Gluten-free goodness

I don’t know about where you live, but it has been cold in Maryland. Probably all of the East Coast, actually. So I figured I would do some baking yesterday. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I got caught up in a bunch of other things. But today I thought I’d make something.

I wanted something dessert-y so we’d have some sweet treats in the house, and checked out my dessert board on Pinterest. But then I realized, none of that was gluten-free. My sister’s gone gluten-free for health reasons, and I didn’t want to have the house smelling tasty with her unable to eat what I made. Thankfully, she sent me this recipe: http://www.yammiesglutenfreedom.com/2012/09/flourless-fudge-brownies.html.

Candy cane kiss brownies

We decided to do individual brownies in muffin tins and add some of the leftover Christmas candy (’cause there’s a ton). What I love about this recipe is that it’s not overly complicated. Some gf recipes involve a long list of ingredients, including multiple kinds of gluten-free flour. And I’ll be honest: I’m far too lazy for that. If you want me to make it, there have to be less than a dozen ingredients and some pretty basic steps. I’m a huge fan of recipes that tell you to dump and mix everything together, then bake or stick in the slow cooker. This recipe fit the bill, and with Michael Bublé’s latest album for background music, it was a good time.

After dinner, we dug into these sweet little babies. Let me tell you, definitely worth it! We used Rolos, candy cane Kisses, and mint truffle Kisses. It’s great to know there are some easy and tasty recipes my whole family can enjoy. No separate snack for the sister. Added bonus: they kept the house extra warm.

I’ll try to post some more recipe adventures in the future if I can.

Baking and using my new electric throw blanket (wonderful invention) are my two favorite ways to stay warm. What’s yours? Let me know in the comments!🙂

Blueberries, paintings and a new start

This probably sounds like a really strange title. Well, strange is more fun to create and it tends to get people’s attention a little better. I hope. So here’s a little explanation for you:ibbc

I just finished reading Mary Simses’ debut novel, The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe.  The story takes place in the small town of Beacon, Maine, where a New York lawyer travels on a mission to fulfill her grandmother’s last wish. Though Simses’ story has the usual elements of small town charm and quirky townspeople, it holds a beauty in a story of lost love, forgiveness, and finding new dreams.

Since I’m tracking my yearly progress on GoodReads, I wrote a review of The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe, which you can find here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/720513117

Which brings me to the last part of this post’s title. I started this blog over a year ago to showcase some of the pieces I wrote while interning for a regional magazine and haven’t touched it since. So I decided, if I’m going to write more reviews of the books I read, why not start posting on here again? So that is what I’m setting out to do, and hopefully I can get this blog off to a new start.

 

The Growing Fascination with Bucket Lists by Katie Addington

The Growing Fascination with Bucket Lists

I’m sitting at home over spring break taking the few days of relaxation I have to read. My current read is The Living End by Lisa Samson, a book about a woman named Pearly who sets out to accomplish the seven things her husband had wanted for the two of them to do together “while they’re living.” Some things he had wanted to do for years, others were things he came up with for his wife. Sadly, he died right before he was going to explain each item to her.

When it started out, this book was mostly holding my attention because it’s one of the few novels I’ve come across that is set in my hometown. But now it’s comical to see Pearly deciding to buy six different kinds of cereal at once because she wants to try as many as she can before she dies. She isn’t actually terminally ill or afraid of death; but after she finishes the list her husband made, she plans on joining him, at her own hand, wherever he may be. And with such a fatalistic, humor-bordering-on-sarcasm outlook, I can’t wait to see how she manages to go whale watching in Alaska or traveling to see the Pyramids of Central America. The things her husband chose were so different I wondered how he chose them and I started thinking about what’s on my list.

Why do we feel we need to create a list of things we want to do before we die? Probably because we spend so much of our time wading through the mundane or putting off whatever isn’t part of our average, comfortable routine. And if you’re like me, you’ll never get things done if they aren’t on a list. Whether that’s because writing them down helps me to remember them or I’m just more motivated to do things so I can cross them off, I don’t know.

Most of my bucket list involves places I want to go. Some are just a few hours’ drive away while others would take long, planned out trips. I want to go to Leland, Mississippi where Jim Henson grew up, and tour Cape May to see some of the old Victorian inns. I also hope to one day see the island of Santorini in Greece and walk the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy.

I know it’s become the latest trend, which might make it less appealing to some people, but it can be fun to come up with a list of things that you want to accomplish. You might find out some things about yourself that you didn’t know, for better or for worse. If the things you come up with sound dull or could all be crossed off in a week, you might decide you want to become a more adventurous person. Without Pearly’s determination to complete what her husband had planned out, she would have become a recluse, shutting herself off from the world and maybe even going through with suicide. The list, and the people she came across while fulfilling it, kept her alive and made her a more open, loving and adventurous person. Who knows what you could learn along your bucket list journey?

Here’s some advice for making a bucket list:

Don’t follow the crowd. Putting something on your list because it’s popular (like ‘Go to Paris’) isn’t a great way to go. Unless there’s something about the place or idea you’re really interested in, make the items more specific to you.

Find something off the beaten path. In the movie Elizabethtown, the main character Drew takes a road trip from Kentucky to Washington planned out by his friend Claire with all kinds of unusual stops that most people probably don’t know exist. He visits Dinosaur World and Ernestine and Hazel’s Bar & Grill in Memphis. Including some unusual places and some with an interesting history can make for some great memories and fun photos. There are all sorts of places across the country with a story to tell that people overlook.

Push yourself. Don’t play it safe. You’ll either get bored with what’s on your list or you won’t have learned anything from it if you choose things that don’t take you out of your comfort zone.

