Tuesday, November 12, 2013

We've Moved!

Maintaining two separate blogs got to be a little much, so I've moved The Creative Lion over to Emma Enthused.

Check us out here:


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Nut Free Paleo: Trail Mix

Trail mix is one of my favorite standby snacks.  It's nutritious, full of energy, and mighty tasty.  Crafting a nut-free, (mostly) paleo version has been high on my list.

Here I've used one of my favorite combinations -pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips, and dried apples, and added some other nutritious goodies.  Of course, you can make it however you want, but I mixed (about equal) parts dried cranberries, dried apples, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts (not paleo) and allergy-free chocolate chips (also not paleo).

What's your favorite snack?

Note: all of the seeds shown here carry a label indicating possible cross-contamination.  People with very serious nut allergies may need to look elsewhere for their seed supplies.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Creating My Fears Away

It's safe to say that being diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies was not part of my five-year plan.  Avoiding gluten and other foods to make my tummy and skin happier was one thing, but coming to terms with the fact that I would definitely get knocked off first during the hunger games is another.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chinese Takeout Favor Boxes Tutorial

I knew my graduation party had to have lots of DIY.  One of the first things that was decided upon was that the favors would be m and m "confetti" cookies packaged in bright orange takeout boxes.  Assembling those cute little boxes of goodness turned out to be very easy and very fun.

You start with some cookies.  Actually lots of cookies.  Love is best expressed with a pile of baked goods, right?

Put those cookies (as many as you can fit -five was my magic number) in a sandwich bag.  And assemble your materials (don't forget scissors and double sided tape)!  I used white and orange ribbons for around the box and a big, funky bow for the top. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Preppy Polka Dot Picnic Graduation Party

I graduated college.  It was kind of a big deal.  So we threw a party.  A confetti/polka dot theme indoor picnic.  It was casual, delicious, and full of good fun and food company.  Just the way I like it.  And there were tulips.  Long live tulips.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sneak Peek: Preppy Polka Dot Picnic Graduation Party

What's going on here today: an indoor picnic to celebrate my graduation.  It's low-key, and mostly homemade.  Just the way I like it.  Stay tuned for more pictures tomorrow :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Picture Recipe: Frozen Bananas

Three exciting things happened this past week:

1. I graduated college
2. I am now able to eat Bananas, Almonds, and Lemon
3. Arrested Development is coming back for its third season

To celebrate, I decided to make some frozen chocolate-covered bananas (with various toppings).  Enjoy this picture tutorial so that you can make your own.  Tuning into Arrested Development, frozen banana in hand, prepared to do your own chicken dance?  Perfect, right?

You need the following to make yourself as cool as me ;)

-2 bananas
-.5-.75 oz. chocolate per banana quarter ( went ahead and melted 4 full ounces)
- 2 tbs. butter (per 4 ounces chocolate)
- toppings (walnuts, jimmies, candy bits, peanut butter chips, etc.)
- skewers for each frozen banana

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Felt Tablet Case Tutorial

If you check Etsy out you'll find page after page after page of tablet cases in all shapes, colors, and sizes, but I didn't see one that was just right.  I wanted something colorful, inspiring, and embroidered, so I decided to make my own.  If you want your own embroidered iPad Mini or Kindle Fire cover, take a look at the tutorial! (excuse the bad nighttime photos -we college students have to craft in the dark). 

The first thing you need to do is select your quote.  My favorite poets are Rilke and Hafiz (sometimes spelled Hafez), but Pinterest is a good place to look if you don't have one in mind.  Some of them can be pretty cheesy, but comb through for a bit and you may find gems.  Goodreads.com is another good option.

After you select your quote, gather your materials.  For an iPad Mini or a Kindle Fire, you will need one square of felt for the case (mine were 9x12 inches), plus more felt for decoration, four inches of thin elastic, two buttons, thin lining fabric (if you want), embroidery floss, needles, scissors, and a ruler. 

First, sketch your quote and design out.  Since my quote was "May the Gratitude in my Heart kiss all the Universe" (from Hafiz) I wanted to incorporate both a heart and something starry or sunny into my case.  I did a few drawings to figure out just what I wanted it to look like.  

Once I had it all planned out, I cut a heart out of yellow felt and appliqued it right on.

