Tag Archives: cinnamon

Healthy Spiced Apple Granola

This shop has been compensated by Vons. All opinions are mine alone. #AStockUpSale #Vons #CollectiveBias

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Whenever I get stressed, I go on these epic grocery store raids. They wouldn’t really be a problem, either–I mean, who doesn’t need 15 boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch sitting around, right?–…IF I had a car for transporting all of my crazy impulse buys back to my place.

As it turns out, I don’t have a car, and with the first week of school upon us (FINALLY) stress levels are at simmering somewhere around a pleasant 7 out of 10. Apart from spending way too much time trying to figure out enrollment issues and kick-start a regular study group schedule with my fellow grads, I’ve also been going to Disneyland and watching a sneak peek screening of The Martian two nights ago um, not been going to Disneyland and definitely not spending my time watching awesome movie screenings. Pffft. (You guys have to see this movie, though.)

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Staying true to the spirit of stress shopping, I decided to take the afternoon off yesterday after class + 6 hours of extra office hours and make the 3-mile trek–yes, on my feet–down to Vons so that I could raid their aisles for some serious schooltime snack food.

Now, this is where things get silly. Have you ever walked into a grocery store with exactly two items on your shopping list…and come out carrying twenty instead? Oh, and here’s the real kicker: it’s only when you’re on the way home in your (hypothetical) car that you realize you’ve completely forgotten to buy the things for which you went to the store in the first place?

This happens to me all. The. Time.

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Now, when you’re without a car (like me) and weak (like me) and seriously distracted (like me), impulse buying + forgetfulness is not a good combo.… Read more


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Snacks

Homemade Snickerdoodle Peanut Butter for #SundaySupper

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Last year was the year of the spoon.

I had my spoon in everything and anything delicious that could be spread, dipped, or straight-up eaten. Hummus, jelly, cookie butter, sweetened condensed milk, ice cream, and of course…

Peanut butter. Did I mention that the bottom of my mouth and the sides of my tongue have started swelling a bit when I eat peanut butter too many days in a row now? Because they do. I get the vague feeling (as I sit here with my spoonful of peanut butter hanging out of my mouth) I should be cutting back. Three words: Denial solves everything.

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This year, however, I have made a resolution. A good one. One that will make me a fundamentally better human being who is in touch with her fundamentally good human side.

This year, I declare 2015: the year of the finger foods.

Because really, wasn’t that what fingers were made for? Scraping out the very last drop of peanut butter from those hard-to-reach spots at the bottom of a cylindrical jar? And you even get ten uses–one for each finger–before you have to wash them! It’s like the Supreme Creator attached handy portable sampler spoons on the ends of our hands for this very purpose.

Human creation. They really did think of everything. Now all I need is a retractable wings and a manual-speed metabolism with overdrive, and this new year will be a breeze.

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I really didn’t start making homemade peanut butter until my friend gifted me a food processor at the end of my first year in grad school. If you know me at all, my lack of kitchen appliance ownership probably wouldn’t surprise you since I didn’t learn how to boil an egg until about junior year of college.

That’s when the finger-tasting obsession started: suddenly I was struck by a realization that the warm, liquidy goodness at the bottom of the food processor bowl could be scraped up and enjoyed right on the spot, and–what was more–that I could apply the same logic to most things that come in jars!… Read more


Filed under Dips/Spreads, Healthy/Clean Eating Challenge, Homemade/DIY

Gingerbread Granola {Gluten-Free} for #BobsRedMill

{Congrats to Linda for winning my My Bakers Box giveaway last week! Can’t wait for you to bake up a storm, girl!}

So today I’m actually going to talk about food on my food blog (instead of completely random things like my year in Facebook statuses and goodness in this world). Imagine that.

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Exactly zero times a year before I became a food blogger, I ate gingerbread. Zero, zip, zilch.

Watch Harry Potter movies 1-7 five times on ABC Family? You betcha. But toss me the whole lot of holiday favorites–pumpkin pie, peppermint, figgy pudding, fruitcake–and you might as well be feeding your sink’s garbage disposal for all I cared.

Don’t get me wrong: I loved gingerbread in theory. And I adore the spicy smell of it wafting through the bustling supermarkets during holiday season. But gingerbread was to me what suave guys who get your number after a 5-minute conversation at Starbuck’s are to me now: romantic in theory or Hollywood rom-coms; kinda gross in real life. I may or may not be referring to a off-puttingly familiar Starbuck’s incident last Wednesday.

These days, though–boy, am I a canary singing a new tune! Ever since I bought my first jar of molasses a year ago, I’ve been scouring and searching and scavenging to indecent proportions for something to do with it. You might have seen my Gingerbread Obsessive Round-Up on Friday?

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But shopping/gifting/browsing season is inversely correlated to the amount of time any of us has in the kitchen during this busy season, meaning the more gingerbread recipes I bookmark, the less chance I’ll ever have of actually making one before next Christmas. Does anybody else face this (very real) struggle? Jeepers, I must’ve bookmarked at least 50 in the past 72 hours alone!

