Monday, April 30, 2012

ice cream!!

ICE CREAM!!! (this is me screaming for ice cream..)

I have simply gone without the amazing yumminess of ice cream for well over a year now - settling for occasional fruity sorbets ... ok, they are good, esp. pineapple "dole whip" variety.   but its just not the same as a big bowl of chocolate ice cream!

little did i know that buying a VitaMix would make my life so much happier. .. 

last night we made this recipe. (THANK YOU Chocolate Covered Katie!!)  .. rather than detailing how i did it and making you go to the link, i'll copy the recipe with which options i used.

Chocolate Covered Katie's Frozen hot chocoalte.. aka Dark Chocolate ice cream bliss ..
  • 2 cups Silk coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt (do not omit this)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
topped with slivered almonds and a few mini chocolate chips - unnecessary but SO YUMMY.. 

Mix above in a sauce pan on the stove, whisking until it just starts to bubble - then remove from heat, cool and pour into ice cube trays - once frozen - blend in the Vitamix - serve immediately - this turns right back into a brick if returned to the freezer.

I wish i had taken a picture, but i ate it too fast.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beans.. for dessert!

every once in a while, i feel the need to stock the freezer with desserts .. and these desserts need to be gluten and dairy free, and relatively healthy.. at least 'food' if not low calorie/fat..  I like my desserts to be lower in empty calories.  that way, when i want to eat a brownie for breakfast - its not all refined sugar and flour.

I recently got a Vitamix.. i eat a TON of hummus, i've never been able to make my own, until now!!  I made 2 batches of amazing hummus, and that inspired me to bust out the black beans and make some black bean brownies - inspired by this recipe.

  • one heaping cup of cooked, rinsed black beans (i used dry beans, cooked then frozen, then thawed, you could also use one can of black beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Coat 8 x 8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. I used my vitamix to process the beans, sugar, oil, cocoa powder, vanilla, & salt, until smooth and creamy.  Add the eggs and baking powder and process until well combined.  Add ¼ cup of the chips and mix on low speed briefly until the chips are incorporated.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.
4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

you would NEVER know these were made from beans and not flour. never. I think the vitamix helped for sure.

I think next i'm going to try these in muffin tins as brownie cupcakes...

I also made this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie for the 2nd time tonight, but with the Vitamix instead of a barely working food processor. it made a HUGE difference..

Chocolate chip blondie (aka Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie) - made with chickpeas! 
  •  2 heaping cups chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup oats (I used regular, quick oats will work too)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce OR pumpkin puree (no difference in taste)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar (i did 1/2 raw, 1/2 coconut)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Blend everything (except the chips) very well in the Vitamix or a good food processor.  Add in chips, STIR, and pour into an oiled 8x8 pan.  Cook at 350F for around 35-40 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

 I wrapped the bars in press and seal wrap and froze them in a gallon ziplock bag - now i don't HAVE to eat them all at once, or let my kids eat them all at once  - instead they are in the freezer with the 2 dozen extra cookies i made a few weeks ago. 

Oh, and here is the beautiful hummus i made - a basic recipe right out of the vitamix cook book.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cloth Diapers - the way your grandma diapered

Ok, so i haven't blogged (cause, that is a word, right?) much about anything but food and recipes.  I need to work on expanding this...I do more than cook, people! (yes, i like to pretend that people are reading this)

Anyway, I have found my motivation! The 2nd annual flats and hand washing challenge! I participated last year - Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry challenges us to use flat diapers (CHEAP!) for one week and to hand wash them.  It may just be that i love a challenge, but this speaks to me.  I like to think that cloth diapering is possible for everyone, and its not hard.  Now, since I've done this challenge before, i know that is not 100% true.  It is a little bit hard..but, so is having a baby.  So if you are faced with two choices, one of them being not changing your baby because you can't afford diapers and the other being using some kind of cloth and washing in the bathtub.. well, it may be more work, but the choice should be really easy. 
line drying flats
 So. Got a baby? join the flats challenge!  Last year, I bought some flour sac towels at target to use for the challenge.  I also used all of the flannel receiving blankets I had been given as gifts when my first baby was born - chances are good you have something around the house that could be made into a diaper! (sheets, old t-shirts, flannel blankets, etc.) I wish this challenge had taken place in May 2007 - that is when i started cloth diapering, it would have saved me so much time and money if I would have known i could just jump into cloth diapering with everyday household items and a couple covers! (Not that my fancy cloth diapers haven't saved me a ton of money..) 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

amazing gluten free bread recipe

I am in LOVE with this bread, from gluten free mommy. in. LOVE.  Completely ignore everything i said about previous breads.  no, wait. that isn't completely true, the other bread recipe was very good for french toast.  Anyway, I only changed just a couple things in this bread recipe- but i will post it anyway, rather than listing the changes.

