Chocolate Swirl Pumpkin Bread and a Divine Giveaway! [closed]

Pumpkin Choc Bread Cover

Well, since it snowed (?!?!) in New York yesterday, I finally feel like I can say it — it’s the holiday season! Granted, nothing accumulated, but I left my apartment to catch the subway and got smacked in the eye with a big ol’ flake. Nice to see you too, winter.

Anyway, that plus a gingerbread latte have me thinking family gatherings and lots of food. Chances are you’re looking for something to bring to your holiday get-togethers — and this Chocolate Swirl Pumpkin Bread is a winning candidate!

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Triple Chocolate Quick Bread {{Giveaway}} [closed]

chocolate loaf 3a

One of my favorite things about Valentine’s Day is the chocolate. PSA to my boyfriend (as if he didn’t already know): a holiday that encourages the consumption of chocolate in any form provides you with a guaranteed way to make me smile.

I know we’re still a couple of weeks out, but I figure some of you out there might be trying to plan a treat to make for the ones you love on February 14. Dare I suggest this triple chocolate quick bread? You can serve it as a sweet breakfast-in-bed item, or break it out for dessert (top it with a scoop of ice cream–calories consumed on holidays don’t count).

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White Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

Tis the season to be jolly! And if by being jolly you mean eating approximately 10,000 calories daily of Christmas cookies and assorted holiday desserts, then I am your poster girl for jolly. Ooof.

So as I sit here munching on the latkes my roommate’s mother sent over, it occurs to me that you probably have some sort of New Year’s plans. Maybe you’re going to a big fancy party. Or maybe you’re hosting one (good luck and godspeed)! Or maybe you’re just going to sit on your couch under a warm fuzzy blanket, watch the ball drop behind Ryan Seacrest’s increasingly surgically altered profile, and fall asleep at 12:03. In any event, you’re gonna need something to nosh on, no?

That’s what I thought.

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Chocolate Revel Bars: Get Well Soon!

So, remember when Charlie left for Africa a-way back at the end of June?

Well, he’s back. Yay! However, there is a not-yay part.

Back in the spring, he tore his ACL and his meniscus (in a dancing competition…on a cruise ship…trust me, the story is as good as it sounds) but it went undiagnosed until right before he left for Africa. You’d think that couldn’t happen, right? That doctors with medical degrees couldn’t miss something like that? Yeah, I’m with you on that. But anyway, by the time they figured out that significant connective tissues were separating, he was already so close to leaving that the surgery had to be scheduled for when he returned. Welcome home…now let us cut you open.

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A delicious vacation recap

So don’t get me wrong. I love you guys. But I’d much rather be here.

I just got back from eight wonderful days in the Sunshine State, and this whole back-to-work-real-life-still-exists thing is a rather unpleasant surprise. To distract myself from the inevitable post-vacay slump, I present to you: a recap of some of the culinary highlights of the trip!

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Lunch Break: Chocolate & Crepes in Alphabet City

I work in Midtown Manhattan. Now, normally this provides for some pretty interesting sights. Free movies in Bryant Park, more food trucks of every conceivable ethnic variety than one could possibly choose from, and a whole lotta tourists (okay, so sometimes that part is exasperating).

But at other times? At other times the constant hustle and bustle and GOGOGO of Manhattan just gets to me. And so last week, thanks to an about-to-expire Groupon, I decided to take a field trip waaaay downtown to St. Marks Place during my lunch break. People, it’s a whole different world south of 14th Street.

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Perfectly Portioned Pancakes

What are your thoughts on breakfast? If you’re anything like me, it’s your favorite meal of the day. I mean, breakfast is so versatile! It can be sweet; it can be savory; you can even have it for dinner on occasion. What could be better?

Sometimes after one of those weeks–those weeks when your train breaks down, everything at work that has been running late suddenly gets back on schedule all at the same time, and you feel under the weather to boot–you just want to wake up on Saturday, when the weekend is finally here, and treat yourself to a yummy breakfast. But I bet you’re a good person. And when the thing you really, really want is pancakes, you say to yourself, “Oh, no, I shouldn’t make pancakes. A whole batch? And only me around to eat them? No, that would be wasteful.”

Well, kids, thanks to the always ingenious stylings of Joy the Baker (and a little freestyling on my part), that is no longer an issue.

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Chocolate PB Sand Pail Cupcakes: An entry for Cupcake Project

True confession: The very first baking blog I started reading was the Cupcake Project. Day after day, I found myself heading back to Stef’s page to read about these fantastical cupcake (and other) creations that I never imagined I’d have the skill (or courage) to try myself. One day, months after I’d started reading and a few weeks after my own fledgling blog took its first steps, I saw it: the 2011 Ice Cream Cupcake Contest! Along with the fine folks at Scoopalicious, Stef challenged her readers to create a recipe for ice cream cupcakes.

Hooked yet? That’s what I thought.

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"The most dangerous cake recipe in the world…"

Well, it’s another manic Monday. Although my day way bookended by events that normally would bum me out (namely, (a) my eyeliner broke at 6 a.m. so I looked either extremely ill or like an insomniac all day long and (b) the LIRR had massive delays system-wide thanks to a stall in the tunnel, so I had to make a mad dash via an express subway to Brooklyn and hope I made a different connection there [I did]), I am still flying high from my awesome weekend.

Why so awesome, you ask?

Well, my delightful college roommate sent me a message at 11 p.m. on Friday night, putting forth the proposition that we go back to campus to visit. The next day. As in, I would get on a train in eight hours and come meet her in NJ and we’d head to PA together.

Now, those who know me well know that I am not a spontaneous girl. My nickname in high school among my friend group was The Planner (yeah; not very catchy) because if I didn’t pick a time, name the place, and call everyone, nothing would ever happen. To quote a line from a scandalously overused Broadway musical that’s stuck in my head thanks to Glee, “I make lists in my sleep, baaaaaby.”

But on Friday, I asked myself, “Why the hell not?” I had no plans this weekend. I haven’t seen my roommates in forever. And it just sounded like fun. So I threw some clothes in a beach bag, grabbed a few hours of sleep, and hopped on a train at 7:30 the next morning en route to good old alma mater.

I think I need to start incorporating more impulsiveness into my life. We surprised a bunch of people who had no idea we were coming, braved a monsoon just to get from campus to the car, and ate pizza and chocolate eggs at 3 in the morning. Glorious, simply glorious.

Anyway! In honor of my college throwback weekend, I’ve got a Monday night treat for all of you who might not be riding the wave of happiness that I’m lucky to be surfing. Courtesy of the very same college roommate who convinced me to step outside my box of routine…

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