Friday, August 16, 2013

Zucchini Brownies

So... long time no write. I got a new oven cause our other one mysteriously broke so I was dying to bake something, especially cause it's a convection oven which I've somehow never managed to use one before. I figured I might as well share my recipe since it's only been you know, like 4 months since my last post. Maybe I'll make a post after this with a little summary of my life as of lately, not that my facebook doesn't already give it all away. 

I'm honestly not even sure how I got on to the idea of wanting to make zucchini brownies yesterday. I was going to attempt macarons and then I just laughed at myself and said who am I kidding. I really wish I could remember why I thought zucchini but I just can't. Maybe it had something to do with attempting to be slightly maybe 10% healthier than a regular brownie. Who knows. Either way, I made them and I used dark cocoa powder so they're so chocolatey it's heavenly. I was skeptical that I'd even like these as much as regular brownies but I surprised myself! I brought them into work cause there wasn't any way I'd be ok with myself eating all of them. Hopefully my coworkers like them as much too.

Zucchini Brownies
Yield ~30 servings

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mix the sugar, oil, zucchini, egg, and vanilla. In a separate bowl sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, then add in the chocolate chips. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chocolate Chip Mocha Muffins

I'm back! It has been a multiple month hiatus. I just really am so bogged down with about 50,000 other things right now, I just don't even have time to bake or cook anything besides cakes for KBTM. And let's be honest, no one wants only cupcake recipes every single week. At least this time it's a breakfast item even though it still has chocolate since I am an addict. If you'll remember I have had multiple instances where I have thought I had a new mole or freckle, then I realize it's just a piece of chocolate that has melted on to me. Yea... so it's quite apparent I have issues.

So, I'm pretty excited because many of you know already I am doing the Team Challenge Half Marathon for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. Tomorrow is an 8 mile run! I ran 8 miles two weeks ago but I'm excited to go at it again. It's only gonna get harder and each week will be my personal farthest distance so that's even more exciting. One little minor issue though, this morning when I opened the door to my office I rammed the door into my big toe. After discussing the pain with the first friend available on chat, we've decided it could possibly be broken. If it isn't I'm in severe pain, I don't even want to explain what it looks like. Let's hope for running's sake that this pain subsides soon so I can actually run my 8 miles tomorrow!

Anyway, back to the muffins. It always makes me think of 'If you give a moose a muffin'. I used to love that book, and I'm getting off topic again. Here's the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Mocha Muffins
Yield ~16-18 muffins

2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cup oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips. In another bowl, mix the eggs, milk, oil, and sugars together. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and mix until combined. Fill up muffin tins about 3/4 of the way and bake for about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

At a Loss for Words

Right now it's really hard for me to figure out what to say. This morning I keep tearing up thinking about everything yesterday with Boston. I tried to listen to the news on my way into work but then the tears started flowing and that just got messy. Yesterday, I saw someone post something about their prayers with those in Boston. I thought to myself, Oh Lord, what happened now, having no idea what it was. I quickly googled Boston and news and found out there'd been a bombing at the marathon. I really didn't know what was going on so I waited til I got home to put the news on. I was not prepared for what unfolded.

The first bits of news were unsettling but I hadn't seen any of the pictures yet. I knew I had to go for a run that day so I got ready and went out the door. I was planning on a 4 mile run which is an 'easy' run for me. I barely made 3.5 miles and was in serious pain. My ankles hurt, my shins hurt, I don't even know why. I couldn't even finish running I was hurting so much and I was so upset and didn't understand why. I think maybe my body was starting to react to this news.

Later that evening I went to dinner and came home to the pictures. That's when it really hit me. I didn't even want to look at them it was so unsettling. Some of these people injured were just there to cheer on others, purely being good people. I started thinking about my half marathon coming up and all the people who are running to raise money for a million different charitable causes. I started thinking about what it would be like to be there or if this happened at my half marathon. I kept thinking about all these innocent people and I can't even take it.

These horrible events are always upsetting but this time I am beside myself. I really can't concentrate on much right now, namely work. I never thought this would affect me so much. Maybe I'm numb to all this stuff lately or something but I don't know. My anxiety is through the roof currently so I thought about trying to write some of it out. So far, it's not really helping.

What is helping though, is all the good people. We all know who they are; those running to the hospitals from the marathon to give blood, those running to the finish line immediately to help. We have seen the Mr. Roger's quote. All of this is the good. Another piece of the good is my Team Challenge group. Right now, during these times, I am thinking of everyone in Boston but I am also thinking of my Team Challenge family. I am so thankful for them right now and the sense of friendship and family they have given me in just a couple short months. We are all doing something amazing together that many of us never thought we could do and helping those with Crohn's and Colitis while doing it. I can't wait to see them all this Saturday and if they didn't know how special they all are, I hope they do now.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I've never been more amazed by the generosity of others.

I'm going to tell you a little story. About 2 years ago, to this week I signed up for Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis. I had no idea what I was getting myself into or where it would lead me in my life the next 2 years.  Those 2 years have been a whirlwind and I am still amazed with everything the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America does and lucky for how involved I have become with them.

So, back to the story starting 2 years ago. I had been dating my boyfriend for about a year and a few days before St. Patrick's he told me his friend passed away from complications related to Crohn's Disease and his surgeries. This really hit home as at the time I had been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease about 2.5 years prior and my Mom had Crohn's Disease since before I was born. I had even met his friend once before and only heard wonderful things about him. I went to his viewing that week and knew instantly I had to get involved somehow to help all of us with Crohn's Disease and all IBD's.

