Biscoff Cookies

Have you ever tried Biscoff spread? In the food blog world, I am like 5 years late to this band wagon. I have been reading about Biscoff spread for months but did not try it until a couple weeks ago.

Biscoff Spread is basically a peanut-butter like spread that tastes like sugar cookies. Biscoff cookies are shortbread and caramelly and the Spread tastes just as good. I bought this off Amazon (and a week later only to see it in the grocery store for $10 cheaper!!!) and was hoping to eat it on toast. It is very sweet and just was not working for me that way. So, off in search for a recipe I went!

This is a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, but with less butter and the addition of 1/2 cup Biscoff spread. The biscoff spread makes the cookies cakier, richer, thicker and more caramelly than the usual CCCookies. If Biscoff isn’t you thaaang, you can add Nutella or peanut butter in place for the Biscoff in the recipe below. Either way, I recommend you give these a whirl!

Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookies

(adapted from Dinner or Dessert http://www.dinnerordessert.com/2012/04/biscoff-cookie-dough-bites.html)

  • 6 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff Cookie Spread
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • Optional: melted Nutella for drizzling on top of cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a cookie sheet.
  2. Cream butter, biscoff, and both sugars until fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat well.
  3. In a separate bowl stir together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add slowly to butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate and white chocolate chips.
  4. I chill mine in the fridge for 30 minutes before putting on baking sheet and popping in oven. They are taller and don’t spread as much that way.
  5. Roll in balls and place on baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. They will appear underdone and a little soft, but they will set up. :) Austin and I like these with a little scoop of frozen yogurt.

Tone-It-Up Tuesday Cardio Kickboxing Style

Let’s Tone-It-Up again! I am out of town this week but that doesn’t mean I can skip working out. I know I cannot work out as much when I am away from home, but by all means: I can still fit in a couple of workouts.

When I travel for work and do NOT workout…WOW…I feel awful and lethargic and mean. I try to wake up 30-40 minutes early (which is usually SUPER early and very hard for me to do) and get a quick sweat session in. I typically do some circuit training, interval training or a video from Fitness Blender.

If you do not know what Fitness Blender is: please go online and check them out. It is FREE, people, FREE! http://www.fitnessblender.com

Here is one of my favorite workouts…

Tone-It-Up Tuesday: Working Out in Tennessee

One of my favorite ways of exercising here in Tennessee is to hike. First of all, there are no nice gyms near where I live–the closest one is about an hour away. So, all of my workouts I do in the comfort of my living room OR outdoors by hiking with Austin or walking Rocco.  

I’m going to be honest. I’m a gym rat. I’d much rather workout in a gym than outdoors. Any day of the week. I LOVE a nice gym with great equipment, machines, personal trainers and group exercise class. I get a high when I walk into a gym. Call me weird, that’s okay. I am a huge advocate for group exercise and working out around other people. It’s motivating and more fun that way! When I’m around positive people who work out hard for their health: wow, I know I can do that too. We all inspire each other to be better.

Right when we moved here, I realized that I need to get creative with my workouts. I kind of had a melt down. I was used to having a gym membership. At one point in Raleigh: I was going to 3 gyms! Now, I can’t just go to Body Pump, Zumba, Boot Camp class anymore. I have to motivate myself. I can’t sulk and stop working out because I don’t have a gym membership. I’d go crazy without working out!

Good news: I have learned a lot about exercise and what motivates me over the past year of living in Tennessee. My typical workout week in Tennessee consists of workout videos such as Insanity, Fitness Blender, Tone-It-Up and new to Austin and me: P90x. We are just aiming to do P90x once or twice a week together for a fun and INTENSE workout. :)

I try to be active about every day for my sanity and health and get my
workout in the morning. This sets me up for a productive, healthy day.  I am constantly on pinterest and YouTube looking up new workouts and moves and love to learn about this stuff. Some of you know that I am a Zumba instructor and cannot wait to get back into that when I’m able. I’m glad I’ve had this time in Tennessee (and will for the next year at least) to get back to the basics and motivate myself. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve learned SO much about myself. When the times comes for us to move and for me to become a member of a gym again: I will appreciate it so much more and be very grateful. Right now, I’m making the most of my situation. Just keep on rolling! :)

Recently before Austin started classes back, we decided to go on a hike together. It was 8 miles total. Normally, that would not be so hard. Well, 4 miles of it was straight up hill! Let’s just say we got a good workout and we happy when we starting going downhill. :)  

Question: What ways do you have to be creative with your workouts? Do you like working out in the gym or outdoors more?

 

Friday Favorites: Chocolate Chip Cookie Edition

I love warm chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. Freshly baked. Warm. Gooey. Soft. Delicious. Who can turn that down? No one, I say! I’ve always been a big advocate for chocolate chip cookies. I love experimenting with different ways to make these cookies…trust me, this can get complicated.

