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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween and Novel Writing

First of all, I hope everyone on the East Coast is doing well. I have an aunt and cousins who live there and I was really worried about them. They are fine and didn't even lose power over the weekend! Meaning they'll be coming for Christmas. Yay! That was off topic. Anyways, I wish all the people on the coast the best of luck and really hope that you're doing well.

Secondly, it's Halloween! I did some research to find out what the actual origin of Halloween is and found out that it originates from the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. The festival marked the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. The Gaels took stock of their supplies and prepared for the winter during this time. They also believed that on the night of October 31st, the world of the living and the dead folded over each other. The dead would return to life and wreak havoc on the crops or cause illnesses. The Gaels would wear costumes and masks to ward off the evil spirits.Kinda creepy, right?

Casper the friendly ghost :)

We get trick-or-treating from the Medieval practice of "souling". Souling is when the poor folk from the Middle Ages would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1st) begging for money or food.

Doesn't that just wanna make you put on a costume and go out to trick-or-treat? I was a little disturbed by the first part about evil spirits and stuff. At least we've evolved a little from that. However, I wish people would give out apples or homemade treats or something of the sort. Seeing as how I can't eat milk chocolate, it's very cruel that I'll be getting all this good looking candy and not be able to eat it. I suppose it's better for me anyways and I'll just donate the candy. I did make Rice Krispy treats yesterday, albeit not very healthy, but a great replacement.
Picture courtesy of Chocolate Covered Katie
Thirdly, I'm really nervous about starting to write my novel tomorrow. What if I don't make the deadline? What if I get writer's block halfway through the month? So many things could go wrong. I know that the best thing to do is have a positive attitude and look at the bright side of things, but it's hard! I've never tackled such a big project before!

Lastly, I couldn't write a post without mentioning a recipe. If you're looking for a substitute for some candy tonight, try my SunButter truffles. They are gooey, delicious, and a snap to make. I bet they would be even better with some cocoa powder added to 'em. ;)

Great replacement for candy

I hope you all have a very happy Halloween! :-)

Inquiry of the Day:

Do you know anyone who was affected by Hurricane Sandy? Were you?
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Funfetti Cupcakes

Don't tell me you don't remember those fun Pillsbury cakes with the sprinkles in them?! You know, the ones they call Confetti cakes. Those we're my absolute favorite cakes when I was little. I made my grandma throw one together every year for my birthday.

My sister's birthday was coming up and she requested funfetti cupcakes. The catch was she hates gluten free food for some odd reason. So Elana Amsterdam's cookbook was the place to go!
Bright burst of color from the sprinkles :)

I finally came across her wonderful vanilla cupcakes and tested them out a few hours before my sister's birthday. When the time came to eat them, everyone absolutely adored the cupcakes! They tasted just like the gluten kind! Except, better. I think so , anyways.

The cupcakes are perfect for birthdays, holidays, potlucks, or another kind of get-to-together. Or you can just hide them all to yourself. No one would blame you.

2 eggs, separated
1/4 c. grape seed oil
1/2 c. honey
1 T. vanilla extract
1 T. lemon juice (do NOT omit)
2 1/2 c. almond flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4-1/3 c. sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, whip the eggs with a handheld mixer, then mix the grape seed oil, honey, vanilla, and lemon juice in.
3. In a separate bowl, whip the eggs whites until stiff. Fold into the yolk mixture.
4. In another bowl, combine almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir until thoroughly combined.
5. Fold in the egg mixture, then add the sprinkles.
6. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
7. Scoop batter into muffins tins so they are 3/4 full.
8. Bake for 20-30 minutes. When a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
9. Let the cupcakes cool for 30 minutes then frost if you want. This cupcakes are just as good without.

Inquiry of the Day:

Did you have homemade or store bought cakes for your birthdays as a kid?

Sometimes (especially when I was younger) we would make cakes shaped like horses, or bears, or rabbits, or even a dinosaur once! I went through a cookie cake phase and then a store bought ice cream cake phase, now I'm reverting bake to my old homemade cake baking habits. In truth, they're actually better tasting and better for you. 
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Link Love: Candy Recipes for Halloween

I don't have very many candy recipes. But I do have a lot of breakfast ones! Unfortunately, that doesn't help me right now. :( I'm still working on making those 3 Musketeers, but due to the fact that I'm sick and not allowed in the kitchen, I haven't gotten very far on them. Sooooo, you might be getting the recipe after Halloween. Oh well.