That’s why, when I was browsing my dear friend Kelly’s blog the other day, I was so so excited to see a recipe for gingerbread granola!… Read more


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Swirl Cake with Caramel Penuche

(Congrats to Pearl, who won last week’s KIND bar giveaway! And thank you to everyone who showed their kindest support by entering.)

Once every few months, you probably have one of those days where you just stop and think, My god, that was a really good day.

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Maybe your friend surprised you with a late birthday present, or you got to go to the happiest place on Earth with friends, or maybe you ran 10 miles and then proceeded to stuff your face with 40 vendors’ worth of breakfast food samples, a giant chocolate-and-sprinkle dipped cookie dough ice cream cone with more sprinkles on top, and freakin’ bomb Chinese food.

Around here, these days are not the exception: they are the norm.

And yes, ALL of these things happened to me on this exceptionally normal day.

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I was browsing through my Brain archives tonight thinking about what I wanted to write, and it suddenly hit me that it’s been a long time since I’ve talked about ME. Instead, I’ve been off pontificating and musing and philosophizing about a whole bunch of things, which is totally fine, but then you’re probably thinking that I spend my self-professedly “busy” daytimes off running drug cartels or something.

Which I’m not. Btw.

In case you were wondering why I’m posting coffee cake instead of brownies this week. Ahrm.


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A lot–and I mean a lot–of my time has been spent researching. I’m also shuttling myself back and forth a lot these days due to personal issues, which is a cryptic way of saying that I’m on the road a lot and majorly burnt out. However, once in a while any time I’m not crashing and burning, I’m having an adventurous time doing things like going to a Pancake Day Festival where over 40 vendors bring out their best samples of food and you spend 3 hours eating 50 bajillion types of breakfast sammies, pancakes (of course), grit parfaits, veganaise-topped frittatas, salted caramel bread pudding, and dulce de leche churros (which is a breakfast food–obvi).… Read more


Filed under Cakes & Cupcakes

Gingerbread Biscoff Coffee Cupcakes

Congrats to Kathlene and Ivy for winning two AWESOME personalized care packages in last week’s giveaway! I can’t wait to create an epic assortment of goodies for you both!

I really dislike chocolate cupcakes.

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Wait, say what?

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It’s funny how we all define the good things in life so differently. Back when kids used to bring boxes of assorted cupcakes to celebrate their birthday, I loved to ogle (okay, creepy) and watch each student make the all-important decision of which type of cupcake to take–chocolate with vanilla frosting?



Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes

Cookie Butter Snickerdoodle Thumbprints

For those of you who have been following my recent “adventures” (or lack thereof), you’ll know that I’ve been dabbling in the cool–and more than a little creepy–world of marketing.

The first thing I learned was to frontload important things. For example: I’m considering making a Facebook page for my blog and need your feedback!

So if you could take the 10 seconds it takes to click a few buttons for my “What would you like to see on my blog/Facebook page” poll at the bottom of this entry (right before the recipe for these deliciously unique cookies), I would really, really appreciate it.


Moving on…

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Most of you are probably aware that every make you move on the internet is more closely tracked, watched, and targeted than the white whale from Moby Dick. You’re not in the Stone Age if you don’t use technology–you’re in the Stone Age if you think that privacy actually exists on the internet.

For instance: You know those mass emails you get from department stores or other businesses with the annoying tagline, “Click here if images do not display”? Now, if you are like me, I used to think this was just another weird mystery from the dark nebula of Internet Enigmas that I never managed to figure out.

Not so.

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I don’t know all the specific details, and I’m sure you can Google this yourself, but apparently many email tracking programs require a pixel to be fired before they can gather your location and other information. So the instant you click that innocuous-looking little link, a pixel will fire from your specific address, allowing the tracker to log what device you’re using, your global coordinates, and a whole slew of other stuff about you that you didn’t even know you were doling out.Read more


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

Vanishing Granola (or the BEST Granola You Will Ever Make–Honey Bunches CopyBETTER Recipe)

This is going to be a very brisk LWOM post (what’s LWOM?).

First things first:

Print this recipe.

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We have to be brisk today, because–

I’m late, I’m late, for LOTS of VERY important dates!”

Why yes, because there’s the White Rabbit! And we must catch up with him.

“No time to talk, no time to chat, I’m late and later, and that is THAT!” shouted the White Rabbit as he jabbed and poked at his oversized pocketwatch.

“But I–“

“No time!”

“I know–“

“Later and late!”

“But I’m in a rush too!”

“RUN!” the Rabbit yelled. And so we ran.

Into the sunset, to be precise.

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On my kitchen table: Persuasion, by Jane Austen, and a jar of the best crunchy cinnamon granola in the world.

So that’s why this post is so short.

Because the White Rabbit was late, and because I myself was running late after an extended trip to the gym and forgot all about my outdoor food photoshoot and had to take some hasty pictures while the sun was sinking down past the horizon in about 0.5 seconds.

And also because I’m (hopefully) going to Disneyland in about half an hour to see the White Rabbit in person–er, in rabbit. Yes, I’m grinning as I type this.

