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Friday, November 30, 2012

It's done!

You have no idea how badly I wanted to write this post. I have some very exciting news to share-

It's done! NaNoWriMo is done and I have completed a 50,000 word novel!!!!!!! :D

So proud of this badge!

We're going to celebrate tonight by having dessert for dinner and watching a Christmas movie. Tomorrow I'm not even going to touch my journal. I'm taking a one-month break from working on my novel. On January 1st I'll go back to it and begin revising, which is the fun part of novel-writing.

Alright, that's all I wanted to share. Molasses cookies coming soon! I promise!  
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012


 In honor of the holiday season, I decided to make a grain-free version of a holiday classic: gingerbread. My mom didn't make it very often when I was younger, but that was probably because I didn't like ginger. It was too spicy. Now, however, I love it! I like to put it in oatmeal, curries, pumpkin bread, soups, marinades, and a whole number of other things. It has become one of my favorite spices. 

Honestly, I didn't expect this bread to turn out as good as it did. Usually, almond flour creates a denser product than most other gluten-free flours. This time it turned out light, airy, and fluffy. It was even better the second day. The flavors were more pronounced and the bread itself was moister.  I think the trick was baking them in mini loaf pans.

My church always has treats sitting out on Sunday mornings, and last Christmas there was this bread on the table that tasted like Christmas. It's hard to describe exactly what Christmas tastes like, but that was the only way I could think to describe it. It wasn't like fruit cake, but, instead, more like gingerbread.A tad sweeter. This grain-free gingerbread is sort of reminiscent to that bread, except slightly less sweet, which is perfect for my taste.

This is just one of the many holiday things I want to make this year. Also on my list are Muddy Buddies, molasses cookies, peppermint bark, hot chocolate, peppermint ice cream, and cake pops. This weekend I'm planning on making molasses cookies, so we'll see how it goes. ;)

2 c. almond flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 c. grape seed oil
1/3 c. agave or honey

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease two mini loaf pans and a small 1 cup ramekin.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
3. In a separate small bowl, beat the eggs, then add to dry ingredients. Add the rest of the wet ingredients in the medium sized bowl.
4. Stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.  
5. Fill the pans and ramekin 1/2 full. Do NOT fill anymore than this, because the bread will rise a LOT during the baking time.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake tester or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
7. Let cool for about half an hour then enjoy!

Inquiry of the Day:

So, what sounds better- peppermint bark or peppermint ice cream? Let me know and I'll make that next!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Copycat McDonald's Chicken Nuggets

Lunch was so good today I just had to share it with you all. Behold:

Copycat McDonald's Chicken Nuggets

Photo from the Comfy Belly

Except they are soooo much better than McDonald's! They don't have that greasy, mechanically-processed chicken taste. To be honest, I never really liked chicken nuggets (besides Chick-Fil-A's). Something about them turned me off. I was more of a cheeseburger person.

But today, my eyes were opened to what real chicken nuggets taste like.

This isn't my recipe, by the way. It's from the Comfy Belly. She has lots of great gluten free recipes so I urge you to go check out her website. There are so many things there I want to try! Like grain-free cornbread, raw blackberry cheesecake, and candied nuts, just to name a few. 

Anyways, back to the lunch. We had chicken nuggets, fried potatoes, and salad. I ate leftover bean salad and my mom and sister had spinach salad. I prefer bean salad over spinach.

The potatoes were marvelous as well, and are a snap to make. All you have to do is slice some potatoes considerably thin, heat some coconut oil in a cast iron pan, cook the potatoes till they're crispy on one side, flip, and cook until the other side is crispy. Ta-dah! You're done. We also added some salt to the potatoes before flipping them.

So, back to the nuggets. Here's the recipe and remember to go check out Comfy Belly's website!

