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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

To Everything There is a Season

When writing, I tend to get bored and can't spend more than half an hour sitting and writing. So, this novel I'm planning on finishing is going to take longer than I expected. I'd hoped to be finished by March. Now, that just seems unrealistic.

But maybe that's all for the best. After all, I'm not even in college yet. Maybe this trilogy I'm planning to write isn't meant to be, and I'll find a greater plot to develop.

For awhile, I wanted to get published before I finished school. I realize that I'm not experienced enough and my writing doesn't even compare to, say, J.K. Rowling's or Suzanne Collin's or even J.R.R. Tolkien's. They all went through much struggle to get their books published. It took a lot of rejections, tears, and sheer determination to be where they were (or are) today.

Perhaps I need to study a little longer and do a little more writing before I get published. Perhaps I need to gain more confidence, show my writing to the world, and learn to accept criticism (which I struggle with greatly). I'm not perfect. In fact, no one is, but I can work on my weaknesses.

Patience is a virtue. And I need to learn it. Nothing happens immediately, everything takes time. "To everything there is a season" as the saying goes.

I also need to learn how to take rejection and, when I'm rejected, not to give up. Not everyone is going to like my work and that's OK. People have different views and opinions and I need to learn to respect that.

So, all in all, I just need to roll with the punches and take things one day at a time. Every second is a gift and I need to honor that. Even if no one reads my blog, I will continue to write and pour out my heart to who ever will lesson.

  (But there is one thing that I will ask of you, will you go, right now, and like my FB page, please? Thanks!)

Inquiry of the Day:

Do you have a blog?

If you do, let me know in the comments and I'll go check it out. I promise. 

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Spicy Crackers

When I say spicy crackers, I mean spicy crackers. These babies are HOT!

My mom decided to get rid of chips for Lent this year, so she asked me to make some crackers for her. "Mom," I asked. "Aren't those considered chips?" She said no, so if you ever get rid of chips for Lent, this should be your go to recipe.
Little dynamite crackers- not to be underestimated!

Even though I'm not supposed to have spicy foods, I did try a teeny dot of dough and that was enough to set my taste buds on fire. So be warned, this recipe is not for the faint of heart.

If you have to call the fire department because you're tongue is on fire, don't blame me. I warned you.

*based on Elana Amsterdam's recipe

2 1/2 c. almond flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (add or substitute any other cheese. Pepper jack would be good)
3 T. grape seed oil
2 eggs
1 T. paprika
1/2 t. ground cumin

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together almond flour, salt, baking soda, and cheese.
3. In a separate bowl, beat together grape seed oil and eggs.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add paprika and cumin. Stir until thoroughly combined.
5. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Put one piece of dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll out the dough to desired thickness.
6. Remove top parchment paper and move dough to baking sheet. Cut into squares of desired size. Do the same with the other half of the dough.
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let crackers cool for 30 minutes. 

Inquiry of the Day:

Are you a fan of spicy foods?

I most definitely am. I love hot sauce, curry, hot fries, and just about anything spicy. As long as it's not too spicy. My dad cannot have a meal without hot sauce. I swear. He puts it on almost everything.
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Sunday, August 26, 2012


Meatloaf is a staple in my house. We eat it all the time.It's great for special occasions, family get-to-togethers, or just a quick Monday night dinner. (It can be eaten any day of week, though.) I'm sure it'll become one of your favorite recipes. Except, if you're a vegetarian, it might not be.

What am I doing?! I'm stealing the spotlight! The real star is this meatloaf. Now, meatloaf has gotten a bad rap. I've had some disgusting meatloaf in my time. But this, just knocks all those imitators out of the water. Make sure you use good beef or pork. Otherwise, this won't turn out as good. My grandpa makes his own beef and pork, so we use that. Best meat ever. You can never go back to plain Jane burgers after you've had his. (Especially McDonald's burgers. Yuck!) Oh, and make sure you top with BBQ sauce or ketchup. It definitely improves the flavor.
Comfort food :)
So, are you having trouble figuring out what's for dinner? No problem. Make some meatloaf. It's just that good.

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
3/4 c. gluten-free oats
1 c. milk
1 egg
1 small onion, chopped and sautéed
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. sage (if you have it, use 1 t. of salt-free Mrs. Dash's table blend. if not, stick with the sage)

1. Mix all ingredients.
2. Spread in ungreased loaf pan, 9x5x3". Spread ketchup or BBQ sauce on top of loaf.
3. Cook uncovered in 350 degree oven until done about 1 1/2 hours.
1. Mix all ingredients
2. Shape meatloaf into 6 small loaves; placed in ungreased oblong pan, 13x9x2"
3. Spread ketchup or BBQ sauce on top
4. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes

If you have trouble with grains try a different binder for the meatloaf. Maybe some arrowroot powder, a little almond flour, or another egg even? I don't know if any of these will work, but let me know how it goes if you happen to try it.

