Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Bourbon Caramel Cider Cake

Bourbon. Caramel. Cider. Cake. I mean, can I fit any more of my favorite things about fall in one dessert? Doubtful. This bourbon caramel cider cake tastes nothing like a typical cake mix cake, it has hints of everything you love about fall and it is relatively easy to make. I used your typical yellow cake mix, but you could really use any flavor you want. There is actually a caramel cake mix out that I think would be a delicious base. I pretty much followed the directions on the box, just subbing out the liquids and adding a few simple ingredients. 

yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup bourbon
1/3 cup melted butter ( or oil)
2 apples sliced 
1/2 cup caramel pieces

In a bowl, mix together the cake mix, eggs, cider, bourbon and butter. Once thoroughly combined, pour into the well greased pan of your choice. I used a large tart pan when I took pictures, but I have used an 8 x 13 also. 

Drop the caramel bits into the cake mix, saving a few. Arrange the apple slices and then place remaining caramel pieces over the apples. Bake as directed, 

I am not the biggest fan of fruit in cakes, I am just not at all. No apple pies, no cherry cobbler...just not my cup of tea. I did find myself enjoying this though. Maybe it's because I used granny smith apples and they still had a slight crunch when i bit into it. I think that this was best when it was still slightly warm and served with a big scoop of ice cream. I may have added caramel sauce over the cake and ice cream on more than one occasion. I'll never tell. 

Enjoying this treat while watching Hocus Pocus is about as good as it is going to get. Maybe you can indulge in a hot toddy while you devour this. Or savor it, the choice is yours;)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Rainy Day Thoughts

A few weeks ago I was able to visit my old neighbor, Theresa. She was my favorite part of our neighborhood and I have missed our many nights of movies and fellowship since she and her family moved to SC. I hadn't been to Greenville in years and kept hearing how much they had done to their downtown. I was over the moon to not only visit her, but check out how downtown Greenville has changed. 

These photos were taken on a slightly windy and rainy night, little did we know that two weeks later the whole state would basically be covered. I loved what they have done, even on the dreary day and nothing but a My Little Pony umbrella to keep me dry. They were abpe to develop the downtown but maintain their charm.

Please keep praying for South Carolina, what I am seeing in my newsfeed is just devastating! The Reedy Creek park area was just so lovely and we had such a fun time traipsing around in the rain and not taking ourselves seriously. As far as I have seen from the coverage, Greenville seems to have missed most of the major storms and damage, but just a few miles away and the road I took to travel on, are basically washed away. 

It's always hard to comprehend how fast destruction can come in and level everything in its wake. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Soda Monster

My weight has been an on again/off again struggle for me since I broke my leg in sixth grade and was on crutches for two years. I underwent multiple surgeries and was unable to participate in any sports or healthy activities. So I mainly ate. And ate a little more. I developed eating disorders along the way. I went from extremely thin to rather heavy. There was rarely an in between. This continued for about 15 years. 

On my 29th birthday I was the heaviest I had ever been and then, exactly a year later, I was at my thinnest. I gladly peaced out my twenties and grabbed tight to my thirties. Looking better than ever. I kept it off for a good while until my battle with mental illness took a hold of me again and I was put on a medicine that made me gain 18 lbs in less than a week. A few years later and the weight just climbed back on in a not so slow as much as steady manner. 

This photo was me on my heaviest at 29 and then a little over a year later at my thinnest. It was a 91 lb difference. I went from 237 lbs to 146lbs. 

While I am still 30 lbs thinner than I was on my 29th birthday, I am almost 60 lbs heavier than I was on my 30th. I have no desire to be at my smallest weight, but I definitely want to find the middle ground again. Not for the sake of any one else but myself. I want to love taking pictures with my friends again! I want to enjoy my wardrobe instead of clinching teeth and holding back tears when one less piece fits. 

Ultimately, this is where I would like to get back to, about 25/30 lbs less than now and about 20/25 lbs more than at my thinnest.  I weighed around 170 or so in this photo and I would be fine with that. I was a size 8/10. Now I am back in a 14/16. 

My number one enemy is soda. I am allergic to aspartame and so I can't have diet ( I've always heard it's terrible for you anyways) and therefore, the ones I drink usually carry a whopping 40 grams of sugar in them. It is not the calories that bother me so much as it is the sugar. I really need to cut it out. 

My problem is that it is just so good! I need to get back to loving green tea and homemade lemonade. 

If only I drank coffee instead of ice cream with coffee added or sugar filled creamer with a splash of coffee;) 

What is the one food or drink item that you have trouble with? Any tips to help me quit?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

I'd Rather Buy It

This morning I went to a shower for one of my friends that is getting married in the next few weeks. I hadn't seen her in a bit and, sadly, I had missed her bachelorette weekend. I was anxious to catch up with her and partake in a little bit of pre wedding hoopla. The shower was held at a sweet crepe restaurant and it was fun and it involved mimosas, ergo...Hi brunch. It was nice to mingle and get to know her friends leading up to her big day, the more ladies I know to shake my booty with at the reception, the merrier. 

Since it was held at a restaurant the need to decorate was minimal, but the touches that were added were tasteful and elegant. I soon realized the girl throwing the shower had made them and I was even more impressed. She went to the dollar store and some gold paint and a few embellishments later, they looked like she had purchased them for quite a few dollars somewhere. 

And this is where we get to me. I am an excellent cook. I can whip up an original cocktail and bless it with a whimsy name. I can also instagram delicious looking food like a boss.  This is right around the point my talents end. Unless you count being able to figure out a percentage based sale off the top of my head in about two seconds flat. I am the opposite of the pinterest crafty girl. I try. I do. I have even had fun with some of my failures. I've just accepted that they will usually end up looking like a massacre happened and instead of saving money I usually spend ten times the amount by making it myself and who knows how much time I waste on it. I would just rather buy what I need. 

I figured out awhile ago that this is all ok.  My best friend decorates her house the way of Restoration Hardware. Another friend puts outfits together that would make In Style magazine green with envy. I used to be slightly envious and then I figured out we each have our talents and we each have our inadequacies. We often are too busy wishing we could do something better that we never notice what our friends admire about us.  

Now if only I could get my husband to grasp that a clean house lies more on my inadequate list;)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Falling For Autumn

I have mentioned more than once how much I love Autumn. It is, by a landslide, my favorite season. It is still rather warm in North Carolina all through fall (well, usually...today the high is in the 50s and that rarely happens until November/December!) there are so many festivals, the colors here are so bold and bright. The aromas that fill the air with bonfires and bbq's. Football is back in full swing. My mind embraces fall in a way it doesn't any other season. It is almost as if life breathes a little deeper into me and my psyche. 

With that said, these are a few of my favorite scenes that I am looking forward to from the next few months. Memories that I love to look back on and ones I look forward to in the upcoming weeks.  Each of these pictures were taken in either southern Virginia or here in North Carolina. Most are local to the Raleigh or Durham area, some are in the Carolina mountains and well, the maple bourbon cannolis are from my kitchen. You can, of course, find the recipe on my food blog.

linking up with Amanda and September Farm