Monday, December 22, 2014

Bye, Bye 2014

We still have a good week and a half of 2014 left, so no need to say goodbye quite yet. But seeing as I'll be out of the country most of this week I wanted to get a head start. Is it ironic I haven't blogged in more than two months, yet I'm popping in to say my goodbyes to 2014 early? Shrug.

Greg and I will be going on a cruise with his family to Cozumel and Belize, leaving on Christmas Eve. I don't really want to think about putting on a bathing suit right now (eek!), but otherwise I'm looking forward to celebrating the holiday with family, enjoying some warmth since mid-40s is entirely too cold for me, and relaxing without any real obligations.

I wanted to reminisce on some highlights of 2014, one of which being that pretty cupcake up there. It wouldn't be Christmas without an overload of sweet treats. Cookies, cupcakes, chocolate...bring it on. After all...

I can focus on healthy eating the rest of the year, but around Christmas I can't ever resist. Hence not wanting to be a bathing suit this week, but life goes on!

Now that I've been sufficiently sidetracked, let's get to it.

Highlights of 2014:
-Left my old job, giving myself about two weeks of time off before the new venture.
-Visited my sister Brooke in Orlando and played with beluga whales at SeaWorld.

-Skied in Breckenridge, CO with Greg. 
-Started a new job.
-Greg and I celebrated our 1st anniversary with our defrosted funfetti wedding cake and an amazing dinner at Peninsula Grill. (A new tradition??)
-Zoey finally learned to enjoy the beach.
-Visited my brother Ryan in Washington D.C.
-Celebrated lots of friends' weddings.
-Ran my first half marathon (Kiawah Island).

I'm sure I've forgotten other things, but Christmas is taking over my brain today. After seeing the Charleston Christmas Special on Friday night, I am in full Christmas mode. Not to mention it's three days away! By the way, I highly recommend the musical show to locals or anyone visiting Charleston this time of year. To describe it in one word: awesome.

I may be back soon, I may not. Only time will tell.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

So here I am again. Back on the blog, because these pumpkin muffins deserve serious attention. 

These are the best pumpkin muffins I've ever made. These might even be the best muffins of any kind I've ever made. SO SOFT AND SO MOIST. So perfectly pumpkin-y, you can't deny fall isn't the best season ever. Then just add some chocolate chips, because chocolate makes everything better. I know I already have a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe on this blog somewhere, but this is new and improved. 

I got really into fall spirit by re-decorating a little this weekend too. If you can even call it that. My idea of "decorating" is buying a couple of sparkly fake pumpkins and a seasonal candle from Hobby Lobby and setting them on my mantle. Good enough! 

In other news, after semi-consistent beach walks with Zoey this spring/summer, she FINALLY lovessss the beach. We took her for a long stroll yesterday, off the leash and all, and she did so well. I'm such a proud puppy-mama. She still isn't crazy about the water, but is showing more curiosity each time and will at least walk a few inches in to splash around for a minute or two. case you cared to know. 

But, FALL! What festive seasonal treats and eats have you made so far? I get into pumpkin for a couple weeks, but then it's time to move on (until Thanksgiving comes around when I NEED pumpkin pie). 

Spaghetti squash and chili are calling my name. I'm dying for some apple cider doughnuts too, which I've seen on blog after blog, instagram pic after instagram pic. I'd rather just go buy one than even attempt to make those on my own. Where can I get a good one in Charleston?! Someone please tell me. Thanks. Then go make some of these muffins. You won't regret it. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
(Adapted from Flourishing Foodie)

Makes about 18 muffins

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Powdered sugar for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill muffin tin with liners and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and sugars. 
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and pumpkin puree. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add chocolate chips and gently stir until evenly distributed.
4. Pour batter into muffin cups, about 3/4 full.
5. Bake 26-28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm with butter.

*Store extras at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 
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