Peanut Butter Banana Cupcakes

Hellooo everyone!  Thanks for your great comments on my last post about weight!  I appreciate the understanding!

In other news, I was super please this morning to find that my panini post made the Food Buzz Top 9!

Today felt like a ridiculously unproductive day.  Yesterday I went to the library from 10am until about 5:30 and managed to bust out almost 1400 words of my paper (needs to be 2,500-3,000).  Today after class, I went to the library hoping to bust out the rest of the paper but only ended up writing about 300 more words.  It was just NOT happening!  So instead I just went home, where I proceeded to snack for a good while (probably a consequence of my scant lunch.  I was too lazy to make lunch this morning so I packet a pear, a luna bar, 1/2 cup of edamame, a carrot and some sliced cucumber.  Not substantial enough.  I need a full meal!  Lesson learned, won’t happen again.)

In my unproductiveness, I decided to bake for a friend who is in need of a sweet treat.  I was feeling creative so here’s my creation:

Peanut Butter Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate PB Icing

inspired by Voracious Vegan’s Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Cake

1 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (I used half whole wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup + a little more milk (to make this recipe vegan, use soy/hemp/almond/other non-dairy milk)
See Icing recipe below

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine bananas, sugar, PB and vanilla in a large bowl.  Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  As you combine, gradually pour in the milk until well combined.  Pour into lined cupcake pan and bake for 15-20 minutes (mine required 17 mins in the oven).   Allow cupcakes to cool completely and frost with PB Chocolate Icing.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sticky Icing

inspired by Pioneer Woman’s Sticky Chocolate Icing

1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 ounces of dark chocolate
1 tbsp peanut butter

Heat together in a sauce pan, stirring until all ingredients are well combined.  Spoon onto cupcakes and spread.

These should probably be enjoyed with a large glass of milk or warm cup of coffee.  The sweetness is crazyyy!  Sort of wish they were a little more peanut buttery!  Oh well, next time I’ll add more!

I’m hoping to get more done tonight.  Not sure to what extent it’ll happen though.  Just need to pull through til Thursday!  I can do it!  Wish me luck!  Have a lovely night!

Random Question: What’s your favorite kind of cupcake? I’m a huge fan of carrot cake with buttercream.

Let’s Talk About Weight

A few days ago, Gracie, wrote a post about being “healthyfully correct,” which I thought was really interesting and got me thinking about the “healthy living” blog world.  Then a few days later, Katie wrote a post about her frustration with women complaining about their bodies.

Let me start by saying that I love healthy living blogs.  For the most part, I find them interesting and inspiring.  I’ve read them for years now.

I have one issue: I feel like I can’t talk about weight.

It’s a taboo topic.  But why?

I was looking at the big, popular blogs (you know the ones…) most of them started as weight loss blogs AND most of them started with calorie counting.  However, now they’re maintaining their weight and seem to be against calorie counting.  But what if you need to lose weight?

I was looking around, and I weigh as much now as most of those blogger weighed when they thought they were overweight (I checked we’re about the same height) and needed to (and started to) lose weight.  Really, go look at some weight loss/about pages…

I’m not trying to compare myself to others, and I don’t think I’m fat, but I’m technically overweight (by about 4 lbs… not a big deal in my opinion).  To some extent though, it’s a question of health.  Yes, you can be healthy but overweight if you exercise and eat right… BMI isn’t everything… Muscle weighs more than fat…, but to another extent I wonder if it’s an excuse to stay slightly overweight?

I’m not saying I want to start complaining about my weight or telling you all everything that’s wrong with my body.  That’s not what I’m saying. I actually like myself, and I think that’s particularly unbecoming of someone to fat talk themselves and so I avoid it in real life as well.

I guess this is an issue for me because I’ve been overweight the majority of my life.  I’m taking large… As in, I probably weighed as much in the 6th grade as I do now… I would love to say that my weight doesn’t matter to me now, but it does. In the back of my mind, there’s always the fear that if I don’t watch what I eat I’ll be severely overweight again and that’s pretty scary.

Sometimes I want to express my frustration about weight (since it is my blog after all) but I feel like I can’t because someone will get angry/offended.

Should I even be worried about this?

What’s your take on the situation?

What are some other blog taboo topics?