1-1/2 pounds chicken breast, sliced into nugget size pieces
1 egg
1 T. mustard (we used plain, but Dijon would be good, too)
scant 3/4 c. almond flour
heaping 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano 
2-3 T. grape seed oil

1. Slice chicken and set aside.
2. In a bowl, combine egg and mustard. Stir in chicken, make sure it's evenly coated.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Meanwhile, combine almond flour, salt, and oregano.
4. Once the oil is hot, dip chicken into almond flour and transfer straight to pan.
5. Cook on both sides for about 3-4 minutes. We had to do two batches and I had to add a little more oil to the pan after the first batch. Be aware that the almond flour will stick to the pan if there isn't enough oil.

Inquiry of the Day:

Did you ever like McDonald's chicken nuggets? Or any food from McDonald's?

I like the snack wraps and kid's meal cheeseburger. The frappes were always good, too. I liked the caramel best. I haven't had McDonald's in so long, I don't know if I'd even like it anymore. Occasionally, I'll have a hankering for their french fries, but that's about it.
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Monday, November 26, 2012

Characters Have Minds Of Their Own, Too

One of things I've noticed is that when I'm writing, my characters happen to make decisions of their own. I mean, all of a sudden, inexplicably I'll have a new character, or another subplot, or, sometimes, the original plan I had outlined for my story gets flopped around completely. Very annoying.

But, on the plus side, these sudden additions to the story may make it tons better than before. It may lead you to create a sequel or open up a portal to a different world and completely revise your story.

I used to have this idea plugged into my head, that once I made an outline that was the way it was supposed to be. Let me tell you, that I have created over seven different outlines this time. And I haven't followed any one of them word-for-word. I've changed my plot several times. And each time I think it's gotten better. In fact, I'll probably change it again slightly. 

On the down side of these little intrusions, sometimes what you write doesn't fit in at all with the story. Most of the time it does, but on the rare occasion that it doesn't...... You revise! Chop that part out. Once you finish the first draft you can edit ruthlessly. Get rid of a character, change the setting, strengthen the plot, do whatever you want!

I think the reason that I like to write so much is that it gives me control of my own little domain. No one can tell me what to do and I have complete power over this world that I've created. My characters are mine, and mine alone. The world I've come up with is completely original. I can add what I want, do what I want, be anything I want. The usual limits of this world don't apply in mine which makes writing so exciting. You have no idea what might happen next.

As NaNoWriMo comes to a close, I'm very thankful for this great opportunity. I truly believe that it has improved my writing and my interpretation of writing. It has taught me so much about myself and my story. I can't wait to share with you all the final results. :)

Have a great week and happy Monday!

Inquiry of the Day:

What was your favorite part of the month?

Was it Thanksgiving? A trip you took? Or even just staying home one day and resting? My favorite part was Thanksgiving. I love having relatives visit and cooking good food. The best part of Thanksgiving is having an excuse to bake lots of dessert, though. ;) 

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update

I've found a strategy that works best for me when I write. It took three weeks, but I finally figured it out.

You see, I like to procrastinate. I'll do anything but write. Check Facebook for the umpteenth time, click around on the Internet, even do school. Finally, I just have to suck it up and write. Which is seriously hard for me. But the thing is, once I start writing it's hard for me to stop. At least on good days. 

I have to write eight pages out of my journal every single day. That's 1,600 words which is an overwhelming amount when you look at it as a whole. What I have to do is break that number down. I'll eat breakfast, stall for a little bit, then write two pages. That's it. Two pages. Most of the time, I'll get in the groove and write three or four. Then I'll take a break, do something else, and write another two pages.

So by the time dinner rolls around, I'll have completed my quota. Problem solved!

Another thing that helps me write is music. I came up with a few playlists that I listen to depending on what type of scene I'm writing. For example, when I'm writing something sad, say someone dies, I play my sad playlist. I don't really have much sad music, so I did the best I could with that one. 

My only other concern is what if I run out of scenarios and plot twists? What if my story ends before I write the 50,000th word? But I think I finally came up with an answer- I just keep writing! Even if its crap. Even if it doesn't relate to my story. I can always fix it later.

Today I'm supposed to have reached my 40k goal. I'm pretty sure I made it. I haven't typed up everything I've written since Wednesday, so it's hard to tell. I know I've written at least 39k words. Just have to finish up the last 1,000. No problem. ;)

Inquiry of the Day:

What kind of music do you like?

