Oh hey, today’s my birthday.
Another year older, another year wiser – I’m officially 1/4 of a century, so I’m thinking that’s even more wiser.
25 isn’t necessarily a milestone birthday, unlike 19 (in Canada), 21 (in the US), and 30 (as in how old Adam will be next year ;) ) You can read about how it’s a ‘milestone’ birthday in our family here. Either way, it still feels pretty special.
My 25th year has brought lots of exciting events with it – Graduating last summer, earning my Teaching Certificate for elementary school, travelling to Europe, and moving into our first house together.
25′s already looking good – Adam and I booked a getaway to Vegas at the end of the summer. I celebrated my 21st, 22nd, and 23rd in vegas. No vegas last year because I went to Europe – I felt we were overdue for a visit. Definitely looking forward to the heat, lounging by the pool & walking the strip.
Tonight I’ll be celebrating with Adam – going to dinner somewhere local, then a no holds barred visit to Menchies for a fully loaded frozen yogurt indulgence. Last night we celebrated with family & lots of cake, and next weekend I’ll celebrate with friends at our place. Adam gave me an early present a couple weeks ago, a shiny new Schwinn bike! We’ve only rode them twice, and both times it started to rain. Hmmm..
Most importantly, today I’ll be celebrating with you! Seeing as how it’s my 25th, I thought I would give away some $25 prizes! Four in total – a $100 giveaway! It’s my first giveaway on the blog too.
I’m happy to say that my friends at iHerb have given me two $25 shopping sprees to give away! I wrote about iHerb here. iHerb has over 35,000 products online including groceries, baby products, health products, and beauty products.
Bonus: If you’re a first time iHerb customer you can use Coupon Code WOW123 to get $10 off your first iHerb order with a minimum $40 purchase (whether you win the giveaway or not.)
AND I purchased a couple items myself to give away.
- A $25 gift certificate to Chapters! You can use it in-store or on-line (they ship to the US, and there is free shipping over orders of $25) They have lots to choose from including home goods, and of course cookbooks (my favourite.)
- A copy of the Wheat Belly Cookbook! The popular book Wheat Belly has come out with a second book – a cookbook with wheat-free recipes. After finding out about my wheat allergy last year, I’ve completely cut it out from my diet. This book is awesome – so I picked up one for me, and one for you!
Enter to win these great prizes and celebrate my 25th birthday with me! Follow the instructions below (this is a Rafflecopter giveaway)
1) Follow @Bakeaholic on Twitter
2) Tweet the following: “Enter the $100 Birthday Giveaway & Contest from @Bakeaholic! ”
3) “Like” the Bakeaholic Facebook page
4) Follow ABakeaholic on Pinterest
5) Leave me a comment on this blog post telling me about a cookbook you’ve bought recently or recommend, or one you would like to buy with the gift certificate! And – what’s your favourite birthday dessert just for fun =)
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway, so each time you enter earns you a point in the raffle. (If for some reason you cannot use the entry method or it’s not working for you, just leave a comment with what you’ve done.) There will be Four winners, one winner per item.
The contest closes at midnight on June 12, and a winner will be announced on the 14th. The contest is open to residence of the Canada and The United States.
The winner of the iHerb Shopping Spree needs to register to iHerb to claim their prize – shipping is included in the shopping spree prize!
Update: The Winners are:
Erin: iHerb Shopping Spree
Britta: iHerb Shopping Spree
Andrea Amy: Chapters Gift Certificate
Coral Ariel S: Wheat Belly Cookbook
Contact me to receive your prize!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
That was a mouthful.
When I was daydreaming up my ultimate birthday treat for today, a few ideas came to mind. Lots of delicious combinations, but there is no better combination than peanut butter and chocolate. It’s just plain smart.
I actually have a really slight allergy to peanuts. Nothing life threatening, and it would probably take quite a bit of peanuts to have any reaction, like hives or an upset stomach. So, for years I have had to shy away from delicious things like Reese’s peanut butter cups. I switched to Almond Butter, even making my own at home. But, I thought for ONE day a year I can indulge in my most favourite combination of flavours. It is, after all, my birthday.
