Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Hey guys! Happy Halloween! Since one of my favorite thing about Halloween is remembering how fun it was as a kid, I thought I'd share some of my favorite costumes from my childhood with you today.
This one is from the first year I dressed up for Halloween. I'm 2 here, and rocking a prettttty cool butterfly costume. My sister's sunflower costume totally kills me. It's so good! Nice one, Mom and Dad!
At age 3, couldn't decide if I wanted to be a fairy or a princess, so I was a fairy princess! Awesome. Can ya'll tell how pumped I was to have curly hair and be wearing a poofy dress AND a crown? Woah.
This is from the year 101 Dalmatians was re-released (1991, I was 4), and I was obsessed. I had a dalmatian themed birthday party and everything, so I was obviously going to be a dalmatian for Halloween! I love how totally early 90s our footwear is here.
Then my sister and I were both really dorky looking cats, which was pretty awesome.
And then, in the 3rd grade, I got reaaaaal nerdy and was the Kool-aid man. Oh yea (ha!). It happened. It was also like, the windiest Halloween ever, so that costume really worked against me!
For good measure, here's a picture of me with my trick-or-treating haul. Sugar fiend for life!
And last but not least, 1 year-old me crying. This picture cracks me up! My sister is so dang cute and happy in her princess costume, and I'm crying my damn eyes out. My best guess is that I was jealous I didn't get to dress up! Haha!

I think my favorite thing about looking at these photos is seeing how much work my parents did to help my sister and I create our dream costumes. Whether we wanted to be a princess or a sunflower, a butterfly or the Kool-aid Man, Mom and Dad made it happen. They painted butterfly wings two years in a row, cut out felt dots to glue to a white sweatshirt, and even cut out and painted giant pieces of cardboard to help my sister and I have costumes that we totally loved. 

These memories really make me think about my family and how much fun we have together and how much we love each other. I think that's one of the things I love most about Halloween! Ya know, that and candy. Ha!

Do you guys have any favorite costumes you dressed up in? Any favorite Halloween memories?

I hope you all have a happy Halloween!

Til next time!


Follow me on:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cup of Dirt

Hey guys! Today I'm sharing a fun Halloween recipe for Cup of Dirt! This awesome treat is made up of chocolate pudding, cookie crumbs, and gummy worms, and is named Cup of Dirt because, well, that's what it looks like! It was one of my favorite spooky desserts as a kid, so I thought it would be fun to make up a batch just in time for Halloween.

This dessert is super tasty, super fun, and shockingly easy to make. And hey! If you're not a fan of the more whimsical desserts, be sure to read on for the pudding recipe if nothing else. It's AWESOME.

Ok, let's hop to it!

Cup of Dirt: Serves 6


For the Pudding (adapted from this recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 cups whole milk
- 6 ounces dark chocolate (I used Theo Chocolate Pure 70%)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Spooky Stuff:

- 1 cup of pretty fine chocolate cookie crumbs. To make these, I put 8 gluten free chocolate sandwich cookies in a food processor and pulsed until smooth. Easy peasy!
- 18 gummy worms- enough for 3 per cup
1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium sauce pan and whisk together.
2. Pour the milk at a slow stream into the cornstarch mixture, being sure to whisk as you go, and whisk until all the milk has been added and the cornstarch mixture is well mixed in.
3. Place the mixture over low to medium-low heat and stir frequently, being sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan as you go. 
4. After about 10 minutes or so, the mixture will thicken up slightly- just enough to coat the back of the spoon. At this point, add in the chocolate, and stir for another 2-4 minutes, or until the chocolate is fully incorporated and the mixture is quite thick. Be sure to stir constantly and thoroughly so as not to burn the chocolate.
5. Remove the pot from the stove, add the vanilla, and stir until well combined.
6. Next, ladle your pudding into 6 small cups, being sure to distribute the pudding evenly. After your cups are filled, put them in the refrigerator to set, which will take about 2 to 3 hours.
7. Once your pudding is set, pull it out of the refrigerator. It's time to make these guys a little spooky! You'll begin by pushing a couple of the gummy worms into the pudding.
8. Then, spoon the cookie crumbs over the top of the pudding, and place another worm on top for good measure. I'm a gummy candy fiend so the more the merrier!
9. Once you've gotten them all spookified, serve 'em up!
This Cup of Dirt dessert is seriously delicious, and seriously fun. I'm so glad I made up a batch in time for Halloween.

I hope you enjoy it!

Til next time!


Follow me on:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekly Wardrobe: Lazy Lazy Weekend

 Glasses: BonLook
Sweater: Forever 21
Necklace: c/o Periwinkle Nuthatch
Shoes: ModCloth
Hey guys!

Well, I gotta tell ya, I had lofty plans to share a sweet Halloween costume with you guys this week, but I had a biiiiiit of a change in plans. 

One week ago, I came up with an AWESOME Halloween costume idea- I was going to be the Log Lady from Twin Peaks! It was going to be great. I managed to procure everything I needed for her outfit, but there was one sort of major issue. I couldn't find a log. I know, city girl problems. I looked high and low, poked through woodsy areas, asked friends, everything!

So Friday night after work, in a panic, I went to JoAnn's because my last resort was to sew the log out of fabric. Well, all of my errands took longer than expected, and I got home with about an hour to spare before I needed to head out for my Halloween plans. Guys, it just was not going to happen. So, I cut a piece of red felt into an hourglass shape, safety pinned it to a black dress, and was a black widow. It totally did the trick for the parties I went to over the weekend, but I didn't feel it was worthy of sharing here.

