Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake

I know, right?

I read a lot of food blogs (Ok, mostly baking blogs) and Annie's Eats has quickly become one of my most favorites. She has the best recipes! I saw the recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes and KNEW I had to make it.  Like, now.

I'm not a huge fan of cupcakes. Don't get me wrong, I'll eat them, but there's just something about a slice of cake that makes me much happier (I'm guessing it's the additional frosting...). So, I thought I'd try this out in cake form.  I also have never made a cake from scratch, so I cheated and used boxed white cake (and threw in some chocolate chips for good measure) for the cake base. It probably wasn't the best choice, but it worked. 

Here's my version:
For the cupcakes:
1 box of white cake mix - prepare as directed

1/2 cup of chocolate chips 
For the filling:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips 

For the frosting:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
3½ cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk
2½ tsp. vanilla extract 

Prepare the cake as directed - stir in chocolate chips.  Line two 8" cake pans with parchment and divide batter between the two. Cook as directed and let cool completely. 

To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, about an hour.

Spread the cookie dough filling on top of one layer of cake. This makes a TON of filling, so it's going to be an extra thick layer of filling.  Top filling layer with second layer of cake. 

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy.  Mix in the confectioners' sugar until smooth.  Beat in the flour and salt.  Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.

Frost the cake, then top with a sprinkling of chocolate chips and chill in the fridge. 

 I cannot frost a cake to save my life people. It is truly pathetic. 
Holy bananas, this cake was RICH.  I'm definitely putting this in the "only for special occasions" file.   Zach and I really loved it but I think it was simply "too much" for my parents. Ah well, you can't win them all. But at least I loved it! The center is really, really rich and totally tastes just like cookie dough, but I think the frosting is my favorite. It's really light and creamy, but super buttery and who doesn't love that brown sugar flavor of cookie dough?!  I think the cupcakes would be better, but this was really time intensive as it was, so I can't imagine how long it would take to fill all those cupcakes. No thanks. 

And now, back to my diet.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trolley Run 2010

Today was the Trolley Run.  It's one of my favorites and this was my 3rd year doing it.  The weather was yucky all weekend. Rainy and cool.  Blah! It was raining my whole drive in and then just sprinkling until it was time to line up.  So I totally lucked out!

So, I have a secret. I have never once run an entire race without stopping to walk. Even if it's just a little bit, I've always walked some in every race.  Until today. That's right! I ran straight through the 4 miles! I was so proud of myself.  I knew I could do it, so I did. 

I'm not in a particularly chatty mood, so I'm not going to detail the whole race, but I felt good.  Nice and strong the whole race. My ankles hurt a little bit, but I think it was mostly because I was cold before the race started and didn't get totally stretched out. Other than that, all was good! I even beat last years time by nearly 2 minutes! I was hoping it would be faster, but I just need to accept the fact that I'm not a fast runner. And that's ok!

Here's the breakdown
Distance: 4 Miles
Time: 35:29
Pace: 8:25
Overall: 2321/7630
Division (Female/Age 25-29): 180/837
Female: 700/4373

Now I just have to get ready for the Hospital Hill Half in June. On Friday after work I did 8.5 miles and while I had to walk a little, I did it and felt good! Just gotta keep going....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Our First Tree

Earlier today I took a drive through my very first neighborhood. We live right down the street from it, but I haven't driven through since pretty much the week we moved in.  I don't know why. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to see that not much has changed. The whole neighborhood was crawling with kids, playing catch, riding bikes, running a muck.  It was so neat.  The one thing that DID change? Trees! Whoa trees! They are all so huge now! I remember my mom and dad planting trees one year when we were little. We had a "Stephanie Tree" and a "Vincent Tree".  They are gigantic now! So when Zach and I decided to plant some trees this weekend, I couldn't help but feel like we are making our own mark in the world.

After 5 trips to Lowe's/Home Depot/Westlake, 3 trees now take residence in our yard.  Yay!  I feel like a real home owner now!  Major props to Zach for all the manual labor.  We found out our front yard consists of mostly rock under the grass, so yeah, that hole was fun to dig.  I think we did a fairly good job and can't wait for our next landscaping project! (re-doing the landscaping under the front windows).  Also, it would be really cool if the grass seed we threw would start to grow in the back...

Ted made sure to supervise the whole process. 

The trees in the back look similar, it was getting dark and the pictures didn't turn out.  We went for a Redbud in the front and a Autumn Blaze Maple and Weeping Willow in the back.  We have put fences around the ones in back so hopefully Missy-Digs-A-Lot will leave them alone.  Good news is that they were on sale for $7, so if something DOES happen, we'll be ok.  Grow, trees! Grow! 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Love It List Friday!

This seems to be something of a trend in Blogger-land so I thought I'd join the party! I have no idea how frequently I'll be able to add to the Love it List! but stay tuned, it will just be a sneak attack!

Jelly Beans

Oh man. I love me some jelly beans! My favorites are the traditional Brach's variety. With their thick suggary shell, light flavor and gooey middles, they are what I grew up with and are what I look forward to at Easter time the most. I will not reveal exactly how many bags I purchased this year. Let's just say they are probably responsible for my jeans feeling a little tightish these days. Oops! Zach's mom also sent us a bag of Starubrst jelly beans in our Easter care package. Back when I was a freshman in college, I ate a few too many Starburst jelly beans in one sitting and boy howdy, I did not feel good. I hadn't touched them since. I gotta say, I've been missing out! Fruity yummy goodness, right there!

