Cupcakes and Sunshine: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Coconutty Sticky Toffee Breakfast Muffins (Healthy and dessert!)

I hope everyone had a fabulous Monday. 
Today was a busy, yet productive day. I started off the day by doing a quick workout to Justin Timberlake Pandora radio (seriously the best.) and then hopped on the transit bus to get to school. I took a quick quiz in Italian over our first chapter book we had to read. And then headed off to Political Science, Advertising, and my New Media class. 

I have absolutely been loving my New Media class. We have been divided into 15 groups of 15. And as a group, we are to work together to create technology/ an idea that will make a change in our community. Through social media, local businesses, and the technology itself, we are to communicate the idea and create a presentation in front of a panel. I am SO excited with what our group is putting together and I can't wait to share it with everyone in the near future. But right now, it's stop secret because we are competing with 14 other groups.  ;) 

Tonight, I tried a new pizza from my Trader Joe's haul. And to tell you the truth, it was quite meeehhhh. TJ's, I love you. I really do. But this was not my favorite. 

I was so excited about the "Corn Mesa Crust." But the pizza was quite flavorless and needed a gigantic spoonful of salsa and seasonings. The only thing that saved it was the avocado I cut up on top. I will not be making this purchase again. 

On a good note....
I made probably one of the best desserts/breakfasts I have ever had in my life. 

It is no secret that I have a sweet tooth. And yes, I love sweets for breakfast. I could just swaddle myself in a blanket of sweet, fluffy, syrup-y pancakes or French toast each morning. That’s a fact. 

One of my favorite desserts is sticky toffee pudding. It is a moist, rich, caramel-like dessert served with a delicious sweet sauce. I order it every time I see it on a menu at a restaurant. So I just had to alter it a bit to make it breakfast-y. The muffins are the perfect comfort food for these chilly fall mornings. Although the rumors for the origin of sticky toffee cake are varied, it is an English dessert often served with tea. But I love eating these sticky toffee muffins with coconut yogurt. and I know you will too.

This is a lightened up breakfast treat with whole grains and a little protein so you know you are starting your day off on the right foot. The sweet and salty sticky caramel sauce is. to. die. for. I want to slurp it with a straw and put it on everything. (waffles, ice-cream, toast...I'm talking to YOU.) and the sauce compliments the slightly sweetened muffin perfectly. The contrast between the warm muffin and the cold coconut yogurt is spectacular. And will just have to try it to see for yourself.

For the Muffins: 

¾ Cup White Whole Wheat Flour
¾ Cup All-purpose Flour
1 1/3 Cup Chopped Dates
1 ½ Cups Almond Milk
½ tsp. Baking Soda
¼ Cup Coconut Oil
¼ Cup Coconut Greek yogurt (vanilla would be fine here, but the coconut brings out the delicious coconutty sweetness. I used Chobani)
½ Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
¼ Cup dried coconut. (Sweetened or unsweetened. Your choice!)
1 tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. salt

For the salted caramel sauce: 

¼ Coconut Palm Sugar
¼ Cup Maple Syrup
3 Tbs. Butter (I used Organic)
1 Tbs. Vanilla Extract
1 Tbs. Almond Milk
1 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray (spray very well, they're sticky!)
2. In a sauce pan, bring almond milk to boil.
3. Once the almond milk comes to a boil, add in the dates. (I used dates that were already rolled in coconut and just chopped them up until I had 1 1/3 cup, but store bought chopped dates would be just fine) Let boil for about 1-2 minutes.
4. Remove boiling almond milk from heat and add in 1/2 tsp. of baking soda. (The mixture will be very bubbly after adding the baking soda)

5. In a separate bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar and the 1/4 cup coconut oil. Add the almond milk/date blend.
6. Now add the flours, coconut Greek yogurt, dried coconut, cinnamon, and salt and mix until incorporated.
7. Scoop batter into 12 muffins cups and bake for 18 minutes.

