Friday, December 10, 2010

To put you in the christmas spirit

Enjoy, dear friends, enjoy.

ultra love. and merry christmas.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lessons Learned at 2 am

Last night I stayed up late watching Memphis take on Miami on ESPN. For those of you who know me, the start time (midnight) was already 2 hours past my bed time. In the 2 hours and 30 minutes that it took for my Tigers to eek out a win over Miami, I learned many valuable lessons. here they are, in no particular order.

1. It is not that hard to stay up late when your heart is racing. adrenaline bordering on cardiac arrest makes one decidedly not sleepy.
2. Luna's farts seem to give the Tigers extra energy. At half time, she was particularly gassy, and we all saw how the Tigers came out after the half. Once she fell asleep, they were less energetic. And when she woke up at the end of the game to release another one, chris crawford made his 3 pointer.
3. my Memphis pajama pants are NOT lucky.
4. i seem to have a knack for knowing when we are going to miss dunks. it is usually the ones that are wide open.
5. rubbing luna's little behind and saying "what a lucky bottom" seems to be helpful. though this method needs to be further tested.
6. angel garcia is still the ugliest man on the planet. and i am using the term "man" loosely considering he (and will coleman for that matter) played like a bunch of pansy girls last night and couldnt get a flippin rebound. okay i lied. they got 2. each. NOT OKAY.
7. we have a young team. which is fine, but, Lord have mercy, they make some freshman mistakes.
8. joe jackson needs to eat.
9. will barton needs to play to his hype. his brother is outshining him. injury or no injury, dude is lackluster.
10. when we are failing miserably on offense, we make up for it in some serious man defense. the good thing about having a team with this many talented players is that you can keep the rotation fresh, and the defense stays intense. if it weren't for defense, we would have been crushed.
11. for all pastner's hype about rebounding at the beginning of the season, we were destroyed on the boards. 41-21. really, gentlemen? and i say gentlemen on purpose, because only gentle people let others WALK ALL OVER THEM.
12. josh pastner is beautiful.
13. even with all the negatives of this game, pastner make good coaching decisions and our players never lost heart. i count those as two very good things to serve us the rest of the year.
14. i love it when my handsome and health conscious boyfriend talks basketball with me. it's 2 of my 3 favorite things all in one... and if Luna could talk or play basketball that would make 3 of my favorite things all in one.
15. one of my yoga poses is called balancing stick. our instructors say it is "having a little heart attack now so you dont have a big one later." Having one mini heart attack during yoga is enough. i would much rather my teams win by substantial margins. i feel that it will be more beneficial to my health.
16. since my daddy is a cardiologist, i am pretty sure the tigers pulled the whole "heart attack" game plan as a silly birthday present to him. pretty sure.
17. all in all, both my teams are 2-0. In yale grading terms, i give them an H. this grade is subject to change and contingent upon future performances.

go tigers go.

and, let's go hoyas (whose took care of business last night and thus did not warrant a somewhat criticizing blog post)!

ultra love.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Extenda-Week #4: Pumpkin Bread, but not the kind you think

Pumpkin Bread- but the kind with yeast, not the kind you are used to.

this bread is reallllly yummy. it's even better toasted with some butter on it. This would be great as a bread to go with thanksgiving dinner- that is, if you don't eat sister schubert rolls like we do. nothing beats sister schubert. duh.

Recipe from here
  • Ingredients:
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 4 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, spices, yeast, brown sugar, and 2 ¾ cups of the flour.

Mix on medium-low speed until combined. Add in the remaining 2 cups of flour and mix on low speed until incorporated and the ingredients have formed a dough.

Switch to the dough hook and continue kneading on low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-8 minutes. (Add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time if necessary to help the dough clear the sides of the bowl.) Here is a video to show you what the dough should look like. it took me a while to get it to the right consistency.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours; it should have expanded somewhat but won’t be wildly puffy.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide it in half, and then divide each half into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 18” log.

Working with three logs at a time, make a braid, pinching the ends together.

Coil the braid into a lightly greased 8” or 9” cake pan, shaping it into a wreath-like circle and pressing the ends together where they meet. Repeat with the remaining logs.

Cover both pans with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes until they look puffy, although not doubled in bulk.

Bake the bread at 350° F for 30 minutes, until lightly browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 190° F. Remove the wreaths from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack.


ultra love.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Extenda-Week Recipe # 3: Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Bars

Greetings all- today we are making (drum roll please!!!!!)
Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars
(recipe from here)

and we also have the sweetest girl in the world as a helper!
To begin, please gather your ingredients.

Snickerdoodle Layer
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan and lay a piece of parchment paper across the pan, so that it extends the pan slightly (see pictures below). The parchment paper is an optional step, but it will make it easier to get the bars out later

To make snickerdoodle layer:
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Make note not to put the sugar in the flour mixture. you will need to get that out if you do.
In large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.
Stir in the flour mixture until well blended.

Spread evenly in prepared pan (mixture will be thick and cookiebatter-ish.)
Next gather your pumpkin Pie layer ingredients.

Pumpkin Pie Layer
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin

To make pumpkin pie filling:

In a mixer bowl (you can use the same one you used to make the snickerdoodle batter) with a paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined. This layer will be less thick and more pourable.

Pour over the snickerdoodle layer, smoothing out the top.

Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.
Bake for 33-40 minutes @350 (maybe more depending on your oven) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Let the bars cool completely (about an hour). They will deflate a bit and remain a bit pie-like on the top layer. The bars that are closer to the edges of the pan will be more firm.

Next is the Drizzle
1 oz white chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

After the bars are completely cool, place the chopped white chocolate into a bowl or zip-lock bag and melt on low power. When it's completely melted, add the pumpkin pie spice and mix (or knead if using a zip lock bag). Use a spoon or cut a small corner off the bag and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the bars and let it cool and harden.

**** This whole drizzle thing was not as easy as it sounds. That is why my drizzle looks a little homeless. The white chocolate is not all that necessary, but it is yummy. *****

Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan. Place on a cutting board and cut into bars. Store in a covered container.

These have been my fav recipe so far. really. i could have eaten the whole pan by myself. or like 60000 pans. forever.

so goood. go make them. now.

ultra love.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Extenda-Week #2: Crumb-Topped Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Welcome to recipe number 2! This time, we (Michelle and I ) had a special guest. Her name is Sabrina, and, if you are a good blog reader, you will remember that she is an ultra-awesome ultrarunning who was just recently featured in RUNNERS WORLD MAGAZINE! WHATTTTTT. SO GREAT AT LIFE. Here she is with our lovely kitchen assistant....
Crumb-Topped Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
(adapted from here)

Gracie voted this the best recipe so far. I really liked these, and they get better and better the longer they sit in the fridge (within reason of course). The blog from which I stole these says you can make regular cupcake sized muffins or the mini muffins. If you want to see the adaptation for that, go to the blog. Otherwise here you will find cupcake sized muffins.

In general, these are quite delicious. They almost make a good breakfast food. The crumbly bottom with the pumpkin cream cheesy layer are a delicious partnership. Expect the pumpkin layer to be soft and a little gooey. The recipe says it makes 24 muffins. I got 22 out of the pumpkin batter, but had crumble to spare. Okay, on to the recipe!

Crumb Crust
2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. uncooked regular oats
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. finely chopped pecans (or walnuts)
3/4 c. butter, melted

Combine flour, sugar, oats, salt, and nuts in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and combine with hands until mixture is coarse and crumbly. See mixture in the bottom right corner below.
Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners and drop a generous tablespoon of crumble into each liner. Press down with your table spoon.
Save leftover mixture to sprinkle on tarts before baking.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling
1 small can (15oz) pumpkin
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese (light works great), softened (THIS IS IMPORTANT)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine pumpkin, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. (NOTE- make sure your cream cheese is softened and closer to room temp. I used mine straight from the fridge, and it would not mix smoothly/fully) Add eggs and seasoning and mix completely. Spoon into prepared crust. (I used a 1/4 measuring cup and this worked really well. You dont want to fill it all the way to the top. Just allllmost there- see pictures below)

Sprinkle extra crumble on top of the muffins.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. If you'd like the crumb topping a little darker, you can turn the broiler on for a few minutes, but you have to keep a close eye on them because they will literally burn in a few seconds.

Allow to cool completely and then refrigerate for at LEAST 24 hours. Serve with sweetened whipped cream on top if desired.

Ultra delicious. Ultra easy.

Ultra love.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Extenda-Week #1: Pumpkin Cookies

The Recipe that started the whole thing... Pumpkin Cookies. I have a very soft spot (also known as a spoft) for pumpkin cookies because they are really delicious. Michelle and I spent lots of time looking for good recipes, and I eventually just picked this one. You shall see the adventures below!

Super Soft Pumpkin Cookies (adapted from here)


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola or corn oil

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside. Make sure you stir them all together (not like in the picture below)

Put the rack in the middle of the oven . Preheat the oven to 325. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper. (I didnt have parchment paper, so we just buttered the pan. worked like a charm)

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Michelle took care of this portion of the mixing. What a beautiful co-chef.

Gracie didn't help bake per-se because she was sweaty from Bikram.
But she kept our kitchen assistant entertained!
Our lovely kitchen assistant, Luna the angel.

Next, mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. See demonstration below. This is a very hard job...

Then, using an ice cream scoop or a 1/4 measuring cup (or whatever you want), scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten the rounds. (We didnt have to do this step because I used Trader Joe's canned pumpkin which is a thinner consistency than the normal Libby's brand.)

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 16 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. (I didn't test mine with a toothpick but if you are really anal about stuff, go for it) Make sure the kitchen assistant is having a good time. Picture evidence below.

MMMMMMMM look at the yummy cookies that are about to be iced!

Glaze- Ingredients

2 cups confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon butter (melted)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Combine confectioner’s sugar, milk, butter and vanilla. Mix well. If needed, add more milk until consistency is drizzle-able.

Drizzle glaze onto cookies with a spoon. (I probably doubled the milk)

Final Product with Luna creeping in the background. What a girl.
Picture of the co-chefs .
These cookies were so delicious. And they really were super soft. I highly recommend them. I also recommend only icing the cookies after they are cool- otherwise the icing spills everywhere and then you have to lick it up. Nevermind, I highly recommend icing the cookies while they ARE hot so you CAN lick the excess icing. If you want, you can also add a cup of chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or anything else you want. Me? I am a purist. Only pumpkin.


Ultra Love.