Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Love Pumpkin!

 Ever since the first day of Fall last week, a lot of the foodie blogs that I read have been posting pumpkin recipes.  I LOVE pumpkin!  So, I was inspired to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon and bake something scrumptious. 

This afternoon I baked this incredible Pumpkin-Gingerbread Loaf.  I've always loved regular pumpkin bread (thanks to my mom at Christmas time) and this bread adds the ginger element, which just makes it outstanding.  It's moist and comforting with the pumpkin flavor and then it's got a slight ginger kick.  YUM!  I could easily eat half a loaf or 3-4 is THAT good.


I found the recipe a few years ago on Recipezaar.  Since I'm always trying to make recipes a bit healthier, I cut back on the sugar by 1/2 a cup, used whole wheat flour and subbed half egg whites for the eggs.  It's not much of a "healthy" modification, but I figured even a little bit could make it more figure friendly.  The recipe makes 2 big loafs (9-inch pans).  I like to make 1 loaf and 12 muffins, so that I can have somewhat of portion control. :)  It also freezes really well.  If you decide to do muffins, they'll take about 22 minutes to bake.  Seriously, you have to make this is AMAZING and a wonderful Fall treat!




12 muffins - 1 due to Quality Assurance. :)

Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf

by Recipezaar

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon clove
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)
  1. Cream together margarine, sugar, and eggs.

  2. Combine all dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture alternately with water and pumpkin.

  3. Beat well.

  4. Pour into 3 well greased loaf pans.

  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minute or until toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sara Does Dallas - Round 2

Alright, so here I am on my last full day in Dallas for work.  On Monday morning, a few co-workers and I drove from Prescott to Phoenix at the crack of dawn (really! at like 5am), and then I flew out to Dallas.  The trip has been good and it even started out that way when the guy at Enterprise upgraded me for free!  When I returned my rental last Friday before I flew home, he was the guy the assisted me and he totally remembered me on Monday morning!  So, he put me in a Red Pontiac G6 with all the fixings, instead of some smaller crappy car.  Woo hoo!

The fairs have been pretty good this week and I'm becoming friends with other college reps who keep going to the same fairs that I do.  Since most fairs put us in alphabetical order, I have new friends from Elon University, East Texas Baptist,  and FDIM: Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (this is where LC from The Hills went!!).

During my spare time in-between fairs, I have found ways to entertain myself.  First of all, I finished reading "The Host" by Stephenie Meyer and I really liked it.  It is a very unique story about aliens and human love, and it gets you thinking. Totally different from her "Twilight" saga (as it should be) and I recommend it!

On Tuesday, I  visited Highland Park, TX, which seems to be the Beverly Hills of Texas.  It actually reminded me a lot of Scottsdale, AZ (*sigh* my home).  I ventured off this way because I knew that there was a SPRINKLES CUPCAKES there!  As usual, the cupcakes did not disappoint and I finally got to try a flavor that I've been dying to try...Peanut Butter Chip!  OH was by far THE BEST cupcake I've ever had IN MY LIFE!!  Peanut butter cake studded with chocolate chips, covered in Peanut Butter frosting with of course, sprinkles.  YUMMO!  I couldn't just go there and get one cupcake, so I also got a Chocolate Marshmallow cupcake - Belgian dark chocolate cake and marshmallow cream, covered with bittersweet chocolate ganache.  It too was delicious but nothing could compare to my dear Peanut Butter Chip! :-) 


These are what Sprinkles Cupcakes look like.

I've also done a bit of shopping while here.  Since in Dallas, I absolutely HAD to go to the Dallas Cowboy Pro Shop to find something for my dad.


  Then, I had to get a magnet for my dear friend, Tiffany.  Also, while in the mall I found this super cute coat at Steve & Barry's!  Wanna know how much it cost?  Of course you do!  It was $8.98.  That's right!  Only $8.98.  Awesome, huh?

Coat 2

And then finally today, I ventured over to the Premium Outlet Stores and got this little item.  Isn't it cute!?  It's my first Coach purse.  I've wanted one for years, but couldn't bring myself to spend $400-$500 on a purse (I find that to be a bit ridiculous, not to mention totally out of my budget!!).  Well, since this was a Premium Outlet Mall and a Coach "Factory" Store, I got an AMAZING deal on this purse.  Yay, I'm so excited!


