a gluten-free birthday.

are you guys ready for yet another family birthday post? i know you’re up for it. yesterday marked the end of hooley family birthday season, while zauner family birthday season starts later this summer. woo! and if you’re keeping count, you’ll know that yesterday belonged to my brother patrick (but we call him patyick).


my baby brother turned twenty-five yesterday. you’ll notice i didn’t say little brother, because he has literally never been smaller than me. we are only thirteen or so months apart, and when he came home from the hospital, he was taller than me and weighed almost as much. even with that, i still thought he was my own personal babydoll. i was a one-year-old who thought she was going to take care of a giant infant herself. i called him “my baby” for a very long time, and would always ask if i could “hold my baby?” or “feed my baby?”, which i’m sure my mom and dad thought was hilarious.

i have a history of being extremely bossy towards patyick. like, THE bossiest. i think it stems from thinking i was his mother? that’s a theme i hope to dig into in therapy one day. i forced him into musical performances with me on the daily, and was a total micro-manager when it came to performance direction.

“no, you don’t come out yet!” “no, stop dancing like that, stand still and sing!” “no, keep that tutu on we are doing a ballet!”

i also really liked to play house with him, but my version of house was me being the mom, patyick being the dad, and since my dad went to work everyday, i would make patyick a plastic breakfast, then send him off to work in the closet. and only i knew when the workday was done. i think i once made him stay in there so long that he fell asleep on the vacuum. THE BOSSIEST!

that all ended when he realized he was bigger and stronger than me, although he never got me back for all the grief i put him through. which is why he is such a great brother. he just rolls with the punches and asks for another jellybean if things don’t go his way, like when he got four sisters instead of that brother he asked for. i love my brother a lot, he’s such a good man, and gets better and better every year. someday he will live in saint paul near us, and then life will get really fun! i hope twenty-five is the best birthday yet patyick, thanks for being my life-size babydoll for the last quarter century!


my brother recently found out he has a lot of food sensitivities. for the next year or so, he has to be on a gluten-free, potato-free, dairy-free, egg-free diet. yikes, right? don’t fret too much, he should be able to add back in dairy and eggs after a year if all goes well. but for the time-being, he is pretty limited to fruits, veggies, rice and proteins, which can get pretty boring. so i thought for his birthday i would make him some cupcakes that he could actually eat.

cupcake ingredients

this was my first foray into gluten-free baking, and these actually turned out WAY better than i thought they would. they are a little sticky (because of the rice flour, i think the sorghum flour would have a different effect), but taste delicious! and come on, these are for sure the healthiest cupcakes you’ve ever heard of, right? i KNOW!


cupcakes 2

cupcakes 3

cupcakes 4

gluten/egg/dairy-free vanilla cupcakes with mocha frosting (slightly modified from this recipe on gluten free goddess)

for the cupcakes:

  • 1 C. white rice flour (the original recipe called for sorghum or brown rice flour)
  • 1 C. tapioca starch
  • 1 C. organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. gluten-free cornstarch (the original recipe called for xanthan gum) (what?)
  • 1 C. vanilla coconut milk
  • 1/2 mashed banana + 1/4 tsp. baking powder (to replace 1/4 C. or 1 egg)
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. bourbon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon juice

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. whisk flour, starch, and dry ingredients together. add in non-dairy milk, banana mixture, coconut oil, vanilla, lemon juice. beat until smooth, but don’t overbeat. use an ice cream spoon to spoon into cupcake tins. smooth tops with a wet finger. bake until firm and dome-shaped, which in my crappy oven took about 23 minutes, but could be anywhere between 18-25. let cool for about a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack so the cupcakes don’t steam on the bottom.

frosted cupcakes

for the frosting:

  • 2 C. powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp shortening (the original recipe called for vegan butter, but you could use regular butter too if you don’t need dairy-free)
  • 2 oz. cold coffee
  • 1 tsp. bourbon vanilla

starting with a small amount of coffee, beat in the sugar, cocoa, shortening, and vanilla. add more liquid if needed. beat for about two minutes, until smooth. add more sugar if you need to stiffen it. chill the frosting for about an hour before use.

