GLUTEN FREE SUPER BOWL PARTY

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I’ll admit, I only watch the Super Bowl for three reasons: The halftime show, the commercials, and the food! Even though I have no idea who is playing, I love cooking for a theme and the Super Bowl is no exception! Here are some of my recipes that I think are totally appropriate for the occasion, your husbands’ friends won’t even know they’re gluten free!

Buffalo Quinoa Bites

M&M Monster Cookies

Warm Rosemary Sea Salt Mixed Nuts

Ooey Gooey Mint Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Quinoa Pizza Bites

Sweet Potato Sliders

Jalapeño Poppers

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

BUFFALO QUINOA BITES WITH BLUE CHEESE DIP

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These buffalo quinoa bites are not only the perfect party food for the Super Bowl this Sunday, but they are also gluten free, vegetarian AND much better for you than the fried, messy wings that usually take center stage. I served these at my last party and they were gone as soon as I sat them on the table! If there ever are any left over, you can freeze them and then just pop them in the microwave when you want a snack!

*Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a mini muffin pan.

Blue Cheese Dip:

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup gluten free blue cheese
1 scallion, diced
2 Tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp pepper

Combine above ingredients and refrigerate while you prepare the buffalo bites.

Buffalo Quinoa Bites:

1/4 cup Franks buffalo sauce (plus more for brushing on top)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 egg
3 cups cooked quinoa

Evenly combine the above ingredients, then press the mixture into greased muffin tins (you can fill them to the top, these bites won’t expand), brush the tops with extra Franks sauce and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
Serve with celery and blue cheese dipping sauce. Enjoy!

You May Also Like:

Quinoa Pizza Bites
Jalapeño Poppers
Unstuffed Peppers

HOW TO GROW A BLOG (GUEST POST)

I recently did a guest post for the ladies over at Two Chics and a Blog (check it out here!) and had so much fun collaborating with them that I asked April to do the same for me! After reading their post A Week of Celebration , where they talk about all of the milestones they’ve reached in their first year of blogging (100,000 page views in one year! Come on!), I was dying for advice! I hope you guys find this as helpful as I did:

How to Grow a Blog, Tips from Two Chics and a Blog

“If you build it, they will come.”

Not in the blog world, my friends! Growing a blog is like growing a crop. There are many, many steps to take and seeds planted take some time to take root and begin to grow. Even if you’ve never planted anything or even played Farmville you get the general idea! Everything you do today counts, and it can be discouraging because sometimes you plant “seeds” that you expect to grow big and tall and produce a huge harvest but actually they yield little, tiny results. And sometimes you plant a seed that you expect nothing, but goes viral and grows your blog exponentially.

When we started Two Chics Blog we knew these things. I had been blogging online for many years just as a hobby blogger. I had learned some do’s and dont’s but had not aquired technical blog skills such as HTML or social networking. Quite honestly, we didn’t expect to hit any of the milestones we hit after just one year.

Part of our success is we have two people working on the blog. My blogging partner is our design guru and weight watchers expert. We carry each other, when one is to busy to write, the other goes into posting overdrive. Last year we authored 520 posts, both of us posting nearly every day. This helped us to hit SEO percentages on a variety of topics so search engines could bring us into top search results. On our first year blogiversary, or blog b-day, we hit 100,000 views and 500 Facebook fans!

Our primary source of traffic is from Pinterest. Learning basic “Pinteresting” principles- attractive photos, using titles on photos with watermarks, and promoting your post on Pinterest, will help bring views to your blog. When we implemented Pinterest into our marketing strategy, things really took off!

Google and other search engines are another great source. Before Pinterest we depended on all of our traffic coming from search engines. Because of this, we learned the importance of keywords. Keywords in the title, in headers, and throughout the body of the text. Pro bloggers preach the importance of SEO- there is a reason! There is a nifty little place on Google you can go to search for what is trending, what were the most popular Googled terms of the prior year (handy if it’s only January or February the following year,) and to see what is trending on Twitter. You can often relate what you write about to those things in some way to have the added SEO boost in your post. We have a very popular post on Weight Watchers Chicken Enchiladas. This term is a very popular Google search term. We come up as one of the top searches when this is Googled. It’s always a thrill to Google a search term and see yourself on the first page of Google!

Having straightforward titles is paramount! Cute catchy titles may seem appealing, but you have to think about what people type into a search bar. If you are writing about a red velvet cake recipe and the title of your post is “my favorite cake,” search engines aren’t going to direct anyone to your blog looking for a red velvet cake recipe! Also, be straightforward in your writing and write in a conversational, fun way.

Here is a list of some very basic things you can do to increase your blog views and social media influence

How engaged are you with your followers on social media? What are you doing to improve this?

If you haven’t been writing pinnable posts, start today and go back and make your old posts pinnable!

Market market market your posts! Network on Twitter with people who are in your niche or a similar niche. Make online blog friends.

Tweet and be VERY active on Twitter. Make Twitter friends. If there is a company you want to partner with somehow, become familiar to them. For example, I regularly do Once a Month and Once a Week Cooking. We started tweeting regularly with Once a Month Meals and one of my recipes got featured in their meal plans. This brought a tremendous amount of traffic to our site.

Blog hops!!!! These are a great way to get exposure. We have done countless blog hops and have gained loyal readers from them.

Guest post and invite others to guest post on your blog. Market the guest post yourself on social media. This drives readers to both blogs.

Share responsibilities! If you are blogging with a partner, divide responsibilities. If you are blogging solo, good time management is key. You only have so many hours in a day!

You may be a great writer , but if the work isn’t put into shouting out from the rooftops about your blog, no one will find it. There are hundreds of thousands of blogs started every day. Make yours stand out! Unlike in Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will NOT automatically flock to your blog!

-April

April is one of the writers on Two Chics Blog. Along with her writing partner Crystal, she writes about Weight Watchers, the Paleo diet, exercise, fitness, married life, single life, parenting, products, DIY, recipes, and life in central Kentucky.

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ART DECO NAILS

I feel like if women in the 1930’s could have done this to their nails, it would have been the cats meow! Doesn’t this just remind you of the Chrysler Building?

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DO I HAVE A FOOD ALLERGY?

Do you think you or someone you know might have a food allergy?  Check out my guest post on Two Chics And A Blog for symptoms and more information!

MY NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR AUDITION

Well I didn’t make it but I thought it would be fun to show you my attempt at becoming The Next Food Network Star! Guess they didn’t want a gluten free girl…. This video also shows me making my Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding!

MORNING GLORY MUFFINS

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I have decided that 2014 is the year I do as much for myself as I do for other people; and I’m going to start with my diet.  (Well technically I started with a massage today…) I have always been a fan of making food ahead of time in big batches and freezing it, and in a perfect world I would have time every other week or at least once a month, to make enough food to not even have to worry about breakfast and lunch. I’ve also gone a step further than my ‘meat on the side’ ways, and have been trying to eat vegan as much as possible, I would say I’m vegan about 60% of the time. As much as I would love to do it 100% of the time, I know myself well enough to expect that I would fail at it and be disappointed, I also already have a hard time finding something to eat without completely limiting my diet like that. If you are a gluten free vegan you have all of my respect.

I decided to start with breakfast, after all, it is the most important meal of the day! Not only are these Morning Glory muffins gluten free, vegan and delicious, they’re also perfect to make ahead of time and freeze really well. I was inspired by Kristy’s recipe at Southern In Law, but tweaked it a little bit and added golden raisins, sunflower seeds and made it more of a muffin than baked oatmeal.

Ingredients:

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats (not instant!)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 of a zucchini; grated
  • 1/2 of a large carrot
  • 1 apple; grated (I used granny smith and I didn’t peel it first)
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (plus more for topping)

Grate zucchini, carrot and apple; place in a fine mesh strainer and press until most of the liquid is out.

Mix oats, baking powder, cinnamon, sunflower seeds and raisins in a bowl.

In a separate bowl mix zucchini, carrot, apple, apple sauce, vanilla and almond milk.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and let sit 10 minutes, allowing some of the liquid to absorb.

Add mixture to pre-greased or lined muffin pans, packing it into the pans.  (Optional: top with sunflower seeds and raw sugar for a yummy crunch!)

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

*Allow to cool completely, divide into freezer bags with two muffins in each bag and place in the freezer.  When ready to eat, remove from bag, place on a plate or paper towel and heat for 1-1.5 minutes.  Enjoy!

You May Also Like:

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

 

 

 

 

M.I.A.

Sorry about the lack of posts lately, things got crazy around the holidays, and with my birthday being last Friday, it has been nonstop! I also feel like my brain is frozen since it’s negative 30 degrees here in Ohio with the windchill, so once my brain thaws out and my motivation warms up I’ll have lots of fun updates! Stay Warm!