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August 2013
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October 2013

September 2013

this face, my photo challenge.

i recently read this quote, probably on pinterest in very pretty font i'm sure, "if your dreams don't scare you. they're not big enough" and i registered that as 100% accurate. complete full head nodding my computer screen made sense to me.

being terrified means you're taking a chance at possibly being a more happy you, and who doesn't want to be more happy? lots of things are scary but once it's done it can be so rewarding. even when they maybe didn't go super great, or exactly how you planned. you did it and now you can grow a smidge more in a smarter way.

i've been developing my humble love for my camera over the last few years and have to admit i am pretty biased about what i take photos of. i take full responsibility for being terrible at capturing more moments of my life and more so of capturing photos of myself. i want to be better at that.

that's why i started this blog of mine after all, this space is mine. my outlet to figure it all out. to challenge and to express any artistic capabilities that i may have shoved in some corner of myself.

but i need a push, a shove, a goal with a deadline. after seeing so many beloved bloggers accomplish monthly self portrait challenges i decided to give it a fearful but committed chance. do the scariest thing first and maybe everything else will get easier. since most things ARE easier in numbers my friend jessica will be joining me in a full month of october self portraits! eep, we're doing it.

since i couldn't imagine a full month of just my face i have been researching ideas on the interwebs and it has helped SO much. there seems to be a bigger range of what qualifies as a self portrait than i had realised, yay for more options.

for me i guess my only "rule" will be that i want to try to take all the photos myself and to keep stretching my comfort zone.. just a little. just enough.

these are some of my fav finds.

Caitlin (1 of 1)

my beautiful niece caitlin snapped this of herself with my camera and was fun surprise to find while editing photos.

ricki hall has rad style.

hiding in a bed showing or rather not showing emotion.

red head & nails
using props and eye catching color

dresser mirror capturing you in a daily routine.

hair everywhere favorite feature focus point.

tea on the counter enjoying some edible favorites in pure comfort.

black & white profile dramatic close up.
using a mirror fun & flirty.

blindfolded free bodied but closed eyes.

you and yourself

shoes capturing your style.

i couldn't pick just one from the series by alicia savage. these self portraits portray what traveling means to her in the most beautiful unreal way. this type of creativity is so inspiring and has such an appeal to me because of how impossible it seems and yet it just oozes effortlessness.

impossibly easy is captivating.

tomorrow is october and the challenge begins! keep up with #thisface #myphotochallenge on Passion Pending and @ritabakes on IG.

here goes nothing, wish us luck!



recipe box: olive oil carrot cake with brown butter cream cheese frosting

Carrotcake 1st

I know its not quite yet fall but for me it so totally is.

my birthday is september 1st and as far as i'm concerned its now time to shift the brain into fall mode. which just so happens to my absolute favorite season.

best temperature, best clothing options, and another change of the food season. food sure as hell have seasons.

one of the simple things that helps me kick start fall is getting to enjoy the return of the pumpkin spice lattes! i know its silly, but its the little things that really count. granted it still is a little warm outside, like low 90s warm but that's not going to stop me from ordering my pumpkin spice latte every damn birthday. and thanks to my starbucks gold card that latte is usually free. sigh, i love september-so good. this most recent birthday i was especially lucky with an overcast rainy morning, thanks for help setting the mood.

but before we go getting full pumpkin crazy, because i get it.. i'm a little early excited. i thought we could ease in to this amazing season with a spiced carrot cake. that's it ..we're just slowly dipping our toes in.

change is best served with cake.

Carrotcake (1 of 16)

caution juicing can lead to dessert:

juicing is wonderful and its something i think i'm still fairly new to but really want to be better at. the only problem is they don't mention the part where when you juice for too long you may have pastry daydreams. like a real giant case of the cake crazies. you think you're totally fine enjoying your yummy fresh juice cocktails feeling all healthy and then bam! it just happens. full on carb hallucination.

for me it happened when i was cleaning out my juicer after making a generous amount of pressed carrot juice and there was all this leftover carrot pulp and what? all this orange goodness was just going to go in the trash?

uh hell no, that's going in a CAKE!

and that's when i started gathering ingredients.

Carrotcake 2nd

i opted to switch things up and use olive oil for slight flavor change. apple sauce helps keep the cake moist.

Carrotcake 3rd

sifting together your dry ingredients keeps things lighter. these spices are really going to remind you of the holidays ..but just a little. baby steps.

image from

most carrot cakes have raisins and walnuts, but we're not doing that. this just isn't that kind of cake. instead we're using sweet coconut shreds and dried cranberries with the perfect amount of tartness.

because this carrot pulp came from my juicer, i did add 1/3 cup of juice back in to increase the moisture level a tad. with grating carrots you wouldn't need to do this step.

Carrotcake (5 of 16)

action shot.

Carrotcake (6 of 16)

properly preparing your cake pans is super important. don't let all of your work and promising batter go to waste because of an under greased pan. i used parchment paper but enough butter/crisco with a generous sprinkling flour should usually do the trick.

Carrotcake (7 of 16)

be fair and even.

Carrotcake (10 of 16)

clean toothpick ready from the oven and now the cakes need to relax and cool.

meanwhile we start the frosting.

