Ginger Cookies

So if you haven’t heard me talking about how much I love baking and GBBO here and here, I do. I got a Paul Hollywood baking book for my birthday and made absolutely disgusting cookies. So, I decided to play around with the recipe till I found something that really worked for me. I also hate searching for amounts in recipes, so this recipe is my preferred  format down below.
Ginger Cookies | paper + flame

 

Ginger Cookies
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 8-10 mins
Yields: 36
Ingredients
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c (1.5 sticks) butter softened
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp water
1/4 c molasses
4 tbsp sugar (for rolling)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Sift together 2 1/4 c flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp salt.
  3. Cream together 1.5 sticks of butter and 1 c sugar till fluffy. Then, add 1 egg, 1 tbsp water, and 1/4 c molasses and mix.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  5. Shape the dough into small bolls and roll them in  2 tbsp of sugar. The dough is supposed to be sticky. Roll into small balls and roll in sugar. Place them 2 inches apart on a uncreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes and allow them to cool 5 minutes before removing.

 Have you made any cookies so far? What are your favorite family recipes? Check out the rest of Blogmas here

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Gifts for Bakers Under $20

So, if you look at my birthday wishlist, I’ve recently started baking seriously. I got three cookbooks (baking books?) for my birthday/Christmas. The only thing I’ve been loving more than baking recently is buying dumb gadgets to make baking a little easier. Especially after watching the Great British Bake-Off, I’ve been trying to be the most annoying and pretentious baker I can. In the same spirit as this post, I wanted to gather up things under $20 that y’all (also my friends) can buy your baker friends (me).
Gifts for Bakers Under $20 | paper + flame
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I’ve been making a lot of bread recently so this pastry brush can make my egg wash-ing and olive oil-ing more precise. Addiotnally, I’d love to have a pastry dough slicer to help with wet dough. I had a disastrous experience making this focaccia. Along with bread, I love cheese, especially brie. This is ridiculous, but this is a brie baker. I love heating up brie in the oven, but I don’t particularly love wrapping it filo dough or other carbs since I plan on eating it with fresh bread. Lastly, I want to get a silpat because I love baking, but I hate cleaning up. My current apartment doesn’t have a dishwasher, so I love anything to make clean up easy.

After watching GBBO, I’m trying to be more scientific and precise with my baking. A cookie scoop, not only helps measure out cookies, helps measure out equal amounts of batter of cupcakes. This will go perfectly with my ramekins and mini bundt cakes. I want ramekins because I’m trying my hand at chocolate lava cake. Also, bundt cakes cook evenly because of the design, and mini ones are so cute. Lastly, a cake spinner and offset spatulas would be great to perfect to create the perfect smooth frosting.

Do y’all bake? What’s on your Christmas list? Check out the rest of  the Blogmas posts! 
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Packing for Winter Break

Packing for break is actually the worst thing ever. You’re usually leaving the day after your last final. You’re physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Your friends convinced you to start drinking right after you final ended, even if its noon. I alway get overwhelmed while packing and then end up forgetting stuff. I’ve slowly figured out how to pack. This is mostly sarcasm, but this is my real packing style.

Packing for Winter Break | paper + flame

First make lists. Make hella lists to not only procrastinate but also clear out your brain. This might be the most important step.

Bedroom

It’s all about the order. First, start off with your room. Strip your bed of your sheets and wash them. You will always appreciate coming back to an immaculately made bed with clean sheets. Pack your important outfits. Make sure you have everything you need for Christmas and New York Eve complete with appropriate undergarments, lipstick, accessories, and shoes. Next, pack undergarments and socks. I somehow always forget to pack one of the three, and I’m screwed. Next, you might need to do laundry, so run that while you do everything else. Start cleaning your room. Don’t be a lazy POS. Move your packed suitcase into any space that isn’t your room. Lastly, vacuum your room.

