Dealing with life is a piece of cake.

IMG_0574

Food for thought before food for eating:

Have you ever thought about the possibility that today could be the best day of your life, and that you’ll have no idea until it’s passed?

As a society, I feel like we are all waiting for the “next step.” What happened to being present, living in the moment? It’s quite a humbling concept when you really stop to think about it.

I recently moved to Northern California (those of you who are more familiar with California geography, you might argue that I’m residing in central California – you’re right, smarty-pants). The distance from my origin, Orange County, is as follows:

45 minute plane ride
7 hour drive
146 hour walk
I was just curious, so thanks for the info, Google Maps. But how did they get that number? People walk at varying speeds, strides, etc. What about someone with a limp? Do they factor in sleep? What about eating? Did they hire someone to actually do this so they could provide this ridiculous information? Probably not. Anyway…

Unless I decide to hate myself for a few days, I’m just a hop, skip, and a very short flight away from what used to be my home. But let me tell you, my friends, it’s a whole new world up here. (Go ahead, sing it.)

I won’t go into specifics this time, but the change in environment has helped me open my eyes, and as cheesy as it may sound, my soul.

…hoookay Kate…

No, really!

I’m paying attention to details, subtle nuances, moments. And as a result of my awareness, I am appreciating the little things: How beautiful the trees are in the morning, the smell of crisp Northern California air after it rains, the simplicity of a smile from a stranger. These are the moments I breathe in. These are the moments that matter.

It’s easy to say, “Friday was a good day.” Why? What specifically made Friday good? Perhaps it was because you laughed until your face hurt over coffee with a good friend. Maybe it was because you found a blissful moment of solitude while reading on a rainy day. Or possibly because you spent your Friday night playing card games and drinking whiskey with your boyfriend on your living room floor, and you suddenly felt so much love in your heart that you thought it might burst. (My life is awesome.)

Thinking about thinking made me think, do we miss these beautiful moments because we’re dwelling too much on the past? I believe so.

So as I sit here, venturing back into the blogosphere after an extended hiatus, I have decided to let the past go. No frills, no fluff, no explanation or justification. I’m just going to let it go. (Go ahead, sing that too.) This doesn’t mean that I’m forgetting the past, because I certainly wouldn’t be who I am without those experiences. What it means is that I’m going to accept the moments in the past that are…unfavorable, and continue to appreciate the subtle moments that I’ve under-appreciated for far too long. Let ’em shine!

Okay, sounds good! But what does this have to do with baking?

Excellent question, lovely reader!

Appreciating the subtleties in life can be difficult, you really have to be patient and pay attention.

Appreciating the subtleties in cookies, however, well…yeah it’s kind of hard too.

I received a request from a dashing gentleman I am lucky enough to call my main squeeze. He asked me to bake something with protein powder. WTF why? Because he, much like Fergie, is always up in the gym just workin’ on his fitness…I’m his witness. (Sorry I couldn’t help myself.) Not only that, but he just so happens to work for a protein supplement company. Protein powders aplenty up in this biznatch.

IMG_0570

The texture of protein powder always deterred me from testing new brands, flavors, and recipes. Turns out, Isopure is the tits, and the texture-phobia I experienced for so long dissolved into a faded memory. Bye, Felicia.

After deciding on cookies (thought I’d start small), I jotted down basic cookie ingredients, cutting out a lot of the fat and sugar that usually makes sweets so dang-darn tasty.

**WARNING** NO BUTTER WAS HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THESE COOKIES
I’m not kidding. No butter. The fat comes from the one egg.

Wait…so you’re telling me these aren’t absolutely terrible for me?

That’s right! I mean I wouldn’t eat these all day every day, but they’re better for you than others.

Whipped ’em up, threw them in the oven, and voila…protein cookies! My only beef with these is they’re not really aesthetically appealing — kind of bland looking, actually. But I’m just going to chalk that up to the flavor of powder I used (banana cream). And really, this recipe would work with any flavor if banana isn’t your thing. The world is your little swole, protein-stuffed oyster.

I haven’t abandoned my traditional baking practices that keep sweatpants companies in business, don’t you worry. But you can expect a sprinkle of proteinified sweets, and I really do encourage you to give them a try. Who knows, you might appreciate the subtlety.

IMG_0572

Chocolate Chip Banana Protein Cookies

1 large egg
1/2 cup of Isopure Banana Cream Protein Powder
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp vegetable oil
a scant 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine egg, protein powder, flour, baking soda, vegetable oil and milk in a medium bowl
3. Once thoroughly combined, add chocolate chips
4. Grease a cookie sheet and scoop dough into 1-1 1/2″ balls.
*These cookies rise and expand like nobody’s business! Make sure to keep them spread out.*

IMG_0576
5. Bake 12-15 minutes, keeping an eye on them while they bake. Cookies should be barely golden on the bottom.
6. Let cool for about 2 minutes on the sheet, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Boom. Protein Cookies.