don’t frost until you are ready to serve. if you need to frost a bit beforehand, pop the frosted cupcakes in the freezer for a while before taking them out and allowing them to warm up for about ten minutes.

frosted cupcakes


elsewhere with love: bloglovin’ || facebook || twitter || instagram


humpday happy list.

it’s wednesday!! t-minus 2 days until we are off to paradise! all that stands between us and hawaii are a few (million) emails and some errands that need running. we can do this, i’m sure of it! until then, i’m enjoying being at home in a clean apartment, with lots of leftovers and no real cooking to do.

in other news that you may or may not care about, i’m thinking that i am going to change this little series up a bit. i’ve been thinking lately about why i started it and really the whole point of the humpday happy list, which was really to get all my little inspirations out on “paper” to share with you all and to act as a sort of unpretty pinterest dump. i came to the decision that i’m going to start doing this on more of a monthly basis, with more items in each post. i’ve just found that i’m not necessarily as inspired the same amount from week to week, and i want to keep this fun.

so from now on, there will be more content-heavy posts each week (because boy do i have a lot to say), with a monthly round-up of my humpday inspirations. and it will still be posted on humpday. additionally, if you come visit this little blog of mine via facebook, you may notice that i am only linking my blog there once a week, so as not to overwhelm you. if you would like to see posts as they go up, remember to add hooleywithaz to your reader or click the follow button over there to your right.

humpday happy list


1) flavored syrups.

i’m so intrigued with the idea of how versatile an ingredient flavored simple syrups are. they are so much healthier for you than any pre-made flavoring (even though they still have sugar like whoa), and you can really customize them to whatever you want. i’ve been seeing flavored sodas made with these syrups and soda water pop up around a lot of food blogs lately, and i can definitely get behind that trend! i think a lemon-mint syrup would be so good, and if you added some soda and gin? yes. i’m thinking i may have a cocktail recipe for you all soon…


2) my little paper garland.

okay, so lame, i just talked about this FOREVER last week, but i’m telling you, every time i walk into our apartment, or look at my little garland on our hutch, i get so happy. i think it’s the glitter, or maybe the green, but anything brightly colored these days is keeping me alive. with all the snow we have gotten over the past week (it’s march!), color just reminds me of spring and warm weather. and now that i think about it, that is a good explanation of all the crazy online window shopping i’ve been doing lately…i almost bought floral pants the other day!


3) toast with olive oil, tomato and prosciutto.

this is one of the most decadent breakfasts ever. this is what we ate in spain if a friend was visiting us and we had to eat breakfast out, because friends weren’t allowed in our host family’s houses. it’s literally just toast (preferably on a thick bread), rubbed with the innards of a tomato, drizzled with olive oil, and topped with iberico ham (or prosciutto in my case because i am not made of money guys). but it tastes like the south of spain, and is so satisfying. plus it keeps you full forever!


4) wedges.

i am in love with these shoes. they are about five inches tall, which makes me as tall as my husband when i wear them, which is hilarious. being semi-tall when you are normally 5’3″ is such a novelty, i just love it. i never get to wear them because i live in the tundra and i just can’t get behind the tights with open-toed shoes thing. so anytime i have a chance, these things get to see the light of day. they look awesome with maxi skirts too, which is great, because i’ve really been on a kick with those lately.


