Semi-Healthy Carrot Cupcakes

Happy Monday everyone!

As it unfortunately keeps raining here–despite a small window on Dad’s Day where we ran the dogs around–I’ve been doing some baking lately. Some of it has been not-so-healthy, but lately I’ve been learning some healthier-baking tips, like substituting applesauce for some of the oil.

Brilliant, no?

One dessert I had some trouble finding a healthier alternative for is carrot cake. I loooove carrot cake, and I love that you can pretend it’s healthy, even though sadly, it really isn’t.

gotta love it

However, while flipping through my latest issue of Fitness magazine, I stumbled upon the following recipe, played with it a little, and the result is delicious, popular, and with about a pound of carrots in them, kind of good for you!

CARROT CUPCAKES:

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray/muffin liners
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 7 egg whites, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 cups finely shredded carrots
  • Raisins, chocolate chips or chopped nuts: optional.
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several muffin trays or spray with nonstick cooking spray. *NOTE: Recipe can also be made into bars by spraying a 9 X 13 inch pan.*
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together egg whites, applesauce and oil. Stir into flour mixture. Stir in shredded carrot and other optional fillings.
  4. Spread batter in muffin tins. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat together sifted powdered sugar and cream cheese until smooth.
  6. Frost cupcakes and enjoy!!
One thing I changed (besides the addition of chocolate chips and making it extra cinnamon-y) was that I kept my brown sugar a little lumpy, letting it break up in the little cupcakes for a little fun surprise. I also switched to cupcakes, as I always find I have more self-control to have just one or two cupcakes, rather than cutting myself a GIANT piece of cake…they’re like pre-made into serving sizes! Plus, there are few things happier than cupcakes.
That’s it for now, folks! As always, let me know if you have discovered any delightful recipes, or if you try this one out successfully! 
Until we meet again. 🙂

How Not To Do What You Want To Do

When I think about what I want to do…the list is long. When I look at my life and wonder what I’m actually doing and where the time is going…it’s a lot different from what I want to be doing.

How does this happen? Where does the time go? Today is my brother’s 27th birthday (happy birthday, big bro!) and it was an old friend from high school’s bridal shower…a friend I have now known for ten years. That’s a decade. When did I become old enough to have friends for that long?

Well, since I’m almost 24, I guess awhile now.

When I met this friend, during our freshman gym class (we bonded over swimming–we were the good swimmers in a class where the majority of our peers were afraid of the pool) I had visions of where I would be in a decade–sort of.

Who thinks of decades when they’re fourteen? I thought of traveling, having a boyfriend (it was not my most ambitious year), making friends, being pretty, going to college. Maybe making a difference in some vague way.

(On a side note, whenever I think the term “making a difference” an image of Jane Goodall with African kids and chimpanzees comes to mind. Maybe she’s my idol, a little…I bet she thought in decades at fourteen).

Anyway, alone in my room at night–this was the first year I actually had my own room, as it took my father about a decade to finish the basement– I would sit at our old crappy computer and write.

I don’t know that I had much ambition to be a writer, per se, but I just wrote. I carried around a diary and wrote it in during most of my classes, sometimes at lunch, filling the pages with my day.

I found a bunch of these journals in the basement (which, now after several floods, is back to half-finished…thank you, Montana) the other day as I was “packing” for my impending move.

Which leads me to yet another question: when did I stop writing so much? When did I let life get in the way of my writing? I never seemed to let class get in the way of my writing, as evidenced by the number of journals I wrote, and certainly my social life never impeded on my writing time, as evident in the number of stories on my old hard drive. (Proof of this can also be seen in the volume of books I own and in the leftover journals–how could I talk to anyone when all I did was write in those things?)

I suppose I stopped writing so much when I started college, actually got a viable social life–and spent my years of college making up for lost time in the social realm–and started to see some of the world.

Even with these changes, being a real writer has always been a little seed of a dream at the back of my head. I’ve accepted and also forgotten that I’ve always wanted to write–and always figured I would, someday. I’ve given it up at rejection, gotten distracted by other pursuits, been convinced it wasn’t sensible, convinced myself it was too competitive and maybe I wasn’t good enough. But it’s never gone away. I’ve also accepted that I have a million other things I want to do, too. (Like Jane Goodall-ing around the world, perhaps).

However, pursuits and travels aside, an English Lit degree in my hand, and I find myself back where I started–alone, in my room, at night, writing.

Have I come full circle? Is writing a dream I’ll ever make come true, or is it a dream I have just to dream?

I’m confident I’ll find a new dream, another dream–maybe my new job will lead me in new, unknown directions, and open the door to a new dream that never entered my mind. I know I’ll keep my writing dream–maybe even realize it–or maybe I’ll never make money from writing.

But it’s comforting to know I’ll always have writing, even if I only ever write for myself (or this blog, although thanks to my relative silence I’m not sure if anyone reads it). It might be an unrealized dream, it might be a line I never cross, but the true dream, really, is dreaming.

Silence No More

Hello out there!  I’m officially breaking my radio silence with a post about my FUTURE!

That’s news.

This past week has been a whirlwind: I helped my boyfriend move down to Denver, which equaled many lo-o-o-ong hours in a U-Haul, towing his car through eastern Montana, Wyoming, and northern Colorado. All of these states are gorgeous right now thanks to copious amounts of rain (which I really am not a huge fan of, but yum, green) but Wyoming…it’s a tad endless, I’m not gonna lie.

Anyway, after fruitlessly apartment-hunting (I’ve learned that I’m a perfectionist…who knew?) for several days we hopped on a plane for Portland, the coast, a quick family visit, Seattle, and the U2 concert. Most of this was unplanned when we landed in Portland, after a layover in Phoenix (why go south??? A mystery) but it was a fun, if exhausting weekend!

Now I’m back at work, still fairly tired and wondering when I’m going to learn to take a relaxing vacation.

Well, clearly, relaxing is too boring for me, because, folks, while in Denver…I did, in fact, get a JOB!!!!!

So, starting in August, this will be my new view:

Ok…maybe not, but I can dream ;).