No Panini Press? No Prob!

Hi Ladies (and gentlemen?)!  Hope your weekend is starting out well! Mine’s been okay.  I finished the book I had to read, now paper writing can commence, but before all that I had a lovely morning.

I watched Ugly Betty (cried a bit… so sad this show is ending) while I had breakfast, cleaned the apartment, did some laundry and went to the gym (45min elliptical + 15 min treadmill + some weights).  Then I came home and before going to the library decided I should probably have lunch.  So this ensued…

Holey Moley!  Sooo good!

Now, I love toasted/pressed sandwiches.  However, I’m poor and unmarried (no registry… not for a long time, if ever) so instead I got a little creative.

I started with a flat out foldy thing (flat bread essentially but any bread would work), spread some delicious hummus on both sides, layered a little under 2 ounces of reduced fat cheese on both sides, then added spinach, sprouts and yellow peppers to create this:

Then I heated a pan and sprayed it with cooking spray and placed another pan on top and weighed it down with a jar of tahini, like such:

Then I had the most amazing meal ever!  Check out the melty cheese!

But seriously what made this extra delicious was this hummus:

Tribe Mediterranean hummus.  It tastes Moroccan!! Sooo good!  (Note: if you have a Harris Teeter look in their deli section for Moroccan Hummus!  Delish!)

I love this hummus with the yellow peppers as well.

Tip: If you don’t want to consume an entire pepper at one time, one way to keep it fresher longer (since they are expensive and you want them to last!) is to wrap the cored pepper in a paper towel then place it in a bag in the fridge.

It’ll keep fresh for up to a week!

Friends, I am a bottomless pit today!  Sadly I came home from the library with no desire to cook (gasp, rarely happens).  This is where I need a sexy man who waits eagerly for my arrival just so he can serve me a gourmet, healthy meal.

Wishful thinking.  Instead I had PB&J

some edamame and cottage cheese.

I’m hoping my hunger monster will go away soon, in the meantime, I’m chugging water and starting this paper!  Wish me luck!

Random Question: What’s your favorite sandwich ingredient?

Splurging at the Grocery Store

It’s the weekend!!!! Woo!  Too bad I have a ton to do this weekend!  Oh well! It’ll all get done!

Today I was in desperate need of going to the grocery store.  Luckily, I was provided with lunch on campus today (delish veggie pizza and salad!) because I literally had no fresh produce, which is a deal breaker for me.

So I went to the grocery store and spent tons of $$.  I’ve realized I buy expensive things.  I go through about 1 large container of greek yogurt per week which costs about $7.99.  About 2 bags of spinach and 1 bag of romaine hearts and then I usually choose a few “exciting splurges.”  For me, exciting splurges are fruits of vegetables that aren’t cheap (usually over $3/lb).

Last week’s exciting splurge was a cantaloupe.  This week’s exciting splurge is a bag of colorful pepper and some mushrooms!

Do you splurge on expensive produce?  Do you consider it a splurge even since it’s healthy?

So delicious!  I had some dinner!

Broccoli and Yellow Pepper Stir Fry

Along with a can of soup since it was a cold day (we had a high of 45degrees! Yesterday the high was 80 degrees! What’s up with the weather??)

I also baked the most disappointing muffins ever tonight.

Bob’s Red Mill… you let me down.  I made these: Ruthie’s 8 Grain Muffins

Omm… why were they salty?  Not expected.  They would probably taste good with chili but I was expecting something sweet. I’m a little disappointed…

Hitting ‘Publish’ Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution just started! Are you watching?

Quinoa Granola

Breakfast this morning was inspired by Heather.  A few days ago I saw her post on quinoa granola and after yesterday’s quinoa breakfast, I knew I had to try it ASAP!

I had mind with greek yogurt and a sliced banana.

Seriously. Best homemade breakfast I’ve ever had!  That’s saying a lot!

I tweeked her version a bit. Here’s my recipe for a single serving:

Coconut Quinoa Granola

inspired by Quinoa Granola

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 tbsp flax
1 tbsp unsweetened coconut
1 tbsp agave
cinnamon

Rinse the quinoa.  Combine all the ingredients and spread on a baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 mins, stirring occasionally.