To melt the butter or cream it? To add an extra egg yolk for moisture? All brown sugar or a mix of brown and white sugar? Less flour or more flour? Add cornstarch or baking powder? Mini chocolate chips or regular chocolate chips? And don’t get me started about the add in’s–with toffee bits, white chocolate, chopped Reeses, pecans, snickers, m&ms, I could go on for days. :) 

I will be featuring a post in the next week of one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes. But this Friday Favorite is about what’s happening around the web in terms of these beautiful cookies. See the list below from those talented bloggers who KNOW the way to our hearts.

Question: What is your favorite way to enjoy chocolate chip cookies? Warm out of the oven? At room temperature? With milk? Do tell! :)  

Friday Favorites: Bringing Lace Into Fall

I decided to take a stylish turn on this Friday Favorites. For those of you who don’t know much about my background, know that I am a fashion lover through and through. I went to the College of Textiles at N.C. State University, majoring in fashion marketing and management and getting my masters in fashion marketing. This by NO means makes me an expert on fashion…it just means I love it and am passionate about it.

I love the excitement of fashion and how it changes with every season, yet things ebb and flow and come back into style. I love the pattern of that. I love the act of putting on clothes that make you feel good about yourself.  If you feel confident and carry yourself well, that makes you feel like you can conquer the world (because you can).

Anyway, enough about my love affair with all things fashion…let’s get to the topic at hand: lace. Some people may think lace is just for Spring and Summer. Well, I have some great news for you…it’s not! Keep your lace in the closet, don’t store it away because there are lots of ways to make lace Fall appropriate. I’ve been looking at lots of trends for Fall 2014 and lace is a key player.

Some great ways to bring your lace into fall:

  • Wear your favorite lace top with leather leggings or skinny jeans and boots.
  • Layer a blazer, cardigan or sweater over your lace top.
  • If you have a favorite lace dress from the spring/summer, add some tights, boots and a jacket and you are ready to go.

Question: Are you a lace lover? Will you be wearing your lace into the Fall season?

 

Pumpkin Donut Muffins

Be still those pumpkin-loving-donut-craving hearts out there! I have an easy, peasy recipe that will make you swoon.

What are your favorite types of donuts? I am not partial to one brand or one type of donut and typically love all of them. However, I do remember being a little girl and watching my dad walk in the door with a box (or two) of Krispy Kreme donuts and my heart would leap! I used to love those glazed donuts and the chocolate glazed too.

Like Father like Daughter…My mimi told me that when my dad was little, Granddaddy would bring home the box of donuts and Dad would count out how many each person got. 4 each. No more and no less. Dad did not want people infringing on HIS share of the donuts. haha! I love that because I used to do the same–mentally counting how many each of us could get. I also used to love coming home from school and “nuking” (microwaving) the donuts for about 8 seconds (a trick my Granddaddy taught me). Ohmygoodness–delicious! 

These Pumpkin Donut Muffins will save you the trip of going to the donut shop and will save you from buying a fryer. These are just baked muffins, tops of the muffins dipped in melted butter and then dipped in cinnamon-sugar. The cinnamon sugar/melted butter combination on top makes them taste like fried donuts. I promise ya! These can also be made without pumpkin if you aren’t a pumpkin lover like me (shammmeeee on you hehe). 

Pumpkin Donut Muffins

Source: http://www.crunchycreamysweet.com/2013/09/22/cinnamon-sugar-coated-pumpkin-donut-muffins/ 

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk
  • Topping: 1 stick melted butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup (regular sized) muffin pan.
  2. Beat oil and sugars until combined. Add vanilla and eggs and stir well. Next add the baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon.  
  3. In a separate bowl combine the pumpkin and milk. Add this to egg mixture, alternating with flour (beginning and ending with flour). 
  4. Fill muffin pan to the top with batter. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack.  
  5. Put the melted butter in a bowl and the cinnamon-sugar mixture in a bowl. Dip the tops of the muffins in the melted butter and then directly into the cinnamon sugar. Coat well.  
  6. Cool completely and ENJOY!!!  

 

Question: What is your favorite type of donut?

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Ya’ll…can we talk for real right now?

This is the best dessert I have ever made. Ever. It’s a I-want-to-eat-this-every-night-of-the-week type of dessert. And guess what? It has NO chocolate. That is crazy for me because I consider myself a true chocolate lover. I eat chocolate every day. Every. Single. Day.

This dessert is so tasty that Austin and I even made up a song and dance titled “Sticky Toffee Pudding.” You think I’m kidding but I’m proud to say that I’m not. Gosh, I love him. 