I like classic rock. I'm a sucker for the Beatles, Aerosmith, and Queen, which are my favorites. The Eagles aren't bad either. 

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

Before all the food and guests

We had a very successful Thanksgiving at our house. The food was good, and so was the company. Of course, we weren't feeling so good afterwards (we could hardly move!), but with that set aside, it was great! And we ended up with a whole leftover turkey breast. Success!

Our Thanksgiving table

So with that said, here is a peek at our Thanksgiving table:

Turkey with TJ's Superfruit Jam:
Delicious to the max! The turkey was very moist, not dry, and the tartness from the jam complemented it perfectly. 

 I will once again lament the wonderfulness of this recipe. Something about roasting vegetables makes than taste tons better. 

Normally I don't like stuffing, but this wasn't half-bad. I picked out the mushrooms and we left out the apricots.

Calypso Salad: 
O'Charley's serves a salad called Calypso salad. It's comprised of spinach, grilled chicken, red onion, aged cheese (such as bleu or Gorgonzola), a sweet dressing, candied pecans, and dried cranberries. We used bacon, instead of chicken, and it all made for a very pretty salad. 

Obviously this was a MUST for me. And it was liked by all who took a piece. I topped the pudding with coconut cool whip.

This is the best pecan pie I've ever had. Of course, I haven't had many pecan pies, but this was just marvelous! We didn't put the ginger in, though, and I used this pie crust. I highly recommend this recipe!

Inquiry of the Day:

What did you have for Thanksgiving? Did you stay at your house or go somewhere else? 

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Persimmon Pudding

A few years ago, my family and I went to Nashville, IN at the end of the summer. We stayed at a lodge with an indoor water park for a couple days and that was fun. But my favorite part was going around town, looking at all the little shops.

My favorite place was an ice cream shop called Miller's Ice Cream. They made caramel ice cream, apple butter ice cream, vanilla, chocolate, cake batter, basically any flavor you can think of. The best item on the menu was the persimmon pudding. It was warm, creamy, and rich when served with the vanilla bean ice cream. And it was at that point we decided that persimmon pudding would become a Thanksgiving tradition at our house.

This isn't like JELL-O pudding, mind you. It's more like the English version of pudding, sort of cake-like, but creamy. So if you're expecting something with less firmness, stir the pudding every 15 minutes while its baking.

Last year we tried a gluten, sugar, and dairy-laden recipe. Since I can't tolerate those things anymore, I had to change it to my needs. Easier said than done. But I think I succeeded. If you count the approval from my family, some teenagers, and a few other adults.

Inspired by this recipe

1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. persimmon pulp
3/4 c. agave
1 egg, beaten
125 g (about 1 cup)  flour mix (blend I used below)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 c. coconut milk
2 T. oil

1. Combine baking soda, pulp, agave, and egg.
2. Stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, coconut milk, and oil.
3. Bake at 300 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. The pudding will rise and then fall after it comes out of the oven.

For the flour:

The ratio I used was 70% starches/30 % whole grains. For information on combining flours see this post. I made a total of 500 grams, but you can double or even triple this basic blend as needed.

150 g white rice flour
150 g arrowroot starch
100 g buckwheat flour
100 g brown rice flour

This is the blend I used so I can't vouch for any other one. I suppose any kind would work, except for one with coconut flour.

Inquiry of the Day:

Do you like persimmons? I find that people either love 'em or hate 'em. I love them.

NaNoWriMo Update: I'm past the 60% percent mark! Three more milestones to go! Yesterday, I surprised myself by writing twice as much as I normally do: 3,200 words! I was so exicted. :)
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal

I know that I say all my oatmeal recipes are my favorite, but this one really is. I mean, c'mon! Does it really get any better than chocolate and cherries?

Yesterday I tried to make a Reese's oatmeal. It didn't turn out so well. I used cocoa powder instead of chocolate chips which made for a very dry, very thick oatmeal. Especially with the sunflower seed butter.I was full pretty much all day.

Okay, so that didn't work. So today, I made chocolate cherry oatmeal using chocolate chips. And boy was it good. Not too thick, not dry, and just the right amount of chocolate-y flavor. The cherries were just marvelous with the chocolate.

