Maple French Toast & Bacon Cupcakes

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One day I was up early baking cupcakes for a wedding that afternoon (i like for my clients to have the best cupcakes & cakes experience, so I never freeze my cupcakes or cakes. Even if it means spending 14+ hours baking and decorating) and decided I wanted a few pieces of maple french toast and bacon.

While taking a baking break and getting the ingredients together for my french toast I did a little pondering, could I turn this into a cupcake??

I use the people I work with as test dummies for my little ideas like this, (I have a little baking side business that specializes in cupcakes & wedding cakes, when I’m not at my full time job) They’ll try anything and they will actually be pretty honest about it, brutally at times.

I made a couple dozen and left them inside little pink boxes I use to deliver cakes and cupcakes. I make them 3 sheet cakes a month for birthdays & anniversaries so they know what these pink boxes mean. They mean business to me sweet treats for them. Needless to say they loved them!

I heard so many “she put bacon on a cupcake!”, “Is that bacon?”, “these really do taste like French toast!”. I was proud of myself, I started making them all the time and handing them out with cookie and other cupcake orders. They caught on quickly, they are my number one selling cupcake.


Ingredients
For the Cupcakes:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 3 .9-ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half, at room temperature
1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon (5 strips)

For the Glaze:
1 8 -ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 strips bacon, cooked and chopped

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin. Prepare the cupcakes: Combine the flours, pudding mix, baking powder, potato starch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl with a whisk.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugars with a mixer on low speed until combined, 6 to 8 minutes. Gradually mix in the vanilla and egg whites. Scrape down the sides of the bowl; continue mixing until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the maple syrup and half-and-half, mixing after each addition and ending with flour. Mix until the ingredients are just combined; do not overmix. Fold in the bacon. The batter will be thick.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about three-quarters of the way. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: Beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon; beat until combined. Spread on the cooled cupcakes; top with chopped bacon, if desired.

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Morning Yoga Routine

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I don’t get a lot of sleep, it’s a lot of fun being an insomniac. I’ve tried different ways to wake but 5 hour energies and 3-4 cups of coffee usually made me crash around lunch time. I’d head off to lunch then where I’d come back slightly in a food coma. You see the delicate here? After lunch I still have 5 hours left before I get to clock out and call it a day.

I’ve searched Google over and over and I kept seeing articles about yoga poses in the morning. That gave me a new mission, to find said yoga poses. There was a lot but I focused in on the poses that gave energy and opened up my chest.

I have tweaked the routine over time with what really helps me. I love not only the energy I have but also that it takes 10 minutes! I can hardly function when i open my eyes at 5:30am, so 10 minutes i can do!


Cat-Cow Pose
Come onto your hands and knees, stacking your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Begin to move your spine in a rhythmic motion: With every inhalation, arch your back and lift your sitting bones and chest into Cow; with every exhalation, round your back and tuck your chin and pelvis into Cat.

Knee-to-Nose Pose
From Downward-Facing Dog Pose, lift your right leg up high behind you, then round your spine as you draw knee to chest. Keep your pelvis low and round your upper spine toward the sky. Hug your right thigh to your chest and knee to your nose. Keep pressing the floor with your hands. Return to Downward Dog and then repeat with the left leg.

Table Top pose
From all fours, lift your belly in toward your spine. Extend your right leg and left arm. Bend your right leg and take hold of your foot with your left hand. Kick your foot into your hand as you begin to twist and open your chest into a backbend. Try gazing up. This pose creates heat, challenges your balance, and gently warms up your spine. Repeat on the other side.

Flip Dog pose
From Downward Dog, lift your right leg and arm and pivot on your left foot. Spin your torso and hips open to the ceiling, and lower your right foot down to the inside of your left foot. Reach your right arm toward the wall behind you. Keep your feet parallel to each other, pressing firmly into the floor. Return to Downward Dog and do Flip Dog on the other side.

Side Plank Pose
Un-flip your Dog and roll your heels to the right. Shift your weight into your right hand and the outer edge of your right foot. Stack your left foot on top of your right. Fire up your thigh muscles; press your feet and hand down as you lift your hips. Extend your left arm to the ceiling. (If this is too intense, you can lower your bottom knee to the floor.) repeat on the left.

These are the poses that work best for me. I like the benefits of each pose, you can find their benefits below.

Benefits of Cat-Cow Pose
Improves posture and balance, strengthens and stretches the spine and neck, stretches the hips, abdomen and back, increases coordination, massages and stimulates organs in the belly, like the kidneys and adrenal glands.
Creates emotional balance, relieves stress and calms the mind.

Benefits of knee to nose pose
It will energize and invigorate the body, and build stamina in the core muscles.

Benefits of table top pose
Opens the chest and shoulders.

Benefits of flip dog pose
Stretches the chest, shoulders and throat
Opens the hips and hip flexors
Stretches and strengthens the back
Energizes the body and mind

Benefits of side Plank Pose
Improves Balance, improves concentration, strengthens arms and wrists, side plank requires you to balance on one arm.

If you’ve had a knee, elbow, or ankle injury talk to your doctor before trying any of these poses.

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Not Your Grandma’s Banana Pudding

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I’m from North Carolina which is considered the south. I am totally ok with this because it means I get hearty comfort foods (which is why I’ve gained weight and can’t drop any, because I love food) like beef stew, homemade red mashed potatoes, and chicken salad (oh do I love chicken salad).

When it comes to my eating habits I’m a little backwards. I absolutely love desserts! They are my weakness and it’s a weakness of all kinds and epic portions. So, naturally I eat dessert first. This makes my border so mad when we go out to eat together but I don’t care, all I care about is something sweet, fluffy, crunch, chocolaty, or whipped is making my tongue dance behind my lips.

There are a lot of picnics and BBQ’S during the summer months and I don’t like to warm up the oven unless I have to during these long and hot days. Anything I can make that doesn’t require it I’m totally in for, especially if it has bananas in it! Bananas are a hit or miss with me but during the summer I love them. They can be transformed into a yummy treat.

I love banana pudding, it’s one of my favorite desserts, EVER. When I’m not really feeling the bananas I just omit them from the recipe (yes I do that a lot). Don’t get me wrong, as much as I love them I don’t like mushy textured foods. Sometimes I just want to enjoy this as a pudding without bananas.

There is no baking which is a plus in my book and it freezes over night. What your left with is a square of what I can only describe as softened, crunchy, sweet deliciousness. The cookie soaks up the moisture from pudding concoction and it’s so light and pretty. Your going to love it, I promise!


Ingredients
1 (12 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups milk
1 (5 oz) box instant French vanilla pudding mix
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 bags chessmen cookies

Pull It Together
Line the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer.

Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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August Goals

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How did I do on my June Goals? Yes, I know I skipped July, that was a crazy busy month for me. So, I’ve decided to pick up where I left off. Sounds good right?

Personal Goals
Read at least 1 book
I’ve read books this month. When I get home or on lunch I’ll read a few chapters, it helps block out the day, ya know.

Try out the 21 day fix
I did not get around to this yet. There is a lot of food prepping involved and I need to sit down to get my menu plan together.

Destress Afternoons
I’ve found that relaxing in a lavender oil bath with a glass of wine is exactly what I need after a day at work. I’ve also discovered the perfect nightly yoga routine! It feels so amazing and I sleep like a baby, this coming from someone who has horrible insomnia.

Walk..some more
According to my fit 60+ miles this month. My job is under construction and we’ve got 3 sets of people in 3 different places. I refuse to use the golf carts assigned to us. I’m actually proud of myself but then again I did get tendinitis in my left knee.

Blogging Goals
Branding the new blog
I’m still getting my feet wet with this one. I’ve never branded a blog so I don’t exactly know where to start, it’s a little overwhelming.

Posts & more posts
I’ve done a good job with this since setting this goal. I’ve designated Sunday’s for writing since the week and Saturday’s can get a little crazy.

Media Update
I’ve been researching the best way to put this together. I’m struggling with it a little but hopefully it’ll come to get on the end.

Spruce Up The Place
I’m working on this one. I’m trying to find a theme I like. I like simple and minimal but function with a little pop of color.

Let’s eat!
I did post the Fudge Cupcake recipe & Protein Sugar Cookies at least. Which is a great start, I had no idea June was going to be as busy as it was.

So now that I’ve seen progress from the last goals I made let’s see if I can cross off everything that’s on August’s list. There are no blogging goals this month as I’ve decided to take on another project. I’ve decided to be a freelance writer, I have this cozy little place anyway. Why not start now.



Personal Goals
Emotions check
I tend to take things way to personally, which in turn stresses me out trying to keep everyone happy. It’s time to make sure I’m happy, as selfish as this may sound – I’ve forgotten to make myself happy worrying about others for way too long.
Work it out
I need to hit the gym and hop on the treadmill at least once or twice a week. I know it should be more but I walk 4-5 miles at work everyday with all the construction.

Projects
Hire me [please] page
I’ve decided I’d love to freelance! I’m really excited about it but also very overwhelmed. I’d like to get my page up with writing samples this month.
Pitch perfect
Start writing up the perfect freelance pitch. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with something convincing by the end of the month.

