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It's Fridayyyyyy!!!

What a week, friends, amiright??

And what's with the snow today??  Isn't it supposed to be spring?!  So over it.

But onto more important things, like donuts.  Browned butter baked donuts from Joy the Baker, to be exact.  Because, delicious.

So, since it's Friday and it's snowing, and we needed something to make us feel better about life, I whipped up these bad boys, and glazed them with a light & luscious maple cream cheese glaze.

browned butter donuts from Joy the Baker

No, these are not on my candida detox diet, but I wanted to make them for my coworkers, since, you know, snow and all that crap, so I made them gluten free so I could taste one.  Good god are they delicious.  It's been so long since I've had sugar, so half of one was really plenty for me at this point since I'm not used to the sugar anymore, but I will definitely be making these again in the future.

That's how we're gonna be starting our Friday in the office - donuts.  And copious amounts of coffee.  

Happy Friday, friends!!


Wedding Shower Goodies

We all spend so much time with our coworkers, so it's only right that you have some fun during the day.

In our office, we sometimes have too much fun, but when you become good friends with your coworkers, it's bound to happen.

Last week, we were able to celebrate our friends Angela & Joe's pending nuptuals (they got married this past Saturday - yay!) with a combined work bride/groom shower.  Yes, Ang & Joe both work in our office.  In fact, Joe works on my team and Ang works on my sister's team.

Ang is my baking buddy - she worked at a bakery during college, and makes crazy amazing cakes like this one that she did for another coworker's baby shower.  A.MAY.ZING.  We always seem to find ourselves chatting about opening a bakery one day.   

Oh, to dream.


My sister was in charge of most everything, but a bunch of us chipped in to help out with decorations and baking and buying gifts.

I put my Cricut to work, and made this banner for the event --


Her colors were champagne and black, so I did a cream-ish color with the black background and lettering.

As for baking, I made these little maple cakelettes ---

I didn't make these gluten free (I decided to back off the baked goods...I'd inhaled an entire orange spice pumpkin loaf earlier in the week....), but they were gone in no time, so I'm assuming they were fabulous :-)

Erin brought in these cupcakes for the event --

Wicked cute, amiright?!  

Since we were doing a combo bride/groom shower, we had to have a few things that were more manly, so my sister made these a-freaking-dorable cupcakes ---

OK!!!  And they were chocolate with some sort of Irish cream icing with beer batter or somethingorother.  I don't know.  They looked and smelled beyond delish.  

Here's the dessert table in all its glory -


There were also pumpkin oreo bites which somehow didn't make it into the picture, but they also looked devine.  I'm obsessed with pumpkin this time of year, so I was drooling all over the place when they walked into the door.  


No shower is complete without gifts!  We had a table set up with all the gifts, wrapped all nice and pretty from Bed Bath and Beyond for them both to open --

Yes, that one gift is wrapped in dish towels.  Eco friendly, and a great idea!

It was a team effort, led by my sis & Erin.  We had a great time, and Ang & Joe were extremely grateful.

Now they're in Hawaii, relaxing and drinking passion fruit smoothies.  Heavy on the rum.  And I'm totally jealous.

Ang & Joe - love you guys - I hope your honeymoon is off to a fantastic start!  Enjoy every second :-)  

Much love ~~~


Birthday Brunch

For my birthday (which was two months ago now), my mom wanted all of us (me, my mom, and my sister) to go out to lunch to celebrate, and since it was my birthday I got to choose where to go.

For some reason, this was an exceptionally difficult task for me.  I kept finding all these cool places I wanted to go, but just couldn't make up my mind.  I had almost resorted to going back to a place I'd been before, simply because I was tired of driving myself insane about a friggin restaurant, when I remembered one of my friends had posted pics on Instagram of this place called National Mechanics.


And so we went.  What sold me, you ask?  After weeks of pulling my hair out trying to pick a place?

This is what sold me ~~

Dear God.

You pick the salt that goes around the rim of your glass, then you make your drink with whatever you want from the fixin's bar.

All the glasses had famous Philadelphians on the front.  I think all three of us got Frank Rizzo...but my sis might've gotten someone different.  I can't remember. 


So, so good.

After a beyond delicious brunch, we walked around Center City and did a little shopping.  No trip to the city is complete without going to the Anthropologie in Rittenhouse Square.  It's an old corner house that has the most amazing architecture inside.  I can only imagine what is hiding behind some of their fixtures.

The bottom floor is what was the kitchen, and still has a sink on the side by the fireplace. 


