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Weekly Reading

IMG_8771Fun night seeing Hedwig and the Angry Inch

  1. I agree: People are freaking out about how hot Joe Biden was

Pumpkin Nutella Muffins

I randomly came across this recipe and knew I had to try it for the fall season. These Pumpkin Nutella Muffins were super simple to make and disappeared quickly when I brought them to the office. Definitely a winner!

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To make these, I simply mixed together the wet and dry ingredients and spooned the batter into a muffin pan. I then put a dollop of nutella in each one and swirled with a knife. I need to be more generous with the nutella next time. When eating these, I definitely wanted more!

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Overall, these were delicious and are sure to be a staple to make every fall season!

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Weekly Reading

IMG_8662Some rare art spotted in Sherman Oaks

1. Love this: 25 Things Every Book-Loving 90’s Kids Will Remember

Pumpkin and Brussels Sprout Gnocchi

So I got ambitious with all the fall festivities and decided to try this Pumpkin and Brussels Sprout Gnocchi. While this was a fun dish to try for the fall, it didn’t turn out exactly how I thought.

I really enjoyed the pumpkin flavors along with the gnocchi and seeds. I got the packaged brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s which I cut up and simmered. I recommend getting the tray brussels sprouts which you can steam ahead of time. I felt like not all of mine were fully sauteed, but the onions ended up burning for some reason. Also, I need to remember not to add the red pepper flakes. This ended up being way too hot for me. When I reheated, it wasn’t too bad, but the first tasting was definitely spicy.

Additionally, with all the ingredients and time involved, was this truly worth it? I ended up spending around $20 to get all the ingredients, so it wasn’t a budget conscious meal (pumpkin seeds alone cost $6). I was able to get 2+ meals from it, so technically, it had some legs. Though, my apartment still smells of the onions and brussels sprouts. While this was an ambitious fall meal, it’s not something I would make on a regular basis.

Apple Spice Muffins

With fall being the season for all things apple and spice, I decided to take advantage of an easy recipe I saw on Pinterest. I mean, just spice cake mix + applesauce, you can’t go wrong!

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These muffins were super easy, I just mixed the ingredients and popped into a greased muffin pan. They were very moist and were still good a few days later. Also, I loved how it made a dozen muffins, not too many to deal with overall.

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The only downside was that it was hard to spoon the batter into the pan, so I cut a ziploc bag to pipe it in. Otherwise, these were delicious and I’d definitely make them again!

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Butterscotch Cookies

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I made the mistake of buying another bag of butterscotch chips when I already had some in the pantry. So, what could I do with all these extra chips? I quick search on Pinterest and I found an awesome recipe for butterscotch cookies! I love cooking with pudding mixes, the cookies always turn out so soft. These were no different. My whole kitchen smelled like butterscotch and these were so soft and delicious.

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Myself and my co-workers devoured these and I can’t wait to make them again. Luckily I still have more butterscotch chips and pudding to make these again soon!

Weekly Reading

IMG_8641Visiting Highland Park this Weekend

1. Impressive: Guy hides his resume in boxes of donuts

Long Weekend in Iceland

Recently, I feel like more and more people were going to Iceland. I had a layover there last year and just knew I wanted to go back. I saw there were cheap direct flights with WOW Air and decided to take a chance with a solo trip for Labor Day. I had such a good time!

IMG_8405View of Reykjavik

Though Iceland is expensive, their tourism is booming and so convenient for travelers. Upon arrival, I took a shuttle to The Blue Lagoon, which then took me to my guest house later. So convenient! Since my flight got in around 4am, it was nice to get a chance to relax in the geothermal pools. I even got a massage while floating in the water which was bliss!

IMG_8358The Blue Lagoon in the morning

After getting a shuttle to my Airbnb, I decided to do my own little tour of downtown Reyjavik. I tried an Icelandic hot dog, stopped by a local bakery, checked out the Tjornin Lake, and took in the view from the top of the Lutheran church.

IMG_8386The Icelandic Hot Dog, love the sweet mustard!

IMG_8413Pretty view of the lake

IMG_8412Pretty scenery of downtown

IMG_8384My cozy Airbnb room

After a long day, I decided to take an early night in my cozy room. The next morning, I got up early for my Golden Circle Tour with GeoIceland. It’s called the Golden Circle because of the golden grass that lines the route.

IMG_8428Crazy geyser that made me jump whenever it erupted

IMG_8422I really love this photo

IMG_8444Pretty rainbows and waterfalls

IMG_8467The countryside was beautiful

After the tour, I had myself a nice dinner (delicious lamb!) and participated in a pub crawl that night to meet other travelers. They even have a popular place called “American Bar” that turns into a club at night. I slept in the next morning and rested up for my horseback riding tour that afternoon.

IMG_8482Cloudy day horseback riding through the lava fields

IMG_8495Me with my horse Mani

IMG_8509Yummy sushi meal I treated myself to that night

With just a half day left, I decided to check out the free walking tour of the city to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I didn’t hurt that the tour guide was very attractive. I also got one last hot dog, because Iceland :)

IMG_8518Pretty view of the Lutheran church

Overall, I loved Iceland! I was afraid that going solo was going to be lonely, but I had such a good time traveling at my own pace. Plus, the weather as beautiful and not too cold.  I only wish I had one more day to head south and do a glacier hike. Maybe on my next layover!

Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce

I had a large amount of cherry tomatoes left over from making goodies for my book club last week. With some pasta on-hand as well, I decided to find a meal option where I could combine the two. I came across this recipe on Epicurious: Pasta with 15-min Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce and decided to give it a whirl.

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The recipe was really simple — make the pasta as directed, then heat the tomatoes in oil until they burst. The overall result was really delicious and the sauce coated the noodles perfectly. The only critique I have is that the sauce was a little oily for me, especially when I ate this for leftovers. Also, all those bursting cherries made a mess all over my kitchen. It took awhile to clean the oil off my counters and floor. Next time, I will use a cover for my skillet!

IMG_8291Some of the aftermath

Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese

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I’ve been looking for a way to use up the spare whole wheat macaroni I had in my pantry. My mom had passed it along to me since she didn’t like it. I’m definitely more of a shell or penne girl myself. Luckily, I had this Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese recipe pinned from awhile back. This was the perfect chance to try it out!

I really enjoyed the technique of straining the pasta over the spinach, allowing it to wilt. Less dishes to wash is always better for me! With wheat noodles and Greek yogurt instead of a creamy sauce — this makes for a healthier dish! I’m sure it would work with other vegetables added as well. I recommend adding another cup of spinach, two didn’t seem like enough to distribute evenly.

The only criticism I have is that the onion and garlic powder was too much for me. I don’t think I would add it next time. This dish is also great for leftovers, it lasted 3 meals for me and tasted great 3 days later!