Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Peppermint Glaze

 

Matt and I have officially moved!  I am so excited that I now live in a HOUSE (first time in a long time), with Matt (best part), and it’s beautiful.  We have an avocado tree in the backyard, we have a backyard!, and there’s a trail behind the lot we’re on that is so nice to walk on after work.  Oh, and the kitchen is a dream!  It has a nice stove/oven that heats things evenly and reliably.  It’s awesome.

 

It’s also inspiring.  Last week was our first real week here and I baked up a storm.  Every oven is a little different so I figured I should dive in and figure mine out!  Starting with these soft, rich peppermint chocolate chip cupcakes covered in a smooth dark chocolate peppermint glaze.

 

Blueberry Lemon Crisp with Cinnamon Oat Streusel | SunlitKitchen.com

 

Warm, sweet blueberries with tart lemon, fresh from the oven with golden crisped cinnamony streusel on top… You can get this dessert for two* in the oven in less than 5 minutes.  In 25 minutes, you’ll have a home that smells like blueberry pie and this juicy blueberry-lemon crisp with cinnamon oat streusel ready to eat.  It’s like blueberry pie except quicker, easier and healthier!

*Can be scaled to make more.

Apple Cinnamon Granola | SunlitKitchen.com

 

Loaded with cinnamon and apple flavor and perfectly crisp, this homemade apple cinnamon granola recipe is a heart-healthy, high fiber, high protein, sugar-free meal.  I used peanuts, pecans, and coconut in mine but you could exchange these for whatever you prefer!

Apple Ginger Green Smoothie | SunlitKitchen.com

 

This apple ginger smoothie is refreshing, light and healthy.  It’s a delicious way to reset and feel better when you’ve been eating too much heavy food, and it makes a great breakfast or anytime snack!  The fresh ginger really makes the flavor pop, and you’ll never notice the spinach.

Santa Cruz Road Trip

Posted by Melanie | Other

Henry Cowell State Park

 

Over the winter holiday, Matt, my mom and I drove up to Santa Cruz to watch my brother’s team play basketball (he goes to University of Puget Sound — go Loggers!)  We got up bright and early, piled into the rental car and hit the road, stopping only for lunch at Andersen’s Pea Soup.  (Check out my at-home version of the incredible stuff here.)

 

Sugar Cookies

 

Over the holiday break, I had a hankering for some traditional sugar cookies.  However, I didn’t want to fuss with rolling out the dough for cookie cutters or icing them (though that can be fun!)  These sugar cookies are quick to make and won’t test your artistic skills with colored icing — but most importantly their flavor is incredible. A hint of almond extract give these easy and delicious sugar cookies a shortbread-like flavor.  They are soft in the center and crisp on the outside, and a sprinkling of pecans makes them look cute and festive.

Inyo Camping Trip

Posted by Melanie | Other

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This September before Fall quarter started, Matt and I went camping for a weekend in Inyo National Forest.  Inyo is east of Sequoia in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  It’s full of pine, fir and — my personal favorite — aspen trees, and it’s home to beautiful lakes and creeks set amongst tall mountains.  We stayed at East Fork campground in a tucked away, multi-level little site at 8900 feet elevation.

Ground-Beef-Saltado

 

Saltado is a Peruvian dish that involves a tasty stir-fry of meat, veggies and none other than French fries!  And white rice on the side.  This is a simple at-home version that is so delicious and a little less greasy than what you get in a restaurant.

Almond-Coconut-Cookies-25-lt

 

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been craving something with almond flavor lately, but these soft and chewy almond coconut cookies are absurdly good.  They have a light coconut flavor, more than a subtle hint of almond but not too much, and the texture is out-of-this-world soft and chewy.