Inquiry of the Day:

Is meatloaf a comfort food for you?

It certainly is for me. One of the most comforting meals I can think of is meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas. Unfortunately, I can't eat red meat right now :*( It's been ages since I've had meatloaf.
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Strawberry Surprise Smoothie

Okay guys, trust me on this one.

I'd gone in for a barium test a couple weeks ago and the lady who does quantum light therapy for me said to drink carrot juice with a handful of spinach afterward. She said this would help counteract the harmful chemicals and dye in the barium.
Look at that bright red strawberry!

At first, I was like 'Eew! Gross!' And let me tell you, it took a lot of improvising to get this one right. Lots of strawberries and lemon were involved to over power the ultra-carroty taste of the carrot juice.

But, at last, I had perfected the carrot juice smoothie, and it was actually quite tasty. In fact, as I write this, I'm sipping on a glass myself.

This is a wonderful detoxifying smoothie and a great way to boost the number of vegetables in your day.

about 1 c. carrot juice (8 oz.)
handful of spinach
1 c. frozen strawberries
1 T. honey
3 drops of lemon oil extract

1. Add the carrot juice, spinach, and lemon oil to the blender. Blend until smooth.
2. Add honey and strawberries. Blend until desired consistency.
3. Pour into a glass or just drink from the blender.

Inquiry of the Day:

Have you ever done a detox?

I have and it was awful. Ugh, I remember feeling so nauseous and sluggish the entire time. But it did help me feel better afterward. 
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Banana Muffins

*This recipe is adapted from Lucy Rosset's SCD cook book.
Ooey gooey banna muffins

I scream, you scream, we all scream for BANANA MUFFINS!!!! Okay, I admit, that needs some touching up. Anyone want to work on that? Seriously, these muffins need their own slogan or something. There are just that good.

I swear. Ask anyone  in my family. They'll tell you these muffins are by far the best ones you'll ever eat. What am I doing depriving you of these astounding muffins? Go ahead! Try some for yourself! You know you want to! ;)

3 T. grape seed oil
1/4 c. honey
2 eggs, beaten
2 extra-ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3 cups almond flour
1 c. walnuts (optional)
1 c. raisins (optional)
1 c. chocolate chips (optional, but highly recommended)

1. Preheat oven to 310 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, completely stir together all ingredients, adding the almond flour, walnuts, and raisins last.
2. Line muffin pans with paper cupcake liners. Fill each cup 3/4 full.
3. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes
4. Allow muffins to cool before removing from pans and serving.

Inquiry of the Day:

What kind of annoying songs tend to stay in your head?

I work around the house singing the Muppets sometimes. Or even "Call Me Maybe". Gosh, they songs are so catchy!
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dairy-Free Vanilla Fudgesicles

I made some pudding out of cashews.


Yes, cashews. And let me tell you, it was one of the best puddings I've ever had. Smooth, creamy, slightly nutty fudgesicles. They're a cinch to make and a guarantee they'll be a hit.
A little pudding PacMan ghost
 I was browsing the Gluten Free Fix's site when day, when this particular recipe caught my eye. I made it for my lunch one day and a thought started to brew in the back of mind. What if I froze it? And freeze it I did to make these wonderful vegan fudgesicles!
He likes to smile

If you have a dairy sensitivity I highly recommend these popsicles. They're aren't any fancy ingredients, such as tofu, or agar flakes, or any of that. Nope. Cashews, water, honey, and vanilla. That's all it takes.

2 c. raw cashews, soaked for at least 6 hrs.
1/2 c. honey or agave
3/4 c. water
1/2-3/4 tsp. vanilla

1. Soak cashews for 6-12 hours.
2. Combine ingredients in blender and blend until desired consistency is reached.
3. Pour into popsicle molds or Dixie cups. Stick wooden craft sticks in the middle
4. Freeze until completely frozen
Where did my popsicle go?! In moi tummy! :)

 Inquiry of the Day:

Did you used to eat Fudgesicles on a hot summer's day?

I know I did. For a few years I went to piano camp in the afternoon and they offered snacks everyday. One of my favorite days was the ice cream day. I always went for either the Drumstick or the Fudgesicle. I adore waffle cones. Maybe I should make a GF waffle cone recipe. Yeah, that would be good. 

Oh, and please don't forget to check out my Facebook page! Which can be found here.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Hunger Games Recipe Round-Up

As you probably know (if you're a die-hard Hunger Games fan like me) that The Hunger Games DVD comes out a week from today.

In honor of the occasion I've made a recipe roundup of all the recipes associated with the Hunger Games. It seemed extremely appropriate to add at least two bread recipes, seeing as how Peeta is a baker and all. So I'm very please with how this post turned out.