Bathroom

Next, move on to your bathroom. First, spray every possible surface with cleaner then start packing. Next, pack your skincare and makeup. Make sure to overpack both items and pretend that you aren’t going to sit make up free in your pajamas all break. Definitely don’t forget your tooth brush. Lastly, clean up every surface in your bathroom.

Kitchen

First, clean out your fridge. Get rid of those weird niche vegetables you bought when you were “on your health kick.” If you’re anything like my roommate and I, you’ll discover you have about 17 bottles of ranch. Wipe down the fridge shelves. Next, do the dishes. Lastly, empty out the trash cans.

Stuff

Load your car or bags up and remember the christmas presents you bought. Lastly, don’t stress too much because you can always repurchase everything.

When are y’all going to be home for Christmas? Are you already home? Enjoy you holiday season and check out the rest of the BlogMas posts.

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Gifts for Cooks Under $20

My sophomore year of college, I moved into my first apartment. This was my first time being totally responsible for all of my meals. To be fair, I don’t think I particularly killed it. I used to make one huge pot of pasta that had a store bought sauce, one vegetable, and chicken. I’d eat that for every meal, even breakfast sometimes. Since then, I’ve learned how to love cooking. Day to day cooking isn’t the most exciting, but I’ve learned to enjoy cooking, especially for other people. Slowly, I’ve been stealing small kitchen gadgets from my mom to up my cooking game. These gifts are perfect for anyone in their first apartment, especially adult apartment. Most of these are from Target, so you don’t even have to venture too far.

Gifts for Cooks Under $20 | paper + flame

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So, I personally want this book because it really breaks cooking down to almost scientific basics. So, I love chicken, but I’m the most annoying person. I like my chicken the second it isn’t pink or slimy anymore. To perfect the art of the chicken, I really want a meat thermometer, so I can take it off the flame at exactly 165 degrees. I want a sprializer really badly. After the aforementioned year of eating pasta, I do enjoy pasta a little less. A spiralizer will put a healthy twist on pasta and I can still indulge in my real love, cheese. A zester adds the perfect aesthetic touch on top of dishes especially when I’m making them for someone else. Here’s some real millennial first world problems. I love avocado toast but it requires at least two utensils, a knife and fork. I’m definitely way too lazy to wash that many dishes, so this avocado tool is perfect.

My mom bought a chopper, and it has changed all our lives. She gives it to everyone for every occasion. Chopping veggies is just annoying and with this box I can crank out chopped vegetables for a salad or a dish so quickly. Also, it’s so aesthetically pleasing for a salad or burrito bowl when everything is the same size. Okay, I know a citrus squeezer sounds a little over the top, but I use it at least once a week. We have this exact squeezer and the little dip in the bottom just makes it extra efficient. So, I have a not as fun version of a garlic chopper, but I love it! It minces it, so I can use fresh garlic. I’m generally trying to use less processed foods. I can now chop up garlic without cutting my fingers off.

What fun kitchen gadgets do you y’all have? Do you have any cooking hacks? Here’s the rest of Blogmas!

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Reading List for Winter

On the something day of Blogmas my true love gave to me….a reading list! This time of year I love cozying up in my mom’s office reading a good book. I would say I love feeling the winter sun on me while I avoid the cold, but it’s not quite cold here in Texas. Also, my mom works from home, so I can keep her company while I’m home at break. Here’s some old reading recommendations. I made my way through this list already.
 Winter Reading List | paper + flame
If you haven’t read my podcast favorites, I love podcasts by Crooked Media. They often have Alyssa Mastromonaco on quite frequently. Her book is Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House.  On the same line, I feel like it’s time to read both What Happened and Promise Me Dad. I’m not going to lie, when the title to Joe Biden’s book was released, I started crying.
Bloodline is probably the nerdiest book on this list. It’s about an IRS agent who assisted in uncovering a drug cartel through tax fraud. I say this is nerdy because I’m a tax accountant. My favorite professor recommended this to me over drinks the other day, and I can’t wait to read it. On a similar note, The Rooster Bar is John Grisham’s new book about three law school friends who uncover the scam that is the law school they are attending. 
 