While muffins are baking,
bring all caramel sauce ingredients to a low boil. Boil for about 10 minutes, stirring often. (and watching carefully ensuring that sauce doesn't burn). Pour sauce into a bowl and place into the refrigerator to thicken. This makes the sauce sticky and wonderful. I would chill the sauce for at least an hour, but if you can't wait that long it still tastes amazing over the muffins. (Believe me, I know)

Remove muffins from tin and pour caramel sauce atop. Don't forget to add a baby scoop of the leftover coconut Greek yogurt to the top. Enjoy! And lick the plate clean. They are that good.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Most Perfect Weekend in a Nutshell.

Well, in a nutshell...this was the most perfect weekend. 

I could barely stand my excitement Friday (and could barely make it through classes) knowing that I would be heading to the John Mayer concert that evening at Aaron's Amphiteatre in Atlanta, Georgia. 

We dressed up and were headed out!

Oooh, was he magical. 
And when he played Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, I was about to fall out of my seat. 
Of course, he ended his performance in Why Georgia, Why
And we were wondering... Why John Mayer, Whymustyouleaveus.

I met up with some good friends from high school at the concert and it was so lovely seeing them again. :) (Hey Torey!) 

And by the end of the concert, I was absolutely exhausted but in deep infatuation. I fell asleep in the car as we listened to John Mayer on the way back home. 

Today, was a lovely day of cleaning and shopping and burger eating. I love lazy Sundays where I can relax and take care of things that need to be done. (Like vacuuming and laundry and cleaning the car. You know, the good stuff).  

I picked up THE most exciting of finds at Trader Joe's. 

Yes, these are Pumpkin bagels! I promise you guys I really, really try to limit my impulse buys at Trader Joe's. I'm telling you...that place is dangerous. 

We met up with our small group at a new burger place in Athens called Grindhouse Killer Burgers. They feature delicious (inexpensive, YAY!) burgers, a relaxed vintage-modern atmosphere, and milkshakes to boot. 

I ordered the Blue Cheese turkey burger and it was all things wonderful. I am looking forward to going back.

I'm headed out to bake something delicious to end this most perfect weekend.
How was your weekend? 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

'Tis the Fall Season

Fall is in the air and I just can't get enough!! From football games to pumpkinspiceEVERYTHING, I just love it all. Bath and Body Works, my next paycheck is going to you and your amazing Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin and Pumpkin Cupcake and Pumpkin Caramel Latte scented candles.

of course, some fall baking was up my sleeve this weekend...

If you haven't hopped on the whole 1 box of cake mix + 1 can of pumpkin bandwagon, you really should.
It is really that simple. Just simply mix 1 box of cake mix...any flavor at all...and one can of pumpkin together. Then scoop batter into muffin tins and bake for 18 minutes on 350. Easy peasy!

I used a carrot cake spice mix and also tossed in some chocolate chips. It made my house smell like fall and hugs and snuggles and coziness. I had my eyes on a chocolate-coconut mix for the next time I decide to throw these together.

Something else I have been loving...
Rainbow pasta.

Seriously, how cute is this?
I picked up this pasta in Italy a few years back, but I am sure you can order it online or purchase it at World Market. It makes dinner time so much fun.

I am so thankful that I am spending this season with good friends, good food, and joyful new company. I have loved adding different touches and features to my apartment and I can't wait to add more personal details this fall season. I feel so blessed to be where I am now and I can not wait to see what is to come. God has put some amazing things in my life recently that have really challenged me. And I can't wait to see the outcome. Things have been busy, that's for sure! But so enjoyable.

Here's to a wonderful fall! Sit back, relax, and have a pumpkin spice chocolatechip muffin. 'Tis the Season.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Rivet and Sway Review with Coupon

Happy Monday, friends!

I could barely wait to get home from class today, because I knew that my Rivet and Sway at-home glasses frames try-on kit would be waiting for me on my doorstep.

A few weeks ago, my older pair of glasses broke in half and I knew it was time for an upgrade.