That year as I mentioned I started a team for Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis. I had no idea what I was doing and just figured I would try to raise a few hundred dollars. My team of 5 somehow managed to be the top fundraising team (until the walk at least) raising over $5,200! I surprised even myself that we even came that far. The next year I was asked to do it again and I figured I would but not go so hard with the fundraising. My team of 4 still raised over $3,500. All of this money went directly to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.

This past Fall I helped the family of my boyfriend's friend with the planning of the annual T-Red Memorial Golf Classic which has consecutively raised over $13,000 for CCFA each of the past 2 years! It is one of the most wonderful events ever and everyone is there for the same cause. Everyone is there for Tommy and it is one of the most touching events I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. Later on in the Fall I made 350 KBTM Cakes mini cupcakes for the CCFA Spotlight which is a wonderful gala to raise funds for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.

This year I decided I wanted to have a bit more of a challenge. CCFA also offers an endurance training program called Team Challenge. I am going to be participating in a half marathon on June 1 that I am now training for with multiple runs each week and raising funds for. I officially started my fundraising site on February 11. In just one short month I had gotten to 68% of my goal of $2,500. It is now only March 21 and I am at 90% of my goal having raised $2,245.

Every time I get one of those givingsupport e-mails I get antsy just to open it to see who it is from and how much they donated. Every time I see it and read the messages they leave me I am so humbled beyond words.  Every time I see who it is I am even more amazed because these have been people who have been a part of my life in different stages, many of them not in the current stage, yet they are still supporting me and I have never felt better and happier to have known these wonderful people.  Every week I bring in my KBTM Cakes cupcakes to sell for donations, I am blown away by what I find in my jar from my overly generous co-workers. It isn't the $24 I should get because I only ask for a $2 donation for each of the dozen. Weekly I have found $83, $52, $42 and so on, always more than I should get.

Let me tell you something. When I first signed up for this I was intimidated. I was so worried about raising money and that it wouldn't be enough but I never should have even had these doubts. I signed up for a reason.  I signed up for my wonderful Mom, who without her never ending love and support and help I never would have been so fortunate to have been diagnosed with Crohn's so quickly and get on the road to remission so quickly within a year. I signed up for Tommy because he never should have lost his battle with this horrible disease. I am running for them and myself so that no one else will lose their battle and so that those of us in battle can finally end this war.

I just want this to be my official thank you to everyone who has ever supported me in the past 3 seasons whether it was Take Steps or Team Challenge this year. When I said blown away earlier, I am literally blown away by the generosity of my friends, family, and co-workers. I never expected any of this and I am such a lucky person to have all of you as a part of my life because without you all I wouldn't be where I am and neither would the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Chocolate PB Spice Oatmeal Bars

Holy Mackerol. These things are just too many flavors going on at once to make a name for it! The best part is I didn't even bake them. So this is how these came to life. I was supposed to go to a party today so I was going to the grocery store after the gym. Then it got cancelled cause she was sick so I didn't go. Then I remember my Mom is having a Silpata party and I'd be a bad kid if I didn't go. Next I'm like I should probably bring something to share but I didn't go the grocery store and I was already home. So here comes the hunt for what to make. Currently somehow I have no butter, no flour, and no sugar. Who am I and how do I call myself a baker? What I do have is some coconut oil and half a package of spice cake mix. How I came up with this I will never know. You'll have to tell me what you think because honestly it's a little crazy but they were darn good!

~36 servings

1 1/4 cup spice cake mix
1 1/2 cup oats
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons coconut oil (vegetable oil will work as well)
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Crisco

In a bowl mix the spice cake mix, oats, powdered sugar, and salt. In another bowl put the coconut oil (veg oil) and peanut butter, then place it in the microwave for 60 seconds to melt it together. Then mix that bowl and pour it into the dry mix. Mix everything together, you may have to use your hands as I did just to make sure it was all mixed together. In an 8x8 or 9x9 pan, line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Press the mixture into the pan evenly. Next put your chocolate chips into a bowl with 2 tablespoons of Crisco and microwave for 2 minutes but do it 1 minute at a time. Once that's completely melted pour it on top of the cookie mixture and spread out evenly. Place in the refrigerator until solid, about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites

These were the bane of my existence the past weekend. Trying to not eat 4 every day was completely entirely impossible. I think I have come to the conclusion brownies are my actual favorite dessert, especially because these have chunks of chocolate in them. Ugh, I'm reminiscing about them already. The only time I didn't eat a million of these was the one day I was not home this weekend on Saturday. I went down to Virginia to Luray because we got an inn stay and had a little getaway. We got to do some wine tasting in the Shenandoah Mountains which was lovely. It was 60 degrees and just gorgeous as you can see... Then we went to brunch at my favorite place, Gina's Cantina and ended our 3 day weekend with drinks by the fire at Pusser's in downtown Annapolis.
Back to the main subject though: chocolate heaven.

Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites
Yield ~16 Brownies

1 cup dark chocolate chips + 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pour whipping cream in a bowl and microwave for 60 seconds. Pour 1 cup of the dark chocolate chips in and let them sit in the hot cream for 60 seconds. Then stir them together like you are making a ganache then add in the oil. Next mix in the sugar and salt, and finally the eggs. Last fold in the flour to finish the batter off and the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. This should make about 16 brownie bites if you're using a mini cupcake pan.