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.

WHOA! or, How to Bake Letters into a Cake

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Every once in a while, I get to do something really cool and wacky and crazy that makes me feel like a legitimate food blogger (not that we were ever calling that fact into question, but I basically question its legitimacy all the time). Today I’m going to teach you how to bake letters into a cake, though–and I am SO excited to be sharing this fun creation with you guys today!

(I totally apologize in advance for the lack of process photos, by the way: this cake took me 6 hours to test and make–by the time I finished, it was already 2 AM! I’ve included a few, ahem, Snapchat photos that I downloaded at the end of this post, for reference.)

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Have you ever seen photos of cute things baked into other equally cute things? Like this heart baked into a cupcake, or oh my gosh I just Googled the phrase “baked into a cake” and this photo of three whole pies baked into a cake just came up and I kind of want to smoosh my face right into the screen!

Well, a couple of weeks ago I decided it would be a great idea to bake an entire word into a cake. I tried searching for a clear tutorial on how to do this, but ended up having to sort of cobble together my own version of how to accomplish this. One thing to note about this cake is that while it’s a bit of a pain to make, the WOW factor when I sliced in for the big reveal was massive. I’m talking mind-blowing, promotion-garnering levels of impressiveness here!

Other things to note about this cake before you start:

  • Your word will only be “presentable” on one side of the cake, i.e. the letters will appear backwards if sliced along the wrong long side.
Read more

9 Comments

Filed under Cakes & Cupcakes

Easy Mickey Mouse Waffle Iron Omelettes: Guest Post on Neighbor Food Blog!

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Growing up, our house was chock full of Disney paraphernalia: classic Disney VCR tapes here, Ariel candles there, the obligatory Winnie-the-Pooh plushies sitting on top of our piano, right next to my Pochahontas and Lilo & Stitch stuffed collections. In our hallway, there even hung a framed portrait of Mickey Mouse from my mom’s old Disney days that, I later learned, was actually a rather rare reproduction of the same portrait that hung in Walt Disney’s animation office. (Say whaaat?)

Mickey Mouse was such a big part of my childhood, I honestly couldn’t imagine growing up without him and the rest of the Disney crew. That’s why, when my WONDERFUL blogger friend Courtney from Neighbor Food asked if I would guest post on her blog during this exciting time with her adorable baby boy, I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to share. Because let’s be honest: is there anything more emblematic of childhood happiness than this little round-eared, adorable mouse in Waffle Iron Omelette form?

No, I didn’t think so, either 8:) <–those are supposed to be cute Mickey ears on a smiley face, FYI

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I’m sharing the recipe for this Memory Lane breakfast idea over on Courtney’s blog today–so make sure to hop on over and give her (and these ridiculously cute omelettes) some lovin’!

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Hope your day’s as bright a one as these smiley little bites, Courtney and all the rest of you lovely folks!

Ala

 

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Breakfast & Brunch

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RoadTripHacks #CollectiveBias #Vons

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These days, I’d like to sit down for a tete-a-tete with good ol’ Father Time. I don’t know who thought it’d be funny to land us smack dab into the second half of August already (say whaaaaat?), but I sure as heck am not ready for the summer to be over just yet!bet

One big reason is because I haven’t gotten the travel bugs out of my system yet this summer. Between research and work and baking and blogging and attempting to maintain a semblance of a social life, I have definitely come down with a bad case of cabin fever. And that can only ever amount to one thing in my book, the BIG question I ask everyone around me every single day…

Road triiiiiiiiiiiiiip?!?!?

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I don’t know about you, but I’m one huge ball of emotions when it comes to the entire lengthy process of planning a road trip. I’ve basically broken down my 5 Fundamental Emotion-based Stages of Road Tripping to a science. Observe:

Stage 1: The Casual Reference. Almost every road trip begins with a light conversation that may or may not directly relate to roadtripping. At this point, no serious thoughts about actually embarking on a trip are actually entertained. The seeds of thought, however, are sown at this stage. Example:

(Casual conversation, over a cup of Joe at Starbucks)

Me: “I love food.”

Friend: “No way, me too!”

Me: “I hear Seattle has some killer maple glazed donut bars.”

Friend: “That’s so cool! We should totally go sometime.”

