food

chocolate pudding pie

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A cliche phrase is being proved this week...you don't know how much you love someone until they're gone. Well, okay, in my case it's my brother who's at camp for a week, but man, I miss that boy like crazy. He is honestly my best friend and he understands me like none other and now I'm getting all mushy. I was an only child on Monday night--the girls were at sleepovers and J at camp--and it was so strange to be alone with my parents. We are an extremely close-knit family and it's not normal for us to be so split up.

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I'm not going to lie--between Jeremiah being gone and having to take the ACT on Saturday (and I thought I had the stress of school behind me...), I will be rather relieved once this week is over. And just because it's kind of nice to indulge in a pity party sometimes, I allowed myself a chocolate pudding pie. This pie is unreal, guys. Chocolate pie has always been my favorite, but when you throw pudding in the mix, woah baby, you've got yourself a winner. I've made this pie several times so far and it has never disappointed. Whether you want to throw a yourself little pity party or just celebrate summer, this pie is perfection no matter the occasion. Treat yourself for me, okay?

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chocolate pudding pie
via smitten kitchen

ingredients
- pie crust of your choice (I used half of this recipe), baked and cooled
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups whole milk
- 4 ounces (1/4 cup) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup chilled heavy cream
- shaved chocolate for garnishing (optional)

directions
- Whisk together cornstarch, 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, then boil, whisking, two minutes (mixture will thicken). Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and vanilla until smooth.
- Pour filling into cooled shell and chill, its surface covered with wax paper (if you want to prevent a skin from forming), until cold, at least two hours.
- Just before serving, beat cream with remaining two tablespoons sugar until it just holds soft peaks. Spoon onto pie and garnish with bittersweet chocolate shavings.

Enjoy!

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cinnamon coffee cake

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In the midst of crazy end-of-year activities (which include--but are not limited to--exams), I took a morning last week to bake. Measuring out the flour, pouring in the sugar, and mixing together eggs and sour cream in a quiet, serene kitchen replenished my dangerously low measure of calm. There's something decisively soothing about baking. While I'd love to say that I bake every day, the truth is it happens more like once a month and usually ends with flour in my hair, fingers swiping dough from the bowl, and various ingredients dusting the floor. Regardless, taking time to create something to satisfy the sweet tooth and to put a smile on someone else's face is a ritual I take pleasure in.

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This cinnamon coffee cake is light and airy, broken up with a crunchy layer of cinnamon and sugar. The sour cream is the secret in the recipe, keeping it moist and delivering a slight tang. As its name suggests, it's a perfect treat to go along with coffee on a spring afternoon.

cinnamon coffee cake

ingredients
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (plus more for pan)
- 2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for pan)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- a pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/3 for topping
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream

directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the topping, combine 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.
To make the cake, butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, sugar, and eggs until smooth. Add the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Spread half of the batter into the prepared baking pan, and sprinkle with half of the topping. Repeat with remaining batter and topping.
Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, then remove sides of pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve topping side up.

Enjoy!

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the farmer's market

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(music: cats and dogs by the head and the heart)

The farmer's market opened back up a few weeks ago and Saturdays are extra special now--strolling from stand to stand, people watching (because that's my area of expertise), and basking in the morning sun. It leaves me feeling alive, inspired, and excited to live life. It's one of my favorite parts of the spring. And speaking of spring, I'm so happy it's May. I'm wrapping up school (two more weeks!), starting new projects, and I'm just generally excited for summer. And as of yesterday, I've embarked on a challenge for all of this month, which involves working out (which I've already been doing for over a week, yay!), drinking my prescribed amount of water, and keeping my room tidy. Every day. I'm two days in so far and it's looking good.

What are your plans for May?