Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Food Weakness of the Week

I am not ashamed to admit it: I have a huge obsession with all things Pumpkin Spice.

My wallet takes a bit of a hit (as does my health) when the lattes make their appearance at Starbucks in the fall.

Just this picture makes me drool a little bit. Curse you, Starbucks!

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I even own Philosophy’s Pumpkin Spice Muffin lip gloss.

So good.

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On Sunday, I found myself craving Pumpkin Spice. Of course, within a matter of minutes, I found a recipe that was just way too easy. It is quite popular on food blogs, and now I can see why…

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Ingredients:

1 Box of Spice Cake Mix

1 Can of Pumpkin (not Pumpkin Pie)

Directions:

I just followed the directions on the box, subbing the pumpkin in place of the usual wet ingredients (water, egg, butter). I had to bake them a little bit longer, but I was using the lower suggested heat setting because I was afraid to burn the muffins.

Mixing

Into the muffin pan...

Done!

Delicious.

So fluffy and soft!

Result:

These babies are dangerous. I put half of them in the freezer so that I would be mindful about eating them. Even after a few days, the muffins are still incredibly soft and fluffy.

Now, of course, I want to try using pumpkin with other box mixes…

Maybe chocolate.

Or a gluten-free mix.

I’ll get back to you on that…

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Belated Easter Sweets for My Sweet Sissy

Gluten-Free & Soy-Free Brownie Balls

My poor sister. Due to allergies, she has to stay away from food containing gluten and soy. Being raised in a family of choco-holics, it’s not an easy task. Seriously, next time you are perusing the candy aisle, take a look at the ingredients list of any chocolate bar. 9 times out of 10, soy is listed. Yes, I did just make up that statistic, but really… check it out.

Fortunately, I love a challenge. Especially a food-based challenge. I have created some treats for her before (cookies, cupcakes, brownies, etc), so I really wanted to try something different for Easter. Since I live several states away from my family, I figured that brownie balls would be a fun way to go… and also somewhat portable for the long Fed Ex journey.

Since I already knew a delicious gluten-free/soy-free recipe for brownies, I figured I would try brownies instead of cake. Experimentation Time!

Basics: 

- For the flour, I used Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix. This stuff seriously                           rocks. As suggested by the name, it also makes amazing pancakes and muffins.

- The only change I made to the brownie recipe is that the baking time ended up                    being closer to 30-35 minutes instead of 25 minutes (maybe because I used a glass              baking dish?). Just check them with a knife. They are done when the blade comes out        clean.

  • Frosting

- I decided to try Pamela’s Dark Chocolate Frosting Mix. It was definitely a winner. I will definitely buy this again.

  • Chocolate Chips/ Other Melting Candy

- I used Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips. These are one of my sister’s                 favorites. Very, very good.

Instructions:

You can find more in-depth instructions on the internet, but basically:

1. Bake brownies. Let them cool completely. I set mine out on the counter for about 15 minutes and then stuck them in the fridge for a faster cool-down.

2. Make frosting. Stick it in the fridge while brownies are cooling.

3. Crumble up  brownie in a mixing bowl. Slowly add frosting. Mash together with a fork until it becomes a sticky dough-like mess. I only used about 1/4 of the brownie pan at a time.

4. Form the brownie/frosting dough into balls. Place on wax/parchment paper. Stick them in the fridge to firm up.

5. Remove brownie balls from fridge.

6. Melt chocolate chips.

7. Dip brownie balls in melted chocolate. I used two spoons to get good coverage and remove excess chocolate.

8. Place them on wax/parchment paper again. Decorate if wanted. Put them back in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.

9. Eat.

FYI, my roommate said I have created chocolate crack. I must say, that I agree. After I filled up three boxes like the one above, we still had  about 1/4 of the brownie pan left, and a ton of frosting. We ate most of it while watching Scott Pilgrim, Easy A, and The Terminator. Yes, this is how we spend our weekends…

We are not ones to waste food, you know. Especially chocolate. That would just be wrong.