5) these amazing cupcakes.

my lovely blog friend trisha happens to have a gift when it comes to inventing cupcakes and making them look absolutely delicious. she made these “ultimate st. patrick’s day cupcakes” over the weekend, and i’ve been cursing the fact that i gave up chocolate for lent! these are on my list of foods to eat when easter is over! guinness chocolate cake, bailey’s cream filling, mint oreo frosting. WHAT!?


plus: i’m a day late, but not a dollar short….and i will be jamming to jt’s new cd tonight all over the apartment. Mister Man is gone and all bets are off for how crazy it’s going to get up in here. i have some leftover boxed wine so…there we are. i’m so excited!


elsewhere with love: bloglovin’ || facebook || twitter || instagram

sources: 1 | 2 | 34

erin go bragh.

see what i did there? i used my name in a seasonally appropriate blog post title to tie it in to my own life. but it does fit pretty well, doesn’t it? erin go bragh means “ireland forever”, and i’m happy to share a name with such a wonderful place!

but even being proud of my irish heritage is not enough to get my butt to the st. patrick’s day festivities in downtown st. paul. too many people, not enough bartenders, and this year, way too cold! plus, Mister Man and i had more pressing celebrations to attend to on our own.

you see, as of saturday, we are officially credit card and short-term debt-free. we still have MM’s student loans to deal with, but in the last 8 months, with some serious budgeting, sacrificing and saving, we’ve been able to pay for trips, pay for my translation classes, and pay off all the short-term, high-interest debt we had from school and the wedding. and we are BEYOND excited!


see, i wore green to the russian restaurant on the irish holiday, i still participated in the fun.


this is about one-third of the bar. mostly vodka.

so we decided to celebrate with dumplings and vodka at moscow on the hill, an amazing russian restaurant down the street from us in cathedral hill. and celebrate we did…if you guys ever have a chance to eat real russian food, make sure you get the dumplings. holy cow, those things are so simple, yet so delicious. i can’t explain why, i think they put drugs in them, but they are amazing.


and those vodka drinks. goodness me. i was in the mood for a dirty martini, which they make goooood at moscow. i also had a drink called a skazka, cinnamon infused vodka with apple juice. that one could end you if you’re not careful, it is really easy to drink. Mister Man had a couple of fun ones as well, and the night was absolutely the best way to celebrate our newfound financial freedom!


the real st. patty’s day was spent like a good old-fashioned irish family. the husband woke up to put corned beef in the crockpot, and i whipped up a loaf of irish soda bread to go with it for dinner. then we headed to Mass at the Cathedral (i wore my green!) before straightening up around the apartment. we had mama z and my friend ashley over for a dinner of corned beef and cabbage right after a stop at costellos for a guinness, and thank goodness we had someone to help us eat the food! do you guys know how much steamed cabbage one head of that stuff makes? i’ll tell you: a crap ton. if anyone wants some, we have plenty of extra, i’ll bring it over to you! we finished the night with some green peppermint ice cream and sunday night cartoons.

corned beef

i really tried you guys, but there is no way to make cabbage photogenic. it’s not possible.

this recipe is the best.

the weekend was perfect, and now we will spend the week getting ready to jet off to sunny maui! which for us means that today we will do as much cleaning as possible while my husband is still at home (he is out of town for work until friday), then i will attempt to cross as much off the to-do list as possible until saturday. i don’t know if i’ve ever told you before, but i HATE packing for things. it’s just so much to think about! it makes me crazy and then i procrastinate until 2:00am the night before the trip. i may try to take my childhood friend caitlin’s packing tips to heart. she gives the best advice regarding fashion and related topics. (i highly recommend her blog if you like pretty outfits!)


tulips from mama z.

hope your weekends were just as wonderful as mine and that you have nice, easy weeks ahead. raise your hand if you drank some green beer or participated in green-related activities! then tell me about them!

elsewhere with love: bloglovin’ || facebook || twitter || instagram


pheasant wild rice soup.

i made this last night. and man oh man was it a good way to spend a monday night. (the idea for this was a product of our great meal-planning on sunday.) i was supposed to cook it with Mister Man, but we had this teeny-tiny little snowstorm come through, and he and his work compadres decided it was better to head up to their conference early instead of risking a dangerous drive today. darn those reasonable thinkers. (and don’t listen to my husband, i’m not mad about it boss-man! i enjoyed watching the bachelor “women tell all” quite a bit!)