Bon Appétit!

IMG_2803

A few mornings ago, I opened my eyes, accepted the sunlight coming through the window, and began my lazy morning ritual of scrolling through Facebook, double-tapping pictures of my friends’ lunches on Instagram, and pinning outfits I can’t afford on Pinterest. Suddenly, I received a text from my roommate, who I can only assume had just woken up as well.

Yes, we text each other from just a few feet away. Don’t judge.

The text went as follows:

Bri: Hey boo do you have any plans for today?
Kate: Nope, I need to work out and go to the bank but that’s it.
Bri: Just curious, I have so many things that I want to do today but the day doesn’t have enough hours, plus I love laying in bed!
Kate: What do you have to do?
Bri: Nothing I have to do, just things I want to do. :) I have an eye appointment at 3:30, I’d like to get adjusted, I want to get a massage and a facial, I want to go to the street fair, I want to lay out, I want to do my laundry, I want to go see a psychic. ;)

Okay, so she’s a bit of an overachiever, but I was on board.

It was too cold for the pool or beach, the massage place was booked up until late-afternoon, and who really wants to do laundry? Answer: NO ONE.

Ultimately we decided to a.)Definitely make it to the Huntington Beach street fair. It’s every Tuesday, and I had never been, despite the fact that I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life. b.) We were totally into this psychic idea.

I’ve hit a bit of a rough patch in life, and I’m currently in search of ANY input. This is includes a psychic reading, apparently. I mean, why not, right?

IMG_2798

So we set out for the day. I won’t bore you with the details of how long we searched for a psychic that wasn’t going to charge each of us $100, homemade Panini for life, and the rights to our first-born children. Eventually, we ended up going to a lady located very close to our apartment.

Now I don’t know if this psychic thing is real or a bunch of applesauce, but it was pretty interesting nonetheless.

I won’t share what she said to me, but if she’s right, I have a lot of changes headed my way, in almost all aspects of life. Some sounded pretty darn exciting, others…quite scary.

Regardless, it opened my mind up to possibilities. Who knows where I’ll be a year from now, whether or not I’ll be single, what career path I’ll have chosen, or which people will still be in my life.

I can hope, though, that my roommate is one of them. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have ever thought to seek input from a complete stranger. My roomie is da bomb.

Therefore, I made her some cookies. While we were at the street fair later that day, we passed a booth that was selling cookies. Macaroons, to be exact. And she just happened to mention that she loves them.

Uhh..okay. Easiest cookie ever. Next to snickerdoodles, her other favorite. She’s easy to please.

Poor thing had a rough day, so after I cleaned out our fridge and cupboards, I whipped some up. Just for her.

For you too, of course, but shhh…don’t tell her that. ;)

While I wait to see if the psychic’s predictions are true (one thing already happened, by the way), I’ll be here, munching on these delicious macaroons.

IMG_2802

Easy Peasy Coconut Macaroons

14oz (1 pkg) shredded coconut
14oz sweetened condensed milk
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2. Combine coconut, vanilla, and condensed milk in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat egg whites and salt on high until medium-firm peaks form.

4. Fold egg whites into coconut mixture until thoroughly combined.

5. Place 1 3/4 inch balls onto a foil-lined cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 30 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.

If you decide to dip them in chocolate, allow them to cool completely, melt the chocolate in the microwave for one increment of 30 seconds, stir, another increment for 45 seconds, and stir until everything is melted. Dip the macaroon in the chocolate and set on foil. Don’t touch until it’s completely set, Cookie Monster!!!

IMG_2808

Bon Appétit! 

IMG_2618

Patience.

I don’t have it. Not really, anyway.

I have the patience for things like…

um…

…yeah, no patience.

It’s become very clear to me, more than ever, that life is full of trial and error. And because of this realization, it has also become very clear to me, more than ever, that I have a hard time being patient with that.

Today, I attempted making churros. I forgot the water. I was forced to add it after I already had the sugar and oil on the heat, to the point that it was smoking. Turns out it didn’t really matter, because once I added the flour everything seemed a-ok.

But then, when attempting to push the dough through a bag/star tip, it wouldn’t budge. I wasn’t strong enough, and I seriously did not want the dough exploding out of the bag and end up all over my hands, or worse, the floor.
I wonder if there’s some baker’s workout on Pinterest?

“Okay, no problem, I’ll just roll the dough into balls,” I thought to myself. Cool. I heated up the oil and began to fry. Everything seemed fine. Rolled them in the cinnamon-sugar mix, and took a sigh of relief. They looked great!