I wasn't expecting to have so many recipes that would fit in with this theme (seeing as how this blog has only been going for a months), but low-and-behold, I had 5!

Anyways, here they are. A Hunger Games recipe roundup.

How appropriate is it to have a pita bread recipe! I mean, really, it doesn't get anymore authentic than this.

Feel free to replace the beef with squirrel, venison, or any other kind of wild game. 

With lots of different spices, dried fruits, and nuts, it seems like the typical hunter-gather recipe that would be common in the Seam.

In the book, Prim is given peppermint candies by Katniss. I figure adding peppermint extract to these coconut melties will come pretty darn close to the actual candy.

Sorry! No picture for this one. One of Katniss's favorite foods is Peeta's cheese bread. So why not add one of my own to this recipe round-up?

With all these recipes you could have a feast! Pick and choose to make a Hunger Games worthy buffet. I know I'll definitely be making some of these and enjoying them while I watch the Hunger Games next Saturday!

Inquiry of the Day:

Will you be buying "The Hunger Games" DVD the day it comes out?

I know I will. No hesitation there! :)

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Cheese Bread

What bread tab would be complete without a cheese bread recipe? Well, a vegan tab would, but that's not the point.

This bread is cheesy, delicious, and makes an excellent pizza crust. It makes the perfect addition to any soup or dinner.

I think it would be good for breakfast, too. Use it to make a breakfast sandwich! Oh my goodness, that sounds good right now. Yum, bacon. Delicious.

Maybe I'll have this for breakfast one day. Maybe.

*Based off Elaine Gottschall's recipe

2 1/2 c. almond flour
1/4 c. softened butter or oil
1 c. of cheese (I use cheddar, but any kind will work)
1 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt
3 eggs, beaten

1. Mix butter, almond flour, and cheese together.
2. Add the beaten eggs, baking soda, and salt.
3. Pour into a greased 4x8" inch loaf pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for at least 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Unfortunately, I can't give you picture, because my dad ate the last piece a few days ago. :(
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Coconut Melties

For these I give all the credit to one of my favorite food bloggers- Chocolate Covered Katie! Now, normally I don't like coconut- blech. Something about the flavor turns me off, I don't know what, though. This recipe, however, is not too coconuty for my taste. It might be because the almond and cherries counteract the flavor of the coconut. I'm not sure.

Look at my pretty picture. The little melties all wrapped up like little chocolate truffles. How adorable! Now that I think about it, melties would be a great healthy dessert gift instead of those peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kisses or pretzels with the hugs and M&Ms pressed on to them. Don't get me wrong, I love those, but, well, there not extremely healthy. If only someone could healthify them. Hmmm.......

Anyway, pretty please try these! One of my favorite candies! (Besides Reese's, nothing can replace my love for chocolate and peanut butter!)

Almond Cherry Coconut Melties

1/4 + 1/8 tsp. almond extract
3/4 c. coconut butter- recipe here to make your own
2 tbsp chopped dried bing cherries (opt.)

1. Put the coconut butter in a bowl and stir until smooth.
2. Add the almond extract and cherries. Stir until thoroughly combined.
3. Evenly distribute the coconut mixture into ice cube trays, candy molds, or wax paper.
4. Refrigerate until hard or freeze for a few minutes if your super impatient like I am.
5. Enjoy

I also tried these with peppermint extract. Just as delicious. They were quite refreshing. I've been thinking about adding cinnamon, orange extract, lemon extract, or even cocoa powder to them. If you have any other ideas feel free to share in the comments section. For now, go and make these melties! :)

P.S. Sorry for the awful pic. I'm working on my photography for taking food.
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Spice Cake

All the credit must go to Elana Amsterdam. She is a genius for coming up with this recipe. We absolutely love this recipe. It is one of my favorite non-chocolate recipes. Well, besides key lime pie, this is one of my favorites. Which is surprising since I generally don't like spice cake.

But this cake is moist and tastes like Christmas.

Have you ever had something that tastes like Christmas? It is a very strange sensation, but all the same, something can taste like Christmas. And this dessert proves it.

Yes, I know. It's nowhere near Christmas, but why not pretend a little? Make this spice cake and say it tastes like Easter. Of course that would be a lie. You need an excuse to go and make this awesome spice cake!

Oh, you don't need an excuse? I've already convinced you? Then by all means, go and make this!

*adapted from The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam*

2 1/2 c. almond flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground allspice
1 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 c. grape seed oil
1 c. honey
3 eggs
1 T. vanilla extract
1 c. raisins, prunes, or dates, chopped into 1/4" inch pieces
1/2 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8" square baking dish with grape seed oil or oil of your choice and dust with almond flour.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the grape seed oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla extract. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until completely combined. Fold in the raisins and walnuts. Scoop the batter into the prepared baking dish.
3. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the baking dish for 1 hour, then serve spread with cream cheese or vanilla frosting.
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Beef Stew

This has always been one of my favorite winter recipes. Especially when it's served with homemade bread. It's full of hot vegetables, juicy beef, and is absolutely one of the best comfort foods on this planet.