Me: “YES! Also, speaking of donuts, we should work on that donut-propelled jetpack that we talked about last week.”

Friend: “TOTALLY.”

While no concrete commitment has been formed, note that the idea of roadtripping has garnered a mutually-recognized level of excitement from all parties involved.… Read more

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Filed under Cookies

Friday Wallflavourites: Edition 29

Imho, hands in my food doesn’t usually = food porn: UNLESS you’re the incredibly talented Tieghan from Half-Baked Harvest, in which case….dang, this 30-Minute Korean Stir-Fried Shishito Pepper Rainbow Veggie Noodles looks freakin’ amazing.

30 Minute Korean Stir Fried Shishito Pepper Rainbow Veggie Noodles with Seared Tuna | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

As usual, when it comes to Cynthia’s photography, I just want to sink my face through my computer screen. These Fig Rose Parfaits are seriously no exception!

fig, rose & almond granola parfaits | two red bowls

 I’m a sucker for cheesecakes–but throw that into an icebox cake, and THEN get an incredible photographer like Kelly on the case and….well, this Strawberry Cheesecake Icebox Cake is a win all around!

Strawberry Cheesecake Icebox Cake makes an easy no-bake dessert &  perfect for sharing with a crowd

I’ve been making s’mores everything all summer now, so it’s no surprise that these Oatmeal S’mores Cookie Bars  were an instant YAS PLEASE on my s’more-dar. Gooey marshmallow, chewy cookie, melty chocolate–do I really need to say more?

Oatmeal Cookie S'mores Bars - these gooey bars are an easy oatmeal cookie bar recipe filled with gooey marshmallow creme and chocolate!!

Finally, I’m a HUGE fan of Yuan Yang iced tea/coffee, which makes me basically obsessed with this Coffee-Tea Ice Cream with Condensed Milk Crumble via Cynthia (again–can that girl do any wrong? The honest answer: nope!):

coffee-tea (hong kong yuanyang) ice cream | two red bowls

In case you missed my latest posts!

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 Twix Millionaire Bars: Flaky, buttery shortbread base, filled with gooey sweet caramel, topped with rich chocolate! You’ll feel like a millionaire eating these bars: what’s not to love?

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup 1--072715

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup: Vegan and gluten-free–the perfect no-fuss way to make delicious dinner in just 30 minutes. You’ll want to hang onto this recipe!

Lemon Curd Raspberry Crumb Bars 6--071815

Lemon Curd Raspberry Bars: The tangy sweetness of lemon curd and raspberry jam collide in a crumb-tastic dessert! Perfect for potlucks.

Bigelow Iced Tea 4--071415

One Tea-riffic Dad: A fun post about my dad’s awesomeness, as told through iced tea!

Grilled Vegetable Veggie Burger Naan-wich 18--071215

Grilled Vegetable and Veggie Burger Naan-wich: This is seriously one of the best things you can make for a vegan-friendly option at your next BBQ. DO IT. The vegetarians (and non-vegetarians) will thank you, I promise!… Read more

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Filed under Uncategorized

Twix Millionaire Bars for a Virtual Baby Shower!

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There are three things I am loving right now. The first is surprises! Because who doesn’t love a good surprise? I know I do.

The second thing is babies. I mean, if you don’t like babies, does that mean you hate puppies and rainbows and unicorns and cupcakes and all things happy and cute, too? Nobody wants to be THAT person. In my mind, it’s safest to just love the cuddly creatures and get on with it <3

The third thing I love is…showers. Don’t get me wrong: the idea of a hot, luxurious bath at the end of a long day sounds as wonderful to me as it does to Julia Roberts’ character in Pretty Woman. But since the idea of stewing in my own juices has always sort of weirded me out – showers it is.

And speaking of showers… Congratulations, you have stumbled across this surprise baby shower for our wonderful blogger friend, Courtney!

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A group of 12 bloggers, including myself, have put our heads together on this lovely day to celebrate the amazing Courtney from Neighbor Food. I met this fantastic lady almost 2 years ago now, back when I was just a wee blogger with bright wide eyes looking for a friend or just a warm smile to welcome me into the big wide world of food blogging. Courtney was so gracious and was one of the rare few who would light up every single blog post of mine with a thoughtful comment, even when the photos were blurry or the writing was crap or my mind was plain jarbled up and my thoughts made zero sense.

