The End of an Era

Courtesy of Devon Haddock

Beautiful last day of class at UNC… Not sure if anyone actually went to class?

As the first half of my undergraduate career comes frighteningly close to an end – aka I’m definitely procrastinating studying right now – I am reminded of my imminent 20th birthday right after finals. (I didn’t have a summer birthday until college because of how early UNC starts and ends… At least I always got to bring cupcakes into class on my birthday growing up!) Leaving the teenage years behind isn’t usually a significant event for college kids because we are still essentially fake adults. For someone who runs a blog called “Diary of a Teenage Baker”, though, I suppose I should acknowledge it.

Ever since I debuted this website about three years ago, people have asked me what would happen once I turned 20. After wrestling with the idea of changing the name, I’ve decided that it wouldn’t make sense for me to change my blog for every life stage I go through – Diary of a Broke College Student… Diary of a Law Student… Diary of a Real-Person-with-a-Job… etc. My love for cooking and baking will always be with me no matter where I am in life, so Diary of a Teenage Baker is here to stay. I’m even going to have a real kitchen in my apartment when I move off campus next year, so you can expect more regular updates next semester… after my my summer abroad!

My home for the summer

I’ll be living here for part of this summer! (Not the castle though, I wish…)

I am excited beyond words to have the opportunity to study International Conflict Resolution in Geneva, Switzerland and London, UK for a total of eight weeks. I will eat and travel my way through Europe both during and after the program, and I’ll be sure to document accordingly. That said, I feel like I am due for a camera upgrade after five years of using a mediocre Nikon point-and-shoot for food photography. My best shots have been taken with my friends’ DSLRs. I figured that my once-in-a-lifetime trip warrants the investment to properly preserve those memories, as well as for future food shoots on the blog. After much research and consideration, I’ve decided to spring for a mirrorless digital camera system that fits my travel and food photography needs. I’m super excited to learn how to use it and improve as a photographer!

If you are feeling generous and wish to support my photographic endeavors and/or want to gift me an early birthday present, feel free to send an Amazon gift card (christina@diaryofateenagebaker.com) toward my camera investment. You will see the fruits of that gift on this blog for sure!

I may or may not have a paper due in five hours that I should return to now, but thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every one of you for supporting Diary of a Teenage Baker – especially those who have been following since its inception! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me and for this blog.

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Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Despite my complaints that I think I might be developing a mild allergy to citrus fruits, my mom keeps buying oranges by the box, faster than we can eat them. That, coupled with the fact that we have a giant bag of Craisins that has been sitting around the pantry, I’ve made it my personal mission to bake as many orange-cranberry flavored things as possible before I go back to school.

I’ve always loved slice and bake cookies for their simplicity and convenience, and these shortbread rounds are no exception. The ingredients list is pleasantly short, so I whipped up the dough while I was making some other cookies on Christmas Eve, and plopped the log in the fridge… and promptly forgot about the dough until a few days later when I realized that I meant to write a ‘cookies for Santa’ post with this cake stand:

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

I know Christmas is over, but look at this little guy! He’s too cute not to post. Ever since I got this cake stand for Christmas last year from a friend, I knew I had to photograph it with some festive Christmas cookies. It’s New Year’s Eve now so I’m a few days late (oops), but anytime is a good time for cranberry orange shortbread cookies. For anyone planning on dieting or hitting the gym more often in 2015 – quick, make these and shove a few of in your mouth before we ring in the new year!

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Goodbye, 2014, you’ve been good to me :)

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Cranberry Orange Quickbread

Cranberry Orange Quickbread

Dear blogging world, contrary to evidence that suggests I have fallen off the face of the earth, I am alive and well. I’ve missed you. I thought of you often over the course of this semester, especially when contemplating whether or not I should: 1) eat Chex Mix for dinner the third night in a row, or 2) tote dishes, utensils, and ingredients back and forth between my room and the kitchen to make boxed mac ‘n cheese. (Chex Mix usually wins.)

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Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

I’m honestly surprised it took so long for me to post a recipe for mint chocolate cupcakes on the blog. If you know me well, you know that mint chocolate anything is my favorite flavor combination… if it’s option at an ice cream or frozen yogurt place, you can be sure that I’ll have it. You just can’t go wrong!

Mint Chocolate cupcakes

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Reflections After a Year of College

I haven’t been doing my month-in-pictures posts on here for several reasons, but mostly because I was too busy being a college student. My freshman year has flown by, and I thought I’d sit down and put some of my thoughts about college into words. In between, I’ll insert some random pictures that I think sum up my first year experience at Carolina, not necessarily related to the bullet point. Here goes:

You don't know what March Madness is until you've seen UNC beat Duke at home!

You don’t know what March Madness is until you’ve seen UNC beat Duke at home!

1. “Out of sight, out of mind.”  The transition from high school to college makes you realize pretty fast who your real friends are. Make the time and effort to see people who matter to you when you’re home on breaks, because you’ll see that you were only friends with some people in high school because you saw them five days a week.

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