Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pumpkin, Caramel, Maple, Oh My!

It's been too long since I have taken the time to bake something. You could say that my mixer hasn't been used since we moved.

On Sunday, I decided to remedy that with the best that fall has to offer: pumpkin cupcakes with a caramel-maple filling and cream cheese frosting (dusted with cinnamon sugar). This is one epic cupcake my friends.

The recipe for the cake comes from A Thousand Phases.

At some point during the making of these cupcakes, I decided to go rouge, as I usually do with recipes. This time, it was both a blessing and a curse, as I ended up with the most delightful frosting ever created... but also, the caramel center of my cupcakes was tough, hard and sticky.

So my advice is this: use caramel SAUCE, not caramels melted with maple syrup (though the maple syrup taste was delectable. Additionally, write down or try to measure your ingredients. I only had a certain amount of cream cheese (possibly 5 oz) and powdered sugar (maybe 2.5 cups?) so I just dumped it all in. You can imagine my dismay when Mama Crafty-Pursuits declared, "this is the best frosting. I hope you wrote this recipe down".


Happy Fall dear readers, it is truly a magical and wonderful time.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Running is the Answer.

In February 2012, I went out for a run on a local trail with my dogs. 

A few days later, I went again. 

And so it continued for a little over a month before I got my cousin to come along for the journey. At first, I did it just for the dogs, to get them to come home tired and ready to behave. But then, I was addicted. Next thing, I knew, we had committed to run a half marathon... and we did. 

Running was great for me and for the dogs. We had a daily structure, we had the recommended amount of physical activity and we were all a bit more obedient because of it. I had more energy, I slept perfectly all night and I was absolutely more confident. 

I stopped drinking soda because I couldn't possibly get enough water if I had a soda. And I always ran better with a healthy lunch and lots of water. Which, as you know, is an improvement over soda and McDonalds... not that I ate that kind of stuff daily, but wanting to run better and knowing that healthy food would help, I started eating healthier. 

Out on the trail one day, we met another runner (a real one) who also had a GSP, so we started running together. She encouraged and pushed me to be better... and I was. 

Three months ago, I started to train for the half-marathon taking place tomorrow. I was running on the road for a change to try and acclimate to the hard surface since that is what did me in during the first half marathon. My runner friend challenged me to run 100 miles in one month. And I did.

But by the end of that month I could barely walk down the stairs in the morning. Shin splints, or a stress fracture, I'm still not sure what. I decided that I needed to take a month off to rest and heal. 

It's been about 6 weeks now and not running is literally killing me. I can feel myself losing muscle, I don't need as much water, I'm eating junk, I can't fall asleep until practically midnight and yet I'm exhausted all day long. I'm grumpy and bored and my legs feel restless all the time. It's time to go back, even if I'm not 100% healed. 

I didn't realize how much running had really improved my life, and I miss it. So whatever the problems you face, just know that running is the answer. It may not seem that way at first, but eventually, you'll see.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fall Hues

Last week I had my sister give me a haircut and some color. I've been really diggin' the subtle ombre that she forced on me a few months ago (me: I'm bored with my hair. her: I'm bored with your hair too... you should dye it.) so I decided to have another go with it, though slightly less subtle this around. I know, I know, no-one goes lighter in the fall...

So I made it up for it in my living room by going darker.

The chair and ottoman were actually restore finds: $80 total. And you can imagine how pumped I was when I found out that the chair (a JCPenny return) had fitted slipcovers also for sale! So I walked out of there with a chair, ottoman and 3 slipcover options for $150. Not the greatest deal ever, but a pretty good one considering how often I like to change things.

I really like the way that the brown goes in here. What do you think?

Onto the next challenge: figuring out how I am ever going to get decent pictures in this super dark house.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Yard.

Get ready for this.... 80 pictures that feature a very striking "before and after" each in order - I'm hoping that the photos can speak for themselves, since I'm not going to label the "before" and "after".