Instead of giving you my recipes, I can give you the next best thing- EVERY ONE ELSE'S!!!  ;) Tada! That's my brilliant plan. I've organized the links into categories. The first is............


Dark Chocolate Crunch Bars from Katie at Chocolate Covered Katie
Butterfingers from Katie at Chocolate Covered Katie
Pumpkin Pie Reeses from Katie at Chocolate Covered Katie
Peppermint Patties from Elana at Elana's Pantry
Macadamia Caramel Clusters from Elana at Elana's Pantry
Mounds Candy Bars from Elana at Elana's Pantry

All the Other Stuff

Pumpkin Pie Fudge from Sarah at Unwheated
Maple Sunbutter Candy from Ali at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen
Candy Corn from Leigh at Cheap, Healthy, Good
Gummies from Cindy at Skip To My Lou
Fruit Roll-Ups from Sondi at the Copycat Cook

Hope you enjoy the links! The ones I'd really like to make are the butterfingers and the candy corn. I LOVE LOVE LOVE candy corn. Especially with peanuts. The combination of salty and sweet is to die for.

Inquiry of the Day:

What's your favorite candy?

Mine is Reeses. Or candy corn. But, honestly, if I was given the choice between Reeses and candy corn, I'd pick the Reeses.
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Apple Cider Slushie

I've had upper respiratory junk this week. :( Lots of phlegm, lots of coughing, and lots of sinus headaches. Oh, do I ever have a complicate relationship with fall. I love it, but hate the allergies and sickness.

Anyways, the only things that have been sounding good are cold foods and drinks. Like apple cider, grape juice, almond milk, Popsicles, ice cream, etc. Foods that would feel good on my throat. So mainly, I've been craving sugar, which is not good. I've been trying to get myself to want healthier foods. Instead of having grape juice the other day, I had water. It was hard, but I did it.

But on Tuesday, I caved.

I had to make an apple cider slushie. I was feeling like crap and thought that I deserved it.
One of the hardest things I've ever had to photograph

Apple cider slushies are something that I've associated as a special treat that my sister and I get when we go to the apple orchard. But since we got our ice cream machine, they are now more than just a special beverage we can only buy at the apple orchard. Whenever we have cider I can make them now! And its especially nice at the moment since my throat's been hurting; they've been just the thing to help ease the pain a little.

4 c. apple cider*
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cardamon
1/8 tsp. cloves

*omit spices if cider is already spiced

1. Mix together cider and spices in a large bowl or 4 c. measuring cup.
2. Pour into ice cream machine.
3. Mine took about 10 minutes to make a slushie consistency, but yours could take more or less time depending on the brand of ice cream machine you have. I use a Cuisinart.
4. Enjoy!

Cool and refreshing, the picture doesn't do it justice

Inquiry of the Day:

Have you been suffering from anything lately? Allergies? A cold? Strep throat?

Like I said, sore throat and coughing is what has been going on around here. It's really not fun.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Happiness Project

Recently, I've decided that I'm going to start my own Happiness Project. Okay, you're probably thinking, what is a happiness project? A happiness project is just like it sounds, a project about happiness. And there is a story about how I found out about it.

Last April, we were in Maryland visiting my aunt, and we took a just-girl's afternoon trip to the thrift store. Didn't really find many clothes, but I did find two books. One of which was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This September, I finally got around to reading it and I decided that I could probably benefit from doing one.

Each happiness project is unique to the individual, because happiness is different for each person (for more information about The Happiness Project visit Rubin's website at

My project is starting this November. I've made a set of resolutions to follow everyday and monthly resolutions as well. November's theme is Passion. My passion is writing, cooking, and photography so these are my resolutions for next month: write a novel, take more pictures, blog at least 6 days a week, spend more time in the kitchen (creating recipes, not doing dishes), and to write EVERY SINGLE DAY. That last one is a tough-y for me, because I tend to put off stuff like that. Each month I'll also post the theme for that month and its resolutions.

Oh and did I mention that I'm going to write that novel in a MONTH?!?! Yup, 50K words by November 30th. I'm doing this through the National Novel Writing Month program (NaNoWriMo for short). So wish me luck! I have a friend who's doing it, too, so that might make things a little easier.

I also signed up to participate in the Gluten Free Ratio Rally. In case you haven't heard of it, it was thought up by Shauna Ahern of Gluten Free Girl. Each month, a different blogger hosts it with a different theme. The whole concept is to come up with a gluten free baked good using ratios. Eeek! I know next to nothing about ratios! Ah, oh well, there's only one way to learn. ;) I'll post more information about that when I get it.

