Thinking Out Loud #2

Happy Thursday!

1. I know I said that I probably wouldn’t be doing Thinking Out Loud Thursdays very often, but I liked it so much last week that I couldn’t help participating again this week!

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2. Two exams down. Three more to go. Tomorrow morning I have Business Communications at 8:30am and then Astronomy right afterwards at 10:45am. I already have a nap planned for the afternoon somewhere in the neighborhood of 2:00pm.

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3. While I am really looking forward to Christmas Break, I don’t like all the work that comes before it. I have to defrost my fridge and mini freezer before Friday. Also we have to do a major cleaning of the common area in our dorm. Fun.

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4. Even though it’s not Sunday, Arman’s Spill It Sunday link-up is still open so I figured that I’d jump on the chance to join in:

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What is your favorite genre of film?

The real question should be- why do I have to pick just ONE? Action, Sci-Fi, Romantic Comedy, Musical, Adventure, Fantasy, Superhero… I think this would be better phrased as what kind of genres I DON’T like. Easy. Horror and Gross rated R comedies.

What is your favorite ever movie?

Boy Arman, are you full of tough questions this week! I would have to go with Harry Potter. And yes I know that there is more than one film in the HP series, and no, I am not going to pick which one I like best.

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What movie do you think deserves to have never been made?

You all know my professed hatred for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and that was the first movie that popped into my mind when reading this question.

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However, there is another movie with which I’m not even sure how it was conceived let alone produced. Bubba Ho-Tep. 

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Just read the description and you’ll know where I’m coming from.

Mud Creek, Texas, is about to get all shook up. When mysterious deaths plague the Shady Rest retirement home, it’s up to an aging, cantankerous “Elvis” (Bruce Campbell) and a decrepitand black”JFK” (Ossie Davis) to defeat a 3,000-year-old-Egyptian mummy with a penchant for sucking human souls! Can the King show the world that he can still take care of business?

Here is a trailer in case you need more convincing. I’m sorry, maybe it’s just me and it’s a fantastic movie. For some reason I don’t think so though…

Wait! Hold up. I just thought of an even worse movie. Jack Black’s Bernie. We literally could not finish it and just skipped to the end so we knew what happened.

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What movie should be considered a legal sleeping pill?

The Avengers. Before you all protest, I will acknowledge that the second time I saw the movie it was slightly better, but the plot line was just not good. I fell asleep twice during the movie.

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If you made a movie, what would it be about?

I really want to see a new spy series. Jason Bourne, Mission Impossible and James Bond are so good but they all feature older males. It’s time for a new female spy series!

A movie which you love but you’d never admit…

I know that as a superhero fan I am supposed to hate the ones that deviate from the originals,  but I just love Batman and Robin with George Clooney.

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5. Somehow I have watched six and counting episodes of Glee tonight. I saw one of the auditions on Youtube and got the sudden urge to rewatch the first season. I just love Rachel and Finn.

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6. Ending on an even number today, I am so happy with all of the contributions so far with 12 Days of Allergy-Free Christmas Recipes! If you haven’t been keeping up, make sure to check out this page (also listed on my menu above) with links to all of the posts so far. We actually have all but one day filled, so if anyone is interested, let me know. And keep up the great work everyone!

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Questions for you:

  • What are your movie favorites?
  • Are there any movies that you love but everyone else hates?
  • What are you thinking about on this beautiful (cold) Thursday?
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Smile, It’s WIAW (Amish Friendship Bread)

My butt is so cold right now.

Sorry, too much information you guys. I’m just so stinking happy. Seriously, I’m grinning from ear to ear. Hat-covered ears I may add.

If for some reason you are pinning my image, you are weird and awesome.

You see, on Friday I said that I was going to be stargazing for my astronomy class, but that ended up being cancelled due to bad weather. This week is the last chance for students to do it, and my teacher said that with the weather we’ve been having, the chances were just not very good that they would be able to hold anymore stargazes this semester. Since completing one was required for my class, you can just imagine the mental breakdown I had when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to do it. There were a lot of tears, a lot of talks with my mom, and finally at the end of it all… acceptance. I had to accept that it was my fault, nothing could be changed, and I would just be more proactive with my next class. (Edited to add: I still would have received credit for my class if I hadn’t been able to go the stargazing, but since it was mandatory my grade would have dropped significantly.) 

