Author Archives: wallflourgirl

About wallflourgirl

Hi! I'm Ala, an English grad student who loves to tell stories through half-baked ideas and fully-baked treats. My motto? The plot thickens. Just add cornstarch.

Friday Wallflavourites: Edition 20

{Note: I’m busy in the kitchen these days taking holiday orders from my Etsy bake shop! If you still need holiday gift ideas, order up–ship straight to your home or a friend’s!}

Gingerbread cake is seriously one of the best reasons that the holidays even exist. Take that, and revamp it into a Gingerbread Layer Cake with Salted Whiskey Caramel  like the awesome Izy from Top with Cinnamon did, and you can wave a merry goodbye to all self-restraint.

Gingerbread Layer Cake with Salted Whiskey Caramel

Did I mention that I love gingerbread cakes? For an easy one-bowl fix-all, I’m going to try this Gingerbread Apple Cake via Minimalist Baker!

AMAZING Apple Gingerbread Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting! 1 bowl, easy and SO tasty! #vegan #gingerbread #cake #christmas

My heart nearly stopped when I saw what Kelly had posted this week: more gingerbread cake, please! I wouldn’t pass up this Maple Glazed Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Ginger Oat Streusel via Life Made Sweeter for the world!

Maple Glazed Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Oat Streusel with @HodgsonMill #sponsored Recipe by @LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

And okay…why not? More gingerbread, because apparently I’m obsessed with the stuff. How about some Deep Dark Gingerbread Waffles via Smitten Kitchen?

deep dark gingerbread waffles

Amaretto Coconut Biscotti with Amaretto via Kudos Kitchen by Renee

Apple Pecan Pie Brie via Crazy for Crust

Baked Pears with Warm Tequila Citrus  via Culinary Adventures with Cam

Cinnamon Walnut Stuffed Challah Bread via Completely Delicious

Cranberry Stuffed Oreo Truffles via Life Made Sweeter

Eggnog Sticky Rolls with Maple Bourbon Pecan Filling and Eggnog Glaze via A Cookie Named Desire

Gingerbread Yogurt Pancakes via Joanne Eats Well with Others

Healthy Baked Gingerbread Latte Doughnut via A Cookie Named Desire

Hot Buttered Rum Balls via Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen

Kahlua Bundt Cake via That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Kahlua Hot Chocolate Marshmallows via Bakers Royale

Pull-Apart Wheat Rolls via Anecdotes and Apples

Pumpkin Gnocchi Broccoli Rabe with Smoked Ricotta via Joanne Eats Well with Others

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Hazelnut and Sage via East of Eden Cooking

Rosemary Salted Caramel Linzer Cookies via Two Red Bowls

Rum Glazed Cookie Cream Buns via Ninja Baker

Tiramisu Biscotti via Redhead Baker

Toblerone Crepe Cake via Brunch with Joy

Want more daily updates with my blogger favorites?Read more

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Thick, Puffy Ginger Molasses Sugar Cookies

{a year in Facebook statuses} 

Every once in a while, I stop spamming my feed with #bakerproblems and share something meaningful. Today I’m spreading the holiday joy with these warm, puffy, thick, ginger molasses sugar cookies and a glimpse back at where this year has taken us…

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{December} 

Sitting at Starbucks, I bought a large coffee for a homeless man who was asking for any type of help people could give. As I continued working, I watched him, fascinated, as he limped around outside, cup out but constantly in motion. Then I realized that he was taking napkins and wiping the outside tables dry so people could sit there after the rain; he was also picking up cigarette butts and pieces of trash from the ground all around the coffee shop and throwing them away. There are people sitting outside now at the tables he dried, and there are people walking past his proffered cup on the sidewalk that he cleaned. The things we normally ignore when we’re rushing past with our heads down and our defenses up–try not to take them for granted. You never know what beauty you might miss.

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{December}

There’s a special spot in heaven for bus drivers who wait for you when they see you running to catch your transfer, instead of closing the door in your face and rolling with painstaking slowness away from the curb. Or if there isn’t, there should be. A salute to all nice public transit operators who have ever made life easier for us!

{November}

Instead of becoming a batty old cat lady, I have decided to be that token girl who bakes apple pie cheesecake donuts at 4 AM after watching the world’s worst rom-com on the couch with her stuffed whale and has nobody to share them with except herself. Read more

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Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Rum Cake for #SundaySupper

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BREAKING NEWS: GOOD PEOPLE DO EXIST.

Last Thursday, apparently I lost my wallet. I did not know I lost my wallet. In fact, if I hadn’t received the email from the police department the following afternoon, I probably would not have noticed until I was late for an important meeting and could not find my wallet anywhere. 