I use a local brand of cherry preserves that has no added sugars in it. White grape juice is used to sweeten the preserves, which makes for a wonderful cherry (not sugar tasting) jam. Paired with the TJ's semi-sweet chocolate chips, I almost died.

Have I convinced you yet?

1/2 c. cooked oatmeal
milk of choice
1 T. cherry preserves
1 1/2 T. chocolate chips
sweetener to taste
pinch of salt

1. Heat oatmeal on stove top with  a little bit of milk.
2. When milk and oatmeal start to bubble, turn to stove top to low and add all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips.
3. Put oatmeal in a bowl and add the chips, stir until they are melty and thoroughly combined with the oatmeal.
4. Top with nuts, cherries, chocolate chips, or anything else your heart desires. And dig in!

Inquiry of the Day:

Do you buy locally whenever you can?

I know we do! Everything tastes better when its fresh and local. Including jellies, relishes, and pickles. They taste much more real than the stuff at the grocery store (Trader Joe's almost always is an exception to this, though).
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal

Cinnamon is the classic fall spice. I have no idea why, but it is. So what better why to celebrate fall than this oatmeal?

I used freeze-dried apples, because we bought a whole bunch of freeze-dried fruit from Costco and had no idea what to do with it. So, I put some in my oatmeal and they re hydrated beautifully. I bet you could use fresh apple, but it would be a tad crunchy.

It's so nice to have easy breakfasts like this. There's no need to worry about what to have and if there's enough time to make it.

If you're not a cherry or chocolate person, than this oatmeal is for you!

1/2 c. cooked oatmeal
milk of choice
little over 1/4 c. chopped apple or freeze-dried apple
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
sweetener to taste

1. Reheat oatmeal with a little bit of milk.
2. When the milk starts to bubble, stir in apples and sweetener.
3. Bring to a boil again.
4. Transfer oatmeal to a bowl and stir in cinnamon.
5. Top with more cinnamon, nuts, or even more apple!

Inquiry of the Day:

Do you like freeze-dried fruit?

Personally, I prefer the real stuff, but the apples and pears aren't bad. 
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cherry Amaretto Oatmeal

You tired of the oatmeal posts yet? Don't worry! The week is half over. By the time it is, you won't have any trouble coming up with what to eat for breakfast. ;)Now onto the flavor of the day:

Oatmeal with cherry preserves=delicious

Yummy cherry goodness

Oatmeal with cherry preserves and almond extract=super delicious!

It doesn't get any better than this. One of my favorite non-chocolate flavors is cherry amaretto. Something about the combination of sweet and nutty makes my mouth water. This oatmeal is no exception. It's everything a cherry loving girl could dream of. And more.

I love to eat this with a glass of almond milk on the side. It really brings out the almond flavor even more. This might the best variation yet. But I can't honestly say that, because I love them all, so my judgement is severely biased. ;) However, yours isn't! So grab the oatmeal, some water/milk, and a pot to make some oatmeal!

1/2 c. cooked oatmeal
milk of choice
pinch of salt
1 1/2 T. cherry preserves
1/4 tsp. almond extract
sweetener to taste

1. Heat oatmeal in a pot with a little bit of milk.
2. When the milk starts to bubble, remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.
3. Pour out a glass of almond milk, scoop oatmeal into a bowl, and enjoy! It doesn't get any easier than this!

Inquiry of the Day:

What's your favorite non-chocolate flavor?

As I stated above, mine is cherry amaretto. Or possibly pumpkin pie. Or even peppermint. It's just so hard to pick one when I love them all!
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Word Count Dragon & PB&J Oatmeal

As I was looking through the forums on the NaNoWriMo website one in particular caught my eye. It was titled "Word Count Dragon". Curious, I clicked on it. Basically the entry for the forum described making up a dragon that lives on the words you write. What a great idea! It's ingenious!

So, I came to my blog to describe my dragon to you.

