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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Thanksgiving Survey (WIAW), Black Friday Shopping List, and Elf for Health Day 2

Let’s be real here. If I had posted a recipe today, there is a 0.0001% chance that you would have made it over the holiday weekend. So, to save both you and I the trouble I forewent a recipe for this WIAW and instead filled out a fun Thanksgiving survey that I saw on Liv Lives Life’s blog! Along with answering the questions, I also included some pictures and links to some allergy-friendly Thanksgiving recipes to keep up with the theme of WIAW, hosted by Jenn at Peas and Crayons.

1. Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?

Every year since I was born (except for one year when my dad had to have surgery) we have visited my dad’s side of the family who live about 3 1/2 hours away. Although this year will be quite small compared to normal, I know that we won’t be going for too many more years now so I will treasure each moment.

2. List at least three dishes that are on your family’s table every year.

Turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing.

wiaw-thanksgiving-turkeymashedstuffing

Gluten-Free Cider-Glazed Brine Turkey // Mashed Cauliflower // Paleo Cranberry Flax Stuffing

3. Do you prefer pumpkin pie or pecan pie?

Pumpkin pie.

wiaw-thanksgiving-pumpkinpie

Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Pie

4. Will you watch football on Thanksgiving Day?

Not if I have any choice in the matter 😉

5. Do you plan to exercise Thursday?

Most likely not, except for perhaps a lot of walking.

Holiday_Hustle

Or maybe my short Holiday Hustle Thanksgiving Workout that I made last year!

6. Do you prefer ham or turkey?

Well, because of my pork allergy I would have to go with turkey! Actually I would go with turkey anyways.

7. Will you shop on Black Friday?

Yes. Well, now it’s actually almost like a Black Thursday…. But yes 🙂 (Check out my wish list below!).

8. Do you take a nap on Thanksgiving?

Perhaps on the long car ride home, but usually not!

9. What’s one dish that probably won’t be on anyone else’s Thanksgiving table?

Lemon Meringue Pie. There are a lot of pies that one associates with Thanksgiving like pumpkin, pecan, apple, etc. Lemon meringue is probably not among that list though.

wiaw-thanksgiving-lemonmeringuepie

Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Lemon Custard

10. Do you share the things you are thankful for at the dinner table?

We don’t actually eat at a dinner table for Thanksgiving and instead gather in the many different rooms of  my grandma’s house. And we don’t share what we are thankful for either, just a bunch of old stories!

11. Do you cook the whole dinner, just the bird or bring a side dish? 

We bring bottled water. Does that count? 😉 Because we have to drive so far nothing we make would last the trip. Plus, whenever we insist on bringing something everyone else insists harder that we don’t. Ha.

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As I mentioned above, I am going Black Friday shopping again this year as per tradition! If you’d like, you can check out my wish list from last year and what I actually bought on Black Friday.

wiaw-thanksgiving-black-friday

I haven’t had much of a chance until the past few days to check out the Black Friday ads, but I’ve already spotted multiple things that I am considering:

We are in desperate need of a new waffle maker as our current one is literally being held together by two #2 yellow pencils. A new George Foreman would also be great since the nonstick part is wearing off on our other ones. And we have been looking to buy a new blender/food processor forever since neither of ours can crush ice or frozen fruit very well for smoothies, so a Ninja might be a good pick.

wiaw-thanksgiving-appliances

I was surprised to find some great deals on sheets! I refuse to use anything except for flannel because I get cold so easily, and these two that I found were less than 20 dollars each.

wiaw-thanksgiving-sheets-collage

More practical items on my list! My boots from last year are basically ruined from so much use and every time I do attempt to wear them my socks end up getting soaked because the soles aren’t sealed anymore. So basically I need a new pair of boots. Preferably none in the hundreds of dollar range. I’m thinking $20 is more my speed. Along with boots I also need a new pair of cheap gloves as the tips of my other ones have worn out and you can see some of my nails. Classy.

wiaw-thanksgiving-bootsgloves

DVDs are on my list every year and they are my only guarantee for Black Friday shopping. Simply put, they are WHY I go Black Friday shopping. I love rewatching my favorite TV shows and movies so if I can get them cheap all the better!

wiaw-thanksgiving-dvds

While it’s almost a guarantee that I’ll be getting DVDs during Black Friday, on the opposite side it is very unlikely that I will be purchasing a new camera. This is kind of my “Dream List.” While all of the cameras shown here are around $100 (about $70-140), my cellphone is still working alright for pictures. It’s just become a real hastle lately since it won’t let me upload pictures via a usb cord anymore and I have to email myself pictures for every post I want to make. And sometimes it takes hours for the emails to go through. Plus my camera memory card is full. So ya.

wiaw-thanksgiving-camera-collage

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Yesterday was also Day 2 of Elf For Health, and the challenge was to unsubscribe to e-mails and work on clearing out our inboxes. The goal was to clear away at least 3 subscriptions and I managed to do over 10 I think. I still have three other e-mail accounts to work on which will be super easy now with the new service I discovered called  unroll.me. Basically it’s brilliant and you should check it out if you have an insanely cluttered inbox like me.

mimm-alot-elf4health

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Questions for you:

Answer some of the Thanksgiving survey questions above!

What is/would be on your Black Friday shopping list? 

Have you cleaned out your email inbox lately?

***How would you all be interested in a giveaway for the new Happy Herbivore cookbook that I talked about a little while ago? Just a refresher, it is called Happy Herbivore Light and Lean. Since I was part of the pre-release tour I have been offered the chance to host a giveaway for a free copy. I don’t want my blog to be all about giveaways though so I thought it would be best to ask you first. It will be just for U.S. and Canadian readers (sorry to everyone else!). What are your thoughts?***

Currently #3

Before getting into today’s post I just want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts on Friday’s post. It means a bunch to me.

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Right now I am riding a holiday high. Even though I am up to my eyeballs in tests, reports and presentations (3 in one class for example), the thought of Thanksgiving being only just over one week away is keeping me going. Then after that there’s only one month until Christmas. CHRISTMAS.

Just the word evokes a smile and the image of a million twinkling bulbs on a tall green tree. You know that feeling, don’t you?

Well, right now I am kind of in a positive mood, very unusual for a Sunday night, so I decided to skip any serious posts for the moment and instead update you all on some of my favorite things currently. Edition #3.

fff-me-currently

Current Book: Bitter Kingdom. The third book in Rae Carson’s series that I mentioned a few weeks ago. I actually went to a book fair recently and got to meet her in person so that she could sign my copy!

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Current Music: All things Christmas. All the time. Scotty McCreery’s album in particular though. He has such an amazing low voice.

Current Guilty Pleasure: Facebook and Blog stalking. So thrilling, I know.

mimm-current-facebook-stalking

Current Nail Color: Does orange and yellow count from where my squash stained them? 😉

Current Drink: Water from my Brita Pitcher. No nasty city water for me.

mimm-current-water

Current Food: Same old, same old.

mimm-current-food

Current TV Show: Arrow, and Nashville.

mimm-current-arrow

mimm-current-nashville

Current Wish List: So many things… Right now though I’ve been looking for some local doctors as I’m getting the courage to visit one again and see if a different perspective has any new insights.

mimm-current-doctor

Time travelling is NOT on my list of requirements though for potential picks…

Current Need: Thanksgiving break.

Current Triumph: Making a dent in my homework. I didn’t finish as much as I would have wished, but certainly more than I expected being that my weekend was full of tempting distractions.

Current Bane of my Existence: Teachers who think we only have one class.

mimm-current-hw

Current Celebrity Crush: Leonardo DiCaprio will always remain #1 for me, however I should probably diversify some. I’m kind of crushing on Josh Hutcherson right now. Watching his interviews he just seems tp have his act together. Pretty refreshing.

mimm-current-josh-funny

Current Indulgence: Cinnamon. Ya. I bought some at the grocery store this week and kind of have been sprinkling insane amounts on my food. I probably should stop because my stomach doesn’t seem to be dealing well. It’s just so good though!

Current Blessing: My parents for giving the gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) nudges to do things that I know I need, but do not want, to do.

Current Slang: Oh goodness. Not really slang. Almost the opposite of slang in that it makes me sound like an old granny.

mimm-current-slang

Current Outfit: Blue Adidas athletic pants and a Minions t-shirt. (Remind me to take a picture and show you!)

Current Excitement: Catching Fire this weekend with my best friend!

mimm-current-catching-fire

Current Mood: Worn out.

Current Link: Recipe Redux. Among many.

mimm-current-recipe-redux

And today I’m linking up with Katie at Healthy Diva Eats for Marvelous in my Monday!

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Questions for you:

What have you been loving currently? Answer some (or all!) of the subjects above!

Are you part of Recipe Redux? Ready for Thursday?

Who is ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas?!

{Belated} Halloween Favorites

Happy Belated Halloween!

Technically I am typing this post up on Halloween so that “belated” shouldn’t be in there, but I figured that most of you wouldn’t be reading this until November 1 so… Technicalities.

As a wrap up to the Halloween extravaganza I thought it would be fun to do a short Halloween Favorites survey!

Ready? Too bad. You don’t have a choice 😉

What is your favorite Halloween movie?

Halloweentown from Disney Channel.

halloween-movie

Fun fact: The girl who played Marnie is also the voice on the Trix commercials that said, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!”

Pick your favorite chocolate AND non-chocolate candy.

Dark Chocolate Kit-Kats and Black Licorice Jelly Beans.

halloween-candy

Do they even sell dark chocolate Kit-Kats anymore? No judgement on the black jelly beans. You haters are crazy.

What is your favorite seasonal candy?

The mixed bags of candy corn with the regular, pumpkins and chocolate.

halloween-candy-corn

The pumpkin shapes just made these 10 times more fun.

Which Halloween costume from your childhood was your favorite?

I went as a waitress one year with my best friend and we served “eyeballs” on plates.

halloween-hope-2

We got the waitress idea from some super ugly blouses that I acquired from my mother and were hanging in my closet at the time… And this book that my friend was reading. She was Hope. And I was Faith. Super original, I know.

If you could go as anything for Halloween, what would it be?

A witch!

halloween-ecards-2

E-cards= I ❤ you.

How did you collect your candy when trick or treating?

We had the classic plastic orange pumpkins every single year. Nothing fancy.

halloween-pail

I think we still have these downstairs in our basement actually!

What is the funniest trick that you’ve ever seen played on someone for Halloween?

I really haven’t seen anything that fantastic. The look on someone’s face after being “spooked” though is pretty hilarious.

halloween-haunted-house-collage

Buzzfeed has 40 more of these pictures from a Haunted House if you are curious: http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/best-pictures-of-scared-bros-at-a-haunted-house-of-20 DO IT. They are so funny.

What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Dressing up and getting to be someone else for the night. When I was younger it was getting to have Halloween parties at school with all of the wonderful candy and cookies that parents brought in.

halloween-cookie-collage

Does anyone remember when these required a little more manual labor before baking? They used to come in tubes and you would have to slice all of the cookies before popping them into the oven.

Oh, and I just realized that I did a similar post last year for Halloween listing my top 5 “scary” Halloween movies.

Also, if you have any leftover candy that you don’t know what to do with, you can always use the candy corn to make candy corn popcorn and the chocolate pieces in my candy pizza!

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What did you do to celebrate Halloween this year?

Answer some of the survey questions above!