A big bowl of comforting stew

If I ever feel the depressing pull of winter, my mom and I make a pot of stew or soup. That warms me right up head to toe.

Recently, cooking dinner with my mom has been a great bonding experience for us. Over the course of the past few months, I've really grown close to her. She's been my comforter, encourager, and helps pull me through the days I feel like I'm really struggling to keep moving.

Great with crackers or homemade bread

With that said, this is one of those meals that is easy to put together and fun to make with a partner. So grab your best friend, family member, or even your roommate and make some stew. ;)

2 lbs. beef stew meat (can be omitted for a vegetarian stew)
2 potatoes, diced
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 onions, chopped
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, quartered, sliced, or diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. hot water
3 gluten-free bouillon cubes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. red wine

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Dissolve bouillon cubes in hot water and set aside.
3. Mix together meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper.
4. Stir tomato paste into bouillon water, and pour over meat and vegetable mixture. Mix well.
5. Bake covered in a large casserole dish for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Or put in the crock pot on low for 6-7 hours.
6. Serve hot with fresh bread or a salad.

Inquiry of the Day:

How do you cope with your winter funk? Or do you positively love winter?

I normally adore winter time. It's during January and February I feel like I'm just going in circles. But last year we had the most depressing winter. No snow. Just coldness. It's the worst. I'm really hoping for a decent snow this winter. So keep your fingers crossed!
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Vegan Blueberry Peach Muffins

Okay, I promise this'll be the last muffin recipe for awhile. (That is, unless y'all want more????) But I swear that these are so one of the best muffins you'll ever eat. In fact, they're my favorite muffin recipe of all time.

A week or so ago, my mom bought a ton of fresh peaches and blueberries from the farmer's market. They blueberries were so good I just knew they had to be put in a muffin. (I think that baking blueberries brings out their natural sweetness, which is why I love blueberry muffins so much.) 

So I hope you can forgive me for posting another muffin recipe, but I urge you to try it. Seriously. Go ahead.

Oh, and did I mention they're vegan too?

2 c. almond flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 T. cinnamon
2 flax or chia "eggs"
1/4 c. grape seed oil
1/3 c. honey
1/2 c. blueberries
1/2 c. peaches, peeled and diced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Whisk flaxseed meal in a bowl with water. Let sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Combine dry ingredients.
4. Add oil and honey to flax egg.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry. Add blueberries and peaches. Stir until thoroughly combined.
6. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners or grease with oil. Fill cupcake liners until 2/3 full.
7. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Substitution Notes: Replace the flax eggs with real eggs if you want. The grape seed oil can be subbed for any other you normally use for baking (i.e. vegetable, canola, coconut, etc.) and the honey for agave or maple syrup. If you don't want peaches bump up the blueberries to 1 c. or vice versa.

Inquiry of the Day:

Have you made a trip to the farmer's market yet this year?

Sad to behold, we've only gone twice. I usually love going to the farmer's market, but it always seems to slip my mind........
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Molasses Cookie Larabars

It tastes like a soft molasses cookie. Except it's healthier than a cookie. With no sugar, flour, eggs, or butter this will be one of the healthiest cookies you'll ever eat.

There's just one problem.

It's not a cookie.


Yup, you heard me. But, yet, it tastes soooooo much like the molasses cookies Grandma used to make when you were a child. I thought I would never taste a molasses cookie again. I'm immensely glad I was wrong.

1/2 c. walnuts
1/4 c. dates
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black strap molasses
1 T. maple syrup

1. Pulverize walnuts, dates, spices, and salt until ground to your liking.
2. Add the molasses and syrup. Pulse until thoroughly combined.
3. Shape into bars or balls.
4. Freeze until firm or skip step 3 and eat it straight out of the food processor!

Makes 2 bars or 6 balls

Substitution Notes: Sub the walnuts for any other kind of nuts you have on hand. The dates can be replaced by raisins or even prunes. If you don't have black strap molasses use any other kind. The maple syrup can be subbed for honey or agave nectar.

Inquiry of the Day:

Have you ever had a molasses cookie?

When I was younger we used to make them almost every Christmas. We haven't made molasses cookies in a long time, though. Sunday, I just happened to have a hankering for 'em and thought they'd be delicious in Larabar form.
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Cinnamon Muffins

These muffins were so pretty when they came out of the oven! They had the most beautiful cracks on the top and smelled wonderful they whole time they were baking.
Instead of cinnamon apple muffins, I decided regular cinnamon muffins would be good and they were! I had a friend over and she loved them, my sister's friend loved them, my mom and my dad did as well. So, they obviously passed the test.

I plan to continue exploring with the world of cinnamon, because it is one of my very favorite spices. I especially love those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls that come in a tube. Yum. Cinnamon rolls.


2 c. almond flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T. cinnamon
2 eggs
1/3 c. honey or agave (I used agave for these)
1/4 c. grape seed oil
1 c. pecans or walnuts (optional, but I bet these would be good with a bit of crunch)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, agave, and grape seed oil together.
4. Mix with dry ingredients and add pecans.
5. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Substitution Notes: You can sub the almond flour for any other nut flour (i.e. pecan, walnut, hazelnut, etc.). The eggs can be replaced by flax or chia eggs, which ever you prefer and the grape seed oil by any other kind of oil. I cannot vouch for any of these substitutions solely because of the fact I haven't tried them. If you happen too, let me know in the comments if it worked.

Inquiry of the Day:

What are you're favorite spices and/or herbs?

Personally, I like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cilantro, basil, rosemary, and mint. I especially love rosemary on roasted/grilled vegetables or potatoes. In fact, if you ever make this recipe, sprinkle about 1 1/2 tsp. of fresh minced rosemary on them. It's absolutely delicious!

All of these spices have a very distinct flavor which I adore in muffins, breads, pies, ice cream, entrees, or even side dishes. Let me know you're favorite spices/herbs in the comments box and what you would like to seem them in.  
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Goodwill.......... And Why It Is My Favorite Store Ever

So I bought this plate:

This plate:

This glass:

And this glass:

All for $2.68 at Goodwill. Can you believe it? Four pieces of glass dishware for $2.68! That's an awesome deal. Epic even.

Today was 50% off the entire store. We couldn't have gone to Goodwill on a better day.

The thing I love about Goodwill is that the stuff there is ridiculously low priced anyways, then they go and make everything 50%! Amazing! And I almost always find everything I need at Goodwill. Like, I bought a bride's maid's dress there for $6!!!! Again, amazing!

And that is why I positively absolutely love Goodwill.
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I've decided to tear my story apart.


That's right, strip it right down to the bone. I wanna get to the core, so I can completely and thoroughly evaluate my novel.

I came to this conclusion one day while I was writing. I had gotten to an intense action scene and suddenly, I stopped. I asked my self, What does my story really mean? What am I trying to convey to readers? What is the plot?. It was then I realized that it had no plot. People who read it would finish the book not knowing anything they didn't know before they read it.

My goal, when I write, is to make people stop and think. What if? The way I think of writing is kind of like science. Scientists ask "what if?" questions all the time, so do writers. Except when we ask "what if?" questions we can be move creative about the answer. Of course, most works of fiction are rooted in fact, but they're also called fiction. Hence, mostly make-believe. This is why I enjoy writing more, because the imagination is unlimited.

So I began to devise a new plot, one that made more of an impact. My problem was that I had had so many plots going on at once I just couldn't focus on the center, or root, of the story. Now that I've completely designed a new story, my characters, setting, and minor details have all seemed more relevant and they fit better into the story.

My new plot will make people think, because I've asked a big question (and yes, it is a what if question). When I thought of it, it made me comprehend how hard it would be to live without. This I think, will hook readers more so than the old story.

And because I've constructed a new plot, I've grown more excited about writing everyday. I've become more connected to the characters, made things seem more realistic by adding something here and taking another thing out there. I hope that when I finish the novel, readers will be able to connect a lot more with the story and be able to get something out of it, no matter how small.

Inquiry of the Day:

Have you ever stripped a story before?

Some people might seem horrified at the idea. All that writing and I'm just going to disembowel it! You must be joking! But it actually helps to find why you wrote what you did. If you're struggling with you're story (if you write, that is) try adding and subtracting some things, add new characters, change the plot, do something drastic. You might find that the story is a whole lot better then before you tore it down. Worst case scenario, you add everything back in and continue with you're previous story if things don't go right.

(Tip: when you make changes, always save the original version, just in case.)
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Peeta (Pita) Bread

So today I tried to make pita bread using this recipe, except I replaced the eggs with flax eggs.

I didn't work.

I failed miserably.

The pita bread wasn't at all like pita bread. That doesn't mean it tasted bad, though! It smelled, looked, and tasted good all the same. I bet if you tried to make this with regular eggs it would work better, because it would make the bread more fluffy. Well, lesson learned, I guess. Do NOT make pita bread with flax eggs.

You're probably wondering why I titled this recipe "Peeta" Bread. Well, it's because The Hunger Games DVD comes out in 22 days! I'm super excited! As soon as I get the DVD I shall watch it over............ and over.................... and over............................... and over...............etc. I loved that movie (if you can't already tell).

