Archive for the 'dessert' Category

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting


Now that Mike is vegan and not eating sugar, I have been baking a lot less than I used to. But when my parents come over, my dad runs 14 miles with me, and there are brown bananas on the counter, I bake.

We had Open House at school last week and now there are just four weeks left in the school year.  I can’t believe I’m wrapping up my third year of teaching.  This was my toughest year yet and I almost bailed to go back to school to study public health…but after lots of contemplation and reflection, I realized the classroom really is where I belong for at least a few more years.


There are now four more weeks left in the school year, which feels simultaneously way too long and unbelievably short.  There are also four more weeks until the San Francisco marathon, and yesterday I bought matching shirts for my sister and me to wear.  Now we’re just trying to find a similar men’s top for our dad. Matching may be cheesy and ridiculous, but we’re doing it.



Chocolate Cream Pie


Welcome to Taper Town. Have some pie.

Somehow there are now fewer than two weeks between me and Wildflower.  As of right now, I feel confident in my training and ready to embrace taper.  I’m sure that within a week, however, I will begin completely freaking out.

On Saturday I decided to go for a ride up Mt. Diablo, which involves climbing about 3800 feet. I’ve never done this ride before, but I loved it.  I rode up the North Side, and it was amazingly beautiful. I used to think there was nothing better than the Douglas Fir forests of the Pacific Northwest, but California’s oak-covered hills might be starting to edge them out.


Obviously had to take the awkward selfie at the top, and a picture of the gate, and a picture of the view.  In between the picture on the left and the pictures on the right were about an hour and a half of alternating between gawking over the scenery and cursing the wind.  But I made it to the top and it was glorious.  That picture on the lower right is 17 miles from my front door.

Coming down was really unpleasant.  I’m still kind of terrified of going more than 25 miles an hour, so I basically rode the brakes as dozens of cyclists flew by.  I went down the South side (definitely the more popular option for riding up), and followed up the ride with a 7 mile run.

Someday I will learn to drink enough fluids after a hard ride + run in 80+ degree heat.  My headache on Saturday afternoon was reeeeal nice.  I also hope to some day learn how to make pretty slices of pie.


What this pie lacks in beauty, it makes up for in flavor.  Chocolate cream filling, chocolate crust, and lightly sweetened whipped cream.  Dorie Greenspan knows what she’s doing.


from Baking: From My Home to Yours

Cherry Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

frozen yogurt

This week, it has started to feel like spring, and I’m so happy about it!

Ellie’s been playing outside after we get home from work, and I am finally comfortable enough to turn the heat off in my classroom partway through the morning.  I’m not exactly counting the minutes until the temperatures are over 100, but Spring weather is more than welcome.

My grandparents were visiting last week and Ellie loved it.  She did a fashion show for us with her rain boots and my running shoes.  Love this kid!


This is a fairly tart frozen yogurt with a hint of sweetness from the chocolate.  You can adjust the amount of agave to make it sweeter if you’d like (and I’m sure the amount you need will depend on the cherries you use).


Pumpkin Roll Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

A couple thoughts:

1. I used to get SO irritated with my mom because she had a “No Christmas Music until December 10th” rule. DECEMBER TENTH.  Now I totally get it.  Mike put on Christmas music the other night and I was SO not ready for it.

2. Of all the things I have to be thankful for, central heating is definitely in the top 3.

3. I used to think I wanted to move to Colorado.  Then this morning it was 40 degrees and I realized I would not survive one second there.

4. I feel like the pumpkin window is closing way too fast.  People are already on to red cups and Christmas cookies and I’m like WAIT. I still have six big cans of pumpkin and 92 pumpkin recipes I haven’t made yet!  So here’s one of them.

Even if you don’t make the cake, at least make the caramel sauce.  I don’t like buorbon, but I could (ok, did) eat this sauce with a spoon.

The original recipe for this cake comes from The Pastry Queen cookbook, but I changed a couple things.  First of all, I left the nuts out of the filling.  I also used only cream cheese instead of cream cheese + mascarpone, and I skipped the whipped cream on top and melted chocolate on top because it was already plenty rich.  As for the caramel sauce, it called for rum, but I used bourbon instead.


