fabulous friday #33

Happy Friday, friends! This morning started off bright and early with a bowl of fresh fruit & vanilla greek yogurt — my favorite breakfast right now!

yogurt and banana

Before I move on, just a little reminder: tomorrow is the last day to grab a copy of my ebook “Lost and Found” for FREE! I’d love for you to read it! Here’s the link: 

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Last night I got to see Erica for dinner — I always love getting to catch up with this lovely lady! We went to a terrific Italian restaurant called Giannfranco’s Trattoria and split two of the chef specials of the night: ricotta cheese & sausage ravioli and veggie risotto with cream sauce. YUM! Neither of us had any room left for dessert, but the selection looked so delectable that we decided next time, we’ll just split a salad and then have dessert! Or maybe just skip the salad altogether 😉

2. Oh my goodness, YOU GUYS. THIS BOOK. My mom leant it to me and I finished it within two days. It’s called One Plus One and it’s by JoJo Moyes, the author of another book I loved, Me Before You. This is one of those books that makes you feel better about the world. I smiled, cried, and felt like I became close friends with the characters — I was sad to say goodbye to them all at the end.

jojo moyes one plus one

3. Speaking of crying… this video made me cry. It’s only three minutes, but I guarantee it will stick with you: Compassionate Homeless Man Shares Meal With Stranger When Others Wouldn’t.

4. Homemade applesauce! I made it for the first time based on this recipe from Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean, and it turned out really well! It was much easier than I thought applesauce would be to make… all I did was peel and chop some apples, dump them into the crock pot with a bit of water and loads of cinnamon, cook on low for four hours, and then mash it all up with a potato masher. I was happy to use up some apples that were getting wrinkly and turn them into a really great, healthy snack!

homemade applesauce

5. These super-cool upcycled wallets, bags and totes made from former street banners by the company Upcycle it Now. They’re being offered as perks in a neat IndieGoGo crowd-funding campaign that my sweetie Allyn & some of his classmates are holding to raise money for a humanitarian trip they are taking to Kenya with the nonprofit organization Zawadisha. You can snag one of these upcycled goodies by making a donation to the campaign through the end of September.

upcycled wallets

mens wallets

I’ll sign off with this from Murray: “Have a wonderful weekend!”

murray paws

Questions of the morning:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

peach streusel muffins

Happy weekend everyone! Hope you are out doing something relaxing, lovely and joyful. It is a gorgeous sunny crisp fall day here in West Lafayette, and I am soaking it in! My plans for the day include lunch at Panera, doing some work there, and then going for a nice walk down by the river. I’m making orange chicken with veggies in the crock-pot for dinner tonight … I’ll let you know how it turns out!

You may remember a few weeks ago I found a recipe on the blog Stacey Snacks for peach streusel muffins … at the time I didn’t have any peaches so I adapted it to make blueberry streusel muffins. They turned out great! However, I was eager to try it with peaches as the original recipe called for, and I finally did.

The results were incredible! These just might be my favorite muffins ever. Stacey was right about the combination of the peaches and the streusel topping … heavenly!

I was a little intimidated first by the streusel topping, but believe me it is super easy to make. These muffins are also a healthy breakfast or snack {or even tasty enough for a healthy dessert!} because they are packed with peaches and use applesauce and protein-packed Greek yogurt in place of oil.

peach streusel muffins

for the topping:
– 1/3 cup uncooked oatmeal
– 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

for the muffin batter:
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup sugar {or 1/4 cup stevia/truvia}
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 3 eggs
– 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
– 1 cup Greek yogurt
– 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
– 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
– 2 ripe peaches, cut into chunks {I like mine with the skin on for extra nutrients, but you could certainly peel them if you prefer}

1. For the topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir in the butter, and mix until well blended. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, from flour to salt, and set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, butter, yogurt and vanilla.

5. Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture. Stir until just moist and blended, being careful not to overmix.

6. Fold in the peaches.

7. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan until the batter comes to the top of the paper liner or pan. Sprinkle with the brown sugar streusel topping, and lightly press the topping into the muffin batter.

8. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until tops are golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Have a scrumptious weekend!

❤ Dallas

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-Time spent: about 1 hour {including bake time}
-Cost: less than $5

You might also enjoy these previous posts:
blueberry/blackberry/raspberry muffins
good morning sunshine muffins
coconut zucchini muffins

red velvet cupcakes with coconut cream-cheese frosting

I like to bring my students baked goods as a surprise at the end of the term {that is, if they’ve been a good class — which so far, they always have been!} I had an especially wonderful creative writing class this summer so I decided to eschew the usual cookies or brownies for a special treat: homemade Red Velvet Cupcakes with this fabulous coconut cream-cheese frosting you might remember from my carrot cake recipe last month.

{Here are the finished cupcakes all ready to go to class:}

I have made Red Velvet cupcakes to great success from a boxed mix before — I like substituting applesauce for the oil to make them a little healthier while still retaining moistness. I am a big fan of the Duncan Hines Red Velvet boxed cake mix.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, like I was, here’s a recipe I was excited to find on the wonderful site Annie’s Eats to make Red Velvet cupcakes from scratch:

Ingredients:

for the cupcakes
– 2½ cups cake flour
– 1½ cups sugar
– 1 tsp. baking soda
– 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
– 1 tsp. salt
– 2 large eggs
– 1½ cups vegetable oil {I substituted 1 cup applesauce}
– 1 cup buttermilk
– 2 tbsp. (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring
– 1 tsp. vanilla extract
– 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar

for the frosting:
– 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
– 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
– 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
– 1 tablespoon heavy cream
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring {optional}
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.

3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, vegetable oil {or applesauce}, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar. Beat by hand or with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.

4. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Beat until the batter is smooth.

5. Fill the cupcake tins about 3/4 of the way full.

6. Bake 15-18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

8. While cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter in a mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with heavy cream. Beat in the salt, coconut flavoring, and vanilla extract. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and spreadable. Add additional confectioners’ sugar if necessary to thicken the frosting, or more cream to thin. Stir in the coconut.

9. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, use a knife or a spatula to spread the frosting onto the top of each.

10. {Optional} I like to refrigerate the cupcakes for twenty minutes or so to let the frosting solidify.

Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend!

Always,
Dallas
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Time spent: about 1 hour {including bake time}
Cost: $5-$7