At first I thought a Reese’s baked in the cupcake, with some frosting. But then I went a step further, Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Frosting. Maybe topped with another Reese’s cup.
And then, I went another step. Dark Chocolate Dipped Hi-Hat cupcakes. Like a double decker Reese’s, PB&Chocolate on the bottom, PB&Chocolate on the top. With a chocolate cupcake sandwiched between.
These are heaven. They are actually ridiculous. A half cupcake will do ya. Definitely good for sharing. Definitely good for birthdays.
Adam and I went to Wal-Mart Sunday to get supplies. I have never bought so much sugar, ever. The cart was ridiculously full of chocolate and all things peanut butter. This is a once a year occasion. My cart has never been so un-healthy! Thankfully I balanced my half cupcake yesterday, taste-testing, with a green smoothie for breakfast today.
These would not last long in the house. And there is only two of us. So I sent some with Adam to work, and dropped some off at the neighbours. As well, as share some later with family =)
You could say these are the king of cupcakes, topped with a Reese’s cup crown.
Those were good.
But then I thought, it could use some more chocolate.
I dropped some off at my Mom’s as well, and she said she microwaved it for three seconds, and it was out of this world good. She said luckily there was only one, otherwise she would have eaten them all.
You will need:
- 1 bar Dark Chocolate OR 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
- 24 of your favourite dark chocolate cupcakes/devil’s food cake - This is my go to recipe here
- 24 Reese’s peanut butter cups
Place cupcake liners in muffin tin, and place a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the bottom. Top with batter, bake according to recipe, I baked mine for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely.
Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream
While Cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.
5 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 sticks butter, softened, cut into cubes
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth – not natural.
In a metal mixing bowl, preferably from your stand mixer, place over a pot of simmering water, not boiling. Add sugar and egg whites. Be sure there is no yolk or oil in the egg whites, they will not whip properly otherwise.
Whisk constantly, until thermometer reads between 140-160 degrees F. If you do not have a thermometer, heat until sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot. This takes about 7-10 minutes.
Transfer metal bowl back to stand mixer, with whisk attachment and whip until the egg whites are thick and glossy and cool. The bowl itself should be cool to the touch, again this takes about 7-10 minutes on high.
Once the glossy thick texture is achieved, switch to a paddle attachment, and on medium add the slightly softened cubes of butter, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
The texture will begin to change, to a heavier, silky texture. It may look curdled, but continue to mix and it will become smooth once again.
At this point, add in the peanut butter and continue to beat until fully incorporated.
Transfer to a piping bag.
Once cupcakes are cool, using a large open tip, pipe Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream onto cupcakes. You want a swirled look. Think – Dairy Queen Ice Cream cone.
You can also top with another Reese’s, or, dip in chocolate to achieve a hi-hat cupcake. I highly recommend this.
After piping frosting, place cupcakes in freezer/fridge to chill for a few moments.
In microwave, in 1 minutes intervals at 50% power, melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Make sure the bowl is deep enough so the cupcake will fully become enrobed in chocolate. Heat until completely melted, stir with a spoon to break down smaller chunks.
Take one chilled cupcake at a time, and dip into melted chocolate. Allow excess to drip off, and place upright once again in fridge/freezer to set.
Repeat with the rest of the cupcakes.
These can be kept in the fridge, and can be eaten chilled, or place on counter for 10-15 minutes prior to eating.
I recommend eating them slightly chilled, the baked reese’s in the bottom becomes a delicious chocolate/peanut butter disk, and the chocolate coating on the icing is great to bite into! It’s also easier to cut them in half – so you get even distribution.
These will last about 2-3 days in the fridge.
Happy Birthday To… Me :) 24… yikes!
I wanted to celebrate with some cake of course, but wasn’t so keen on making an entire cake. I’ve seen cakes baked in jar’s, so I thought why not a mini-birthday cake for one (maybe I’ll share with Adam..) Simple chocolate cake with vanilla swiss-meringue buttercream, depending on jar size, bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes. And bonus, it’s portable! You can make this for someone special on their birthday :)
Make a wish…
… until next year!
.. Stay tuned this afternoon for another, outrageous, birthday treat I created.