So I took a bite…and spit it right back out.

They had not cooked through. Ugh. I’ll have to do this again, another day. Keep an eye out for that post.

Behold, an unbaked churro. I don't recommend taking a bite of this...yuck.

Behold, an unbaked churro ball. I don’t recommend taking a bite of this. *shudder*

Everything is trial and error.

Waking up in the morning is a pretty good example.
Will my alarm clock be effective? No? Hmm…maybe I’ll set three for tomorrow.

Styling my hair is trial and error.
Okay, the fancy new volumizing shampoo I bought makes me look like Mufasa. Big fat error.

Dating. Dating is definitely trial and error. No italicized examples necessary.

Cleaning the fish bowl. Another example.
I’m pretty sure my roommate didn’t MEAN for the fish to fall down the sink drain…

All of this trying and error-ing becomes overwhelming, but you have two options:

1.) Try, try again.

2.) Surrender and abandon ship.

There are times when you just want to throw your hands in the air, throw in the towel, and throw other things around because apparently that’s the theme when giving up. But don’t! Learn to adapt. As Eric from Boy Meets World once said, “Life’s tough. Get a helmet.”

Option #2 is for quitters. We’re not quitters, we’re winners, dagnabbit! And I’ll be damned if I let some churro travesty kill my baking mojo, a crazy shampoo continue to make me look like a native to the Amazon, or let a few slightly more meaningful setbacks crush my spirit. On to bigger and better things, I say!

Things like…Key Lime Pie.

IMG_2624

I love Key Lime Pie. It’s such a refreshing change from chocolate, and gives my texturebuds (it’s a thing) a run for their money when I’m not putting cake or cookies in my mouth.

Initially when I made this, it didn’t set. I decided to have some patience, and let it chill. Boom. Key Lime Pie.

Lesson of the day? Patience gets you pie.

I think we could all practice patience for a result such as this, dontcha think?

IMG_2622

Key Lime Pie

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted
—-
1/2 cup lime juice
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp lime zest
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Crust:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine sugar and graham cracker crumbs in a small mixing bowl.

3. Add melted butter, and press into mixture with a fork until thoroughly combined.

4. Press into a pie pan and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Filling:

1. Beat egg yolks, lime juice, vanilla and heavy cream until combined. Add zest and combine.

2. Add sweetened condensed milk until completely combined, and then on high for 5 minutes. The filling will begin the thicken.

3. Pour filling into prepared crust.

4. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

5. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Top with whipped cream when cool. Visit the Fruit Tart Cupcakes for that recipe here.

IMG_2644

Bon appétit!

IMG_1903

Something weird happened this week. I’m talking borderline supernatural…

I played with a baby, and it was a lot of fun.

Umm…okay…what’s your point…

If you know me but at all, you know that children, specifically babies, make me extremely uncomfortable. I never really knew why, but the idea of holding a baby made me shiver. Yes, they’re cute, but I think it’s because they’re so freaking honest. And small.

As an adult, it’s hard to tell sometimes if other adults like you or not. They’ll tell you how adorable your skirt is, laugh at your jokes, and then go talk to Suzie Gossipsalot about how that is the ugliest effing skirt she’s ever seen, and how that joke wasn’t even funny…and that you’re probably a racist. Great. You’ll never know. Unless Suzie Gossipsalot comes back to tell you what a witch Patty is for talking about you behind your back.

I did say “adult”…right? *sigh*

IMG_1910

But babies…babies don’t hold back. If they don’t like you, they won’t go near you, they’ll glare at you, they’ll avoid you at all costs. That is, until someone hands them over to you, in which case they scream bloody murder.

I’m pretty sure I’d get the point if I walked up to someone and they started screaming and crying. It doesn’t get much more blunt than that. Awkwaaard.

But that was my fear with babies. What if they don’t like me?! And, what if I break it? <– Although that’s a different issue.

This baby, my cousin’s beautiful, happy, silly baby, was such a joy. And I realized how incredibly obsessed I am with her when I woke up this morning. Instead of repinning crafts I’ll never make on Pinterest, I was looking at baby clothes to send to this adorable little muffin. What has happened to me?!

Oh shiznit. I think I’m growing up. Yikes.

I’m not ready to grow up. I still want to live in my own little Kate world, do my own little Kate thing, and be my own little selfish Kate person…for now. Crap! There I go again.

IMG_1900

These cupcakes have the honesty comparable to that of a baby: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes. What you see is what you get. There’s even a cookie on top, for cryin’ out loud! If you don’t like chocolate chip cookies, you will not like these cupcakes. If you don’t like chocolate chip cookies…I can respect that, but…what the heck, man?

