Spilling It in the Longest Post Ever (WIAW + Recipe)

Is that title daunting? Well, it’s daunting for me too. I basically fell out of the technology world for the past few days during my Thanksgiving break weekend. It wasn’t entirely on purpose though, thanks to my cellphone which has decided that while it will turn on, it will not STAY ON. So I just have a vibrating phone that won’t charge, and turns on and off every 30 seconds. Tis the season to be thankful, am I right?…

So with that said, you now know why I have not been commenting on blogs recently or been very present on this one. My blog life is basically tied to my phone and that is not being over dramatic in the slightest. All of my pictures are on that puppy, along with my WordPress app where I write a lot of my rough drafts and notes… And that’s where I comment a lot of the time too (so whenever you get some weird comment from me that is completely devoid of all grammatical integrity you’ll know it’s because I’m on my cellphone).

Thankfully my phone worked for a time slot of approximately 30 minutes yesterday where I promptly downloaded all of the photos I needed for today’s post, and quickly texted my mom to let her know I was alive but phone-less. Then it went back into a continuous state of on/off. *Sigh* Life is rough.

Happiness Ecard

Aside from my ever unnecessary introductions that really serve no purpose whatsoever except to let me wax my wordy ways on you and give me an excuse to talk about something other than food…

I’m extremely excited to be able to participate in Arman’s first ever edition of Spill It Sundays! (catchy title, no? 😉 … although this post would be more appropriate if posted on Sunday. Maybe next week.)

Spill it Sundays

Basically this new link-up has a bunch of fun questions in survey format that bloggers can answer so we learn more about each other. Ready for more unnecessary-ness from me? Great.

What is your cultural background?

American.

American Flag

Haha. Okay, so getting a little more specific than that I think I have some German and Scottish heritage but don’t really know much other than that. I have some family history books at home that I should read someday so I can answer this question more accurately in the future.

When was your most memorable birthday and why?

I would have to say that my 16th birthday was my most memorable. I didn’t have a party or cake but I was on a high school band trip back from Disney when I turned 16. After one rest stop I came back on the bus to a whole bunch of noise makers and shouts of “Happy Birthday!” I thought that was pretty cool of them.

What is your #1 thing you want to accomplish in your lifetime?

To feel like I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I feel like there is nothing better than to know that you are on the right track and doing what you were born to do.

What is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

How about this past Saturday when I dropped a hot crock pot on my foot? Does that count?

My Burnt Foot

I should note that this is the least offensive picture I have. Maybe on Friday I will be brave enough to show the blistering one… If you think that you can handle the truth 😉

Who was your childhood hero?

As a kid I always looked up to the usual television stars like Hilary Duff on Lizzie McGuire, or Britney Spears who was just a music idol. But really my childhood heroes were probably the authors that I always read. Carolyn Keene specifically, who wrote Nancy Drew. I thought she was just amazing and I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Then years later I found out that she wasn’t a real person and my dreams were crushed. Like I said… Rough life.

Now for the optional “Selfie.”

Eating 4 Balance Selfie

Just as a forewarning, know that most of my selfies will take place in the restroom where I find the optimal lighting 😉

Whew. How much more do we have to go? Just kidding. This is a blast to finally be able to blog again! 🙂

I was planning on sharing about my Thanksgiving in today’s post, but I’ll leave that for another day and get on with WIAW and a recipe!

As you could probably tell from my Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffin post, I am a proud new member of The Recipe Redux community. Every month there is a new theme that we can post recipes around. There is also often a product-type sponsor where we are sent a food product to try out for free and to incorporate into a brand new recipe. This month was all about Monk Fruit in the Raw. It is made from the same company that also makes Stevia in the Raw, Sugar in the Raw, etc.

Monk Fruit in the Raw

I’ll admit that I was at first hesitant to use the product because artificial sweeteners kind of scare me. Monk fruit, like stevia though, is not artificial in the slightest and actually comes from a plant! Made from delicious vine-ripened monk fruit, also called luo han guo, it’s the zero-calorie* sweetener that tastes like sugar. Originally harvested in the 13th century, it’s been making life more delicious for years now.

