Month: March 2014

Baked Donuts

bakeddonuts

I have very few, yet fond, memories of donuts growing up. It was always a special treat whenever we stopped at a Krispy Kreme, or I got to grab one of out of the case at the grocery store. I had almost forgotten about donuts until it became a near-tradition that Ryan and I pick up a box about every other time we visit his family. I’ve had cravings every week for one ever since, and it has taken entirely too much self control to not make donuts part of my weekly breakfast routine. Luckily, I’ve found a (slightly) healthy alternative – baked donuts. Although it will never hold the nutritional value of fruit and yogurt, it’s an exciting mix up to my morning, and made my weekend much more exciting.

Ingredients

Donuts:

non-stick vegetable spray

2 c cake flour, sifted

3/4 c granulated sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp salt

3/4 c buttermilk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 tbsp butter, melted

Icing:

about 3 c powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

whole milk – add one tsp at a time until reached desired consistency

food coloring and toppings of choice

Recipe

Donuts:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray donut pan (I got mine here) with vegetable spray.

Sift all dry ingredients together. Add in wet ingredients, beat until well combined. Place mixture into an icing bag, and pipe into molds until they are each 2/3 full.

Bake 7-9 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched. Allow to cool in pan for five minutes after baking, then cool completely on rack.

Icing:

Beat together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 2 tsp of milk. Continue to add milk until donuts have reached right consistency. It is best to leave it on the thick side (or else it becomes translucent and runs off of donut). Add desired amount of food coloring and continue to mix for a few minutes.

Place icing into bag and pipe onto donuts. Please toppings immediately and serve fresh.

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Currently

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(One very happy Luna tucking in for an afternoon nap)

This week was one of those weeks that I definitely set my expectations too high. When things didn’t go according to plan, or live up to what I had imagined, I almost felt as if I wanted to sit on my couch under a blanket, and not come out until next week. Instead, I used my day off yesterday to be productive, enjoy the sunshine (although its still bitter cold), and do a little crafting. Taking one day for myself helped turn things around just in time for warmer weather and exciting happenings this weekend.

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(An afternoon pick-me-up, five-year old style)

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(Snatching up these little beauties for spring)

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(That moment when you realize you unintentionally matched your Easter candy to your coffee table books)

View More: http://threelittlebirdsstudiollc.pass.us/daniellepatrickengaged

(Just one of my many favorites from my sister’s engagement photos last week by Three Little Birds Studio LLC – they were wonderful!)

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(You can view their site here: http://www.threelittlebirdsstudiollc.com)

Gruyere, Prosciutto, & Green Onion Scones

photo 3-114I have a tendency to pin things on Pinterest that I know I will never get around to cooking or making, but this pin was one of those recipes I knew instantly I had to make. I have a very special relationship with scones – they were one of the first things I learned how to bake in my 7th grade home-economics class. I was so proud of my scones that I made them at home for my parents any chance I got. They were probably not the best (and I’m sure my family wouldn’t be upset if they never had to head another scone by me), but I still can’t resist the urge to make them. This variation is for the grown-up version of my 7th grade self, and goes well for brunch or as an afternoon snack.

Ingredients

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tbsp salt

1/2 c butter

2 large eggs

2/3 c buttermilk

2/3 c grated gruyere

1/2 c chopped prosciutto

1/2 c grated parmesan

1/4 c chopped green onion

sea salt

2 tbsp half and half

additional parmesan for sprinkling

Recipe

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture until course crumbs remain.

Whisk eggs and add buttermilk. Add this to flour mixture and stir until moist.

In a separate bowl, mix together gruyere, prosciutto, parmesan, and green onion. Add to batter, mix gently (will be sticky).

Knead mixture on floured surface until well blended. Roll out to 3/4″ thick, cut into three inch squares, and then cut diagonally to make triangles (about 10).

Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with half and half. Sprinkle with sea salt. Place in freezer for 30 minutes, and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake scones for 20 minutes, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and serve.

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Office Space

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Now that I can actually see the top of my desk, I’m excited to make it a space I want to sit at and use all the time. I’m working on finding the perfect balance of design and functionality (as it won’t encourage productivity if it’s missing one of those elements). Desktops become cluttered easily – so I’ve narrowed it down to a few necessities that are sleek and minimal, which I could see myself adding to my office space.

