Now that the Christmas season is over, we are done with the baked cookies, gingerbread, peppermint-flavored chocolates, and fancy lattes right? I think my ability to say “no” ran out and I completely overdid the holiday-flavored everything. At least the temptations will soon be gone and we can start fresh :)
But before we look to 2014, let’s relive Christmas day one more time.
We were spoiled with 75-degree sunshine which I soaked up on a 6-mile Christmas day run with my dad along the dirt canal wearing shorts and a tank top in the middle of winter. I’m so thankful to have this guy on the bike next to me while I pound the pavement around town.
- Your stocking is filled with protein bars.
- More than one present is gear for your upcoming marathon.
- You’re Christmas presents are addressed like this:
Our holidays are pretty calm, just my mom, my dad and I. (And Missy of course.) I’m always jealous of friends with a dozen cousins and big crazy families with huge celebrations. I want a Christmas like in the movies with a full table and a loud house. (Yes I’m totally picturing Christmas Vacation right now.)
I had a hard time coming up with a Christmas list for my parents this year. I sent them my book wish-list on Amazon including Gone Girl, The Maze Runner, The Happiness Project and The Giver series plus a couple style Vans. They picked out the rest themselves, and I think they know me better than I know myself!
For my new apartment I am now stocked with a coffee bean grinder, milk frother, baking ware, & a kitchen scale (no more guesstimating serving sizes for nuts & pasta!)
They also picked out an iPod arm band and wrist pocket for my fuel packs for next month’s MARATHON along with some running attire. But my favorite, a gorgeous pair of earrings that I may or may not have exchanged this morning for an even more gorgeous pair ;)
Diamonds may be some girls’ best friend but this girl loves PINK.
My Pinterest boards came in handy as I made a few Sharpie Mugs. My dad recently moved into his own new office so I created and framed some quotes over top of some of my pictures for his desk. My favorite since it’s so appropriate for my life:
I love giving out one-of-a-kind gifts because they are so personal :)
My absolute favorite tv show is and always will be Gilmore Girls (followed up closely by Friends though!). And if you’ve ever watched an episode then you’ve seen the quaint town of Stars Hollow. The fictional New England town is the epitome of my dream home, and I would start every day at Luke’s Diner just like Lorelei and Rory do. (If you have no idea what I am talking about, you are truly missing out on one of the most fantastic series of the twenty-first century.) When I opened my Christmas present containing a Luke’s Diner t-shirt from Warner Bros. website……well, my face says it all:
After my 6-miler I spent a few hours just lounging in bed with a new book, some music, coffee and snacks which felt HEAVENLY.
After dinner, my mom and I walked our neighborhood to “pre-burn” some of our Christmas dessert calories ;) We are big fans of the “pre-burn” in our house. I know I’m not the only one who is thankful that the Christmas desserts are done. They are hard to refuse but nasty to lose….January’s gym sessions will be spent undoing December’s desserts ;)
And with that another Christmas come n’ gone!
Yesterday my family resumed our 5:00am gym workouts – Christmas vacation must be over.
The tree is still up but it looks naked without presents underneath. I’m not ready to pack away all of the holiday decorations just yet! Like this cute centerpiece my mom made, just a vase with candy canes lining the rim and filled with mini shiny ornaments.
Since we had been so busy all December with traveling and medical stuff, Christmas kind of crept up on us. We didn’t even do our annual baking for friends and neighbors! So I knew I wanted to make something special for Christmas dessert. I found a perfect recipe on Pinterest from Sprinklebakes.com. A homemade Gingerbread Coffee Bundt Cake with Espresso Icing. Sometimes we make exceptions from our healthy diet; Christmas dessert was one of them ;)
Cake from scratch is a million times better than from a box; I added lots of extra ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg because I don’t think you can have too much flavor for a spice cake. And the fact that there is coffee in the cake and icing is perfect…my family certifiably is addicted to coffee. Lately the three of us finish off a full pot of coffee within an hour of being awake. We have turned into two-pots-a-day people. Yikes! Honestly I just love the flavor.
The cake turned out perfect! Dark brown with tons of cinnamon and spice flavors. Next comes the “glaze.” It is just espresso or STRONG coffee (that sounds familiar…) and powdered sugar.
Confession: I struggle with glazing a cake. I have made approximately three cakes (all from Joy the Baker) that involve making a glaze from powdered sugar and some form of liquid and they never turn out like the picture. Instead of resting thick and glossy atop the cake, my glaze gets absorbed into the cake or just runs down the side. If anyone knows the trick to making a real glaze, help me out!