I haven’t started doing what’s on my bucket list yet, partially because I don’t have the time (I know, excuses.) and the fact that I’m a college student with hardly any money to my name.  But now that I’ve written my bucket list I want to start crossing things off my list and adding new ones. I want to use this to get myself out of the routine I get stuck in and into more exciting things because, as the cliché says, you only live once.

 

 

Five Great Recipes for the Aspiring by Lazy Cook by Katie Addington

Five Great Recipes for the Aspiring but Lazy Cook

I love to cook, or at least I love the idea of cooking. It’s one of the only hobbies you can take up that has immediate rewards. But I’m lazy, and if a recipe require too many ingredients or is too involved, I won’t bother. So here are my five favorite recipes with less than 10 ingredients that take less than an hour to make from mix to mouth:

Jude’s Chicken Casserole (http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/judes-chicken-casserole-95171.aspx)

What’s easier than boxed stuffing, Velveeta, chicken and a can of soup? You can buy store brands of everything, reduced sodium or fat to make it healthier, and used canned chicken if working with raw meat scares you (I always used canned chicken and it turns out great every time). If this is too bland for you or not healthy enough, I’ve started adding a bag of frozen broccoli. It’s a meal in one dish.

Broiled Parmesan Tomatoes (http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/recipe_view/broiled_parmesan_tomatoes/)

These come from the great butter queen, Paula Deen and make a great side dish. With five ingredients (if you count the salt and pepper sprinkled on top) and only five minutes of prep time, you barely have to give them a thought. It may not be the healthiest way to eat tomatoes but if you have a picky eater in your family, this might get them to try something new. For me, this is the only way I’ll eat tomatoes if they aren’t spread under cheese on a pizza.

Hearty Chicken Pot Pie (http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/hearty-chicken-pot-pie/07ca9e43-c96f-4540-991c-564ee78bd768)

Chicken pot pie is easy comfort food and should always be on your list for easy go-to dinners. The recipe calls for frozen vegetables, but using store brand canned mix veggies tastes better, in my opinion. If you’re not in a rush when making this, try putting all the ingredients minus the biscuit topping into the slow cooker on low for about four to six hours. If you make this on a week day and this in the slow cooker before you leave, it’s a great way to cut down on prep time when you get home from work or class. Just move the mixture to a baking dish, add the biscuit topping and put it in the oven. The slow cooking gives it more of a home cooked taste and will make you want seconds or even thirds.

Pizza Rollups with Dipping Sauce (http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/pizza-roll-ups-dipping-sauce-75334.aspx)

From the first time my sister made these for dinner, I was hooked. I barely use the marinara sauce on it because it’s great on its own. I can’t vouch for the taste with the garlic powder or chopped onions because we always leave them out, but add or leave them out as you want. It takes ten minutes to spread the ingredients on the dough and just a half hour for it to bake in the oven. One word of advice, though: Make sure you get pizza dough, not crescent roll dough; the perforations will make it difficult to hold the roll together, which can be a hassle.

Impossibly Easy Chicken ‘n Broccoli Pie (http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/impossibly-easy-chicken-n-broccoli-pie/e8158b0f-7213-4de7-8054-5e30975087e7#?st=6&term=Impossibly%20Easy%20Chicken%20and%20Broccoli%20Pie&fv=AND&ps=9&pi=9&fv=AND%28HasGridViewImage%3ATrue%29)

If you’ve made any of the “Impossibly Easy” pies, you know how little work they involve. There are several versions of this recipe, one that tells you to use canned chicken (good, because I would’ve anyway) and a thawed bag of frozen broccoli for the main ingredients. I like the version in the link best because the total time is just under an hour and tells you to stir the mixture instead of sticking it in a blender like some of the others. Even if I had a blender, I wouldn’t make the effort of pulling it out and dirtying more dishes so the ingredients will be well mixed, so this is the one that I recommend using.

Cooking and baking can seem like a pain, but it’s better than takeout every night and a much better alternative to skipping dinner out of laziness. And with recipes this easy and delicious, how hard can it be go grocery shopping and preheat the oven?

Carlisle Car Show by Katie Addington

Classic carFrom candy apple red to phantom gray to mimosa yellow to midnight blue. Every imaginable color on 150 acres, the area brimming with enthusiasm as the massive event begins. The Carlisle Car Show is an important part of life in Carlisle. Thousands of cars by nearly every make and model are brought to the town for five days at the end of April. But this event isn’t just about viewing and bragging over some of the most beautiful cars that have been made over the past century. It also includes buying, selling and trading cars as well as parts, from Corvette fenders down to Mustang emblems.

Chip Miller and Bill Miller, Jr. started the Carlisle Car Show in 1974 under the name of “Post War ’74,” September 26th on the rented Carlisle Fairgrounds. Word spread quickly about the event over the following years, later named the Fall Carlisle Collector Car Swap Meet & Car Corral. It became so popular that they decided to host a spring edition of the event for the first time in 1977. As it remained a highly anticipated event, Chip Miller and Bill Miller, Jr. bought the fairgrounds in 1981. Since then, the event has expanded to hold thousands of cars on the grounds’ 150 acres and over 8,000 vendors. And this event doesn’t just cause a stir in the town; it also brings $97 million per year to Carlisle’s economy.

The Spring Carlisle Collector Car Swap Meet & Corral will run April 25th through the 29th from 7 AM to 6 PM Wednesday through Saturday and 7 AM to 3 PM Sunday. Prices for tickets Wednesday through Saturday are $10, Sunday tickets are $5, and 5-day passes are $30. For the more specific car enthusiasts, Carlisle Events also offers nationals events for Chrysler, Ford and GM, Corvettes at Carlisle and many more shows. For more information, go to http://www.carsatcarlisle.com/

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: