Archive for May, 2010

Uncooking On Memorial Day

Posted on May 31, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I find it ironic that on the epitome of BBQing and Grilling is when I decide to have another one of my raw-kicks.

I started my morning with a run, which called for prefueling with chocolate. Lindt is obviously not a raw chocolate brand but still tasty, and even non-raw dark chocolate has a good amount of antioxidants. Chomp on 🙂

I only aimed for 9 miles but ended up doing 11 after I got way too in to my new playlist. I think I’ve listened to some songs by Adam Lambert and Sugarland 5+ times over the past few days. Whoops?

All I’ve been craving lately for lunch has been raw salads. We seriously don’t have enough raw veggies in this house to satisfy that! I used half an avocado squirted with lime juice as the “meat” here, and around it added raw corn, lemon garlic marinated olives, and onions caramelized in a little EVOO(obviously not raw but cooked onions taste 1000 times better than raw in my opinion). The result: delicious. This was like some backwards guacamole salad. Loved it!

Zevia Twist

It seems my sweet-tooth, which has been in and out recently is back. A Zevia twist tasted perfect mid-afternoon for a boost. Just like a diet Sierra Mist!

The piece d’ resistance of the afternoon was this Memorial Day sundae. I really want to make a maple walnut flavor ice cream! Along with soooo many others. But since there’s only so much room in our freezer, I took some of the ice cream I made with raw milk and covered it in NH maple taffy and freshly toasted walnuts. Yum! Except whole milk ice cream is just too icy as I’ve found out; you really need half and half to make something decently creamy(or coconut milk at a 2:1 ratio with water for a vegan half and half).

It turned out that I went from being the only one with plans for Memorial Day to being the only one home. How does that happen?! Not going to lie: I was a little upset. But instead I decided to make this a golden opportunity to try a new recipe I’ve been dying to make.

First I snacked on some Crazy Richards chunky pb straight for some energy and got the food processor out.

The recipe I wanted to (not) cook was raw taco meat, so I went straight over to Averie’s blog and found her super simple recipe. Here it is below; I followed it to a T except used her variation of swapping out the spices for predone(Trader Joe’s) taco seasoning.

Averie’s Raw Vegan Taco Nut “Meat”
1/2 C Raw Almonds
1/2 C Walnuts
1/3 C Sun Dried Tomatoes loosely packed (If using oil packed, may slightly reduce amount of olive oil added)
1/2 Tsp Chili Powder (or to taste)
1/4 Tsp Cayenne Powder (or to taste)
2 to 4 Tbsp Olive Oil (or hemp, flax, etc.)
Optional: 1 Tsp Salt (or to taste)

Wow! I’ve never had something so flavorful. And I will be making this again. It certainly wouldn’t suit if all you want is that beef-flavor or meat. But if you’re just looking for something fun and tasty, this totally works. I ate it along a gingerade kombucha and home fries made with white potato, sweet potato, red onion, olive oil, salt and pepper. Of course, really Averie would probably hate this dish because it has about a days worth of sodium in it(and I’m eating it with a salt shaker ready and standing by).

And now I’m watching Knocked Up on TV. I love the movie, but some things are just better done when you have the house to yourself 😉

Where do you go for new recipes? This is something I always get asked by people I cook for. Almost all my recipes come or were derived from blogs, FoodNetwork.com, or Allrecipes.com. Maybe this is a bias crowd to ask this question, but really I have to think this is what the internet is for!

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A “Basic” Brownie Recipe

Posted on May 31, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I come from the line of thinking that you should never make things from a box: Either make it yourself, or buy it from someone who made it themselves. Things just taste better that way, don’t they?

