Easy English Toffee

Spoiler: majorly embarrassing stories ahead……

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Yesterday, over lunch, my friends and I were sharing our best embarrassing stories. You know, the ones that made you blush so hard you thought your face was actually going to combust into a bunch of fiery napalm and set ablaze everyone within 15 square yards of you. We’re not talking the kind of mild embarrassment that happens when you walk in late on the first day of class and get called out by the teacher.

We’re talking stress-dreams-of-getting-caught-stark-naked-in-a-Costco-parking-lot-on-a-Sunday-afternoon kind of embarrassment.

Unfortunately, I’m terrible at calling up examples while they are still relevant (i.e. during conversation), so I didn’t contribute much to our lunch sharing session. I did enjoy a very nice Afghani spinach flatbread, though.

But as it turns out, this is very lucky for you guys, since I’ve decided to spend this Friday sharing a few of my favorites with you! None of which involve unwanted nudity, thank goodness. So without further ado….

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Quite a few years ago at Disneyland, I was waiting in line for the bathroom next to Adventureland. There I was, fiddling with my gray Tigger jacket sleeve, minding my own business, when I suddenly look up and notice an Asian man with short-cropped hair, spectacles, and a rather square jaw standing in front of me.

Of course, I immediately feel embarrassed for the poor man. Can he read English? His unfashionable red sweater and khaki pants tell me he might be a tourist (thank you, vast over-stereotyping), and as we get closer and closer to the front of the line, I start fidgeting. Finally, when I see the “Women’s Restroom” sign passing us by the restroom entrance, I decide I can’t let him go through the agonizing embarrassment of walking into the Women’s restroom by mistake. So I do the worst thing I could possibly do in such a situation: I tap him on the arm.… Read more

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumble Peanut Butter Mousse Parfaits for #SundaySupper

Semi-serious writer’s note: I am currently struggling through a prolonged, increasingly aggravated case of carpal tunnel onset. While I’m doing my best to keep this blog running in the meantime, if I don’t reply right away to your comments or leave comments on your blog, don’t think I don’t care–I do! It’s just this silly problem, so I’ll get back to you as I can :) thanks for reading!

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My first time on a red carpet was at my friend’s Netflix celebration, which took place at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles a few months ago. Sparkly gowns, diamond necklaces, stilettos: the whole shebang.

In my too-big white dress from the clearance rack at Ross, I fit in as well as a dairy cow at a dog show. A big fat one, too.

While it would be awesome to say that I’m completely at home on the red carpet, at big celebrity gigs, or attending all the other events that come along with the entertainment industry, I’m all too happy to sit here at my computer on a slow Saturday night. Black leggings, an oversized swim sweater, and messy hair that hasn’t met a brush in three days–that’s my kind of weekend in a nutshell.

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Of course, networking and big parties play a big part in the entertainment world, which is why I’m slowly working my way up to the big screens. Last week, I made my first TV appearance (!!) on The Price is Right. My family even recorded the episode so I could come home and watch for myself with them. My friends and I appeared a grand total of four times.

…Okay, I actually only made it on three times, since they seated me right at the very edge of the room and the panning camera didn’t even bother with my little dairy cow corner.… Read more

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Friday Wallflavourites: Edition 22

Happy Galentine’s/Valentine’s Day, folks! Whether it’s a table set for friends, for yourself, or for you and a loved one, we all know this weekend needs some sweetening up. Here are some of this week’s tastiest ideas for your dessert table! (By the way, have you entered my giveaway of the Top with Cinnamon cookbook yet?)

These Best Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Brownies via Half Baked Harvest have seriously made my knees go week. And I have the bruises to prove it.

If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m a crazy sucker for anything dippable, peanut buttery, or caramelly. Welcome to ALL OF THOSE THINGS in this Salted Caramel Peanut Butter via Joanne Eats Well with Others!

salted caramel peanut butter

If you’re looking for the perfect V-day heart-shaped dessert, really–look no further! Two Red Bowls has got you covered with these adorable Mini Almond Dorayaki!

red bean & almond dorayaki | two red bowls

 For a really cute giftable snack, you should try out these Vegan Custard Creams via Aimee at Wallflower Girl! Aren’t they just adorable?