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“But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t the BEST granola in the world,” said the White Rabbit, who had suddenly appeared from nowhere at my left knee.

“Well, thank you for taking the time to–” I began, looking down…but he had already vanished again.

I turned around. My granola had vanished, too. So now you also know why it’s called what it’s called.

I don’t blame him, though. It is darn good cinnamony, crisp, and unlike-anything-you’ve-ever-made-before-and-I-rarely-ever-say-this granola. Think of picking out all the crunchy sweet granola clusters from Honey Bunches of Oats…only better.… Read more


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy

Cheesecake-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes w/Coffee Cinnamon Frosting

It’s still Thursday already Friday somewhere in the world! Thank God.

I may or may not have been blasting some Rebecca Black as I started a new page for this post.

One of the best parts of having an entire two-room bedroom apartment to yourself is that anything goes the moment your pinky toe crosses that blessed threshold.

Rocking out to One Direction and Carly Rae Jepsen into the weest of the wee hours? Of course.

Staying up all night at Disney movie marathon sleepovers that would make fifth-grade girls emerald with envy? Uh, yeah.

Dunking your entire hand into the bowl of cake batter instead of reaching for a mixing spoon because it’s in a drawer that’s ten whole feet away from you? Now we’re talking, my friend.

Lounging on your couch like a boss on a Thursday night in nothing but what your momma gave you and with a glass of pinot noir in your well-manicured hand?

Okay, I haven’t tried that last one. Yet. Apparently maintenance has the key to every apartment in this building, meaning they are allowed to come in without so much as a “hello resident-on-whose-territory-we-are-totally-intruding, you should really put your fig leaves over whatever you don’t want exposed to these eyes.”

Of course, by the time I’m finished with this kamikaze quarter of teaching, coursework, and having a social life the size of a pea, I may just throw in (or rather, away) the towel, grab my fig leaves, and start lounging to my heart’s content. With my pinot noir. For which I will accordingly acquire a refined taste that I currently don’t possess.

As with most things that don’t involve legal persecution or intense self-reevaluation of my worth as a human being, I grossly exaggerate here. My social life has actually been moving along quite swimmingly as of late, thank you very much.… Read more


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spiced Granola

Do you all know what it means to feel hurt by someone you thought you could trust?

It feels a little bit like you’re sinking, a little bit like you’re falling, and a little bit like somebody’s tied you up by the extremities and thrown you into the water, all at the same time.

This isn’t an angry post, or a vengeful post, or a gossip-y post. This post is just a little…disappointed.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way about anything. The last time was in eighth grade when a guy I’d wanted to get in touch with because we used to be good friends hung up on me when I told him who was calling.

Something happened a while back that I didn’t think I’d have to deal with again. Past life, meet present life. I won’t go into the details, but believe you me–the feeling stinks. It’s times like these that I stop laughing at the cartoons of grown men crying for their mommies, and I curl up and cry for my mommy, too. There’s nothing like a phone call to that ever-loving maternal source to keep you feeling, well, worth something.

Cinnamon helps, too. Cinnamon always helps. I think it’s something about the warmth and feeling of nostalgic autumn days that it lends the kitchen when you’re around it.

Accomplishing things helps, too. I swam the 1.5k today in open water for the first time, then proceeded to get KO’d by food coma via some epic dim sum afterwards. Swimmers’ stomachs. Gotta love ‘em.

Flour Power: No matter how alone or down you feel, remember that the moment passes–but true friends are forever! Go look for a new activity or meet some new people in areas unrelated to your main interests; this will keep your identities from all blurring together, and prevent you from storing too many of your self-esteem eggs in one basket.
Read more


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Snacks

Pumpkin Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Ever feel like you’re being pulled apart by the seams from all the stress?

You know…the stress that always seems to converge on the very spot on which you happen to be standing at any given moment? That stress?

I feel that way all the time. Fortunately, this bread does, too. And I always say that there’s nothing better than food that understands exactly what you’re going through.

With the minutes ticking down to the first day of the school term, I can already feel the jitters creeping up all around me, as if someone’s broken into a museum of entomology and set loose all the live specimens.

I didn’t want to bog down this (truly wonderful!) post with my pre-term anxiety, but I’ll get to this amazing recipe in a second. Pinkies! But there are some major changes going on this autumn that make it different from the rest.

First off, I’m going to be teaching this year! Scary, right? Anybody who has ever been a teacher, thought of becoming a teacher, known a teacher, or had a teacher (all right, do we have everyone on board now?) knows at least something of how nerve-wracking it must feel to get up in front of an entire classroom for the first time.

Sure, I’ve been a teacher and workshop instructor before. This past summer, I taught enrichment high school writing and media classes that totally sucked up my life and threw my soul back bright and shiny new–that lesson planning does some major buffing on your self-esteem! I had a total blast, and I know I will be fine as soon as I set foot into the classroom and actually get this teaching gig on the road.


Until then.

Did I mention that the kids (I say “kids”–I mean “people who are probably an average of 1-3 years younger than me; in many cases, they may be older) are all college-age?… Read more


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bread