Books, Sunday In Pictures, Weekend

Sunday In Pictures Vol. 18

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? It was a good one for me with a mix of active, relaxing and out spending time with people. In normal Monday fashion, I am sharing my Sunday in pictures today. Have a great day πŸ™‚

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I paired some breakfast sausage with leftover waffles from the freezer.

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Reading on the couch after breakfast while I enjoyed my tea.

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A giant quesadilla with leftovers for lunch.

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When you don’t own an apron but don’t want to get your clothes dirty, you put sweats on.

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Trying another recipe from this baking book.

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Yesterday was Alex’s dad’s birthday so for dinner, he chose steak (and lobster tail which I didn’t eat), mashed potatoes and asparagus.

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For dessert, we all dug into my chocolate cake with chocolate whipped cream frosting.

Question of the day: What’s one highlight from your weekend?

Holiday, Recipes

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Hi friends! We’re halfway through the week so I figured the best way to get over the midweek hump is to share a delicious cupcake recipe. These would be perfect for Valentine’s Day next week with the pink frosting πŸ™‚

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Who else loves a good chocolate covered strawberry?? I can’t possibly be the only one with their hand in the air and waving it around like I just don’t care. Now if you’re like me somehow the chocolate on the strawberry cracks when I bite into it. Then I’m left with broken chocolate in my hand on the plate.

This is where these cupcakes come in! The cupcakes are incredibly easy to make from scratch. The moist chocolate cupcake’s flavor goes perfectly with the strawberry buttercream. To get the strawberry flavor, I used frozen strawberries to get a really fresh flavor to it even though berries aren’t currently in season. Nothing fake is in these bad boys! These are perfect for Valentine’s Day next week or just anytime because who doesn’t love cupcakes?

Make a btach and bring them to your office to show some love to coworkers. I brought some of these into work and everyone loved them! Or keep them for yourself and hide them from everyone, no shame in that!

Chocolate Cupcakes

Recipe adopted from the peanut butter truffle cupcake recipe in the Taste of Home Baking book.

Ingredients:

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1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup 2% milk (if you don’t drink 2% then whatever you have should be okay)

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee

Directions:

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition before mixing in vanilla.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture. Alternate adding dry ingredients with milk and coffee. Mix well.

Line muffin tin and fill 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in pan than transfer to cooling rack.

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*Note – somehow I got 14 cupcakes out of this recipe so keep that in mind*

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

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1 cup frozen strawberries

6 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons half & half (or milk)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

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Place the frozen strawberries into a blender. Blend until there are no big chunks 30 seconds to 1 minute. It’ll look a little powdery and that’s okay!

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In a saucepan, bring the blended strawberries to a boil. Stir regularly until it has been reduced to half. I did this before I even started the cupcakes. This needs to be completely cool before you can make the frosting.

Take off heat and cool completely.

In a bowl, cream the butter. Trade off adding in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of half and half. Blend completely after each addition.

Once fully blended, add in vanilla and blend.

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Slowly add in the strawberry reduction. I recommend starting with 2 teaspoons and go from there. Blend after each addition. Stop when the strawberry flavor is as strong as you want it to be.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Once that is all done frost the cupcakes and enjoy! I stored them wrapped on a plate in the refrigerator for a few days. Sometimes I ate them directly from the fridge and it was equally as delicious as when they were on the counter for a while. Any leftovers can be put in the freezer in a freezer bag to enjoy at a later date.

Question of the day: Are you a fan of chocolate and strawberry together?

Books, Daily Happenings, Running, Weekend

Running, Reading, Baking

Happy Sunday! How’s your weekend so far? I hope the weather is nice by you today since it’s supposed to rain all day here in Central Jersey. Have a great day πŸ™‚

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I woke up Saturday morning ready to go. My run was 9 miles and it was beautiful out!! The roads were pretty empty so it was just me out running which was nice. I got 9 miles in at 9:36 average pace. The last three miles were progressively faster and my legs were feeling it at the end. I ended with some bodyweight exercises before stretching and foam rolling.