Last night, I had a brownie attack. Don’t we all get those? I used to swear by a recipe like this one by Rachael Ray.I love the tag: “We can’t believe people are still using boxed mixes!” However, since then my “basic” has become anything but. Of course, there’s the gluten thing; I’ve also steered away from using eggs in baked goods for personal reasons. And, while I’m at it, I usually figure why not take out the dairy and make them vegan just in case? In case of what? I have no clue either. But that’s my line of thinking. And so I made brownies as “basic” as I could. And you know what? They turned out darn good. And because they were vegan, I got to lick the pan 😉

Basic Allergen-Friendly Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup GF flour mix
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk(water in a pinch)
  • 1 flax egg(1 tablespoon flaxmeal gelled in 3 tablespoons water)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 oz chopped dark chocolate, or 6 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a big bowl, sift together the first five ingredients. Melt the non-hydrogenated margarine and add in the olive oil, non-dairy milk, vinegar, flax egg, and extract. Pour into the dry mixture and mix until incorporated. Fold in the dark chocolate and pour into an 8×8 baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

When you’re living with allergens, life isn’t simple. Good thing these brownies are. And tasty!

I’m ashamed to say this was store bought vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream. When you get used to the home-churned stuff, it just feels naughty coming from a carton. Regardless, this was soooo good. Isn’t this how every weekend should be? 3-days long and full of brownie sundaes? I think so.

You could use 3 ounces of fancy chocolate for the recipe. Or you could use vegan baking chips and save the good stuff for yourself to eat straight. I think you can guessed what I chose.

And a big ol’ bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and sea salt tasted good after all that chocolate. Sometimes, you just need to detox.

After all that baking/microwaving, I did not feel like much for breakfast this morning. I really wanted a big cake donut and to call it a day but that wasn’t happening. Thankfully, I found this chocolate chip muffin from Gluten Free Life to eat with some earth balance. Just like my brownies, you’d never guess this was gluten-free! And so many chocolate chips. Yum 🙂

Anything exciting on tap for Memorial Day? I had a pool party in store but apparently it’s been rain checked since the pool won’t heat up 😦 Alas, we have a grill, we have neighbors, I’m sure we’ll find some way to spice up Memorial day.

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Marriages Made In Heaven

Posted on May 30, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

News all over Twitter is that there was a marriage made in heaven today for one blogger. Allow me to steal that and totally abuse it for thematic purposes.

I think it’s well documented that me and chocolate have a deep, deep love affair. Would you bet it’s so great that I was willing to run 5 miles down the road for a gluten-free brownie at 11am? The only problem was that the store opened at noon. Whoops! At least I got a good run out of the deal?

Raw Salad Corn Tomatoes Olive

It’s great that raw veggies and Summer salads marry so easily because then I get the best of both worlds. I haven’t liked corn for the longest time, until I tried it raw today thanks to Lauren(who just rocked a Boston half-marathon!). Anyway, raw corn = amazing. It was like adding sugar to the salad and went so well with olives and olive cashew nut cheese. Yum!

Purely Decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Chocolate + Peanut butter. Yes. As much as I want to marry chocolate, I’ll allow it to have its mistress. This has to be one of my favorite ice creams. It’s so perfect, I don’t feel the need at all to try to make it myself. I will just bask in its c+pb perfection.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

If I’m like a married person in anyway, it’s that I’m always over a hot stove. Today, I decided to make my own BBQ sauce! The recipe isn’t perfect or flavorful enough yet, so I’ll keep it in my pocket. But it’s so much fun to make your own condiments, I have to say, you should go out(or in) and try it!

Chobani With Peanut Butter And Local Raw Honey

Is polygamy legal? Because peanut butter totally has a thing going with local raw honey. As it should; Nothing beats the sweet + salty combo in my books. I ate that over a plain Chobani because really lacking on the protein as of late and that definitely helped to be a filler.

There was also an apple consumed before dinner. That is not invited to the wedding. At all. The last few apples I’ve had have just been way too sub-par. I think we need a “break” like Ross and Rachel.

Homemade BBQ Tofu, Sweet Potato Fries

Everything came together perfect for dinner. It was a symphony of tofu marinated in BBQ sauce and grilled along with some salty sweet potato fries. The onions that were in the sauce got strained out but rather than throw them away, I used them as a topping. Brilliant! They were oh-so flavorful. Have I mentioned how much I love onions as of late? I think that’s another (stinky-breath) marriage right there.

