Chocolate Stout and Irish Cream Whoopie Pies

I recently read that February 24 is National Cupcake Day in Canada. Even though I’m not in Canada, that shouldn’t stop me from celebrating, right? Plus, it’s for a good cause. In that spirit, I share the best cupcakes I ever made. So, they’re actually whoopee pies, which I think are actually much better than cupcakes. They’re easier to eat, and you get a taste of cake and frosting in every bite. What could be better? When I made these Chocolate Stout and Irish Cream Whoopie Pies, I had to give them away so that I wouldn’t eat them all in one weekend. So, yeah, they’re that good.

bake me away!

Chocolate Stout and Irish Cream Whoopie Pies

I think this marks my first time posting a festive recipe several days before the actual holiday.  Shocking, right?  Unsurprisingly, this was kind of an experiment that I thought about doing awhile ago.  I didn’t come up with the recipe, but did try a different execution of it.

Did you know that I made a wedding cake almost a year ago?  It was this already huge chocolate stout cake recipe tripled and it was ridiculously delicious.  If you’ve never had chocolate stout cake, I think you should change that very soon.  It doesn’t taste beer-y, but has an even deeper chocolate flavor.  And just so you know, even beer haters like it. 🙂  By the way, all three winners of that Scharffen-Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest (remember?) incorporated stout into their cupcakes.  That’s saying something.

Anyway, I think Deb basically halved that cake recipe (she’d made it into a

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4 scientific studies on how meditation can affect your heart, brain and creativity

TED Blog

Many people have tried to sell me on the idea of meditating. Sometimes I try it, and have an incredible, refreshing experience. But usually, as I close my eyes and focus on my breathing, while I know that I’m supposed to be letting all thoughts go, more and more fly through my mind. Soon I have a laundry-list of “to-dos” in my head … and then my legs fall asleep. It’s all downhill from there.

Today’s TED Talk, however, might actually convince me to give meditation another shot.

“We live in an incredibly busy world. Our pace of life is often frantic, our minds are always busy, and we’re always doing something,” says Andy Puddicombe at the TEDSalon London Fall 2012. “The sad fact is that we’re so distracted that we are no longer present in the world in which we live. We miss out on the things…

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Kitchen Adventures: Breakfast Edition

I tried out some new breakfast ideas for an alternative to my spinach-and-(mostly) egg white omelets. One was a success. The other, eh.

Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa


from Damn Delicious

This was the one I really enjoyed. Great flavors and really filling. I’ve also seen a version for apple cinnamon breakfast quinoa and other varieties to try.

Banana Chia Pudding


from Rooted Blessings

I didn’t love this one, but it was mostly a texture thing for me. The consistency was similar to tapioca pudding, which has never been my favorite. It was a little runny (maybe I used too much milk, what with the not measuring and all). I did add some Pb2 powder (like a peanut butter banana!), which helped to thicken it up a bit.

Any other healthy breakfast ideas?

Embracing Doubt

In one of my first posts, I wrote about overcoming self-doubt. I’d like to revisit that topic. I think there is a step between experiencing doubt and overcoming it. I think we first must embrace it. Embrace it because doubt can be a good thing. Our first reaction to negative emotion usually is to try and make it go away, push through it, stop it somehow. We do this because negative emotions hurt, and we believe that if something hurts, it must be bad. But as Lesley Hazleton points out in her TED talk about doubt, sometimes these negative emotions open us up for something far greater. Doubt, for example, allows us to have faith. (If we had all the answers, why would we need faith?) Doubt allows us to feel accomplished when we prove to ourselves or to others that we can do something we (or they) didn’t think possible. I’ve learned that doubt shows us what we want. So maybe we don’t need to overcome it at all. Maybe by opening up to doubt, by moving with it rather than through it, we can experience something new.

Kitchen Adventures

I tried out a new recipe this weekend that made me so happy from start to finish that I had to share. Turns out it would be really good for a quick and easy weeknight meal. I had been drooling over Iowa Girl Eats’ Grilled Thai Beef Salad and decided to make a version of it. However, I was in the mood for fish after seeing some beautifully hot pink tuna steaks at the market, so I adapted her recipe slightly. I briefly marinated a tuna steak in sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic (I don’t measure things, so follow her recipe if you like exact quantities). The smell of sesame oil and garlic had me very excited for the flavors to ensue. I would probably eat just about anything that involved sesame oil and garlic. While that was marinating, I toasted some sliced almonds on the stovetop. Again, yummy smells making me very excited. After searing the tuna steak for about 1 minute on each side over medium-high heat, I piled that and the sliced almonds, along with a few grape tomatoes, on a bed of kale. I lightly drizzled the salad with more sesame oil, rice vinegar, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. The contrasting texture of the crisp kale and crunchy almonds with the melt-in-your-mouth, warm tuna was lovely.(How’s that for mindful eating?!) And there you have my Seared Tuna and Kale Salad.