11.30.2011

Apple Cinnamon Muffins


Apple Cinnamon Muffins
(Recipe adapted from bakingbites.com)

Makes a dozen muffins (but I doubled it exactly to make two dozen!)

Ingredients:

Muffins:
2 c. all-purpose flour (I used half white, half whole wheat)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (I substituted all-spice because I didn't have ginger)
3/4 c. brown sugar (I used dark)
1 large egg
2 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. buttermilk (I used 1% milk)
1 1/2 c. diced apple (Granny Smith has the best flavor!)

Topping:
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices.
3. In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar and egg. Whisk in melted butter, canola oil and vanilla. Gradually and alternately stir in both the flour and buttermilk, ending with an addition of flour and mixing only until no streaks of flour remain visible in the batter. Stir in diced apple.
4. Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups filling each to the top, or slightly over.
5. In a small bowl, stir together sugar and additional 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (topping mix). Sprinkle generously over muffins.
6. Bake for 15-18 minutes (I baked mine for 17, I think), until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed. Cool muffins on a wire rack.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com)

Makes about 2 dozen cookies (or cookie bites, depending on whether or not you smoosh your batter down like I didn't (: )

Ingredients:

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed dark (or light) brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour (I used half white, half wheat)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. quick-cooking oats
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips (I always add a little more though!)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, and then stir in vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
4. Bake for 12 minutes (if using dark brown sugar it will be more like 16 minutes). Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

11.27.2011

One minor obsession.

Okay, so I'm pretty sure it's no secret that I have a slight obsession with something wonderfully delicious that goes by the name of Yogurtland...but I don't think I really actually realized how crazy I am about it until I went through my computer to collect pictures from the past week to tell a little story of how my Thanksgiving Break played out (with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, you can check out that post here/below this one) - - and I discovered that of all the events that I have done in the past week, about 90% of the ones I photographed revolve around some kind of food...and about 75% of those pictures involved Yland...hmmm...




(Note: the glasses are Micae's pretend ones...I have 20/20 vision (thank you very much!) and just happened to try them on and keep them on the right of the night for fun. The end.) 

Can we help it that we are just poor, struggling college students who enjoy a  nice, sweet (not to mention cheap!) treat every so often??

Anyway, I guess it makes sense now (looking back) that I don't really have pictures of much else...considering I didn't really do much of anything at all this Thanksgiving break, thanks to a nasty cold I've been battling since Tuesday. So the follow is the brief synopsis (complete with plenty of foodie pictures...you thought I was joking) of my Thanksgiving break.

On the Saturday night before Thanksgiving Break was actually when the roommates + I decided to get our fro-yo fix in, as pictured above. After a quick trip, I headed over to my favorite older brothers' (Jeff + Jared) house to pass a few hours debating and discussing a plethora of subjects from beards to The Beatles (surprising? Probably not). 

Me pretending to be taller than I actually am (with a little assistance, mind you): 

Luckily, Nate (Jared's old roommate from last year) was in town, as well, so it was nice to catch up with him, too - and make a new friend (Spencer).

Aaaand then Sunday-Tuesday passed by with not too much to say, besides the fact that my cold/throat aching/etc. (I'll spare you the gory details) all started up around Monday. Until Tuesday night, that is, when I had the pleasure of driving two of my roommates (Debbie and Micae) up to Bountiful, Utah for them to stay with their families for the break (Debbie is from Bountiful; Micae was staying with an uncle before flying home to Virginia the next day to surprise her family!). So, naturally, we planned to stop at the Bountiful Utah Temple and do some work there. (:

Debbie:

Me: 

Micae:

Micae + my group shot (proof that we are working toward DZP goal #57!):

SUCH a pretty temple!! See the nativity right outside in the front? 

This is the view (the "real front," apparently) from the top of the indoor parking garage...It was a relatively clear and beautiful (albeit freezing) night to get married. (; 

Aaand of course the view after we finished (only about two hours later!) and it was quite dark outside. SO GORGEOUS. I love temples. (: 

So after dropping Micae + Deb off at their prospective houses, I headed back on my own to Provo, where Miriam + Katherine + I enjoyed eating some delicious fried dough (thank you ladies!) covered with fruit, syrup and plenty of powdered sugar (: and watching Never Been Kissed (I have never felt more embarrassed for anyone else in my entire life than for Drew Barrymore in this). We decided to make it a tradition to watch one movie every night the rest of the break - - which worked out quite nicely once my cold really set in and I didn't feel like doing much else. (:



On Wednesday I enjoyed a nice morning at the gym (trying to sweat out my sickness - - a good temporary fix!), then came home and showered and was off by 3pm to Murray, Utah with Miriam + Kat to check out the new H&M store!

It was absolutely huge (and packed full of people) - - two stories tall! But the top story was pretty much dedicated to children's and maternity clothing (?!). Haha.

After a couple of hours hanging around the mall, we made our way to pretty much the only other Yland (does this surprise you?) in Utah, only to find...it was closed for "the holiday." To say we were disappointed/heartbroken/depressed is probably an understatement.



(Note for anyone who can't read sarcasm over the internet: We survived. Somehow. (; )

BUT luckily for us, we got our sweet fix in at the Coldstone right next door! It wasn't froyo, by any means, but we made due with what we had.