Her name is Ella. She is purple and extremely tiny, about the size and thickness of a pencil. Her slenderness enables her to curl around my fingers as I type and each time I reach for the mouse to browse the Internet, she bites me. She can survive on 1,300 words a day, but prefers something closer to 1,600. She takes Saturdays off and occasionally Sundays. However, if I miss Sundays, I have to feed her extra the next day. She doesn't work on holidays either. Ella especially enjoys juicy adjectives and verbs. Her favorites are 'tangible', 'ostentatious', and 'charismatic'.

Not taken in the post quality light

As an update on where I am in NaNo, I made it to the half-way point yesterday! 25K words! I could hardly contain my excitement. Only 25,000 more words to go! Maybe by some stroke of luck, I'll be able to finish early.

My flavor of oatmeal for the day is peanut butter and jelly. Sorry for the sub-par photo, but taking pictures right before you get in the car to go to school is not a good time.

The oatmeal is even creamier with the sunflower seed butter, making it wonderfully rich and delicious. The jelly adds a tad bit of sweetness. I adore the combination of sweet and salty, so this is one of my favorite oatmeal flavors.

Much tastier than it looks!

Depending on what brand of nut/seed butter and jelly you use, you can have crunchy and tart oatmeal or smooth and strawberry oatmeal. My personal favorite is sunflower seed butter with cherry preserves. Oh, it's heavenly. When I'm feeling a bit courageous I'll use cashew butter and TJ's Superfruit Jelly (which is super tart).

Either way, this oatmeal is delicious and easy to make (like all my other oatmeal recipes).

1/2 c. cooked oatmeal
milk of choice
1 T. nut/seed butter
1 1/2 T. jelly or preserves of choice
pinch of salt

1. Reheat oatmeal in a small pot with a bit of milk (I use almond).
2. As always, if you prefer cold oatmeal or you just made oatmeal, skip the first step. When it comes to a boil, stir in nut butter and jelly.
3. Add salt to taste.
4.  Scoop into a bowl and enjoy!

Inquiry of the Day:

What's your dream oatmeal flavor?

Cinnamon roll? Cake batter? Red velvet? My dream oatmeal flavor is chocolate peanut butter pretzel. Oooh, that sounds soooo good. Or maybe caramel nut brownie. Yum!

Tomorrow's oatmeal involves something with cherries. Any guesses?
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cookie Dough Oatmeal

My dad used to eat oatmeal for breakfast everyday. He would come up with all these different variations and one of them was cookie dough. As you can imagine, that one was my very favorite.

Unfortunately, the recipe called for lots of butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Not exactly a nutritious breakfast. So I took upon the challenge of healthifying it. To my surprise it really didn't take much! I still kept some of the brown sugar in the recipe to make it taste even more like cookie dough, but not enough to spike your blood sugar very much.

Sorry for the bad photo, oatmeal isn't really photogenic

This has got to be one of my favorite oatmeal recipes. The almond extract really takes it over the edge! I swear it tastes almost exactly like cookie dough. (Which was kinda what I was going for, but try it for yourself and tell me what you think.) Now you can have a protein and fiber-filled breakfast (with antioxidants from the dark chocolate) that will fill you up and tastes uber good. You won't want to miss out! I promise you.

And, remember, I eat less than the average human being, so you can double or triple the recipe. Whatever works. The measurements are easy enough to double. You can also adjust the amount of brown sugar to your taste buds. This is just what worked for me. So, be creative and enjoy!

1/2 c. cooked oatmeal
milk of choice
1/2 T. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
sweetener to taste
pinch of salt
1-2 T. chocolate chips
optional add-ins: maybe try whipped cream, nuts, or even shredded coconut

1. Reheat oatmeal on the stove top with a little bit of milk.
2. When the milk starts to bubble and brown sugar, vanilla, almond extract, sweetener and salt. Stir thoroughly to combine.
3. Turn the burner down to low and fold in chocolate chips.
4. Scoop into a bowl and add any extras you desire.
5. Enjoy!

Inquiry of the Day:

What was one of your favorite recipes when you were a kid?