Sweet or salty? Even with my abundant love for chocolate and ice cream, I simply couldn’t live without salty food(hello, Indian cuisine!). That’s probably why I’d sooner opt for a bottle of soy sauce than BBQ sauce. I know they make reduced sodium; do they make enhanced sodium?

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Building A Perfect Evening

Posted on May 30, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Movie Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

What would be in your perfect evening? Last night might not have been “perfect” btu, well… I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Whole Foods Salad Bar OptionsFalafals

Eating out? Good. Eating somewhere with a huge array of choices? Better. Trying new and exciting things? Best. I think I want to try to make falafels now, because these were my first taste, and while they were good, they weren’t the best. But that tamarind chutney. WOW. I wish I took note of the ingredients besides onion and raisins because it was amazing.

The Holiday

I have to admit this is one of my favorite movies, so I went ahead and popped it in for the night. I still remember trudging through snow in Boston with friends to see it at the movies. I think it comforts me that Cameron Diaz’s character might just be crazier and more high-strung than me. And if Jack Black can get a girl like Kate Winslet, well there’s hope for everyone.

Gluten-Free Birthday Cake Ice Cream With Chocolate Chips

You haven’t had ice cream until you’ve had homemade. The gluten-free birthday cake didn’t come out quite like I hoped for(probably needs more sugar). But I’d rather have a decent birthday cake flavor that’s gluten-free than an excellent one that’s not. And chocolate chips–of course.

Dark Chocolate With Salted Buttercream

Who says vegan buttercream has to be just for cakes? It tastes just as good on a Newman’s Own Organic‘s 54% dark chocolate bar. I was looking for cream cheese but we didn’t have any. Next thought: buttercream. The day you discover the how to make a really fast buttercream with be the first day of the rest of your life.

2% Fage With Pineapple, Oatmeal With Justin's Nut Butter

And now we’re back to realty… sort of, with oatmeal, Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter(aka, better Nutella butter), and a Fage with pineapple and brown sugar.

Yogurt With Brown Sugar And Pineapple

Pineapple Chobani, eat your heart out.

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Churning The Day Away

Posted on May 29, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I think I’ve found my new hobby

Yesterday, I spent a good portion of my afternoon working on this masterpiece. It was supposed to be vegan white chocolate ice cream, but the white chocolate flavor never really came through :-/ Then again, I don’t think I’ve had any vegan white chocolate ever, so I’m not sure what I was working with to begin with. Anyway, what came out was a delicious Coconut Cocoa Butter flavor.

Today started out very relaxingly with yogurt and raw local honey and some lightly-sweetened peanut butter over oats. Even though the weather was gorgeous, after 9 days of running I was happy to take a rest day because that’s what my body wanted.

Rest day or not, I refuse to give up some morning chocolate 😉 Followed by a good walk. When I got back, I fired up the grill and cooked for everyone.

I think I’ve taken my onion love to new, stink-breath heights. All it took to make these was tossing them in some EVOO and putting them in an aluminum foil pack cooking 5 minutes on each side. Delicious! They went perfectly with a southern style Wildwood burger and some roasted broccoli.

And right afterward, I went back to my new favorite hobby. I made a mix of 3 cups organic half and half, 3/4 cup Bob’s gluten free cake mix, 5 tablespoons Madhava light agave, and some guar gum and poured that into the ice cream maker. Like I learned from this experience, you really need to make the ice cream a good 3-4+ hours before expecting to eat it.

Why not some matching cupcakes? Made with Tropical Tradition‘s coconut oil and a flax egg. Getting that flax chicken to lay an egg on command is tough work! But she clucks one up eventually.

And then, since none of that would be ready for a few hours, I’ve been snacking on a bowl of oatmeal with Justin’s chocolate almond butter and coconut milk for richness–delicious! I think dessert for tonight is pretty much set with my new hobby, wouldn’t you? 😉

Annnd now I’m snacking on one of the cupcakes. Flax, egg–I’ve still got it no matter what I’m cooking with.