This was all sorts of delicious!  The whole meal also had about 20g of protein!  Kept me full for a pretty long time (5 hours?).

Definitely recommend it.

Ugh too much to read tonight!  Have a good one!

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing and Other Delicious Eats

I baked last night! I used Pioneer Woman‘s Recipe for Yellow Cupcakes with Sticky Chocolate Icing.

Oh

My

Goodness

These may be the best things I’ve ever made, solely based on the icing.  I messed it up a little and used too much sweetened condensed milk and not enough chocolate so it ended up a bit saucy.   Which meant it was perfect for drizzling on popcorn…

My roommate enjoyed!

Along with splitting one with me.  Need to make sure they’re safe to eat after all.

This morning after a rockin’ workout, I dug through the fridge looking for breakfast.  I wasn’t in the mood for oatmeal (gasp) since it was 71 degrees this morning!  Instead, I found some quinoa that needed to be consumed and decided to experiment:

Greek Yogurt + Banana + Quinoa + Ground Flax + Cinnamon = Delicious!

It was particularly amazing with sips of coffee, which leads me to believe it would be delicious to try this but cooking the quinoa in coffee to give it that flavor.  I’ll give that a try at some point and let you know how it goes.

Then I went to class and got my study on.  Remember my to do list from yesterday?  Here’s my progress:

  • Finish Reading Good Governance in the Tropics (self imposed deadline: today… hmm might not happen, 90 50 pgs left)
  • Reading for Urban Transformations in the Global South (need to be done tonight, 3 of 5 readings done so far… Africa makes me sad…)
  • Reading response for above mentioned readings (by tonight at midnight)
  • Readings for Urban Spatial Theory (err… might not get to these)
  • Term Paper on Good Governance book mentioned above (due Tuesday Thursday, no idea what to write about… good governance?)
  • Econ problem set due Thursday (luckily almost done)
  • Methods problem set (basically kicking my butt, spent 4 hours on it Sunday only to do 1.5 questions out of 5… meeting with study group tonight, due Monday)

4 out of 7 things done!  Woo!  Also my paper has been extended and is now due Thursday! Super excited!  I’m actually surprised at how much lower my stress level is now as compared to a month ago.  I guess the changes I’ve made in life have been really helpful!   How are you all holding up with stress?

Back to food…

I came home after class and was pretty much starving.  While this morning I had planned to make a peanut stew (a la stew in a jar), all I really wanted was a HUGE salad.  So I started with a layer of spinach and romaine mixed together, added some sliced cucumber, one piece of artichoke heart and some wheatberries and topped it with some dressing.

Then, the exciting part…

I added a poached egg, because let’s be realistic, everything tastes better with a good runny yolk.

My meal ended with another amazing combo: toast + cottage cheese + jam + flax

Aaaamazing!

Now I’m ready to read more, catch up on blogland (don’t think I’ve looked at the internet today!) and watch the episode of Lost that I missed last night!  Hope you all have a fab night!

P.S.  I was sent this NY Times Article about people who take pictures of food by at least 3 people today… I thought it was cute that some friends thought of me when they saw food photography.  Anyone else see this article and smile?

Twitter and Everything Else in My World Today

I don’t understand Twitter.  I just plain don’t get it.

I mean, I think shitmydadsays is hilarious and I understand the entertainment value in it.  Heck, I even understand why President Obama would have twitter. But what would I have to say that I can’t say on this blog? Why would anyone want to read a 20 word blurb about how sleep won the battle of sleep vs. exercise this morning or how awesome I think Excel is?

I’m not saying others shouldn’t tweet, but I’m just not sure why anyone would want to read mine.  Are you on twitter?  What do you tweet about? Is it fun? Am I missing out?

Anyway, enough about twitter.

This week is INSANE!! Here’s a little sample from my to do list…

Karla’s To Do List:

  • Finish Reading Good Governance in the Tropics (self imposed deadline: today… hmm might not happen, 90 pgs left)
  • Reading for Urban Transformations in the Global South (need to be done tonight, 3 of 5 readings done so far… Africa makes me sad…)
  • Reading response for above mentioned readings (by tonight at midnight)
  • Readings for Urban Spatial Theory (err… might not get to these)
  • Term Paper on Good Governance book mentioned above (due Tuesday, no idea what to write about… good governance?)
  • Econ problem set due Thursday (luckily almost done)
  • Methods problem set (basically kicking my butt, spent 4 hours on it Sunday only to do 1.5 questions out of 5… meeting with study group tonight, due Monday)

Basically I’m swamped!  Strangely enough I don’t feel as stressed as I usually am… weird, huh?