Gluten Free Rice-Millet bread..

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
3/4 cup millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup potato (or corn) starch
1/3 cup sweet rice flour (or white rice flour)
1 Tablespoon xanthan gum
3 eggs
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 1/4 tsp yeast - plus a pinch of sugar to proof
1 Tablespoon molasses
3 Tablespoons coconut sugar (or honey)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup plus 1 cup warm water

Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature.

I use a 11" (x4x4ish) stoneware pan - a long, narrow, tall pan works better for this bread than a normal loaf pan - and make sure you use at least a 1.5lb loaf pan or it will overflow while rising!

combine yeast and warm water to proof yeast with a pinch of sugar, let sit until foamy (about 10 mins, or while you get everything else together)

put all the dry ingredients in the stand mixer bowl, mix well.

In another bowl mix eggs, molasses, vinegar, and coconut oil

When the yeast is ready, add egg mixture to the dry ingredients in the mixer, mix until they start to combine and then slowly add the yeast-water mixture - the original recipe states that you may not need to use all the water - but I always end up adding it all.  The dough will look like a stiff cake batter, not a bread dough!

Pour bread into loaf pan, let rise until it is just above the top of the pan, usually about 30-45 mins, sometimes as long as an hour.  In the winter it is best to preheat the oven to 150, then turn it off, and then put the bread in the oven to rise.

Bake 40 mins at 350 or slightly less if you use mini loaf pans (4) - if the bread begins to brown too much put foil over the top for the rest of the baking time. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Homeschool classroom, disovery bottles, spring planting and more

I like to call this furniture the reuse/recycle look.
 I've been trying less new recipes lately, and just keeping up with the old favorites - in the past week I made 2 loafs of bread and 2 batches of muffins.. and chicken nuggets.  I'm sure there was more than that..  just nothing new to talk about!  So, that is not to say that i didn't have some major projects this weekend! I spent a lot of time reorganizing the home school 'classroom' ... honestly, we haven't used the room for much more than storage in months because it just wasn't toddler-proofed ..  I'm not sure how the reorganization is going to help, but everything on the lower shelves is at least toddler-approved.  If she dumps it all, it will still be a huge mess... we'll see i guess.  Plan B involves a baby gate and putting Annie on the playroom side of the gate - and since many of the dump-able toys from the playroom have been moved to the 'classroom' she won't be able to make as big of a mess..  i hope.  We also cleaned and organized the master bedroom, we removed a recliner and added a twin bed in its place and WOW it looks so much bigger! and now Annie has her own sleeping space to start out the night.  I'm hoping once she does well on the twin bed to move her to her toddler bed in Mollie's room.  baby steps! 

Last week I made these discovery bottles .. so far, the kids loooove them.  I made something like 15 of them i think. The usual, glitter water, oil and water, and some more exotic like marbles in hair gel - they are hypnotic! (pictured to the right, and also above, under the fish tank)  Annie loves to sit in the basket WITH all the bottles and play with them. 

We went out today to get some supplies for a minor project and ended up finding these shrubs on clearance!  We got 4 forsythia and 2 lilacs - all but 2 of them got planted today.  They looked great for 60-75% off! Usually clearance plants require some babying but these look like they'll do great.  oh and on this topic, we're still battling the weeds in the garden, they are HORRIBLE this year.  And i thinned the radishes today.  Something is eating my strawberry plants BAD. I don't know what it is or how to fight it, so i'm kind of just giving up for now, my lettuce is untouched and about ready to start cutting - it looks spectacular.  Carrots started sprouting in the past few days, they need to hurry up and grow so i can weed around them better.. the weeds are bad.. and Mollie and I must have done a horrible job of spacing out the carrot seeds, they are so close together.  Though i saved some seeds this year, if there are big gaps in our rows i'm just going to fill them in!   

there, now I feel like i've accomplished something.