Simply Baking: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Happy Hump Day ya’ll!

I’m trying to figure out if I can be the type of person to say ya’ll… In my mind, it’s super casual but you can tell me if I’m making a complete fool of myself (be honest! lol). Anyhoot, life is in complete overdrive lately and I’ve failed to mention that I will be on a plane to Utah on Monday night to meet up with my family for my brother’s Regional tournament! I’ve never been to Utah so if anyone has any travel or food recommendations, send them my way! We’ll be staying about 15 minutes away from Salt Lake City.

This weekend, I decided to try my hand at Red Velvet cupcakes. The recipe I followed was from the lovely blog Annie’s Eats and you can find it here.

So mine didn’t turn out as cute at the ones on Annie’s blog and I think it’s mostly because I’m afraid to add additional powdered sugar to firm up my frosting. The appeal behind cream cheese frosting is its moderately sweet nature so I may have skimped a little to cut down on the sugary taste.

Overall I recommend the recipe, it’s easy and they’re pretty good! I’m always open to try other recipes though, does anyone else have a fool-proof red velvet recipe?

Don’t forget today is the last day to enter my giveaway! Enter by 5 pm PST! Good luck!!!

Happy Wednesday everyone! 

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Simply Loving: HEARTing Handmade’s Better Than Ice Cream

Happy Sunday loves!

Today I’m incredibly happy to introduce one of my friends in the blogging world, Maša! I loved her complete honesty in her Secret Week posts and she has a passion for reading, just like me! Maša’s sharing an amazing vegan dessert all the way from Slovenia and I’d love for you all to show her some love!

Hi! My name is Maša and I’m blogging over HEARTing Handmade. I’ve been drooling over Evani’s recipes of her tempting desserts and she inspired me to post one of my favorite recipes for the summer time. Thank you so much for hosting me, Evani!

You’re gonna love it and you will be making it again and again. Both omnivores and raw vegans will enjoy it.

It’s incredibly simple

It contains only 3 ingredients.

It’s so delicious you won’t believe it’s actually healthy

Who doesn’t love ice cream? I could eat it all the time. But… it’s full of sugar and fat. I’m also lactose intolerant which makes me regret devouring this guilty pleasure even more. But I’ve discovered a perfect replacement. When I first tried it, I couldn’t believe that something made only from fruit and cacao could taste like ice cream. This revelation was probably one of the happiest moments in my life. I may be crazy, but I’m not joking! 🙂

Instructions
For 4 people, you will need about:
4 ripe bananas (the ripest the better)
4 medjool dates (they are extra big and sweet, double the amount if you use the regular, small variety)
3 spoons unsweetened cacao (not the processed one for making drinks)
– 1 spoon coconut flour (optional)
1. Cut bananas into slices, put them in an air-tight container and freeze. I usually freeze them overnight, but several hours would probably be enough. It’s a good idea to freeze bananas when you can’t eat them fast enough and use the frozen slices whenever you feel like eating ice cream on a hot day.
2. Soak dates in a cup of water for a few hours (de-stone and cut them first).
3. Thaw the bananas a little and prepare your food processor.
4. Mix the bananas, dates and several spoons of water. I used the water in which the dates were soaking, about 1/3 cup, but you can use less water if you want more ice-creamy texture.
5. Add cacao and mix again.
6. Optional: experiment! You can add coconut flour or try out other ingredients like dry fruit, chocolate drops or spices. Banana + dates + cacao is the main recipe which you can mix and match as your heart desires. I like to work with what I find in the pantry and I’ve always been satisfied with the final combination. If you prefer it bitter, add more cacao. If you have a sweet tooth, add more dates.
I hope you will like the recipe. Next time you’re craving something sweet, try to choose a healthier alternative. It will be just as delicious and you won’t have to deal with guilty feelings afterwards.  🙂

Find Maša here! BlogFacebook/ Bloglovin/ Twitter/ Pinterest

I love how that dessert sounds DELICIOUS and heathy! Thanks for stopping by today Maša, you rock! Make sure to check out her links above, she is a total sweetheart!

On a somewhat related note, I’m slowly coming to the realization that I might be lactose intolerant. I’ve never really done well with milk but I feel like lately I’ve been having a reaction to cheese (which is basically my FAVORITE thing in the world). For those of you who are lactose intolerant, how did you know? Have you always had it or did you grow into it?

So I know I might have totally did promise to write a weekend entry about No Reply Blogging and I’m still working on it! I don’t like to make broken promises so I won’t make it a habit! 🙂

Happy end of the weekend (meh… haha)!

Simply Baking: Chocolate Chip Caramel Bars

Happy Tuesday everybody!

So last Saturday was baking-palooza for my sister and I and one of the recipes on Pinterest we decided to try was Two Peas & Their Pod’s Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars.

