Like a Good Blogger…

Aside

Good friends share. Like a good friend, I’m sharing a SWEET recipe. Ready?

1/2 cup Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk ice creams

+ 2 T Sunflower Butter

+ a MAD DASH cinnamon =

… Tuesday!

Nom nom nom.

Q: What’s your flavor combination?

Q & A Update

Hello lovely readers!

Q: Where have I been????

A: I have not entirely removed myself from the blogging world (check those tweets!). However, I have been reflecting on how difficult it is to find local restaurants which can accurately cater to those with allergies as well as those without. To be honest, I almost felt like giving up. Lame sauce. (That picture? Slushes on winter vacation with Jessica!)

Q: Well… what now?

A: Luckily, my newest semester in school inspired me by accident! Instead of focusing on primarily restaurants, I am shifting my gaze a bit more broad. Here is the future as I see it:

1. Local food or food-based business reviews (per usual)
2. Reviews on products that are local (as defined >>here<<) and are CONVENIENT (read: frozen or workplace oriented)
3. Nifty recipes for home cooking or baking that I make or just want to share (per usual)
4. More life stories which pop into the picture

Q: Inspiration? Explain please.

A: My inspiration came from my internship. Basically, each hour I am not in school I will be interning from 9a-5pm during the week. My internship is near Scottsdale, which gives me reason (and funds!) to venture into local places there. It also means I need to be super UBER practical with how much time I have to cook and what conveniences are worth buying! I hope that as my life takes a little twist, you can enjoy the new look right along with me.

Q: What do you (lovely readers) think? Do you like the tweets via instagram?

A: Comments below!! 🙂

Let’s Create: the Alternative Holiday Treat Magazine!

Wouldn’t you like to have a nice back-pocket reference for the holidays?

Perhaps you would like to share some new concoction that tastes simply divine!

Maybe you have the cure for a frazzled parent in need of a quick, safe solution.

Well here is my opportunity for you. This month I hope to collect your favorite recipes for cookies, bars, or treats centered around the holiday you celebrate, since both Christmas and Chanukah will be celebrated simultaneously this year (for one day, anyway). There are a few rules which I outline below…

1. The recipe must be gluten free. That’s the only strict rule I have.

2. Mark any other avoided food allergies in your NAME box. Please code as follows: DF (Dairy Free), SF (Soy Free), EF (Egg Free), TNF (Tree Nut Free), PF (Peanut Free), CF (Corn Free), and comment below if you would like to code something else. I’ll update! Example recipe name: “Nana’s Gooey Snickerdoodles (DF, CF)”

3. Remember, this will be open until the end of December. If I have the opportunity, I may send one lucky participant something special for providing others with their hard work! It may be super cute if you happen to be a lady. It will definitely have to do with the theme of this link up! 🙂

4. Click to get started! You’ll get to see the current collection too. I made sure we have pictures with each link! Yay.

Please, please share this with your friends. I have come to realize how hard it is for those with harsh food allergies, especially in the middle of December. To find yourself without easy access to safe treats can be so difficult, especially when this season focuses almost exclusively on special foods. Your generous recipes are appreciated.

NOM NOM Gluten Free

One thing I realize now is that I must end my dependance on Starbucks.

It is slowly killing the nutritional aspects of my grocery spending. Until recently, coffee really did not work for me. I loved the smell, but absolutely hated the taste. I would imagine such a great flavor and be completely shocked each time I tried another sip. Gross. Well, that was until I found the special versions with fancy names and holiday syrups at Starbucks. I have no clue if there is gluten in the syrups, to be honest, and I frankly do not want to know. Not til February. (Hee hee.) Call it strategic ignorance. (No substantial reactions yet…yes!)

On the other hand, I am in love with the caffeine. Never in my life have I felt so awake! In need of a little midterm paper motivation? BAM that coffee lights your world up like a Christmas tree! Fortunately, I do not have too many of those. I actually have a little happy thought to share with you. I studied to the loss of social life so well that I averaged the top scores in my hardest economics class this semester AND no longer have to take the final. The hardcore efforts over this semester actually allow me to indulge my other focus. Perhaps you’ve noticed…

hideous and adorable. pugs can do that.

One thing I have yet to get out of my system is the need to BAKE COOKIES. I have had plenty of encouragement though, do not assume this is completely my doing. Hee hee, it’s just mostly mine…

A close guy friend of mine in St. Louis was excited to tell me about his plans this past weekend for a cookie making class. As he described the complete selection of fancy names, delicious thoughts of chocolaty orange, buttery cranberry, and rich molasses got me thinking. I wanted to bake. I wanted to bake such delicious treats it made the batter jealous.

Certainly, those ideas sounded perfect and wintery to me. I mean, I am the girl who cannot wait for the Christmas cookie magazines to hit the stands. If I could actually eat the Wilton products without headaches, I would cover everything in pearlized, glittery, shiny products. Mmmm. Tis the season!

However, when I was thinking about this, I recalled the best wintertime activity of an elementary school student’s existence and changed my direction. Does anyone else remember (back long, long ago when healthy did not destroy the surplus of candy available to those 10 and under…) making graham cracker gingerbread houses out of milk cartons? We covered ours with as much frosting as possible so that more candy would stick! Heheh.

obviously this kid had supervision - multiply that candy by 10X please!

Ridiculous, but brilliant. No one could stand the “icing” or whatever that stuff was once it dried out. I mean, seriously, it held that graham cracker to the cardboard and year after desperate year, I failed trying to get that sucker off. Hard as a rock. Solid.

Well this year I am super excited to try out a legitimate gluten free gingerbread recipe from none other than Karina (seriously, her recipe stash = the Hail Mary to gluten free baking). BUT I want your opinion because I aim to make something serious. We’re talking big kid size.

Should it be frilly? Or maybe a little more EPIC. Should I try some detail frosting instead of focusing on the home itself? A more tailored appearance perhaps… Well, it’s up to you! Please comment with examples and as inspiration hits, I’m going for it!

We’re talking pictures. And details. And drama! The more ammo you give me, the better the results will be.

However, I am one to have a PLAN B. If all attempts fail, I have decided to create a gingerbread teepee and call it sustainable housing. 🙂 We will solve the environmental issues one gingerbread experiment at a time if necessary at my house. My brothers are behind this one hundred percent. How organic of them.

Q: Seriously, thoughts on gingerbread houses? Want to show off your creations? Funny stories or gingery drama? Tell me. That, and tell me if there are any Arizona-based products I should try to get my mitts on for decorating/baking purposes!

image sources: starbucks, pug, domo kun, frosting, school house, martha stewart house, teepee

Gracious, the Season!

Hold. the. phone. What has happened to the winter season? I feel invaded by the world of commercial living! Since when do you begin posing Christmas materials before the end of Halloween? Since when do you post frosted cookie recipes before the start of Thanksgiving? I love the decor, the frosted cookies, the whole nine yards. I really, really do.

This year just feels so different. I almost feel pushed shoved into one of my favorite experiences. The Christmas season. For others, the Diwali or Chanukah or general giving season. Does anyone else feel this way too? It is rushed. Impersonal, even. I almost want to sit back and just soak up the outdoors for a few moments and forget certain holiday activities. Present as opposed to pressed in the world around me. Winter months are a wonderful time for remembrance, thankfulness, and overall generosity. I want to experience those things with the people I love.

A kind of grounding method for me is sipping hot liquids. It unwinds the mind. To me, this acts against the go-go-go push I keep feeling, and replaces it with a comforting ahhh moment. Of course, my preferred drinks are in harmony with the season. Fabulous for one or a multitude!

Hot apple cider is my current favorite and great for those with any food allergies. It’s easy to make at home, and hits the sweet and spicy notes just right. And did I mention it provides great nutrition? Perfect!