What’s your favorite kitchen appliance? I’d say my food processor has some competition now…

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I’ve Never Felt So Guilty

Posted on May 29, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Oh, dear. Oh, dear. How am I going to say this? Growing up Roman Catholic, guilt’s been built in to me from day 1. Seriously, you want to talk about Jewish guilt? Find a Roman Catholic guy, mention his mother, and watch him crumble. I guess the best way to get it out there is just to blurt it out:

I’ve never felt so guilty about using a boxed mix than since becoming a food blogger. Let me try to excuse myself by saying I was really craving chocolate pudding and chocolate avocado pudding was not about to do. Actually, I was craving peanut butter pie; watching Man Vs. Food can really screw you up. But let’s not get in to that. True to my “foodie” nature, I kept some things unique:

Raw milk chocolate pudding, anyone? I know I couldn’t get weirder; I embrace that fact.

Topped with whipped cream and peanut butter fudge topping(peanut butter, whipped cream, and powdered sugar mixed together in a little dish–super simple, super delicious).

There! I feel better getting it off my chest. I did it! It was me! And I’d do it again! And again! And again! He had it coming to him! Lock me up and throw away the key!–Whoops, wrong confession.

Now, make me feel better and tell me what you last felt guilty about?

Maybe you had a bit too many? No worries–this was simply organic limeade in a cup with some salt. Love that saltiness 😉

Maybe too much fried food on a Friday night? Let me tell you: Fried herbs on seared meat is a little bit like heaven, just a little(OK, a lot).

Did you have too much chocolate? If that day ever comes, I’ll let you know; don’t hold your breath. And who ever decided peanut butter and honey? PB & Agave is the way to go.

Did you spend your Friday night watching Man Vs. Food and rocking out to Sugarland and Adam Lambert? Me neither…

Did you raid the fridge for a midnight snack for cold chickpeas? I agree. That would be ridiculous(I heated them up).

Guilty as charged

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Let’s Make That Workout Happen

Posted on May 28, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Let’s face it: When you’re just out there running for fun, it’s a lot easier to get “bored” with running than if you’re motivated by a race, or weight loss, or have some crazy deal where you get paid per mile you run(If I had a deal like that, I’d be out there all day). The truth is it’s just hard to love a tough workout 100% of the time. Here is how I get workout-ready in my morning.

I always start the day with a big breakfast, workout or not. My perfect trifecta is oatmeal for fiberous carbs, peanut butter(cinnamon raisin swirl PB & Co. here) for healthy fat, and greek yogurt for protein. To be completely honest, I don’t love Greek yogurt here always; a lot of days I’d be happiest with 2 huge bowls of oatmeal and nut butter. But greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics and protein. And starting your day with protein has been shown to boost metabolism and curb you late-night hunger. I can certainly scoop some Fage for that.

When I know I’m about to run, I always steal some chocolate from my stash. Call it a bribe; it’s as natural as putting on my shoes. “Rituals” lie this can keep you on a regular exercising route.

Today, my workout motivation as music. I just downloaded Telephone(I know, I’m terribly behind) and Love On The Inside by Sugarland and made a big playlist out of them. I definitely couldn’t have gone so far without that energy pumping through me. For some, it’s music. Other times, it’s whatever’s on the TV at the gym. And, of course, there’s always the beautiful nature of the outdoors. Whatever it is, distractions can be some of the greatest ways to make a cardio workout enjoyable.

Afterwards, it’s important to hydrate. In fact, I plan this beforehand by sticking water and anything else I might want in the fridge and knowing just where it is to grab it to drink while doing stretches. Without stretches, the next workout might not be as enjoyable…

And, of course, you need to refuel. There was a lot of hype last Summer about chocolate milk being the “perfect drink”. Really, what you need is food. Drinking carbs is certainly one way to get energy back in to your system. That just doesn’t fit me, personally. For myself, I made a “dream salad”(as in, I dreamed this up all run long): Spinach, avocado with lemon juice, sauteed onions, and toasted cashews. If this doesn’t work for you, feel free to go back to the chocolate milk.

