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.

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

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Vegetarian Tortilla Soup (Vegan!)

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

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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

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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

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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?

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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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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

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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

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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

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Filed under Healthy, Homemade/DIY, Smoothies, Vegetarian

Checkered Red & Blue Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Happy July 4th weekend to my folks in the States! For those of you who aren’t: howdy, and I hope you’re all enjoying the sudden onslaught of all things Red, White, and Blue that’s slamming your feed this week <3 guilty as charged.

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Growing up, I was never a huge fan of July 4th. As a non-meat-eating A/C comfort kind of gal, I just couldn’t see the appeal of a holiday where a) grilled meat popped up EVERYWHERE you turned, b) any and all outdoor activities promised to end in sticky, stinky sweat-bomb baths, and c) national levels of machismo bravado exploded by about tenfold.

And then I became a food blogger, and all of that changed overnight. Suddenly the choruses of the national anthem bellowed proudly overhead as I experimented with 4th of July-themed desserts; all around me, explosions of raspberries and blueberries on white cakes conspired to convert me to the grand old holiday. And hey, I ended up making this Checkered Red & Blue Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for my team this week, so who’s to say it didn’t work, right?

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Ever since my dormmate told me what a checkered cake was in college, I’ve wanted to make one, and this year I thought July 4th was as good an excuse as any for the occasion. While the presentation could use some work, I was blown away by just how easy the process was once I decided to actually follow some instructions. On top of that, the red & blue velvet cake recipe I use here was hands down AMAZING: moist, rich, deep, and completely balanced by the sweet cream cheese frosting I slathered all around it. Trust me, it’s NOT just a chocolate cake or buttermilk cake with food coloring in it: it is so.… Read more

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Filed under Cakes & Cupcakes

Friday Wallflavourites: Edition 28

A quick but BIG thank you to everyone who offered advice, wisdom, and lots of reassurance in response to my last post. You guys are seriously awe-mazing!!! Time to pay it forward by sharing even more link love today…let’s go!

I am such a sucker for breakfast. Okay, I’m a sucker for all meals, really (hobbitses much?), but these Peach Cobbler Pancakes via Life Made Sweeter have convinced me that I want breakfast to last all day longgggggg! Boo-yeah.

Peach Cobbler Pancakes - fluffy pancakes filled with juicy peaches topped with a warm spiced streusel is like having a delicious peach cobbler for breakfast-10

Sometimes my friends will ask me if I “miss eating meat,” to which I will now forevermore reply with this photo of Falafel Burgers with Pepperoncini Salsa via Joanne Eat Wells. Yeah, you’re welcome.

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Have you ever encountered the dreaded “overcooked cakes” disaster in the kitchen? Did I say disaster? I meant MIRACLE. Introducing Cake Spy’s awesome guide to what you can do with those overbaked or flat-out dry cakes! This girl’s a genius, guys. Freakin’ mind-reader.

Well GOOD THING I BOUGHT TWO HEADS OF CAULIFLOWER for no particular reason except that I was craving cauliflower and, oh yeah, see these nachos? Amazing. Get the recipe for Buffalo Ranch Roasted Cauliflower “Nachos” via The Wicked Noodle!

Buffalo Ranch Roasted Cauliflower "Nachos" - Roasted cauliflower with ranch dressing, fresh corn, shredded chicken and a hearty drizzle of buffalo sauce and a little more ranch. Get your veggies the delicious way! You can also make the Ranch Roasted Cauliflower on its own - so good!

And finally, you’re going to love these 5 No-Churn Ice Cream recipes via Half-Baked Harvest. Please excuse me while I wipe the spittle off my keyboard…..yeahhh okay, done. Oops. Nope. Not done, apparently…

No Churn Ice Cream 5 Ways | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

In case you missed it on Wallflour Girl this week:

Extra Easy Hummus

Post-Exam Life: A Rosy Smorgasbord of Updates!

Graham Cracker Crumb Cheesecake Bars

Other recipes I’m loving!

