Cauliflower Cravings

Have you ever had a craving so intense, so fervent, that all you could do was think about said craving until that hankering was satisfied? Or maybe it’s just a former fat kid thing…

Lately for me, that has been pizza. Pizza. Ooey-gooey, cheesy, melty, toppings piled high, aromatic deliciousness. (See? I told you I’ve been obsessed)

And then reality sets in. Carbs. Like crazy. And since I’ve been doing so well lately following a low/no-carb lifestyle, I really didn’t want to undo all my progress with a stupid piece of pizza.

Cue our culinary hero – cauliflower

Cauliflower substitutes for things like mashed “potatoes” and pizza crusts have been filling my Pinterest and Facebook foodie feeds. What better way to satisfy my pizza craving than with a cauliflower crust low-carb alternative? Problem solved.

I would also like to note that this pizza craving was so intense that I made said pizza on a Sunday morning. At 8am. After making a quick grocery run post-workout. Yeah. It was that bad.

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But DANG it was delicious. Thanks to Katie Lee from The Kitchen for this tasty recipe. For my toppings, I had cheese (Wisconsin roots really show through here), Italian sausage, pepperoni, and bacon. Yes, bacon – who doesn’t love bacon?!

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It was a protein-packed, low-carb delight. Definitely a keeper. S’mores even approved!

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Snow Day Sweets: Heath Cupcakes

Mother Nature heard my snow day plea! Winter storm Kayla hit Mankato with a vengeance last Tuesday. School was actually called off the night before, so that meant:

Alarm = off. Sweatpants = on. Showering = optional. Oven = on

There is no better way to spend a snow day than in the kitchen. I had a bag of Heath baking chips leftover from some Christmas baking and after a little Pinterest perusing, I decided to make these beauties:

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Mmm. Oh yes. Chocolate fudge with Heath cupcakes, rolled in chocolate ganache and more Heath, topped with caramel frosting.

Drool.

I saw a bunch of recipes with homemade cakes, but I was feeling a bit lazy. After looking at a few recipes, I decided to wing it. They were surprisingly easy. I used a box cake mix with a heaping 1/2 cup of Heath bits stirred in the mix.

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For the ganache, I used this recipe here. It was a bit thick, so I added a little milk to thin it out. This was a crazy easy recipe – it’s called one minute frosting for a reason. In the recipe picture, they show it glazing a cake. Judging by the picture, it would make for a beautiful cake! Next snow day…

Roll the edges (or whole top – I won’t judge) in Heath chunks and tada!

They looked ridiculously delicious just like that.

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But it’s cupcakes – go big or go home. No better way to top this than with a nice heaping scoop of caramel frosting.

Cue sugar coma….

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Lost and Found

Well folks, it happened.

I have “found” some of the weight I lost. Somewhere in the ballpark of 10lbs. (Probably even more after this winter break….)

I know exactly where I found it. It was in the glasses of wine while chatting with friends. Date nights with S’mores when happy hour deals were just too good to pass up. It was in the multiple parties we’ve been invited to over the past months, sipping cocktails and eating “just one more” cookie. Moving 100 miles away and eating ice cream after unpacking because “I deserve it.” It was in the desserts I’d bake (and of course, eat) after an incredibly stressful and busy day trying to navigate a new workplace.

That’s where I found it. Dang you weight. I wish you were better at hiding.

It was much easier to lose weight in New York when I had no social life.

I know it may not sound like much (my clothes still fit thank goodness – just a little tighter) but as a FFK (former fat kid) and someone who worked SO hard to lose it, it totally sucks watching that scale tick higher. I do NOT want to revert back to the person I was before.

The eternal optimist in me knows that at least the weight I’ve gained is because I’ve been incredibly social and enjoying a glass of wine (or several….) with newfound friends and coworkers. Now to work on that whole self-control thing…

If I wouldn’t have met S’mores, I wouldn’t have gained the weight. Or maybe I would have. But if given the choice between him or losing that extra 10 pounds, I’d choose him. Every. Time.

New Year’s resolutions are so cliché but I’m going to do it anyway. And post it on the Internet for all to see. Here’s to a new year and losing weight – again. I mean, I lost 70 the first time so 10 or so should be easy…right?

Schnockered Snickers Cupcakes – Halloween edition

Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat…

Preferably chocolate. Bonus points if alcohol is included.

This recipe was just that.

S’mores and I were invited to a Halloween party, so of course I volunteered to bring dessert. Since Halloween was on a Saturday (teachers everywhere are thanking their lucky stars) and it was an adults-only party, I wanted to add a little booze to the mix.

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We went as soap and a loofah – and won the award for best duo costume!

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We had a TON of candy for trick or treaters (Target had a sale! I couldn’t help myself). After surveying the candy, the majority of it were Snickers bars. Chocolate, peanuts, nougat, and caramel – what’s not to love? May I present to you

Schnockered Snickers Cupcakes with Caramel Vodka Cream Cheese Frosting

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Oh yes. They were DELICIOUS! And pretty easy.

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S’mores even helped!

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I mixed up a box of dark chocolate cake mix according to the directions, scooped it into mini cupcake liners, and threw some chopped up Snickers in those bad boys.

For the icing, I kind of made it up.

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 8oz brick of cream cheese
  • splash of vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (plus more if you like your frosting a little thicker
  • caramel vodka (you be the judge of how much you’d like…😉 )

For the garnish, I drizzled a little caramel sauce, chopped up Snickers bars, and a little chocolate spider (it was Halloween after all). They were a hit!

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Mini Donuts and Big Changes

It’s been 5 months since I last posted. And holy crap has a lot changed in those 5 months.

Here’s the super-abridged, Cliff notes update on my life.

  1. New job in Mankato!
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I’m teaching K-5 general music – exactly what I wanted. I know what you’re thinking…”isn’t S’mores from Mankato?” Congratulations – you’re correct! Which leads me to…

2. Moved in with S’mores

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Yes. You read that right. After 6 months together. Again, call me crazy, but it felt so right. And so far, it is!

3. Chopped off 8 inches of hair

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Fresh start!

To be completely honest, the transition from living with my parents in the same community I’ve called home the past 25 years to living in a brand new town, in a brand new (to me) house, with a brand new job hasn’t been easy. But nothing good in life comes easily. And I know I’ve got a REALLY good thing going.

Know what else is really good? Mini donuts.

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I found these adorable mini donut pans on sale at Kohl’s.

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I knew I would find SOME way to use them. Who doesn’t love donuts?! I searched my trusty friend Pinterest for this recipe. Since they’re baked, they’re partially healthy…right?

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Super duper easy. They whip up in less than 10 minutes, bake in 5, and then you have glorious mini donuts. I decided to add some of my own flavors to the batter.

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I left part plain, added pumpkin spice to one, cocoa powder to one, and sprinkles to one for a funfetti mix!

I also got creative with the glaze. The base is powdered sugar and milk, then you can go CRAZY! I’ve tried mint extract, maple extract (with the pumpkin? Hello fall explosion in your mouth), peanut butter, and cocoa powder. All were successful!

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Who doesn’t love anything mini?!

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The final round-up:

  • Funfetti
  • Chocolate donuts with chocolate glaze and chocolate sprinkles
  • Chocolate donuts with peanut butter glaze and Reese’s on top
  • Chocolate donuts with mint glaze
  • Plain donuts with glaze and sprinkles
  • Pumpkin spice donuts with maple glaze
  • Plain donuts with cinnamon sugar

Woof. A little like my life as of late –  little spice, little stress, little chaotic, but plenty sweet and oh so delicious.

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Cheater Cheesecake

Sometimes, you just have to press the easy button. And this recipe was definitely easy. Like, did it on a Monday after a 6:00 kindergarten program and having a doggy play date.

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I felt a little guilty since almost all of it was pre-made. But then I remembered it’s Monday. The weather has been beautiful. And I’m a teacher nearing the end of the school year and the kids are NUTS.

Not so guilty anymore.

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All recipes came to the rescue with this Chocolate Berry No Bake Cheesecake. One bowl, no oven, easy peasy deliciousness with a no-egg batter that you can lick right off the spoon without any guilt.

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Take that, Monday!

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Bachelorette Baking – Oatmeal Cookie for 1

Watching cooking shows is oh so dangerous. They say not to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry – I shouldn’t be allowed to watch cooking shows when I’m bored.

S’mores is in Nashville, so this is one of the first weekend days that I haven’t done anything with him. I checked everything off my to-do list for the day and decided to watch a little of my favorite cooking show – Chopped. The judges were talking about some sort of spice mixture and somehow, oatmeal cookie made its way into conversation.

And then I really really REALLY wanted an oatmeal cookie.

But I really really REALLY didn’t want to do dishes. Or wait around for all the cookies to bake. Or have all the extra cookies around the house begging me to eat them…

Pinterest to the rescue! A search for “single oatmeal cookie” pulled up this lovely recipe.

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Easy ingredients, all of which I had. I added a splash of vanilla and a pinch of nutmeg. I also didn’t want to deal with 1 tablespoon of egg, so a little Googling suggested that milk may work too so that’s what I used instead of egg.

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The recipe says to bake for 13-15 minutes but after about 10 minutes I smelled something burning…never a good sign! I took it out and this is what I ended up with

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Is it pretty? No. Does it look like her picture? Heck no! But it was actually pretty tasty! The edges didn’t taste burnt; they had a lovely chewy, caramel-y texture. The middle was delightfully soft and a little gooey. A quick and easy (and super tasty) way to curb my oatmeal cookie craving.

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