Vegan Custard Creams

I don’t usually share my own stuff here (blasphemy and bragging!), but I really DO insist that you check out these Mini Samoas Sticky Toffee Banoffee Donuts because they were so. Darn. Good. And they’re adorable, too. Coconut + chocolate + caramel + banana + donuts = love at first bite!

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Almond Butter & Jelly Granola via A Cookie Named Desire

Best Chocolate Cake via Hip Foodie Mom

Cookies a la Snickers via Deliciously Yum

Decadent Dark Chocolate Chia Pudding via Joyful Healthy Eats

Homemade Jammy Dodgers via What Jessica Baked Next

Korean BBQ Tofu Bowls via Oh My Veggies

Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Pudding via Joanne Eats Well with Others

Ricotta Hotcakes with Honeycomb Butter via Top with Cinnamon

Softbatch Cream Cheese Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies via Averie Cooks

On the blog this week:

Mini Samoas Sticky Toffee Banoffee Donuts

No-Bake Cookie Butter Avalanche Cookies

Funfetti Sugar Cookies

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram for more daily updates of my favorite recipes around the blogosphere!… Read more

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Mini Samoas Sticky Banoffee Cake Donuts {+ topwithcinnamon cookbook giveaway}

Looking for a special, last-minute way to say “I love you” this Valentine’s Day? Check out my selection of baked goods and other treats on Etsy!

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All food bloggers have their obsessions. The lucky ones are obsessed with things like kale, quinoa, and detox smoothies made from a combination of leafy things that should never be placed in a blender together.

What about me? I’m obsessed with donuts, toffee, coconut, salted caramel, dates, coffee, and Top with Cinnamon. So basically, everything that is antithetical to what kale stands for. And today I’m ready to share my obsessions with all of you!

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As part of a blogger-hosted Valentine’s Day Cookbook Giveaway Affair, I’m here to a) spread the Top with Cinnamon gospel, b) give you the chance to win your very own copy of this magnificently published cookbook, c) make you wish you could lick some Mini Samoas Sticky Toffee Banoffee Donuts off your screen, and d) introduce you to a group of the loveliest bloggers who are participating this month!

So let’s get started. You’re going to thank me for this, I promise…

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Have you met Izy? She’s the fabulous blogger from England who possesses some of the finest photography skills in her hemisphere and creates some damn delicious recipes to boot, tons of which are vegan/healthified/gluten-free. As if these weren’t accomplishments enough, the girl is nineteen years old. 

Yes, you read that right: this girl isn’t even two decades along, and she has already turned her food blog into a worldwide phenomenon AND published a freakin’ cookbook. She’s also one of the most hilarious writers in the blogosphere, with a totally down-to-earth sense of humor and humble, self-deprecating, but incredibly engaging set of stories to tell about her fabulous life as a teenage food blogger.

When I was nineteen, the biggest accomplishment I could claim was dragging my sorry behind around and watching reruns of Sailor Moon episodes for 72 hours straight without sleeping.… Read more

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No-Bake Cookie Butter Avalanche Cookies

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So apparently one of my students lives next door to me.

Forgive me if I don’t jump for joy.

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Living next door to any of my students–as you can probably imagine–isn’t exactly my idea of a delightful development. I guess this means I’ll have to actually put on pants now when I open the windows.

Kidding. I’m totally kidding. (Except maybe on laundry day.)

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Though this news has made me self-conscious enough to stop blasting Taylor Swift out the open window at odd hours of the day now, weirdly enough, my first reaction when s/he asked me if I lived in his/her building was to simply laugh.

Sometimes, in the midst of all this labeling and titling and instructing, we forget that our students are every bit as human as we are. We complain (rightly so) that our students think we live in our offices and have nothing to do but answer all their last-minute essay-related emails–but aren’t we teachers guilty of the same thing? I mean, it’s a bit unfair to assume that the only thing our students have going on in their lives is brainstorming, outlining, writing, and revising their 8-page paper on Stuart Little.