Me, still being a kid, have tons of favorite recipes. But I have to say, my grandma's sugar cookies were my favorite (when I could eat them). I might have to take on that recipe next. Hmmm...... We'll see. ;)
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

I've decided to make a challenge. An oatmeal challenge. A different flavor every day for a week. Not very challenging, but sounds like fun right? And you don't have to use oatmeal! Any type of hot cereal will work. So tell me in the comments if your willing to join.

Today's flavor is pumpkin pie. All the spicy pumpkin-ness of the pie in a creamy bowl of oatmeal. It's pure deliciousness.  I don't eat as much oatmeal as the normal person so feel free to double or even triple the recipe.

This was the recipe I meant to post yesterday, but due to the snow and gray clouds we were having yesterday I couldn't take good pictures. >:( I'm not complaining about the snow, though! It was so beautiful! Some of accumulated on our porch and on the ground. It reminded me just how close to Christmas we are.

Okay, back to the oatmeal. This is one recipe you will not want to miss. It's easy, quick, and tasty. What more could you want for a weekday breakfast?

1/2 c. cooked oatmeal
milk of choice (I use sweetened vanilla almond)
1 T. pumpkin
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
a little over 1/4 tsp. vanilla
sweetener of choice (I love to use maple syrup)
pinch of salt
 optional add-ins: extra cinnamon, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.

1. Reheat cooked oatmeal on the stove top with a little bit of milk.
2. When it comes to boil, take it off the stove and put it in a bowl.
3. If you like cold oatmeal or your oatmeal is fresh skip steps 1 and 2. Combine the pumpkin, spices, vanilla, sweetener, and salt with the oatmeal.
4.  Add anything extra you might want to put in and stir to combine.
5. Dig in!

Inquiry of the Day:

As the holidays are approaching, what kind of recipes would you like me to try to make?

Hot chocolate? Fruit cake? Chex Mix? Whatever you think let me know in the comments. Thanks!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

The Rain Ruins All the Fun (Most of the Time)

I swear I had a recipe today. And I was really excited about it. Unfortunately, the weather here isn't so great for picture taking. Rainy, cloudy, a gray mess basically.

So instead I'll repost a recipe from my archives. I won't do this often, though. It's just a back-up plan for when stuff like bad weather or crazy events in my life happen.

Anyways, beef stew anyone?

Monday, August 20, 2012

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.

Taken with my iPod

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.

Warm, comforting stew

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:

What do you do when something you plan fails?

I think of the quickest back-up plan possible. Dinner plans are always something we struggle with at my house. If one thing isn't ready in time we need to have a quick back-up to feed  the starving monsters (*cough cough* my sister *cough cough* I still lover her though!) at my house.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Polka-Dot Pumpkin Mini Muffins

Some mistakes are just meant to be.

And I truly thought that these muffins weren't one of them.

As I was mixing up my pumpkin muffin recipe I thought I had grabbed the nutmeg, but I actually grabbed the cloves. And I put a teaspoon of cloves into my dry mixture.

My first reaction:

What did I just do?

Stolen from Veronica Roth's Tumblr
Then I realized that maybe I should just scrape a little bit off the top. So I did, but I still ended up with a little over half a teaspoon cloves in the batter.

And it was delicious! I swear! They added cloves gave the muffins an extra spiciness to them that complemented everything else perfectly. The muffins are moist, miniature, and marvelous. (Hehe, see what I did there?)

I highly recommend them and they are my new favorite way to use up leftover pumpkin. (My second favorite way will be coming soon. I promise.)

So for now, get in the kitchen and bake these muffins! You won't be sorry.

2 c. almond flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
heaping 1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. grape seed oil
3/4 c. pumpkin
3/4-1 c. chocolate chips

1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients, sans pumpkin.
3. Add the wet to the dry and mix until thoroughly combined.
4. Add the pumpkin and the chocolate chips. Make sure the chocolate chips are evenly distributed in the batter.
5. Bake mini-muffins for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees F. Bake regular muffins for 13-15 minutes.
6. Let cool for 15 minutes then dig in!

Inquiry of the Day:

Have you ever made a mistake that turned out great?