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Before a shower I headed out for a few errands and got a much needed eyebrow wax. Does anyone else forget how long it’s been since they got their brows done? That’s typically how I know its time to go ha! After getting home and showering, I started a new book. After reading another of Beatriz William’s novels and enjoying it, I grabbedΒ A Hundred Summers. During the day, I managed to read three quarters of it so it’s a great book so far.

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For lunch, I made a black bean and cheese quesadilla. I topped it with salsa and it was delicious! Filling it with black beans was a great idea since it kept me full for a while. Naturally, I headed back to the couch to read after eating.

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I opened up my baking book that I got for Christmas from my parents to. There was a recipe I had in mind for a few weeks and I adopted a recipe to fit my idea. The afternoon was spent baking and it was amazing! The amount of self control it took to not eat a cupcake before dinner was unreal. The entire kitchen smelled so good.

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Earlier in the week, I told Alex I was in the mood for sushi. Which is shocking because I would never suggest that. So sushi we got! I had miso soup, the salad form Alex’s combo and the only sushi I’ll eat, an avocado and cucumber roll. Does that even count as sushi since there’s no seafood in it? Asking for a friend… I shocked everyone (i.e. Alex and me) by trying a piece of Alex’s spicy roll. It was good too and it even had some sort of fish in it.

To end the night, we cuddled on the couch to watch and episode of “The Crown”. We split a cupcake too and it was yummy πŸ™‚ I fell asleep for a bit in the episode but luckily Alex went back the few minutes so I could catch up. When it was over we headed to bed.

Question of the day: Do you like sushi?

Books, Daily Happenings

Christmas Cookies

Happy Saturday! Are you ready for Christmas or do you still have a few gifts to get? I hope you finish up whatever last minute to dos are on your list quickly. Have a wonderful day πŸ™‚

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Friday started out nice and easy since I got to sleep ing. My normal alarm went off at 5 but I turned it off and went back to sleep. I woke up feeling so refreshed. For breakfast, I had a glass of tea and scrambled eggs. Majority of the morning was spent hanging out and talking to my family which was fun since I don’t see them too often.

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Alex and I finished the episode of “Stranger Things 2” that we started Thursday. We decided to relax at my parents house again and take it easy instead of heading into Chicago. Another low key day would be better to beat a cold than walking around the city. After the episode, we heated up leftover Thai food for lunch.

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My Dad makes a few different treats this time of year, one of them being these almonds. I have no idea exactly what is on them. All I know is they’re addicting and if the container is open near me, I will snack on them nonstop. This fueled my afternoon of talking to the family.

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Alex ended up having a coffee meeting so I drove him to the local Starbucks and read my book while he was talking to the client. Yes I went to his meeting with him but we sat at separate tables and pretended like we didn’t know each other. Super normal right πŸ˜‰ I sipped on a chai tea latte while readingΒ “The Last Mrs. Parrish”Β by Liv Constantine. This book was on my to read list for a while but my Grandma really enjoyed it so I downloaded it from the library to my Nook. I’m a third or so of the way through it so far and it’s good.

When we got home, my Mom was home from work so she mentioned wanting to bake cookies. I thought it was a great idea so while she went out for a friend’s birthday I made sure we had all the necessary ingredients.

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Chef Dad hooked us up with a yummy taco dinner. He is a huge spice fan so we have a full cabinet plus more of different spices. One of those is a fajita seasoning that is so dang good! It’s the perfect amount of spice without being overwhelming and if we didn’t have a Costco size container of taco seasoning in our apartment, I would buy a pound of this spice. We had a full spread of rice, refried beans, black beans and all the fixings for it.

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Once dinner was cleaned up it was time to bake! I worked on homemade Oreos while my mom and sister made what I think would be considered butter cookies. I don’t know the exact type of cookie it is but that’s what it tasted like. Years ago, my sister was really into baking and got a WiltonΒ cookie press for a gift. We had never used it until last night and it made the little trees so cute and nice.

After lots of baking plus some Jeopardy episodes, Alex and I watched one more episode of “Stranger Things 2” then headed to bed. It was a fun and relaxing day. Plus baking Christmas cookies to really kick of the weekend yields no complaints from me.

Question of the day: Did you baked Christmas cookies this year?