Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gluten Free Persimmon Cookies

One of my fondest childhood memories is the huge persimmon tree in the backyard of my parents home.  Whether it was its beautiful Fall leaves that would cover half of the entire yard or the accidental squish on your shoe from stepping in one that had fallen to its dreadful fate, despite how careful we thought we were being!  But our golden retriever was smart and would avoid her bathroom area during persimmon season like the plague to avoid any unnecessary mess.  And one year, we told the neighbor's gardener he could take some and we came back home to a completely stripped tree!!  We asked for a few of his bagfuls back.

It's a funny tree.  For years it would only bloom fruit every other year until this year!  And we have no idea why, but we aren't complaining because this isn't your everyday kind of fruit like an easily accessible apple or pear.  Yes, you can find them in grocery stores when in season (that are perfectly fine to eat and cook with), but they are typically smaller and harder to come by.  So we try to always take advantage of the short few weeks they are ripe and ready to be eaten by the slice or used in bread or cookies.

Gluten free cookies tend to be on the dry side, which is why putting persimmons in your batch make one of the best GF treats.  The entire cup of its pulp that is used in this recipe makes these cookies moist and fluffy!  How often do you hear that about a GF goody?!  And the taste of Fall is prevalent in this dessert with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg that go really well with this apple/tomato like tasting fruit.

What you'll need:

1 cup persimmon pulp
1 stick butter (room temperate)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg (room temperature)
2 1/2 cups GF all purpose flour (I use Trader Joe's)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup walnuts (roughly chopped)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium size bowl, beat together the persimmon, butter, sugar and egg.  Then add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg until completely incorporated.  Fold in the walnuts.  An inch apart, drop about a tablespoon of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cook for about 15 mins or until completely cooked through.  Let cool and eat!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Because of Madalene Etsy Shop

Congratulations to Stacey from De Running Mom for winning the Holiday Wreath Giveaway!  I'll be in touch soon.

I've been in the craft mood lately more than cooking.  Can you tell?  I promise to have a tasty Fall treat on here soon!  But maybe it's because it was Madalene's birthday a couple of weeks ago and I've been inspired by the Craft Queen herself to start creating again.  Unfortunately, I never got to see any of her creations, but my mom was lucky enough to wear the clothes Madalene would make especially for her.     I miss those days where crafts were apart of everyday life, whether it was sewing your own wardrobe, making something for the home, etc.  Things were simpler back then.  Nowadays I have to force myself to get home early from work to make something, anything - keep those juices flowin'!  SO, I've been inspired to create my very own Etsy Shop, where I'll be selling these Raffia Wrapped Holiday Wreaths!  

I think the entrance to your home says a lot about you and what's inside, don't you agree?  Dress up your front door this season with one of these homemade wreaths to create that warm, cozy and welcoming feeling that everyone wants for the upcoming Holidays.  Even if you don't get those lights up on the house this year, at least the front porch will say, "Welcome and Happy Holidays".  This decor makes great gifts for that creative mom, aunt, sister or grandma or makes an equally nice treat for your own home.  Come on over and check them out!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Homemade Holiday Wreath Giveaway

Remember last year's Autumn Wreath?  Well this year I've made a Holiday Wreath that will last all season long.  This raffia wreath is inviting, modern and homemade!  The perfect gift for a loved one or for your own door that will make the entrance to your home feel friendly and inviting for the upcoming Holidays.

And guess what?!  I'm giving it away to one lucky winner.

All you have to do is follow one of the below three tasks or all three for more entries:

- "Like" Because of Madalene on Facebook.
- Follow Because of Madalene on Twitter.
- Follow Because of Madalene on Pinterest.

Leave a comment below letting me know what you've liked or followed and provide your email address so I can contact you.

Giveaway ends this Sunday, Nov 10th.  (only accepting US entries)

Good luck!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pumpkin Succulent Garden

And the winner is...

This fun little Halloween project won for the best Pumpkin Carving Contest at work on Thursday!  Sure it only competed against one other beautifully carved one, but I'd like to hope it could have been a real contender if others participated.  Do you remember last year's?  Because there was so much competition a year ago, I felt I had to boost up my game this year, so I went all out!  Ironically, everyone was more interested in winning the free lunch outing for best group costume contest instead.  So the only cash prize being offered for the day was handed to me.  :)

But I loved how my little whimsical Halloween scene came about and it also turned into a fun decor for the home.  And even though Halloween is over, this versatile potting project could also be done for Thanksgiving by using pilgrim figurines or the winter Holidays by using a white cinderella pumpkin and winter scene houses instead.

And because carved pumpkins only last so long, this garden will have to be transported in the next few days.  But if you have a Thanksgiving or Holiday party coming up, this will make a fun conversation piece for the evening.

What you need:

1 large cinderella pumpkin
Halloween scene decor (1 house, figurines)
purple lights with battery pack (found at Michaels craft store)
mini succulents (found at Home Depot)
potting soil
mini stone pebbles (found at Bed Bath and Beyond)

Carve a very large hole out of the top of your pumpkin, large enough to fit your entire scene.  Clean out the inside.  Use a pumpkin sculpting tool to create the brick-like carvings on the outside wall of the pumpkin.  Cut a rectangular piece out of the top part of the pumpkin for an interior wall.  Add some brick-like carvings to this, too.  Insert three toothpicks into the bottom of your interior wall piece and place into the pumpkin.  This will stabilize the wall.  Fill the pumpkin with potting soil and layer in your Halloween scene and succulents.  Cover any exposed dirt with the pebbles.  Once you're finished potting, water the succulents.  Transfer a few days later into something else once the pumpkin starts to wilt.