As a college student, there is barely anytime to put gas in the car, let alone go to the eye doctor, try on new glasses, wait for the glasses to be made, and then head back to the eye doctor to pick the glasses up. 

Thank goodness for Rivet and Sway!

With their easy-ordering process, you pick out three pairs of glasses online and they send them right to your doorstep (for free!) to try on.

And get this...once you try on the glasses and choose the frames that are your favorite, you send them right back in the adorable packaging they came in and then place your order online. Easy peasy!  Just when you think it can't get any better, they provide you with free shipping to return the try-on frames. So all you have to do is place the postage sticker on the box, drop it in the mail, and done!

The hardest part is waiting for your new pair of glasses to arrive in the mail. I just placed my order and I can not even wait.

I tried on the Faster Pussy Cat in black, Snapshot in cherry blossom, and Pillow Talk in tabby cat.

I loved them all, and even though I am the most indecisive person ever, I made the decision to go with the Pillow Talk in tabby cat. 

I love that I didn't even have to leave my house for the entire process. I had a few questions about ordering and talked with the Rivet and Sway customer service team. They are amazing as well and answered my questions right away. 

I can not get over this wonderful company and I hope that you try them out as well. 

If you are in the market for new glasses and use the code "HALEYRIVETS" at checkout, you will receive $25 off your first purchase. I can say nothing but good things about this company! 

Disclosure: I was not compensated by Rivet and Sway for this review. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own and I only endorse products that I love!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Egg and Cheese Apricot Pretzel Bun Breakfast Sandwiches (freezer friendly!)

Hello, hello goodmorning!

I had totally and completely planned on going to Mama's Boy and picking up one of their delicious egg and cheese biscuits for breakfast, but as soon as I was about to walk out the door I remembered the large bag of freshly baked pretzel buns I picked up at Earthfare. Something had to be done that involved these buns.

If you know me, you probably understand that pretzels are one of my bestfriends. Cinnammon pretzels at the mall...Snyder's snacking pretzels...chocolate covered pretzels. I love them all. Pretzel buns are my favorite in the pretzel category. And yes, I have been known to casually snack on pretzel buns while walking through the farmer's market or as an afternoon treat. They are just too good, my friends. 

This recipe will knock your socks off. The cheesy-apricot filling... the saltyness of the pretzel bun and the are in for a breakfast treat on this fine morning. Cue the hallelujah breakfast chorus. 

First of all, you want to spray your pan and scramble your eggs. I made my eggs into an omelette so that I could easy fold the eggs onto the pretzel bun. While your eggs are cooking, spread a layer of apricot jam on each side of the pretzel bun. This is a very important step. Don't be conservative here. Spread, spread, spread. 

Next, lay two slices of cheese (I use Horizon Organic.) on both sides of the pretzel buns atop the apricot layers. Place your scrambled eggs/omelette on top of the cheese layers and put your breakfast sandwich together. 

Broil the sandwich in the oven about 2-3 minutes until the pretzel bun is warm and slightly crisp on its outsides.
Get ready, because you will not believe the cheesy, apricot-goodness you are about to experience. 
I'm giddy. 

I like to make a week's worth of breakfast sandwiches so that I can wrap them up and place them in the freezer to enjoy whenever I have the craving for a sammy. (which is always) 

Egg and Cheese Apricot Pretzel Bun Breakfast Sandwiches

2 Eggs
2 slices of American Cheese
1 Pretzel bun
2 Tbs. Apricot Jam

1. Heat pan, spray with pan spray, and scramble eggs or make an omelette. 
2. Spread both sides of the pretzel bun with the Apricot jam
3. Place slices of American Cheese on top of Apricot jam layers.
4. Put the folded omelette/ scrambled eggs atop the cheese. 
5. Broil the entire breakfast for 2-3 minutes in the oven until the bun in warm and slightly crisp on the outside.

Let me know if you give this sandwich a try.
 Have a wonderful weekend. (:


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