I’m also baking for class on Wednesday but have no idea what to make!  Any ideas?  I was thinking some sort of cupcake, muffin or cookie since those are easy to transport.

Now, I’m getting ready to go to class.  It’s going to be a busy but WONDERFUL day!

Have a good one!!

There’s Always Bread Pudding

Do you ever wake up feeling as if something’s off?  There’s a little too much on your plate and you know that no matter what the day will just be a little bit disappointing.

Today I felt stupid for a few hours, then ridiculous for about just as long, and the worst of all like a bad friend and an overall failure in life. Too much stuff going on right now!

To take my mind off of it all for a little bit.  I turned a disappointing loaf of bread I got at the Farmer’s Market yesterday

into something slightly better.

Bread Pudding

1 loaf of bread (about 10 slices), torn into pieces (I used whole wheat)
3 cups of non fat milk
3 tbsp butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
2 tbsp rum
4 eggs

In a saucepan heat milk, butter, sugar, vanilla, raisins, cinnamon and rum until butter has melted and sugar is dissolved.  Put torn bread pieces into a large bowl, pour warm milk mixture over bread and toss to coat.  Let sit for about 30 minutes.

Add 4 eggs (beaten), transfer to a greased baking dish (I used a big 9×13 pyrex) and bake at 350 for 40-50mins.

Serve with a maple yogurt glaze (fancy way of saying greek yogurt + maple syrup mixed together).

I can’t deny that food is comforting, and I’m not talking about just eating it necessarily but the cooking part.  Preparing this took my mind off everything for a while.  Honestly, I would probably be a little happier if I had someone to give this to at the moment.  I love the smiles that come from receiving a treat, it’s almost better than eating it myself.

Since I’m a lonely duck on this Easter Sunday, I have to find another thing that will make me feel better… being a consumer (not an eater).

I can get these…

or

They cost about the same… Honestly, I could go without either but just out of curiosity, which would you choose and why?

When you’re not feeling great, what makes you feel better?

Hope you’re having a great Easter!

Feels Like Spring!

Ahh another beautiful day here in Ithaca!

Look at that sunshine!  I know it sounds really stupid that I’m so excited about sunshine, but seriously it’s a treat here!  Flowers are blooming!

I spent the morning at the Farmer’s Market for the first time this year, since today was opening day!

I walked around and people/food watched.  Sadly, there wasn’t a whole lot of produce yet.  Mostly potatoes and carrots and such, but plenty of baked good!

Enjoyed a spinach ricotta crepe for brunch

Followed by a cup of unsweetened jasmine iced tea.  Amazing.

Played with my new friend, Koda

Isn’t she adorable!?!?  I met her yesterday on campus and ran into her at the Farmer’s Market.  I want one!

Chatted with friends

Overall had an amazing day! I’m not sure if it’s just the sunshine and warmth but I’m feeling a lot better about life.  It’s crazy how little things can really add up.

Are you having amazing weather?

Hot Cross Buns

I took a cue from Mama Pea last night and got ready for Good Friday. While I hummed the tune in my head, I baked some hot cross buns.

I proceeded to distribute them to my schoolmates today.  Hope they were appreciated.

I enjoyed a few of these for breakfast (not the healthiest but that’s okay) with some coffee in this mug:

Quite fitting.  Makes me laugh.

I also had Hot Non-Denominational Buns (without the cross).

I thought they were pretty delicious! A nice treat for Good Friday.

Today was another gorgeous day!  We had a high of 83!  I wore a sundress and life was great!

Today was also Open House for my department so I spent a good portion of the day showing around prospective students, which was kind of fun.

Thank goodness for the weekend!  Even though I have a ton of work to get done, I also have so many shows to catch up on!  Lost, Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy, Mad Men!  Where to start!?!

Hopefully I’ll get to catch up on blogs with weekend too!   I’m pooped!  Have a great night!