Pumpkined Out

Now that I have resurfaced into the real world after adventures in Thanksgivingland I am in full holiday swing.  How many people did you celebrate with?  Was it 8 people in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment?  Did you also have a 22 pound turkey which left you with 10 pounds of leftovers?  What’s that you say?  That’s insane?  Welcome to my family.  My lovely family of 4 that decides that a 20-pound bird is the norm.  There were some additional guests which consisted of my boyfriend’s parents and my brother’s girlfriend too.  It was my first time hosting Thanksgiving.  Annnnnd the first time our parents met.  um, yeah.  it’s kind of maybe a serious thing we got going on here.  Lots of awesome people in a tiny space = fine holiday fun.  I was beyond stressed and nervous the night before as I baked 2 pies and a cake in my teeeeeny kitchen.  My amazing boyfriend was the best as he went out to get us a classic pre-Turkey Day feast.  Of sushi.  Cause that’s how we roll.

But after all the festivities and the planning, it was an amazing weekend.  Even better that my Thursday started with bear-hugging a pound of legit Italian Prosciutto.  My family bakes brownies.  My boyfriend’s eats meat.  Match made in heaven.  It was such a great weekend, coupled with engagement parties, friends visiting, being a DC tourist, ending with mulled apple cider with Boardwalk Empire.  WHOA.  That is all I can say about that.  I’m kind of nervous for the season finale.  But let’s get back to more important things.  Like festive treats.  And pumpkin, obviously.
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A Food Stamp Challenge

I love Thanksgiving.  I think any food blogger can agree that this is a holiday to get behind.  I love any holiday that involves massive quantities of eating and fall/winter holidays are tailor-made for that.  

photo: www.examiner.com

But sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and realize how lucky we are.  In a week I will get to consume enough food for a small army and create my own little food baby.  But many are not so lucky.  According to the Department of Agriculture, 47.1 million American rely on assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or Food Stamps as we commonly refer).  As of August 2012, the national monthly Food Stamp Allotment is $133.42 per person, or $277.04 per household of 4.  In Washington, D.C., roughly 23% of the population relies on Food Stamps (140,000 as of November 2012).  In The District the weekly benefit for those on Food Stamps equates to $32/week for an individual.

Grocery shopping can be a daily occurrence to me.  I can swing by Trader Joe’s or Safeway after work if I am in the mood to bake something, or need more eggs, or have a craving for pita bread.  I never think twice about spending $20 every few days for “essentials.”  But so many do not have that luxury and I know I am extremely lucky to have the means to do so.

Fellow DC bloggers (and eater of my cupcakes) are taking a big step in raising awareness of hunger in the District and participating in The Food Stamp Challenge.  For one week they will live as if they are on food stamps, spending only $32 on groceries and food.  Follow along in their journey and get some insight into the challenges that so many Americans face everyday.  I can honestly say I do not know what it is like to go to bed hungry and I can have a $4.00 latte if I want.  For so many hard working people living in our country, this is not the case.  As a researcher at an early childhood company I know that not having proper nutrients can have a detrimental affect on a child’s development.  Going to bed hungry is just one of the issues that young children in our country face and Amanda and Liz are bringing that awareness front and center.  Please go to their site and support them in their challenge!

photo: http://foodcraveblog.blogspot.com

Statistics from The US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service website 

Apple Cider Cupcakes

So this isn’t pumpkin.  But I might have done it again.  Yes, I bring to you another boozy baked good.  What is wrong with me?  For some reason I can not get over this alcoholic obsession.  Maybe because I like to change it up.  Maybe I’m a fan of bad decisions.  I’m pretty sure it’s because I like delicious things.  Yeah.  Let’s go with that.

Read on, there’s more!

A Pumpkin Surprise

Who is ready for a party?

I have never made pumpkin cupcakes but thoroughly enjoy them when they are released.  Obviously.  It’s cake.  And it’s pumpkin.  So it’s awesome.  I made these little babies for a party I was going to and wanted to make them a little extra special.  I think I am on to something here.  Seriously, people.  You might as well just call me The Boozy Baker because that is what I do.  Bourbon is pretty great in a plethora of goodies, and especially sweet things.  I started this obsession with whiskey brownies and now I can’t stop.  I need an intervention.  Except no.  No I do not.

I think being such a big person (I am 5’11” and have the longest legs) I am obsessed with all things mini.  I love babies,  baby animals, and my boyfriend is mini (not a midget, as my favorite 10-year-old likes to state).  But my favorite mini?  Cupcakes.  Sorry, Steve.  But mini cupcakes are the greatest.  I think they make the whole cupcake craze so much better.  Those girls that like to split a cupcake?  Who are they?  It’s 4-5 bites.  Or 2-3 Sarah Bites.  But if it really is SO horrible to eat a whole cupcake, that’s where these minis come in.

My little minis

And these cupcakes.  I don’t even know where to begin.  You got pumpkin cake.  Pretty great.  And cardamom cream cheese frosting.  Always awesome.  Oh, did I mention there is some ganache thrown in there too?  Yep.  There definitely is.  Not just any ganache.  Nutella ganche.  Whoops.  I mean Nutella Bourbon Ganache.  It’s a little fall-themed flavor bomb in your mouth.  And it is every kind of explosion I will ever want.

Pumpkin explosion.  Let me at it.

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