Why It's Important to Treat Yourself (Treat Yoself)

Hey there, friends! How's it going? I hope that this week has treated you well. Yay for tomorrow being Friday! 

Today I met up with one my best galpals from grad school (hi Jill!) down at University of Delaware and we went to Duck's Donuts on Main Street - which is right in the middle of campus. Duck's came to Main Street about a year or so ago (I think) and is a pretty magical place if you like donuts. They make the donuts fresh to your order and you can pretty much top your donut with anything your little heart desires. 

donuts

So, you're probably wondering why a health-based blogger is talking about donuts. Well, as I've briefly talked about before I truly think treating yourself every now and again is important, and donuts falls right into that category! I don't like calling eating a donut (or whatever the not-so-healthy food is) a cheat meal because in my mind that creates a negative feeling around enjoying a food. Instead, I'll call it treating myself to a donut, which sounds much more positive, don't you think?

My point is - don't get so caught up in a diet or certain way of eating that you start to not have fun with food. If you like donuts, treat yourself to one every now and then. If it's pizza you love, go out for pizza every once in awhile! It's all about BALANCE. If you want to lead a healthy lifestyle that includes letting yourself eat your favorite not-so-healthy foods occasionally because if you restrict yourself from those foods, chances are you may end up falling off that diet pretty quickly. Be realistic. Be honest with yourself. I guarantee you'll have more success that way.

What's your favorite not-so-healthy food that you like to treat yourself to?

Treat yoself this weekend!

The Perfect Birthday Cake Recipe

Hi friends! I've been a busy bee this weekend so unfortunately Monday's blog post got pushed to the back-burner. Most of my day on Saturday was spent making my dad's birthday cake that I told you all about on Friday and running some errands. Then Sunday was full of some more errands in the early afternoon and then celebrating my dad's birthday (which is actually today, Happy birthday, Daddio!) with my family. After posting the picture of the cake I made on Instagram and Facebook I decided I would share the cake recipe I used with you guys! 

I think that there's something so special about homemade food. It may be the old soul in me, but I think baking/cooking for your loved ones is one of the best things in the world. Bottom line, food brings family and friends together, and I love that.

In my opinion, cake is just like those sugar cookies I posted about last week - it should be the real deal and it's meant to be enjoyed. When it's your birthday you should celebrate with cake (if you want to, but I don't think I know anyone who doesn't!), and not feel even an ounce guilty about it! I'll save you my rant on balance for the 4,000th time because you guys already know. PS: I promise I won't keep posting these delicious sweet treats every week on the blog. I know they're all too tempting to make ;P Stay tuned for some healthy recipes coming your way ASAP!

birthday-cake

Like I said on Instagram, I have a whole new appreciation for talented cake decorators. Man, piping some words onto a cake seemed like it would be so easy, but I was so wrong. The cake didn't turn out the way I wanted it to looks-wise, but it sure was tasty! This was actually the first birthday in my family that we decided on making a cake rather than buying one (we haven't been super impressed by the past few birthday cakes from local bakeries), and I think we'll continue on with making one! 

So, without further ado, let's get into the recipe! 

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature 
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 - 5 tbsp half and half
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions for the cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 9-inch round baking pans. Line pans with circular parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Lightly dust your pans with flour and shake out the excess. Set your pans to the side for now. 
  • Sift all-purpose flour and cake flour into a mixing bowl. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk for 20 seconds. Set aside. 
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment whip together butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. If you're not using a paddle attachment that constantly scrapes the bowl make sure you stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl. Next, blend in your vegetable oil. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then add in the yolks. Mix in the vanilla. Add in 1/3 of the flour mixture then mix just until combined, then add in 1/2 of the buttermilk and blend until combined. Repeat the process once more then finish by mixing in remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. 
  • Divide your batter among prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pans several minutes, run knife around edge to make sure they are loose, then invert on wire racks to cool. Once the cakes are fully cool, frost with chocolate buttercream. Store in an airtight container to ensure the cake doesn't dry out. 

Directions for the frosting:

  • In a bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter on moderately high speed until very pale and fluffy. Sift in cocoa power, then add in powdered sugar, 3 tbsp half and half, and the vanilla and mix on low speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in additional 2 tbsp of half and half to thin as needed. Increase mixer to medium-high speed and whip until fluffy.

The directions and ingredient list for this cake makes it look much more complicated and lengthy than it really is. Next time a birthday comes around in your family, give this recipe a try! It's so much fun being able to bake your own cake for your loved one's birthday rather than just buying one, even if it doesn't turn out the way you pictured it :)

Happy Monday! And a big Happy Birthday to the best guy around...love you, Daddio!