In short, Courtney quickly grew to become a wonderful friend.

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Now, with a wee one on the way in just a few short weeks, I’m so excited to be sharing a recipe with all of you today that epitomizes the best of all worlds when it comes to dessert time.… Read more

27 Comments

Filed under Bars

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup (Vegan!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CampbellSavings #CollectiveBias

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup 1--072715

You may find it surprising that, although I am a PhD student in English, there are plenty of commonplace words that I would not be able to define for you. Most recently, I heard a word that I had not heard in a very long time – about four years, actually – and that seemed like a ghostly echo from some long forgotten past.

The word: summer.

Can you please use that word in a sentence? 

“In ancient times, the period between two academic semesters, when occurring during the months of June, July, and August, was known as summer vacation.

“Of course, recent empirical studies conducted by a reputable PhD student in English Literature and her colleagues have demonstrated that the notion of “summer vacation” is purely mythical.”

I’m guessing 90% of you out there know that feeling. As the awesome lady of manners Maggie Smith once famously asked: “Wh-what is a weekend?”

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Summer may be in full swing for most of the educational world, but here in Grad School Land, every minute not spend researching dissertation materials is either spetd worrying about not spending enough time researching dissertation materials, or girding our loins for the Back-to-School teaching curriculum that, lo and behold, is only two months away. Now somebody tell me, WHEN AND HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

And I don’t want to hear any Interstellar jokes, okay?

Just the other day, I was mulling over the prospect of starting another school year and started doodling up a list in my notebook. (Note: I love love love making lists!) After jotting down a few thoughts, I realized what I was writing and scribbled a huge title across the top of the page:

<10 Things I Absolutely Do Not Want to Do After Getting Home from a Long Day at School!> <– “Work” also works.… Read more

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Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian

Lemon Curd Raspberry Crumb Bars for #SundaySupper

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You’d think that with summer vacation finally here and in full swing, I’d find more time to do summery things like frolic through lush fields of berries or buy fresh produce every week from the farmer’s market down the street from us. Instead, in the 4 weeks that have elapsed since my last academic conference, I have done goodness-knows-what with my time: running all of the annoying errands I never bothered to do during the school year, catching up here on the blog, and trying to earn a few extra bucks here and there when I can.

I never understood what all of my aunts meant when they said that they are “ten times busier now that they have retired,” but now I’m starting to get the point. Vacationing is rough, there’s no denying it.

The struggle is real.

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No, I’m kidding–of course, I know I’ve got it good. What is summer vacation anyway? Just a kid’s recess session on the playground of life. In the adult world, there is no recess. In the adult world, there is no nap time (unless you’re in Spain). There is no playground, and there definitely is no such thing as a “summer vacation.”

That being said……….

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“Adulting” (verb: the act of acting like a real, honest-to-goodness, bona fide adult) is actually kind of all kinds of awesome in its own way. Sure, you don’t get official nap time at work–but when you’re working a real job, nobody will stop you from vegging out on your couch watching Netflix for so long that you actually end up falling asleep with your face in the bowl of buttered popcorn (none of this “no butter” nonsense). And okay, maybe our metabolisms work precisely 9.5 times slower than they did five years ago – let’s be honest, it feels good to know that if you’ve had a rough day at work, nothing stands between you and that half-gallon of cookies ‘n cream special edition toffee crunch ice cream sitting in your freezer.… Read more

27 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars

One Tea-rrific Dad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MeAndMyTea #CollectiveBias

Bigelow Iced Tea 2--071415

One of the really cool things about being a blogger is getting to press the Pause button from time to time and write one of those meaningful life reflection posts that have nothing to do with sharing new recipes, posting BBQ photos, or looking gorgeous in the dappled forest sunlight. These posts help me slow down and do some of that major appreciation work that really needs to be done more often around here.

As you’ve probably guessed, today’s appreciation post is dedicated to my dad, that tea-rrific guy who, oh yeah, I forgot to write about on Father’s Day this year. Whoops. So okay, I’m totally making up for it here, too. Double agenda, is that really such a bad thing?