As my mom said in one of our Facebook conversations, “Remember all of these life experiences make us stronger.” To which my response was, “Ya. Ya.” 🙄 But I knew she was right.

Quick and Healthy Amish Friendship Bread (With Paleo and Non-Paleo Directions!)

Why may you ask am I smiling then? Because I didn’t give up. I kept on calling the planetarium, hoping each night that the automated voicemail would change, saying that the stargaze was on for that night. And finally it was.

All of the praying and hoping, and tonight I got to stand on the top of the astronomy building roof with a wind chill below 5 degrees and look at the stars with 19 other students who would rather have been anywhere but there. As I said, my butt is cold. Like so cold that I have been sitting inside for 30 minutes and it still hasn’t “defrosted” yet. But that’s okay. Because I’m happy.

Quick and Healthy Amish Friendship Bread (With Paleo and Non-Paleo Directions!)

Do you know what else makes me happy?

Seeing all of the bloggers who have signed up so far to help with my 12 Days of Allergy-Free Christmas Recipes. It is going to be amazing. If you haven’t already, check out what we are up to, and if there are still spots left when you read this, sign up! 🙂

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Another thing that makes me happy would be that it’s Wednesday. Aka the best day of the week (well, as far as the blogging week is concerned at least).

The recipe that I am sharing today is a quick version of the usually yeast-based Amish Friendship Bread. If you have never tried the original recipe, you are missing out. It requires a process of letting the bag of batter sit for 10 days, with you mixing new ingredients in every few days. Then when the 10 days are up you take 1/4 of the batter and add a whole bunch of other ingredients (like flour, sugar, pudding mix, etc.) and then bake it up into wonderful loaves. With the remaining batter you now have more bags to pass onto friends (hence the “friendship” part of the title) or to freeze and keep for yourself.

What do you do when you don’t have a batch of starter lying around though? Or what if you just don’t want to wait 10 days for loaves of deliciously sweet bread? Enter my solution:

Quick and Healthy Amish Friendship Bread (With Paleo and Non-Paleo Directions!)

Quick and Healthy Amish Friendship Bread

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

Makes 2 loaves, 8 thick slices each

Quick and Healthy Amish Friendship Bread (With Paleo and Non-Paleo Directions!)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup yogurt (I used cow but coconut would also work to make this dairy-free) + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil/butter/ghee
  • 1 cup granulated sweetener (I used Monk Fruit in the Raw, but coconut sugar, date sugar or baking stevia would work too)
  • 1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour*
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • milk (as needed— reference notes section below)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or homemade carob chips)
  • granulated sweetener and cinnamon for topping

Quick and Healthy Amish Friendship Bread (With Paleo and Non-Paleo Directions!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two loaf pans with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the yogurt and vinegar; set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. After the yogurt has set, combine the eggs, oil, granulated sweetener, yogurt and vanilla together in a large bowl.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. (Add milk if using all purpose flour to consistency).
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Divide the batter equally among the two lined pans. Sprinkle some granulated sweetener and cinnamon.
  7. Bake for 60-120 minutes. (I give the large range here because you should be checking probably starting at 1 hour and then in frequent intervals thereafter. This bread took about 90 minutes for me to bake, but oven temperatures vary so much, as do ingredients, that it would be wise to check often. Also, I baked the two loaves together in the oven, so if you bake them separately you will need to cut the baking time). The bread will be done when there is a golden crust on top, it springs back to the touch, and a toothpick comes out clean. Check for all 3 to ensure a perfectly baked bread.
  8. Let cool for at least half an hour before slicing. Enjoy!

*Notes: To make this grain-free use almond flour (or another nut/seed flour). The grain-free version fell for me in the middle a bit and isn’t as pretty as these pictures, but  it was still equally delicious. You can also use all purpose flour as most of the pictures reflect, but you will probably have to add some milk to thin the batter out. I added about 1/2 cup milk to reach a good, pourable consistency. And though not tested, an all purpose gluten-free flour blend should also work well in here; add additional milk if needed.