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Jamberry Nail Wrap Review

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I’m like most girls and love a good nail color and design. I’m taking a spending break to try to get out of some of this debt. You know how it goes – credit cards, student loans, sugar cookie dough habit. It happens to all of us.

I’m not any good at painting my own nails. Seriously, it looks like a 3 year old was let loose on the end of my phalanges with a bottle of nail polish. I got the notion to try Jamberry wraps because they are so pretty and versatile, what did I have to lose?

Let me tell you, I fell in love! I thought the wraps would we hard to put on, they wouldn’t stick, or they can last only a few days. These babies lasted for 2 weeks! I was so impressed so now instead of walking around with polish all over my finger tips, cuticles, & clothes I only use the Jamberry wraps.

There are other companies (i won’t name any names) that I’ve tried and those wraps only lasted 3-4 days. With Jamberry I think it’s awesome because your helping a direct seller of their own company succeed. I love buying locally or helping out a great business woman.

Here are the photos of the wraps on various days. They are really easy to put on too. I don’t have a little dryer tool so I used my blow dryer, if you opt to go this way then I advise you to be careful. The dryer gets hot and since your instructed to hold it over the wrapped nail for a few seconds your hands will get a little hot too. Your not going to burn off your fingertips or anything though.

To remove these fabulous wraps all you have to do is what you did to put them on, simply use your blow dryer to get the wrap soft and flexible then peel off. What you do not want to do is pull them off without heat or soaking. This rips a layer of your nail and it hurts. Yes, I tried doing one that way but quickly decided against it.


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Fall In Love With A Tiny House

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I know some people don’t understand the tiny house craze or they just flat out don’t care. I’m hooked on TV shows like “Tiny House Nation” & “Tiny Luxury”! Who knew you could do so much with such a tiny space.

I don’t see how a family could live in a house only 600-700sq, they probably end up strangling each other but I think it’s perfect for one person or a couple.


I think my favorite part of the tiny houses are the lofts, I know there can not be a lot of room up there but I think it would be cozy and anyone that knows me knows that this functioning introvert loves to be cozy.

The little living rooms can be laid out just like a regular sized living room. Another pretty cool perk to the smaller version of living is you can have furniture that pulls double duty. A picture frame over a fireplace can double as a hidden TV compartment. Mmmhmm, pretty neat!


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Ahh, yes my favorite room! You tell me how you wouldn’t find this comfortable, go ahead. Not every loft has to be super tiny. You could have a base built for under your bed where you can store clothes and things. Clever, clever, clever.


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For me this would be where all the magic happened. I love to bake and I’m constantly trying out new recipes. Just look at the counter space, and it’s not ugly. I could see myself baking Christmas cookies or mixing some of my favorite sangria’s up in here.


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I think a tiny house would be great for saving money as well. You get all the amenities as a large house in a cute but smaller living space. Upgrades are also available like pools which would be great in the summer time and front or back decks, that would make lounging in the fall pleasant or watch the snow fall in the winter. I could only imagine your heating/cooling bill would be severely cut in half.

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Sun, Sand, & Waves

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It’s been busier than it normally is, I’m guessing that’s because there is more day little hours and more things that felt have to be done in those hours. It’s easy to forget about recharging yourself.

I was craving a trip to the beach, I wanted to feel the sand between my toes, sun on my shoulders, and smell the salty air with each deep breath I took. I needed to make this happen, my anxiety was really bad and I just wanted to get out of Raleigh if only for a few days.

I made a spontaneous phone call to my best friend who made a spontaneous call to his parents to ask about renting the house for the weekend and hour later we merged onto 440 East hand surfing the breeze with the windows down. It takes a little over 2 hours to get to Topsail Island from Raleigh if you know the backroads, luckily my passenger did.

I love everything about the beach. I think it’s the bright colors and sense of adventure that draws me in. The rooms of the house are painted in corals, teals, blues, and yellows. When the French doors are parted you can hear the ocean and it relaxes every muscle in my body.

I don’t eat seafood which is usually the preferred choice at the ocean but I opted for pizza. There is a couple from New York who’ve been there for years that own a pizzeria, let me tell you! It’s the best pizza I’ve put in my mouth (& there’s been a lot of pizza in there)! Their regular size pizzas are 16 inches, hello! That’s a lot of cheesy parmigiano goodness and there’s more than enough for breakfast before a 5 mile walk on the beach.

It’s so sad to know in a matter of years the houses and condos located in North Topsail Island are going to be completely washed away. North Topsail Island is right by the inlet. Sandbags line the stairs to these homes because at high tide the water is almost to the middle of the stairs all night (you can see this in photo 2).



We walked, splashed, sat & talked, ate pizza, had a few mixed concoctions, & at the end of it all made it home safely. I’d say it was a success as the batteries are full again.

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