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Gee, Gettin’ Down With Gluten-Free

12 Dec

Mudslide Cupcake

A few weeks ago, my dear friend and roommate was dealt a shocking blow – she had developed a gluten allergy. No more pasta, no more bread, and, horror of all horrors, no more beer.

It’s not uncommon for a person to develop a gluten allergy in his or her 20’s, but it means that there are a lot of lifestyle adjustments that need to be made as a result. Luckily, grocery stores and restaurants are well-equipped to serve gluten-free customers these days. Heck – Amazon even has an entire section on their site devoted to gluten-free grocery.

That being said, in the past few weeks, we have learned that the gluten-free life does not equate to the end of the world. Enter soy flour. You won’t find soy flour in the baking aisle at your average grocery store. I had to track it down at our local Whole Foods. Whole Foods has a number of wheat and all purpose flour substitutes that can be used to create gluten-free dishes.

With magical soy flour standing in for regular flour in the recipe, I created gluten-free White Russian cupcakes complete with Kahlua frosting. I topped them off with some festive red and green sprinkles and served them up at our little holiday get-together last Saturday. The delightful alcoholic pastries were enjoyed by gluten-free and non-gluten-free alike. Our first experiment in the world of gluten-free baking was a success!

I’m pretty sure soy flour is going to become a staple item in our pantry from now on…

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Gee, First Aid Kit Cures Opening Band Blues

15 Feb

Most of us have suffered through opening band blues at some point. You head out to see your favorite band perform. Anticipation is high, and you arrive an hour early, general admission ticket clutched in hand, just so you can get as close as physically possible to your musical inspiration. But then…the opening band comes on. You are less than impressed, and the set drags on for what seems like hours. You suck it up and figure it’s the price you pay to get to the epic climax of the night, but you feel slightly bummed and anxious.

Every once in a while, however, you make a harmonious connection with a wonderful gem of an opening act…

The one thing that I love more than seeing one of my favorite artists in concert is falling for the opening band at said concert. When I went to see the magnificent Lykke Li perform at the Buckhead Theatre back in November, I told myself to prepare for the blues and not get my expectations too high for this opening act. I’ve been disappointed a time too many, after all.

The unassuming duo known as “First Aid Kit” waltzed onto the stage with their long locks and hippy spirit to strum out some dreamy and folksy tunes. The melodies were mesmerizingly sweet, but one song in particular struck a chord with me. “Emmylou” hits all the sweet spots of classic American folk music with the lyrics, “I’ll be your Emmylou and I’ll be your June, if you’ll be my Gram and my Johnny, too” (a tribute to the classic couples Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons, and June Carter and Johnny Cash).

After being exposed to this gem of an opening band, I’m not surprised that their new album “The Lion’s Roar” hit number one in their Swedish homeland. Thanks, First Aid Kit, for restoring my faith in opening band potential.

Gee, It Feels Good to Go Retro

31 Jan

You know those songs that dominated the radio during your youth and essentially became part of your life’s soundtrack? You complain about them, but secretly adore them. They are strongly tied to your memories: sugary and sweet, embarrassing yet endearing.

My roommate and I decided to revisit some of those classics the other day. The lyrics are corny, and the beats are pretty basic. But they tug at the heartstrings purely because of the memories that they conjure up.

Cleopatra…comin’ atcha. They fueled my dream to become a pop group superstar. Disney Channel promoted them like crazy, so of course I gave in and bought their album. I had no idea that they were still goin’ strong these days!

Hilary Duff. Oh yes. Let that rain fall down. We made fun of it, but were totally jealous of her when it became the theme song for that show we pretended to hate…Laguna Beach.

We grew up with these silly songs. We loved to hate them, but really just hated to love them like we did.

My advice: indulge in some of those guilty pleasure songs from yesteryear. Dance like a fool with some of your comrades. It feels so horribly good.

Gee, Gingerbread Men Get A Little Tipsy

18 Dec

Fancy red ribbons, delicate lights, tacky sweaters, fresh pine trees…it is truly the most wonderful time of the year. Last night, my roommate Kelsey and I decided to share our cheerful holiday spirit by hosting a Christmas get-together at our apartment.

Christmas Tree

We set up our little tree, hung up the mistletoe, and of course prepared an array of yummy treats. The stars of the evening were the “Drunken Gingerbread Men Cupcakes” prepared with a simple recipe from yummly.com. All you really have to do is prepare cupcakes with a box of spice cake mix and substitute rum for water. We decided to use spiced rum instead of water, and then added a bit of cinnamon for some extra flavor. I personally believe that cinnamon makes (almost) everything taste better. Garnish with mini gingerbread men in various stances and voila!

Drunken Gingerbread Men Cupcakes

These little guys might have to become a new Christmas tradition.