Quick and Healthy Amish Friendship Bread (With Paleo and Non-Paleo Directions!)

Thanks again to Jenn for hosting this lovely weekly round-up where we all get together and share great food!


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Questions for you:

  • What is making you smile today?
  • Is there anything that you almost gave up hope on, but ultimately came through for you?
  • How cold is it where you live? 
  • Have you ever tried Amish Friendship Bread before?
  • What are you sharing for WIAW this week?

A Food Holiday Idea— I Need Your Help!

Howdy Ho Ranger Joes!

I have this very strong feeling that I’ve used that as an introduction on this blog before. But even if I have that’s okay because it’s a fantastic one at that. Doesn’t it just bring back great childhood memories and make you all warm fuzzy inside?

I sure wish I was all warm and fuzzy inside. Instead as you read this I will be shivering my butt off stargazing.

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Yes. Stargazing. In the middle of Winter (okay, so it’s not technically Winter yet but it’s snowed, it’s cold, and I’m counting it).

But yes, tonight I am going to my school’s planetarium to look at stars for my Astronomy class. I could have done this months ago when it was summer and warm, but I love venturing out by myself at 9:00 at night during the Winter where I am so bundled up in my coat/scarf/gloves that even if someone did attack me and try to steal my non-operating cellphone, their fist would basically just bounce off my mountain of puffy layers.

Or perhaps if I showed them my bubbly, burnt foot they would feel sorry for me and go bother someone else.*

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Don’t worry. I will keep you updated with ALL of the photos of my lovely foot through its recovery stages. This is only Day 2. If my phone was functioning properly you could see how awful it looks today.

*Nothing’s really concrete yet and it’s basically a toss-up if they would actually believe my pitiful story.

As it is though, I have t-minus 40 minutes before I should leave and thus only 40 minutes to write this post. While that may be a lot of time for some people, it doesn’t seem to be nearly enough for me. Actually I’m kind of just panicking thinking about it.

39 minutes to go.

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Moooving on…

Lately I have been seeing some pretty incredible holiday recipes all around and they are just getting me more and more excited for Christmas! One thing my Pinterest feed is lacking though is some good, quality holiday recipes that us allergic folks can make and eat. Every time I click on a recipe I cross my fingers and hold my breath… then I scan the ingredients list and sigh.

For clarification purposes, I am NOT anaphylactic to any foods, I just think these comics are hilarious.

Really, it’s no one’s fault that I can’t eat 99% of the recipes they post. Actually, it’s kind of MY fault for following people that post nothing but recipes I can’t eat. Their pictures are just SO BEAUTIFUL though!

Instead of complaining any further though, here is what I propose:

I would like to plan a 12 Days of Allergy-Free Christmas Recipes

(Title pending).

This would all depend you guys though, because I would like some of you to co-host with me! 🙂 Twelve days would be way too many recipe round-ups and I’m pretty sure that you would get tired of it fast. Instead we could divide and conquer, each taking up responsibility for one of the twelve days. Each day would have a different theme. For example- appetizers, beverages, main dishes, side dishes, cookies (maybe even split cookies into types- gingerbread, sugar, chocolate), pudding, cake, muffins, casseroles, soup, salad, lunch, breakfast, candy… That way there wouldn’t be an overlap, and we would increase the chances of someone finding at least ONE recipe in each of the categories that would fit their dietary needs.

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We could start whenever, counting down literally to Christmas, or even perhaps end a few days before. You could announce what theme you will be hosting in the next few days, make a call out for recipes that fit the bill, and then post a recipe round-up (along with a new recipe of your own) on the specified day.

Sort of like some of these recipe round-ups: Fall Favorites, WITHOUT the Pumpkin, or 20 Apple Dessert Recipes.

At the end what we would have is an incredible collection of recipes that would be a wonderful resource for those with food allergies or dietary restrictions. (Now, this wouldn’t mean that everything has to be egg/wheat/dairy/peanut/etc-free. I’m just suggesting that it be free of a few things. Maybe vegan or vegetarian, maybe Paleo or primal, or maybe even just simply or simply dairy-free or egg-free!)

