College So Far + Life Update

Hello, friends!

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Yes, I did go around campus and force my friend take pictures of me. No, I am not ashamed. 😉

I hope you all are well! I have so much going on in my life, but I wanted to check-in and tell you what I’m up to!

So, it has been about a month since I moved to Austin, and started this incredible journey of college. It has been exciting, overwhelming, and new. Very new. I have a new room, a new group of people around me, a new life. Everything is so unfamiliar.

I have been doing quite a bit of reflecting — because as you know I am too introspective. I need to get out of my own head sometimes.

Anyway, the only way to become stronger emotionally, intellectually, and physically is to be in an uncomfortable situation, so I am trying my best to maintain a positive outlook on everything.

Aside from the life adjustment, I have been LOVING my classes. I have gained such a new point of view on things I never thought about. Basically, my sociology textbook is my favorite book at the moment. Also, I know more about the radio than I know about my iPhone, so if you want to know who founded the radio (ahem: Guglielmo Marconi — no I didn’t call him macaroni for fun). 😉

As far as organizations and clubs go the crazy person in me applied for too many positions. I figured that I would be rejected by the majority, and then maybe get one. But, no. I got all three that I applied for. It’s insane. All of these positions are big-time commitments, but I am incredibly excited to be a part of such amazing organizations. I’m going to go more in-depth in this soon. I want to film the first-semester recap, so I’ll talk about all the details then!

College life is weird. You have ultimate control. You can do homework or not. You can go to class or not. You can party or not. I need to learn to balance myself. I have been focused academically, but I want to make sure that I experience college — and not through the library, only.

Overall, here’s my little recap! College is exciting. Scary. But I have no words to describe how grateful I am for this opportunity.

❤ ,
Hira

August Things

August is over. Where did it go? I am looking for you, August.

Ok, wow, lots has happened!

This month, I went to California for my beautiful cousin’s wedding, and it was a blast. I’m a total family girl. I love spending time with family. All the time.

With that in mind let, you can probably imagine how difficult it was for me to move to college. I moved to Austin mid-August, and while it’s been a wonderful experience, I have also been immensely homesick. Obviously, that’s normal, but I consider my parents some of my closest friends. They have always been so supportive and loving, so this transition did not come easy. However, I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I love education. I love the impacts of education. I love learning. So, I am so excited to gain some knowledge in these 4-years to eventually make a positive difference.

I also want to take note and say posting will be very irregular, and I am truly sorry for that. Blogging is one of the activities I adore, but right now my priority is to get adjusted to this new phase and do well! But, I will definitely keep you guys updated because as my friends, you deserve to hear from me! I am also thinking about posting “life update” videos of some sort, so let me know if that sounds interesting. My next post will be an apartment tour, which I am so excited to post– I just need to get some stuff settled. Other than that, as soon as I get into the swing of things I will be throwing a dessert your way. 🙂

Here some wedding photos because who doesn’t love a good picture(s), right?

I feel so conceited when I post so many pictures of myself, but I mean it was a wedding, I am never this fancy. Although, one of my professors asked me why I dress up every day for class, and all I did was laugh. I love blouses and shoes. Haha! Good luck in September, and pray/send positive vibes to all of the people affected by these horrific natural disasters.

❤️,

Hira

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

Oh, my. Let me tell you. These pineapple cakes are adorable, delicious, and so easy to make!

Summer is winding down, so I want to get all the fruity baking in before it's too late. I'm the type of person who thinks cinnamon, pumpkin, vanilla and cozy desserts are reserved for the fall and winter. While fruity, flowery, colorful desserts are for the spring and summer. However, chocolate is great for every season and anytime– morning, afternoon, night, midnight. 🙂

I made these. I ate them. I am now dreaming of them.

 

YIELD: 24 cakes PREP TIME: 15 minutes

BAKING TIME: 20-25 minutes TOTAL TIME: 35-40 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-1/2 20 ounce can of sliced pineapples; reserve pineapple juice
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 12 maraschino cherries cut in half

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin pan with spray & flour.
  2. Cut pineapple slices into 4 pieces.
  3. Mix together cake mix, oil, eggs, and pineapple juice.
  4. In another bowl, stir together melted butter and brown sugar. Place 1-1/2 teaspoons of the mixture into each muffin pan cup, then place two pineapple pieces with a cherry in the center.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of batter into each cup.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes (or all the way to 25 minutes) until the toothpick comes out clean.
  7. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven allow to cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around each cup and slowly remove cake (you can also invert).

NOTES:

  • Slightly adapted from here
  • Make sure to grease the pan thoroughly– these cakes love to stick.

 ❤️,

Hira

 

July Things

July, oh how I love you. Your sunny days, afternoons filled with laughter, nights filled with movies; a month of memories.

August is officially here, and that means school is almost here. I am sorry for all the college worries lately; it's just that chapter of life.

July started with my dreaded wisdom teeth surgery. I hate the idea of not having control over my words, so I decided to go for a local anesthesia. Meaning: I was numb for the procedure and had nitrous oxide (laughing gas), but I was still completely conscious. I could hear, feel (pressure), and talk. The removal wasn't awful, but the recovery was. I love crunchy, hard, solid foods: cereal, granola, cookies, bread. Eating mush was hard. I just didn't eat a lot, but nourishing your body is important for recovery (and life, in general). Overall, it wasn't a fun time, but it's not meant to be!

I also went to Houston for a wedding! Here are some pictures because traditional clothes are fun, right?

I hope you had an awesome July, and may August treat you well!

❤️ ,

Hira

 

Funfetti Sandwich Cookies

July is almost over, and here in Texas, I am melting. I know summertime is not usually equivalent to baking time, but I have so much more time to make the most unconventional desserts in the summer!

This month so far, I have been pretty busy. I went to a wedding this past weekend, which was definitely interesting. South Asian weddings are pretty insane. There are so many people, lots of food, and timing is always off. For example, if the invitation says to come at eight o’clock, many people don’t show up until ten o’clock. I am very punctual, so tardiness annoys me– a lot. I will share some pictures soon! 🙂

Anyway, I wanted to make a fun and easy dessert. Easy to me is something that needs a couple of ingredients, but not lots of time. I love cheesecake and elaborate cakes, but summertime will slip by, so making easy desserts allows me to spend time with my family (and, well, have an amazing dessert close by 😉 )

I have also been writing on The Odyssey Online, so feel free to check out my non-baking writing: here.

On to the cookies– I mean, sandwiches– wait, I mean, sandwich cookies. 🙂

YIELD: 12-16 cookies (6-8 sandwiches) PREP TIME: 15 minutes

BAKING TIME: 12-15 minutes TOTAL TIME: 27-30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • White cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup sprinkles
  • Pre-made vanilla frosting

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix eggs, oil, and cake mix. Add 1/2 cup of sprinkles (or desired amount).
  3. Scoop cookies onto cookie sheet, and allow to bake until the bottoms have cooked completely (note: they bake fast).
  4. Allow cookies to cool, while doing so, mix sprinkles vanilla frosting. Scoop frosting into a zip lock bag with desired tip (or no tip).
  5. Once cookies have cooled, create a sandwich with the two sprinkled cookies and frosting.

NOTES:

  • You may use your own frosting recipe, but I used a Betty Crocker can.
  • Use any sprinkles you want; you can even do a theme.
  • Recipe inspired from here.

 ❤ , 

Hira 

 

Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake

I have been wanting to post this recipe for 100 2 years.

I can finally eat real food (carefully) after my wisdom teeth procedure. To celebrate I made my favorite flavor cake: chocolate. A dense chocolate cake and luxurious icing. Delightful.

I like to think that I’m a simple girl (my mom, on the other hand, would disagree 😉 ). I love chocolate. I love movies. Chocolate and movies together = the perfect night. I decided to devour this cake while watching The Office (for the thousandth time).

I don’t know if many people know this, but I am a complete homebody. I love staying home. I love sitting in my pajamas and cruising around my house. On Saturday nights, instead of meeting up with people, I’d rather stay home with my parents and blast ABBA  or bake a cake (or both).

I haven’t been able to just come home and bake, so over the weekend I wrote: “BAKE” (in all capital letters) in my planner as something I HAD to complete. Something else you may not know: I live by my planner. I can’t function without my planner. I am extremely dependent on my planner. It’s a problem (the first step is acceptance, right? 😉).

Side note: I love photographing chocolate!

On to the cake!

YIELD: 8-10 PREP TIME: 25 minutes

BAKING TIME: 40-55 TOTAL TIME: 65-80 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

CAKE

  • 1 cup brewed coffee*
  • 16 tablespoons (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutch cocoa)*
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup regular full-fat yogurt*

ICING

  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees– do not grease your bundt pan yet.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine coffee, butter, and cocoa powder. Once butter has melted, whisk everything together until a silky chocolate batter has formed.
  3. Allow the coffee-butter mixture to cool for ten minutes. Mix together sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour in a large bowl.
  4. Once the coffee-butter mixture has cooled add it to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Add vanilla, eggs, and yogurt to the forming batter; mix until a luxurious chocolate batter has formed.
  6. Now take bundt pan and grease generously with melted butter; this is vital to ensure that the cake won’t stick.
  7. Pour batter into the pan, and bake for 40-55 minutes– keep a watchful eye, as this batter bakes quickly.
  8. Once the cake is out of the oven, use a butter knife to go around the edges, and then after 5 minutes transfer cake + pan to a wire rack (do not remove pan yet).
  9. After another 5 minutes, remove bundt pan gently (tap the pan to ensure all cake falls through).
  10. Let the cake cool completely before you make the icing.
  11. Make a double boiler (a pot filled with water with a heat proof bowl on top) and add the chocolate and heavy cream. Mix until chocolate and cream have been incorporated.
  12. Spoon chocolate over the cake and enjoy!

NOTES:

  • I used Italian roast coffee, but you can use any kind. If you don’t like/want to use coffee, feel free to substitute with milk; however, coffee does enhance the chocolate flavor.
  • I used Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder.
  • You may use yogurt (Greek or regular) or sour-cream.
  • Recipe adapted from here.

❤ , 

Hira

 

June Things 

Hello July, and goodbye, June! Yes, it is that time. Another month gone, and less of 2017 to live. I feel like I say this every month, but wow 2017 is almost over.

June has been incredibly busy.

I started the month with heading to college orientation, which was kind of intimidating. I signed up for classes, walked (a lot) through the UT campus, and learned a lot about university life. I feel like I’m not prepared at all, which, I guess, is normal. But, wow. I’m just not ready– and that’s coming from the girl who has wanted to go to college since kindergarten. I know it’s the nerves, but as a type A, intense, anxious person, I’m not the most excited. I’ll let you guys know how it goes once I begin!

I also completed the month of Ramadan and celebrated Eid! Here are some pictures:

I also got my wisdom teeth out yesterday, which was terrifying for me. The overall procedure was pretty painless, but the recovery is killing me. I love eating bread, and I can’t. I know, first world problems– I am just thankful I could afford the procedure. 🙂

I hope your June was incredible! I will be posting more soon, I promise.

❤ ,

Hira