Besides all that, during my time here, I've discovered that: we need Panera Bread restaurants in AZ, we need a Whole Foods in Prescott, I enjoy watching Ellen at 3 'o clock in the afternoon  (she's hilarious) and the public bathrooms in Dallas need to have the little paper toilet seat covers because it just grosses me out that they don't. 

Peace out, Dallas!  I'm heading back to AZ tomorrow morning. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Chance to Bake

Well, in my brief return home this weekend I asked Jeremy if he wanted me to bake him some cookies or just buy him some.  Luckily for me (and my love for baking), he said he'd rather me to bake him some!  Yay!  So, I decided to make him some "Oh My D-Lux Chocolate Chip Cookies."  I've made him these multiple times before and he's rather fond of them, so he's enjoying a few as right now, as I type.

I found this recipe on Recipezaar and they are very tasty.  They include cereal, shredded coconut, nuts and of course, chocolate chips!  The combination of all the chunky ingredients creates a delicious and great texture for the cookie.  I used Corn Flakes, instead of Rice Krispies, left out the nuts (didn't have any) and subbed 1/4 cup of applesauce for 1 egg, since I forgot to buy more at the store earlier.  I also used Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend and I've decided that I don't like using this for baking!  As my cookies cooled, I noticed that they got really crispy (as did some cookies that I had previously made with this butter), instead of staying nice and soft (a general result of real butter).  Has anyone else used this Smart Balance butter and found the same result?  Oh well, the cookies are definitely still edible!

These lip smacking treats are easy to throw together and hard to stop eating!  I think I've already had four! :)  Enjoy!




Mixing everything together with my PINK mixer.


Finished cookies!

Oh My D-Lux Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Recipezaar


1 cup butter, softened

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups Rice Krispies

1-2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Cream butter and add sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy.

  3. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

  4. Combine flour and baking powder and add to creamed mixture until well combined.

  5. Stir in remaining ingredients.

  6. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls (or roll into 1 inch balls) onto baking sheets.

  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

  8. Cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

First Time for Everything...

Dear GPS,

You know that I love you.  And I just wanted to say that I'm sorry that I did not trust you.  You are incased in my cute, pink cell phone and you always lead me to where I want to go.  Plus, you never get mad and yell at me when I go the wrong way.  Instead you just nicely say, "Recalculating route."  It was wrong of me to doubt your capabilities yesterday afternoon.  I should have trusted you and not looked down thinking, "Where is this thing sending me?!  If I hadn't doubted you, I would not have ran the red light and crashed into that lady.  I was wrong.  You always know the right way.  And even though I woke up with puffy eyes after all the crying I did yesterday...I still love you.  Thank you for always knowing the right way  and for reminding me that I should ALWAYS pay attention and be cautious while driving.  I will not doubt you again.  And I'm sorry.



So...yesterday I became a member of the "I've Been in a Car Accident Club," and I'm fairly certain that I never wanted to be a member of this club.  While here in Dallas on business yesterday afternoon, I was heading to a college fair and got into a car accident.  It was totally, 100% my fault.  I kept driving while the light was red and drove right into a lady.  Thankfully, no one was injured, we were just shaken up, and luckily, she was driving an Enterprise Rental Car too (boy, I'm sure that company LOVES us!).  I messed up the front of my car pretty badly, and after I turned it off and the cop checked it out, we realized that it was not drivable.  So, it had to be towed away, as did my victim's car  (because her side airbags deployed).

The whole thing was quite the escapade!  There I was in the middle of a ghetto area of Garland, TX.  On the way to an event.  By myself.  Never been in a car accident in my life.  No clue what to do.  Feeling guilty for hitting this lady, when it was all my fault that I wasn't paying attention.  Worrying about calling my boss to tell her that I got into a car accident, which was all my fault.  Watching my rental car get towed away and wondering what the heck I'm going to do now.  Trying to figure out what to do with the insurance on the vehicle, since it was through my work.  Dealing with the stupid people at Enterprise.  Ugh!

Thankfully, the lady I hit was WAY nicer to me than I deserved, and I couldn't have asked for a better person to crash into.  She and her husband even gave me a ride to the Enterprise location so that we could get new cars. 

All in all, it was terrible experience: I'm now a member of the "I've Been In a Car Accident Club," I'm driving more cautiously than I have since I first started driving (though maybe that's a good thing), and everyone and their mother knows I got into an accident...but I'm totally fine and apparently, there is a first time for everything! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sara Does Dallas - Round 1

Hi everyone!  Here I am, blogging from Dallas, Texas on a Tuesday afternoon.   I started my trip on Saturday by heading to Tulsa, but now I'm in Dallas for the week.  I had a college fair to go to on Sunday afternoon in OK, and then I flew out to Dallas yesterday morning.