So… Do I have any volunteers? It would be wonderful to get up to 12 bloggers to participate (or even more!), but whatever we get will be perfect. If enough are interested I will post a more concise and detailed post in the next few days with what you need to do, a button to include in your post, etc. I will probably also create a page on my blog where I will link all of the posts together at the end so that anyone who comes here will be able to find you as well!

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Who would like to participate?

You don’t need to have a food allergy blog to join in … Just be a blogger with a willingness to devote one day/post to this “extravaganza!”

If you do want to join, you can also pick what day you’d like to post, and what theme you want to do (it can be whatever you want, just specific enough that there won’t be tons of overlap!).

And if you don’t want to join, that’s okay too.

You can just follow along. In the comments share any ideas/thoughts/suggestions that you have for this big round-up!

You can also email me at allehays[at]gmail[dot]com if you want to participate or have any questions/suggestions.

Friday Food Finds #12

Hey everyone! Happy Friday 🙂

Before I start my post for today I just want to thank you all for all of your wonderful comments over the past few weeks and sticking with me even though I fall behind with my blogger duties again and again. I just really appreciate it!

In case you’ve missed some of my last recipes, here’s a quick summary: Vegan Grain-Free Pancakes, Grain-Free Vegan Biscuits, and Peanut Butter and Carob Chunk Cinnamon Rolls. So basically a whole host of grain-free and vegan goodness 😀

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When trying to come up with a post idea for today, I realized that I hadn’t done a Friday Food Finds in a super long time! As in… All the way back in April is the last record that I can discover. That is WAY too long in my opinion so I am going to bring it back for today!

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You can read all about Friday Food Finds and my past posts here:

Friday Food Finds #10

Friday Food Finds #11

Now for the recipes:

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer from Lisa Lately

Vegan and gluten-free, this is the perfect alternative to the sugar and chemical-laden creamers that you find in the store. And who doesn’t love pumpkin spice?

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Lowcountry Shrimp Boil from Better with Veggies

I personally have never had a lowcountry boil but after seeing them pop up occasionally on various food blogs I know that I need to try my hand at one. This shrimp boil from Better with Veggies just looks delicious!

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Peekaboo Pumpkin Pound Cake from She Knows

There are almost no words for how cute this recipe is. No, it’s not gluten-free, vegan or anything, however it’s just a dang good idea. I’m sure that it would probably work with most pound cake recipes. Just find one that is suitable for your diet and follow the steps from there!

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Grain-Free Waffles from Food Renegade

You all know that I’m always on the hunt for grain-free waffle and pancake recipes. I love the ingredient list on this recipe in particular from Food Renegade because it doesn’t require cups upon cups of almond flour. Plus the blogger said the waffles were fluffy! Buzzword for sure.

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Mini Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cones from In Katrina’s Kitchen

Again, not allergy-free in the slightest. I just can’t pass up sharing a cookie dough recipe though. Especially one that comes in ice cream cones. *Swoon*

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Egg-Stuffed Tomato from Copy Cake Cook

This seems like a great alternative to the ever popular Pinterest recipe that bakes an egg inside an avocado. Whether you are tired of avocados or just plain don’t like them this recipe sounds super easy!

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Homemade Caramel Apple Pops from Lily Shop

These just scream Fall/Winter to me. I always got at least one caramel apple sucker in my Halloween bag while trick-or-treating during the fall, and at every home basketball game during the winter when I was younger I would snag one of these from the concession stand.

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Thanks for joining me for another edition of Friday Food Finds! I hope you saw a few recipes that caught your attention. Maybe all of them? 😉 I know that the coffee creamer and waffles are at the top of my to-make list for sure!

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and weekend. I’m off now to bed and then up early for more Accounting homework. I also have an awards program tomorrow for my Business College to attend so I will be super busy and might not have a lot of time for comments. Plus I now have a quiz, test and a nice big assignment all due Monday so we’ll have to see how much time I have for blog reading over the weekend as well.

Either way, I’ll catch you next week either on Monday or Wednesday 🙂

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What are your Friday Food Finds?

Have you come across any great recipes recently?

What are your plans for Friday/the weekend?