My sister finally got the treats in the mail today…

along with Season 4 of Buffy, Season 1 of Angel, and some Orange Jelly Bean lipgloss from Philosophy.

Between Buffy and Bones (and soon Angel), Delaney is a huge David Boreanaz fan. Obviously.

O, and incase you were wondering if she liked the Brownie Balls…

she had one and promptly told our parents that she wasn’t sharing.

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One Week Later…

Long Time/No Post

That’s what happens when life… happens :)

So what have I been up to lately, you ask?

This week I:

Suffered an allergy attack. Bleh. This led me to cook with a ton of jalapenos (yum) and chili powder (yum), as well as drink my weight in tea (yum). Considering I really like all of this stuff anyway, it wasn’t so bad, except I sounded like a pre-teen boy for a day or two. This is my (and my Momma’s) favorite tea. I just started another box of it:

A little bit like drinking Red Hots.

Finished Tina Fey’s Bossypants. Quite funny (duh). Definitely recommended.

Devoured some amazing cupcakes from Crumbs. Lindsay and I each got two, split them down the middle, and demolished them while watching How to Tame Your Dragon, Lilo and Stitch, and Sweeney Todd.

Sugar Coma Achievement Unlocked!

Crumbs Bakery findings...

Along with a bottle of Red Velvet Cupcake Wine...

My selections: Raspberry Chocolate and Cookies & Cream

Lindsays selections: Milkshake and Mint Chocolate

Cupcake Sampling Frenzy

Seriously Good. I have been daydreaming about these cupcakes all week. My mouth has been watering like crazy while writing this post….

Stood in a line for three hours to try to get into the Scream 4 Premiere. Unfortunately, they overbooked the free passes, so it was all in vain. Check out the waiver that I had to sign while standing in line, just in case I got into the premiere. Top Secret stuff. Awesome. Because I don’t want any spoilers to ruin the ending for me, I am going to go tomorrow morning (Yay $6 pre-noon show!). It should also be noted that not only does a pre-noon show save you money, but you usually don’t have to put up with annoying teenagers people. I seriously cannot wait to see this film. I have been excited since it was first announced a little over a year ago.  I am not ashamed in the least.

I am so glad they take these precautions. Spoilers suck!

Worked it out in some more classes: Zumba, Bar Method, and Yoga. Today I tried a Yoga with Ropes class. Talk about intense stretching. I would definitely recommend trying it at least once! There was also some upside down action going on…

Stretch....

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Upside Down!

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Until next time…

Think happy thoughts and have a beautiful day!

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Work It Out

Fitness and Books

First Fitness things first. One of my monthly goals is to workout at least 6 times a week. I really cracked down on the plan this week. I will be honest, 9 times out of 10, I would much rather be in a fitness class and/or have someone coach me VS. running attempting to run on the treadmill or using the elliptical. Why? I know that I work harder if I have someone watching me and correcting my moves. I can really feel the workout in my body so much more. Yes, I will occasionally hit the gym for some elliptical or weights, but I really look forward to the classes. Plus, the energy is so incredible and really makes me push myself. Thanks to Groupon and Living Social, I can usually them at a discounted price. My body, my soul, and my wallet thank me. Win-Win-Win.

This is my schedule from this week:

Sunday – Rest

Monday – Zumba, 1 hour, x2 (I took both the morning and the evening class)

Tuesday – Bar Method, Mixed Level, 1 hour

Wednesday – Zumba, 1 hour

Thursday – Bar Method, Mixed Level, 1 hour

Friday – Fusion Yoga, 1 hour

Saturday – Zumba, 1 hour & Bar Method, Mixed Level, 1 hour

A little bit about why I like each of these classes:

Zumba – This really helps fill my dance class void. High energy, really fun music, jingly skirts, and lots of hip shaking. I am never bored and always leave drenched in sweat. What’s not to love?

