Sunday, July 7, 2013

Binders of High School VS Binders of College

The other day I was looking for some school supplies that I could re-use my 2nd time around in college, and I found this binder...

My jaw dropped at the treasure I had found!
Man, talk about bringing back memories.  All of my favorite bands from my later High School years are accounted for (Reel Big Fish, Radiohead, Third Eye Blind, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Dave Matthews Band, G Love & Special Sauce, Cake, Ani DiFranco, etc), plus all of my little inner-teenager dream life.

It was magical to run my eyes over this binder that so long ago I took the time & care to make.

So I decided to save this cover (as memories from my past), and on the OTHER side, create one for the Beth of Today / Tomorrow.

And I ended up with this...

It's a little simpler than my High School collage.
A little more organic.
Colorful, but a little calmer.

It's interesting how time and life changes us.  How we are born with our personality, but we eventually grow into the person that we are.  I still have so many qualities in my heart that shine through with that earlier binder cover, and I love every one of them.  They are strange and lovely and quirky, and they make me who I am.  Yes, I've changed a lot (as shown by my new binder cover), but it is all a part of who I am.

And that's pretty awesome!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Gluten-Free Vanilla Pistachio Muffins

Here's another recipe that I made this week since my allergic-to-everything lil' sister has been staying with me.  These turned out SO DELICIOUS!!  

You could easily make this recipe fully vegan by just using an egg substitute (and oil instead of butter).  The original recipe actually called for chai tea bags (they were actually called "Pistachio-Chai Muffins"), but I am one of those weird people that don't like chai.  So I just substituted Vanilla Spice tea instead!  

Vanilla Pistachio Muffins
Gluten-free / Vegan optional
15 minutes prep / total time 30 mins
Makes 12 muffins

1 3/4 cups gluten-free baking flour (I used a blend from Arrowhead Mills - found it at Whole Foods!)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 vanilla tea bags (or black tea, or chai tea - whatever you prefer!)
1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 cup of almond milk blended with about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar - it works the same way! You could do this with soymilk too). 
1/4 cup butter, melted (or oil, if making vegan)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided (I used 1/2 almond extract, 1/2 vanilla - just 'cause I had it!)
1 large egg, lightly beaten (or egg substitute, if making vegan)
Cooking spray
1/3 cup shelled dry-roasted pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp water

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.) Combine flour & next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, and stir with whisk.  Cut open tea bags, and add tea to flour mixture, stirring well.  Make a well in the center of the mixture.  Combine "buttermilk", butter, 1 tsp vanilla (or 1/2 tsp vanilla & 1/2 tsp almond extract) and egg in a bowl, stirring well with whisk.  Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just moist. (My mixture was a little dry, possibly due to the type of flour I used.  I added a few more splashes of almond milk - it should be wet but not thin like pancake batter. I had to scoop it into the cups.)

3.) Place 12 muffin cup liners in muffin cups & coat with cooking spray.  Divide batter evenly between cups. Sprinkle nuts evenly over batter.  Bake at 375 for 15 mins or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (mine took a few minutes longer than this).  Let cool for 5 minutes.
4.) Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/2 tsp vanilla, powdered sugar, and 1 tbsp water, stirring until smooth.  I added a few more chopped pistachios to this mix as well!  Drizzle topping evenly over cooled muffins.

Approx 192 calories per muffin.

Seriously guys, these muffins are crazy good.  Even my sister who is like the pickiest gluten-free person ever, LOVED these!  I served mine with a side of Noosa Honey Yogurt (YUM), and some sliced fruit. 


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Apricot Toast & Tea

The Farmer's Market is back in full-swing again!  
Just walking around you can see all of the beautiful things that are in season right now... and at the moment, apricots are IN! 

I just love apricots.  They have such a beautiful mild flavor, with a gentle complexity.  

I bought some fresh baked bread as well, and some organic salted butter.  And of course some P&G Tips black tea. 

So I enjoyed a lovely, simple breakfast - toast with butter, topped with sliced fresh apricot and a drizzle of local honey.  

And it was quite the heavenly way to start the day.