Carrotcake 5th

i have been trying to think of a reason to explain why brown butter? but i just keep thinking always.. always brown butter. when in doubt brown butter it out. it seriously is a flavor secret weapon and now you all know if you didn't before. and also know that i'm going to keep talking about it too.

i have made a lot of different frosting but this one easily makes my top 3 favorite, it's goood.

Carrotcake (11 of 16)

once you have removed the fully cooled cakes flip them so that you have a nice flat surface when you begin frosting.

Carrotcake 6th

with a two layer cake i stick with a 60/40 frosting ratio, using most of the frosting on the bottom cake and mid section. then finish with the remaining on the second cake, remember flat side up!

Carrotcake (13 of 16)

fully frosted.

Carrotcake (14 of 16)

and just like that you have cake.

Carrotcake (16 of 16)

i hope you feel a little better about saying goodbye to summer and hello to fall.

should you be juicing and daydream of cake, know you are not alone. it happens.





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olive oil carrot cake

olive oil carrot cake with brown butter cream cheese frosting

Active Time
40 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 15 mins



    • 1 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup apple sauce
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 cup shredded coconut
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 2 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • in a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients, set aside

    • 1 cup all purpose flour sifted with,
    • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ginger
    • 1 tsp all spice
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
  • for the frosting

    • 1/2 cup brown butter, cooled
    • 1/2 butter, softened
    • 1 8oz cream cheese, softened
    • 2 16oz packages powder sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract



  • for the carrot cake batter

  • in a kitchen stand mixer with a paddle attachment

    1. use both brown & white sugar mix with olive oil and mix together on medium speed for 3 mins, scrape down sides. add eggs and vanilla extract and continue to blend together for 3-5 mins. add shredded carrots in batches until fully incorporated. with mixer on lowest setting add dry ingredients slowly until a few white streaks remain, add apple sauce. with a spatula by hand fold in shredded coconut and dried cranberries.
  • for the brown butter cream cheese frosting

  • in a kitchen stand mixer with a paddle attachment

    1. with the mixer on medium to high speed blend together brown butter, butter and cream cheese. scrape down sides when necessary and mix for 2 mins and add vanilla extract. continue mixer until fully incorporated about another 3 mins. with the mixer on low slowly add powder sugar in small batches. as you add more sugar frosting consistency will become much firmer.
  • for cakes

  • preheat oven to 350°

    1. in two 8" round cake pans prepare for baking by greasing pans with butter. next line with circular cutouts of parchment paper and sprinkle with a tsp of all purpose flour, remove excess flour if needed.
    2. separate cake batter evenly between two prepared round cake pans. bake for 37-42 mins, until you can insert a toothpick and remove clean.
    3. once both cakes have completely cooled frost the layered cake using the brown butter cream cheese frosting.

the Foodcourt: Dean & Deluca (kansas city)

Dean deluca (3 of 25)

poor ben.

poor, poor, poor ben. ben is just a student trying to work his part time job at the sandwich counter in Dean & Deluca's. but he was the lucky fella who got thoroughly deli harassed by my biff and i. some people may have strongly hinted that we can be a bit much when we get together and go off to best friend brain land.

pffff, we're just always trying to have a good time wherever we can.

sorry, ben.

we really did apologize..

Dean deluca (4 of 25)

we asked him aaall about this menu.

ben knew his shit.

Dean deluca (1 of 25)

mid sandwich action shot. give this dude a raise.

Dean deluca (5 of 25)

we ended up with focaccia and sour dough sandwiches that both had bacon on it.


Dean deluca (24 of 25)

from the soup station next door we shared a fantastic seafood corn chowder. like full omg wow soup.

note to self: make seafood corn chowder this fall. start researching nooow!

Dean deluca (25 of 25)

it's usually some sort of turkey sandwich for me, and always some grainy mustard when possible. brie, argula, and some avocado made this particular one extra yummy.

whenever i finally make it to nyc, the original Dean & Deluca is on my must visit list.

but kansas city you were lovely.




a trip to Dean & Deluca (kansas city)

in a specialty food shop i am such a kid in a candy store. i do also really just enjoy being in candy stores.. and okay so most gourmet stores like Dean & Deluca usually have a pretty decent candy section..wait, who am i arguing with here?? what i am trying to say is i just love them i love ALL of them!

give me a store with kickass food and a promise of unique & international yums, i am there.

i want to check out everything, really see what all they have to offer. what's the strangest, sweetest, weirdest, foreign thing they got! dazzle me, no i am not kidding.. seriously i need dazzle. my idea of a great new shopping trip should be all around pops of inspiration. i am that much of a food nerd that this is pure excitement.

it can also be a walk down memory lane sometimes.. seeing foodie products from the various places i've lived is like bumping into an old friend that you haven't seen in a while.

you just want to hug the crap out of them.

Dean deluca (18 of 25)

Dean deluca (22 of 25)

Dean deluca (21 of 25)

Dean deluca (14 of 25)

Dean deluca (16 of 25)

Dean deluca (15 of 25)

Dean deluca (17 of 25)

Dean deluca (6 of 25)

Dean deluca (9 of 25)

Dean deluca (12 of 25)

Dean deluca (11 of 25)

Dean deluca (10 of 25)

Dean deluca (7 of 25)

Dean deluca (19 of 25)

Dean deluca (13 of 25)

Dean deluca (23 of 25)

sometimes words just aren't necessary.

did you enjoy our shopping trip together? i hope so, i sure did. let's do that again some time.