When you're in these old buildings, you always have to look up - you never know what you're gonna see --

If you're ever in Philly on the weekend, you must visit National Mechanics if you're a Bloody Mary fan so you can partake in the make-your-own Bloody Mary bar.  If you're not, go there anyway.  The atmosphere is really cool (visit their website to get the history of the building - it dates back to pre-Civil War and has been numerous things including a bank and a church) and the food is very good.  I highly recommend it.



Cake. | Baking

I've been on a bit of a baking binge lately.

I swore off sugar because I need to stop my cravings, but somehow, cake always ends up coming out of my oven.  It's the weirdest thing.

The other day, I thought, "These blueberries in my fridge look delish.  They'd look even better in a coffee cake." It was pretty much all downhill from there.

This is a recipe I converted from one of my cookbooks to make it gluten free and refined sugar free.  It was outrageously delicious.  I shared a few pieces with a coworker who is also gluten free, and then shoveled the rest into my mouth.

Then, there were cake balls.  Not just any run-of-the-mill cake ball, mind you.  Oh no.

Snickerdoodle cake balls.

They may not look pretty, but they're RIDICULOUSLY delicious.  These I made for the department picnic yesterday, and they were gone in no time.  Best part?  No one knew they were gluten free.  I feel like it's my calling in my baking life to take all these fantastic recipes I have in my cookbooks on my kitchen shelf and convert them to gluten free.  And, if I'm really feeling sassy about it, refined sugar free and dairy free, too.

Last, but not least, there was strawberry shortcake.

Strawberries infused with sugar, making that runny glaze that seeped off the berries and ran down the cake.  Homemade whipped cream that had me licking every last piece of evidence off the beater and spatula.  Good lord there is nothing quite like homemade whipped cream.  This cake was not gluten free (this was also for the department picnic), but next time, it sure as heckfire will be.

It's been quite a while since I've been around, but now you know part of what's been keeping me busy!  I hope to pick up a needle and thread at some point this weekend, since it's been too long since I've done that, too.  

Next week is the big 4th of July holiday!  What's everyone up to??  BBQ's?  Parties?  Fireworks????  


Simple Recipe Cards | Scrapbooking

Hello lovlies :-)  I'm so sorry I've been absent for so long.  It's been kinda hectic in my house lately.

Not to worry, though...that hectic atmosphere has led to a few creative things happening around here, starting with fun recipe cards that I made last week (which you got a glimpse of on Instagram).

Most people have recipe card boxes, which come with cards.  I'm one of those people.  I have all kinds of recipes (most of them related to baking), and keep my box handy on a shelf above my counter.

I had the chance to write down one of my FAV.O.RITE recipes for some friends recently, and decided that they should get something different from the recipe cards I have in my box.

Now, we all know about my rather ridiculous obsession with kraft paper.  Naturally, this had to be part of my recipe card endeavor.  Because,'s awesome....and there really doesn't have to be any other reason than that in my book.

Since with kraft paper, you can do pretty much whatever you want to it, I got out my watermark stamp pad, and a flowery stamp.

I inked the stamp with the watermark inkpad, and stamped only along the edges of the kraft paper.


Since I want these to be used as actual recipe cards, I cut them slightly smaller than 4x6 (you'll see later why) so that, when complete, they'll fit into a standard recipe box with no problem.  You can see my stamping along the edges, which I did totally at random; no rhyme or reason to how I decided to place the stamp.

After stamping the image, I took my heat embossing gun, and dried the ink.  This caused the ink to set just a little bit darker than it would have had I let it dry by itself.

Plus, I'm impatient, and I wanted them to be dry immediately.


This is the part where I had to stop the creative process (which is never a good thing, but for this project, it was necessary) and go handwrite the recipes onto the front of the cards.

Once that was done, I went back up to  my project table, and cut pieces of scrapbook paper for backing for the cards.


You can see in this pic how the heat embosser dried the watermark stamp just a little bit darker than it was in the previous image.

Ta da!  I'm not done yet, though.....shocking, I know.  I have a YourStory machine, which doesn't just bind laminates. 

If you own a label maker, you know the kind of obsessive behavior that comes along with it - you want to label EVERYTHING in your house.  Not just one thing...everything.  Same goes with laminating - I legit have to reign in my compulsion to laminate every gd thing I see..."just because".

Not this time, though.  No one likes their recipe cards to get all mangled and gross from sitting on the counter while you're throwing flour, sugar, eggs, etc. all over the place.  A perfect reason to laminate these - protective coating.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic of the back of the card - the scrapbook paper I used was double-sided, so the back at least had a design on it, even though I left it blank.  I wrote "From the kitchen of," put my name,  sent 'em through to get laminated, tied each one with a pretty ribbon, and gave it away :-) 

There you have it!  Simple, pretty, handmade recipe cards that took (minus the writing of the recipe) about 10 minutes each to complete.  Give it a try next time one of your friends asks for one of your recipes! 