Malt and Chocolate Blondies

I kicked off this weekend with another girls night at Aron’s (with Page and Alyssa).  I made these for dessert, and sampled a couple of them before heading over.  I am pretty sure they liked them as much as I did.  They have malted milk powder, chopped Whoppers, and mini chocolate chips (I left out the walnuts) so how can you go wrong?

Saturday was our fifth anniversary, and of course I have no idea how 5 years have already gone by.

We decided to hold off on any elaborate celebrations until the babysitters (aka my parents) move to the area (this week), so we took a day trip to Sacramento to see our friends and the cute house they bought.  We spent most of the time there hanging out under the huge, gorgeous sycamore tree in their front yard and missing the days when we lived right across the hall from each other in a huge old Victorian house in San Luis Obispo.

By the time we got home we were way too lazy to make dinner, so we had Indian food delivered, watched an episode of Suits, and called it a night.  Not the most romantic anniversary ever, but we appreciated the simplicity of it. Plus, it was great to discover that there’s decent Indian food nearby.

On Sunday we decided to make the trek into the city (which really isn’t a trek on Sunday mornings, thank God, because pretty much any other time the combination of tunnel + bridge traffic makes me never want to leave our little suburban bubble) to go to our beloved Rainbow Grocery.

Ellie has become significantly more challenging to shop with, but we stocked up on all the things you can’t get in bulk at our nearby Whole Foods.

Since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped in at Sightglass for coffee.

When we got back to the suburbs, we decided we both needed new running shoes, and I ended up with these obnoxiously loud Brooks Pure Connects.  I ran in Pure Cadences for months and loved them, but wanted something a little more minimal and these definitely are.

We went for a quick 4-mile run and they felt awesome (SO light!) I kind of wish they weren’t so bright because I feel like you need to be pretty fast to pull off that color.

CIM training kicks off today in the most anti-climactic way possible (rest day) but Tuesday I’m going to attempt to squeeze in 8 miles on the treadmill before leaving for work at 7 AM.  I’m SO HAPPY to be training for something again after a few months of aimless running.


(barely adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)

Caramel Pretzel Brownies

I survived the first day of school, and only messed up my schedule once! (Didn’t realize which period I had lunch and went to eat, not realizing my kids were lined up outside my room. OOPS)  Fortunately I was corrected quickly and only missed about 3 minutes of actual class time.

My pre-back-to-school activities involved stress baking these brownies, and getting up way too early to squeeze in 5 miles before the day started.  My parents are here right now so Mike and I got to run together in the morning, which was awesome.

I knew I couldn’t show up empty-handed on the first day of work, and these quickly disappeared in the staff room.  I’m really excited about all the teachers I’m working with this year (although I am missing my old school a lot too.)

I pinned (and made) this recipe last week, but wasn’t in love with the bar part of it, so I just switched to a brownie base and loved the result.  Just the right mix of chocolate, salty, and sweet!


(base adapted from the Joy the Baker cookbook, toppings from The Hungry Housewife)

Lemon Bars

I did my first triathlon when I was 14.  It was a very short race – .25 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 2.5 mile run – and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I did the swim in a swimsuit and then threw on soccer shorts for the bike and run (which I ended up walking).  I didn’t feel any desire to do another one for quite a few years.

Then in college, I joined the triathlon club because I was rapidly packing on the pounds and getting really out of shape.  I fell in love with the sport and raced a bunch of tris between 2004 and 2008, including a 70.3 (Half Vineman).

I was ecstatic to finish (but my sister was not enthused about my sweaty arm around her).  It took me about 6.5 hours and it was incredibly hard (admittedly I was a little under-trained).

After we went to Asia, I pretty much abandoned triathlon.  Then the other day, I decided (kind of out of the blue) that it was time to register for this…

…my second half Ironman!  I haven’t been on my bike or in a pool since I was pregnant (I just rode on my trainer, and did a couple easy swims), and since Ellie is now almost one, I’m completely out of swimming and biking shape.  But I have 270 days to get ready, and I am STOKED.

My goal for the fall is to swim and bike at least once per week while training for CIM, and then in December I’ll ramp up my swim and bike training so I don’t die.  JUST LOOK at this bike course. Ouch.

