Fall Battenburg Cake.

Why, hello little cake… I really am sorry that I had to trim you to half your size to make you just the way I wanted you…

This cake was SO much fun to make. Super inspired and loving the halloweeny-feel of this cake, I decided to make my own. Mine clearly is more fall-inspired than Halloween, but I was super happy with how it turned out.

Oh, and not to brag… but I succeeded in making my own fondant! It was a mess, but it actually was not too hard. Is it cheating because I used marshmallows? Whatever. I enjoyed it.

Happy Halloween weekend!

Punkin muffins, punkin granola… and some caramel apples posing next to a punkin?

How much do you love PUNKINS? I’m obsessed right now. There are countless pumpkin (okay, for the remainder of this post I shall be an adult) recipes out there, and the exciting part is that a lot of them are even healthy! So I can eat my pumpkin without ingesting tons of sugar? YAY!

Trust me, come thanksgiving dinner, I will not be shying away from that glorious pumpkin pie, topped with a creamy dollop of whipped cream… but if I want to enjoy it all season, I might as well try to enjoy it in the healthiest way possible.

This granola. Ooooooh, this granola. I found this recipe over at Healthy Foods for Living, and was so excited that I decided to make it immediately. However, immediately does not mean that I get a trip to the store… so I used what I had on hand, and it burnt. Fail. It tasted alright, but after making it successfully the second time around with the correct ingredients, I know that it was not up to its glorious standards that first time.

If you have never made granola before, as I had not- it truly is not difficult. And it is SO rewarding. Granola can be expensive- but buying the ingredients and making it yourself can save you a lot of money. And, of course, you can control exactly what you put into it.

This granola was everything I love about fall eats rolled into one recipe. Think spicy pumpkin, sweet cranberries, crunchy pepitas… and then what can you do with it? Top your favorite pumpkin or apple ice cream with it… swirl it into your morning yogurt… or, if you are like me, do neither of those things because you eat your stash via hand-to-mouth method due to its crunchy irresistability.

Make it. Share it. I sent a bunch to my in-college sister in law and brother. Find the recipe here.

And if, after that, you are still craving pumpkin, and you haven’t used all the oats in your stash up…

Chocolate. Pumpkin. Oat. Muffins. AHHHHH!!

Of course, if you want to see truly luscious photography of these muffins from the creator, visit Family Fresh Cooking. You can find the recipe there as well.

These muffins did not disappoint. The original recipe called for chocolate jimmies (the long, hot-dog shaped sprinkles), but as I did not have any on-hand I shaved some chocolate and that worked just fine. Also called for 2 tsp Stevia powder, and I used 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar instead. Now, the way I did it- these did not turn out very sweet. If you like your muffins to be sweet, I would double or triple the amount of brown sugar that I used.

This was my first time using “oat flour!” I didn’t buy anything special- I simply dumped a cup of old-fashioned oats into my blender and processed them until they were as fine as my blender could make them. I think oat flour contributed to what I loved about the flavor and texture of these muffins. I have a problem with foods that make me feel heavy and full after eating them- many muffins are like that. These are bready and light without tasting dry.

I might have eaten four of them this morning… with a baby dollop of almond butter atop each! Mmmm…

And, last but not least…

Just for fun. I made some caramel a little over a month ago, and since the recipe made a huge amount, it’s been sitting, uneaten in my fridge. I could just throw it away, but I have issues. Turns out my hoarding qualities came in handy- I was craving a little caramel-covered apple on a fall day, and so I brought some out to play.

That pumpkin, so you know, is a special pumpkin. It is the result of a trip to the pumpkin patch with my husband and my mother in law, during which we wandered around searching for the perfect pumpkin for at least 45 minutes.

I hope that you are enjoying your PUNKIN this season! ūüėČ

The day of the insatiable chocolate craving…

And so I baked.

Chris came in the door to see this little batch of heaven sitting and cooling on the counter, and here is the conversation that followed:

Mr: “You baked!”

Mrs: “Yes! Want some?”

Mr: “What’s the catch? What did you do to them?”

Mrs: “Catch? They’re brownies! Eat them!”

