Mah hurrr

This is how I do my hair when I cook...because no one likes hairy cupcakes.  >.<

(PS this isn't me...I got this off of www.imgfave.com...She sure looks like me though...enough to where my boyfriend actually thought she WAS me haha)

Values and Ventures

Hello everyone!

If y'all didn't know, I am a college student in Texas, and my university is having an entrepreneurship competition called "Values and Ventures". The idea is that we have to create a business and include in it some sort of values that we hold. We have to write up a professional 20 page business plan and give a presentation to judges this Friday afternoon.

And of course my business is none other than the Brown Sugar Brunette Baking Company, based on this blog that I began back in January. I think I'm the only "team" (I use that word lightly, because I'm working alone at this) that is not a business major or minor, and that definitely puts me at a disadvantage. But if I win I get $500 and will compete in the national competition. If I happened to win that I would get a $10,000 prize, which would propel my baking dreams into reality.

This week will be one of my most hectic yet, but it will all be worth it if I win. Not only because the money would REALLY help out, but because I can finally say that I went after my dreams and succeeded at doing something super awesome.

Just letting y'all know what's going on in my life right now. Little sleep, many cups of coffee, and of course, LOTS of baking! Look out, because the Brown Sugar Brunette Baking Co. will showcase 2 of our sample products for Friday's presentation on here. HINT: Purple WILL be involved! What more can you expect from a horned frog? ;)

If you'd like to help out (AND I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT), go over to Facebook, look up "Brown Sugar Brunette", and like our page. Then tell your friends to do the same. Then invite people to read/follow this blog. If you could do that for me I will love you forever. <3

Thanks and have a great week!


Anatomy of a cupcake

I found this adorable diagram online by Allen Hemberger called "The Anatomy of a Cupcake", and wanted to share it with y'all.

How do you feel about cupcakes? Do you like these bite-sized morsels or would you prefer a slice of regular cake instead?


I want it!

I've come to realize that even though I can just whisk/beat/cream things by hand, it's soooo much easier if you have a mixer. I just bought a cheap hand mixer for now, but what I really want is this:

Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer

Preferably in this boysenberry color. :)

This will probably be the first thing I buy from my profits (if I ever make any that is)...Is it bad that I'm tempted to use my extra financial aid money for this? If only I weren't so responsible with money...
*sigh* One day, artisan mixer. You will be mine.


Fantastic Finds Friday

FYI: This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but I'm new to the whole scheduled post thing...So forgive me please! I'll get everything worked out eventually. ;)

It's Fantastic Finds Friday, and this week's theme is:
Pecans! (because apparently today is National Pecan Day)

From Top Left: Butter Pecan Icecream, Raspberry Pecan Pinwheels, Pecan Pie, Pecan Sticky Buns, Sweet Potato-Pecan Cupcakes, and Pecan Waffles (because apparently it's Waffle Day in Sweden as well?)

These muffins are B-A-N-A-N-A-S

I know, I know, it's been about a week since I baked last. But never fear, I've come back with a lovely banana bread/muffin recipe from my mom. And it goes a little somethin' like this:

Banana Bread

1/2 cup crisco or oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 tablespoons buttermilk
3-4 large bananas ripe
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda

cream the oil and sugar together until light and fluffy. add the vanilla and mix well. mash the bananas and add to mixture. 

add the buttermilk and the eggs and beat until combined. 

mix the flour and the baking soda together and add to the sugar/banana mixture, just until combined. don't over mix now.

pour into loaf pan that has been greased and floured lightly. bake at 375 for about 55 minutes or until done in the center.
*cover with foil if it starts to get too brown, before the center is fully done.

Except I ate waaaaay too much over Spring Break and Summer is only 44 days away (at least for TCU students). And I'm on a major health kick. But I'm craving sweets. So I substituted the 1/2 cup of oil for applesauce and added 1 tablespoon of olive oil to get a good consistency. And I totally couldn't find any buttermilk so I just used whole milk. And I used 3 bananas, because that's how many I grabbed from the BLUU. Oh, instead of baking it in a loaf pan, I baked it in a muffin pan and it made 20 muffins. The baking time was about 16-18 minutes.
I even added chocolate chips to some of them!

