Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I'm Loving Lately

 heres a few of my favorite things from these past few weeks :)
  • Being finished with all of my college applications!! Feels so good :D
  • This AMAZING peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co. I thought I was addicted to White Chocolate Wonderful but this one definitely ties with it! 

  • Movie nights with momma :)

  • These oatmeal squares! Seriously becoming one of my favorite cereals. 


  • Dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt. Whoever came up with this is a genius. 

  • Being crazy with my family - I love them so much!! (this was on my birthday) 



  • My TOMS - so not old lady shoes! They are probably the comfiest pair of shoes that I own. 

  • Baking and sending off my cookies for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! These cookies are awesome- the recipe is coming in my next post - they are almond toffee cookies and my mom proclaimed them "the best cookies i've ever tasted". and trust me, my momma and I are quite the cookie snobs! ;)




What have you been loving lately? 
p.s. - don't forget to enter my Duncan Hines giveaway before Saturday!! free cookies and cake, people. what's not to love? 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting [Duncan Hines Giveaway]

Thanks to the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program, a few weeks back I got sent some coupons for some free Duncan Hines products.

I love using boxed cake mixes when I need to whip up something quick or am feeling lazy and want to make something simple and easy.

These recipes are both delicious and easy to make! Enjoy :)

Pumpkin Spice Cake
(makes 2 9" cakes or 1 9x13 cake)

Ingredients:
  • 1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 eggs (or 3/4 cup egg substitute)
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice





Directions: 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your pan(s). 
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until the batter is mostly smooth. 
3. Pour batter into pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. 
4. Cool cakes completely, then frost with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. 






Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
makes about 3 cups of frosting (plenty to frost one cake)

I personally like my frosting fairly thick - decrease the amount of sugar if you prefer thinner frosting. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 can Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Frosting
  • ~1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon 
  • milk as needed (about 1/4 cup)




 feel free to start eating spoonfuls of this right out of the bowl ;)


Directions:
1. Put can of frosting and about 1/2 the powdered sugar in the mixer. Mix until all the powdered sugar is incorporated and add a tablespoon or two of milk if needed to loosen up the frosting. 
2. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and cinnamon and beat until smooth. 
3. Frost cakes and refrigerate remaining frosting. 





Duncan Hines Giveaway:
3 readers will each receive 2 coupons for two free Duncan Hines products. Giveaway closes on December 3rd.

How to enter:
1. Comment on this post telling me what your favorite kind of cake is.
2. Follow me on Twitter and comment telling me that you did
3. Tweet something like "@JuliBananna is having a #DuncanHines giveaway! http://www.juliannabananna.blogspot.comand comment telling me that you tweeted

Good luck!

P.S. a state meet recap is coming soon- I ran today and finally am done with cross country. can't wait to hit the gym :) and an awesome cookie recipe is coming soon too, i am participating in the great food blogger cookie swap! 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Seventeen.

11/23/11.

Today I turned seventeen years old :)



I am so happy that I finished my college apps before today because that was my goal - no college anything hanging over me on my birthday.

It has been a super fun day already - my mom surprised me and took me to a Zumba class this morning which was hilariously fun. I was cracking up the whole time and we had a blast, and I surprisingly worked up a sweat!

Then I went to cross country practice (we are going to state on Saturday!) and one of the girls on my team brought donuts for after practice which was super nice of her!

And my parents got me balloons!!




I was super excited to get to bake today, since I haven't in forever. Recipe and giveaway are coming soon, but for now i'll leave you with this :)






And the best present of all - my brother is coming HOME in an hour!!!!!!! I haven't seen him since he left for college two months ago and i can't wait to tackle him with a ginormous bear hug.


Other plans for the day include getting a pedicure with my mom and going out to dinner with the family!!! I am having such a great day today. I feel so loved and I am so blessed to have amazing family and friends!


Seventeen also happens to be my lucky number... lucky year this year? I think so :)

Have an amazing day you guys!! More updates are soon to come :) 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sectionals!!

Hey guys!

Just wanted to write a quick update because our CA section meet was today! I was the seventh person on our 7-person varsity team racing today, which I was pumped about because I have worked so hard since summer to be on varsity.

Before I left for the meet today I found this sign on my front porch - totally made my day! The leadership class at my school made signs for everyone racing at the meet and left them at their houses.