So instead, I'm sharing a cute lazy day outfit with you! I ended up staying up welllll past my bedtime both Friday and Saturday since I went to a couple of fun Halloween parties, so I was a real sleepy lady the rest of the weekend. When I did finally drag myself out of the house to run some quick errands, this is what I threw on!

I've been living in this cute fox sweater from Forever21 recently, and have also been loving styling my hair in a messy braid for a quick and easy hair style. I've also been trying to mix things up a bit and have been wearing jeans more regularly, which has been fun!

I know I claimed that last weekend I was really lazy and got nothing done, but then rattled off a list of things I did. Well, this weekend, I'm happy to report that I was lazy as lazy could be, and it was awesome! I accomplished nothing but having fun and relaxing!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun for Halloween?

Til next time!


Follow me on:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Weekly Wishlist: Fall Footwear

Hey guys!

Happy Friday! Now, I don't know if we've talked about this before or not, but I go through shoes like crazy. Seriously, I've been wearing out shoes in no time since I got my first pair. This is not an exaggeration. I was walking by 9 months and legitimately wore out my first pair of baby shoes.

I live up a big hill and walk to work, so I end up walking a bit over a mile uphill and a bit over a mile downhill each day. On top of that, I use public transportation and walk to get around town, so for me, shoes need to be pretty practical. They also get a good work out.

To get to the point, I wore through most of my fall shoes last year, and have already just about destroyed a pair this year, so I've got shoes on my mind!

This fall, I'm dreaming of a couple of pairs of great booties like the ones pictured above. They're perfect for cold, drizzly Seattle days, and both of these would look great with either dresses and skirts or jeans. I also live in flats on the dryer, warmer (for fall) days, so I've been pretty seriously eyeing this pair from ModCloth, and just fell completely in love with these Seychelles flats. They come in multiple colors and I want every single one! The half inch wedge makes them super comfy and ultra practical.

Also, I live in Seattle. Usually the rain doesn't get to be more than a light drizzle, but every fall and winter we get some super rainy days. That means a Seattle girl has got to have a good pair of rain boots! I love these Hunter boots since they're super practical for wet days, but also sport some gorgeous plaid to keep them really fun and pretty.

Last but not least, a modest pair of heels. Yep. As the holidays approach, I do occasionally want a good pair of heels. I think these would look amazing with almost every fancy dress in my closet, particularly with that lovely color palette!

Do you guys have any favorites?

I hope you guys have a fantastic weekend!

Til next time!

Follow me on:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Hey guys! Today I'd love to share another one of my favorite fall recipes with you: Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting!

You've probably picked up on this by now, but I love seasonal cooking, and really really love fall. What you may not have learned yet, is that I think cream cheese frosting may be one of the most delicious things ever invented. Seriously. If I make standard buttercream, it's pretty likely I'll lick the beaters clean, but when I make cream cheese frosting, I lick the beaters, and then spend the next 5 minutes or so scraping every last bit of frosting out of the bowl with my finger and devouring it. Truth.

So, this cake is the best. The cake itself is super moist, full of awesome pumpkin and spices, and has a really great texture. It's almost like a carrot cake, but pumpkin style! And then the frosting. Ohhhhhh the frosting. Dreamy cream cheese frosting with a bit of pumpkin puree added in for a hint of pumpkin flavor. It makes the frosting the most gorgeous peach hue that I can't get enough of!

Well, enough of my rambling about this cake. Let's hop to it!
Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting: Adapted from this recipe 

Serves 12-20 (this cake is super filling).

For the Pumpkin Spice Cake:
- 2 cups all purpose flour (I used Trader Joe's Gluten Free mix. Since it doesn't have xanthan gum added to it, I also added 1tsp xanthan gum)
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup canola oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened pumpkin puree
- 1 cup lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut
- 3/4 cup crushed canned pineapple- do not drain

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened and cut into large cubes
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 3 tbsp unsweetened pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. In a very large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and the cloves.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil, and vanilla and mix until well combined.
4. In medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, coconut, and pineapple. Mix until well combined.
5. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.
6. Add the pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined. I swear, it won't look as much like chili in person...
7. Pour your chili, ahem, I mean cake batter into two 9" cake pans, and spread evenly.

8. Pop your cake pans in the oven and let bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

9. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack, still in the pans, for 15 minutes. Then, run a knife around the edge, remove the cake from the pans, and let cool on the wire rack until cooled completely.
10. Meanwhile, while the cake cools, combine the cream cheese and the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer until it gets light and fluffy.
11. Add the pumpkin puree, vanilla, and about half of the powdered sugar, and beat until fairly well combined.
12. Add the rest of the powdered sugar, and beat until super smooth. Let's look at a close-up
Awwwwwww yea, this is the stuff that dreams are made of.
13. Ok! Now place one of your fully cooled cake layers on a plate. Then scoop about half of the frosting on top of it, and use a spatula to spread the frosting out to the edges.
14. Place the second layer on top, scoop the second half of the frosting onto the top cake layer, and spread out to the edges with your spatula.

15. Once that's done, lick that spatula clean. This step is not mandatory, but it is highly encouraged!
Ah! Look at that beauty! So, once everyone oohs and ahs, you can slice into this sucker.
Oh, hello dream cake! Now, just to note, because of the coconut, etc, this cake is a bit on the crumbly side. Be sure to use a sharp, long knife when you cut this. It can help to chill the cake for about half an hour before slicing into it.
If you do gluten-free baking or are looking to try it, this is a really fantastic recipe. I brought about half of this cake to work with me the other day, and it was a total crowd pleaser! My gluten eating co-workers raved about it and quite a few got through their piece, thought about who had baked it and said "Wait! Was that gluten free?" Ahhh success!

Anyway, I hope you get to try out this dreamboat of a fall cake soon!

Til next time!

Follow me on: