Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Breakfast-Inspired Cookies

In the fall, the majority of foods and beverages I consume usually contains pumpkin.  I love pumpkin everything: pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin latte, pumpkin-spiced chai, pumpkin soufflé, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie smoothies, pumpkin french toast- you name it.  A few weekends ago, it was a chilly autumn morning, and I was faced with one of my favorite questions: "what should I eat for breakfast?"  I definitely wanted something warm, so pumpkin pancakes immediately came to my mind.  However, I also wanted something healthy, so I dreamed up a quick, healthy, and delicious pumpkin oatmeal recipe, complete with pecans and dried cranberries:

It was so wonderful, that I decided it should also be a cookie.  That's right- my breakfast inspired my latest cookies.  This is what I came up with:

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies w/ Pecans and Craisins
Recipe adapted from here
Yield: 3 dozen small cookies

Monday, November 11, 2013

Crazy Candy Brownies

Sometimes we just have to slow down and rewind a little.  Other times, life is super stressful and you need to rewind a LOT.  Grad school kind of necessitates the latter, so we tend to regress when given the chance.  Last Friday, my friend Renée helped facilitate that by throwing a "Stereotypical Girls Night In."  There were pajamas, snacks, blankets, card games, nail painting, and the obligatory beloved chick flick, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.  It was fun and relaxing, and provided some very necessary self-care and giggles.  I now feel prepared to tackle the next few weeks until Thanksgiving break.

Of course, what would a girls' night be without chocolate?  This was my contribution to the evening:

Crazy Candy Brownies (Saucepan brownies w/ Peanut M&Ms and Almond Snickers)
Recipe adapted from My Grandma's Recipe
Yield: 1 9x13" pan of brownies

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Belated Birthday Treats (Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes)

I am definitely proud to say that my baked goods are becoming slightly famous in my circle of friends.  I often hear them say, "I finally get to taste a Hannah creation!" when I bring in treats for class or birthdays.  I'm sorry to tell you, my friends, but whatever comes out of my kitchen is not that exclusive.  I look for any excuse to bake, so if you tell me you want something, I will make it for you.  And if you tell me when your birthday is, I will most likely make you a cake if I have enough time/funds.  But if you don't tell me when your birthday is and I have not already made you something, chances are, I don't already have it in my calendar.  And then your birthday comes up and I didn't bake you anything, and then I feel embarrassed because I didn't know.  So save me the guilt trip and save yourself the empty birthday belly, and give me a heads up on the date and your favorite flavor combos!

One person that is guilty of this birthday advisement omission is my dear friend, Lauren H at MSPP.  That's right, there are actually THREE wonderful Laurens, not two as I have previously alluded, at MSPP whose birthdays all fall within three weeks of each other.  I sat next to Lauren H in class and opened my Facebook, only to find out that it was her birthday that day, and I hadn't made her anything!  I felt so terrible, and demanded that she let me make her something the following week.

Lauren and I became friends our first semester at MSPP because we had an incredibly awkward class together, and we bonded over the discomfort we shared.  Lauren is from Georgia, so she gets my lack of affection for the Massholes.  We share the common experience of growing up hearing "yes, ma'am," and "thank you, sir," and the occasional "ya'll."  She is also just one of those cuddly people you feel compelled to hug.  If you are having a bad day, just a quick squeeze from Lauren will cheer you up and give you the strength to get through the rest of your week.  Lauren and I also both try to be vegan, but occasionally fail because we love cookies and cheese.  She is beautiful, sweet, and genuine, and I am honored to call her my friend.  I would do anything for this girl, so when she told me she likes chocolate and maraschino cherries, I was obligated to make these:

Dark Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes w/ Dark Chocolate Ganache (vegan)
Recipe adapted from here
Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes