September 24, 2012

Pumpkin spice lattes ain't got shit on these.

Does anyone else ever wonder how Ellen Degeneres is able to watch so much reality tv in addition to hosting her own show and being fucking awesome?

I'm thinking she doesn't sleep. That or she has someone on her staff filling her in on what is happening with the most influential members of our society including Amber Portwood, Emily Maynard, and Spencer Pratt. But that would be cheating, and something tells me my girl Ellen isn't a cheater. In any case, I admire her proven dedication and genuine interest in all things reality. It allows us to connect on a spiritual level. This is me talking as if we are besties.

I, on the other hand, have fallen behind on nearly all of my shows and it's almost as if my soul has been ripped from my very own body because reality tv is essentially my identity. My purpose in life. I'm ashamed to admit I don't know what's going on with So You Think You Can Dance, I have yet to see any episodes of the Real Housewives of Miami, and I'm not even sure if Kourtney Kardashian birthed her second child yet. It would be cool to tell you I've been too busy with work, or cleaning out my basement, or maybe doing good things for the community, but mostly I've just been drinking. Not alone, don't worry.

But luckily fall is upon us. In addition to honeycrisp apples, tailgating, and the sight of school supplies in stores, fall is my favorite season because it means I can partake in an excessive amount of tv watching without the guilt I feel during the summer. It's actually still been pretty nice out around here but I'm just going to ignore that.

Fall is also the best season because we get to go buckwild with pumpkin.

Pumpkin spice cupcakes, to be exact. You are quite possibly already sick of the words "pumpkin spice" due to the onsalught of facebook statuses written by girls confessing their love for pumpkin spice lattes that are currently clogging your mini feed.

This is my roommate posing in a pretty unnatural position. At this exact moment she was saying, "can I be done yet?"

Please enjoy the nerdy pumpkin cupcake liners. These are often mistaken for apples, which upsets me probably more than it should. I snuck these in my mom's cart one day when we were shopping because I'm 4 years old.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Taste of Home
Makes 24 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 can (15-oz) solid-pack pumpkin
2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbl. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, pie spice, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, ginger, and nutmeg. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Frosting Ingredients
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes.

September 18, 2012

The second-best candy bar there is.

Upon getting my driver's license when I was 16, my dad told me I would never forget my first ride as the driver behind the wheel. That he still remembers where he took his friends, and how it's a milestone in every young person's life that they always remember.

Well, my memory is comparable to that of a goldfish, so I actually don't remember where I went. But I'm sure it was somewhere very important, full of Mariah Carey and mature conversations. If I had to put money on it, I would guess 7/11 or perhaps the mall to partake in some serious nothing. Going to the mall for the sake of just being at the mall literally sounds like the worst thing in the entire world.

However, one moment I will never, EVER forget is the time I took my first bite of a Snickers ice cream bar. I was 14, wearing pink leggings and an Old Navy tech vest, and had just murdered my brother's high score on the pogo stick. I ate four of them that day.

Snickers isn't even my favorite candy bar (Reese's is, duh), so it's all very confusing. But I've come to the conclusion that they put crack in those bars. Addiction is real, players. So is obesity.

If you have never had a Snickers ice cream bar, stop watching The Voice right now and go get one. And shame on you. If you can do one thing for yourself this year it's eat one of those. When you've completed this task, then make these homemade Snickers, because they are nearly as good. I'm even going to come out with the bold statement that they are better than regular Snickers. It could have something to do with the fact that peanut butter is added to basically every layer.

After I made these I realized they are gluten free. Can I get a hell yeah?? This doesn't really affect me because I practically bathe in gluten, but one of my friends can never eat anything I make because, well, I'm an asshole and bring over muffins and cookies and cupcakes when we get together. Or sometimes I do take her gluten allergy into consideration and bring over things like peanut butter pretzel bites only to realize I'm a huge moron. Because yeah, pretzels.

Homemade Snickers Bars
recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

Bottom Chocolate Layer
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter

Thouroughly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Melt together the chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely smooth and melted.  Pour into prepared baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Refrigerate until completely cool and hard.

Nougat Layer
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups salted peanut, roughly chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and evaporated milk, stirring until dissolved, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and add the marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and vanilla extract, stirring until completely smooth. Fold in the peanuts, then pour over the bottom layer. Refrigerate until cool.

Caramel Layer
14-oz bag of caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup heavy cream
Combine the caramels and the heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Once completely melted, cook for an additional 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour the caramel over the nougat layer. Refrigerate until completely cool, about 30 minutes.

Top Chocolate Layer
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Melt together the chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely smooth and melted. Pour over the caramel layer and smooth into an even layer. Refrigerate until completely cool, about an hour.

Cut bars into pieces and store in refrigerator.

September 12, 2012

And when I say sometimes I mean pretty much all the time.

Sometimes I spend entirely too much time thinking about the people who decide it's a good idea to get massages in the middle of the airport.

Sometimes I go to to get smart and then end up immediately going to the entertainment section.

Sometimes I dip a spoon into peanut butter, then into peanut butter granola, then I put honey on it, then I put it in my mouth. Because my body is a temple.

Sometimes I feel like a true adult. Like when I discover I already have all the ingredients in my pantry for a meal I'm about to make. Or when I get genuinely WAY TOO EXCITED about my new glass food storage containers. And then I make my mom come to the doctor with me.

Sometimes I am so blown away by the beauty of Seattle. This is usually right before I step on a syringe of some sort.

Sometimes I find myself eating Lucky Charms on the couch watching Teen Mom with no pants on and that's when I start to wonder how I have nice things and a job.

Sometimes when a recipe calls for chicken I go to the Whole Foods salad bar and fill up a box of their prepared chicken instead of cooking it myself because I am actually the laziest person on the planet. I also love throwing money away.

Sometimes when I wear sweatshirts, and converse sneakers, and dirty jeans with holes in them, I also wear a fancy necklace so people don't mistake me for being homeless.

Sometimes I wonder why anyone actually reads this blog because I ramble about the most nonsensical nonsense. Thanks though guys, it pays the bills. (not at all).

Sometimes I procrastinate so hardcore on cookie orders that I have to do next-day Saturday shipping that costs $140. I'm not very good at math but something tells me that transaction wasn't entirely profitable.

Sometimes I steal recipes from my roommate's mom because she has a stack of real recipes that are written down on notecards and ripped from newspapers, which automatically guarantees they are worthwhile. Tangible recipes are hard to come by these days so we must celebrate them! They are rare and beautiful like good-looking men in Seattle and unicorn tears.

This particular one came from The Seattle Times. You know those 7-layer bars that have coconut and graham cracker and are completely magical? These are like those, but in cookie form. A man named Dave invented them, and he just happens to call them treasure cookies. Deal with that in your heart.

Dave's Chocolate Chip Treasure Cookies

1 1/2 cups ground graham-cracker crumbs
2 tsps baking powder
1 can (14-oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 package (12-oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, and baking powder. In a mixer bowl, beat the condensed milk and butter until smooth. Add the graham cracker mixture and mix well. Stir in the coconut, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Mixture should be slightly lumpy and dry.

Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheets, allowing room to spread. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown. Transfer to racks to cool.