And they turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. A yummy treat that I can eat without feeling TOO guilty...Plus they're great with tea or coffee! Perfect for those long nights of studying I'm having to put in this week and next.

Another Giveaway!

And this one is from Texas Prep...another great Preppy blog I follow!

She's celebrating 250 followers by giving away a monogrammed travel mug to someone

So hop on over to Texas Prep's adorable blog and check her out. Who knows, you may even win a free monogrammed travel mug. And who wouldn't want that? ;)


Giveaway over at College Prep!

Well, I'm in college. And I love preppy things. Ya know, pink and green, Lily Pulitzer, Sperry's, and the like. So of course I follow The College Prepster and her blog.

She's having a giveaway for an ADORABLE alternative to a plastic to-go cup from Marley Lilly, and I would be absolutely thrilled to win one. Because they can hold my iced coffee, come in purple, and are monogrammed! What more could a girl want? You could use it while going to the beach, to the pool, or even while driving around in your car.  It is definitely a Summer staple. <3


Fantastic Finds Friday

It's Friday again, and you know what that means...Fantastic Finds Friday!
If you missed the explanation last week, I'm taking every Friday and using it to showcase some of the yummiest treats I have found on the Internet in the last week. Each week will revolve around a different theme and this week's theme is:

Mini Cheesecakes - Tasty AND adorable! ^_^

From Top Left: Strawberry cheesecake, chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake, Oreo cheesecake, key lime cheesecake, brulee'd cheesecake, blackberry cheesecake



While looking for a box of Wheat Thins in my mom's pantry the other night, I stumbled on...many...boxes of cake mix. I grew up on cake mix cupcakes, but reading the list of ingredients on the side of the box freaks me out now (what ARE some of those anyway?). I promise I'm not a snob. I can't taste the chemicals like some people claim they can. I don't even eat cake much anyway so the boxed vs. scratch argument doesn't really apply to me. But I am a college student; therefore, I can't afford to be picky when making cake for someone. Literally. Everyone knows we have no money. But being the little experimenter I am, I have to add some and change some things to make a plain white cake mix my own. So I snagged a box of white cake mix and continued on (without the box of Wheat Thins)

I went on an epic internet search and ended up at this recipe from Bakerella. You should check her out, she's pretty legit. I really enjoy reading her blog. But on to the recipe, which is for her Simple Sprite Cake. But even then I wasn't fully satisfied (4 eggs?!). I heard somewhere that you can make cake with just a box of cake mix and a can of sprite, so I decided to compromise.

1 white cake mix
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 box instant vanilla pudding (3 oz. size)
8 oz. can of Sprite (the mini one)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.
  • Mix ingredients on low until combined and then increase speed to medium and mix for about 2 minutes.
  • Pour batter into pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
I used this recipe above (the Bakerella one) but substituted 1 cup of plain apple sauce for the 3/4 cup of veg oil, and used 2 eggs instead of 4. I also made mini cupcakes instead of one cake, just because I really like cupcakes better (because if given a cake I tend to want to eat the entire thing). Because I made mini cupcakes the cooking time was cut down to 15 minutes.
*This recipe made about 5 dozen mini cupcakes, and if I hadn't filled the pans so full I could've gotten about 6 dozen*

I poked holes in the cupcakes and topped them with my own lemon zest glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs (1/8 cup) milk (I used whole because that's what was in the house)
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
Mix ingredients together and spoon over cupcakes after they cool.


Gadgets & Gifts: Perpetual Kid

Two cups of caramel coffee with a splash of whole milk (shame shame on me!) late at night + the ability to stay up all night because it's Spring Break = Online "window" shopping.
The site of tonight is Perpetual Kid...Here are some of the goodies I found:

Fondue for Two Mug (the romantic in me loves this!): $19.99

Mustache Magnet (for when your fridge needs to hide his identity): $10.99

Peas in a Pod Salt&Pepper Shakers (they're adorable...need I say more?): $16.99

Cake Saw & Server (so you can serve your homemade cakes in style!): $28.99

Tea CupCakes Cupcake Molds (so fancy-shmancy): $17.99 for 4

Ninjabread Men cookie cutters (for an action-packed baking session): $7.99

Tank Up heat activated coffee mug (for those late nights spent blogging): $11.99

Stress cupcake (this is how bakers handle their stress): $3.99


Spinach Artichoke Dip...Family Style

I'm officially home for Spring "Break"!
And tonight after my mom made spinach artichoke dip for the family. I love how when I get home my family tries to fatten me up. Probably because they know I don't always eat well at school. :p

It's a pretty easy recipe. I'm not sure where she got it because my mom makes it from memory now. But you can find several variations on the Internet. Ours is a semi-homemade version (like Sandra Lee from the Food Network...except without all of the liquor).

