Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I love lattes, especially when they come in mugs. It's not a secret and my friends tease me for it, but I still get way too excited when I see that any coffee drink comes in a mug.

Part of the love comes from my time studying abroad in Stockholm. The amount of times I would go to a cafe to do like 20-30 minutes of homework, just to sit at a cafe and enjoy a latte, were too many to count. There was one street I loved - Gƶtgatan - because part of the street was just pedestrian access and it was right down the street from the bar that we frequented.

Also - sidebar confession - I just spelled cafe "caffe" because I was trying to say "kaffe". Swedish translation problems.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pumpkin Bread [Mini Loaves]

I love pumpkin bread but I don't nearly make it enough. I made it a few years ago and a draft of the recipe has been sitting in my drafts folder since Fall 2012. Yes. It's taken me almost 2 1/2 years to finally post about it. I actually had found a recipe I liked a little more on Sally's Baking Addiction so I'm happy I waited. And speaking of waiting, I made this back in November when my roommate (hi Alicia) was home sick, I was off for the whole day, and one of our best friends came over (hi Molly) and we watched Buffy and TV all day. It was awesome. Not that she was sick, but spending a day with the two of them was.

Something I'm trying to do more of are girl's nights. Like on Wednesday, my friend Nicole and I drank whiskey gingers, watched the Little Mermaid and cuddled with her dog. I'm trying to do one with my work girlfriends since it would be nice to sit down and actually hang out instead of chatting in between running to tables. And this past Sunday? Sunday was awesome.

My friend Kelly and I have been talking about watching Moulin Rouge together for FOREVER but for some reason it has never worked out. She works as a bartender, so while our schedules are more similar than most, they're still different enough that our days off never are the same. Until Sunday.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

thursday things

1. Happy New Year! I took a break from Thursday Things while I went home, worked, and reveled in the end of the year. Now that it's 2015 (still think it's crazy that it's 2015..)

2. I've celebrated the new year by going on 3 hikes (one of my favorite parts of LA) in 4 days. Definitely something I'd like to keep up. Keep weekends for longer, nicer hikes out in the Pacific Palisades but with Runyon only 10 minutes away, that might replace some of my gym workouts.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Frosted Eggnog Cookies

Hello! Long time no bake. Well, that's a lie because I actually baked quite a bit while I was at home, but it was all things I've already made and shared before. I made swedish gingerbread and cinnamon rolls, I baked biscotti for my dad (sorry, but this recipe I consider a family secret - 7 generations back to Italy!), and my dad and I made my grandma's butter cookies for his office cookie swap.

But now I'm ready to share again. And speaking of sharing, I posted about my 30 before 30 challenge yesterday and I'm excited to get started on that. There's a lot of things that I've been putting off and I'm excited to make some changes soon that I'll tell you about some other day. What sort of things would you like to accomplish in the next few years, either personally, travel-wise or anything else? I'm curious to see what other people want to do. While compiling my list over a month or two, I read so many other people's blog posts about what they've done and some things gave me great inspiration!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

30 before 30: The List

So I turned 25 two months ago which is crazy for me to think about. 5, 10 years ago, I thought that I would be in such a different place right now or at least feel a little more like a grown up. But I guess that's the secret, right? We never really grow up.

When reflecting on where I was and what I was doing, I realized there's been a lot of "I'll do it later", "I'll go next year", "Maybe another time..". Not that you can always do everything now, but I want to make sure I'm living the life I want to live and not just waiting around for it to happen. Make sense? I decided to make a "30 before 30" list of 30 things I would like to do before I turn 30. While I have a separate list for myself with career goals, I don't want to force a specific time restraint on them. Besides, I wanted this list to be things I want to do outside my career. A list that reminds me to live my life and make each day count.

It took me a long time to come up with this list, and I'm sure over the next few years things will shift and change and some things might need to be replaced, but I need to post this and get started so this is a good place to start. It's a combination of travel, activities to do, some personal goals, and I even have an Honorable Mention list because well.. I wanted to make a 30 before 30 list and there are other things too that would put the count over 30 so.. they got demoted to the list I intend to do but aren't officially on the list.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Best of 2014

Happy 2015!

I can't believe that I'm typing that.. It feels like yesterday that I was ringing in 2014 while at work. Looking back at this past year has been crazy. SO much has happened - some amazing things, some devastating things, and some things in between. I've traveled and seen new places - Palm Springs, Big Bear, San Francisco/Redwood City. I went back to Sweden for 2 weeks after way too long of a time and got to see family and friends that I love so dearly. I've been back east three times - twice to NJ and once to Florida. I moved apartments and now live in West Hollywood. I lost my grandfather and my horse in the span of 2 weeks plus went through a breakup. I continued auditioning and working on connections out here in LA. And I kept baking and blogging.

 Oh this little blog of mine. I started a "Let's Do Lunch" series and had my loaded baked potato pita pizzas featured on buzzfeed. For a few months I was regularly posting 4 times a week and would like to get back to that in the new year. I made some delicious cakes, donuts, muffins, lunches, cookies.. Let's just say I had some well fed friends :) I participated in the Food Blogger Cookie Swap again as well as the Kitchen Challenge over at Love & Olive Oil.

So while I finish saying goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015, I thought it would be fun to review the top 14 recipes by view count from my blog. Let me know if any of your favorites didn't make the list.

1. Loaded Baked Potato Pita Pizza // 2. Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake // 3. Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese // 4. Brown Butter Brown Sugar Cupcakes // 5. Chewy Brownies // 6. Coconut Cream Pie // 7. Chocolate Cake for Two // 8. Brown Butter Donuts // 9. Chocolate Samoa Donuts //  10. Monkey Bread // 11. Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies // 12. Cookie Dough Truffles // 13. Mushroom Toasts // 14. Chocolate Frosted Donuts

Monday, December 15, 2014

Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies & The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Can you believe that this is my third year participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap?

Me neither.

This year there were about 566 participants in 7 countries and we raised over $12,000 for Cookies for Kids' Cancer! That came from the small donation we all had to make to enter ($4) plus those of our amazing sponsors this year you matched every donation! (Thanks to OXO, Dixie Crystals, California Olive Ranch, and Sheila G's Brownie Brittle)  It's crazy to think about how many bloggers there are that participated but also how many COOKIES were sent around the world? I did some calculations and there were over 20,000 cookies shipped. SO MANY COOKIES.

My three matches this year were some wonderful bloggers. I got to send these brown butter shortbread cookies to Lynna from Hearts in my Oven, Carrie from Fresh from Oregon, and Cora from That Dang Cook. In return, I received a dozen peanut butter snickerdoodles from Lisa at Blogghetti, molasses crinkles from Melissa at Served Up With Love, and chocolate pinwheels from Melissa at Fried Ice and Donut Holes. Ladies, all the cookies were delicious! My roommate and I ate way more than our fair share of cookies.