In all seriousness, though, these are pretty darn good. Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite, and I turned them into a miniature cake that tastes like you’re eating the dough right out of the bowl (without the risk of salmonella – score!). Tell me how that can be a bad thing.

They’re comfort food, they’re sweet, they totally hit the spot, and they won’t judge your adorable vintage skirt…

…because it’s a cupcake. Come on.

Be honest, you want these.

IMG_1902

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

Cupcakes:

2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Beat butter and sugars together until creamy and pale.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended.

5. Add vanilla.

6. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, starting and ending with flour. Beat until combined.

7. Put about 1 tsp of flour in a ziplock bag with chocolate chips. Shake the bag around to ensure each piece is coated in flour. (This helps the chips from falling to the bottom of your cakes.) Fold chips into batter.

8. Bake for 15-18 minutes, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp milk
2 1/2 – 3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

1. Beat butter until creamy.

2. Add sugars and beat until smooth.

3. Add flour and beat until combined.

4. Add milk and vanilla.

5. Add powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until desired consistency is reached.

6. Frost!

I used my cookie recipe to make the miniature cookies on top, but I baked them for about 10 minutes, let them cool, and placed them on my cupcakes for an added treat.

IMG_1915

And, incase you’ve forgotten, Event Blossom’s blog is kicking butt! It’s full of great craft ideas, as well as tons of products to put that finishing touch on your next party. Look how adorable those striped cupcake wrappers are from the Cupcake MOD Party Kit! The blog has been up for ONE YEAR! Happy anniversary, and congratulations, guys!!

Bon Appétit!

IMG_1730

Generally, I’m a happy gal.

But sometimes, things upset me. I’m not a robot.

Animal cruelty. That upsets me.

Driving below the speed limit on the freeway. That upsets me. (I’m talking to you, dude from earlier today!)

Crocs. Crocs definitely upset me.

When someone implies that being independent is a bad thing. This upset me…just a few days ago.

I believe that being independent means that I know what I want, I will do what it takes to get it, and then I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that am responsible for my success.

Is that so wrong? I think not.

However, I will admit that there is a sliver of bitterness that comes with this independence. I like to think of myself as a strong person, but even the Hulk is let down occasionally. If you get hurt, you get stronger.
Kate smash!

But this toughness doesn’t go down to my core. Sometimes I can be a huge mush ball. Seriously. It’s embarrassing. Hulk-ish outside. Care Bear inside. What kind of messed-up genetic mutation is that? And here’s a secret…my Care Bear inside seeps through a lot. (Don’t tell.)

Ironically, the day before I was “accused” of being Miss Independent I had a long talk with my grandma about this very thing. Allow me to quote her:

“Of course you care about other people. But take care of yourself first, because how you feel about yourself directly affects the people you care about. And on top of that, be who you want to be. Who you are is beautiful. If someone doesn’t like it, who gives a sh*t anyway. You’re the one who has to live with yourself for the rest of your life.”

I’ve said this before, but that woman is my hero.

She’s spot on, though. I take care of myself because I want to take care of you! And I think I take care of you very well……

Enter: Baileys Cheesecake. *angels sing*

IMG_1729

I made this especially for you. I know that you love cheesecake as much as I do, and I took a wild guess that you, too, hold a special place in your heart for Baileys Irish Cream.

The airy cheesecake filling is sandwiched between an Oreo crust and an espresso whipped cream.

Holy boozy baking, Batman. This is good stuff.

I encourage you to be independent and make this cake on your own. When you bite into it for the first time, I guarantee you’ll get that feeling of self-satisfaction I’ve been ranting about.

IMG_1726

Baileys Cheesecake with Espresso Whipped Cream Topping

Crust:

2 1/2 cups crushed Oreos
7 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

3. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

4. Bake for 7-11 minutes. Set aside.

Filling:

24oz whipped cream cheese
1 2/3 cup sugar
5 eggs
1 cup Baileys Irish Cream
1 tbsp vanilla

1. Beat cream cheese on high until smooth.

2. Gradually add sugar.

3. Add eggs, one at a time.

4. Add Baileys and vanilla.

5. Once completed blended, pour mixture on top of crust.

6. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack to keep the cheesecake moist.

The cheesecake will rise, but once it starts to cool it will fall. If it cracks, no need to worry, because you’re about to cover it with whipped cream.

Espresso Whipped Cream:

1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp espresso powder

1. Beat whipping cream on high until it starts to thicken.

2. Add sugar and vanilla.

3. Once blended, add espresso powder.

4. Top the completely cooled cheesecake with the whipped cream. Drizzle with chocolate and chocolate shavings.

5. Eat the shiznit out of the cake.

IMG_1727

Bon Appétit!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 394 other followers