So, as you can see, I'll be a pretty busy girl this next year! One of my daily resolutions is to make rash decisions. Have I succeeded yet? You tell me.

 Again, wish me luck, and Happy Halloween!

P.S. I'm still working on that 3 Musketeers recipe and hopefully I'll have a Candy Recipe Round-Up posted either this or next week.

Inquiry of the Day:

What are some positive rash decisions you've made these past few months?

My body decided to make a rash decision a few weeks ago and not sleep at all one night >:( Bad idea. I don't recommend it unless you'd like to be a zombie the next day. Or grumpy.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Where's the Lettuce? Salad

This is one the best non-lettuce salads I've ever had. Well, at least vegetable salad.
Cool, crisp, and fresh
It is perfect for a summer meal, because it is cool and refreshing.

My mom has made this for years, and I've loved it for years. I'd pair it with hot dogs, fish, or hamburgers. It'd be a great salad to take to a potluck or picnic. I guarantee everyone will love it.

This has been one of the strangest falls I've ever seen. It got down it the 30s last week and rained a little bit, now this week it's raining a whole bunch and yesterday was in the 70s! ??? It's a little maddening. I think that once the temperature turns cool it should stay cool, but I guess the bright side of the warm weather is more ice cream. ;)

Total of 4 cups of vegetables; mostly cauliflower:
carrots, chopped
cucumber, chopped
onions, chopped
cauliflower, chopped
bell pepper, chopped
1 c. garbanzo beans
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 t. white pepper
1/2 t. salt
basil and oregano to taste
2 cubes of frozen basil

1. Put all the chopped vegetables in a large or medium bowl.
2. Add garbanzo beans to bowl.
3. Toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, white pepper, salt, frozen basil, and basil and oregano to taste.

Inquiry of the Day:

So what about you? Do you like lettuce salads or non-lettuce salads? Post in the comments and I'll see what I can come up with. If you've got any good recipes, feel free to share!
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Monday, October 22, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

I'm not smart enough to come up with this recipe on my own. (Okay, I probably could've come up with something given enough time, but I only had a few days to devise a recipe, which definitely was not long enough.) But I did modify it somewhat. The pumpkin filling recipe is from Pure2Raw and the crust from Barefoot & Eloquent. The crust was definitely something to marvel at. It was flaky just like a regular gluten crust. I was in heaven!

I thought the pumpkin filling was nice and creamy, but my mom said it was too pumpkin-y for her. Whatever. How could something be to pumpkin-y?

My grandpa really like it, too and that's saying something cuz he's like the Pumpkin Pie King. No joke. It's his favorite dessert ever.

So overall- SUCCESS! :D

Pumpkin pie filling:

15 oz. pureed pumpkin (1 can of Libby's)
1/2 c. full-fat coconut milk
1/2 c. agave or honey or other liquid sweetener
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 heaping T. of arrowroot starch (or other starch)


1 1/4 c. brown rice flour
1/3 c. coconut oil, cold
1/4 tsp. salt
5-6 T. ice cold water

1. Stir together flour and salt for crust.
2. Cut in the coconut oil and knead until mixture makes crumbs the size of peas.
3. Add water a tablespoon at a time to sections of flour mixture. Gently toss until flour is moistened.
4. Bake at 375 degree F for 3-5.
5. Meanwhile, mix together pumpkin, coconut milk, agave, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.
6. Add arrowroot and thoroughly mix together.
7. Pour into slightly baked pie shell and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
8. Then preheat oven to 325 degrees F and bake for 40-50 minutes, until edges are set and center is slightly jiggly.
9. Allow to cool then top with whipped cream or ice cream.

Inquiry of the Day:

What's your favorite kind of pie?

I love chocolate pie, cherry pie, pecan pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and peach pie. Oh, and key lime pie. I'm sure I love other types of pie, but those are my favorites. 

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blueberry Scones

This recipe is based off of Elana Amsterdam's chocolate chip scone recipes. May I present.... blueberry scones! One of my favorite breakfast foods.

I just couldn't resist the ribbon

I make these once a week due to popular demand at my house.  It gets kind of exhausting making baked goods once a week, but it's always worth it. It's a good thing I'm so creative, otherwise my family would be eating banana muffins every week. ;)

I experiment with the basic recipe of almond flour, eggs, honey, and oil. I've made many variations and hope to present many more on this blog. But for now you'll just have to suffice with this addictive recipe. Without further ado, blueberry scones!

