Friday, March 25, 2011

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Balls

Because I can't eat gluten, this cake-bite recipe turned from simple to complicated pretty fast. This recipe makes like 150 cake bites, so unless you're planning on either freezing them for the future or making them for some big party, I'd suggest you cut the recipe in half. Also, for those of you that are concerned about calorie intake, these little puppies are approximately 73 calories per cake bite. Soo an awesome little heart attack :)

Red Velvet Cake (ingredients below)
16 oz. of Cream Cheese Frosting
36 squares of Baker's Premium Chocolate Baking Squares (either white or chocolate)

1. Bake the gluten free red velvet cake
My recipe:

3/4C Vegetable Oil
1 1/2C Sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2C gluten free flour blend (mine: 1C brown rice flour, 1C tapioca flour, 1/2C white rice flour)
1t Baking Soda
1t xanthan gum
1/4t salt
1C buttermilk
1t vanilla
1 oz red food coloring (one bottle of McCormick)
2T cocoa powder

-Cream the oil and sugar together, then add in one egg at a time.
-Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
-Add all the dry ingredients & the buttermilk in. Add them in four parts and alternate between the flour and buttermilk. Make sure to end with the dry ingredients.
-Make a paste with the vanilla, food coloring and cocoa powder, then add that in with the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes in a 9x13 pan

2. Once the cake is completely baked and cooled, crumple it into a big bowl and add in the cream cheese frosting. This is where it gets messy. The frosting needs to be fully mixed in with the cake, so it is best to do it with your hands--kinda just mush it all in.

3. Roll into little balls. Cool little balls for several hours. I just put mine in the freezer for 2 hours, but whatever floats your boat.

4. Melt the chocolate in a saucepan on the stove (there are microwave directions, but I think melting it on a stove is safer). I did it in increments of 12 squares. Then, using a spoon, cover the cake bites fully with the chocolate.

And voala!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2 good 2 be 4 gotten

"But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end."
-William Shakespeare

I am so blessed to have the people in my life that I do. No matter how far apart we are, the relationships that I have with my friends never change. Even though we are all growing up and big changes are going to happen in the next few years, the friendships will always be there.

Life couldn't be better
xo Samantha

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

hello sunshine

"When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused."
-Rainer Maria Rilke

For spring break last week, I was able to spend it in paradise. Newport Beach is absolutely gorgeous. Because of my mom, I have always considered the ocean to be special. According to my mom, the ocean is her therapy. The waves somehow can speak to the soul and can bring clarity and light into a situation that may have been complex or confusing before.

I went with two of my roommates, Bethany and Hailey, Hailey's sister Heather, and also my friend from home, Nicole. We stayed at a Motel 6--I would definitely not recommend it to anyone. Actually, the motel itself was fine. The room was clean, there were pretend hardwood floors (really linoleum), and the beds would have been comfortable. They weren't very comfortable for me, Nicole and Hailey though because we all had to sleep horizontally on the bed so us three could fit. I guess that brings me to why I would not recommend the motel to anyone. When we checked in, we only said we had 4 girls with us. Naturally though, when the management started to see that there was a mysterious fifth girl in the room, we started to get into some trouble. If we ever looked out the window, there would be a man watching us from the main building. One night we had visitors and as soon as they walked in the door, we received a phone call from the front desk telling us that visitors were not allowed. We only got our room cleaned twice during the week, and only because we called down to ask if they could change our sheets. To say the least, they did not like us. Surprisingly though, we did not get any extra fees. So I guess maybe I am being dramatic when I say that I would not recommend it to anyone, because it was really just a big fuss over nothing.

If any of you know me, you'll know that I am a pretty big fan of anything Hollywood related. When I was little, my sites were set on being famous. Since that has obviously not happened for me, I am stuck with just being overly interested in the fabulous lives of celebrities. You can imagine my happiness when Hailey suggested that we go to Hollywood. We were able to see the Hollywood Sign, which it turns out is pretty much impossible to actually access. So at least we got a cute picture with it in the background right?

We also were able to see my absolute idol, Christina Aguilera's star on Hollywood Boulevard. I know, I know, Christina's sorta havin' a hard time right now. But cut her some slack. I'll always be a hardcore fan.

California, I'll be seein' ya soon.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

TV time taken too far

I love TV. I look forward to the time where I get to snuggle up in my bed and watch all of my subscriptions on Hulu on my laptop. I only watch it though after the night is over, so it usually ends up being after midnight. So, after watching two 2-hour shows, all of the sudden it's 2am on a school night and I have to get up at 7:45 the next morning.

The amount of time I waste watching TV embarrasses me, but I can't deny that I love all of the shows that I watch. The series that I follow religiously are:

The Office- 30 min
Private Practice- 60 min
Parks & Recreation- 30 min
Grey's Anatomy- 60 min
Modern Family- 30 min
Off the Map- 60 min
The Bachelor- 120 min
One Tree Hill- 60 min
Glee- 60 min
Mr. Sunshine- 30 min
Survivor- 60 min

If you were too disgusted to even count those, that is 11 TV shows... 10 hours that I am regularly wasting a week. And on top of that, I watch a lot of MTV series, as well, so I guess add on another two hours to that. So that is 12 hours a week that I am not spending doing something worthwhile, like sleeping, doing homework or doing something creative to exercise the right side of my brain.

I didn't just write this post to celebrate TV/be embarrassed of my obsession, I wanted to put another goal into permanent words, inscribed forever within the limitless world wide web. I am going to give up TV for 40 days. Completely, cold turkey, give it up. No more Hulu, no more getting excited to go home so I can catch up on all the DVR'd episodes....just no more! Once I press "publish post," this goal cannot be taken away. I can no longer go back on my promise, and I cannot waver or slip-up.

There are numerous alternatives that I could be utilitizing during those 12 hours, instead of watching TV. I could be...
mastering a new skill
applying myself in my classes
keeping up with all of my homework
going to the gym more
reading a new book
singing more
going outside more and actually experiencing the beauty that Utah offers
taking the time to keep my room clean
reading my scriptures

So, there ya go. Starting Wednesday, March 9th, I will not be watching TV. I'm giving myself a week to prepare for it. The only exception for this goal though is if I am with my family. Because we use TV as a bonding agent sometimes, I don't really count that as me wasting my time. Me hating TV is not the ultimate outcome that I want; but I do hope that once the 40 days are up, I realize how precious every second is. I hope that I will recognize how important those extra hours are, and how much I can better myself by giving up a few of those TV shows that I love so much.

"All that really belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that."
-Baltasar Gracian

Wish me luck!