Another interesting tidbit about Sticky Toffee Pudding? It has dates as one of the main ingredients. This is a usual EW for me but I’m telling you: the dates end up tasting like little bites of toffee heaven. This “pudding” actually is a small, very moist, cake that tastes similar to the best bread pudding you’ve ever had in your life. And guess what else? It is swimming in a pool of toffee sauce. I repeat: SWIMMING in deliciousness.  

If you cannot tell: I am PUMPED about this dessert. So pumped that I only took one measly photo because I was too excited and had to taste it right then and there. :) Please try this dessert. Bake it today! It is impressive in every way and deserves a gold medal. I am going to make this for my family for Christmas probably and basically every excuse I can. It’s that good, people.    

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Recipe from “Williams Sonoma-Home Baked Comfort” by Kim Laidlaw

  • 1/2 cup chopped and pitted dates (finely chopped)
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • Half a stick of butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour  
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Toffee sauce: half stick of butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup heavy cream, 2 tsp vanilla extract, pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 8 half cup ramekins. I actually did 4 one cup ramekins (because I like BIG desserts haha). Place greased ramekins on cookie sheet.
  2. Place boiling water, dates and 3/4 tsp baking soda in a bowl. Let cool for 10 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes or until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla extract. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into butter mixture. Add the date mixture (including the water).  
  4. Pour ramekins 2/3 the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.  
  5. Right when the cakes are taking out of the oven: melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and cream and cook for 5 minutes or until sticky. Take off heat and add vanilla and salt.  
  6. Place each cake on a plate and pour a BIG spoonful (or two or three like I did) of the toffee sauce on top. Serve immediately.  

 

Question: Have you ever tried Sticky Toffee Pudding? Are you a mega-fan of toffee like me?  

What I’ve Learned Being a Med Student’s Wife

I had no idea what my life would be like when I made it my personal mission to help Austin get into medical school. I had no idea what I was in for or the commitment that was about to take place. I had no idea how hard this would be. I had no idea I would find such happiness is another person’s success and dreams. I had no idea that this life was the one meant for me.  

I feel like I needed to do a post on what I’ve learned since being a medical student’s fiance and now wife. People ask me how I do it and how Austin does it and here’s the deal… 

You have to give yourself over to medical school, even if you are not the student. Medical school is a crazy process that involves moving at least every couple of years and not knowing where you will go. It’s a process that means Austin has to have HIGH test scores, strong grades, and great volunteer service, AND oh yeah, it never hurts to know someone and use your network. Rotations, residency, establishing a practice is an interview process that is exposing and never-ending. This not only effects Austin  but also effects me. I have to move with him or live separate (which both are equally hard). I have to sacrifice some of my “dreams” of owning a home a couple years out of college and living in a town I want to live in. We have to live in a town that he has opportunities.

You are going to be alone a lot. And you better get used to it quickly. I knew medical students have to study an insane amount but nothing could prepare us for the reality of it. Austin studies 24/7/365. Even on our “date nights,” I am worried because I feel like he is getting behind and should be studying instead of spending time with me. I am working on that and have learned to just let it go and enjoy my husband. He studies at home with me most of the time but 6 nights out of the week, I am by myself watching tv with Rocco at night. A big change from what I was used to pre-medical school. I have to keep myself busy *hence this blog.

You have to realize that medical students NEED to be selfish. Medical students have to be selfish and put their own stuff in front of everything else, or it’s simple: they will fail. Being in medical school is one of the hardest things to do and if you don’t do what is right for yourself, you will get behind in school and do bad on tests and then get on probation and kicked out of school….it’s not that serious BUT it’s a domino effect. Austin is not selfish by nature at ALL because he is one of the kindest men I know. However, I have had to teach him to be selfish in order to get his stuff done. A lot of times this means I have to sacrifice time spent together.

You have to know that no matter how hard it is for you, imagine how hard it is for the med student. Right when we moved to Tennessee for Austin’s school, I had a good ole pity party about the situation. Woe is Madison. NOPE. That is not the right mindset. I don’t know when it was but one day I had an epiphany: this is not hard for me like it is for Austin. I know the pressure on his shoulders is great and my role is to help not to hinder. That is my mission.

You have to know that this is all going to be worth it. Austin is my heart and my soul. He is that sweet guy that listens better than anyone I know. He is the sweetest and has a huge heart. Yes, time is not exactly easy right now and being a medical student’s wife is not easy. But you know what? It’s all going to be worth it and it is actually worth it now. I would not change a thing. What gets me by is this…not many people pursue their dreams…and I am so incredibly proud of my strong husband for reaching for his dreams 100%. I am going to be by his side no matter what comes our way. God put Austin in my life for a reason and I truly believe it was to make me a better person and learn what is important in life. As a doctor, Austin will be making a difference in so many peoples lives and for me to have a small part in that makes me one happy wife.

