Graduation & Gluten Free

I officially picked up my graduation cap and gown on Monday!!!!! It feels so close and is coming so fast! All I have left is finals week. Naturally I’ve been more stressed lately, and it caused a major pressure headache the other day, it hurt like hell, which made me realize I need to get back into my yoga practice.

So that’s the update with graduation and now there’s another factor that is changing my life, I’m going gluten free. At least for a little bit. I don’t have celiacs disease (or at least don’t believe I do, I haven’t gotten examined by a doctor for it) but I am tired all the time, even after getting a good nights sleep. I figured I would try going gluten free to see if it makes a difference in the way I feel. Last night was the first gluten free night and my roommate Maria made a really good meal, chicken with white beans, tomatoes, and feta cheese. It was really, really good!! I’ll post the recipe with pictures next time I make it. For tonight’s lunch I made a quinoa black bean and avocado wrap (with a GF wrap of course), I put a little bit too much avocado, it overpowered the whole taste but overall it was really good.

Tonight’s dinner was GF Pad Thai! And since I work at a cookie bakery, and it’s really hard for me to resist eating cookies/cookie dough every day, I decided to try making some GF peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (which are my current favorite at work). This way when I start craving cookies while at work, I can still eat one and stick to the GF diet. All four of these recipes will be up soon, with many more to follow.

What’s your favorite GF recipe?

– K

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Triple Chocolate Guinness Cookies!

HAPPY ST. PATTY’S DAY!!

Today being St Patricks Day I wanted to bak e something fun for the occasion! Last year I made Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with a Whiskey Butterscotch filling and Baileys Irish Buttercream Icing!

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Today I decided to whip up some Triple Chocolate Guinness Cookies!

Triple Chocolate Guinness Cookies:

1 (12-oz) bottle Guinness extra stout
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips

In a saucepan, combine the Guinness and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture has reduced and is thick and syrupy (about 20-30 minutes). You should have just over 1/3 cup left once reduced. Transfer to a bowl and cool slightl, this will help it to thicken as well.

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While the beer is reducing you can sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. I forgot to bring my sifter to the boys house so I had to improvise with a mesh strainer.

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In your mixer, or mixing bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy.

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One at a time, add the eggs and the egg yolk, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly add the cooled Guinness syrup and beat until incorporated.

Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing just until everything comes together.

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Mix in the white chocolate and milk chocolate chips until evenly distributed throughout the dough.

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Preheat your oven to 325 F. and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a small cookie scoop/ice cream scoop, scoop the dough on top the cookie sheet. Place them about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

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Bake for about 18 minutes (rotating the baking sheets halfway through), or until the edges are set. I like mine crispy with a soft center, you can feel this when you check on your cookies, if they give too much when you tap the top then give them a bit more baking time.

These cookies are soft like brownies but they have the crispy edges that I like!

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Do you have any fun St. party’s Day recipes? (Sweet or savory?)

-K

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Pt. 1

I’ve spent the last two Christmases in New York City where it was cold, amazing, and snowed. It definitely felt like Christmas compared to the weather we usually have in Florida for Christmas. So when the idea of spending Christmas in Charleston South Carolina was thrown out there I was a bit hesitant. I loved Christmas in New York! I love being with my family no matter what but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I really enjoyed Charleston at Christmas time.

As usual my sister Jen and I spent Christmas Eve with my dad side of the family, church and then dinner at my Cousin Debbie’s house.

It was wonderful as always being with my family and since Jen and I leave early Christmas morning we usually open presents Christmas Eve as well!

My first Christmas present I actually received earlier in the month! I got a Kitchenaid mixer!!! I got it early because Kohl’s had a great deal, Jen and Wade split the cost as a joint Christmas present!

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Jen also got me a couple of other little presents so that I would have something to open since I went to Kohl’s and got the mixer myself. She got me my first Alex & Ani bracelet! Which was perfect because I have a necklace that was my moms that actually matches.

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And knowing my love of all things bulldog,the next present was perfect!

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Holidays are my favorite because my family always gets together and I love being able to spend time with my family.

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It was great that Wade was able to spend Christmas Eve with my family as well!

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Where do you spend your Holidays?

-K

Fall’s not over yet!!

Just because thanksgiving has come and gone doesn’t mean that fall is over. The first day if Winter is December 21st so until then pumpkin is welcome to stay! I had the weekend after thanksgiving off so what else was there to do but bake! And just because I’m still enjoying fall doesn’t mean I’m not super excited for Christmas, so to set the mood I put on a Christmas playlist on spotify!

I baked pumpkin bread and of course what goes better with pumpkin than chai!

Pumpkin Chai Bread

2 cups butter *softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground chai tea
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 15oz can pumpkin
3 cups flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp milk
7 oz chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grind the chai tea in a coffee grinder.

In a large bowl beat the 2 cups of butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds

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Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and the chai mixing until combined

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Add the eggs and the vanilla until combined

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Mix in the pumpkin

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Slowly mix in the four 1/2 cup at a time, I also added 2 Tbsp of milk here as well

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By hand mix in the walnuts

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Divide the mix into two bread pans (I buttered and floured mine which helps the bread come right out of the pan) and sprinkle the top with a little bit of cinnamon and chai.

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Bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours checking every 10 minutes after the first hour. Let cool in the pans for 30 minutes before slicing

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This pumpkin bread is so delicious!

As for my Christmas baking music, Michael Bublé is and will always be my favorite for anything, but I also enjoy She & Him and my most recent find……. Pentatonix version of my favorite Christmas song, little drummer boy!

If you didn’t notice my old school mixer, it’s as old, if not older, that I am and is on its way out. That’s why I’m asking for a nice new beautiful Kitchenaid mixer for Christmas! Kohls has a really good deal going on at least for the next day or two so I’m hoping to get it before Christmas. It sure would help with the Christmas cookie baking! Even with that, I’ll still be sad to see my mixer go, there’s a sentimental attachment that goes with it back to my moms baking 😥

What are you asking for for Christmas?

– K