Pretty interesting. I’ve already used it twice and have been impressed with the results so far. I’m not sure that I will be using it in future recipes, but it’s good to know the healthier alternatives out there. If I ever need to make something for a sugar sensitive individual though, I will definitely keep Monk Fruit in mind. (Here is a FAQ if you have any questions about it. For quick reference, Monk Fruit in the Raw is gluten-free and vegan. It does contain maltodextrin though which is not safe for those with corn allergies).

The first recipe that I made was a kind of Amish Friendship Quick Bread which I will hopefully be able to share with you soon as it was an enormous success with both a regular and grain-free version.

Amish Friendship Bread

The second recipe, which I am going to share today for WIAW is so simple that you probably have most of the ingredients in your cupboards already if you are into grain-free baking like me. No coconut flour in this one, but almond flour and Monk fruit in the raw make up the bulk of the dry ingredients, and yogurt provides most of the moisture. Add in some apple chunks and cinnamon and this is one tasty potential fall breakfast!

Easy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (Grain-Free with Nut/Dairy-Free Options)

Easy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Dairy/Nut-Free Option, No Sugar Added Option, Paleo

Makes 2 servings, 3 pancakes each

Easy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (Grain-Free with Nut/Dairy-Free Options)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour (any nut or seed flour would work)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sweetener*
  • 2-3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (use coconut to make dairy-free)
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil (ghee/butter would be fine to0)
  • 1 cup chopped apples (about 2 small apples)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your griddle to 350 degrees or your skillet to medium heat. Coat/spray with oil if necessary to prevent sticking.
  2. In a medium bowl combine your dry ingredients. Then add the egg, yogurt and oil mixing until thoroughly combined.
  3. Using a 1/4 cup measure out your batter and pour onto the griddle/skillet. (You may need to spread the batter out a little bit to get the right size.)
  4. Sprinkle some of the apple chunks over the pancake, pressing down if necessary. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the side facing up is bubbly. Flip and cook for about another 2 minutes. Top with more apples if desired!

Easy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (Grain-Free with Nut/Dairy-Free Options)

*I used Monk Fruit in the Raw for the granulated sweetener to make these pancakes no sugar added, but you can use any granulated sweetener that you have on hand that fits your dietary needs). If wanting to use honey/maple syrup I would recommend using only 1/4 cup yogurt and increasing as needed to get the desired consistency.

Easy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (Grain-Free with Nut/Dairy-Free Options)

I received free samples from Cumberland Packing Corp., maker of Monk Fruit In The Raw. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Cumberland Packing Corp. and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. (<<<My First time ever getting to post a disclaimer like that. I feel so official 😉 ).


Thanks to Jenn for hosting WIAW again this week! Make sure to check out all of the other bloggers who linked up 🙂

Recipe also shared at Real Food Forager.

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Share with me a bad cellphone story so that I feel better about mine! 😀

Did you participate in Spill It Sundays? Answer one of the questions!

Have you ever tried Monk Fruit in the Raw? What is your favorite natural sweetener?

When was the last time you had pancakes? 

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Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins-In-A-Jar (Recipe Redux)

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins (Gluten and Grain-Free)

Do you know what happens when you are a recipe fiend like myself? You write them down on random scraps of paper and then lose them. You type them up in random word documents and forget to save them. Both happened to me yesterday as I went to work on this post for my first ever Recipe Redux.

Amazing first impression, no?

Thankfully I have a wonderful mother at home who is an expert at finding those random scraps of paper when her daughter texts her at obscene hours in desperation. Two hours away and she is still taking care of me.

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins (Gluten and Grain-Free)

It is with a smile on my face that now I am finally typing up my entry for Recipe Redux’s November 2013 of Adding Merriment to Mixes. The description for this month’s challenge is:

From hostess gifts to holiday gifts, it’s the season for DIY offerings from your kitchen. And homemade mixes couldn’t be easier! Think about healthy bread, hot cocoa, cookie bars, dressings or even spice mixes. Share the recipe for how you package up a little shelf-stable love from your kitchen!

I have always wanted to make one of those cookies-in-a-jar mixes that just look so incredibly seasonal and crafty. With this challenge I had the perfect excuse to do so. Except my favorite muffin recipe was on my mind instead of cookies and I just knew that a recreated grain-free version would be absolutely perfect.

