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Gee, Pumpkin Means Love

7 Oct

You know life is good when pumpkin cookie season is in. I accept the end of summer when I bust out my pumpkin chocolate chip cheesecake cookie recipe. I hate to say goodbye to tank tops and pool days, but the sweet aroma of pumpkin makes it all okay. I made my first batch last night and officially made peace with this change in the air.

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To me, pumpkin has always been a smell, a taste, a feeling that soothes my soul. It reminds me of visits to Grandma’s house. I would teeter my way up the path to her homey brick house, trying to crunch as many crisp leaves as possible with my little light up sneakers. I crossed the threshold and ran into her arms, taking in the smell of her delicate floral Grandma aroma intermingling with the warm, cinnamony spice of her fresh pumpkin bread. The ultimate fall afternoon at Grandma’s house: laughter, double solitaire, hugs, games of fetch with Sebastian the dog, and perfectly cooked pumpkin bread, delectable and soft. I always left her house with a little seran wrapped loaf of that autumnal deliciousness…and a warm heart.

Now I have my own pumpkin treat. The recipe is a little bit different, and I’m a little bit taller. But that pumpkin smell will always bring me back to those classic autumn days. That pumpkin smell? That’s love.

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…

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.