For any college students out there, the thing you simply must have is RAW, unfiltered apple juice. Not Motts, Juicy Juice, or any other brand. You want the real stuff from a local source because it makes or breaks any recipe you use. Adults (haha, with real jobs) can buy the cinnamon sticks and actual cloves. To save a few bucks, spend it all on the raw apple juice you’ll need and then dash the pot (filled with however many servings – I base mine on my mug by pouring from it) with a serious amount of ground cinnamon, a little ground cloves, and boil it for a minute or so. If you like, add a few orange slices too. Those are generally cheap to get. I think you’ll love it.

Now, for those with real jobs, you too need to make sure you buy literal raw apple juice to use. It should have murky stuff swirling around the bottom of the container. It makes the difference, I swear. If you can purchase local, Arizona apple juice you may have liquid gold on your hands. Delicious. Unfortunately, my favorite cider recipe disappeared from the face of the internet due to a downed food blog. None of the recipes come up anymore. Boo. I do have one which reminds me of it though, so here it is!* Enjoy.

*Note: Neglect the need for a cheesecloth. That is completely unnecessary. Just strain it.

Q: Do you have a particular seasonal recipe for a quick fix? How do you feel about the push, push, push of this season?

Stressed? Relaxed recipes.

Could you use a few de-stress tactics? I know I could.

10 page essay
study & take management midterm
write 3 BE midterm questions, outline best responses and MC questions
complete prospectus essay & compile semester assignment
finish 2 econ problem sets
take online final for 8 week class
present materials on behavioral economics to class for an hour
meet with exec board and plan marketing strategy
sleep
eat
work out (de-stress)…

…and this is only since Tuesday? Oh dear Lord.

Stop the presses– Fall break is here for crowds of little people, but midterms are here for me. Maybe you too have been juggling too much lately! I thought about what a busy life can do to balance, and finally decided that I needed some help. Stress wrecks the feel of our week, and sometimes we need an outlet before the weekend. My solution for the in-between?

GIFTS. Yep, you read me right. Gifts. Small indulgences to look forward to. Non-stressful, little rewards for winning the small battles and bracing for the big ones. You know what I’m talking about? Gifts serve as mini-inspiration to keep up the difficult work and help remind us that eventually, there is an end.

Personally, I get fired up to create or actively work out my tensions. How does this translate into a “gift” situation? Well, I can either make myself a gift, or better yet, spend a few seconds extra creating some for a friend.

Cheery spirits are somewhat contagious.

Making a gift, however, can require time. And too much time only adds stress, not success and positive energy. How do I make some quality rewards, and quick ones? I present the D-I-Y for quick tiny treats:

Pumpkin Spice Latte – 6 ingredients – 5 minutes max – perfect caffeine rush & kosher

Waffles – 9 ingredients – 10 minutes mix, 2 minutes cook – drizzle with peanut butter, chocolate shavings, a schmear of whipped cream… perfect morning delight or frozen snack

Sweet Potato & Carrot Fries – 6 ingredients – 45 minutes* – savory, healthy, good smells

Apple Nachos – 7 ingredients – 5 minutes – brilliant. vegan. college-friendly.

BaNilla Sammies – 3 ingredients – ready in seconds – budget friendly & cheerful

Generally, if you make a batch, you can share at least the recipe. Roommates, family, co-workers, everyone can appreciate a tasty new treat. Personally, I think an office BaNilla Party sounds really fun for the lunch break.

Some of you might want a different strategy though. Creativity using… D-I-Y tiny favors:

Melted Crayon Art – 5 supplies – 5-20 minutes : who doesn’t want to melt stuff?

Simple Origami – paper (scissors perhaps) – varies : beautiful and impressive

No Carve Pumpkins – varying supplies – your call on time : keep the kids busy!

Even though these projects take longer, sometimes it takes a while to really remember to relax. I know I can get to that point. Hopefully these inspire your week and give you some starting points to turn that week around.

Enjoy!