pillow and drinking whatever water is left in my Camelbak.

XO,

Keto No Bake Cheesecakes

I wanted to dabble in the keto recipe game. I am not a keto person because bread is life, but at the same time I know some people have had success with this and they need desserts too, dang it!

The next few weeks I plan to share some keto recipes using NuNaturals sweeteners, MCT oil powder, Gelatin, and Collagen.

First up? An EASY dessert for two. This took longer to write up than it did to make. I wanted a no-bake option and decided cheesecake would be a delish treat for me to test out (for you, dear readers… I am selfless).

This recipe uses collagen and sweeteners. Here’s my IKEA directions (pictures only), followed by the recipe card.

I would like to add, for the record, that I used a tbsp of that little bowl of butter. Just in case you thought a full bowl of butter was used for these two baby cheesecakes… 🙂

Recipe Card

What’s next on the keto train? I am looking at a espresso cheesecake that is baked, as well as some chia puddings and maybe brownies? Time will tell…

XO,

Seasonal Treats

I LOVE a seasonal treat.

There’s something special about making a treat or meal that is tied to a time of year. Peanut butter eggs taste better than peanut butter cups. Pumpkin pie is a key November staple. Peppermint ALL DAY in December, right? These times are special.

I love walking down Target’s seasonal section looking for baking ingredients or serving vessels/bags. When I was scrolling through my Instagram Grid recently I noticed that the Easter vibe was SO present. It made me wonder if other holidays were the same.

They were!

Let’s take a tour of some of the more recent holiday/seasonal times with a look at “the ‘gram,” AKA what my Instragram grid looked like at these time periods.

This is basically a guided tour of The Louvre… but food pics. You’re welcome.

Fall/Thanksgiving

This time was full of pumpkin. Somehow I did not do many Halloween treats. I realized after some investigation that this was because I was having pretty bad depression in October. When my mood stabilized in November (thanks Zoloft!), I hit Turkey Day running.

I made my first pie crust from scratch. It was wicked good, but my pie plate was a little too large so the crust was not substantial.

I am not sure why that recipe was a liar, but I took it personally… just like MJ in basically every 5 minutes of The Last Dance (Bad Boys 4 Life). To redeem myself, I doubled the recipe next time to make a Buttermilk Pie for my Bobcat BFF Jess.

Christmas Time

During Christmas I was hyper-focused on mailable treats. But I also made a Yule Log cake for me and Jon. He is not a “cake person,” but loves a Red Velvet with Cream Cheese frosting. I make holiday cakes in that flavor combo so I am not eating cake alone. This theme will pop up again for Easter.

The pic on the bottom left was the first Panettone we’d ever eaten. I turned it into french toast because of course I did. I also made round foods, pork, and rice for the new year because, as Michael Scott once said “I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little stitious.”

Valentine’s Day

This is easily my favorite baking holiday. I truly do not care about Valentine’s Day (or Sweetest Day for that matter). But I love pink and hearts and sparkles and THIS HOLIDAY HAS EVERYTHING.

I’ve always loved the classic foil heart-shaped box of chocolates, so I made several treats you could create to fill the box. I also recommend eating the chocolates as you make the new stuff because you deserve chocolates, too! The waffle on the top left was for Galentine’s Day, a Leslie Knope tradition.

Easter/Spring

This is the most recent holiday I baked and make delish foods for. I made cake popcicles for the first time (which Jon dubbed “the personal pan pizza of cakes”). This was made using the red velvet/cream cheese frosting combo so he would share with me. I was going to make carrot cake ones, but he said he didn’t like carrot cake (narrator: but he did).

I have realized while planning this post that there aren’t a lot of good food holidays coming up. Basically the next good one (in my opinion) is Halloween. So what can I celebrate until then?