– – – – – – – – – –

There were a couple things that were pretty new and exciting when I moved to California ten (seriously?!) years ago.
1. Hard alcohol in the grocery stores. Oregon has state-run liquor stores so it was really weird at first to just be able to roll into Albertson’s for vodka.
2. PALM TREES. They’ll never replace my beloved Douglas Fir, but I absolutely loved (and still do) seeing palm trees everywhere.
3. Fruit trees. People have avocado trees, lemon trees, and orange trees in their yards. Awesome.

We have a lemon tree in our front yard now, and I LOVE it.  I get a couple fresh lemons off the tree almost every day, which means I have all sorts of ideas for things to do with them.  Lemon bars are pretty basic, but they are so good.  I combined elements of Ina Garten’s and the Gourmet Cookbook’s recipes, but scaled them down because a 13 x 9 pan is a LOT of lemon.



Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

Lets talk goals.  A few months ago when running was going incredibly well, I made a goal to run the the San Francisco Half Marathon (2nd half) in 1:35. I did a bunch of goal pace (7:15/mile) runs and felt really strong.  Two weeks ago I did my longest training run ever while training for a half (16 miles).  I figured my goal was tough, but possibly attainable.

Then we moved and I realized four days had gone by with no running.  This week, every run felt a lot harder than it should have given my slow paces.  I’m not  sure 1:35 is attainable, and I’m not even sure a PR (1:39:48) is either.  I know my training is solid, though.  I had a pretty good base, and it’s really only been the last 2 weeks that things kind of went to crap.  So my plan is to go out at about 7:30 pace and see what happens from there.

I went to the expo yesterday and ran into two of my favorite runner friends.

I’m really looking forward to hanging out with all the Bay Area runners after the race. I’m also really looking forward to eating these brownies.  I used Joy the Baker’s brownie recipe but left out the extra egg yolk (mainly out of laziness) and added a bag of peanut butter chips.  Delicious!


(barely adapted from the Joy the Baker cookbook)

Rhubarb Cobbler

Remember how I had that string of amazing runs and felt super fast? Yeah, I knew that streak would end eventually and this weekend it sputtered and died. Friday I went for a particularly lackluster 4.5 miles with the stroller, and Saturday even the excitement of new shoes (Saucony Guide 5s) couldn’t get me out the door for more than 1 mile. I made sure to do that so my Summer Running Streak didn’t die, but I still wasn’t feeling the running love when I woke up the next morning, so my planned 10-12 miles turned into 5. It happens.

Sunday morning’s family run gave Mike and me a chance to catch up and we both realized we’ve been spending WAY too much time wrapped up in various internet and iPhone diversions. In a completely cliched blogger move, I decided I would “unplug” for a week. No twitter, no facebook, no dailymile, no pinterest…just email (and a couple pre-written and scheduled blog posts). I’m hoping this means I’ll spend more time with my favorite people.

and more time reading this, which I picked up over a month ago.

When we got home from the run I put down my phone and baked a cobbler. Brown sugar, fresh ginger, and rhubarb on the bottom, and a ginger-brown sugar biscuit topping. Delightful!


(adapted from Baking from My Home to Yours)

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day

I guess no news is good news when it comes to hip x-rays. Technically, the no news was that the x-ray looked normal, which means the bone and the hardware are fine. I spent a very painful half hour with my foam roller this evening and everything’s feeling a lot better.

So much better, in fact, that I’m going to attempt a VERY short, very easy run before work tomorrow (on the treadmill, so I can stop immediately if anything hurts). Fingers are crossed that it goes okay and I can still run that half marathon next weekend. Yep, not holding my breath.

Ellie has been showing off her new trick of sitting up, which she can do successfully most of the time (the rest of the time she folds in half with her face on her feet, which weirdly doesn’t seem to bother her. Strange kid.) Sophie helps her out.

But what’s better than playing with Sophie? Playing with Dad! The hour between 6:30 and 7:30, when he’s home and she’s still awake, is definitely her favorite hour of the day.

I was a little sad when I realized St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t falling on a school day, but that was not about to stop me from baking for my co-workers. These are just simple chocolate cupcakes frosted with a basic mint buttercream. I colored half of it green and left the other half white, and put them together in the piping bag to get a swirl.

By the way, if you still need St. Patrick’s Day recipes, I have some for you here!
(adapted from Annie’s Eats)


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