Mr: “Tell me what’s in them, Andrea…”

So much suspicion. Not unmerited, however… I am rather known around these parts for sneaking “healthful” ingredients into otherwise unhealthful things.

And if I could hand you one of these fat, chocolatey, dense brownies without revealing the secret ingredients, I would.

Stop that. These are definitely special brownies. But not in the way that you are thinking! These guys are sweetened with honey, made more nutritious with whole-wheat flour, more heart-healthy with olive oil, and even amps up your daily veggie-meter with grated zucchini.

Ok, so after all that, it also has an entire bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips… but these are still probably the healthiest brownies you will ever make.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies
Adapted very slightly from Cookies and Kate

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 inch square baking pan.
  2. Grate zucchini, wring out over sink to get the excess moisture out.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the wet ingredients (oil, eggs, honey and vanilla). Stir in the zucchini.
  4. In a separate, smaller bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and cinnamon).
  5. Pour the dry mixture into the wet/zucchini mixture. Stir just until combined, and then stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared pan.
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely… they truly achieve their best “brownie” texture if allowed to get cold in the refrigerator.

If you are picky about tasting olive oil, either use a light olive oil or substitute it for a different oil. I used extra-virgin because it was what I had, and I could taste it slightly. This makes for a very dense, intense brownie, which helps to satisfy your chocolate craving with only a little piece! I cut mine into 24 small pieces.

Enjoyyyyy!

Rachael Ray’s Chipotle Turkey-Apple Chili!

One of the best gifts I’ve gotten in the past few years is a subscription to Rachael Ray magazine. My mother signed me up for my birthday this year, and I don’t think she really imagined just how much I would appreciate the gift. I literally comb through each issue, read every single recipe, study every new-to-me method, and drool over the beautifully-photographed food. I am glued to the couch for a good hour or two, scissors in hand, frantically cutting out recipes that I think would be fun to make and that Mister Webb may enjoy eating.

Something that may be totally obvious but that I have learned in the past year is this: I will probably only like the outcome of a recipe if I know that the ingredients are things that I like. My rationale was, at one time, that the individual ingredients didn’t matter so long as they turned into something new… This works for some things (who eats flour raw? but everyone loves cookies) but not for others. Especially with a selective husband, I make sure the ingredients by themselves make me drool before I set out to make dinner.

Apple cider… tart green apples… toasted pumpkin seeds… chipotle peppers?! Sign me UP.

I must inform you that this piece of cookware is one of my favorites. Obviously a wedding gift, because I know they are expensive… but I love that this guy can go straight from the stovetop to the oven. And bright red is so fun.

This looks icky because, well, anything meat-y and sweating so that all the flavors come together will look icky. At least, they will with my photography skills.

But this is better, right? This was a win of a recipe- confirmed by Mr and Mrs. The most exciting part to me was the toppings. The cheese got all melty on top, and the pepitas and cool, crunchy apples gave a nice texture contrast to the chili. Now, if only the weather would hurry up and get more appropriately fall-like so that I may feel right in enjoying this type of cold-weather fare.

So that you, too, can make this, go here.

Mrs webb in an interview suit.

I may be Mrs. Webb in the kitchen, but tonight I am Mrs. Webb in an interview suit.

Everyone who has ever looked for a job knows the frustration and anxiety that can often accompany the search. I have been out of college for nearly a year, and have yet to land a position that I see myself in for a long time and uses my skills and talents. Even though I try and calm the voice within that chides me for being a year out of college and still serving coffee, it is difficult to quiet it completely.

I know that I am extremely blessed and in a happy, happy spot in my life. I am married to a wonderful and supportive husband, I genuinely enjoy working at Starbucks, and I am in no sort of desperate financial need to work more between my husband and I. Yet still, it is tough to get dressed up, get your hopes up about a position that sounds challenging and exciting, only to know that there is a large possibility that someone else will be more qualified or attractive for the position than you.

I need to remind myself this, and I hope that if you are getting down on yourself for any reason, job related or otherwise, you will too: I know that I have unique strengths that will help me to be the best I can be at the job that I am best fit for. Every position I apply for will not be that job, and that is the¬†point of an interview. I should be thankful for the interview process,¬†as its purpose is to¬†find¬†the¬†person whose abilities and experience best fit the job, and not to judge a person’s¬†validity as worthy of working in general.

