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Sunday
Jan302011

Vanilla Rum Soaked French Toast

vanilla rum soaked french toast

I have a love-hate relationship with the gym. I tend to go to classes instead of trying to go it on my own for a few (good) reasons. Believe it or not, I can be a bit of a wimp. When I'm running my heart out on the treadmill all by myself, I want to quit as soon as there's a tiny bit of sweat. I'm tired, you know. My feet might be starting to hurt. I wouldn't want to accidentally overdo it.

But mostly, there's no one to yell at me for whining and making up lame excuses.

Now don't get me wrong, I can force myself to do some physical activity but there is no way in hell you can make me do a few hundred squats of my own accord.

In class, there is an unspoken agreement that everyone is in it together, no matter where the sweat and pain will lead you. When the going gets tough, everyone unites and there are words of encouragement spread far and wide.

vanilla rum soaked french toast

When the going actually gets tough, the words of encouragement are lost in exasperated panting and strangled grunting. Our once solid unity dissolves before our eyes—it's every man for himself. I begin to actively despise the instructor for making me do 50 more crunches when my abs are burning fiercer than the fires of hell. I want to cry at the prospect of holding the plank position one more time (but my tears would only be lost in the sweat dripping down my face). I am bitter and hostile because she makes jumping around for an entire hour seem like a walk in the park. I channel all of my savage thoughts into finishing that last set. I have tunnel vision until the second hand of the clock ticks into the end of my punishment.

When class is over, all bad thoughts dissolve. The class once again becomes a strong unit. We bring out the encouraging words again. Someone mentions that class "wasn't so bad today" and I agree. The rush of a good workout somehow diminishes all the hatred and tears I felt moments prior.

I think we all get a case of workout amnesia—it's the only way we'll ever step back into that gym again.

vanilla rum soaked french toast

Sunday brunch is one of my favorite meals of the week. The menu this morning called for sausage, fruit, and this vanilla rum soaked French toast. This is basically a standard French Toast recipe with a twist. As soon as you take a bite, you will be hit with the sweet tones of vanilla and a subtle kick of rum. Neither flavor is too much or too little. Make this French toast when you feel like spicing up your morning!

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Friday
Jan282011

Chocolate Frosted Yellow Cake

chocolate frosted yellow cake

One of the reasons I discovered my passion for baking and started a food blog of my own is because of a certain special woman.

Deb, from Smitten Kitchen, inspired me to take out my baking pans and put them to good use. I discovered her gorgeous blog a year and a half ago and immediately spent the next three hours flipping through her recipes. At the time, I didn't really know what blogs were—much less that thousands existed about food—but I knew I was in love with what I saw. Little did I know this small discovery would alter the course of my life forever.

chocolate frosted yellow cake

I made her recipes almost religiously for a few months as my food blog repertoire grew. She even inspired me to take out my camera and start snapping photos of my food. Even though I knew absolutely nothing about photography (much less how to properly photograph food), I wanted to learn. I'm almost embarrassed to show you, but this is my very first attempt at food photography. You can't even tell what it is. I think I've come a long way, don't you?

Now, a year and a half later, I have changed careers, swapping my physics textbooks for a pair of oven mitts. I can finally call myself a real baker.

chocolate frosted yellow cake

I honestly believe this is the best cake I've ever made and eaten. Trust me on this—I would never lie to you about something so delicious. The yellow cake is buttery, sweet, and so moist it will make you want to cry tears of jubilation. This cake bakes up perfectly every single time. Every single time. It will forever be my go-to recipe for yellow cake. When you have found perfection (and you are looking at it), there is no need to search further. I have found my yellow cake soul mate.

Now let's not forget about the chocolate frosting. This frosting is mildly sweet (and won't make your teeth feel as if they are about to fall out, which I find quite important in my frosting recipes). There is a lot a of cocoa powder in this particular recipe so the frosting tastes deliciously of cocoa. It was very difficult not to eat this by the spoonful.

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Tuesday
Jan252011

Quick Chocolate Cake

quick chocolate cake

There are some days when I crave a simple chocolate cake—nothing too big, fancy, or (gulp) calorie ridden. I believe that creating something simple shouldn't require making a big affair of things. I don't want to make a huge mess of the kitchen, spend time mixing up a batch of frosting, or worry about leveling and layering cakes. I don't feel like spending hours standing in the kitchen with batter up to my elbows. Really, I don't think that's too much to ask.

Why shouldn't I be able to have my cake and eat it too?

quick chocolate cake

This chocolate cake is so quick and easy. The cake is mixed up in the pan it is baked in, minimizing time spent dirtying and cleaning up the dishes. There is no need to drag out the stand mixer or clear the cupboards of the mixing bowls; the only dirty dishes you will have are the measuring cups/spoons and the spatula you mix it with (but, really, you could easily lick that clean).

Now this is something I could really get used to.

quick chocolate cake

This cake is vegan! No dairy, no butter, and no oil, yet it retains a moist and rich sponge. The espresso powder in the cake cannot be tasted, but it really brings a well-rounded chocolate flavor to the cake. There is really no excuse not to make this. I challenge you to find me an easier or quicker recipe.

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