Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake

I only made two pumpkin recipes this fall. One was my mom’s pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving (which I then enjoyed for the rest of the week because I did a solo, socially distant Thanksgiving thanks to the virus.) The other was this pumpkin coffee cake. And while nothing can beat mom’s pumpkin pie, I was preeetty pleased with how this coffee cake came out. Look, when you’re faced with a canned pumpkin shortage and you have to decide the two recipes you’re going to make for the year, the stakes are high! But if I had to do it over again, I totally would.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUMBLE:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons
unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE CAKE:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces sour cream, at room temperature
2 large eggs, beaten

FOR THE GLAZE:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a baking pan, then set aside.

Make the crumble first by combining all ingredients in a bowl with a mixer. Then set this bowl aside.

Make the cake next. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, powder, soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and sugars. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin, oil, sour cream, and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently until combined.

Pour the cake batter into the greased pan. Top with the crumble, then bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Pull the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes/

While the cake cools, make the icing by combining the powdered sugar with water in a clean bowl. Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cake.

Serve with coffee or, my preference, espresso!

Woohoo! Now it’s officially time to move on to Christmas content. YAY!

Dalgona Coffee (& Dating During Corona!)

Everybody is talking about how to do it. It seems intriguing, entertaining, maybe even fun? You want to be a part of it, to see what the hoopla is about. In practice, it seems like a lot of work for a sort of confusing outcome.

It’s Dalgona coffee! It’s also online dating during the time of Covid-19.

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So, if you’re over the age of 30 there’s about a 50/50 chance you have never heard of Tik Tok. Or, you’ve heard of it and have literally no idea what it is. This is fine. As a 27-year-old even I feel like I’m too old for it at times. But then I remember my job is literally to stay up to date on new social media trends and apps, so I lie to myself and say my latest obsession with it is in the name of “professional research”.

In all honesty, I find Tik Tok endlessly entertaining. Like, I’ll scroll for hours through funny videos just laughing my ass off, or attempting to learn some of the trending dances. It’s truly one of the things that’s saving my sanity during this quarantine. So when I saw this new whipped coffee trend (called Dalgona coffee) all over Tik Tok one day, I knew I’d have to try it.

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The idea is that when you dissolve sugar and instant coffee in hot water and whisk it for a few minutes, it turns into this whipped consistency that you then spoon on top of a glass of milk. The aesthetics are definitely on point, and the taste wasn’t bad per se. But like I said above…it was a lot of effort for a kind of confusing result. Unless you want to taste fluffy sugar-coffee concentrate for 5 minutes followed by a layer of watered-down milk (and who the heck wants that?!)…you have to stir the fluffy coffee into the milk. Which ultimately yields the same thing as if you just made yourself some iced coffee the normal way. And the whole whisking process? Guys, I felt like I needed a coffee to be able to prepare my coffee. And I have a Kitchen Aid that I was able to walk away from! Imagine having to whisk your coffee by hand first thing in the morning?! No way.

Ultimately, it was a fun experiment and a great way to kill some time during this quarantine.

Not unlike online dating right now!

I’ll be honest – I don’t mind the apps. I’ve had a few great dates with guys from them, pre-corona. When I broke up with my ex of seven years and decided to “get back out there”, I decided to be really intentional about having an open mind when it came to dating because I’m still learning what I want/need in a potential partner. That mindset makes “swiping” a lot of fun. Plus, the apps are a nice way for someone like me (read: entirely new to the dating process) to ease into the whole thing.

But you guys. The dating apps during corona are like…on a new level. The rules are gone and the bets are OFF. Overnight my matches per day basically doubled. I’m messaging guys for weeks that I’ve never met in real life, whereas the typical pattern pre-corona would be to exchange some banter for a few days and then schedule a datePeople are doing first dates via FaceTime. We’re all so bored and our inhibitions are so lowered (#CoronaNoRules), so we’re trying out our weirdest conversation starters. And since I’m literally starving for human interaction, I find myself wondering “would I even be talking to this person if I wasn’t going on week 5 of being quarantined alone?” It’s truly a dating experiment. Equal parts confusing and entertaining.

And ultimately…what’s about to happen here?! Once quarantine is lifted and I can meet up with people again, how do you have a first or second date with someone who is still basically a stranger but who you’ve been getting to know for weeks?! Or will all these guys just disappear once they aren’t forced to pen-pal with us? (likely) I’m laughing right now just thinking about how absurd it all is. I think it’s totally possible that the nature of dating changes because of this pandemic, and it’s kind of cool to think that I’ll be participating in that process in real time. But wow, I have literally no idea what to expect here…what a time to be alive.

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Oh right – here’s the recipe for the Dalgona Coffee if you want to try it. I hope you’re all having some fun during this quarantine, taking it easy, staying safe, etc!

Dalgona Coffee

ingredients:

2 tbsp instant coffee

2 tbsp white granulated sugar

2 tbsp boiling water

a glass of almond milk over ice

directions:

combine the coffee, sugar, and water in a bowl and whisk until the mixture is light, fluffy, and forms stiff peaks.

spoon the whipped coffee over the milk. stir to enjoy.

Coffee Milkshakes with Lucky Charms

Alright you guys, St. Patrick’s Day was two days ago but amidst all of this COVID-19 stuff, things have been…off.

I’m fine. I’m working remotely as much as possible and feeling pretty lucky to be able to do so. We have a couple of photoshoots that we can’t reschedule, but otherwise I’ve been staying home. Living alone is kind of the best/kind of the worst right now. One one hand, nobody is around to drive me crazy and I can do whatever and be as weird as I want. On the other hand, things are getting really weird.

Ultimately, I’m trying to keep things as normal as possible (read: not doing work from my bed and showering daily) and use the time at home to my advantage. I’m trying to make time to draw, read, learn how to adequately paint my own nails, do live-streaming workouts, FaceTime my people, cook, watch all the movies on my must-see list, and avoid feeling too down about not being able to exercise my extroversion. Pretty shitty that I went on a great date with someone right before we all went into quarantine, right?!

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Annnyway, as you can imagine St. Patrick’s Day looked a little different around here. Instead of the grand plans I had to go out with friends and drink green beers at a block party in Raleigh and then a hockey game, I was left to my own devices. I still wore green, I listened to my entire St. Patrick’s Day playlist, I watched Brave & P.S I Love You, and I drank one of these instead. I developed this recipe for one of the products I’m doing content creation & marketing for (BOSS Coffee, it’s good y’all!) — it’s a coffee-flavored milkshake topped off with fresh whipped cream and Lucky Charms marshmallows. I know, right?!

So here’s what you do:

Coffee Milkshakes with Lucky Charms

ingredients:

½ cup cold black coffee
½ cup whole milk
3 cups vanilla ice cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
green food coloring
whipped cream
Lucky Charms marshmallows

directions:

add the coffee, milk, ice cream, vanilla extract, and food coloring to a blender and combine until you get a thick, smooth consistency.

Divide into two glasses, top with whipped cream (you can use canned or make your own), and sprinkle the Lucky Charms marshmallows on top. Enjoy IMMEDIATELY!💚

Couldn’t be easier, right? And look, I’m sorry I didn’t get this out to you sooner… but look on the bright side: use a different color of food dye and swap out the Lucky Charms marshmallows for crushed mini cadbury eggs and you’ve got yourself an Easter treat!

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