We take a big jar of the Tostitos Spinach Dip

Add two cans of artichoke hearts

Add one 8oz package of cream cheese

Heat on the stove, adding some garlic powder and red pepper flakes

Then pour into a dish and bake in the oven until browned on top.
In the meantime, cut some pita bread up into bite-sized triangles. Bake them until crisp.

notice where I get my cute faces from haha

Enjoy! (and try not to burn your tongue)


Fantastic Finds Friday

Starting today, every Friday is going to be "Fantastic Finds Friday", dedicated to fun food-related things I find during the week.
Each week will have a theme; This week's theme is "chocolate". I know, I know, original...But come on who doesn't like chocolate!?

From left: heart shaped churros with dipping chocolate, zucchini chocolate cake with walnuts, white chocolate chip/oreo chunk cookies, and dark chocolate Sherbet.

dieter's nightmare

I'm trying to balance good food and good health, which for me is pretty hard. My 3 favorite food groups are butter, sugar, and carbs. But I usually choose apples over apple pie and carrots over carrot cake. Matt, however, likes "real food" (as he calls it). So that means lots of cooking for my love, which I really do enjoy doing. But making all of these tasty treats and not eating any of them gets hard after a while. So I think I've been good long enough. I've decided to treat both my boyfriend and I to celebrate 4 months together. And what better to do that with than his favorite dessert (and one of the most decadent ones I know of):

Creme Brulee <3
Yes, creme brulee as in egg yolks, heavy cream, and sugar. Definitely NOT diet food, but definitely delicious. Plus I made it in my new little yellow ramekins. I bought them at Ross for $5.50 on sale last week and couldn't wait to use them.

I used this recipe from www.seductionmeals.com ... so scandalous for a simple cream brulee haha. I mean I'm not trying to seduce my boyfriend with dessert I just wanted to make something special. The seducing is accomplished when I make this face:

Oh yeah...you can tell he wants me right? ;)

Creme Brulee (serves 4)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 extra large or jumbo egg yolks
medium orange or large lemon, grated zest only
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean
1 Tbsp of sugar, or brown sugar per serving

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare some boiling water.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream and the orange or lemon zest (you choose the flavoring you prefer); cook, stirring occasionally until small bubbles appear around edges of pan, 5 - 6 minutes. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat egg yolks and the 2 tbsp of sugar; until smooth and light. Slowly pour hot cream mixture into egg yolks, a little at a time, beating continuously until well blended. Strain mixture through a fine sive into a bowl to remove the zest and vanilla bean. Divide mixture among four 4 oz. ramekins.

Arrange ramekins in a baking pan and place on middle shelf of preheated oven. Fill pan with boiling water halfway up side the of ramekins. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until custard is just set, about 25 minutes. The custard will be soft when you take them out of the oven. Be sure to give them plenty of time to chill and set before glazing. Chill 2 - 3 hours.
Fire it up! 
Now the fun part! Add 1 tablespoon evenly over the top of each ramekin. With the creme brulee torch, move the flame continuously over the surface of the custard in a circular motion until the sugar melts and becomes golden brown and bubbly. It might be a good idea to practice on the first two, so the last two are perfect for your Seduction Meal. Serve immediately.

There ya have it...The only changes I made were dividing the mixture between 3 ramekins (dunno why it only made that many), and putting the brulee under the broiler in the oven instead of using a torch (because I don't think those are legal to have in the dorms).


The things you find at WalMart...

I was out at WalMart getting my oil changed and decided to shop around while I was waiting. So of course I go to the grocery section (because I just love food THAT much), which if you've been to WalMart you know if MASSIVE. I don't usually buy pre-baked baked goods (because why buy if you can make?) but decided to hit up that section of the store for ideas.