All the Light We Cannot See is an award-winning novel about a blind French girl and German boy. My best friend recommended this book to me, and she knows I’m all about the World War II historical fiction. I haven’t watched the movie Eat Pray Love, so I want to read the book before I read it. I’m in a weird transitional phase in my life, so I’m hoping for some guidance. Americanah, written by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie, follows a woman in journey to America for school. Not only is she featured in a Beyonce song, she’s such a badass. 
What are y’all reading? What are your favorite books? Have you read any awesome books recently?
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Hostess Gifts Under $20

This is my first holiday season as a real semi-adult. Despite being in grad school, all my friends are all young professionals with real jobs and beautiful apartments. They have been loving hosting dinner parties and game nights. Again as a grad student with grad student debt, I want to take them something to adorable to everyone’s home without going even further into debt. Here are some great options under $20 for that hostess that will pair perfectly with any bottle of wine or cheese you take.

This might as well be a things I want right now post. Oops. Grad school is weird because it’s only a year for me. I already have a job lined up and I feel like I’m waiting for my life start a bit. After graduation, I’ll be moving back home because it’s too convenient to pass up. I’m hesitant to buy cute home stuff as I don’t know when I’ll have a place of my own. Anyway, there’s my existential crisis over. Here’s some other stuff I want.


Housewarming Gifts Under $20 | paper+flame

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First off, this metal cake stand is beautiful and even comes in silver. This makes a perfect centerpiece for a table or island, regardless of baking abilities. Going with the centerpiece vibe, I love this cool geometric candlestick. Although I don’t fully believe in not finishing the bottle of wine, this wine stopper is gorgeous. Also, the candle is not just a candle but also a holder. You can easily repurpose the candle holder around the house.

The mug is beautiful and a fun amount of festive. Something about it seems wintery and beautiful in a very Scandinavian way. I love small details and embossing on these two gifts. The mitt says “great things will be served,” and the leather tray says “simple things.” Both are beautiful and decorative in a simple Scandinavian way. This metal frame has a similar minimalist vibe and super on trend

Check out our other blogmas posts here.

What is your go-to gift for a hostess? What are your recent homeware favs?

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Places to Donate Your Time + Money

This time of the year people feel grateful for eveyrthing they have. Everyone wants to give back, but we just wanted to make it easier by compling a  list of charities to donate your time and money. We wanted to highlight meaningful causes to us and their impact. 

Where to donate your Time and Money | paper + flame

Money
The World Central Kitchen with ChefJ osé Andrés have provided over 3 million meal to the people of Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico at the end of September and only 70% of the electricity is back on. Everyone on the island doesn’t have running water. The World Central Kitchen has helped out bring fresh food to the island. On the same line as Puerto Rico, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in the end of August. Kaylee and I are both from Houston and Kaylee currently lives in Houston. We have first hand seen the devastation that occurred and is still present. The Houston Food Bank always does amazing things, but especially this year when so many more people are in need. We recommend donating to the Houston Food Bank because it will directly help this community. Having volunteered there many times, I know that everyone that works there cares so much about the people they serve.
The Human Rights Campaign advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and could use support
Malala Fund aspires to ensure that every girl receives at least secondary school education. They work in countries where a lot of the stigma against girl’s education is cultural along with countries housing refugees. As I will graduate with my master’s in May, I can’t imagine anyone questioning my educational ambitions. If that isn’t inspiring enough, I highly recommend reading her Malala’s book because you will be moved to absolute tears.
Time
More so than money, your time is valuable. Volunteering your time is beneficial in two way. Not only do you get to help with the task at hand, you connect with the people and community you are serving to fully understand their lives. Kaylee and I went to high school together; our community service was called social awareness because you become aware of issues that you would never actually understand existed otherwise. You can always donate to your local food bank. Whether that calls for you starting a food drive or going and sorting boxes. They can always use help. Similarly, Angel Tree donates gifts to children in need. You receive their list of items which, sadly, usually has absolute basics like socks and underwear. I recommend having party with your friends and encourage everyone to bring one thing on the kids list to donate. Meals on Wheels has recently faced a budget decrease. Meals on Wheels provides meals to the elderly and people with disabilities. For a lot of people, it’s not only the food, but also the company that helps them. Give some on your four-legged friend’s behalf and volunteer at an animal shelter. Animal shelters prepare to receive many animals in January and February when family’s realize that their child/parent are allergic to their new fluffy friend.
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Podcast Recommendations