Bigelow Iced Tea 4--071415

There are few things in life that my dad decidedly and dependably loves. Growing up, it was a long and winding road to finding him something that he actually wanted: in recent years, animated films on DVD have become a default choice for special occasions, but the everyday things are still a toughie. For the father of a baking fanatic, he’s definitely the most unenthusiastic sweets eater I know (this fact alone makes me doubt our relationship–birth certificate background check in progress). I’m not even exaggerating when I say that there’s only been one constant all these years (at least as far as I’m aware), and that’s his penchant for iced tea.

When we go out for day trips or extended road trips, my dad will usually be the one to drive while the rest of us knock out in the back seat with our mouths wide open toward the car roof (a less than admirable sleeping trait I acquired from, ahem, somebody parental-like).… Read more

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Filed under Uncategorized

Grilled Vegetable & Veggie Burger Naan-wich

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GrillWithATwist #CollectiveBias

Grilled Vegetable Veggie Burger Naan-wich 18--071215

It’s summer! It’s hot! It’s grill time! It’s summer! It’s hot! It’s grill time! It’s summer! It’s…time for a summer-spired story ♪

As a vegetarian, I never used to be a big fan of grilling. Most of my friends never quite know what to do with me when it comes to the good ol’ summer BBQ: “You’re vegetarian,” they’d say, “but is sausage okay?” or “I know you don’t eat meat, but does fish count?”

These are legitimate questions, since there are a lot of different denominations of “vegetarian” floating around these days. For the record, I’ve been 97% meatless for going on four years now–the 3% I reserve for special cultural occasions in which family is involved, because there are just some traditions I’m not willing to give up. I eat eggs and consume dairy products, but about half of my meals are actually vegan (no meat, eggs, OR dairy), and later this month M & I are going to try a week of veganism together! All in all, I’ve learned a lot over the past few years about sustainable, nutritious eating, and I’m pretty satisfied with how far I’ve been able to come since I first laid my eager paws on Michael Pollan’s wonderful book, In Defense of Food.

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Luckily, as the years have gone by and our friend groups back home have expanded, we’ve introduced a few more vegetarians and vegans into our midst, which means that our gatherings are a lot more dietary-need-conscious nowadays. Most of the time we’ll opt for potlucks so that everyone can bring and enjoy something, which is fantastic because then our spreads end up looking like this:

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So colorful and fresh! I’d like to take partial credit for being a good influence ;)

Since I was traveling a lot and didn’t have much time to prep a dish, I decided to bring a good ol’ everyone-friendly veggie patty from one of my favorite go-tos, MorningStar Farms.… Read more

16 Comments

Filed under Healthy, Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian

Clean Juicing with Green Works!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NaturallyClean #CollectiveBias

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Presidential nominations aren’t the only things getting dirty around here lately (helloooo, Donald Trump! and goodbye, please). If we could all just forget the political circus act for a second and focus on real, hard news, we’d all realize pretty quickly what I’m talking about: yes, it’s the big Mess with a capital M sitting in your kitchen right. Now. 

Okay, so maybe I’m projecting a little bit here. When I’m home for the holidays, my mom is always going on about my inability to keep anything clean: the dishes, the utensils, the countertops. Especially the countertops. And the utensils. And okay, the dishes, too.

Well, if only she could see my shiny clean countertops now. Muahahahaha! Ha…yeah…..

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It’s rare for somebody like me to find cleaning products that I REALLY love. I’m impatient, do things in a rush, and have been so utterly trained to avoid any potentially “harsh” chemical cleaners out there that more often than not, I’ll swipe a napkin over the counters and run for the hills before anyone can call me back to clean them properly.

The hiiiiiiills are alive, with the sound of–oh, okay Mom. I’m back. Shoot. Fiiine.

With the recent reintroduction of my juicer to my kitchen, however–and hooray for admirable self-care goals!–cleaning has been a major, major issue. Fruit juices are drippy, sticky, and ubiquitous, meaning that they’ll cling for dear life on basically any surface on which you do not want them to be.

This is the point at which my heart’s ballad for Green Works‘ newest cleaner, the Pump ‘n Clean, comes in. I was SO excited to learn about it because, as it turns out, it hits everything on my checklist for cleaners: it’s quick, easy, and made with naturally-derived plant & mineral-based products that actually make me kind of excited to have company over in my kitchen again, even after a juicing morning.… Read more

3 Comments

Filed under Healthy, Homemade/DIY, Smoothies, Vegetarian