You don't have to use the watermark inkpad like I did, but by using it, you can write over the stamped image if you're pressed for space like I was.  You could do something just as simple as stamping a colored image in one of the corners, and writing all around it.  You can distress the edges.  Anything!  And, if you don't have a way to laminate the cards, no bigs!  There are protective sleeves you can get that are a perfect fit.  It's seriously so simple to make a personalized card like this to give to someone :-)

Much love ~~~


Comfort Food | Baking

Hello lovlies :-)

I haven't posted about baking in a while, since, quite frankly, I haven't done much of it lately.  I baked some cookies for Christmas, but in all honesty, I haven't felt compelled to bake.  Odd, amiright?!  I feel like I dont know me anymore.

Well, last night it snowed, meaning my plans to meet up with friends for happy hour got cancelled, so I thought to myself, "Self.  I think you should maybe use some of the entire banana tree's worth of frozen bananas you have in the freezer."  Now that I think about that, it's kinda sad that I ended up substituting Captain Morgan for baking banana bread.  There is something very, very wrong with this.  Pardon me while I go fix myself a drink....

Ok.  I'm back.  

I've actually been thinking about banana bread ever since I saw a gluten-free recipe posted at King Arthur Flour's website.  

I love KAF.  So much, I took a class there this summer.  I love them even more now.  The baker who developed the recipe I used last night was one of the instructors I had for the class I took.  

The baking started off with these ---


Fun fact: flax meal can be used as an egg replacer.  Mix with water, let it come to a paste, and viola!  Egg replacer!  Full instructions on how to do this are on the back of the flaxmeal box I got from KAF, and I'm sure they're also on the interwebs somewhere, too.

Ok.  So.  Flax meal plus gluten-free all-purpose flour and a bunch of other ingredients, most importantly those frozen bananas that have been hoarding space on my freezer door (and i still have i don't know how many more....ugh....), becomes the most DE.LI.CIOUS batter I've tasted in years. 

No.  I'm serious.  Do you know how godawful most gluten-free batters taste???  It's nothing short of a miracle that what ends up coming out of the oven is in any way palatable.

Moving on.

 Gah.  Seriously.  This batter is insanely delicious.  I was licking the bowl.  Embarrasingly enough...that's not a joke....


For all you gluten-free bakers out there, the pan I used for this bread is not your regular run-of-the-mill 9x5 in loaf pan.  If you've made gluten-free quick breads before, you know they don't behave like those gluten-filled ones.  This pan was a Christmas gift, and is made by my favorite people, KAF, and is slightly shorter in length which allows the bread to rise higher and keep its form.

Mkay.  So, that bad boy went into the oven for about 55 min...and came out looking like this --

Holy hell.  Might be the most moist gluten-free banana bread I've ever made.  Ever.  See those white specks? Unsweetened coconut, my friends.  Unsweetened coconut.

Now, have you ever had this?


As many people can attest, I loathe hazelnut.  The thought of it kinda makes me wanna vom.  Hazelnut coffee?!  Gag me with a fork.  Yet, for some reason, I was compelled to taste nutella one day (i blame the packaging - it looks so inviting, and it says there's cocoa in it...), and I would swear to you there's a secret ingredient not listed on the nutrition panel, that just makes it so friggin addictive you can't.stop.eating.  I contend it's either crack cocaine or black tar heroin.

Anyone else agree?  No?  No one??  (sigh....)

Moving on, then....


I took the crack-filled hazelnut-cocoa spread....I mean.....nutella....and spread it over a particularly thick piece of bread, so thick I really did need that fork.....

....and inhaled it.  So.damn.good.

Wipe off the drool from your keyboard.  It really is THAT good....but let's not make a mess at our computers.

Want the recipe?!  Of course you do!!!  This is the link for the recipe over at KAF's website.  I substituted coconut oil for the vegetable oil, and used dark brown sugar, but other than that, I made no alterations.  

Friggin amazeballs.  Thank you, Amy!!  This is DEFINITELY going to be the only gluten-free banana bread I make from now on!!!!

Alright bakers...what will you be baking this weekend???



Festivals Rock.