As the holidays are upon us, a lot of will be traveling. Whether you’re traveling far or stuck in traffic parking at the mall, podcasts can help you pass the time. I love podcasts and wanted to share my favorite picks! Podcasts help pass the time and teach something in the mean time. If you find podcasts too slow or a bit boring, I highly recommend listening at a faster speed!
Podcast Recommendations | paper + flame

News 

I start every morning with Up First, by NPR, and The Daily, New York Times. Both podcasts condense current events into a small (and digestible) amount of information. Despite being constantly bombarded by news, these podcasts ensure that I know the most important news bits from reliable sources. If you’re looking for some comedic discussion of the news, I highly recommend The Bugle, formerly co-hosted by John Oliver, and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, an NPR news quiz show.

Politics

News Discussion
These podcasts are talk radio in podcast form. Crooked Media, a media company started by ex-Obama staffers, has Pod Save America  and Lovett or Leave It. They relate and compare their experiences working closely with a president. Pod Save America biweekly discusses the news and Lovett or Leave it is a game show filled with all your favorite comedians. Stay Tuned with Preet is hosted by the ex-State Attorney for New York. If you are looking for a discussion from both sides of the political spectrum, I highly recommend The 45th, which has two of the hosts from Undisclosed, including the woman that brought Serial season 1’s case to Sarah Koenig.
Informative
Pod Save the World,another Crooked Media podcast, discusses foreign policy with career diplomats. Can He Do That? and What Trump Can Teach us About Con Law review the constitution and constitutionality and regularity of the president’s actions. The New Washington, another New York Times podcast, interviews the biggest names in politics. Freakonomics Radio isn’t necessary political but talks about practical application of economics in answering daily questions. Steve Levitt, who coauthored the coordinating book, hosts the show.

True Crime

Investigative
So, my fascination with podcasts started off with Serial like many people. If you haven’t listened to it, you’re really missing out. S-Town doesn’t really fall in this category, but it’s from the offices of Serial. All I can say is that it’s an extremely interesting story.  The Hae Min Lee case was brought to Sarah Koenig by Rabia Chaudry who started her own podcast called Undisclosed. This dives into the legal investigation of the case in which they uncovered new evidence that helped his appeal. They have had multiple seasons investigating different cases, following the case of Hae Min Lee. If you’re a fan of 20/20, ABC has produced two documentaries that go along with the podcasts A Killing on the Cape and A Murder on Orchard StreetAccused and Breakdown are my favorite true crime podcasts after Serial and feature newspaper-style journalism.
If murder isn’t your vibe, I recommend Dirty John and Crimetown, which investigate a con-man and organized crime in Rhode Island. Deadly Manners and Homecoming are fictional crime shows. Deadly Manners is a story of dinner party gone wrong with Kristen Bell, and Homecoming is about a secret military branch. Up and Vanished and Truth and Justice are for everyone who likes to get involved in a case. They crowd source investigations, which some people do find controversial. If you liked American Vandal on Netflix, I highly recommend Done Disappeared. If you listen to a lot of true crime podcasts, you will understand the subtle references.
Stand-Alone
Sometimes, instead of drawn out investigations, I prefer stand-alone podcasts. Crime Writers On is a discussion of true crime media, including podcasts and tv shows, by four true crime writers. My Favorite Murder is the most famous of the chatty true crime podcasts. These two comedians tell each other about different murders weekly the way that you would talk to your friends about something interesting. Ear Hustle isn’t chatty per se but is hosted and produced out of San Quentin State Penitentiary and describes aspects of life in prison. Criminal has a similar vibe and describes interesting stories of different kinds of crimes.