Just because I do not land this job does not mean that my talents, skills, personality, and abilities are not of value to someone, somewhere. Next time you are dressed for success and heading off to an interview, look in the mirror and remind yourself of how talented and skilled you are. Even if you don’t land that job.

Pumpkin-spice-latte cheesecake POPS!

Yes, I work at Starbucks. I believe that this is the second time it has come up in the space of 5 or 6 blog posts? Anywho, I love me some pumpkin spice. Last year, I found a recipe for pumpkin spice cheesecake, which I loved so much that I made twice in the same season. (Mind you, I had help… I lived with 5 girls, and the second cheesecake I baked joined the pie table at family Thanksgiving)

This year, continuing in the spirit of using up leftovers, I had leftover plain cheesecake batter and decided to add a little bit of pumpkin puree, spices, and instant coffee granules to it to give it that pumpkin spice kick.

Where is the cheesecake, you say?!

If you haven’t heard of the food-on-a-stick trend yet, let me be the first to inform you: food on a stick is FUN! Especially when it is in lollipop form and transports you back to childhood at first bite.

The process for making cheesecake pops is actually quite time-consuming, but allows for limitless creativity. I actually baked my made-over cheesecake leftovers in a bread pan, since I only had a few cups. Since the next step is simply to scoop out melon-ball rounds of cheesecake, the shape the cheesecake has baked in doesn’t matter. The scooped-out cheesecake is dropped onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper for easy release and put into the freezer until firm.

This is where you can get creative… I used up the ends of bags of melting chocolates I had left over from my wedding favors. Frozen cheesecake balls are dipped/rolled in melted chocolate (after you stab them with some sort of lolly stick…) and then put back in the freezer until firm. I rolled some of mine in chopped walnuts, and I’m sure that you could get really crafty and use all sorts of sprinkles and candies.

The sad story behind these beauties, as you may be able to see, is that I left them uncovered in the freezer for several weeks and they endured a little bit of freezer burn. I had planned on taking them to a meeting that got cancelled… the trash can was ultimately their sad fate.

I try and use everything that I make and everything that I buy, but the problem is that sometimes I enjoy making and baking treats like these more than eating them.

Soft pretzel roll turkey burgers.

Alright, so I realize that we’ve all moved on past barbecue fare and are knee-deep in stews, soups, and casseroles with this change of the weather, but I am going to have to ask you to pardon me for several reasons:

1) It’s not technically “barbecue” fare seeing as what we use to cook burgers is a George Foreman grill.

2) This is probably the most delicious meal I have made in a long time.

I know you are thinking about how disgusting and goopy those look. Just you wait…

Throughout my life, I have had a means of expression of my nerdiness in some way or another… girl scouts, marching band, harry potter… my most recent nerd-fascination is in the way of food. I am fascinated by the process of how the same ingredients can come together into so many different things! How many recipes call for flour, butter, sugar, baking soda/powder, and then produce different results?

A few months back, I nerd-ed over this soft pretzel roll recipe on How Sweet It Is and I knew that I had to make them some day. Last night, I had the ingredients for turkey burgers, but was without buns. Voila! A viable excuse.

Turns out that making pretzels is a long process, but not difficult. It takes two rising sessions before you get to the fun part: poaching them! They are dropped into a pot of boiling water mixed with baking soda before they are baked. It was after this stage that they turned into the attractive, squishy balls of goo that you have seen above. And it was at this stage that they smelled like pretzels and I went, “a-ha…”

After baking, they are transformed.

Much better, eh?

They were crunchy and chewy on the outside, and soft on the inside, like a pretzel should be. When it came ’round time for dinner, I threw some turkey burger patties into them, melted a little cheddar cheese on top, and added a crunchy lettuce leaf to round it all out.

Read about the process and make them yourself at the Tasty Kitchen.

Now, drool over these and wish it was summer so you would have an excuse to make these every night.

Or, don’t, actually, because fall is my favorite season…