My mistakes are almost always, well, mistakes. Not much good comes out of them. Except I learn an important lesson then never do it again. This was one of those rare times where my mistake was an exceptionally tasty mistake. Yup, don't have too many of those. 
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sunflower Seed Butter Chocolate Pudding/Soft Serve

Banana soft-serve has been all over the blogosphere and I figured I might as well join in the fun. Personally, I'm not a big banana fan, but people have claimed, when combined with a little vanilla, it tastes just like vanilla soft serve.
Not the most photogenic of foods

So today, I got out my food processor, the frozen, bananas, cocoa powder, and sunflower seed butter. It was a snap to make and I was truly glad I did it. I may have added a bit too much liquid, which is why it looks more like pudding than soft serve. But if scaled back the liquid a teeny bit, then I bet it would be just like it!

Creamy, chocolatey, pudding-er- soft serve

I'm definitely going to try this again and make it more like soft serve. The texture was smooth and creamy. The combined flavors were absolutely perfect and rich like regular ice cream. The banana flavor was pretty subtle, but I might add a little more vanilla next time to cover it up better.

I know it's almost winter (or it might already be winter wherever you are), but I really encourage you to make this! You won't be sorry! So get out the food processor and blend away!

1 frozen banana
1-2 T. sunflower seed butter or other nut or seed butter
1 scant T. cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
spalsh of vanilla
1/2-1 T. milk of choice (I used vanilla sweetened almond milk)
sweetener to taste (I only put in a tad bit of honey)

1. Chop the banana into slices and add to food processor with the sunflower seed butter.
2. Pulse until the mixture is thoroughly combined and the banana has turned into pebbles.
3. Add the salt, cocoa powder, vanilla, milk, and sweetener. Blend until the mixture is smooth.
4. Scoop into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings.

I bet these would make great fudgesicles. Oh yeah, I'm gonna have to do that.

Inquiry of the Day:

Do you like my more personal posts or the recipes?

I'm trying to decide if I should write more recipe posts or personal ones. And since you guys are the ones reading the blog, I wanted your opinion. So please type in the comments box what you think! Thanks! Oh and feel free to check out my Facebook page which you can find here.

More soft serve recipes:

"Eat the Whole Bowl" Ice Cream from Lisa at Nutrinosh
Homemade Chocolate Soft Serve from Katie at Chocolate Covered Katie
Banana Soft Serve 2.0 from Gena at Choosing Raw
Choco Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve from Jennifer at Peanut Butter and Peppers

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Congratulations to Obama

Congrats to Obama for winning the election two times in a row. I'll admit I was a little disappointed with the results, but God ultimately knows what He's doing, so I'll trust that things will turn out alright.

Right now, I'm just really, really tired. I didn't fall asleep until almost two last night. Ugh.

Anyways, best of luck to Obama for a great second term in office and I'll be back with another recipe hopefully by the weekend. So for now, have a great rest of the week!
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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's My Novel I Can Do What I Want With It

(WARNING: Over the course of the next few weeks you will hear me talk a LOT about NaNoWriMo.)

Before I delve into my thoughts I'll give you a little bit of background information about myself. The number one thing which you need to know about me is that I'm something of a perfectionist. Everything needs to be just-so for me to be happy (that's not necessarily true, but I am a happier person when things are all in line). It sorta runs in the family.

With that said- I hate first drafts.

I have this whole story fleshed out in my mind, but getting it from my head to pen to paper is a whole other story. I know where I want things to go, yet I can't seem to go through the process of writing everything down. In other words, I'm bored.

Some of you might call this writer's block, but writer's block is a different animal. What I'm facing is something even more frustrating. For those of you who don't really like to write, think of it this way: you have this great plan for an awesome party (at least you think it's awesome), however it requires a lot of time and effort. And you really don't have very much time to spend on orchestrating this party. So you put it on hold and it never gets done, therefore all your ideas are trapped in your noggin. That's sorta what I'm going through.

