Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hot Chocolate Plus... Frozen Whipped Cream!

The marketing team behind Dunkin' Donuts' Turbo Hot chocolate are geniuses! I saw a few advertisements, a few more commercials, and spent the next full week thinking of hot chocolate spiked with espresso only to end up swapping my morning coffee for hot chocolate with a turbo shot this past Thursday AND Friday. ...YUM!

For caffeine fiends like me, hot chocolate often seems like a joke of a beverage choice. All chocolate, no buzz? I'll take a large coffee with a splash of milk instead. 

Hot chocolate that has been spruced up with a shot of espresso, a fistful of mini marshmallows or a dollop of whipped cream is much more desirable that plain old Swiss Miss... but I still usually opt for coffee. That is, until Dunkin' Donuts got into my head and made me crave hot chocolate:

Hot chocolate with espresso on my way to work, and hot chocolate with frozen whipped cream on a lazy Sunday...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What Twenty-somethings Want... And How We Deal

I stumbled upon a blog the other day that spelled out everything 20-somethings want. I'd say this list makes us sound like a needy bunch if it weren't so accurate. The final paragraph summed everything up, and I've noted the things that I really want in bold:

"You want a job, a vacation, heath insurance, validation, a back rub, a scalp massage at the place where you get your haircut, people who are jealous of you, an ex who won’t stop texting you when they’re drunk, Twitter followers, happiness maybe sorta, someone to buy you lunch at a fancy restauranta mentor who can tell you what the hell to do with your lifea reliable internet connectiona reliable human connectiona gift card to the grocery store, dinner parties with friends where everyone will pretend to have their crap together for just one night, a nice flirty text message to wake up to every morning for the rest of your life, for everyone to like you even if you don’t like anyone, and one of those nights that doesn’t end till 9 AM and reminds you what it feels like to be young and alive. Oh, and $$. That’s all."

And chocolate cake... Definitely want chocolate cake!

While it seems like a lot, it really isn't... In all honesty, I'd probably settle for sense of where my life is headed... and a reliable Internet connection... and a gift card to the grocery store... and OK, I do want most of those things. 

Oh, and I also want an apartment to rent. An apartment to rent would be great right about now!

I disagree with anyone who calls 20-somethings greedy just because we want those things and are unwilling to settle for a 9-5 desk job, take-out dinners, and a few drinks with your friends over the weekend. We're driven and ambitious. We're just starting our professional lives and working our way up slowly from internships to entry level positions. We're paying too much for rent, and consequently dipping into our meager savings in order to buy food and drinks. Every purchase has to be thought out: "Can I afford this $3.00 latte?" "Do I spend my money on lunch now or drinks later?" "Should I walk home or take a cab?" 

We're paying our dues, but reaching for the stars. Young AND idealistic! We want paid jobs, vacations, a little spa pampering, and maybe even a romantic fling to spice up our otherwise dull lives as we figure out how to achieve our extensive list of goals. 

I'm spicing up my quiet life with this blog. Each new recipe I develop or elaborate dessert I successfully pull off represents a source of pride. It's my thing that keeps me grounded, and you, my readers, give me reason to keep baking and writing.

So, thank you! 

...And you'd better believe it when I say this next purchase has been carefully thought out - I WILL be buying a cannoli today right now! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Clementine Olive Oil Cake... Tastes like Tuscany

All it took was a bowl of clementines sitting on the kitchen table to inspire me to want to bake a clementine cake of sorts. After the Clementine Olive Oil Cake was finished, it only took one bite to make me feel like I was standing at the top of a hill near Cortona, looking out at the beautiful Tuscany countryside.

Photo Taken in Cortona, Tuscany

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mini Hot Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

Despite a mostly moderate winter, the temperature in Boston today peaked at under 20 degrees. Brrrr! Now, I'm no stranger to cold — 4 years in Michigan introduced me to the brutality of winter in the midwest — but when it's as cold as 10 degrees outside, I'm not leaving the house unless absolutely necessary. All I wanted to do today was watch Dexter (finally catching up on season 6) and drink hot chocolate.

...And then I got a better idea — Mini Hot Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Birthday Cake Rice Krispies Treats

There was a birthday at work this week, a.k.a. "Take a cake to work day."

...The only trouble was, I didn't actually have the means to bake a cake.

True, I could have just run out to buy the things I needed: ingredients, a cake pan, a hand-held electric mixer... but, the cost of all that would have added up pretty quickly.

Instead, I ran to the corner to buy four items: a bag of marshmallows, a box of Rice Krispies, a box of yellow cake mix, and a small container or rainbow sprinkles. Voila! These things plus butter (already in my house) were all I needed to whip up a batch of Birthday Cake Rice Krispies Treats!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Brown Sugar Cookies and a Sweet Maize and Blue Season Round Up!

In preparation for the Michigan vs. Virginia Tech Sugar Bowl, I baked up a simple sweet treat: Brown Sugar Cookies!

Flavorful and golden brown in color thanks to the molasses-packed dark brown sugar, and spiced with cinnamon and ginger for an extra punch, these chewy cookies were a great way to celebrate Michigan's Sugar Bowl win!

This football season was filled with dramatic, exciting wins and delicious Michigan-themed desserts. With the season's round-up, I thought it fitting to round up my favorite moments in both the games and my Michigan-themed blog posts.