Bar Method – This is one of the few strengthening classes that I have taken that actually truly works my muscles. Usually within the first 15 minutes of class, my legs are shaking uncontrollably from fatigue. I have only been going for a couple of weeks, but already I am seeing more definition in my muscles. There is a woman in one of the classes that I take who is in her late fifties… and I swear, if I didn’t know this, I would guess that she was mid-thirties. She has a seriously rockin’ body. Talk about inspiration.

Yoga – So far, I have only taken one yoga class, which was of the slow flow variety (lots of holds). I left stretched, sore, sweaty, and as silly as it may sound, peaceful. Of course, I went out and bought my own yoga mat the next day. Tomorrow, I am trying a class that mixes the slow flow with more of a cardio-based yoga. Excitement!

I also like to try to get at least 20 minute walk into my day. Sometimes this doesn’t happen, but I am working on doing this every day. Tonight, I walked to Barnes & Noble and picked up Tina Fey’s new book: Bossypants.

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You know, because I need another book to read right now…

I still have Mockingjay to read:

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As well as finish up Let The Right One In:

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O, and Handling the Undead:

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O, wait… and my mom sent me Heaven is for Real, which I got in the mail today. It sounds pretty interesting:

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I just started Bossypants a little while ago. Love it so far. I hope to start and finish Mockingjay this weekend… I guess we shall see! Maybe a few book reviews will appear on this blog. That’s geek-y, right? Regardless, I think I am all set with reading material for a while.

Now, to go drink some more tea and read…

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Geek Zodiac

What’s Your Sign?

Thank you, Geek Tyrant for posting the Geek Zodiac, concept by James Wright and design by Josh Eckert.

According to this brilliant masterpiece, I am a Superhero.

Of course, if you have checked out this blog before, you already know that:

Okay, maybe that doesn’t prove that I am a superhero, but rather that I hangout with superheroes… Eh, I digress.

I can now claim superhero fame, à la Iron Man. Here’s the basic Superhero rundown:

Pros: Selfless, Moral, Vigilant (Constant Vigilance! ha ha)

Cons: Condescending, Pious, Sanctimonious

Awesome.

So what is your Geek Zodiac sign, baby?

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Happy Birthday to the Most Beautiful Woman in the World!

My Momma

Beautiful on the inside and out.

I am beyond blessed that she is mine.

It’s hard for me to find a picture of her on my computer… she is the one always behind the camera!

See? Told ya so.

Three cheers and a lot of long distance (she’s back in Oklahoma with my dad and sister) hugs and kisses to this ever inspiring and wonderful woman!

I miss you, and I wish I was with you to celebrate your birthday!

Kisses.

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A Touch of Beauty

There is So Much…

I just thought that I would share a few lovely, inspirational thoughts with you guys today!

While I was lurking around the blogging world this morning, I stumbled on the following:

*Handbook to Life*

Health:

1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Personality:

11. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don’t have negative thoughts over things you cannot control. Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don’t overdo. Keep your limits.
14. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. Be grateful for what you have been given.
18. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
20. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
21. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away (like algebra class) but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
22. Smile and laugh more.
23. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Society:

24. Call your family often.
25. Each day give something good to others.
26. Forgive.
27. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
28. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

Life:

31. Do the right thing!
32. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
33. God heals everything.
34. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
35. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
36. The best is yet to come.
37. When you awake alive in the morning, thank God for it.
38. Your inner most is always happy. So, be happy

Thank you to Peanut Butter Fingers for sharing!

Back in the day (high school, haha), I used to keep a quote book. Actually, I am pretty sure that I had more like three quote books. Anyway, they were filled with poems, excerpts, and famous quotes that I loved and thought were inspirational. I came across this poem today. I found it in one of my old journal/blogs (xanga).

#1052
I never saw a Moor–
I never saw the Sea–
Yet know I how the Heather looks
And what a Billow be.

I never spoke with God
Nor visited in Heaven–
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the Checks were given–

-Emily Dickinson

May your day be inspired and beautiful!

What inspires you?

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