Continue adding shapes, fancy stitches, and your quote until it looks like your version of this (except taken in better lighting):

Once you have the embroidery part done, it's time to do the assembly.  I used covered buttons and elastic to make two secure closings at the top.  At this point I'd mention that this case could be used for pretty much anything from travel document storage to tea bag carrier to well, anything.

Back to buttons.  My buttons weren't super attractive, so I decided to cover them.  So here's a mini covered button tutorial-in-a-tutorial.  All you need to do is cut a circle of fabric or felt just a little bigger than your button, sew around it in a circle, gather the fabric, and secure it.  Here it is illustrated in four easy steps:  

 You also need to cut your elastic.  I did 2 1.5 inch pieces, but depending on your seam allowance and button size, you may need a little more.  Fold each one over and sew the raw edges together firmly.

To insert the loops, you need to fold the top seam down and snip two small holes in it -one for each elastic loop.  I did mine about an inch and a half in on either side.  Pull your elastic loop through the hole loop edge first.  Sew the raw edge firmly to the INSIDE layer of the top seam. Once they are both attached, sew the top seam down-like a hem.

Sew your buttons on the back where they match up with the elastic loops.  The top of your tablet cover/pouch will now look like this:

Time to add the lining.  This isn't 100% necessary, but I think it makes the final product look more finished.  I picked some snazzy purple fabric to use for mine.  There are two things that are really important here.  The first is making sure you pick a thin fabric so the ipad mini or kindle fire fits in the case.  The other thing is to not cut the lining fabric too big (it will bunch up and not lie right). 

Once you've cut and sewn all the seams, (leaving .5 inches on the top open), slide the lining seam-side first into the pouch. 

Fold the top edges down and match the seam up with the top seam of the felt part of the pouch.  Pin in place like so:

Sew the linings together, making sure to do a nice strong stitch through both of your elastic loops for good measure and to make sure they lie right.  Make sure that your lining lays nice and smooth inside the bag. 

Once you've tucked your lining back in and smoothed it out, your pouch is ready to be put to use!

Don't forget to close the loops ;)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Fruit and Chocolate

I wasn't always a fan of fruit and chocolate.  In fact, I, the kid who would never turn down sugar, would wrinkle my nose at raspberry filled chocolate bars and those foil-covered chocolate oranges that my mom and my nanna shared at Christmastime.

Fast forward to today when my favorite chocolate bar is blackcurrant+hazelnut from Green and Black's, my favorite cake is this to-die for orange, olive oil, and chocolate cake, and today, I made pomegranate, chocolate, and orange muffins.  So far, they're my favorite gluten-free muffins, and their slightly nutty, perfectly muffiny buckwheat base makes them very adaptable.  And they're refined sugar free.  What more could you want from a muffin?

Find out how to make your own after the jump :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Applesauce Cake

For someone who is German-American, a natural-toymaker, and interested in alternative education, being aware of the Waldorf world was pretty much a given.  There are many things that I find really attractive about Waldorf (which I would describe as a life philosophy rather than an education method).  There is a simplicity and rhythm to life, a desire to appreciate nature (including the food production process), and gratitude and celebration for all of life's moments, big and small.  What's better, is that no child is too young to take part. 

So when I saw the charming Waldorf Kindergarten Snack book with it's sweet illustrations, wholesome recipes, and little fun facts, I knew I had to try something.*  I selected applesauce cake, because I really love applesauce.

Check the recipe out below!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How To: Make your Own Beauty Treatments

Honey: Yummy and Good for Skin
Eating and washing healthy are two things that are really important to me.  I make them a priority because my health is important, but even more so because the planet is too.  Sometimes natural beauty fixes don't work (no-poo is NOT for me), but sometimes they do.  I'll try anything once, so I've been through a lot of kooky ideas.  I've kept the best and disregarded the ones that either don't work or take too much time and effort.  I think that's the way life should be ;)

After the jump, see my top five homemade beauty picks!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Soup for the Soul

Today was rough.  By all accounts.  You know those times when you just can't win?  When your to-do list stays undone?  Where everyone needs something?  Where it snows on the first day of April?  Yeah.

So I did what any good cook does.  I made soup.  Last time I was in New York City I stopped into Gluten Free NYC.  While gluten isn't the only thing I can't eat, it is one of the toughest to avoid, so whenever there's an opportunity, I check those offerings out!

