gingerbread cupcakes

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i know these are a bit out of season, considering that you typically make gingerbread flavored desserts around christmas time/winter. and that is when i originally made these gingerbread cupcakes. but you know how to goes… posting just doesn’t happen quite as quickly as i intended.

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but i didn’t want to keep this recipe from you since it was so good. plus, just pin it for later and you’ll have a recipe ready and waiting for you once the holiday season approaches.

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this is a deliciously spicy gingerbread cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting. i actually make these cupcakes twice last year, they were that good! the gingerbread cupcakes, start off with creaming together butter and dark brown sugar…

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tammy’s bridal shower

Tammy's Shower 6this past weekend, we hosted my close friend, tammy’s bridal shower. you may remember tammy from our many baking and cooking adventures from yummy four cheese ravioli and salted caramel brownies to our crazy rainbow cake and delicious donuts.  not only is she my favorite baking buddy, but she is an absolutely amazing person and friend.

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so when she asked me if i would be one of her bridesmaids, i could not have been more excited. i along with a couple of her other bridemaids planned her dc bridal shower.  we just had a small group of guests, so we actually had the shower in my apartment.  this worked out well because i was able to cook all of the food for the event.  here’s a little snapshot of the menu…

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appetizers were simple with just a meat and cheese tray (thank you costco!  haha)  and some cinnamon candied pecans.

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brunch included:

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for dessert, we had strawberry lemon cupcakes (adapted from these two recipes: strawberry lemon cupcakes & raspberry lemon cupcakes) and flourless chocolate truffle cake with sweet cherry sauce.  one of the bridesmaids traveled all the way from istanbul and brought some turkish delight for everyone to enjoy too.

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the favors were dark chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies (these white chocolate macadamia nut cookies with dark chocolate chips instead) in cute little milk carton boxes.

i had such a great time preparing and cooking for tammy’s shower and it was super fun planning all of the details with the other bridemaids.  i’m so glad everything came together and it seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves at the shower.

congratulations tammy!  can’t wait for your big day!!!

whole wheat pupcakes with peanut butter frosting

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pua’s birthday is actually in october, but i am clearly behind on posting so it’s only going up now.  whoops!  but i am glad i was able to post it before her next birthday though. gotta celebrate the small successes. haha.

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for pua’s first birthday, i also make her pupcakes – they were apple and cheddar flavored. she definitely loved those, but i wanted to try a new recipe for her second birthday.

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i combined two recipes and came up with these whole wheat pupcakes with peanut butter frosting. i knew pua would love the peanut butter flavor of these pupcakes, because peanut butter is one of her absolute favorite treats. sure enough, after we sang happy birthday to her, she was ready to dig in.

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she even licked her plate, making sure to get every last bit of the pupcake and frosting.

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oatmeal cookie granola

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i cannot get enough of this oatmeal cookie granola. i first made it last year and have many dozens upon dozens of batches since then – i think i may actually have the recipe memorized already. haha.

granola makes the perfect gift. i made a whole bunch for christmas last year and packed them in cute mason jars. it’s great because you can easily make a double batch and it keeps well for a while, so the receiver doesn’t have to feel pressured to eat it right away with all of the other holiday sweets. everyone LOVED it and often request it again and again.

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chris and i also eat it all the time for for breakfast all the time. it’s delicious with some plain greek yogurt and sliced bananas. but chris doesn’t like coconut, so i just substitute a bit of extra oats and pecans (1/2 cup of each) whenever i make some for him.

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in fact, yesterday i made a batch for us to have for breakfast this week. i can’t wait! this oatmeal cookie granola is the perfect way to enjoy all of the flavors you love in an oatmeal cookie, but in a slightly healthier form.

first, combine the oats, pecans, flaxseed, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and salt in a medium/large bowl.

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browned butter blueberry muffins

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i finally found it!  the absolute best blueberry muffin recipe in the world.  i’ve tried a couple blueberry muffins recipes before – this one and this lemon one.  but they didn’t quite cut it.

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joy the baker came up with this glorious recipe and put it in her first cookbook.  i bought it several months ago but for some strange reason failed to make anything from it.  then one day as i was perusing my cookbook collection,  i came across this recipe.  i just love browned butter, so i figured browned butter blueberry muffins had to be good.

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and they absolutely were.  it’s a tender, buttery muffin studded with juicy blueberries topped with a to-die-for crumb topping.  just amazing.  i implore you to make these next time you have some fresh (or frozen) blueberries.  you’ll be so glad you did!

start by browning the butter in small saucepan.  just melt the butter over medium heat.

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it’ll take a little while but you’ll start to hear it crackling.  watch it carefully because once it starts to brown it can burn really quickly.  you’ll see little brown bits and the liquid will become tan.  you’ll also start to smell the sweet, toasted, caramely scent of browned butter – one of my most favorite smells ever.  once the butter is browned, transfer it to a small bowl.  if you keep it in the pan, it will likely burn from the residual heat.

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