I'm getting side-tracked. Here's the pita bread recipe:

2 eggs
1/2 c. water
2 T. oil or melted butter
1/2 c. almond flour
2 T. coconut flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt

1. Mix eggs, water, and oil together.
2. Combine with the dry ingredients.
3. Divide into 4 equal portions on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spread evenly.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F. For 18-20 minutes.
5. Let cool, then cut in half and use a serrated knife to slice down the center to create a "pocket".
6. Stuff with peanut butter, jelly, hummus and veggies, or just eat plain!

Inquiry of the Day:

Did you like The Hunger Games movie or book better?

Personally, I almost liked the book better, because it had more of Peeta and Katniss together. I'm glad the movie got rid of all the gruesome parts (especially Cato's demise *shiver*). I'm really excited for Catching Fire, but, unfortunately the movie won't come out until November 23, 2013. I also hope they pick a really good person to play Finnick, because he was one of my favorite characters.
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Vegan Lemon Muffins

This recipe is inspired by Lucy Rosset's Lemon Yogurt Muffins. If you're interested in buying her cookbook you can by it here. The recipe sounded really good, but it had lots of dairy in it.

I was disappointed, but determined to make them vegan so I could eat a lemon muffin. I'm so glad I tried!

These muffins are moist, lemony, and 100% delicious! I'm probably not doing the muffins justice. I just can't think of a word to describe how incredibly yummy they are.

It was actually pretty easy to make the recipe vegan. In my opinion, it's easier to get rid of animal products in a recipe rather than gluten. Gluten free flours have to be combined to be subbed 1 on 1 for wheat flour. But there are many substitutes for eggs and other animal products that are relatively simple.

With that said, these take about 10 minutes to whip together and if you're too impatient to wait the half hour for them to come out of the oven, you can eat the batter!

2 3/4 c. almond flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 flax "eggs"
1/4 c. grape seed oil
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. juice from the lemon you used for the rind
1/2 c. non-dairy yogurt (I used So Delicious plain coconut milk yogurt)
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon rind

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. In a bowl, combine almond flour, salt, and baking soda.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flax eggs, honey, and lemon juice.
4. Combine wet and dry mixtures. Add the non-dairy yogurt. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
5. Stir in the lemon rind.
6. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

How to Make Flax "Eggs": The ratio for a flax egg is 1:3. That means 1 T. flaxseed meal added to 3 T. of water is the equivalent of one large egg. So, to make a flax egg you need a blender, flaxseed meal and water. Blend the flaxseed meal with water until is makes a gooey mixture. Using this ratio, you can make as many flax eggs as you need.

Substitution Notes: The flax eggs can be replaced by real eggs, of course. The nondairy yogurt by regular plain yogurt and the grape seed oil by butter or any other oil. Maybe, instead of using lemon, use orange rind and fresh juice. I can't vouch for the results so if you try it, let me know if it works.

Inquiry of the Day:

What's your favorite muffin? Do you make them or are they from a bakery?

I love pumpkin muffins, especially the pumpkin muffies from Panera. Delish! But I also like chocolate, blueberry, banana with chocolate chips, and pretty much another kind of muffin you can think of. Except for strawberry muffins. I hate strawberries. Not so much their taste, just their texture.
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Living With SMA Syndrome

I'm being completely upfront when I say this-

I hate it.

I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

Imagine hardly ever getting hungry, feeling full all the time, nauseous, abdominal pain like knives stabbing you. It's hard to live a normal life when you're being plagued with these things.

I try really hard to ignore it. I try to be up beat and pretend like I have lots of energy but I don't. Mentally and physically, I'm exhausted. Being sick for almost a year can really take a toll on you. There were times when living didn't seem worth it. At all. I almost gave up once.

But then I thought, How selfish of me is that? My friends and family would never forgive me if I just went and died on them. How awful would that be for them? They care about me and my well being, so why would I give up after what they've done for me?

That was a scary day. But eventually I pulled myself from the valley and started making the strenuous climb to the top of the mountain. I made it to the top, now its a matter of getting over that hump and starting again. Fresh and renewed this time.

My climb down the mountain has been considerably easier than the climb up. I'm almost there, though. Even if I'm not 100% better, I know I'll get there soon.

My journey has taught me that sometimes life's gonna knock you down. But it's up to you to get back on your feet and change the direction you were walking in. No matter how long it takes for things to get better, they always do. It may be in their own time, but things will turn around.

And the most important life lesson I've gathered is to never give up hope. Never.

So if you're struggling with something now, remember, they're people who love and care about you. And they'll do anything and everything in their power to help you until you make a full recovery and can stand back on your feet.