Champion C9 Workout Pants from Target

I love these pants! I totally admit it, minus a few splurges Zach got me for various birthday's and holiday's all my workout clothes come from Target. They have good stuff! At reasonable prices! I actually have an entire drawer completely devoted to black workout capri pants. A whole drawer! I can't help myself. Every time they go on sale I have to snap up another pair. I will say I like the spandex ones much better than the cotton variety. They seem to keep me much cooler and look nicer longer.

Maybelline Eye Studio Eye Shadow

I have a thing for eye shadow. It's just so fun! It's always the first thing I look at when browsing the makeup aisles. I would love to have lots of extra money to go buy all the fancy pants stuff at Sephora, but I'm a total cheapie and stick to the drug store brands. Right now my favorites are the new Maybelline Eye Studio shadows that look like half spheres. They have little tiny bits of shimmer in them and they blend like. a. dream. I love them! I have two colors right now and that's pretty much all I've worn since I've had them. These are the two that I have and I hope to expand my collection soon. So glam!


Most years, I hate spring. Hate it! It's always cold and rainy and dreary and then it will get warm for one day then go back to the cold, rainy gloom and doom. This year has been different though! It's been really nice! Sure it's rained some, but it just doesn't feel as bad as years past. Of course we still have plenty of spring left to go, but so far, I'm a fan! Even the fishy trees don't smell that bad this year! Maybe I've just been in a better mood? Whatever it is, I'll take it :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Death of a Spider: The Girvus McLonglegs Story

Last night I was laying on the couch chatting with Zach on the phone when I noticed something terrifying on the vaulted ceiling above me. A huge spider. I'm not kidding. He was enormous. Look!

Zach told me that I better kill that spider or else! OR ELSE!  He also requested photographic evidence after the deed was done. Apparently I can't be trusted to kill spiders. Pshaw. I mustered up all the courage I had and began my mission. Below is the detailed outline I provided aftewards.

Step 1 - Move the coffee table and couch
Step 2 - Tell the dogs I love them and that if something should happen, they should move on and be happy. Same for the husband.
Step 3 - Decide on a murder weapon.
Step 4 - Debate between a broom and the Swiffer. The Swiffer has a rather large, flat surface, it wins.
Step 5 - Carefully position Kitchen Chair.
Step 6 - Grab large amounts of paper towel, pre wad.
Step 7 - Consider putting on rubber boots. Decide that's probably silly (and I can't remember where they are). Get on chair and carefully position Swiffer.
Step 8 - SMASH!
Step 9 - Scream, Scare dogs.
Step 10 - Assess Damage.
Step 12 - Scream, Scare dogs.
Step 13 - Carefully re-position Swiffer.
Step 14 - SMASH!
Step 16 - AH! It stopped!
Step 17 - More screaming.
Step 18 - Swing swiffer at spider.
Step 19 -Watch with baited breath as spider falls to the floor.
Step 20 - Spider blessedly, luckily, thankfully falls on a miscellaneous piece of paper that was under the couch. Likely the remains of one of Destructo-Dogs escapades.
Step 21 - One more scream for good measure. Demonic smashing of the Swiffer onto the paper.
Step 22 - Use pre-wadded paper towel to ensure spiders death.
Step 23 - Hold paper towel out as far as humanly possible and samper to trash can.
Step 24 - Apologize to traumatized dogs.
Step 25 - Check to make sure neighbors didn't see.

Oh yeah. Watch out spideys!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

An Announcement:

I have officially signed up for my first (and quite possibly my only) Half Marathon!
I went ahead and selected probably one of the hardest Half's to do in KC while I was at it.  The Hospital Hill Run.  Why? Because I apparently like to torture myself. That's why. They don't throw "hill" in the name for no good reason.  It's going to be hard.  But I figure this is my 3rd year in the race, I did the 5K in '08, the 10K in '09, so why not just go for the gusto? 

Zach has no idea, but this is totally his fault.  We were at dinner on Saturday night after I did the Rock the Parkway 10K (Minsky's at the Rivermarket - it does not get any better than that for post-race fare) and I was talking about how crazy it is to me that there are so many people in KC that run half marathons! Every race I've been to that includes a half is always jam packed! It blows my mind! Who are all these runners!? The people look like "normal" people, how do they do it? I casually said "I dunno, maybe it's not THAT hard". To which Zach replied "Well I think they are probably doing some more serious training".

Say wha?  More Serious Training? What does that mean!? I didn't say anything at the time and I know he absolutely, positively did not mean it to be that my training "isn't serious", but it was just enough to spark the "OH YES I CAN!" fire.

So, I thought about it for a few days, checked some training schedules and even though I'm slightly behind on the "official" training schedule, I'm right where I need to be distance wise, so I think I can just pick it right up.  I'm not going to lie though, the distance is daunting. 13.1 miles.  THIRTEEN MILES.  Holy hell.  I can do it though. I can.  I will just keep repeating that to myself.  I will make it.

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Greenwood, Missouri, United States