Well, Italian festivals, anyway.  ;-)
Especially the St. Anthony's Festival in Wilmington, DE, which is where I was with the fam yesterday.
Good food, good fun (including an amazing accordian player. you guys totes missed out.), and delicious port wine with strawberries.
And, there's always the beautiful church of St. Anthony of Padua...
And the surrounding streets of Wilmington lined with the banners from the city-states of Italy...
All of which made for a pretty good Sunday :-)
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!! 
Much love ~~~
J :-)

The Day is Finally Here!!

Well, everyone, I can FINALLY share with you the madness that has been going on in my house.
My sister's bridal shower was yesterday, and it was a huge success, despite the fact that it POURED rain all daggone day.  All day.  Like, not even a little bitty spritzy rain.  POURED.  
However, that did not stop either of us from wearing our new springy dresses and shoesies for the occasion ;-) (OMG.  Shoes.)
This is me and my lil' sis all gussied up for the event --
That's me on the left, in black, as usual.  Sis is so much more bold with color.  At least my dress has ruffles!  haha!
Today's spotlight will be on the guest book that I made for the event.  Rather than have everyone sign just a regular ol' book to commemorate the day, I decided to have everyone bring a recipe on a 4x6 in recipe card (my OCD went slightly haywire and induced twitching when people brought index cards, but after about 2 or 3 non-recipe cards handed to me, I got over it).  They were either given a dessert, entree, or appetizer (by random selection) in their shower invitation, so Sis didn't end up with 19 Devil's Food cake recipes, 2 chicken dinners, and 15 taco dips.  Also, by having them write out the recipe and sign it, she has something from everyone in their own handwriting, and record of everyone who came to the shower!!!  Yay!!!
This is the front of the book -- 
I used my Cricut to cut out the pot for the window, using my From My Kitchen cartridge (I used this cartridge for the entire book).  The background paper was something I picked up on sale at Michaels...and of course, don't remember the brand.  It was so cute with all the bright colored kitchen utensils & accessories, I just had to pick it up.   The flowers were just something I had to add to liven up the front of the binder.  
I chose a D-ring binder with photo page inserts, because this was the easiest way to make sure Sis could add and subtract pages as she needs them, plus the recipe cards are easily accessable and everything is customizable.
Inside the front cover, I wanted a "title page" of sorts, so this is what I came up with  --
How adorbs is that apron!  Love!  Nothing too fancy -- just enough color & whimsy to make it fun!
Then, after this page, I made separations for each major section.  I didn't make one for seafood or breads, but will have to go back and make these pages since Sis got an heirloom recipe for Irish Soda Bread and a crabcake recipe, but I have time for that ;-)
Here are the pages for the major categories --
The last one is my favorite :-)  Always eat dessert first!  I mean.....
I know it's tough to see in these pics, but if you look closely on the left of the shot, you can see the 4x6 pages with recipe cards already in them.  I had blank ones in some of the slots so she had some of her own, and in case anyone forgot to bring their recipe with them, they could write it down on one of these cards.  Also, on the backs of all these category pages, I put a coordinating patterned page, so the backs weren't just plain, boring white when you turn the page to find a recipe.  
Fun, huh???
Unfortunately, I don't have any snapshots of the book with the recipes which Sis received, but at least you can see the section pages that I made, along with how it's assembled.
For those of you planning a bridal shower, I highly recommend doing this.  My sister was SO excited to have this with all of everyone's favorite recipes, and all the guests were thrilled to pass on their favorites!!
I hope you enjoyed Day 1 of Bridal Shower Madness Week!!!!  Stay tuned -- tomorrow is my post about the giveaways we had!!
Much love ~~~~~
J :-) 

Peace, love, and tofu.

Fear not, dear followers, I'm not turning into a hippie.  Bohemian skirts and patchouli are definitely not my thing.

I do, however, enjoy switching up where I get my protein from, depending on what mood I'm in.  I mean, let's face it, you can only have so much chicken before you turn into one.  Pork has been my go-to meat lately, but every once in a while, I want something a little lighter.

That's where tofu comes in.  It's pretty much tasteless, and absorbs whatever marinade or sauce or whatever you've got going on for the rest of your dish.

Tonight, after an ever-so-exciting painting session (my foyer is done, as is my stairway, just gotta hit the hallway and I'm done!  Woop woop!), I decided tonight was a tofu night.  So, I opened up my Soy Zone book to see if there were any spectacular recipes in there for me to use.  Ok, spectacular might not be the right word, but you get the picture.  Being gluten-free, I try to use Zone recipes as much as possible, since they're naturally gluten free (no breads or pasta on the Zone Diet!), and I'm also trying to refrain from refined sugars.   I've gotten myself off of cow's milk and replaced it with coconut milk (So Delicious is my favorite brand so far, since they make the best coffee cream alternative to actual cream), so getting away from refined sugar will hopefully be just as easy.