P.S. Sorry for such a dreary post, I just needed to get that out of my system. Tomorrow, I promise, will be happier. I mean, what could be happier than a new recipe? A new muffin recipe at that! :)
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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Vegan Pizza

All I have to say about this pizza is- om nom nom. It's sooooo delicious! You have no idea how happy I was when I finally got to sink my teeth into the first bite. I could've cried. I don't remember the last time I had pizza. It was at least last November or October.

Oh my goodness, how sad is that?!

We used to have pizza at least once a week at my house. For awhile we loved Pizza King, but then I got sick the night we had it and I didn't like it anymore, then it was Donato's (still love them, but they're kinda expensive), and for a few months or so it's been Pizza Hut. I think Pizza Hut is my favorite pizza place, but the Mellow Mushroom has some pretty darn good gluten-free crust. You should check them out.

Anywho, you must try this pizza. I guarantee you have almost all the ingredients on hand. And it doesn't even have any fancy shmancy vegan cheese on it! In fact, you don't even miss the cheese! I know, i just blew your mind. Right? 


Pizza Crust from Nourishing Flourishing:

1/2 c. chickpea flour
1/4 c. water
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt (I recommend 1/2, but I'm a salty person)
dried oregano to taste
dried basil to taste
1 T. olive oil

1. Combine chickpea flour, water, salt, and herbs together.
2. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a small skillet/pan on medium heat. 
3. Pour batter into pan and spread to desired consistency (I like mine on the thicker side)
4. Flip when the edges start to bubble or when the bottom's sturdy enough to flip
5. Cook until the bottom is done to your liking.

Bean Sauce from No Meat Athlete:

about 1/3-1/2 c. white beans, rinsed and drained
1 clove of garlic, pressed
dash of pepper
water of stock 
about 1 T. of fresh basil

1. Spray pan with oil and saute garlic over medium heat. Cook until soft.
2. Add beans, pepper, and stock.  Mash together.
3. Add water or stock as needed until the bean sauce reaches your desired consistency.
4. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes, then add fresh basil.

The Final Result:

pizza crust
bean sauce
chicken breast, chopped and cooked (opt.)
artichoke hearts
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Spread however much bean sauce you want over the pizza crust.
3. Saute chicken breast and artichokes in a small pan over low heat for about 6 min.
4. Add the chicken and artichokes to pizza.
5. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the pizza is heated to your liking (don't cook too long or the chicken will be dried out).
6. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste and viola! You have a delicious vegan pizza!  

Inquiry of the Day:

How often do you eat pizza? Do you even like pizza?

Personally, it's one of my favorite foods ever. Besides chocolate. 

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Raw PB&J

Originally, I was gonna post this recipe tomorrow. But they were so good I just couldn't wait!

Think of peanut butter and jelly in the form of a soft, delicious cookie. Yum, right? I'm seriously addicted to these. A-D-D-I-C-T-E-D!I had to stop myself from eating more than just one, because I was so full already.

I recommend doubling or tripling the recipe, because it only makes 9. That is not enough to feed my obsession. Not near enough!

You have to try these. You just have to. Your life will never be the same when you do.

2/3 c. dates
1 1/2 T. coconut butter
very scant 1/8 tsp. salt
1 T. almond butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla
grape jelly

1. Blend dates, coconut butter, and salt in food processor (I haven't tried this in the blender so I don't know how well it would work, but if you try it, let me know the results!)
2. Add almond butter and vanilla. Pulse until thoroughly combined.
3. Form mixture into 1" balls and place on a paper plate. Make a thumbprint in the middle of the cookie.
4. Freeze for 15-20 minutes.
5. When cookies are firm, place grape jelly in the thumbprint on the cookie.
6. Freeze again until firm.
7. Eat until all gone!!! (No need to share, unless your mom tells you to. Then you have to.)
To make these completely raw, blend in dried cherries or raisins during stop 2. Freeze until firm.

Substitution Notes: You can replace the dates with prunes, raisins or any other dried fruit. I just vouch for the results since I've only tried dates. Coconut butter can be found at most health food stores, but be warned. It's very expensive ($12 a jar). So go here to find out how to make you're own. I suppose it can be replaced with more almond butter or maybe you can try omitting it completely. If you do, let me know how it works. The almond butter can be substituted for any nut or seed butter and the jelly for any kind of jelly or preserve. I used grape jelly and cherry preserves for mine. Please share in the comments if you try any of these! I'd like to know how they turn out!

Inquiry of the Day:

Do you like peanut butter and jelly? If not what kind of sandwich do you like?

When I was in elementary school, I would bring a PB&J for lunch almost everyday. I never got tired of it. It doesn't smell like tuna, or got slimy like ham, it stays perfect. Unless you put too much jelly on and it leaks through the bread. My sandwiches looked like zombie PB&Js' when that happened.

