|Yum, right? We'll come back to this beauty a little later ;)|
First things first... I owe one lucky Cookies 'n Cardio reader a fabulous prize of TWO kinds of Better'n Peanut Butter. And I won't make you wait any longer! Which, FYI I did NOT intend to wait this long in announcing the winner. But life happens and things get crazy busy! So the randomly selected winner is..........
Well get excited! Because you'll be looking for all sorts of new ways to enjoy PB with this stuff! Send me your name (or I could just address it to Spa Bettie, hehe) and mailing address and I'll ship it to ya ASAP! :)
Now that I've gotten that out of the way.... my oh my! To say that these last few weeks have been pretty hectic would be an intense understatement. I'm less than a month away from graduating... I can almost hear the
- I ran the Life Choices 5K (and somehow got 3rd place?) in honor of my sister and my soon-to-be-born-any-second-now nephew, Gabe!
|Like my shirt? It's supposed to say "running FOR my nephew Gabe..." but I lost the "r" along the way. Ergo... running fo' my nephew Gabe! :)|
|My sister liked playing photographer... not sure why I look like an amazon though|
|And I ran into an old friend, Rusty, who was running his first 5K and dominated!|
He liked my shirt, but how could you not, really? :)
- My roomie and I hosted a pumpkin carving just before Halloween...
|So fun! Pumpkin beer is a must!|
|I attempted a Pug-O-Lantern|
|Mr. Teddy didn't know what to make of his pumpkin counterpart.|
- Then at the beginning of November, my sister-in-law, Jordan, and I threw a baby shower to end all baby showers for my sweet sister Liza. A lot of planning went into this shindig...
|My fabulous sis-in law Jordan, the future mama/sister/bff Liza, and me! :) I got reeeeal crafty one afternoon and made the banner hanging up behind us. It's now hanging over Little Gabe's crib. I love Hobby Lobby.|
|Lots of yummy food! Jordan & I created the diaper cake to go along with the elephant theme. Aside from nutrition, event/party planning is my other favorite thing! Maybe someday...|
|What baby shower brunch is complete without mimosas? ;) Our very talented mom made this beautiful cake (she's been a decorator for nearly 30 years!) We also had matching elephant cookies! Oh my!|
Plus, there have been a whole host of things keeping me busy during this last month that I didn't photograph:
- Studying, studying, and studying! I'm only THREE WEEKS away from graduation! I'm so ready! A&P II, my senior project/paper, and Health/Fitness Instruction (the class name does not do justice to what the class actually entails and the countless hours of studying that goes into it) are the only thing I've got to conquer to get there!
- I painted my bedroom a lovely shade of green.... green chai latte to be exact! And I love it! So serene and peaceful, it was time for a fresh look in my bedroom. It's amazing what a new coat of paint will do for your mood!
- I've been helping my sister "nest," and get ready for her little boy's arrival! Only 9 days away from his arrival! I can't believe it!
- Teaching nutrition! I told yall in my last post that I started teaching nutrition, well I am LOVING it! I'm currently teaching the 6th grade girls at a wonderful charter school in Memphis. Next semester I'll be teaching the 6th grade boys. I really wish I had had this kind of class back when I was in middle school.
- I've interviewed with a fabulous company (that will go unnamed, just in case I don't land the job) THREE times in the last 10 days! So exciting! I would be the Health Outreach Coordinator for the Memphis area. I reeeeeally want this job! So if everyone could cross their fingers, wish upon a falling star, say a prayer... seriously whatever you gotta do, I would seriously appreciate it! All I want for Christmas is to get this job! :)
- And yall I've cooked/baked so much fabulous food it's ridiculous! So without further ado, I'm gonna jump right into a delicious recipe for a vegan (that's right, VEGAN!) chocolate cake!
Ya know my roomie Gabby… the one that is intolerant of all things lactose-related? Because she is. A couple of months ago, while searching for a dairy free cake (don't judge just yet) I found THE best chocolate cake recipe… which just so happens to be dairy free.
|Me and my roomie Gabby! I guess you could say she's my muse for dairy-free baking! Ha! A girl's gotta have someone to help her eat all the baked goods, right?|
You see, I grew up with a cake decorator/baker for a mother (see the lovely baby shower cake above.) So this meant that we always had plates of "cake scraps" decorating the kitchen counter. Because of this, I wasn't the biggest fan of cake. All that ended a few years ago when my mum's cake wasn't so accessible, I actually craaaaave cake now… usually in the little sister version that is the always adorable and chic cupcake form.
|My mum made this for the wedding of one of my good friends a few years ago. It's simple, yet elegant.|
So while I do looove cake, I'm pretty partial to all non-chocolate flavors. There's just something kinda boring about straight up chocolate cake... just doesn't do it for me. But, ohmahgoodness all that changed when I found this recipe. Don't be scared off by the introduction of a very unique and unusal ingredient… it can easily be omitted all together. All I'm saying friends… is that you should TRY THIS RECIPE…. RIGHT NOW! It's awesome-town! Seriously, I would say this recipe is easily THE best chocolate cake I've ever tried!
So back to my sweet little roomie. A few weeks ago, she was having the student teacher's week from hell. This girl was student teaching all day Monday - Friday (under the supervision of the most unpleasant teacher "mentor" ever,) finishing up her own pre-graduation classes this semester, and then waiting tables like 4 nights a week till midnight. I don't know how she was functioning. She was always exhausted and stressed. And you know what they say... stressed spelled backwards is DESSERTS! :)
|I decided to bake up a sweet treat using this super fun cake pan that she got a few months ago from William Sonoma! Cute right? It turned out pretty adorbs!|
Black Velvet Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup + 2 Tb. unsweetened apple sauce
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tb. apple cider vinegar (you can use regular white vinegar, but the apple cider is sweeter, and ideal for cakes)
2 cup cold water
3 Tb *EnerG Egg Replacer
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, and cocoa powder, sift and set aside. (ALWAYS sift when making a cake from scratch!)
3. Place the baking soda into a small dish, add the vinegar and stir, set aside.
4. Add the powdered egg substitute to the water, and whisk until dissolved.
5. Add the applesauce, water mixture, and vanilla. Mix on medium until thoroughly incorporated.
6. Add the vinegar/baking soda mixture. Stir until batter is smooth.
7. Divide evenly between cake pans.
8. Bake for 25-28 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before inverting onto a plate, and allow to cool completely before frosting. ENJOY!
Yields approximately 2 (9 in) round cakes or 24 cupcakes
**EnerG Powdered egg replacement sounds like some crazy ingredient that doesn't belong in a cake... especially when you notice the Asian symbols on the box. Do not be scared! My roomie introduced this to me, apparently it's all the rage with the vegans. After trying it out, I understand why... it gives you a moist, fudgey texture (some vegan cupcakes/cakes that I've tried from local bakeries are not only sub-par, but also dry and crumbly. Ick) I was able to find this stuff in the natural food section at Kroger, it's less than $4.00 a box, and I'm pretty sure it'll last forever, since I only use a few tablespoons at a time. Try it, and let me know what ya think!