2 1/2 c. blanched almond flour
1/4 t. sea salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 c. grape seed oil
1/3 c. honey
2 large eggs
1 c. frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 1 or 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, depending on how big you like your scones.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, whisk together the grape seed oil, honey, and eggs. Blend the wet ingredients with the almond flour mixture until completely combined. Fold in the blueberries.
3. Drop the batter in 1/4 c. 2 inches apart on baking sheet if you like smaller scones. If, however, you like larger scones, scoop up batter in 1.4 c. with quite a bit of overflow and drop on baking sheet. This should make about 9 scones.
4. Bake for 12 to 17 minutes, until golden brown, or when toothpick inserted in center of scone comes out clean.
5. Let the scones cool for 30 minutes before serving. But if you're like me and just can't wait to eat these puppies, waiting about 15 minutes works just as well.

Inquiry of the Day:

What other flavors should I try out as scones?

Banana? Ginger? Cinnamon roll? Or even double chocolate chocolate chip?

This marks my 50th blog post. Yay! :D What should I do to celebrate? Share my pumpkin pie recipe, work on remaking candy corn, or work on making a copycat 3 Musketeers? You pick!
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Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Birthday!

The one thing I was really stressing about for my birthday was the cupcakes. How does one make I good gluten, egg, xantham gum, and dairy free cupcake? They go on the Internet. Which is exactly what I did. I came across Ginger Lemon Girl's homemade vanilla cupcake recipe and modified it to suit my needs. I think I changed it up so much that it's basically my own recipe, however, I'll give credit where credit is due and it's definitely due here.

The cupcakes were really moist and fluffy. They didn't leave me with that sick feeling I get most of the time after eating a cupcake. I used the vegan chocolate frosting recipe from Elana's Pantry and it complemented the cupcakes perfectly. I also made my own colored sugar, since we were out of the yellow kind. :( Oh, well. It was fun. The recipe is at the end of the post.

For dinner, we ate a Hunger Games inspired menu: roasted roots (turnips, beets, sweet potatoes, and potatoes), turkey breast, and pita bread with jam. Mom bought a Costco pizza, too, just in case there wasn't enough food. Which there was. Everyone tried the roots and like them! They were pretty delicious if I do say so myself. I used Trader Joe's super-food jam and it closely resembled cranberry dressing. It was wonderful! The house smelled like Thanksgiving. Yum.

I came up with this awesome game to play. And, of course, that was Hunger Games inspired too. I made everyone bring whatever makeup they had and pull the name of a district out of a hat. I put the Capitol in as well. Then I sorted them into teams and the teams did each others' clothes, makeup, and hair according to what district they chose. I didn't invite enough people to do all the districts, but the ones that got picked were District 2, District 3, District 4, District 6, District 7, District 12, and the Capitol. There was glitter everywhere by the time everyone left. In fact, if you like underneath the cabinets in our study it still kinda sparkles. :)

Overall, it was a really great birthday. I couldn't imagine doing it any other way. Except maybe go to bed early. Ah, well, isn't that what sleepovers are for? To not go to sleep? ;)

Vanilla Cupcakes:

1/2 + 1 T. brown rice flour
1/2 c. arrowroot starch
1/2 c. evaporated cane juice (or regular sugar)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
very scant 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 + 2 T. oil
3//4 c. non-dairy milk (I used vanilla almond)
2 flax eggs
1/2 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl, make flax eggs. 
3. Mix dry ingredients together well in a separate bowl.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the flax eggs and mix with dry.
5. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
6. Pour into each liner until 1/2 full.
7. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
8. Cool completely then frost!

Roasted Roots:

3 medium-sized turnips
3 large sweet potatoes
4 medium white or yellow potatoes
3-4 beets depending on how big they are
1- 1 1/2 T. olive oil
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Chop up roots and mix with olive oil.
3. Spread on a greased jelly roll pan or lined with parchment paper or tin foil.
4. Sprinkle salt over roots.
 5. Bake for about an hour or until roots have turned golden brown.

For my family birthday, we went to BD's Mongolian BBQ. It was delicious! It's my new favorite restaurant. For dessert I made a gluten free, dairy free, egg free, xantham gum free, vegan pumpkin pie (recipe to be posted soon.)

Inquiry of the Day:

What's your favorite way to celebrate your birthday?

Mine's a dinner with family, dessert, and presents. 
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