I ended up just about doubling the powdered sugar to make it thick enough to stay on the cake. I also recommend making your espresso/coffee as strong as possible so that you can still taste it over the sugar.
Gingerbread Coffee Bundt Cake with Espresso Icing:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 heaping tsp ginger
2 heaping tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup STRONGLY brewed coffee
1 1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs, plus
2 egg yolks
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and Flour a bundt pan (I recommend this instead of spraying with non-stick spray); set aside.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- In a separate bowl, stir together molasses and coffee.
- In another large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixture. Add in the brown sugar and beat for another couple of minutes. Next, beat in the 3 eggs and 2 egg yolk one at a time.
- Alternately add the flour mixture and molasses mixture to the egg mixture; begin and end with the flour.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and use a spatula to smooth over the top.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the bundt pan for 20 minutes; then remove from pan and turn it over on a wire rack to cool completely.
3 Tablespoons Espresso (or strong coffee)
1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
- Whisk together the coffee and sugar until completely smooth. Pour over the cake, let it set for at least an hour before serving.
Despite the not-so-glazey glaze, this cake turned out to be delicious, and got two thumbs up from the family! It’s very much like a more dense spice cake with a sweet topping and should absolutely be enjoyed with a fresh mug of coffee.
Missy enjoyed her Christmas too and even found of couple presents for her under the tree!
We are in the City that Never Sleeps. Though ironically, that is precisely what I am prescribed to do for recovery after my surgery on Monday. But it’s Christmas time in the Big Apple and we are feeling especially stir crazy. At first I was a little excited about lounging around in comfy jammies, watching TV, and eating soup – the antithesis of last week at school when I was struggling to finish finals and semester projects.
But after a day of rerun episodes on E! and ABC Family channels, I realized how nonsensical it was to sit on the couch watching people traipse around Manhattan when it was directly out the window. I watched Carrie in Sex & the City with her friends in a Midtown café (dressed to perfection, of course.) And then there’s Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada flagging down a cab. Officer Benton in Law & Order heading to the New York City precinct. Blair from Gossip Girl eating macaroons on the Upper East Side. Even the novel I’m reading Queen of Babble describes Liz’s dream of moving into the city to pursue a career in the fashion district.
Message delivered; we headed out. I had to buy an extra-large pair of sunglasses to shield the multi-colored bruise around my eye and as much of the swelling as I could. Cheap sunglasses and a winter hat = incognito ;)
Any outing with my mom and I starts with a large cup of coffee. In the past three days, we have gone to Starbucks, Morton Williams, and Balducci’s for a little morning coffee variety. Columbus Circle is not too far away, and on the corner of Central Park is a seasonal outdoor “market” of vendors decorated for Christmas.
We walked through the park, by the ice rink, up to 5th Avenue for a latte from the cafe in FAO Schwartz Toy Store (where we saw the most expensive stuffed animals I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I giant Panda for $1,400. What’s wrong with a good ole’ beanie baby?). Anyone seen the 80’s Tom Hanks movie Big? The piano scene? Filmed at FAO and the piano is still there for shoppers to dance on.
Across the street is the Plaza hotel, massive and beautifully decorated. We walked through the entrance to pretend for a moment we were among the hotel guests, like Donald Trump or Eloise.
Back to reality and over to Lincoln Center. One of my surgeons met with my mom and I Thursday afternoon; when she heard we’d be in the city for almost another week, she said she had tickets to the Broadway play “War Horse” that she couldn’t use. She gave the tickets to my mom and I for the Friday night showing at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in the Lincoln Center.
The accents were my favorite part! The 3-hour show took place in during World War 1, with characters sporting English (Cockney), Irish, French and German accents that I tried to imitate on the way home ;) At first I was a little skeptical of how realistic the giant puppets used for horses could look. But the production did a great job of creating life-like movements with the large horses, and we were impressed.
Rockefeller Center at nighttime was also spectacular, so crowded with everyone trying to get pictures with the famous Rockefeller Tree. The lights, the music, the tree and the crowds made it such a festive time here! The ice rink just below the tree is quaint and small compared to the one in Central Park, and my mom and I might head back to skate in the next couple of days.
Today it is rainy and dreary, though we took an umbrella-covered stroll to Riverside Park, along the Hudson River. It was totally desolate outside, unlike the hustling and bustling we are used to closer to Times Square. The city folk must have been in church or in bed. We are going to pick out a Christmas movie this afternoon. I do love old black and white Christmas movies. It’s a Wonderful Life is a classic, but I think my favorite is Christmas in Connecticut.
What’s Your Favorite Christmas Movie?