But I did not know. So the email was all like, Surprise! We gotz yer wallet! Come an’ get it. Humdiddlydum, Police Guys. 

And I was all: ……….Oh.

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So after somehow muddling on my boots and feeling pretty nervous, I mucked down to the police station where they had my wallet. It’s actually a simple process–thankfully for my mental well-being–and the first thought I had when I got my wallet and opened it up was, Thank GOD, good people DO exist!

Everything was still in it, exactly as I’d left it. The police had taken out my cash and ID to put in a little plastic baggy ostentatiously labeled “EVIDENCE,” but aside from that, all was well with the world. Or at least with my wallet. I almost kissed the police officer in happiness, but I hurried away before I could give in to the impulse and be arrested for unmeditated assault.

Before I left, I asked where and when they had found it, and the officer told me it had been around one of the streets near Trader Joe’s. Somebody had turned it in about 5 minutes after I passed that spot the night before.

I thought back.

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Rum Cake 4--121414

The last place I could remember pulling out my wallet to use was at TJ’s, when I decided to stop by to grab groceries after a nighttime gym run. It was almost closing time, so I was the second-to-last customer in line for the express lane.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes

Mini Peanut Butter Jelly Parfaits {+ My Bakers Box Giveaway!}

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What is your resting face? Do you wear a worried frown or a mild smile or a cheeky grin or–dare I say it–the classic resting bitch face? (No offense meant–some people just have it! And if you’re one of them, it’s totally okay. Seriously.)

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I ask because I like to play something called the Resting Face Game when I’m walking around the town, traveling, en route, etc. It’s the sort of zany social/mind game only somebody like me would play, but the goal is simple: break as many “resting faces” as possible. Is someone frowning? Make them smile! Is that passerby already smiling? Make them grin! Usually this involves making eye contact and doing something silly….like acknowledging the existence of a fellow human being. Sigh. I really am hopeless, aren’t I?

I was walking back home today and counted 4 cases of eye contact + smiles–but I also walked past 3 people who actively stared me down and glared at me, which seems a bit intense, even if it IS finals week (jeepers!). My friend and I compared notes a few weeks ago and we have an average success rate of about 1 in 35 people. What do you do when people pass you by?

As you might easily guess, my resting face is pretty chipper, though as the school year wears on and a bunch of random emotional stuff has come up, I find myself making an increasing effort to keep it up. So that’s the second game I play when I’m too tired to break resting faces (that sounds kind of violent, doesn’t it? Sorry). It’s called the Let’s Smile Because I’m Alive game, and you’d be surprised how many people need to be playing it right at this very moment. Do you?

Baker's Box 1--121214

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If that’s the case, let me help give you a reason to smile!… Read more

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Strawberry Smoothie Cubes {+ 3 Ways to Enjoy Them} for @WilliamsSonoma Smoothie Week

Strawberry Smoothie Cubes 11--120814

Winter is coming!

Here in California, we’ve been saying this for about 11 months now, and winter still has not come. I don’t think it has visited our neck of the woods since about the Ice Age, and even then I suspect it let us off easy.

Strawberry Smoothie Cubes 12--120814

This is lucky because my running shoes have been pounding the pavement quite a bit lately. Yesterday, I did a(n excruciatingly mellow) 13-mile run through Beverly Hills, jogging through posh Museum Row, the highly upscale Rodeo Drive, and making a pit stop at my favorite Harry Potter and Dr. Who-themed store, Whimsic Alley. I even ran a few circles around neighborhoods where celebrity homes are reportedly nestled–I did a Google search for fun and found that the web actually does a surprisingly good job keeping their exact locations Unplottable, probably for the better.

The most exciting creature I encountered was a black cat blinking at me from inside a gated house that looked like a 15th-century Spanish castle–though I did keep pretty good pace when another runner and I kept hitting the same traffic lights….until he turned around at mile 3 after informing me that “that was about as much as he was good for, though being chased by a pretty girl made him wish he could go further.” Don’t we all, chump. Don’t we all.

By the end of my run, I was sweating bullets and infinitely glad I’d donned a sleeveless. I’m not sure my tank top/beach shop attire would stand the 30-below weather some of you are experiencing right now, though. What’s it like in your neck of the woods? Feel free to shame my sun-tanned California bum…

Strawberry Smoothie Pops gif 1

The delay of true winter can only mean one thing around here: smoothie season. When Williams-Sonoma reached out to me asking whether I’d like to participate in their Smoothie Week–and to create the weirdest or most unconventional smoothie I could come up with–of course I was all hands on board!… Read more

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Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Frozen Desserts

Friday Wallflavourites: Edition 19

Congrats to Abby, who won last week’s Peanut Butter & Co. giveaway! We can’t wait to send you your delicious peanut butter!

