Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

What kind of desserts did you have for Thanksgiving? I bet they weren’t as good as this!
Chocolate cake is not normally one of my faves, but this isn’t just a chocolate cake. It’s a Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake.
I gave you a preview after Thanksgiving last week. And I wasn’t lying when I said this cake was the star of the day. My family was raving about it the entire weekend like I have never heard before. I have already been told I must make it again when I get home for Christmas. 
The “double chocolate”-ness comes about because it is obviously a chocolate cake, but what you can’t see are the mini chocolate chips mixed in. The chocolate chips took the cake to the next level…at least that’s what I’m contributing part of the deliciousness to. 
The pumpkin flavor on the other hand was a bit lost in the chocolate. I think the pumpkin helped with the overall texture and moisture of the cake, but did not play a large role in the flavor. 
I actually found that I liked this best by pairing it with a slice of pumpkin pie. Sometimes I would alternate bites and other times I just ate the two at once. Mmm, mmm, mmmmmmm!
I followed the recipe for the cake exactly as shown by Jenny from the Picky Palate. Instead of using her recipe for the Pumpkin Spice Buttercream, I used store-bought cream cheese frosting and stirred in about a teaspoon or two of cinnamon (per Jenny’s recommendation…thanks Jenny!) Check out her blog for this and a million other amazingly creative and delicious recipes!

Repurposing Leftovers

What do you do after eating the same foods over, and over, and over and OVER again? You start feeling sick, that’s what you do. But with a fridge full of leftovers, I hate to waste any of it. Instead of throwing it away, I had to great creative.
I admit, we really didn’t end up with too many Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. Probably the least amount compared to any other Thanksgiving in my memory. I tried to plan it this way and not go overboard with the side dishes. After splitting the leftovers with my family who took some back home with them, we mostly had some turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. 
I love lean protein like turkey, but it can definitely get old. So, for yet another lunch filled with leftovers, I put a spin on the dish that made it taste completely different. The tastes of Thanksgiving were nowhere to be found.

This BBQ pulled turkey slider saved me from the point of Thanksgiving leftover insanity. Just when I thought I couldn’t eat leftovers for another meal, the sandwich turned things around. 
Need a way to use up the mashed potatoes? Potato pancakes! I didn’t get a picture after making them for dinner last night, but just imagine thick, brown and crispy potato cakes topped with cheese. It really doesn’t get much simpler. I topped mine with ketchup too. 
One last thing before I go: Our Christmas tree!!! I cannot tell you how excited I am about my first ever REAL tree. I am so in love with it!
Have you started decorating for the holidays yet?

BBQ Pulled Turkey Sliders
Makes 1-2 servings
4 small rolls
1 cup turkey, cooked and shredded
1/4-1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1. If not already done, slice rolls in half. Quickly heat in microwave for about 5-10 seconds.
2. Heat turkey in a microwave-safe bowl for 20-30 seconds.
3. In a medium bowl, add shredded turkey and barbecue sauce. Mix with fork or spoon until well combined.
4. Place about 1/4 cup shredded turkey mixture on bottom half of each roll. Top with other half and lightly press down. 
5. Enjoy!

Glazed and Amazed.

I have been dyingggg to try a new gourmet doughnut shop downtown since it opened a month or so ago. Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts didn’t need to do much to convince me to pay a visit.

Glazed Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Before cupcakes ever came along, doughnuts were my “thing.” My family knows my love for Krispy Kreme Chocolate Iced Kreme Filled doughnuts is not to be messed with. Can anyone else relate to the pure disappointment on those days when you open a box of KK and find it to only be filled with the Original Glazed? That is always such a letdown. Glazed are great and all, but the Kreme Filled is legit to.die.for.

As good as KK is, independent bakeries and shops have that added local-flavor factor that makes the overall experience hard to compete with.

Glazed offers a variety of unique flavors that I have never seen anywhere else.

The menu changes daily, but I was sooo hoping the Sweet Potato would be available. Lucky me (sarcasm, people), they were sold out! That just tells me how good they really must be and I will have to make another stop this week to snag one for myself. 
As I drooled staring at the other choices through the glass, I finally decided on the Apple Fritter. It looked big on display, but when I actually set it down on the table in front of me, I realized just how big it was. About as big as my face. 
Brooke was the happiest girl in the world with her Berry Cobbler doughnut. 
We both made great choices. The fritter was very good, and even I, Miss Sweet Tooth Brittany, couldn’t finish it. I brought about a quarter of it home and reheated it for a snack later in the day 🙂
Like I said though, I am still craving that Sweet Potato doughnut and will return for it (not) soon enough.

Sunday Blessings – Waiting Patiently

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I am completely in the Christmas spirit! I love it. I even told Greg this morning that “I just want it to get cold and stay cold!” That is crazy talk for me. I get cold so easily and stayed here in the south for a reason! But, Christmas isn’t Christmas without chilly, jacket-wearing, boot-stomping, see-your-breath-in-the-air weather. And as much as I normally do not like the cold, I am ready for it to come and stay for a while.

While I was sad to see my family go this weekend, I know Thanksgiving is only the beginning of the holiday season and there is so much more to come!

I only wish I could decorate our tiny condo with a tree like this (This is Greg’s family tree from a few years ago). We are going shopping later today for a small one. It might be reminiscent of Charlie Brown’s tree, but it will be better than nothing!

The sermon at church this morning was all about how today, the start of advent, is our (Christians) period of waiting for Christ to come on Christmas day. We need to be patient during this time, but instead of waiting quietly and idly, we should use this waiting period to serve God by serving others.

While it is easy to get caught up in the shopping, traveling and stressing over the holidays, I need to remember to make this time about the one who gave it all to us in the first place.

This week I am praying for patience through these weeks leading up to Christmas and for God to show me how I can better serve Him during this time.

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?

It Doesn’t Get Much Better

If you had half the Thanksgiving I did, then you had it pretty good. Because mine was awesome! From start to finish, the day really could not have been better.

I know I already talked about the Turkey Day Run on Thursday morning, but that was the perfect way to start a day full of consumption. After the race, we came home to shower and clean up then it was time to party!

GG, my grandma, showed me how to make a great bellini. Since I have recently retired my blender, we had to skip out on grinding up peach slices. Instead we used a peach-mango juice and champagne. It was delish. 

Meanwhile, Brooke and Paw Paw relaxed on the couch…and I snapped a few sneaky pics. 
The bellinis helped pass the time as the turkey cooked, which seemed like forever by the way! Slowly but surely the bird’s internal temperature rose. We were counting along as we watched the temp rise and I yelled when it finally hit the magic number…165! Time to eat!
Thom was in charge of the turkey. And we really couldn’t have had it any other way. That thing intimidates me and nobody else here was about to take that on. I did baste it a time or two. So I did contribute in some way. 
Besides the turkey, our fancy spread consisted of mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, green bean casserole, corn pudding, stuffing and rolls. 
Like I said: Fancy. Don’t you like our plastic cups and paper plates 😉 I do. And it was extra easy to clean up, especially with GG’s help. Thanks, G!
A quick look at my plate before digging in…..just about a little of everything. My favorite sides were definitely the stuffing and corn pudding. 
Dinner was all and good, but the star of the show was this:
I will share the recipe another day, but let me just tell you that will now be on my list of favorite desserts. And that’s saying a lot considering all of the competition out there for me. It wasn’t just me that loved this cake either. My entire family has been raving about it for the past two days. My mom even said, “Oh em gee! This is so good!” Ha 😉
Those are just the highlights, but honestly this was one of the best Thanksgivings I can remember. Unfortunately my brothers and Greg couldn’t be here (AND I MISSED ALL MY BOYS SO MUCH!). The brothers were home in Columbus and Greg was in Atlanta with his family. Besides missing them, we had a great day. I can’t say enough how thankful I am for my family and their sacrifices to drive hours and hours to come visit me in my new home away from home. 
This morning Brooke and I are going for a walk then heading to the downtown farmers market. Greg will be home this afternoon and we have a day packed full of football and more leftovers! 
Have a great weekend!

Thanksgiving is Here!

Thanksgiving is here and just in time. I don’t think I could have waited another hour.

Actually, we didn’t even wait until Thanksgiving day to cut into the pumpkin pie. Whoops. The family was sitting around my condo last night and decided we were ready to dig in. There is still plenty for today, so yesterday was more of just a preview, or a tastetest. 
This morning Thom, Brooke, my mom and I ran the Turkey Day Run 5K in downtown Charleston. 
Thom and I ran together, while my mom and Brooke stuck together a little behind us. It was a cool morning, but sunny and beautiful. We couldn’t have asked for much better weather. There is just one thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
What else? 
Well I am so thankful for my health and ability to exercise like I do. I can’t imagine not being able to exercise and run. For something I used to DESPISE doing, running has become a must in my life and I am so grateful for the physical ability and mental motivation to do so.
Although I could go on and list a million other things I am thankful for, I will keep it short so we can all get off the computer and spend quality time with our family and friends. That’s what the holidays are all about anyway, right? 
So, HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I am most grateful for my readers and this outlet to be able to share my cooking (and life in general) with all of you.
Now go eat!!

Thanksgiving Spirit with Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Ok, I’m not going to pretend I have been the best source for Thanksgiving Day ideas or recipes lately. Well guess what? I may have not been cooking much Thanksgiving food in preparation for the holiday, but I think if you tried just a bite of one of these cookies you would forgive me. These make up for every non-Thanksgiving food post I have made over the past couple of weeks. 
Here, let me take a bite for you.
Feel better now? I do.
I would bet to say that cookies are not at the top of anyone’s T-day dessert list. It’s all about the P-I-E! Apple pie, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, pecan pie. Some of you probably even have pumpkin rolls and cheesecakes. But cookies? Yeahhhh…not so much. 
Well this year you may just want to consider throwing cookies into the mix. These extra soft and chewy cookies are fabulouso. That’s Spanish for fabulous. No, not really. I don’t think so anyway. 
Of course we all know that eating until you are literally stuffed and cannot eat another bite is just part of what it means to be Thanksgiving Day. No matter how full you are from the seconds, thirds and fourths that you have already eaten from the turkey and side dishes, you HAVE to have dessert. These cookies are a great alternative to large slices of pie. You can still indulge in a sweet pumpkin-y dessert without too much extra stretching of your stomach 😉
…That is to say if you can only just eat one. Because remember Greg, the guy who doesn’t find half the pleasure I do in anything sweet? Well, he had FOUR of these in one sitting. Very unlike him. Like, totally and completely unlike him. 
You might be best off just taking a whole plate back to the couch with you after dinner. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy every single fluffy bite. 
I used this recipe from Annie’s-Eats. The only thing I changed was with the sugar coating mixture. I eliminated the ginger and allspice (only because I didn’t have any), and added about 1/8 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. 
Despite the rainy, cloudy skies today, my family is here and we are going to have a great couple of days! First on the list we need to pick up our race packets for the Turkey Day Run 5K that is tomorrow morning! Eeek! I’m a litte nervous because I want to do well, but since I’ve never done it, I know it will be a fun experience regardless. Then we need to do some last minute grocery shopping. Hopefully it’s not a zoo at the store. 
Have a great Thanksgiving Eve!!