Monday, June 20, 2011

Snickerdoodle Days of Summer

Lately, I've picked up a new hobby of constantly thinking about crafting, baking, and recipes in general. I don't know if this is because I'll be moving into my apartment in a few months or if I'm finally realizing how cool these things are.

One of my current obsessions is cupcake and cookie recipes. I've started following some blogs, and there is just so much cool stuff! Last night, I finally broke down and baked up a storm. My sister and I had the house to ourselves, so we did what any teenagers would do...we took over the kitchen!

The first experiment of the night was a batch of snickerdoodle cupcakes topped with snickerdoodle cookies. I got the idea and recipes from that link, but we used a different icing recipe, which I'll post when we get around to it.

The cupcakes went together pretty uneventfully. My part of the process went off without a hitch.

Valerie ran into some trouble with spooning out our cupcakes, though. Let's just say that some of them weren't very pretty.

The pretty ones turned out well, though.

As soon as we had those on the cooling rack, we moved onto the cookies. Once again, they were easy enough to make.

 There was no cinnamon in the cookies, so I made sure to roll them in plenty of the cinnamon sugar. I like my snickerdoodles to have a good kick to them.

Cheesin' while scooping out the dough.

And here are our pretty cookies! Val made up the frosting while I started on the blueberry muffins. Before I get any further, let me warn you: these muffins are usually done after about 15 minutes, instead of 20. They always come out really light and they don't look like they're done. But as i learned the hard way, if they're starting to get golden on top, they're probably burning, too. 

I made a batch of regular ones, and then I made a second batch and added the zest of two lemons. I don't think there was enough lemon in it, time, I'll add more. Maybe experiment with a larger amount of lemon juice?

 Here's the icing recipe that we used:

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 1/2 cups margarine, softened
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream butter at medium speed of an electric mixer; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add milk; beat until spreading consistency, then stir in vanilla. Yields about 3 cups.

What Val's doing here is piping icing onto the cupcake, topping it with a cookie, and then topping it off with another dollop of icing. (Actually, in this picture, she's messing around with the extra cookies.) Then, we sprinkled some of the cinnamon sugar left over from the cookies onto the iced cupcakes.

 And, here we are! These Snickerdoodles are ready to eat.

And the muffins don't look too bad, either!

All in all, I'd say it was a fun night. Probably a diet-blowing night, but still a fun one.

Milestones and Changes

Well, first things first. I feel like running and shouting this from the rooftops, but...

I reached the 25 lb milestone!

Actually, I've lost 28 lbs as of yesterday, and I don't think I could possibly be more excited. I've also dropped 3 pants sizes. Even better, I have a wonderful mom who is willing to take me shopping so that I have clothes that fit at all stages of my weight loss. She is fantastic, and so supportive, and I don't think I could have made it this far if she hadn't been doing this with me. (Sorry, had to brag on her a bit.) But 28 lbs? That's what my backpack usually weighs (it's pretty heavy), and I sure don't like lugging that around all the time. I'm really starting to be able to tell that I've lost weight, too. When I look in the mirror, there are more differences now than ever before. For example, my dresses don't get hung up on my hips anymore! I was pretty excited about that. After all, who doesn't like to look good in their clothes?

In other news, I got a haircut! I was trying to grow it out, but I just wanted to do something different for myself now since I've lost so much weight.

It curls better! The only bad part is that I have to straighten my bangs every day, otherwise I look weird.

That reminds me. Does anyone have any good tips to avoid getting zits where my bangs lay? Would letting up on the hairspray do the trick? Or should I take a few days each month and pull my bangs off of my face? Anybody been here before?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Re-discovered Inspiration

I came across this today while tidying up my laptop. It made me smile, because one of my friends sent me this exact paragraph when I was struggling with connecting to people this year.

Yes, Emily, you ARE different. In fact I don't know a single person quite like you. Some share the same love for music, or have a good temperament nearly all the time, but I can say without a second thought that you are separate from all others. Everyone is in some way (which I know is a textbook saying), but whether that difference makes us a better person or worse person is what counts. They never care to mention that everyone "being special in their own way" can sometimes be a special on the wrong side of the playing field. The good news is, however, you're all in the right side of the playing field. While you may be far different from me, having different interests and the like, I still hold you as my friend. Differences don't keep us apart, it's just those around you who are missing out by not enjoying you for those differences. You may find you're just not talking to the right people yet if the ones you're around now are causing you to question yourself.

It just gave me some inspiration, and I hope that I don't forget this again.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June has arrived, and so have small victories!

Well, looks like June showed up while I wasn't looking. Where does the time go? My summer classes started today (History and Lifetime Wellness), and from looking at the syllabus for each class, it seems like Lifetime Wellness won't be bad, while History is going to be a bear. Good news is, my wonderful boyfriend is good at history and has already agreed to help me study. Hopefully that will make it less of a chore.

So far, my summer has been filled with running, sun, and buying smaller clothes. I feel so limited right now, because I have two pairs of shorts that fit me. I've been trying to pad my wardrobe by wearing any and all sundresses I have, but that isn't working out so well. This morning, I went to put on my favorite sundress only to find that it is now much too big for me. I told myself that it was no big deal, that I'd just wear a dress from last summer. I put it on and realized that I was drowning in the fabric. So here I am, wearing my third choice of sundresses and wondering what to do about clothes for the rest of the summer. Hopefully I have some friends that are the same size as me and would be willing to loan me clothes. If not, I'll start looking for a good thrift store around here or just ride it out until I visit Springfield or until August when I'll be sure to buy clothes that fit. Even though this is increasingly annoying, it's got to be a good thing, right?

I had a non-scale-victory this morning, too. Since it was already 85 degrees when i was ready to go running at 7:30, I stayed inside and ran on the treadmill instead. I'm really glad that I did, because I got to see how far I've already come. Just a month ago, I could barely run a quarter of a mile. Today, I ran a full mile without stopping, and I want to see if I can do better the next time I use the treadmill. Normally, I do all of my running and walking outside. My street is 2.4 miles from my house to the end, back to the other end, and then back to my house again. There are several large hills in there, so I get a pretty good workout. When I started doing this route a month ago, it took me 45 minutes to finish it. Now, I'm doing the same route in just a little under 30. I am very excited about this progress, and it just goes to show that success in weight loss doesn't necessarily have to come from the scale.

I am so excited about all of this. My friend and I might be going swimsuit shopping this week, so we'll see how that turns out!

Any tips for making the most of my weight loss or new-found fitness?