Baked Cauliflower Manchurian via Oh My Veggies

Cherry Peach Dump Cake via Crazy for Crust

Coffee Cake Donuts via Chef-in-Training

Cookie Dough Blizzard via Buns in My Oven

Hungarian Style Cold Cherry Soup via Kitchen Riffs

Mac ‘n Cheese Waffles via I am a Food Blog

My Favorite Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies via Runnin Srilankin

No-Churn Blackberry Chip Ice Cream via How Sweet Eats

Samosa Potato Cakes with Green Chutney via Minimalist Baker

S’more Ice Cream Sandwiches via Chef-in-Training

S’moreo French Silk Pie via The Spiffy Cookie

Strawberries ‘n Cream Miniature Chiffon Cake via Two Red Bowls

Strawberries ‘n Cream Shortbread Sandwiches via What Jessica Baked Next

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars via Life Made Sweeter

Vegetarian Tofu Bahn Mi with Spicy Peanut Sauce via Joanne Eats Well

What’s making you drool this week?… Read more

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Extra Easy Hummus

The following post has nothing to do with hummus, and it certainly isn’t “extra easy” for me to talk about. I’ll share the recipe for this hummus at the bottom of the post, as usual, so feel free to skip the rest and scroll down if you’re looking for it. If, however, you read on and have any insight to share, please do. Writing from a dark place, I could use the perspective right now.

(Edit: I am SO sorry about the timing of this post. I was writing it from a musty hotel room over the weekend and it honestly didn’t even occur to me that it was Father’s Day until the post went live. I love my daddy to bits and I hope to write him a proper post of appreciation later this week :) until then, these are some immediate thoughts that I hope won’t be a damper. But I’d still love to hear your thoughts ASAP!)

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In recent years, I have learned the hard way that trust is not something that stands on a solid foundation built from words, assurances, contrition, or even years of trust-building. Instead, it teeters at the edge of a narrow, misshapen precipice, whose sharp point inexplicably–perhaps even miraculously–holds up the imbalanced weight that it bears, so that it seems always on the verge of toppling when the breeze of Doubt blows by–as Doubt will, on some sad occasions with more pertinacity than others.

With parents in particular, this precipice is a tricky one to travel, and one always has the feeling that a misstep will not only cause the entire structure of trust to crumble, but to cast one into a dark void of purposelessness and intense self-hatred that cannot be occasioned by anyone else. Those of us who are lucky enough to have loving parents know that we are born into a system of trust–that we begin, essentially, possessing one or more other beings’ trust without having earned a shred of it, unless you count the act of being genetically (or adoptively) related to someone “earning.” With every subsequent human encounter in our lives, we work hard to foster and maintain that trust–but a parent-child relationship is, for better or for worse, one that begins with a blind willingness to believe in someone we have only just come to know.… Read more

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Filed under Appetizers, Dips/Spreads, Healthy, Homemade/DIY, Lunch & Dinner, Snacks, Vegetarian

post-exam life: a rosy smorgasbord of updates!

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(Warning: crappy phone-quality photos ahead! Updates in raw stream-of-consciousness.)

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So in my last post, I promised to tell you all about the pre-exam procrastination and post-exam celebrations that have been happening since last Monday, when I was duly locked in a room with my dissertation committee to talk about a document that honestly needs to be reappropriated as kindling. I was so drained from writing that all I wanted to do once I finished was flop down on my couch and watch an entire lifetime’s worth of Gilmore Girls on Netflix while devouring a family-size pack of cookies ‘n cream ice cream.

Thankfully, I did not do any of those things (though I was amused to find that I gained five pounds during the eleven days between my proposal submission and exam–my sugar-dazed memory seems to recall singlehandedly plowing through two jars of cookie butter and a substantial number of these cookies). However, I did have a lot of fun, both before and after the exam, doing all sorts of things that have been on my grad school bucket list. I am still incredibly tired, though, hence the lack of a real post & recipe today–but I hope you enjoy this recap anyway! Here are just a few things that happened this month:

1. Attending to the wedding of a younger family member.

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Okay, I’m totally kidding–this one is by no stretch of the imagination at the top of my bucket list, mainly because it feels like the biggest faux pas from a Jane Austen novel being relived right under my nose. (Does everyone remember that famous scene where a scandalized Catherine de Bourgh balks at the fact that Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are all “out” in society before their eldest sister is married? Yeah, that’s how I feel right now.)

But it was still really fun to go home for all of two seconds (more on that in a second) and see all of my family, not to mention goof off with my other cousins while the ceremony/lunch were happening.… Read more

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