BUT, that's a gluten-free, sugar-free post for a different day.  In the meantime, click on the badge on the right side of my blog to head on over to Simply Sugar and Gluten Free for some fanfreakingtastic recipes by Amy Green.  Love her. 

Back to tonight's dinner....

Here's the end result, and then we'll Tarantino it and come back to all the ingredients:


Tofu & veggie kabobs!  Yum!!

First, the marinade, which I altered slightly from Dr. Sears' recipe in the Soy Zone:

1/3 c olive oil
1 T dried thyme
1 T oregano
2 T garlic powder (I actually used 2 cloves of garlic, since I'm apparently out of garlic powder.  No idea how that happened.)
1 t salt
1 t black pepper 

Now, take your veggies (I used eggplant (low on the glycemic index), red pepper, and red onion), and shove them all into a giant bowl.  Pour the marinade you just made all over the veggies, and stir it all up.  Cover, and place in the fridge for approximately 1-2 hours. 

While that's all having fun in the fridge, take your tofu and press it to get all the water out.  If you don't, it'll take foreverandaday to cook.  Then, take kabob sticks and soak them in water.

When it's time to start cooking, take your griddle/cast iron (thanks again, Ange!)/broiler/whatever you've got out, and get it warm over the stove.  Pour olive oil over it once it's warm, so your veggies & tofu don't stick to the pan.  While the oil is warming, take kabob sticks that have been soaked in water and shove all your ingredients on and start grilling! (This would also be a great recipe for summer cookouts on your grill!)  Cook everything until the veggies are tender, then stick 'em on a plate and enjoy!!

I poured homemade marinara over top when I put it all in a plate, just to add a little something. (I'm part I can't help it...marinara sauce or spaghetti gravy goes on just about everything...)


And there you have it!  A delicious, no-frills, gluten-free dinner.

Stay tuned, because tomorrow I'll be whipping up some gluten-free sweet treats for Halloween.  If I have to paint one more wall this week, I may cry, so I'll definitely be doing something different tomorrow on my day off!

Now I'm off to do some stitching while the night is still young!  Be creative! this is turning out pretty cool...

Hellooooooo everyone!!  Just a snippity snap of a post here in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.  I've been working almost non-stop on "16 Men on a Dead Man's Ship" by Cricket Collection, and, I gotta say, the color changes I made have been turning out super duper so far.

If you click on the link of the name of the graph, you'll see a picture of the stitched sample done for the graph...which includes what is, in my opinion, some of the ickiest fabric ever.  Why, WHY would you do a fanfreakingtastic spooky Halloween graph on pea soup green fabric???  Boggles my mind.  BUT, this also allows me to go, "Ah,  no." and pick my own color :-)  For those of you who've been following my progress with this project, you'll know that I picked one of the coolest colors out there for Halloween:  Haunted by Picture this Plus.  So awesome.  Comes second only to PTP's Echo.  For realz.  (for those of you who may be new to my blog, I have a slight love affair with Picture this Plus and Silkweaver fabrics.  Stay tuned for that never ending soap opera.  Well, until abc cancels it, and deems it only worthy for Internet viewers to ensure the failure and eventual forever cancellation.  I digress........)

Ok.  So.  Here's what you've all been waiting progress!



I changed the fiber for the words -- I used Weeks Dye Works "Beehive" instead of drab grey.   Way, way better.  I mean, it's Halloween!  And it's a ghost ship!  This needs to be spooky and creepy!  Not pea soup and kinda spooky.

Yes, my friends.  This is pretty awesome.  The ghost ship is floating on Weeks Dye Works "Aqua" instead of ick green.  I mean, the sea can be green, as noted by Crayola's color, Sea Green, but theirs is way prettier than the pea soup sea green chosen to go along with the ick green fabric.  

I just realized I've been slamming the designer's choice of fabric and fibers through this whole post!  I obviously think this is a really cool design, HOWEVER, since it's a Halloween piece, I think she could have made just a few slight changes to make this a truly spooky piece.  BUT, since she didn't, that means my right brain was able to jump into action and think of alternatives :-)

I mean, come on.  This is pretty daggone cool :-)

That's all I have for the moment, folks, but don't change that dial, because this week will also bring you house updates (yes, I've been doing some changes around here....check out my post from a few months back about the horrors of previous owners and how to restore the aesthetic appeal of your home), gluten-free eats, and maybe some more cross stitch or sewing awesomeness.

Thanks for checking in, everyone!  I read each and every comment, and cherish every one!  Remember to do something creative today!  :-)