Team socks:


I was a little nervous but really excited for this race since I have never gotten to NCS (that is what our section is called) before in any sport!

My goal for this race was to try and stay as close to our number 6 runner as possible so that we could get the lowest points. (for cross country, points are scored on the place that you finish, so the lower your score, the higher your team places)



I was nervous because I knew that if I had a bad race I could potentially ruin our team's chances at going to state (only the top 3 teams are going), but I tried not to think about it and just ran.

I gave those three miles 100% and that's all that counts. I don't think I've ever tried harder in a race before, and I don't think that one has ever hurt this much. My time wasn't even a PR, but I know that I put in as much effort as I could and I'm proud of it. I finished with a time of 20:57!

i am the second girl from the left!
And our team got second place!!! (out of about 11 teams i think) I was so happy to hear this, especially when we learned that the third place team was only a few points behind. It made me happy that I really pushed myself on the second mile and passed 6-7 people, because each of those people was a point that contributed to our total score.


Now we practice for one more week and then we go to the state championships next weekend, which will be my last cross country race ever! I know we're going to kill it ;)

In other news, I am still working hard on my college applications and I really want to have them submitted by this Tuesday. (My birthday is on Wednesday - turning 17 woop woop! - and I want to have them all done by then because working on apps on my birthday would be horrible!) My brain is fried and I'm exhausted but I know that all of the work that I put in will be worth it in the end. It's just realllyyyy stressful in my house right now and I cannot WAIT to hit the submit button!

have a wonderful weekend you guys!! any fun plans? I want to see a few movies this week (hello, breaking dawn!) and bake lots of yummy food. but college apps come first and then the fun begins!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Senior Pictures

Hi guys! Just wanted to pop in with a mini-update to take a break from working :)

This past week has been pretty rough. But I know that I'm almost to the finish and all of my hard work will pay off! College apps are coming along nicely and I made a lot of progress on my essays this weekend which definitely put me in a better mood. And training for xc sectionals is also going well! The race is next weekend and I will be sure to write a post about that then.

Today I had my senior pictures taken for the yearbook - I don't have any photos of what the actual picture ended up looking like, but my mom curled my hair and I loved the way it turned out, so I made sure to take lots of pics!

Here are a few :)




and outside! i <3 fall.



Another thing that brightened up my weekend was receiving this in the mail:


First thing I've received from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker's program!

Although cake mixes aren't the best for you nutritionally, I like using them during the holidays to make a quick treat in a pinch. I can't wait to go and pick out some products and come up with a few fun recipes - stay tuned for a giveaway as well! Thanks, Foodbuzz!

I hope to be back with my regular posts soon - I can't wait to get back into the kitchen and start baking and cooking up a storm! I haven't gotten to try any new recipes or even bake any old ones in the past few months due to the stress of senior year - you can bet that the first thing I'm going to do when all of my college apps are submitted is get back into the kitchen.

I hope you are all having a wonderful fall weekend.

Before I go I want to say Happy Birthday to my momma! She is the best ever and I am so lucky to have such an amazing mom :) We are going out to dinner tonight and I can't wait for her to open her presents because I had a lot of good ideas this year!

What is your favorite way to do your hair? I've straightened mine a few times (including this year's homecoming) but I have come to the conclusion that I like my hair curly 5000000x better.
Favorite recipe involving a boxed cake mix? Cake balls. Hands down.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mini Hiatus

hey guys!

i hope you are all having a wonderful week!

i am really feeling overwhelmed at this point in the year- all the stress of college apps, working, running xc (i made the top varsity seven that are going to sectionals!), and trying to keep my grades up is really getting to me.

 i'm doing my best to stay positive because i really only have to last two more weeks and then all of my apps should be submitted and xc will be over a few days later - but sometimes it's really hard.

so, i just wanted to let you guys know that i haven't fallen off the face of the earth! i am still reading most of my favorite bloggies in the little down time i have, but i'm not commenting that often or tweeting :( like savannah said, i would rather write good posts that i'm proud of instead of trying to squeeze not-so-great posts in while i'm so busy.

so, on that note...
i will have my usual bubbly "me" posts back very soon, i promise! i just need to survive this last really rough bit of senior year. then the fun will begin!!

tell me something positive about your week! today the best part of my day was driving to school and listening to the radio station called KLOVE. made my day - they always play uplifting songs :)