  • Pretzel Day (yes, office fans that’s on April 26th)
  • Apple Pie Day (May 13th)
  • Donut Day (June 4th)
  • Ice Cream Day (June 7th)
  • Eat Your Vegetables Day (June 17th)
  • Strawberry Sundae Day (July 7th)
  • French Fry Day (July 13th)
  • Milk Chocolate Day (July 28th)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (August 4th)
  • Potato Day (August 19th… and every other day imo)
  • Waffle Day (August 24th)
  • Cheeseburger Day (September 18th)
  • Queso Day (September 20th)
  • Ice Cream Cone Day (September 22nd)
  • Coffee Day (September 29th)
  • Cinnamon Roll Day (October 4th)
  • Pierogi Day (October 8th)
  • Cake Decorating Day (October 10th)
  • Day of the Nacho (October 21st)

These “national holidays” were found on the internet. For all I know someone threw darts at a dartboard then made the site, but damned if I won’t celebrate NATIONAL POTATO DAY.

Which one would you celebrate?

XO,

Post-Easter Protein Muffins!

Why, hello dear readers! I am (once again) sharing a trick my cousin Nikki taught me long ago- you can use leftover holiday candy and PUT IT IN PANCAKES! I showed you how to do that with a waffle for my Galentine’s Day post. Today, I will show you how to sneak some delish leftover candy into some protein muffins.

Collagen Protein Muffins

The muffins in this recipe are featuring ingredients from both Kodiak and NuNaturals. They also showcase the various baking items my mom sent our way! Check this out:

How cute is that latte covered in easter sprinkles!?

I digress… I used the bunny ears, sprinkles, baking cups, and mini eggs in this recipe. I also modified Kodiak’s recipe on the box (below) and cut it in half as well because there are just two of us. It made six muffins.

I used the following for six muffins:

The only sort of finesse to this recipe was mashing the banana separately and adding it second to last. The Collagen from NuNaturals added some extra protein and the NuNaturals vanilla syrup added a subtle sweet note. The last item was the crushed mini eggs. I put them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Here are some process pictures:

You may have noticed that the adorable eggs (bottom left) looked wicked sad when they were baked (second from left on bottom). Since chocolates are baking duct tape, I just plopped a NEW egg on top of the baked eggs whilst they were cooling. And added bunny ears. I also ate the ugliest one so it did not feel bad about missing the photo shoot. It was delightful.

Easter Picnic Fun

Speaking of “delightful,” I promised to share how our Easter picnic went! Well, we had to change plans a bit. The Easter Bunny got my husband a Covid Vaccine! So we moved the picnic to Saturday…. which was rainy. We decided to eat our meal in the house and enjoy our dessert on the back porch with our cat Champion (he’s allowed out on a leash… yes, you read that correctly).

Here’s the delish Easter spread (I was able to do open-faced Grinder sammies since we were at home, so that was a plus!).

The bottom left is our “Easter pic” we sent to family while waiting for Jon’s vaccine appointment. The right is proof of our porch picnic, where we ate cakecicles and Champ mostly sniffed the air suspiciously.

If you want to know more about these ADORBS cakecicles we enjoyed, here are a few pics and a reel I shared of the process on Instagram!

As you can see on the pic on the left, there were some “happy accidents” as Bob Ross would say. So instead of painting happy little trees over them I covered the cracks with white chocolate and sprinkles, which is basically a baker’s version of… say it with me…. bakers’ duct tape.

Happy Easter if you celebrate! Happy Peanut Butter Egg season if you don’t!

XO,

(I don’t know what is scarier- carrying a purse with the carpet pattern from The Shining so close to a topiary bunny or admitting to the masses that I exclusively eat black jellybeans… they are the best jellybean.)

Easter Picnic!

Many moons ago my husband and I had a chill picnic whilst gazing at Lady Bird Lake. It was one of my favorite memories from when we lived on the east side. This year we have decided to have a picnic in Zilker! I am insanely excited to make something rad.

I will share pics of our Zilker picnic next week, but wanted to share some fun ideas BEFORE the holiday in case you’re socially distanced from your fam and looking for something fun to do this weekend.