(Okay, so maybe that keg of beer they consumed while they were actually supposed to be writing was a bad idea…but seriously, it’s college. When else are they going to get the chance? Certainly not when they “get their act together” and “grow up,” which is what the world always seems so keen on rushing them–and us all!–to do.)

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At the end of the day, I’m actually a bit glad life decided to Punk me with this bizarre, slightly awkward development. It’s a smart reminder that we’re all sort of in the same boat together, even if we’re not exactly operating on the same level.… Read more

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Funfetti Sugar Cookies

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When: Last Thursday. Location: Starbucks Coffee Shop. What: Story material. Lots of it.

If you have spent any time in my company or on my blog, you’ll appreciate how much I love meeting strangers. When I walked into the coffee shop last week for a late-night study sesh, I had no idea what the next four hours had in store for me.

Here’s a spoiler: It’s not a romance story. It’s something much better than that, believe it or not.

It’s a story of humanity.

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The funny part–and my personal favorite part–of the encounter was that it had two outcomes placed literally on either side of me: one directly to my right, the other to my left. The left seat at the counter was empty when I sat down, and I barely glanced at the guy sitting next to me on the right as I unloaded my books. He was immersed in his phone, checking the web while his book (probably a theory text) lay open, ignored, in front of him. At one point over the next hour, I asked him to watch my things while I went to the bathroom; about 30 minutes later, he asked me the same favor while he went to order a coffee and half a banana (I didn’t know until then that you could even buy bananas in halves at coffee shops). I said thank you. He said thank you back.

He didn’t seem like much of a talker.

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An hour or so goes by this way when the door to my left opens. I notice immediately because the wind is chilly and something on the patio outside makes the air smell like unwashed socks. I look up, prepared to pinch my nose at the appearance of some unwelcome stranger, and notice a young guy–probably in his early 20′s–smiling broadly.… Read more

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Vegan Walnut Fudge {Raw + Gluten-Free}

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I know I promised to share “something juicy” with you in Monday’s blog post about these awesome cookies. That just goes to show two things: that a) I probably shouldn’t make promises I don’t have a mind to keep, and b) for future reference, you probably shouldn’t trust me when I say I’m going to tell you something juicy. I didn’t even have time to blend a fruity drink and present it to you as a punny example of my exceptionally dry humor.

So nothin’ juicy today. Just me and this fudge that disappeared in about 30 minutes when I took it to the office this morning…

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The funny thing about this Vegan Walnut Fudge is that it actually turned out to be a total accident and delicious failure–if you can call addictingly healthified fudge a failure. This year it turns out that one of my nicest students is allergic to basically every edible substance known to my kitchen: gluten, soy, dairy, strawberries, grapes, corn, beans, apples–the works.

You can believe that when I heard this news during that first day of classes, I was utterly mortified. That shock, however, soon transformed into a (slightly perverse?) excitement about rising to the challenge. Hold my wine glass and let me roll up my sleeves, Marty-O, because this gal’s about to do a crazy one in the kitchen!

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The intervening weeks have been filled with tons of crazy experimentation, tons of label-checking and Googling, and an unprecedented intimacy with allergy-free and dietary-friendly ingredients I had never touched. Did you know that baking soda is pretty solidly gluten-free, but that some baking powders do contain gluten products? Or that peanut butter can be made with soy? Or that certain brands of powdered sugar also include unexpected additives such as cornstarch?

Because this fudge contains powdered sugar and my student is allergic to corn, I couldn’t very well serve it up, meaning I had spent an entire afternoon carefully dancing around with this recipe for nothing.… Read more

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One-Bowl Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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 This weekend I did nothing. Nothing except go to my first women’s basketball (and Harry Potter themed?!!!) game, drop in with a friend to a grad housing social filled with free veggie rice bowls + orange soda, swim at a club meet, have an epic girls’ night sleepover watching Dirty Dancing (first time!!) + Grease10 Things I Hate About You, annnnd eat dim sum. Also known as dim yum. Also known as say whattttt.

I might have graded a few papers here and there, and done a lesson plan along the way. I dunno, it’s pretty hard to keep track when you’re having this much fun working this hard as a professional baker + blogger grad student.

Dang! Priorities.

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So you’ll need to excuse me if I seem a bit short on time today. Fortunately, 15 minutes were all it took to pull these cookies together from bowl to baked–and since they’re a version of my super popular go-to Idiot-Proof Chocolate Chip Oat Bars recipe, I basically had zilch work lined up for this post. Laziness and extreme fun-having sure have funny ways of turning me into a surprisingly productive person sometimes.One-Bowl Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 10--012615

If you’re hesitating over whether you should try these cookies or not–don’t. Just do it. Seriously, read these comments and you’ll see what I mean about this recipe being universally loved and insanely easy–it really is a dump-fest (as in you dump everything in one big bowl and stir it together) and the results are perfectly crumbly, chewy, and crispy, all at once. And I daresay they were the ONE thing that made this epic weekend of adventures even better than they already were.

Oh! And speaking of epic adventures, stay tuned for my next post, in which I tell you something juicy….

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What are you waiting for?… Read more

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Friday Wallflavourites: Edition 21

It’s a brand new year with brand new obsessions: ice cream, cookie butter, granola…I’m sorry, did I say new? I meant AWESOME.

This Overnight Brioche Cookie Butter & Chocolate Chip French Toast via A Cookie Name Desire is THE way to start a day. Seriously, though. I want to eat the screen right up!

A delicious and decadent brioche cookie butter and chocolate chip French toast

I’ve tried loads of Kelly’s granola recipes and they’re all fab, so this Healthy Cranberry Almond Granola Bar recipe via Life Made Sweeter is sure to be a winner, too!

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And if we’re going to talk brekkie, we might as well delve into uncharted territory with this Sticky Toffee Pudding Pancakes via Top with Cinnamon. (I’ve made her Banoffee Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake before, and OMG.)

My Fave Gluten Free Pancakes (and Sticky Toffee Pudding Pancakes!)

And okay, let’s face it–breakfast isn’t breakfast without booze. So says I, Davy Jones…er, or so says Linda from Brunch with Joy, sharing this Boozy Baked French Toast!

brunchwithjoy_boozy french toast

45 Calorie Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins via Sally’s Baking Addiction

THE Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar via Deliciously Yum

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bagel Bites via Deliciously Yum

Easy Cheese and Roasted Garlic Pull-Apart Bread via Real Food by Dad

Fried Rice Vermicelli Vegetable Fritters via Brunch with Joy

Single-Serving Monkey Bread via Crazy for Crust

Vegan Timbits (Doughnut Holes) via Killer Bunnies Inc.

What’s on your tasting plate this week?

Ala

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Coconut Oil Cranberry Hootycreeks {guest post for Brunch with Joy}

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Linda from Brunch with Joy and I met a few months back through Sunday Supper–she’s one of the loveliest ladies on the planet, and I immediately fell in love with her vibrant blog. Since I began blogging back in 2012, I’ve had the chance to meet so many amazing people like Linda from every nook and cranny of the internet. Today, I’m the lucky gal who’s guest posting on her blog–check it out!

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In today’s post, I’m sharing a very near-and-dear story about one of my closest friends, M. We met in the unlikeliest of circumstances, separated by every continent conceivable and some that probably didn’t even exist yet. It’s a story about friendship, but more importantly it’s a story about how critical it is to remain open-minded in this day and age, when tragic recent events like Charlie Hebdo make us question our belief in one another, in a shared global community.

A word to the wise: don’t stop believing, but don’t be complacent, either.

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Linda is proof that people from such different little corners can find each other and celebrate in the most unexpected places! So visit this lovely lady (which you need to do pronto), read my post, and get the recipe for these absolutely awesome Coconut Oil Cranberry Hootycreeks–in short, get yourself acquainted with her blog here now!

Have stories of unexpected meetings you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Ala

 

 

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