oh well, more soup for me! i highly suggest making this soon. you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already and it will make you feel old-fashioned like an ingalls daughter. and if you don’t happen to be married to someone who shoots at wild fowl for a hobby every fall, you can easily substitute chicken for the pheasant, or leave it out altogether.

this is what it really looks like when i cook. i am the messiest in the kitchen. i try to keep it clean, but usually it looks like i took all my ingredients and threw them up in the air and onto the counter.

wild rice soup

wild rice

the photo above is what i sent to Mister Man to just REALLY rub in the fact that he wasn’t here eating soup with me.

wild rice soup with pheasant (adapted from the byerly’s wild rice soup recipe)

prep: 10 minutes total time: 1 hour 10-12 servings

  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onion
  • 3/4 C. flour
  • 4 1/2 C. chicken broth
  • 4 C. cooked wild rice
  • 3/4 C. finely grated carrots
  • 2/3 C. diced cubed ham (find this in the butcher area)
  • 6 Tbsp. slivered  almonds
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 to 2 C. half and half
  • 2 Tbsp. dry white wine (optional, but highly encouraged)
  • 4-8 baked pheasant breasts, depending on their size (about 2 cups when shredded)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 8×10 baking pan with aluminum foil and lay pheasant breasts in the pan. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 35-40 minutes until no longer pink in the middle, taking the aluminum foil off the top for the last 5-10 minutes of baking. While pheasant is baking, in large saucepan, melt butter; saute onion until tender. Whisk in flour, then gradually add broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil; boil and stir 1 minute.  Stir in rice, carrots, ham, almonds and salt; simmer about 5 minutes.  Blend in half and half and wine; when pheasant is done, shred with hands, discarding tough pieces. Add to soup and heat to serving temperature.

elsewhere with love: bloglovin’ || facebook || twitter || instagram

humpday happy list.

happy humpday! hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far. i think i feel a hint of spring in the air, and that makes me really excited. we’ve all had enough of this whole winter thing, right? right. so let’s get this whole groundhog day prediction going and bring on the warm weather!

1) humpday smile: fred the moose.

this is not my fred, this is a photo of someone else’s fred. my fred is hanging on a white wall, so he isn’t as photogenic as he could be. anyway, we’ve had fred for a while now, but i’ve just being noticing him a little more in the past week or so, and he’s been making me smile. i think it’s the antlers.


2) humpday laugh: lil women.

do you guys like the book little women? it’s one of my favorite books of all time. i’ve probably read it ten times, and it is just as good every time. so this video of the little women as vloggers slays me.

3) humpday craving: meatball subs.

honestly, this girl’s recipes just never cease to amaze me. they’re so easy and accessible, every single one feels like i can just pick up a couple key ingredients at the grocery store (or make Mister Man do it for me, let’s be honest) and throw together a delicious meal in about ten minutes. i have to admit i’ve never made meatballs before. and that embarrasses me. so this seems like a good starting place i think.


4) humpday headgear: felt gangster hat.

i don’t know if that’s what this type of hat is really called. actually, i’m 100% sure that’s not what this type of hat is really called. but i really like it. i feel like i would feel incredibly silly the first 4 times i wore it, but after that, easy pie!


5) humpday hippieness: essential oil diffuser.

my mother is a very good catholic. she is also a very good hippie. the two are not mutually exclusive. we eat a lot of quinoa and whole foods at home, there are herbs drying in the hallway in the fall, and there are a lot of homeopathic remedies in the cupboard. so it makes sense that this was a very exciting birthday gift for me! it’s an adorable little diffuser that you can fill with the essential oil of your choosing. mine is currently full of thieves oil. legend has it that it’s the blend of oil thieves rubbed on themselves before robbing the homes of people who had died from the black plague. it has antibacterial and antiviral properties which kept them from getting sick. so it’s gotta be good for my apartment, right?


elsewhere with love: bloglovin’ || facebook || twitter || instagram

sources: 1 | 2 | 3