Deviled Eggs

Fun Fact: In Lancaster County PA these are called “daisy eggs.” I assume this is because of the high Mennonite population. It has been a minute since I dyed eggs for Easter, so naturally I did that first:

After this adorbs photo sesh, I peeled these eggs and used two remaining tablets for dying the egg whites. This particular kit (from Target) had a purple and pink tablet that did not need vinegar to dye eggs. So I saved those to dye the whites without having a weird vinegar taste (also I feel like pickled eggs have a strange texture to them).

Here is my IKEA pictures only explanation of the process:

I made the filling in a food processor. It was the yolks, some Sir Kensington’s special sauce, low fat mayo and a squirt of mustard. I will probably add capers when eating them, but check out this SAVED BY THE BELL REALNESS:

Amazing, if I do say so myself. 🙂

Where my Peeps at?!

I also decided to make peeps. I don’t love peeps. They are not my fave Easter candy. But I do think they are adorable. So I decided to make my own with a twist. I made meringue cookie bird peeps and homemade marshmallow bunny peeps!

The meringue cookies were made using this recipe and watching videos of people pipe peeps. The pink bunnies were made with this recipe (I subbed NuNaturals sweetener for their liquid stevia). I am still perfecting the texture on this one and will make a post on marshmallows with NuNaturals once it is perf. Until then, you can watch this reel of how these were made.

Easter Picnic Amazingness!

As we discussed, dear reader, am planning an Easter Picnic! I decided to have a photo shoot of my dream spread for funzies (and blogzies):

I think my favorite part of this picnic was eating a lunch made from these ingredients afterwards. 🙂

Some of these items will make the Zilker picnic spread, but others will not because of travel purposes. The last picnic we did was on Lady Bird Lake when we lived a 5 minute walk away. This weekend we will walk quite a bit to the location, so it means I have to be more savvy with my menu choices. Stay tuned for that!

I realized that my color combos were pretty 80s…. I’m not sure if I will REQUIRE a 80s themed dress code for the weekend picnic, but it is still on the table at this point….

XO,

Mini Carrot Cakes!

I wanted to make a carrot cake for Easter because I’m basic. I LOVE a carrot cake. However, holiday weekends mean a LOT of cheer so I wanted a lightened up version. Additionally, there are only two people in this house and ONE* does not like carrot cake. So I had to make some improvisations.

I started with this recipe, meant for two tiny ramekin carrot cakes. Then, like most commenters on ANY recipe (including how to boil water), I made some changes. 🙂

First, I subbed the spices for NuNaturals Chai syrup. Then I subbed the oil for unsweetened applesauce. I used less brown sugar than the recipe called for- and if I am being completely honest I think a pinch of it would be good.

Next, I omitted the cream cheese frosting entirely. I know (clutches pearls). Instead, I boiled some rainbow carrot ribbons in a mixture of water and NuNaturals vanilla syrup. After they simmered for a bit I put them on a silicon baking mat and crisped them in the oven at 350 degrees for 8 minutes (whilst the cakes baked). Here’s the process:

When it came time to plate the recipe I was pretty overwhelmed. See… the ramekins that they were baked in are adorable serving dishes on their own… but they also come out of those ramekins nicely. So they COULD be on a little cake stand or in a bebe skillet. Choices are hard…

I opted to eat mine in the skillet (pictured in the center). It was SO good!! I decided to offer a bite to my husband as a “maybe I’ll win him over” test. See, he isn’t a sweets person. He is MOS DEF not a carrot cake person. He is a cream cheese frosting person, but there was nary a cream cheese morsel to be found.

Welp.

*Remember the one person I asterisked above? That was me. Now there are two people who like carrot cake because Homeboy wanted to SPLIT IT. He liked it! My husband is very honest and does not eat things he doesn’t like, especially baked goods. So, he ate half from the skillet plate and I ate the other half on the little cake stand.

You heard it here first, folks: this recipe will turn carrot cake haters into carrot cake eating machines (or diplomatic “let’s go halvsies” dudes). Here’s my modified recipe:

Yay! Let me know if you try it. So easy AND delish!

XO,