And it never hurts to have a little more running motivation. Sundae Friday, anyone?

No matter how difficult it is, there is nothing that tastes better than homemade ice cream. Can you see the vanilla bean specks and thick chunks of organic dark chocolate? Maybe I got hit by a car on my run and went to heaven and don’t know it yet.

Flash forward to 2 hours later when I hadn’t sat down at all and realized it was one of those 2-lunch days.  Now I’m relaxing with oatmeal and cashew butter and a pineapple Chobani. Glorious, no? I’ve been trying to churn up a real good dessert. It’s been a battle so far; we’ll see how it comes out tonight. We’ll see…

How do you stay motivated to work out?

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How To Make Ice Cream–Learning From My Mistakes

Posted on May 28, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , |

No matter what it is, I always get things done. Whether I do it the easy way or the hard way, the right way or the wrong way, well… that’s another story.

Last night, I churned this most decadent chocolate chip ice cream. Definitely use premium ingredients when making your own ice cream.

Ingredients like Organic Dark Chocolate and vanilla bean paste. Really, how can you go wrong with these? Well, if you go wrong with every other aspect, you can probably go wrong.

Don’t bother with vegetable gums even when not using egg yolks unless you really know what you’re doing. I added xanthan and guar gums to this, but I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

When there’s a puddle of half-frozen ice cream on your counter, don’t call someone at the store asking for more half and half and hang up with the words “Oh my God, I have to clean this up *click*”.

Don’t get in to a fight when you’re brought back half and half that’s not guaranteed from hormone-free cows when you aren’t even planning to use that night. Certain fights can wait for the morning.

Always mix in ingredients and any alcohol flavorings at the very end since that can inhibit freezing in the machine.

When the ice cream maker is done churning, it’s not ready. Period. I don’t care what an ice cream machine recipe says. You need to shove it in the freezer and you need to manually churn it every 5 minutes for about an hour or it’s never going to come out right.

Don’t take the most unflattering photo in the world of ice cream, unless you’re really hiding a puddle of cream behind you and need to clean that up FAST.

When all else fails, add more chocolate chunks.

And if you get caught eating straight from a bar of bulk baking chocolate, try not to look so guilty and smile for the camera.

And at the end of the night, when all else seems lost, remember this: a microwave is a hell of a lot easier to work than an ice cream maker.

What was your last kitchen disaster?

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When The Weather’s This Perfect

Posted on May 27, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’m so happy for the enthusiasm for my blogiversary. It was definitely fun looking over old posts and old photos; nothing makes you feel better than seeing a picture and thinking “I look so young and fresh here” until you realize it’s 3 1/2 years old 😉

After yesterday hit 91 degrees, and the night was riddled with thunderstorms and showers, the weather today was just perfect. There’s so much can do on a day like today!

I love it when it’s not too hot that chocolate melts. This was mint-flavored carob, but I’d assume it’d melt if it were too hot, too. There is nothing worse than opening up a chocolate bar only to find melted poo.

When it’s this nice out, part of me feels like I could keep going and going. The other part of me(aka, my knees) remembers all too well the 14 miles from yesterday, so there wasn’t much enthusiasm to go any further. Still, this was a dreamy run.

When the weather’s this perfect, grilling is the obvious option, but there are some things that just taste better in a seasoned pan.

I was craving Spanish potatoes and ground beef. This was so simple, too; just potatoes and onion cooked in olive oil with sea salt, paprika, and black pepper, and then grass-fed ground beef cooked through. A little basil just brightens up everything; it’s my favorite herb to add in the Summer.

I couldn’t wait for Sundae Friday this week; I just had to have fun in the kitchen. I used up the last of the vegan blondies and mixed them with snickerdoodle soy ice cream. It was missing something, though…

Rice whip, anyone?! All vegan; all delicious.

When the weather’s this perfect, I think my diet soda addiction kicks back in. Like I said here, even though I went 96 hours without stevia, I still adore it in moderation.Since the weather was so nice, I took a walk around the neighborhood, and made a delicious snack plate upon my return.