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins-in-a-Jar (Gluten and Grain-Free)

Check out my instructions below for how to assemble (and bake) these scrumptious muffins!

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins-In-A-Jar

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free Options, Paleo/GAPS-Friendly

Makes approximately 18 muffins

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins (Gluten and Grain-Free)

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour*
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Wet ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup honey*
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted*
  • 1 cup chopped apples (about 2 small)

Optional streusel topping:

  • 3/4 cup ground sunflower seeds*
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup honey*
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted*

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins-in-a-Jar (Gluten and Grain-Free)

*Ingredient substitutions: You can use any kind of nut or seed flour in place of the almond flour to make this suitable for allergies. Ground chia meal would also work subbed in for the flaxseed in equal amounts. Instead of the honey maple syrup can be substituted. And if you don’t have coconut oil on hand, melted butter, ghee or a neutral-tasting oil should work fine as a replacement. For the ground sunflower seeds 3/4 cup of any nut or seed flour would be great.

Instructions for muffin mix jar:

Combine all of the dry ingredients into a glass mason jar or other container. (If you want to include the streusel, mix up just the dry ingredients of that in a separate bowl, put into a small ziploc baggie, and place that in the top of the jar/container before closing). Attach a fun gift tie or a handwritten note with the directions below. Prepare for family members to love you even more! 😉

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins-in-a-Jar (Gluten and Grain-Free)

Directions for mix:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 18 muffin tins with paper liners (to prevent sticking you can further spray the liners with oil).
  2. In a large bowl beat the eggs and then add the pumpkin puree and honey, mixing well.
  3. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Mix in the chopped apple chunks.
  5. Divide the batter equally among the 18 muffin tins.
  6. If making the optional streusel combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients (it should resemble a sticky dough). Break the dough up into little pieces and sprinkle over the muffin batter.
  7. Bake the muffins for approximately 30-40 minutes (oven times may vary). The muffins will be done when the tops spring back when slightly touched and the streusel topping is a dark golden brown.
  8. Let cool for about 10 minutes before eating.

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins (Gluten and Grain-Free)

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins-in-a-Jar Instructions (Dry Mix Ingredients on Blog)

After you whip this mix up, check out the collection below for more mixes to enjoy this holiday season:

Also shared at Real Food Forager.

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What is Recipe Redux? 

mimm-current-recipe-redux

Great question!

As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians,The Recipe ReDux is focused on taking delicious dishes, keeping them delicious, but making them better for you. Dietitians Regan Jones (of ReganMillerJones, Inc.), Serena Ball and Deanna Segrave-Daly (both of Teaspoon Communications) founded the group on the belief that healthier eating should always taste delicious. As the Latin term “redux” means to revisit or reinvent, we are reinventing the idea of healthy eating with a taste-first approach. We aim to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover.

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Questions for you:

Have you ever made or received a baking mix as a present before?

What is your favorite holiday muffin recipe?

Any requests for a paleo/grain-free/allergy-friendly recreation this season?

Fall Flavors (Chopped Kitchen Challenge and WIAW)

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of What I Ate Wednesday!

Along with Jenn’s weekly party I am also participating in another fun link-up hosted by Sarah at Slices of Sarah Pie called Chopped Kitchen Challenge. This month’s theme was Flavors of Fall which is just perfect because I already have so many Fall recipes that I’ve posted recently.

wiaw-ckc-challenge

The Fall flavors that are being showcased in Sarah’s challenge are Apple, Chili, Pumpkin and Ginger. Surprisingly I actually have recipes in all of these categories! And at the end I have a brand new recipe for you to enjoy.

First up is APPLE.

Just as a side note, I have WAY more apple recipes than I previously thought, so I just picked out the best.

Apple Recipes (Gluten-Free)

Dairy and Grain-Free Cinnamon Apple Pancakes // Grain-Free Apple Crumbly Bread // Microwave Apple Protein Crisp // Irish Soda Apple Bread // Apple Chunk Cinnamon Rolls // Vegan Apple Crisp

Next is CHILI POWDER.

For which I only have a single recipe, but don’t fret because it’s a good one.

Chili, Chips and Cheeze (Paleo and Dairy-Free)

Chili, Chips and Cheeze

Now it’s time for PUMPKIN.