Moral of the story: it’s only as hard as you make it. Accept the reality and make the best of it. Positive thoughts, optimism and PRAYERS are very necessary. I will be beside Austin all of my days and that’s what life is about…supporting each other and making the most of the beautiful path God has put us on. We got this!

 

Question: What is one of your favorite mottos? One of mine is: “it’s only as hard as you make it.”

 

 

Tone-It-Up Tuesday: My Weekly Workout Log

Happy October!!! Can ya’ll believe it is October 1 already? It seems like just yesterday that Austin and I got married in June–and here we are gearing up for Halloween. :) Time flies when you are having fun and staying busy, am I right?

To change things up on this Tone-It-Up Tuesday, I decided to show you my workouts from last week. I try to change workouts every week because I get bored easily with workouts. I find that when I do the same workout all the time, I do not work as hard at it and only give 50%.

These days I am trying to run 3 days a week and really challenging myself with that. As I mentioned in last week’s Tone-It-Up-Tuesday: running is not easy for me. So, lacing up my sneakers every other day keeps me interested, challenges me and builds my strength (both mental and physical).

  • Sunday: 5 mile run, 20 minutes arm workout
  • Monday: 1 hour workout video (these are usually HIIT videos with strength training)
  • Tuesday: 5 mile run, 20 minutes arm workout, 2.5 mile hike with Danielle
  • Wednesday: 1 hour workout video
  • Thursday: 5.5 mile run, 20 minutes arm workout, 2.5 mile hike with Danielle
  • Friday: 3.2 miles run with intervals of running fast vs jogging, and a 20 minute leg and ab workout
  • Saturday: Rest Day

Last week was a really active week for me and I’ll say it: I am proud of my workouts. I worked really hard and dug within during those running days. This week will be a little different with interval runs and longer runs (training for the 10K).

The video below is a great reminder to STRETCH after your workouts. This video is by Fitness Blender (one of my favorite YouTube channels) and only takes 5 minutes. Stretching helps keep your muscles fluid, recover faster and reduces injury. I’ve found that my muscles are not nearly as tight when I stretch and I perform better. We all have 5 minutes to stretch each day, don’t we?! :)

Great 5 minute stretching cool down for after every workout.

Question: What was your favorite workout from last week? What workout are you looking forward to this coming week?

 

 

High Five for Friday

Hey y’all! I’m linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday. Such a fun link-up for me to participate in–especially on people’s favorite day of the week: FRIDAY! :)

 photo H54Fbutton-1_zpsa7aaa665.png

Hello, World!

1. We moved!

I am officially moved and settled (as much as possible) back in North Carolina. I’m a Carolina (not UNC) girl again! :) Austin and I will be doing some long distance relationshipping over the next few months because of his rotations and my job. It will be hard but we are just viewing it as little “trips” that we will be apart.

2. My new job starts next week!

I start working at The Design Network next week. I am very excited about this new adventure and pumped to see where this road leads. God has been doing some amazing things in my life and blessed me with opportunities I didn’t even know were possible.

3. I’m still not eating desserts, except on Sundays.

haha–this is a big deal for me! Lent is still going strong…my friend, Amy, and I are partnering up to only eat desserts on Sundays during Lent. Amy actually has a new blog: Southern, Classy and (a LOT) Sassy.  Check her out! She is one of my great friends–always keeps me on my toes, reminds me that monograms deserve the be forefront (haha), and gives some of the best advice, and oh yeah…she is an AWESOME gift giver…she always helps me find appropriate gifts for family members and friends (and Austin).

4. I’m changing my workouts.

With my new job starting next week, I have to change my workout schedule. I’m thinking I will workout before work with the new T25 (thank you so MUUUUUCH Kathryn for giving it to me–you are the best). It’s only 25 minutes of pure Sean-T awesomeness, the creator of Insansity. I really love these work outs because they are challenging and only 25 minutes. Even Austin likes these workouts and he HATES working out with a video. That’s saying something there, people. :)

5. My posting schedule will be different.

You will be seeing some changes around here…I still want to keep The Sweet Mash going and keep it strong. However, with my job not being as flexible as my last (where I could blog during lunch or a break, simply because I worked from home)…it will be challenging for me to post as often as I have been. I will probably post 1 to 2 times a week. QUALITY over quantity, y’all. I’m sure you are grateful. ;) You were probably getting sick of me blowing up your newsfeed.

Stay sweet,

Madison

Question: People who work 8-5 jobs, when do you work out? Before or after work? ALSO, any tips for long distance relationships???

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