Remember those "breakup bars" I posted last month? Well low and behold the queen of Southern cooking Mrs. Paula Dean has created her own version...See below:

Yeah they're called "Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Dessert Bars", which is pretty much just telling what's in them. Why can't I make something totally normal, slap my name on it, and sell it everywhere to make tons of money? Maybe it's her tan...or her blindingly white smile...or her excessive use of butter...Hmmm...

This just goes to show that you can find pretty much anything at WalMart...But I still think mine would taste better than these haha. Because mine DID taste pretty good. Maybe me and Mrs. Dean can have a bakeoff one day. Pipe dream or near future reality? Only time will tell. Until then I'm gonna keep makin' and bakin'. 


Creamy or Crunchy?

I'm talking about peanut butter. Personally I like crunchy, because the creamy kind makes the sandwich stick to the roof of my mouth. *shudder* Both my sister and my boyfriend, however, enjoy creamy peanut butter. Which means I don't have to share my yummy crunchy stuff. But for this next recipe I had to go out and get some creamy peanut butter. Since I wouldn't actually eat an entire jar-full if I bought it, I just went to the BLUU (our cafeteria on campus) and got some. Oh, the adventures of an almost-broke college student. ;)

Have you guessed what I made yet?
Yep, peanut butter cookies, fork pattern and all. Special request for the boy. I made them by looking at recipes from a couple of different blogs, but I added my own lil twist.

Reese's mini peanut butter cups (or baby Reese's as I like to call them). My mom sent them to me about a month ago and I STILL haven't finished the bag. I used them in these peanut butter cookies so they wouldn't go bad, and to sneak a little bit of chocolate into the cookies. I'm super stressed out right now because of midterms (eep!), so chocolate is basically it's own food group right now. Yum...

I creamed 1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter with 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar. To that I added 1 cup of peanut butter and combined until I had a smooth batter. (I did this by hand but I have no electric mixer...I would suggest using the mixer because I had a slightly sore arm after this haha). Then I added 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to that. Finally I added 1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour and mixed everything well.

I took small tablespoons of dough and shaped them into balls, then rolled them in granulated sugar and made the signature criss-cross patttern on them. Then I pressed baby Reese's cups into each cookie and baked them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 12/13 minutes.

They'll seem a little bit undercooked at first but they harden up/cook more once you take them out of the oven so don't worry.

I may or may not have eaten part of that cookie before it was cooled

And there ya have it. Reese's peanut butter cookies. Perfect for late night study sessions (or study breaks!)
forgive him, he's been studying history too long ;)



Tonight I cooked chicken enchiladas for dinner from the recipe I posted in the last post. This Tuesday was pretty stressful, to say the least, and the boyfriend and I needed something relaxing. So he studied, and I cooked dinner for the both of us. Here's what I did:

I began by boiling chicken breasts from Kroger, then let them cool down and shredded them.
To that I added onions/green chilis I had saute'ed in vegetable oil, and fat free cream cheese (I'm trying to watch what I eat...don't tell Matt!).

I took regular flour tortillas (the small fajita size) and spooned some of the chicken/cream cheese mixture into them, rolled them up, then squeezed them into my small glass 8x8 pan (I think I fit 6? 7?...7).

I covered them with about 1/2 package of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese...Yum, cheese...
Then I poured about 2/3 of a small carton of whipping cream (yeah that kinda contradicts the whole 'watching my weight' thing huh?) over the whole thing, slightly separating them so that the cream could get in between.

Then I baked it at 350 on the middle rack in my oven for about 20 minutes while I made cilantro lime rice and heated up some black beans.

Finally I transferred the dish to the top rack and turned it up to about 375-400 for another 8-10 minutes to melt the top a little bit more.

We took the delicious food back to my room and watched the Dallas Mavs win...I would've preferred the Stars (hockey > basketball) but we don't get that channel at TCU. Afterwards my boyfriend was in a considerably better mood, which only proves my point that food = happiness.

(PS: I divided this recipe into semi-fourths, so the original recipe makes a TON of enchiladas...Perfect for a potluck or Bible study or party or whenever you just need to feed a lot of hungry people!)