A random plate of raw onion, raw broccoli, and 2 slices vegan Hawaiian pizza. I was curious if leftover gluten-free, vegan pizza had that same magical quality as regular leftover pizza. It does.

For dinner, my mom went out with her girlfriends for the night. That used to mean “breakfast for dinner” for the boys, where the breakfast was poptarts. Thankfully, we’ve all grown up a little since then and can make real food.

When the weather’s this perfect, a Summer Salad is the way to go. This was just dressed spinach with homemade chickpeas, raisins, and Daiya. I think I’ve reached my fake-cheese limit for the day.

Do you take your leftover pizza hot or cold? I like to heat it back up and get it to the gooey cheese state.

What do you feel like doing in perfect weather? I’m 90% sure ice cream will be made tonight. I’m just debating between a very classy chocolate chip or a vegan white chocolate flavor…

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1 Year Older, 1 Year… Different

Posted on May 27, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I have to say, I don’t even really remember writing this post 1 year ago tomorrow. I actually started the blog 1 year ago today; I’m not quite sure what happened to the first post but it was nothing special as I remember. I guess it’s fitting that this blog started with a product review, since that’s one thing I’ve done through it all(I still do, too. I’ve just been enjoying a house with a loaded kitchen). But over all that time I can’t say that I’ve really “learned” anything; I’ve simply changed. In a lot of ways.

I’ve updated both my bio on the side bar and my About Me to reflect my latest thoughts. There was a time when I measured out nut butter on oatmeal, and that worked for me. Now, I’m happy plopping it on and not knowing. And in this post, I swore off artificially sweetened yogurts; that sparked 8 or so months of eating how I would call “all-natural”. Honestly, I’m a little over that label. I still probably eat that way 99.9% of the time, but it’s not how I’d label myself. But I realized at the root of everything I’ve done, it’s been in the name of comfort. I think no matter what you do, it needs to be what feels right to you. So that’s where I am now: a comfort eater.

Speaking of comfort, we used to eat pizza as a family probably twice a week in my younger days. It was always from a greasy local joint, never quite good or healthy, and yet we all loved it. Since going gluten-free(another thing different), I really have missed pizza. So yesterday I broke out the gluten-free pizza mix and got to work. The dough tasted like Bertucci’s!(I made it vegan so it was OK to eat the dough ;-))

The ingredients were very basic: we got pizza sauce made fresh at Whole Foods, fresh mozzarella on sale, basil picked from our garden, Daiya, and canned pineapple. Yes, my favorite pizza has always been Hawaiian. 

It came out of the oven perfectly. The dough was a little… doughy, but I realized that was because I cut the whole recipe in half except for the water. Whoops. Half of this was a traditional pizza margarita and half vegan Hawaiian.

My plate had two slices of each, and a salad made with strawberries, yellow onion, and grape tomatoes. Like I said, the crust was a little bit doughy. But besides that this was excellent. I don’t even think anyone knew the pineapple pieces were vegan until I told them.

Of course, some things will never be different.

I still like ice cream. It just happens to be made from coconut milk.

I’ll have my cake and eat it, too. Even better, I can do it without gluten, eggs, or dairy.

And chocolate… how I love my Endangered Species chocolate. The only thing different here is that I’ve elevated my hydrogenated Jif to vanilla peanut butter and other fun flavors by Naturally Nutty.

After 1 year, I never thought I’d be so excited for another and more. I could never pick 1 favorite thing about blogging; I’d have to pick 3. Making friends with other bloggers is huge to me, and I look forward to many more meetups and getting to know new people. Hearing about how I’ve influenced people in any way, shape, or form, big or small always brings a smile to my face. If I can help someone in anyway by just doing my own thing, I’m happy to. And I never, ever take for granted a public platform to embarrass myself, because how will I ever achieve my dream of being a Food Network chef/stand-up comedian/Today Show host/Mythbuster/Adventurer if I can’t take a little criticism.

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