Of course, being corn-free, potato-free, yeast-free, and egg yolk-free cuts down on the GF choices, so as cool as this little store was, there wasn't a lot there for me.  I did manage to snag this little bag of organic, fair-trade King Soba buckwheat Ramen noodles.  A little pricey, yes, but not bad for a pack of four imported from the UK.

I cooked them up today with some baby bok choy, chicken broth, and mushroom.  Boring, yes.  But sometimes in a day filled with unpredictable excitement, that's what you need.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pancake Days: Blueberry Sorghum and Hazelnut

The hunt for the perfect gluten free pancake might be nearing completion.  These guys were pretty great: light, puffy, slightly sweet, and THICK.  Don't they look like regular pancakes?  I know!  But they are delicious, fluffy, gluten-free blueberry pancakes!

I've never cooked with sorghum flour before.  I've seen it, but heard somewhere that it's bitter and gross.  WRONG!  I used Bob's Red Mill sweet white sorghum flour and these flapjacks turned out mild-tasting and delicious.  If you want to make your own, check the (very easy) recipe out .

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cooking For Yourself in College

Mmmmm, homemade chococado pudding!
Most people I meet groan jealously when I tell them that I got a meal plan accommodation to cook my own food.  For American college students, avoiding the dining hall or cafeteria is one holy grail of success by which coolness can be measured.  In most cases, your parents are wealthy enough to pay your meal plan and discretionary spending, you're finally a senior or live in the right place, you're studying abroad where there are no dining halls, or you're like me and allergic to enough foods to cause chefs to throw up their hands.  As nice as it may be to avoid overcooked Friday fish and watery iceberg lettuce, cooking for yourself can actually be a hassle and a surprising time commitment.  Busy college students are, well, busy and you may find yourself eating one too many packets of Ramen between practice and student government.  Or even worse, not eating at all.   

If you're an aspiring chef, living with a newly limited diet, or already cook for yourself and feel overwhelmed, check out these tips on how to cook for yourself in college. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Fatherland Tastes Like Curry

Laugenweckle.  I stumbled over the cumbersome names of the rows of soft pastries lining the shelves at Keim’s, but the beautiful, exotic Ingwer, Rosmarin, Basilikum, and Kirkuma rolled off my tongue with languid ease.  The smoky sweet scent of the paprika, the texture of the multicolored peppercorns, and the taste of the free Turkish marshmallow candy always lured me back.               

The front door of the spice store, the one I usually came in, opened into a bright, airy room, painted gold, and stuffed with rugs, plants, masks, baskets, and tiny elephant carvings.  Massive walnut chests and tables held everything from the everyday to the exotic:  Italian seasoning, vanilla sugar, dried chilies, flavored salts like basil-rose and citrus, dried lavender, sage, bright round peppercorns, powdered mango, garam masala, big green cardamom pods, graceful saffron threads, five types of mustard seeds, curries, and anything else you could imagine.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

90% of what I eat comes from two places.  One, I come up with something (Gee, I'd really like breakfast sausage this week!) and then search an appropriate recipes out.  Or two, I come up with something (huh, chicken-cranberry-citrus salad sounds good!).  This one was something I never would have come up with.  Who'd have thought that creamy avocado would be the magic ingredient in both guacamole and pudding?

Not me, that's for sure.  But I'm a convert, and I want to make a believer out of you too.

To make two very generous servings of chocolate avocado pudding:

--1 whole avocado
--1 can coconut milk
--4 tbs (or more or less) cocoa powder
--2 tablespoons (or more or less) honey
--Flavoring: a dash of mint, orange, raspberry, or etc. extract, a tablespoon or two of pb; the list goes on and on.

Blend the avocado and coconut milk until creamy.  Add the cocoa powder and blend until smooth.  Add the honey and blend again.  Mix your flavoring in, if you like.

Serve immediately or chilled.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

If Eating Was a Love Story...

...peanut butter and chocolate would be the protagonists.  Seriously.  And if they were the protagonists, these would be their first steamy makeout scene.  Sweet, delicious, and satisfying -just like the resolution of all that sexual tension.

ahem.  I mean seriously:

Best part of all, they're everything-free (no corn, potatoes, yeast, tree nuts, etc. in sight).  Promise.  Keep reading to learn how to make your own delicious allergy-friendly treats.