Apparently I am a pumpkin fiend as well as an apple one!

Pumpkin Recipes (Gluten-Free and Mostly Vegan)

Grain-Free Pumpkin Calzones // Pumpkin Pie Bars // Pumpkin Bread Bake with Pumpkin Frosting // Microwave Sandwich Bread // Microwave Protein Brownies // Pumpkin Banana Bread Batter

Finally I present to you my GINGER recipe.

This also happens to include PUMPKIN as well.

Pumpkin Ice Cream (Paleo and Vegan)

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Option, Vegan Option, Paleo/GAPS-Friendly

Makes approximately six 1/2 cup servings 

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (coconut or almond yogurt to make this vegan)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (any type of milk will work here)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup honey (maple syrup would work here too)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional but it helps to bring out the flavors)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Place the frozen banana slices in a food processor or strong blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Then add the remaining ingredients and blend again.
  3. Pour the mixture into freezer-friendly container. You can use a bowl or tupperware container (I used an empty yogurt container).
  4. Place the container in the freezer and stir every 30-60 until minutes until thick. This is more of a soft serve type ice cream, but you could try freezing it solid and using an ice cream scoop dipped in hot water for more of a hard pack ice cream.
  5. Distribute between bowls and serve! (This would also be amazing topped with nuts like pecans and walnuts).

Pumpkin Ice Cream (Paleo and Vegan)

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking through my collection of Fall Flavor recipes. If you have a recipe that contains apple, chili powder, pumpkin or ginger, go link-up with Sarah’s challenge now! It’s over in less than 24 hours. Also make sure to check out Jenn’s WIAW which I am sure is filled with even more amazing fall food ideas and recipes.

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Questions for you:

What is your favorite ingredient? Apple, chili powder, pumpkin or ginger?

What is your favorite recipe that you have made this Fall?

Is anyone else still getting used to the time change or is it just me?

What I Cooked Up (WIAW)

Good morning and happy What I Ate Wednesday! I’m very excited to share with you all of the things that I cooked up over the weekend for my family members. This time I didn’t even have to break the rules to participate in WIAW because I actually have a food picture for every meal of the day! (Even though they aren’t exactly MY eats… It’s one step closer 😉 ).

Thank you to Jenn for hosting WIAW. Be sure to check out the other great bloggers who linked up their daily meals today!

wiaw-breakfast

I feel very confident in saying that there isn’t anything better than a bread-type good for breakfast. Whether it be pancakes or waffles, muffins or bagels, they just have a way of filling that craving that only bread can do. I think that’s probably why there are so many new healthy takes always emerging on breakfast breads. People just love them.

Today I am going to be no different in that here is my newest take on a healthy breakfast bread (adapted from Pencils and Pancakes’ recipe only because I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand at the time). It’s delicious, high in protein, includes only quality ingredients, and doesn’t contain any added unhealthy sugars! Plus, as always, it’s gluten-free 🙂 For the topping I made a slightly modified (note: sweeter) version of Yeah… Imma Eat That’s frosting recipe. Paired together they are a match made in heaven.

Banana Bread Bake with Nut Butter Frosting

Wheat/Gluten/Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Nut-Free Option, Paleo/GAPS-Friendly, No Sugar Added

Makes 1 large serving for breakfast or 2 smaller servings for a snack

Bread Recipe adapted from Pencils and Pancakes

Frosting Recipe adapted from Yeah…Imma Eat That

Banana Bread Bake with Nut Butter Frosting (Grain-Free with Nut/Dairy-Free Options)

Bread Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs (preferably organic or cage-free)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of sea salt (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp nut butter (use sunbutter to make nut-free)
  • 1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (use coconut yogurt to make it dairy-free)
  • coconut flour (optional- use if needed to thicken up the frosting if it seems too thin)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil/grease a large ramekin (I used a pyrex 4-cup round bowl like this one that is around 6 inches in diameter).
  2. Crack the eggs into a food processor and blend until it is one solid color. Meanwhile peel the banana and when the eggs are blended add the banana and blend until smooth.
  3. Then add in the coconut flour, cinnamon and salt. Blend again until fully incorporated.
  4. Now you should add the baking soda, but wait to do this until the oven is fully heated and right before you are ready to pour the batter and bake. You don’t want the baking soda to react and then the mixture to sit for too long. So, once the oven reaches 375 degrees, add the baking soda and blend again for a few seconds.
  5. Pour the batter into the ramekin and place it directly into the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. The top should spring back to the touch and the edges should begin to look barely darkened.
  6. Meanwhile mix up the frosting in a small bowl. Add a sprinkle of coconut flour if necessary to thicken it up. If using a low fat/fat-free yogurt this may be necessary. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes, remove onto a plate and top with frosting to serve. (I did not use all of the frosting so you may have some leftover).

