Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Epic Library!

This is a picture of a library. That looks like books. Awesome books. I want to visit this library! Isn't this amazing?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Snickerdoodle Muffins!

I have to say, these muffins are one of my favorite new recipes! They turned out so moist and wonderful! They got good reviews from my guinea-pig colleagues!

It's always a struggle to fit all the ingredients into one shot and be able to see them all! Also, I'm sorry for the poor quality of the photos, I've been taking them on my Blackberry because my camera's batteries have died and I keep forgetting to replace them!

Butter and sugar creamed together!

The eggs awaiting their demise...

I love muffin batter. I really do.

A whisk is so much easier than sifting, for sure.

Mmm muffin batter!

This made so many muffins! I forgot to get a picture of them pre-baking as I was doing 23989 other things as well.

These were so good, and definitely even more fantastic warm!

Here's the recipe:

Snickerdoodle Muffins

2 sticks unsalted butter (I had 1 1/2 sticks, and used 1/2 a stick of salted. You couldn't tell, I swear.)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I had pre-ground. Also, the directions don't actually say when to put this in, so I just put it in with the other dry ingredients.)
1 1/4 cups sour cream (I used light, and they turned out fine)
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon mixed together for rolling (original recipe calls for 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon)

1. Cream butter and sugar until soft. Add vanilla. Add in eggs one at a time.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and cream of tartar (and nutmeg!)
3. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to egg-butter mixture. Start and end with flour.
4. Scoop out balls of batter, roll in cinnamon-sugar. Place in muffin tins. You should get about 12-14 muffins, depending on the size of the tins. Bake for 20-22 minutes at 350 degrees.

Above all, enjoy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cinnamon Brownie Cupcakes (and an apology!)

I have to apologize for how long it's been! Somehow life got in the way of... life!

Anyway, I made one of the many recipes on my list last night, and although the aesthetics were... shall we say, lacking, the results were delicious nonetheless!

This recipe is actually from and was super easy! However do not, as I did, mistake the 4 teaspoons of cinnamon for 4 teaspoons of baking powder, or the cupcakes will end up like mine!

Anyway, here's the process!

For some reason, the array of ingredients is always so impressive to me! It looks so neat and organized... not at all how I actually make things!

Real ingredients wind up looking like brownie mix... but they taste so much better!

I adore chocolate chips. The recipe called for minis, but I didn't have any. I also use milk chocolate chips because they get all gooey and melty and they're sweet and delicious, as chocolate should be!

I also love this KitchenAid mixer. I will miss you when I move out!

As you can see, the cups were very full! This recipe definitely makes more than the 15 promised!

They look pretty ugly, partly because of the baking powder mishap (I removed most of the excess, but obviously not all) and partly because I overfilled the cups!

Post-frosting, they didn't look so scary!

Here's the recipe:

Cinnamon Brownie Cupcakes

1 cup flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (we were out, so I used canola oil)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Mix flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in medium bowl, set aside.
2. Mix sugar, applesauce, eggs and vanilla in large bowl. Gradually stir in flour mixture until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each of 15 paper-lined muffin cups.
3. Bake 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans, cool completely on wire rack. Frost as desired.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Did you know? The flu virus can live up to 17 days on a dollar bill. Wash your hands, please!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dinner & Dessert!

This past Monday, I had planned to make a recent family favorite, White Chili. I was also inspired to make a recipe I came across on the internet, courtesy of The Picky Palate!

The recipe for White Chili came from my handy Taste of Home Cookbook. Here's the recipe:

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I used 3 chicken tenderloins, since that's what I had on hand)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (this is for cooking the chicken, I just eyeballed some olive oil)
2 cans (15 1/2 oz each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained (I'll be honest, I don't rinse and drain.)
1 can (14 1/2 oz) chicken broth (I used chicken bullion cubes and water)
2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilies (I just use one)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (I used skim milk because it makes my life easier. You can't really tell if you haven't had it the original way)

1. In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add the beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in sour cream and cream (milk). Serve immediately

See? So easy, even I can't screw it up!

Can you tell I'm a big fan of cooking "whatever" style? As in, "whatever" I have on hand, "whatever" is easiest, etc. :)

The way the onions smell totally makes up for how gross the raw chicken looks

After putting in the broth, beans, etc.

The chicken is no longer pink! (That's a good thing.)

In goes the sour cream!

Mmm a great fall meal!

And now, on to the grand finale: dessert! The recipe can be found here and I'll be typing it below as well. I hope Jenny will forgive my last-minute tweaks!

Roasted Apples & Cream Caramel Topped Brownies

1 box Pillsbury brownie mix, family size, 9x13 (I used a box of Ghiradelli plus a little extra Kroger to approximate a family size)
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter
4 small-medium baking apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I used 2 Braeburn and 1 Granny Smith)
4 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I threw in some nutmeg too, because they always go together in my mind)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or other nut of choice *insert joke here* (I used pecans, courtesy of my "nuts" from the South :)
Prepared caramel sauce, warmed in the microwave (This was the only thing I had to leave my house to get, which instantly boosted this recipe's rating in my book. Easy peasy!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare brownie mix according to directions. Pour into an 11x7 pan. (Sprayed, buttered, lined with foil, whatever floats your boat). Mix softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Place dollops of mixture on top of the brownie mix. Use a butter knife to swirl without dragging on the bottom of the pan.
2. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add apples, brown sugar, spices and nuts. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over brownies. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until center of brownies are just cooked through. Remove and cool, then drizzle with caramel sauce.

A motley crew indeed!

Before mixing

After mixing!

Mmm cream cheese and sugar! Also, can I say how much I adore the KitchenAid? It is a wondrous miracle, to be sure!

Preparing to swirl!

I'm not sure exactly what it's supposed to look like, but this seemed good enough.

I love butter, I really do.

This was one of the most heavenly smells the kitchen had experienced in a long time!

Getting ready to go into the oven

Fresh out of the oven!

Detail shots... Yum. I'm drooling just looking at them!

They didn't turn out nearly as pretty as the ones at Picky Palate, but overall, it was really fun to make! They seemed very gourmet, and the boys around the house seemed to enjoy them!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

RIP Irving Penn

Irving Penn, a legendary and influential photographer, passed away on October 7th, 2009. His pictures are gorgeous, and I thought I would share some of them with you today.

The man himself:

Simply beautiful:

Nicole Kidman, gorgeous as always:

Friday, October 23, 2009


Friday should be a day of celebration, but alas, it only means I have to work the next day. Today is what Winnie the Pooh refers to as a "blustery day" and I called in blah to work. Now I'm contemplating making dinner, but I'm not sure I can muster up the energy. So instead, I'm looking for fabulous pictures on the internet to cheer me up, such as this:

A pile of books always cheers me up :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I miss summer

I want to be there, look like that and have that adorable bathing suit!

Anyone want to pay? :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Le petit dejeuner

Le petit dejeuner is the French phrase for "breakfast." I just found the most wonderful picture on Flickr that captures the quintessential "petit dejuner" that I was so privileged to experience when I was in France!

That picture can be viewed here

Try not to lick the screen!

Friday, October 16, 2009

StumbleUpon = <3

I have a great add-on for Firefox called StumbleUpon. You create a profile, select boxes regarding your interests and click away! It recommends sites suggested by other users. I have found some amazing things through this, including these fabulous paintings!

^Yes, that's a painting!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I love shoes!

I can't get enough of fabulous shoes!

Someday, when I am rich and possibly famous, I will be able to purchase gems such as these:

I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot. --Marilyn Monroe

Colin Hanks!

I just watched The House Bunny and I am now in love with Colin Hanks!

Love the glasses!