After our quick sugar fix, we were off to (our real destination of the night) our friend Graden's house in SLC to hang out with some other friends and watch Super 8. Kind of confusing and ended super abruptly, but still a decent film.

You can see a true re-cap of Thursday here. (:

Friday I was feeling probably the worst out of the whole week. My voice was pretty much gone so I spent most of the day hanging out at home, trying to rest, relax, + take in plenty of fluids. I got a handful of things done around the house with cleaning/organizing/etc. And planned out my races for next year. (: (: (: More to come on that later!

Sooo 7pm rolls around and there's nothing more that my poor, sore throat wants than (you guessed it!) some cold and cheap (and delicious) fro-yo. (:



Hearing about all their new + upcoming holiday flavors (and getting a punch card for 2 oz. free each day you come in during the first two weeks of December) = helped ease my sickness along that much more. (: 

Came home and ended the night watching Monte Carlo...aka the ultimate chick flick. Cute movie, though.

Saturday I was feeling somewhat better but still decided to take things easy. Slept in, Skyped with Anna and talked on the phone with some other family members. Finished up my talk for the next day at church and just worked around the house on some other school-related things. Ended the night with my roommates, watching Casino Royale - - can you believe I've never seen a James Bond movie before this one?! So sad.

That about brings things up to speed. Hopefully this next week will be filled with more than just random movies and fro-yo. (; Only 9 days of class left until finals!

11.26.2011

A College Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving this year was unlike any other I have ever experienced before. I decided that (because this is the first year for me where I do not have any immediate family members within 1,000 miles of me) I wanted to host a Thanksgiving dinner of my own! Two of my lovely roommates (Katherine and Miriam) jumped on board, as well, and we turned it into a mini ward party/potluck. (:

Katherine baking her pumpkin pie:



Aaand her (beyond delicious) "temple rolls" - aka her mama used to be a temple worker in the DC temple where they have a cafeteria...and her mama got the recipe for the rolls they make there and sent it to her!:


After I enjoyed a nice-and-easy 2 mile run, I headed home to get the main dish started: the turkey!

Step one: Put it somewhere where it's okay to get dirty/messy/slimy.

Step two: Look less than pleased to be holding a huge, dead, raw animal. Note: Putting your hair in a huge bun at the top of your head is probably best to ensure that no hairs make your way into the food, right?

Step three:  Man up and get excited to be tending to such a big bird.

Step four: Massage the turkey with lemon juice. Don't forget to massage the temples!

Step five: Double check that it is actually turkey you are preparing by flapping its wings once or twice.

Step six: Rub the turkey with a light amount of canola oil...don't forget to scrub under the wings! 

Step seven: Put the little $0.92 mesh "stuffing bag" you bought at the store inside the bird's body. Proceed to fill with the mega awesome delicious stuffing you finished making five minutes ago.

Step eight: Tie the bag up in a pretty little knot! 

Step nine: Place the uncooked bird in a 2 tsp.-floured oven bag, tie it up, cut six 1/2-inch slits in the top, and stick the little guy in the oven (in the pan)! Note: Don't forget to stick the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey...wherever you can find a place to stick it. (:

After all the aforementioned craziness, I finally headed upstairs to shower and get ready before our amigos started arriving around 4pm. Everyone brought over some equally yummy stuff! Everything everyone brought  was homemade...aka beyond fantastic.

Elinor with her sweet potatoes/candied yams:

Stephen with his square banana bread loaf/cake and vegan whipped topping:

Derek with his apple pie (it already half-eaten and he already half-asleep at this point because I forgot to get his picture before the festivities began):

Katherine with her pumpkin pie and temple rolls (um...not even an exaggeration that I have never eaten a more delicious roll...don't worry Mama, I'll be bringing the recipe home with me for winter break (: ):


Miriam with her smashed potatoes (with paprika sprinkled on top - genius!):

And then it was my turn to show off my goods...just a little nervous to see how my little birdie turned out.

I opened up the oven and to my surprise...

A perfectly-cooked turkey right before my eyes (right down to the perfect 180 degrees F)!

The stuffing was mega-easy to deal with: just take the bag out of the turkey, cut the bag open, and voila!

Yummy yum stuffing for all! (: 

Then it was time for the main event: carving the turkey! Which I'll have you know is way mega harder than it looks hahaha. 

Success! Lots of yummy (even if they weren't completely perfectly cut) pieces to share. (: 

Our little baby kitchen table could barely fit the six of us eating, so instead we displayed everything across our counter space/stove top haha (: with the pies at one end, and all kinds of other yummy sides (some not even pictured, oops!) leading down to the turkey at the other end!

So we ate, and ate...

 And ate some more...

Then followed our eating with some Catch-Phrase and card playing...

(and some minor passing-out from all the Tryptophan I cooked into the turkey)...

And then we ended our little party by comparing food babies. (:

Note for amateurs: The best way to win is by wearing a coat that can make your stomach look like it is sticking our far more than it actually is:

Miriam, Katherine and I ended the night (after sending everyone off with their fair share of leftovers, thank you very much) by cleaning up our mess (making our kitchen sparkle in only like 20 minutes flat...probably a record or something!), changing into more comfortable (stretchy) clothing and watching 10 Things I Hate About You.

I'd say it was a pretty successful Thanksgiving. (: Hope yours was as grand as mine was and that you all have many, many things to be grateful for!
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