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2D Characters

The hardest part about writing a book is making believable characters. Some people might tell you that writing a good plot is hard or a realistic setting. But, truthfully, that's not hard at all (in my opinion).

Settings are like seeds. They grow and blossom in your mind until they're fully matured. They grow until all the details in your world are in place. Everything is important: towns, cities, stores, physical features, landmarks, etc. They all help to improve your make-believe world. And there is always something you can do to make your setting see more whole.

Plots are a little harder. It always a challenge to come up with an original story line, something that's never been done before. The best part about plots, though, is that there are an infinite number of them. You might have to push a little deeper or peel back more layers of imagination, but, eventually, you'll come up with a completely unique story that no one's ever heard of or written, for that matter.

But characters are hard. You can every physical feature there is about a character, but we still wouldn't know anything about him/her. That character wouldn't have depth, nothing to make them seem real. For example, I could write-
                     Character name: Elaina
                      Gender: Female         Age: 12            Hometown: Greenfield, Indiana
                      Characteristics: brown and straight hair, brown eyes, slightly overweight, short

and you still wouldn't know any thing about said character.

But if I wrote about Elaina's quirks, her hears, how she accepts herself and life, relationship with her family, etc. you'd have a pretty clear picture of who she really is.

With that said, your character is still not crystal clear. Now we have to make her human. How does Elaina react to obstacles you, the writer, place in her way? Does she give up or does she persist til she gets what she wants. Making a character's path easy makes them seem less human. If they don't feel anything, reader's can't connect to her. No matter how many physical battles your protagonist faces, if they don't fight emotional battles, no one will truly understand your character.

Goals also help to shape characters. Humans have goals. Without them, we are basically nothing. Most people have something they strive towards. Something they put all their time and energy into until they're successful. Characters also must have goals.

Which is why I struggle so much with writing realistic characters!


No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to make my protagonist real enough. She just seems so fake!!!! >:(

How do I show, in my writing, who she truly is? Without saying so directly? I mean, I can't exactly explain who she really is. People just have to know. But people don't. Which makes things doubly hard. How do I convey to readers who my main character is? What more do I need to add? Will my audience understand her better later in the book?

I don't know.

So, for now, I'll just write what I can and worry about my characters later.

Note: I am in no way an expert, so please do not get mad if what I advise doesn't work.
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Cinnamon Apple Muffins

These muffins are yummy. Especially with brown sugar on the top. But if your body doesn't handle sugar very well, don't worry, I have an excellent cinnamon topping recipe.

I got the idea for a cinnamon apple muffin when I was thinking of different types of muffins. One that specifically popped into my head were the cinnamon apple muffins from Perkins. They were absolutely delicious. Full of apples, cinnamon, rich brown sugar topping. Yum. However, they were full of gluten, sugar, and other bad things, I'm sure. So, I decided to get creative and make my own cinnamon apple muffins. They're just as good, if not, somewhat better.

I used the basis of all my muffin recipes to make these. So if you have any other good muffin or breakfast suggestions just let me know and I'll see what I can do.

2 c. almond flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 T. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. grapeseed oil
1 apple, peeled and cored

1 T. grape seed oil
2 T. honey
1 T. cinnamon
brown sugar to taste

1. Mix together almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium sized bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, grape seed oil, and honey together.
3. Add to almond flour mixture. Stir in diced apple.
4. Line mini muffin tin with cupcake liners or grease.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-17 minutes. Makes 22
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

I'm just the messenger in this post. If you want the original recipe head on over to Chocolate Covered Katie's blog. I'll just tell you what I put in mine.

As summer approaches, the one food that I've been craving for awhile now is ice cream. Smooth, creamy, rich, delicious ice cream. But dairy-free store bought ice cream is so darn expensive and they add a bunch of unnecessary gums.

CCK has a lot of ice cream recipes that can be made with the Vita-Mix, but the ice cream always turns into soup (at least, the way I made it did). So I gave up for a bit and just backed off ice cream. That was a very sad time in my life.

Finally, after many days of begging Mom bought an ice cream maker. It is the best investment we've ever made.

The Cuisinart ice cream maker is my new best friend, my new baby, nothing can separate us. So to test my baby, I pulled up CCK's recipes and tried it. The recipe I used is as follows and I highly recommend it.

1 c. almond milk (I use sweetened vanilla)
1 c. coconut milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
other optional add-ins such as: peanut butter, raw SunButter truffles, chocolate chips, peppermint extract, etc.

1. Mix all ingredients together except for add-ins.
2. Follow instructions for ice cream maker. Mine took about 15 minutes to make.
3. During the last 5 minutes, add extra ingredients.

This ice cream melts easily and would probably be better if frozen for a few hours. It still is delicious fresh from your ice cream maker, though. And besides, who has time to wait for heavenly ice cream when you can have it straight from the maker?
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