This Cranberry Cinnamon Roll French Toast via Deliciously Yum just about rocks my world! I don’t know about you guys, but I think I’ve got a tiny bit of room left in my yoga pants to accommodate this… cranberry-cinnamon-roll-french-toast

Thanksgiving leftovers are never in short supply, so why not put that cauliflower to good use with this Cranberry Balsamic Cauliflower Wings recipe via Cupcakes and Kale Chips?

Cranberry Balsamic Glazed Cauliflower Wings are a sweet, savory, sticky appetizer or side dish that everyone from vegans to carnivores will love. Gluten free, too! | cupcakesandkalechips.com

If you’re a flan fan, you’re going to DIE when you see these. Except don’t die. Live and prosper and eat Salted Caramel Pumpkin Flan via Hummingbird High instead!

Jess’s recipe for Gingerbread Cupcakes with Speculoos Buttercream Frosting has everything I need this holiday season. Aren’t these cupcakes cute to boot? via What Jessica Baked Next–this girl is a genius.

gingerbread cupcakes

Need caramel but feel daunted by the idea of making it yourself? I used to feel the same way, but now I’ll be making this easy Microwave Caramel Sauce via That Skinny Chick Can Bake ASAP!

Microwave Caramel Sauce | A terrific hostess or holiday gift!

I am terrified of yeast (that beastly monster), so it’s no wonder I love the idea of these no-yeast Gingerbread Glazed Donuts via Culinary Couture!

Biscoff Chocolate Tart (No-bake) via What Jessica Baked Next

Bourbon Pecan Pie via Brunch with Joy

Caramel Pretzel Bites with Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce via Deliciously Yum

Cheesy Potato Jalapeno Cakes via Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen

Cheesy Pull-Apart Garlic Rolls via Cooking with a Wallflower

Cookie Butter Puppy Chow via Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen

Double Cheese Straws via What Jessica Baked Next

German Egg Liqueur via Magnolia Days

Gingerbread Granola Clusters via Life Made Sweeter

Gooey Honey Blondies via Joanne Eats Well with Others

Overnight Pull-Apart Brioche Cinnamon Roll Bread via Half-Baked Harvest

Pecan Pie Baklava via Crazy for Crust Salty Honey Pie via Annie’s Eats

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Cornbread Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Cranberry via Life Made Sweeter

Raspberry White Chocolate Rugelach Bites via Barbara Bakes

Reindeer Snack Mix via Meal Diva

Turkey Caramlized Onion Risotto via Kimchi Mom

Vegan Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Cream Frosting via Wallflower Girl

Yeasted Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries, Pecans, and Browned Butter via East of Eden Cooking

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{No-Churn} Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream (No-Churn) 3--120214

‘Tis the season to be jolly!

‘Tis the season for being good commercial consumers, voracious listeners of 24/7 holiday music, and hopeless romantics who watch ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas movie marathons while indulging in a giant bowl of homemade pumpkin spice ice cream.

I’m as crazy about the holiday season as the next person. Yes, mass commercialism sucks balls, but unless you’re absolutely determined to be cynical about hot chocolate and fuzzy feelings and hot chocolate and great holiday classics such as Elf or How the Grinch Stole Christmas–and let’s face it, who can be cynical about any of these things?–the holidays rock. Period.

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream (No-Churn) 4--120214

One of my absolute favorite part of the holidays–apart from the food and the movies and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” playing on repeat–is that we get a chance to make up all the things we forgot to do during the other 11 months of the year. This includes small things like gift-giving and thoughtfulness, but it also includes big things like donating clothes to the needy and volunteering at the local soup kitchen. Christmas may have evolved into a corporate sham: but just as “nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent,” the companies have found it impossible to suck the holiday spirit completely dry of its moral prerogative, too.

We all know that one person who gives selflessly and un-self-consciously all year long. Back in college, I had a friend who always stopped for the homeless on the streets. Sometimes he would step out of his way to buy a bag of donuts or a box of takeout and offer that instead of cash, since you don’t need to worry about what someone will do with pre-bought food. He never flinched from a dirty outstretched hand or shied away from a plea for spare change, the way I sometimes do.… Read more

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Filed under Frozen Desserts

Coconut Oil White Chocolate + Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coconut Oil White Chocolate + Chocolate Chip Cookies 1--113014

There are two types of people in this world who can afford to wait around for miracles to change their lives.

Immortals, and dead people.

Coconut Oil White Chocolate + Chocolate Chip Cookies 3--113014

I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t spend the better part of my many daydreams sighing after a miracle to sweep me off my feet. Usually this miracle saunters up in the guise of a tall, gorgeous man with a charming smile and perfectly manicured fingers sweeping through wind-tossed dark bangs, but sometimes it’s a publishing contract for my new YA novel or–if I’ve been watching one too many interviews of The Hunger Games that night–an accidental bumping-into Josh Hutcherson on a local sidestreet.

