03 July 2014

An Italian's Worst Nightmare

When kicking off 2014, I found out that I was intolerant to gluten and casein (dairy).

Which, if I'm not mistaken, might be an Italian's worst nightmare, am.i.right?

So, there I was, my new year's resolution being handed to me.  A resolution that I didn't even want to have.  I mean, really... couldn't the resolution just have been to exercise more, read a book a month, anything!

And yet, there I was.

At first, I didn't really know what to do.  I went grocery shopping and quickly got frustrated.  Here's what I noticed when shopping:

a. there is gluten and casein in everything (and I mean everything, y'all)
b. oh.my.gosh I can't have cheese anymore
c. why is everything so pricey?
d. what am I going to eat?
e. did I mention no cheese?

After the initial frustration and then subsequent frustrations wore off, I decided that I did need to eventually eat something.

Somehow, I've made it to the beginning of July, and survived.  (Dramatic, much?)  It's been rather hard at times.  I miss eating margherita pizza with the gooey mozz and crispy crust.  Sometimes, when my family is eating ice cream, I'm tempted to grab a spoon and go to town.  (But miraculously, I don't.  Where did this willpower come from?

What I did learn very quickly is that gluten-free baking is a completely different ballgame.  There's various flours, starches, and extra ingredients to include that just aren't in your normal, every day recipe.

Truth be told, I'm a beginner and in the early stages of learning.  But!  I found a recipe that I may be rather excited about.  No kidding - I have found a chocolate chip cookie recipe that is amazing.  If you didn't tell someone these cookies were gluten-free, they wouldn't even know.

So enough with the rambling, on with the baking...

It all started with 2 cups of quinoa being rinsed under cold water in a sieve for 1 min., and then transferred to a baking sheet.  I toasted the quinoa for 12 min. in the oven on 350.

After the quinoa has toasted, you will probably think one (or more) of the following:

f. this does not smell like something I would put in a cookie
g. how is this supposed to be made into flour?
h. maybe my new year's resolution should have been to give up sweets, too...

Don't fear, though!  It gets better, I promise!

Once the quinoa cooled completely, I put the whole 2 cups into my Vitamix and gave it a whirl.  30 seconds later, I had a container full of fluffy, quinoa flour.  Who would have ever thought? 

FYI: I used this blog post by PowerHungry.com to help with making the flour. 
2nd FYI: 2 cups of quinoa = 2+ cups of quinoa flour

Then, I followed this very simple and delicious recipe from Monique at Ambitious Kitchen.  I did follow her extra note about adding the 3/4 c. of coconut, which just so you know, you should, too.  Trust me.

I put the dough into the fridge to chill for 20 min.  Then, I balled the dough, placed each morsel on the cookie sheet, and crossed my fingers that they would actually turn into cookies. 

I've had some bad baking experiences this year; let's just not even go there.

And, guess what?  They did!  They looked like crispy, yet chewy cookies.  Even better, they tasted sweet, gooey, and melt-in-your-mouth amazing.

So, do yourself a favor and try-out this recipe; it will knock your socks off.

Plus, you can tell yourself you're eating quinoa (hello, protein!) for dessert, which makes it instantly healthy.  (doctors and nutritionists may disagree with this - oh.well.)


30 June 2014

Ivy Lane Anniversary

My sister and her husband are celebrating their wedding anniversary soon.  I was inspired by the CTMH paper packet Ivy Lane when creating their card.

Have you ever used the CTMH Make it From Your Heart books to help you complete your projects?  They're wonderful because they give you the template and cutting instructions.  They truly make crafting a breeze!

This is the pattern that I decided to play around with:

I used a scalloped edged card as my base.  I cut the 1.5" sentiment frame using my Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge.  The sentiment was stamped in Hollyhock ink, as well.

A few embellishments were used to give added interest to the card.  I put bronze shimmer tape behind the sentiment.  Then, I added a wooden butterfly by the sentiment.  I placed a small, bronze sparkle on top of of the butterfly, as well.

Easy, quick, and elegant!

29 June 2014

Ocean Inspired Chevrons

If you look around, you're bound to find some sort of chevron pattern; they're everywhere lately!  And, I have gladly jumped on the bandwagon because chevron patterns are so much fun to include in artwork.

This week at Freshly Made Sketches, I was inspired by the following sketch to create a birthday card:

I used a journaling card from the CTMH My Crush Best Day Ever assortment as the background for my card.  These cards don't just have to be used for a My Crush book!  Behind the print, I put a piece of outdoor denim card stock to make it pop off the page.

Instagram photo of My Crush assortment

I glued Sky card stock across the card and then used White Daisy card stock to create a dove tail banner to go over the strip.

I embellished the card using sparkles, a sparkle flourish, and outdoor denim bakers twine.

It was quite an easy card to create! 

Thanks for stopping by!