Sincerely Carolina

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Hey, Why Don't Ya Come On Over?

by caroline

Hey, there. We're being a little lazy over here.

But yesterday was wonderfully busy, busy! I felt like from the moment I woke up until the moment my head hit the pillow it was go, go, go! I headed out in the early morning to run some errands — grocery store, bank, oh, and, of course, the bookstore. Ha! I guess that's not a normal "errand", but it often manages to squeeze its way onto my to-do list. Actually, the reason I stopped was because our local Borders Booksellers was one of the locations to fall victim to being shut down as a result of the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Dan came along for the ride — he's becoming much more mobile now, but I am still his chauffeur — and we decided it would be fun to poke around and pick up a few good books. And it was … at first. But then it just became sort of nauseating to see the people piling in and scooping up books like the world was coming to an end and buying books was their last hope for survival. It was kind of sad. I love books and to see another bookstore close down as a result of poor sales — it's heartbreaking. One of the things I love most about the book buying process is standing in a bookstore and breathing in the smell of the books, absorbing all of the words that have been put onto paper. I hope we always have the opportunity to do that.

 

I'm not saying I don't like a good book bargain, but the weirdest part was that the deals weren't even that great yet. I am sure the books will get marked down many more times, but it was only 20 percent off of new, non-clearance books and 40 percent off of magazines. I had planned on staying for awhile (I always take my time at bookstores), but once I took a look around, I just decided to get the one book and magazines I was holding, and call it a day. That's not to say I am not super excited to dive into these babies, but the whole experience was a little bittersweet. I picked up the latest Shape magazine with the gorgeous Sophia Vergara on the cover, Natural Health mag, Veg News with the ultra-stellar Kris Carr on the cover and … drum roll please … BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery by Erin McKenna. I've been lusting for this book for quite some time and yesterday was the day our happy union finally came into fruition. Saying I can't wait to try some of these recipes would be a complete understatement. After the bookstore and some other running around, we headed back home, so I could get to work on my spring cleaning. It was a perfect day to open the windows and air everything out, and even more optimal because our friends were coming over, so I had an opportunity to make everything look sparkly clean. The process, of course, took a lot longer than usual because I am used to having a partner in scrubbing. But since Dan is still healing, there were only some little tasks that I would let him help with. One of them: Making pizza. Dan whipped up my gluten-free dough first and then set to work on the several pizza doughs he was making for the non-gluten-free peeps.

After cleaning, I whipped up a batch of gluten-free peanut butter brownies (see below for recipe), showered, and before I knew it our friends were arriving! Dan put my pizza in the oven (we always do my stuff first to keep it in the free and clear of possible contaminates), and then popped the regular pies into the oven, mixing up the toppings between goat cheese, fresh mozzarella, peppers, mushrooms, onions and plenty of others. Everything was yummy and the best part was hanging out with two of our favorite people. Case and Annalise are a dancer couple with whom Dan works, and we all have become close. Love them! I always steal a few moments with this cutie (It's OK, I have Annalise's blessing). I look so tall in this picture because I am sitting on his lap! And, of course, we had to get in a girl-y shot which apparently requires hands on the hips. This one made me giggle! The night, of course, would not have been complete with out a yumm-a-licious dessert, so I made my gluten-free brownie cupcakes, topped with peanut butter and chocolate sauce. I love when I perfect a recipe that pleases even the non-gluten-free munchers, and this is one of them!

Case and Annalise loved these and that, of course, makes this gluten-free baker smile! Here are the deets:

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Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes (Gluten-free!) Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup safflower oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup G-Spot Gluten Free Baking Flour Blend
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp of peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray or by brushing on oil (safflower or canola).

In a medium bowl, mix together the safflower oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs by hand or with hand mixer on low setting.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Begin to add it into the egg mixture, adding slowly and stirring until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when poked through the center. When cupcake brownies are finished and cooling, prepare the peanut butter sauce.

Turn stove on low heat, and add peanut butter to a small pot. Place pot on heat and allow peanut butter to melt for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Turn heat off and add milk. Stir, stir, stir until the sauce has a syrup-like texture. Add more milk (slowly) if necessary. Remove brownies from pan and drizzle syrup on top of each one, as desired.

I flipped mine over before topping because I wanted them to have a flat bottom and rounded top, but it’s your call! Top each brownie cupcake with a spoonful of the sauce, smoothing it so it looks pur-dy.

(I also drizzled these guys with chocolate sauce, but it was more for aesthetics. If you want to do the same, use 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup milk. Turn stove on low heat, and add chocolate chips to a small pot. Place pot on heat and allow chocolate to begin melting. Stir constantly until fully melted and then add milk; continue to stir consistently until sauce has a syrup-like texture. Add more milk (slowly) if necessary. Drizzle on top of peanut butter.)

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As for today, it's rainy poo-poo outside, so Dan and I are hanging out indoors, baking, cooking and creating our vision boards! And, hey, I may just snuggle with this guy.