Most miracles nowadays, however, are manufactured. I always feel like I’m cheating fate when I make my own miracles, sort of like how technology ruins romance for a 21st-century couple that yearns for destiny to bring them back together. Because let’s face it: Serendipity (2001) would never have happened had it taken place 10 years later, because John Cusack would have already Facebook stalked the bejeezus out of Kate Beckinsale’s character before Googling her employment history, contact info, and relationship status. Who needs phone numbers written on dollar bills when you have the internet?

In short, most modern-day miracles suck the fun out of romance. And don’t sit there shaking your head knowingly at me, because even as you read these words you’re secretly toggling to the browser tab that contains every Facebook picture that guy (or girl) you just met yesterday at the airport has ever uploaded. And if you aren’t doing it now, you have done it, or will be doing it, or both. And it’s probably not your first time, either.

Coconut Oil White Chocolate + Chocolate Chip Cookies 6--113014

I hold my own pretty well–better in some cases than in others. Just this Thanksgiving, I was at the airport along with hundreds of other straggling holiday travelers and finally snagged a seat at a crowded table full of disheveled but friendly-looking guys.… Read more

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies Oreo Brownies (Vegan) + PB&Co. Giveaway

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies Brownies 2--112114

Fact: Everyone else’s life looks cooler than yours.

Did you just get a promotion at your accounting firm? Congratulations! Your former classmate just got bumped up to CEO of a high-profile tech company that makes life-saving microchip nanobots.

Also, that dorky kid whom you all made fun of in high school is now happily married with a newborn on the way and wedding pictures that make you want to drown your face in your toilet bowl. Meanwhile you are blasting Hunter Hayes’ “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me” on repeat and devouring a tub of cookie dough ice cream like your life depends on it.

If you’re me, you’re also watching that wonderful 1999 movie “Never Been Kissed” featuring 25-year old journalist Josie Gellar (played by Drew Barrymore opposite the extremely dreamy Michael Vartan) and wondering vaguely to yourself if you’ll feel quite so warmly about this movie when you’ve gotten beyond 25 and are, alas, still very much a chronically romance-challenged Josie Grossie.

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Fact: You are 99.9% convinced everyone else’s life IS cooler than yours.

Fortunately, this “fact” confirms one thing for you: you’re certainly not alone in this feeling. While you’re busy hovering jealously over your friend’s newly published YA novel, somebody else is contemplating whether or not to Like your recent post about your new blog. Maybe they do decide to Like it, and you would never know the full 10 minutes of internal struggle that went into that seemingly simple choice.

Would it seem creepy to Like this, considering I haven’t actually spoken to them in four years? your brain asks in torment. Do I want to endorse their coolness? Would doing so make me feel worse about myself in comparison?

The wonderful Nancy from Gotta Get Baked, for whom I have immense respect and love (she is one amazing cookie), called my attention not too long ago to an article on this very topic.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Creamy Gochujang Peanut Pasta Salad for #SundaySupper

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It feels slightly perverse to be back posting about delicious food and rich baked foods after watching the latest installment of The Hunger Games. We nipped over to a fancy shmancy theater last night to watch it–I actually dressed up as Peeta the baker, using a HIGHLY suspect grimy white apron I tripped over on the sidewalk on my way to buy a white apron from Target (don’t worry, I disinfected it in scalding water!)–and so obviously I come home and have food on the mind. As one would.

I take my cues only from the best: ahem, like JLaw.

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The movie mildly disappointed me, but I wonder if that wasn’t because I’d just spent every waking hour of this past week catching up on everything to do with The Hunger Games: blew through all three books for the first time (I know, I know!), rewatched both film adaptations, struggled emotionally to lead a semblance of a normal life when I wasn’t reading, silently applauded Josh Hutcherson from my couch, and watched every HG interview Google had the good fortune to pass my way.

The pace of this movie matches that of the book: it’s slow, there’s no denying it. That being said, the acting is still grade-A (perhaps I’m mentioning that in the vain hope that somewhere, somehow, one of the talent has stumbled across this post and will give it a big thumbs up), and Josh’s final performance in particular sent tiny cold waves up my spine and right over the nape of my exposed neck. They’ve done a great job bringing the book’s trauma to life, and goodness knows I’m empathizing 110% with Katniss’s confusion about the two boys in her life because #boys.

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At a vastly different level, though, the movie reminded me of issues closer to home: all the nameless faces who wander our local thoroughfares and drag along their hollow stomachs with empty eyes.… Read more

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Filed under Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian