Recipes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes and 3 month mark

I DID IT! 

I met my goal for Mexico early while maintaining my sanity and still baking cupcakes.

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Poor puppy. He really wanted me to drop this. 

And people are really starting to notice my weight loss. It is funny how true those stupid Pinterest “motivational” posts are.

This has definitely been my experience. It only took a few weeks for me to notice my body changing, but no one else really said anything. It took my mom and sister about 2 months in to tell me how different I looked, and now I am hearing it from people constantly! I have to admit, it feels pretty good to hear it. But you know what feels even better? Being able to say I am 167.8 lbs. I am now at pre-wedding weight which means the lightest I have been in 3 years.

And yeah, I am going to KEEP GOING. Sure, losing weight is like a full-time job, but so worth the results. I was telling my sister the other day that I have got to practice a different response to people when they tell me I have lost weight. I can’t help my mouth. I keep responding, “I KNOW, IT WAS REALLY HARD TO DO! IT IS ALL I EVER THINK ABOUT” Yeesh, I just need to be like, “…thanks”.  But I don’t want people to see me losing weight and feel bad, like it came easy to me and therefore it should be easy for them! I also don’t want people to think I am like starving myself or working out four hours a day. So here is what I want to say about the last 3 months.

  1. The act of losing weight isn’t actually hard. It is the mental commitment. It is all mental. Not eating a donut isn’t the tough part. I don’t even want it most of the time and it doesn’t even taste that great if I choose to have it. It is the choice to refuse it when it is available, free, or when you forget to pack a healthier option. It is the mental commitment to go home and work out for 30 minutes that is difficult, not the actual workout regime. That is why having a support system is so important. The people around you can make or break this mental game. Christine and Ryan don’t tell me not to eat things or to work out harder, they just are super supportive in my choices and that is what I need to stay mentally healthy and keep doing what I am doing.
  2. I had to make up my own rules. Every single body is so different. The idea that we could all listen to one set of advice and all lose weight is so silly. Ridiculous, even. Here is what works for me. This took me 3 months to figure out and it is still changing.
    • Eating clean- almost no processed foods. Cooking most meals at home. Focusing on protein and vegetables.
    • No grains or starchy vegetables (I will do a potato once or twice a week)
    • 30 minutes of PiYo a day, haven’t done much cardio for a month and have been steadily losing weight
    • Taking Mag07 at night so I can….go…. the next day (I struggle) and drinking at least 90 oz water a day. I can tell the days I don’t drink enough.
    • Intermittent fasting most days. Allowing my body to rest from digesting and processing during the fasting period and having a set hours or eating time helps me not to overeat.
    • Weighing myself every few days. I like to see progress and this has only been positive reinforcement for me lately.
    • I have a “treat meal”, once or twice a week. I won’t do this all day. Just for one meal.
  3. Recognizing my newfound resiliency has also been really great. In the beginning, if I took a “treat meal”, I would be bloated for at least 3 days after and my weight would go up. It would get me all discouraged and promote a lackluster attitude about losing weight. NOW, I can have an unclean meal and go back to my normal weight the next morning! Lack of bloat? New set point? No idea, just happy about it. This makes it a lot easier to rebound and keep going strong. This didn’t start until March though and I started this journey in January. I have finally gotten to a point where my body is used to what I am doing and happy about it! Surprisingly, this doesn’t make me want to cheat more. It just helps me get right back on track so I can keep losing weight.

14.6 lbs gone in 85 days. It is technically 17.8 but I figure about 3 lbs I lost is water weight. My muscle gain is also pretty obvious… to me anyways. I can feel real muscles in my biceps, triceps, and core. This came with the start of PiYo so I have Chalene Johnson to thank for that.

So being that I can eat a cupcake and not all is lost, I knew I had to make these adorable cupcakes for Easter. It is pretty hard to stop at one so I gave away every single leftover cupcake I had at work. One of my best cupcake recipes are an adaptation of Dorie Greenspan’s Carrot Cake recipe. Incredible. Super moist but dense. Dense almost seems like the wrong word because it is not heavy at all. It just has a great bite to it because of all the coconut, cranberry, and nuts scattered about the spicy crumb. This obviously goes great with cream cheese frosting. Dorie Greenspan is one smart cookie. How do you elevate cream cheese frosting? You add lemon. DUH.

Also, I have made so many batches of cream cheese frosting in my life, I can honestly say I have perfected the process. I have not had a sub-par batch of cream cheese frosting since I did my research and put in the practice. Trust me on this one! Cream cheese frosting can get a little goopy if you don’t use the right technques and that sucks for when you want it to pipe beautifully. I love to see ridges form nice and crisp when I use my star tip to make the rose swirl on cupcakes. I also hate it when cream cheese frosting doesn’t taste like cream cheese frosting. I think that most recipes call for way too much powdered sugar. What’s the point of spending $1.37 on a block of cream cheese if it ends up tasting like buttercream?

People couldn’t get over how cute these little guys turned out. I love it when cupcakes not only have edible decorations on them, but when the decorations actually taste good with the cupcake.

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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

(Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Big Bill’s Carrot Cake recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots (you can grate the carrots in a food processor by pulsing or shred with a mandolin)
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, give it a rough chop
  • ½ cup moist, dried cranberries or raisins, finely chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola, vegetable, or safflower oil
  • 4 large eggs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with cupcake liners. This recipe makes about 40 cupcakes.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. Make sure that your chopped coconut, nuts, and cranberries are about the same size. I prefer finely minced ingredients in my cupcakes but if you like bigger pieces, feel free!  Stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut and cranberries in a bowl.
  3. Working in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a whisk, beat the sugar and oil together until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. If you are working in a mixer, reduce the speed to low, if you’re working by hand switch to a large rubber spatula, and gently stir in the flour mixture — mix only until the dry ingredients disappear. Just as gently, stir in the chunky ingredients.
  4. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. BE VERY CAREFUL to only fill to barely 2/3 as these rise quite a bit. See below! Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through if you see the cupcakes baking unevenly. The cupcakes are properly baked when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to cooling racks.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Amount for piping 40 cupcakes (cut recipe in half if you are just planning on spreading frosting on the cupcakes)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 blocks (16 oz) of cream cheese, cold
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract or 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or 1 tsp vanilla extract (I usually prefer fresh in general, but the lemon extract is really nice in this frosting)
  • optional: 2 TB of heavy whipping cream (this gives my cream cheese frosting a tiny bit more volume and whips it up more. I only use it when I have it on hand) 
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar, sifted

Instructions

  1. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the room temperature butter for a couple minutes until smooth.
  2. With the mixer on, add about an ounce of cold cream cheese at a time until it is all combined.
  3. Add salt, extract, and heavy whipping cream (if using) and whip until combined. If you did add heavy whipping cream, whip this mixture at medium speed for 2 minutes before adding the sugar.
  4. Very carefully add the powdered sugar in a little at a time and whip until combined. At this point, taste the frosting and if you feel it isn’t sweet enough, you can add more powdered sugar.

To Decorate for Spring!

I toasted some coconut in the oven at 375 on a baking sheet. You have to watch it as it is super easy to burn. About 5 minutes is all it took. Then I used some mini Cadbury eggs and sprinkled a nest of coconut.

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One thought on “Carrot Cake Cupcakes and 3 month mark

  1. Yay!!! I’m so happy for you reaching your goal! That is awesome! It is really motivational to read your posts and I can relate to a lot of the things you are saying.

    The cupcakes are really cute!!

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