We already had all the baking ingredients the recipe needed except for the caramel squares and heavy whipping cream. The main deviations we took from the recipe included using normal brown sugar (instead to light brown sugar) and inaccurate measurements of butter (Much to my dismay, we were out of butter bars with the nice measurement lines so I used a tablespoon and hacked it out of an abnormally large chunk of butter we had for when my Dad makes massive servings of mashed potatoes). Moral of the story, not sure how accurate my hack job was…

But we took these to my brother’s team party and they were swooped up in a manner of minutes with pre-teen boys grunting in approval.

Overall, I wasn’t thrilled with the way ours came out because they were crumbly and a bit dry. I can only assume that is due to our odd butter measurement methods and possibly the brown sugar.  But honestly, everyone who ate them was impressed and I’d definitely try this recipe again but with more precise butter calculations. The sea salt is such a nice touch to the taste of these bars too. 

I’d be really interested to see how they turn out for you if you choose to make them, so let me know! Make sure to check out the amazing food blog of Two Peas & Their Pod for more incredible recipes (especially if you can follow the recipes better than I can 😀 lol).

Movin’ on up

Last but not least, I was feelin sorta down last night so I did what any normal person would do: Bought myself the new MacBook Pro! While I admit I am an emotional shopper/eater/etc, I’ve been contemplating the Pro for about 6 months now and I finally worked up the courage to do it. I was set on getting it on a simple $100/month payment plan but I found out their financing is basically opening a credit card. I’m deathly afraid of opening any more credit lines so I dipped into the honey jar of my savings and left a happy woman.

Welcome home baby!

I haven’t had a laptop since sophomore year of college and I’ve been doing all my blog work on an old model desktop (imagine the obscenities I used when Internet Explorer froze at least once an hour). Now for the important question: Fellow Bloggers with a Mac – What program do you use for photo editing? Is Photoshop Elements 10 enough? Should I at least swing for the CS6 student version? I might have a panic attack if I need the $649 Photoshop CS6. Also, share some Mac tips with this newbie, I’ve been Windows all my life! I’m excited for what a functioning laptop will do for Simply Evani and I hope you continue to follow along!

Have a great day everyone!

Simply Baking: Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Happy Hump Day everyone!

I just want to take a second to thank my new followers on WordPress, Facebook and Twitter for the wonderful comments and support of my blog. Honestly, it’s terrifying sometimes putting yourself out there and trying to build an audience but between doing what I love and getting such sweet comments, you all make it so easy! Every like and comment keeps me going and I just want to thank you 🙂

This weeks baking project was amazingly EASY thanks to a recipe via the wonderful Something Swanky. Not only were they delicious cupcakes but they were for a small serving and only required 1 bowl which in my book is an A+ (I despise washing dishes.. lol). According to her recipe, it makes 4 cupcakes but I decided to go with mini-cupcakes and it made me 8 little bad boys. Perfect for post-dinner dessert without having leftovers!

Click here to view the original blog entry via Something Swanky!

The mini muffin baking sheet was $12.99 well spent at Target, a definite must have.

LOL, can you tell I don’t trust time and always poke my baking projects with a toothpick to see if they’re done?

For this cupcake, the frosting to cake ratio is just right if the frosting wins.

I think I’ll have to try making these again soon, with Reeses Minis. I was told they tasted sorta like a Reeses cupcake so I can only imagine if I had Reeses in them! I looooove Reeses.

How is your Wednesday going? I have a few friends coming back into town from school so it’s been fun getting to have catch-up dates (like last night with one of my oldest best friends Hazel). I’ve also been having bouts of insomnia at night so I wake up exhausted but I think it’s because all my blog ideas keep me up brainstorming. Any one else have that issue?

Here’s a song that I’ve had on repeat all week: Matt Kearney – Ships in the Night

Hope you have a great week!

*Feel free to click that grey button on the top of the right column of my blog that says “My Blog in Your E-mail”! 🙂

Simply Baking: Oreo Cupcakes

Perusing the net while craving Oreo cookies, I was delighted to stumble upon the beautiful foodie photos on AJ’s Cooking Secrets. It wasn’t long until I found an easy recipe for taking my favorite chocolate cookie to the next level with AJ’s recipe. After picking up a package of Oreos at the store, it was on like Donkey Kong (If you don’t get the 90s video game reference, I don’t know what to tell you).

(To see the actual AJ’s Cooking Secret blog post for Oreo cupcakes, click here!)

The crowning glory was honestly the frosting. It was to die for!

A hidden oreo inside of the cupcake too!

I was slightly disappointed that the Celebrate It! cupcake liners I bought from Michaels seemed to fade in the oven. I wanted the liner to be a bright pop of color but alas, it was not. Does anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions?

I have this terrible habit of going to Trader Joe’s on an empty stomach and $30 later, I have an arsenal of new snacks. My newest obsession? Trader Joe’s Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip! Anyone who loves spinach dips will appreciate this dip, which was 50% less calories and fat than regular spinach dip. And I kid you not, it tastes just like it!

Any Trader Joes or specialty snacks you can’t live without?

Happy Tuesday readers!

Love,
Evani