Lifestyle 

By Creators
 At Home With…,by Anna and Lily, interviews established people in the beauty world in their homes. They perfectly blend audio and visual elements. Don’t Blame Me,by Meghan Rienks, gives candid advice that I think I would give people. The Heart of It , with Estee Lalonde takes a deep dive into themes of her life. She talked about strength, feminism, and her mom. Lastly, Filler interviews various creatives in London. It’s beautiful and really captures the #struggle.
Misc.
One of the hosts of Crime Writers On also hosts a podcast called HGTV and Me. They discuss all the important things HGTV-related things, like how tiny houses suck. If you love TV and talking about TV, The West Wing Weekly discusses the West Wing on an episode by episode basis. The West Wing Weekly has a cast member as a co-host and have interviewed the entire famous cast and crew for their relevant episodes. Missing Richard Simmons is a news reporters quest to find out about the whereabouts of Richard Simmons. Lastly, I recommend My Dad Wrote a Porno, in which a guy and his friends discuss a porno his dad wrote. This host’s dad saw the success of Fifty Shades of Grey and decided that he can do it too. Although it’s the least sexy thing in the world, it’ll have you cracking up for days.
Do you listen to podcasts? What are y’all’s favorite podcasts?
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Birthday Wishlist

Long time no see! We are back with with Blogmas. I’m planning on posting every other day so we have at least 12 days of Christmas. My birthday is November 30th and kicks off the holiday season. I love being able to spend time with my friends and family before the stress and business of the holidays kicks in. This year, I’ve been extra blessed to be surrounded by so much love from friends. I had a birthday dinner on my actual birthday followed by a fun potluck, which y’all will hear all about soon. I feel particularly “adult” this year as all my friends are working and brought amazing thoughtful gifts and food.

Birthday Wishlist | paper + flame

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  1. I was helping my friend find some boots two weeks ago and saw a friend in one of my classes wearing these gorgeous boots. They luckily have been on sale at Nordstrom. My friends ending up getting me similar (but cooler) boots. I love Chelsea boots, and these are fun and heeled upgrade.
  2. This necklace from Mejuri is gorgeous. It is the matching necklace to these earrings that Oliver gave me for our anniversary. He ended up getting me this equally as gorgeous necklace that I love. Honestly, he’s not helping with my Mejuri obsession that is 100% Allana’s fault.
  3. Admittedly, I’m not a big perfume person, but recently, I’ve been dabbling in perfume. This perfume set is small and not too scent specific making it a great gift.
  4. As a perpetually dehydrated person, I always want a new fun water bottle to help me drink more water. I definitely don’t need new water bottles, but this Hydroflask comes with a straw!!
  5. This dry shampoo set is great because I’m a disgusting person and definitely don’t wash my hair enough. Enough said lol.
  6. I recently got a new phone and am trying to go away from my phone wallet. This key pouch from Madewell is adorable, monogrammable, and will hopefully stop me from leaving my house with the required items. I ended up buying myself a similar key pouch from Target in black.
  7. I’m obsessed with the Great British Bake Off (Baking Show in the US). If you’ve ever watched an episode, you know exactly why it’s  so great. This bread book is amazing, and my amazing friends bought me two different books by Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, the judges.
  8. So, I’ve had a phone wallet for four years and I’m trying to transition away from the phone wallet. Now that I have an iPhone 8 Plus, a large phone wallet would be too bulky. This is a slimmer option that one with a flap. I ended up getting a similar case from Amazon.

What’s your favorite part of your birthday? Do you have any fun birthday traditions? What are you excited for this Christmas?

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