In Tulsa, I got to my college fair a bit early, so decided to drive around for a bit and found THE CUTEST neighborhood!  There were large trees, squirrels running around (many squished on the road too) and so much green foliage (growing up in AZ, seeing green is still a bit foreign for me), plus the cutest houses I've ever seen.  They were cute looking "country" type homes and they were all on huge lots.  We don't have houses like this in AZ, so I decided to snap some pictures as I drove through the area. 


Isn't it a cute house?


Look how green it is!


The lot of this house was crazy huge!

Well, I had a college fair this morning and I have another tonight.  On the way back from the fair this morning, I stopped to have lunch at Panera Bread (YUM!  We need these in AZ) and then returned to my hotel to do some reading.  I'm on a reading kick lately, so if you have any good books to read, please let me know!!  Today I finished reading the DRAFT of "Midnight Sun" by Stephenie Meyer.  It's her bestseller "Twilight" but it's from Edward's point of view, so it's familiar but totally different (and only available on her website).  I loved it just like the rest of the Twilight saga and I really hope that she decides to finish writing the book.  Next up on my list is "The Host," also by Ms. Meyer, which I'm about 1/4 of the way into, and then comes "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West."  So many good books to read!!

Well, I've read.  I've clipped and filed my nails.  And I've blogged.  Now I need to iron my pants for tonight, get some coffee and get my tush on the road to my fair tonight! 

That's my update!  Miss you, Arizona.  And miss you, Jeremy! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Proud to be an AMERICAN

In light of the day, I would just like to say that I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN. 

Seven years ago today, I was a freshman during my 3rd week of college at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  My roommate had early class and as I slept, I remember hearing her get up, get ready and leave.  Not even 10 minutes later, she returned to the room, turned on the light and the TV, and said, "Sara, a plane crashed into the World Trade Center."  Before I could come out of my sleeping state and realize what was happening, about five of our fellow freshmen dorm-mates came into our room and we watched the tragedy unfold on TV. 

The day was eerie.  Campus was quite.  Classes were canceled.  All flights were grounded.  Many students who had come to Embry-Riddle to train to be pilots, questioned what the future in aviation would now be.  But everyone came together on campus, as did the rest of the country.

It's funny how everyone remembers exactly what they were doing on September 11th, 2001.  We will never forget.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Nothing New to Report

I've really been wanting to blog  for the past few weeks, but sadly I have nothing exciting to blog about!  I've been waiting for something fun to happen, but nothing "blog-worthy" has occurred.  I haven't cooked any new recipes or baked any tasty treats, we haven't gotten a house yet or a doggie, we haven't gone anywhere fun and we've just been busy with the boring everyday items of life. 

Well, I've finally given up on waiting for something exciting to blog about...and I'm just going to share the boringness of what we've been up to.   Since our last post:

  • We pulled an offer on one of the two houses we wanted because we decided we didn't want it anymore.
  • Jeremy got Madden '08 for his Xbox 360...and now plays it all the time.
  • I read all four books of the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer, and I highly recommend them!  (Thanks for getting me obsessed, Julie)
  • Jerm went to Cali last week for a little "goodbye" visit to his sister, Heather.  She has just moved to Northern Cali to start her nursing career at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital.  Woo, woo!  Go Heather!
  • I'm starting a list of all the books that I want to read before the year is out, so if you have suggestions let me know.
  • I changed the layout of our blog and added some new widgets!

Yup, that's about it.  Sad, huh?  Well, at least we have something to look forward to...this Saturday I embark on the "fall travel season" for work.  Over the next 3 months, I'll be spending 6 weeks total in my territory....the grand state of TEXAS!  And ya know what...I'll mess with Texas, if I want to!  Hopefully, my adventures will amount to some "blog-worthy" stories!  Or at the very least, maybe Jerm will start blogging about what he's going to do without me for those 6 weeks...or better yet, what exactly he's going to eat for those 6 weeks, since I do all the cooking around here.  Now that sounds quite entertaining, doesn't it? 

P.S. On a random side note, it rained this evening and when I walked outside I found this totally complete rainbow!  Of course, it made me think of this song. :)  I couldn't get a complete picture of the whole thing, but here it is in pieces!

 IMG_0900[2]  IMG_0901[2]  IMG_0902[2]