So, yeah, I'm a perfectionist. Onto what NaNoWriMo has taught me about this:

1. My perfectionism has got to go. There is no room for that annoying editor that sits on my shoulder. He MUST be gone. And, yeah, I've realized my first draft will be crappy. As in, so-crappy-that-you-wouldn't-be-able-to-distinguish-it-from-manure-if-you-happened-to-look-at-it. I'm perfectly okay with that. That's what December, January, and pretty much the rest of 2013 are for.  Revising. I might hate myself later, but for now all I care about is writing things down.

2. Sometimes writing in order doesn't work. My biggest problem is thinking I have to write from the beginning to the end without skipping around. That might work for some people but not for me. If I'm bored with the particular scene I'm writing it either means a) I've been writing it for too long or b) it's boring and I need to completely revise it. I've started writing the parts of my story that I really want to write. It seems to be helping so far.

3. Don't look back! No matter what! If you forget someone's name who cares? What does it matter if you make some grammatical errors? Just keep writing and pushing out ideas like crazy. Even if things don't make sense keep going. If it really bothers you, make notes to fix it later.

4. It's my novel, I can do what I want with it. For the past couple days, I was trying to make my story something it wasn't. I was trying to restrict it by putting boundaries on where I wanted it to go. For example, I decided to write a dystopian novel and wanted to include something a bit science fiction-ish, but was refraining from doing so, because I wanted to keep it in one genre. Then it hit me. I'm the one writing the book, I should be able to do whatever I want with it. Since I've made that decision I've became so much more at peace with myself.

Okay, I think I've said what I needed to say. All I can think about right know is finishing my first draft. A huge weight will be lifted off my shoulders once I do. Sometimes it seems a little daunting, but when I break it into smaller pieces things are a little more manageable.

Inquiry of the Day:

Have you ever taken on a daunting challenge, but when you finished, were glad you did it?

P.S. Happy election day! I'm not allowed to vote, and I won't tell you who I would vote for if I could. I don't want to start any disputes. I think I'll make something with cherries, though, in honor of our first president. ;)

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Cinnamon Donuts!

Muahahaha! Finally! They are finished! Haha! >:)

Look just like donuts

Do I sound like a crazy evil scientist? Sorry, but I've finally perfected my donut recipe! It's taken ages to get the taste, texture, and shape right. Who knew that making donuts was such hard work? Especially baked ones.
Perfect with the coconut butter frosting

But don't worry! These taste just like the fried ones, except a bit different. They don't leave you with that sick feeling when you're done eating one twelve. And they're mini! Everything is better in miniature.

My family used to go to this breakfast place awhile back. I don't remember what it's called, though. Anyways, they had really greasy, really delicious food. The bacon was fried to perfection and the toast was crunchy, but not burnt. And the donuts! Oooh, the donuts. Jelly filled, cream filled, glazed, holes. Name a donut and they probably had it. Boy were the good too!

Poor donuts- they will soon meet their demise >;)

Back story aside, these donuts remind me of my gluten eating days. Moist and delicious cinnamon donuts with a frosting. Yum.

So don't feel guilty in indulging in a couple, because you know they have anti-inflammatory cinnamon, protein-packed almond flour, and, if you use the frosting, healthy fat from the coconut. See? Bet you feel better already. ;)

2 c. almond flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 T. arrowroot starch (Do NOT omit, this is your egg re-placer)
2 T. grape seed oil
1/4 c. applesauce or mashed banana (I used banana since we ran out of applesauce)
1/2 c. maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine dry ingredients, then add the wet.
3. Grease and dust donut pan with almond flour. Fill each cavity 1/2 full (this is a crucial step, because it will determine what your donuts look like when they come out of the oven).
4. Grease mini muffin for donut holes. Fill these 3/4 full.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

To make the frosting combine maple syrup and coconut butter until it tastes right to you. Generally, we like ours to taste more like maple syrup than coconut, so I use more maple syrup. But your taste buds might be different, so adjust each ingredient to your liking.  

Nothing more to say, but yum

Inquiry of the Day:

Were donuts apart of your childhood?

Donuts were (and are still) a special occasion for us. I've always been a plain Jane kind of person and went with the glazed or powdered donuts. My dad, however, goes all-out and gets the cream filled. *rolls eyes* Still don't know how he likes those.

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