Hosting Thanksgiving (I’m still here!)
So that was quite a hiatus…I’ll admit that blogging is not a priority among the senior year scramble. Honestly I haven’t even read some of my favorite blogs in months! (PBFingers and Simply Taralynn withdrawals.)
The semester wraps up in about a week and that little light at the end of the tunnel has me fired up to get back to HOBBIES like reading that stack of books I bought over the summer, trying some of the recipes I pinned, and maybe even updating this little site here and there :) I’m honestly surprised to see that so many of you stuck around during my drought of posting. I missed you!
Back to normal, I’ll recap my *healthified* Thanksgiving. We deviated from tradition this year….my parents came to ME. For my first three years of college, I took the overnight train home for Thanksgiving two weeks before finals. It was always a little hectic and rushed. My new apartment this year is comfortable enough to have guests over (I feel so grown up!) so I invited my parents and Missy to spend the holiday weekend with me.
Before they arrived, I tried to make the apartment as festive as possible. I have an addiction to candles, so I started saving the empty glasses to refill with tea lights and festive fillers. Yay for recycling!
I was CONVINCED that I would cook the entire Thanksgiving meal all by myself…….until I realized (or someone pointed out to me) that in order to cook a turkey, one must use their hands to remove the giblets and guts from the inside.
Well that’s not happening.
A pre-cooked ham ;) glad we can be flexible! Our meal was rounded out with my lightened-up sweet potato casserole (no marshmallows allowed), roasted broccoli and brussels, and a corn bread stuffing that my parents brought.
I’ll admit it isn’t as impressive-looking as last year’s Thanksgiving, but for a first attempt I’d say not bad :) Most important part was spending the day with my family! Aside from a malfunctioning can-opener, we avoided any major catastrophes. What more can you ask for.
I have to say, I was most proud of my bartending skills. I’ve discovered the simple perfection that is sangria this year. An apple cranberry sangria was a perfect afternoon cocktail for my mom and I, but I knew my dad wouldn’t be so appreciative of fruity wine to go with his football game. My mason jars were perfect for the “Fire Jolly Rancher” – sparkling apple cider with Fireball whiskey, over ice sprinkled with brown sugar. It’s a sipper!
The night was rounded out by homemade praline pumpkin pie (and coffee, duh) with a good ole’ family movie night.
Obviously we couldn’t be sedentary too long after THAT meal so we took to the trails the next day for a hike in the gorgeous fall weather. I love that my family is as happy going on outdoor explorations as I am. Black Friday has nothing on these views:
Hosting Thanksgiving was so much fun, I felt like I was playing “housewife” ;) Until reality kicked in that I have three final presentations, two research papers, and a couple finals exams in these last 7 days of school. But I missed this little online scrapbook. I’ve had so many workouts, recipes, adventures and stories that I’ve “wanted to post” and didn’t have the time. Hopefully I can play catch up over the coming winter break!
So I can’t promise that I’m back with the usual posts, but I can promise that I’m not done forever (though I thought I was for a bit.) And you know I have no shortage of cute Missy pictures: As if there are any that aren’t cute… ;)
Vegan Green Goodness Cupcakes
My warm-weather friend made my weekend infinitely brighter. I call Chelsea my “Sun Buddy.” She traded the mountains and snow for the desert to become an ASU Sun Devil. She is my beach lovin’ friend! Miss Chelsea and I can talk for 8 hours straight and always find fun in outdoor adventures or some sort of healthy cooking. Saturday we made the greenest cupcakes you ever did see with a modified recipe from the Oh She Glows cookbook.
Please make these cupcakes. Shred some zucchini. Bake it in a cake. Get a little fancy with pistachio crumbs. Impress your family. Don’t tell them it’s made with vegetables. Laugh about the lime green frosting. We call them Shrek Cakes!
Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cupcake Recipe:
(Adpated from Oh She Glows) Makes 12 large cupcakes
- 1 Tbs. ground flaxseed
- 3 Tbs. Water
- 1 1/4 cup almond milk
- 2 tps. apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tbs. pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 Tbs. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (we used mini!)
- 1 1/4 cup shredded zucchini
1. Preheat over to 350 degrees and line cupcake pan.
2. Stir ground flaxseed and water and set aside. In a separate bowl, stir almond milk and vinegar and also set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
4. Pour flax mixture into almond milk mixture. Add in maple syrup, and vanilla.
5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips and shredded zucchini.
6. Bake for 15-18 minutes; set aside to cool
- 1 large very ripe avocado
- 3 Tbs. confection sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Mash avocado. Using a mixer, combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to frost cupcakes. Garnish with crushed pistachio pieces.
**We joked that avocado frosting would taste like sweet guacamole. It did not, though the avocado is still detectable and I think that is a very good thing. Californians have a special obsession with avocados. ;)
So Clean. So Green.
We loved the cupcakes (and so did our taste testers!) but I think everyone agreed they were best without frosting. The avocado topping is great for looks but the muffins are perfect just by themselves (or with fresh coffee, but that goes without saying.)
Baking aside, I had not properly celebrated Chelsea’s 21st birthday yet! We hit up downtown and stopped for a drink. At an espresso bar. Appropriate? I think so. :) I’m way too excited for our autumn plans, tailgate parties, football games, and all things pumpkin.
I am so grateful to have a friend with such a big heart. People who prioritize their friends and relationships, who can have a conversation without looking at their phones, who make an effort and make time to make silly memories are (sadly) rare. I’ve had too many experiences being someone’s friend when it’s “convenient.” This applies to relationships too. It is painfully obvious when someone values your friendship less than you value theirs. When you find a friend like Chelsea, count yourself lucky.
SUN BUDDIES FOR LIFE ;)
Now go get your green on and post it up on Insta!