Banana Bread Bake with Nut Butter Frosting (Grain-Free with Nut/Dairy-Free Options)

wiaw-lunch

Lucky for you, the rest of the recipes for today’s WIAW have already been posted as well, so no waiting around like usual. This recipe that I made comes from The China Study Cookbook. I shared the recipe excerpt on Monday as part of my (very long) review on the cookbook. Be sure to check it out and make this incredibly easy, vegan meal. And while you’re there, you might as well join the giveaway to win your own copy of the book!

Dominican Beans

Dominican Beans from The China Study Cookbook (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

While the recipe makes multiple servings, it isn’t something that you have to eat right away. We saved about half of the beans for my parents to take for lunch for the week. As for the salad on the bottom, I made just enough for two. If you want the prep to be even quicker you could cut up all of the vegetables ahead of time, assemble the salads as needed, and then just heat up whatever portion of the beans you want for the topping. Easy peasy.

Dominican Beans from The China Study Cookbook (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

wiaw-dinner

Egg in a Squash

This recipe is so fast and simple that it’s no wonder that so many bloggers have tried it in just the few short weeks since Meg at A Dash of Meg posted about it. Egg in a Squash is really just what it sounds like. I took half of a cooked dumpling squash (cooked using this method), cracked in an organic egg, and then baked it at 425 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

Egg in a Squash

Meg’s original directions call for a slightly shorter cooking time, but for this first try I didn’t want to take any risks so I made sure the egg was thoroughly cooked. If you like runny yolks though, follow Meg’s instructions. I will probably try that next time and see how my Dad likes it.

Egg in a Squash

wiaw-dessert

Apple crisp is basically the quintessential fall dessert (along with pumpkin pie, apple pie, etc. of course 😉 ). But really, apple crisp was one of my favorite desserts that our school cafeterias served growing up. I’m not sure what they put in it, but man was it good!

No worries with this one though. All of the ingredients are easily recognizable. Originally this recipe was for pear crisp but I just did a little swapping and made an apple version instead (see below the second picture for my alterations).

Apple Crisp (Grain-Free and Vegan)

Apple Crisp (Grain-Free and Vegan)

I did change a few things from the first recipe, but both are equally amazing. This time I used coconut oil in place of the butter/ghee to make it dairy-free as well as vegan. And obviously I used apples in place of the pears (I only needed 5 apples though versus the 6 pears in the original recipe). Also, I covered the apple crisp in foil for about half of the baking time, as well as doubled the time that I left it in the oven so that the apples got cooked completely. Soft and delicious. If you make it, I’d suggest focusing more on the texture of the fruit for how long it needs to be in the oven, and the look of the crisp for whether or not you need to top it with foil so that it doesn’t burn.

Apple Crisp (Grain-Free and Vegan)

And guess what?! I think I can call this another mission accomplished for my Friday Food Finds #13. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to say that 🙂 I made 3 out of the 5 recipes from that post so it’s definitely a success. I still have my eye on making the other two and I’ll let you know if I try them.

Friday_Food_Finds-13

My Friday post may be a little shortened this week, and my commenting may be somewhat sporadic as well as I have midterms all week long. Today I have a quiz in Statistics, tomorrow I have a quiz in Business Communications and an exam in Music Cultures, and then on Friday I have an Astronomy exam plus an Accounting quiz. Wow. Typing that out makes me realize how busy I really am going to be! While I may not have much time to post on here, I will for sure be keeping my Instagram updated so follow me on there for my latest life updates 🙂

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Questions for you:

Do you like bready breakfast foods?

Have you entered my giveaway yet?

What is your favorite simple meal?