Monday, February 27, 2012

Home improvement with kids..

I think we've finally got this figured out .. Got a few little kids and need your house painted? Hire someone else to paint it! Tomorrow while I am wrestling 3 kids at the dentist - Marco the paint master will be transforming our living room and kitchen - very affordable I might add (especially when compared to the costs associated with the impact of major dyi projects on my mental and emotional health) - I did spend a big chunk of time today sewing new curtains for our windows up above the stairs to the basement so the painter (who claims he was "born on a ladder") can hang them for me. We also moved an amazing amount of stuff away from the walls and got down all the pictures (and a lot of dust .. A LOT - as a side note my allergy medicine is working wonders this year - its amazing how well it works when you take it)

Oh and for the record, the last thing I baked in my horrific red kitchen (sorry, I've been trying to like it for the past 4 years, it has only gotten worse) was some very healthy but not so tasty gluten and dairy free multi grain cookies - they were a big hit with Annie but I am going to have to work on them more before I post a recipe - why ever I thought it was a good idea to make up a recipe for my first attempt at gfdf cookies .. I have no idea.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Corn muffins and chocolate syrup...

Corn Muffins (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) Makes 1 dozen muffins

1/2 cup corn starch 
1/2 cup rice or millet flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup cornmeal
½ cup coconut oil (melted)
1 large egg
½ cup honey
¾ cup flax milk (or your choice of milk)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Mix flour, baking powder, cornmeal and salt.
Stir coconut oil, egg, honey, and flax milk into cornmeal mixture. Stir until just moistened and any flour or cornmeal chunks are broken up.
Fill greased or lined muffin tins almost to the top and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

Chocolate Syrup (Makes 2 cups - GF, DF)
1 cup cocoa powder 
1- 1½ cups sugar (I have used 1/2 and 1/2 raw sugar and coconut sugar and that works - i also like dark chocolate so i usually use less sugar)
1 dash salt 
1 ½ cups water 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir ingredients together in saucepan, boil for 2-5 mins, stirring rapidly (i use a whisk), until sauce thickens - cool and store in refrigerator.  I use an old ketchup bottle to store the chocolate syrup.

I LOVE to use this syrup in unsweetened almond milk to make hot chocolate - something about the nutty flavor of the almond milk and the dark chocolate makes me feel like i'm drinking some really rich and chocolatey coffee type drink. 

I'm not only catching up on my baking and filling the freezer - I am getting my recipes organized! It will be so easy to find them all when they are all in one place!  

I have a lot more than that to say right now, but i don't want to take away from those lovely and super easy to make corn muffins.... and chocolate syrup .. i like to make something in the oven and something on the stove at the same time, it feels very efficient ..  



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Granola Bar party!

Oatmeal Blueberry Granola Bars - NOT gluten free! obviously..  (these are for the kids)

Dry Ingredients: 
2 C rolled oats
½ C whole wheat pastry flour (or regular flour)
¼ C chopped walnuts (optional, or other nuts/seeds)
¼ C dried blueberries (or chocolate chips!)
¼ C sugar (or ½ C if you like things a bit sweeter)
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup your choice of milk (almond, rice, flax, coconut or cow)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla 

Preheat oven to 375.

In two separate bowls, mix dry ingredients, then wet ingredients. Pour wet into dry, mixing until combined. Pour batter into a greased baking dish (i use 9x13, for thicker bars, go smaller). Sprinkle raw oats on top (I used rye on top this time, and sprinkles - cause they are for the kids).

Bake 25-30 minutes. Cut into bars and cool
(adapted from this recipe)

Grown up granola bars 
1 2/3 cups rolled oats (if gluten-free, use gluten-free oats)
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (more if you like them more sweet, less if you don't .. I usually go for less and use coconut sugar)
1/3 cup Millet flour (or oat flour, oats processed in food processor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2.5 (more or less) cups seeds, nuts, chocolate chips and dried fruits (this is the FUN PART!***)
1/3 cup nut butter (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter if not dairy free)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or more honey)
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan. (these are very sticky!) 

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the nut/seed/fruit mixture. In a separate bowl, mix the vanilla, melted coconut oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry and add nut butter peanut butter - mix until it seems evenly crumbly.  Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. 

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — they will be soft, but will set completely once completely cool.

Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. Once cool, a serrated knife to cut the bars into squares. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic and store in the freezer - this makes a great on-the-go snack or breakfast!  (they stay a lot fresher if you just freeze them - though i suppose the refrigerator would work also, you can let them thaw at room temp or microwave them after unwrapping. 

*** I use sunflower seeds (roasted unsalted), pumpkin seeds (roasted unsalted), flax seeds, walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, dried cherries, dried cut up apricots etc. The if you just want to get a few things go for the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and either chocolate or fruit.  
(adapted from this recipe)

 need i say more?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Home - (aka. hit the ground running)


Celebrating our homecoming with some festive muffins.. this recipewith added sprinkles on top and quinoa flakes inside - They are a little more dense than without the quinoa, but i like them (and the kids LOVE them).

I also made some gluten free dairy free bread, it is good, but i'm still working on finding the perfect GF DF bread. 

you start by proofing the yeast..  
2 1/4 teaspoons bakers yeast in 1 1/4 cup warm water with a pinch of sugar (for the yeasties to eat)  - set aside 

Dry Ingredients:
2/3 cup Rice flour
1/3 cup Cornmeal
1/2 cup Millet Flour
1 cup potato starch***
2 teaspoons xanthan gum (or guar gum)
1/ 1/4 teaspoons salt
Wet Ingredients: 

2 beaten large eggs
yeast & water mixture
4 tbs olive oil (though i found it works fine without it ha ha) 
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients - this will make a thick batter, not a traditional bread dough! then pour the batter into a loaf pan (i used a 8.5 x 4.5 in) let rise for 20-40 mins in a warm place (i put it in my oven with the light on)  when the bread is about 1 in from the top of the pan pre-heat the oven to 350 and then bake it for about 45 mins. If it starts to get too brown on top cover it with a piece of foil.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from this one.  I decided to type up the version i used for reference because it was hard to use that blog entry with all the extra stuff between the recipe and the non-bread-machine instructions. This recipe makes really pretty bread that makes great sandwiches and toast.  I added flax and sunflower seeds to the top to make it prettier.  sprinkles would have been a bit much. 

***Update on the bread recipe! 

I hated using so much potato starch so i changed it to 1/2 cup potato starch and an extra 1/2 cup rice flour (instead of 1 cup potato starch) and it worked and tasted great! by the way, substituting other starches (corn or tapioca) did not work out so well.. potato starch is better for this recipe!  

In other news, I am mostly done unpacking and have done a bazillion loads of laundry.  I just need to get my 'computer bag' and the kids 'activity bag' unpacked and clear off the junk that accumulated on the dining room table and kitchen counter and I'l be all caught up!  Well, after i bake some more muffins (we've eaten over half of yesterday's) for the freezer and some corn muffins.  Then I'd like to bake some GFDF cookies and biscuits for the freezer.  Then more granola bars both the kid version and the adult version.  I make a nut free, softer more cookie like granola bar for Annie (17 mo today!), and Jamie can't handle a lot of flax so I'm going to make a special version for him too.  I'll post those recipes when i get to them. I also REALLY want to try coconut milk yogurt ASAP...Now its off to the store to restock my pantry and buy Jamie sheets for his new big-boy mattress.  Next weekend I will have 2 groups meeting at my house so after all this freezer-baking I am going to have to get things sparkling clean and make snacks for those meetings.   Oh yeah, and I have to prep for one of those meetings too ..

Friday, February 10, 2012

Daydreaming about normal life..

We are still on vacation.. which is great .. but i miss all the fun baking and experimenting i was doing.. 

so i just looked up how to make coconut yogurt and i am SO EXCITED to try it when we get home!! check this out!    

I've also been looking into recipes to make almond milk which maybe i could turn into some other nut milk.. maybe even a blend.. oooo... Disney World is GREAT but this is exciting stuff people!

I am not looking forward to coming home to cold weather, laundry, dishes, etc.....  but kitchen experiments and the beginning of spring gardening? yes please!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Coconut milk yogurt

It is wonderful .. Seriously tastes like ice cream .. And not too coconuty! I wish we could get it at home (not outrageously priced) or make it .. Hmmm I can make regular yogurt, that should mean I can make this .. I'm still doubtful ..