1. A sleek magazine holder to hold current issues for inspiration. ($24)

2. A cute all-purpose stationary set for spontaneous notes. ($16)

3. Fun coasters to keep my desk clean. ($26)

4. A journal to jot down thoughts and to-do lists. ($16)

5. A messages note pad to keep myself organized. ($8)

6. Adorable bow tie push pins – to make real life pinning a little more fun. ($24)

7. A minimal flower vase for colorful blooms. ($228)

8. A lucite and gold stapler. ($28)

9. Little gold lined bowls for organizing paper clips, push pins, etc.

10. A small, fresh smelling candle to make work time more pleasant. ($60)

11. A sleek desk lamp for proper lighting. ($100)

12. A catch-all to keep a desk top organized and give miscellaneous supplies a home. ($22)

13. An attractive tape dispenser that I wouldn’t want to hide in my desk drawer. ($28)

Snickers Pie

snickerspie

After making this cake a few weeks back, I went searching for more no-bake, quick and easy desserts. This one certainly fit the bill – while its definitely a caloric nightmare (with its cream cheese, peanut butter, and candy bars), it is definitely worth it. I chose to hand make the crust and the whipped cream for a little something extra, but these ingredients can be store bought. The cake itself is light and fluffy – almost like you’re eating nothing (which is super dangerous and makes it easy to go back for seconds). With its indulgent flavors and ability to satisfy all my guilty cravings, I’m sure this won’t be the last time I make this pie.

Ingredients

For crust:

2 c chopped chocolate teddy grahams

1 stick melted unsalted butter

2 tbsp sugar

For filling:

4 oz softened cream cheese

3/4 c powdered sugar, sifted

1/4 c crunchy peanut butter

1 1/2 regular size Snickers candy bars, chopped

3 c whipped cream (or 2 c heavy whipping cream and 4 tbsp powdered sugar for homemade)

chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, and additional chopped Snickers for garnishing

Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine chopped teddy grahams, melted butter, and sugar until well coated. Press firmly into pie dish and bake for 7 minutes.

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and peanut butter until smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped candy bars, then fold in whipped cream. (To make: beat together heavy cream and sifted powdered sugar until thick consistency. Be careful not to over beat – it will turn to butter.)

Pour mixture into crust and spread evenly. Drizzle chocolate, caramel, and snickers pieces onto top of pie. (I melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, placed in plastic baggie, cut corner, and drizzled on pie.) Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Currently

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(Clear blue sunlit skies)

This week was absolutely wonderful. I honestly can’t remember what I did Monday through Wednesday, but yesterday was so great that it wiped away any bad moment from earlier this week. I had the day off, and got to spend the entire afternoon with my sister prepping for her wedding. We did a test make-up run (and I picked up so many tips on what to do and not to do), and spent the evening shooting her engagement photos. They looked so stunning and I can’t wait to see the final product. The weather is going to be sunny and warm the next couple days, so I plan on soaking in as much sunlight as possible this weekend, and hopefully getting in my first tennis match.

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(Stocking up on some of my favorites for the first day of spring)

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(The first blooming flower I’ve seen this season)

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(An impressive eye shadow collection at the Bare Minerals counter)

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(This year’s first Easter candy purchase – and surely not the last)

Spring To-Do List

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Spring is quickly becoming my favorite time of year. The promise of warm weather, sunshine, and outdoor activities always fills me with hope and excitement. I suddenly feel motivated to try new things, get out of my comfort zone, and explore life’s little pleasures. It was last spring I felt inspired to start The M.A. Times, and with that, this time of year now holds a special meaning for me. As usual, at the start of every season, I have a bucket list of things to accomplish. Here’s what I’m looking forward to doing this spring.  (You can see my past to do lists here and here.)

1. Build (or at least paint) a birdhouse/feeder for my back porch.

2. Plant an herb garden.

3. Experiment with edible flowers.

4. Embrace pastels in both decor and apparel.

5. Learn to play tennis and racquetball.

6. Spring clean: tackle one room/closet per weekend.

7. Learn to bake donuts (and establish an exercise routine to work them off).

8. Watch my way through a list of foreign films from a family friend.

9. Read The Divergent and The Hunger Game series before the movies are released.

10. Enjoy my coffee more mornings outside than in.

Images via Pinterest: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10