December 15, 2011

Peppermint "brownies" or balls

I adapted this recipe to what we had on hand and to our tastes.  Andrew liked it.  Try it and see what you think.

Peppermint "brownies" or balls

1 c raw almonds
1 c raw cashews
20 dates, pitted (Note: I don't have the nice juicy medjool dates, we get ones in bulk from Winco so if you have the medjool they are probably about half the size)
1/2 tsp peppermint extract...I used some concentrated stuff from Market Spice in WA so they were extra minty!
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 T cocoa powder (Note: No fancy stuff here, just the Hershey or whatever brand is in bulk at Winco again)
couple pinches of salt

Grind the nuts to a powder in your food processor or Vitamix in our case.  Dump most of them out into a bowl.*  Add the rest of the ingredients and grind into a paste.  Dump into the bowl with the rest of the nuts and mix together by hand.  Press into an 8x8 pan and enjoy or roll into bite sized balls!  Chill in the fridge or freezer.

* One more note: I tried to do all of this in the Vitamix at once...basically, grind the nuts and then add the other ingredients.  It bound the machine up.  I had to dump everything out and then grind in about 3 batches and dump in another bowl and mix with my hand.  So, that's why I suggest dumping most of the nuts out.  Just a thought.  Some other way might work for you or if you have a food processor you might not need to dump stuff out ;)

December 8, 2011

Cream of Broccoli Soup (GF, Can be Dairy-free)

This paired quite well with the flax seed "bran" bread and barbecued lamb chops.  If you don't have to keep it dairy-free, it also is pretty tasty with a bit of shredded cheddar on top!

Cream of Broccoli Soup

2 T butter, coconut oil, or olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 small shallot
1/2 c or so potato diced (small to medium potato)*
~ 4 c broccoli chopped up*
6 c. broth
1/2 c full-fat coconut milk
2 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chipotle sauce (Tabasco brand is tasty; so are others)

Melt butter in medium pot. Add diced garlic and shallot.  Saute on low for 2-5 minutes until it starts to carmelize.  Add potatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add broccoli and broth.  Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cover with a lid.  Cook for 20 minutes or so until the potato and broccoli is soft.  Puree in batches (REMEMBER IT'S HOT) in a good blender.  Pour back into pot.  Add coconut milk, lemon juice, salt and chipotle sauce.  Stir to combine and serve.  Tastes especially yummy with shredded cheddar melted on top!

* I am fond of potato skins.  I don't peel the darn things.  It takes too much time and you lose good vitamins and such.  In addition, go ahead and eat the leaves and such on the broccoli.  You're going to puree the hell out of everything anyway!

November 29, 2011

Pumpkin Ginger Snaps

Um, yeah, anything with pumpkin (except pumpkin pie but that's a texture issue) usually tastes pretty darn good to me.  Andrew actually liked these because he couldn't taste the pumpkin...go figure!

Pumpkin Ginger Snaps

2 T butter, softened
2 T pumpkin, or pureed squash
1 egg
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c molasses
1/2 tsp baking soda + 2 tsp water
1 tsp each cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, salt

1. Combine the butter, pumpkin, egg, brown sugar, and molasses in your mixer.  Mix until smooth and creamy.

2. Dissolve the baking soda in the water and then add to the butter mixture.

3. Add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  

4. Roll out as thin as possible.  I divide the dough up into about thirds and roll out between gallon Ziplocs.  Transfer to greased cookie sheet.  Use a pizza cutter to cut to the desired size.  

5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Be sure to do them thin and they will crisp up quite nicely when you remove them from the oven.

November 27, 2011

Almond "Graham" Crackers

Okay, so in no way are these graham crackers...but they are easy and pretty tasty. That's just what Andrew asked if I was trying to copy, so to speak.  And they are, heaven forbid, relatively healthy!

Almond "Graham" Crackers

1 1/2 c almond flour*
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2-3 T water

Mix dry ingredients together.  Add water one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together but is not sticky.  Form into a flat disk and roll out to cracker thickness between two gallon sized Ziplocs.  Carefully peel off one Ziploc and then lay (not pressing) it back down.  Flip over and peel of the other Ziploc.  Flip the rolled out dough onto a greased cookie sheet and cut into smallish cracker shapes with a knife or pizza cutter.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Take the crackers out and turn them over.  Continue to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until you reach desired crispiness.  Don't eat all at once!

*Note:  I haven't purchased almond flour.  I used my dedicated spice (coffee) grinder and ground whole almonds and then put them through a sifter.  It took about 3 batches in the grinder with a couple redoes on the stuff that didn't get ground all of the way.  Don't let the blades get hot or you'll likely end up with almond butter (also tasty but not exactly what we're going for here).

November 20, 2011

This year's Christmas card...It's kind of fun!

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

There's more inside and on the back.  Andrew and I had fun creating this together and love what we get from Shutterbug! But now he wants a leg lamp instead of a Christmas tree...what have I started?

October 26, 2011

How do maintain your community? Or, alternatively, Christmas is coming fast!

A sense of community is part of what makes us human; an extremely important part.  With the Internet, texting, etc. one would think we all have well developed communities.  But really, how many of the people on your Facebook page are more than acquaintances?

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned but I miss getting more than bills and junk mail in my mailbox.  That's why I still participate in the potentially antiquated tradition of mailing, yes really, (snail)mailing Christmas cards.  As part of that tradition, I like to send cards with pictures of our family.  For a few years, I made the cards myself.  Last year I got an opportunity (read freebie) to use Shutterfly (online).  They've given me the same opportunity this year.  The cards we got last year were wonderful and not just because Dylan's the cutest kid ever.

My goal this year is to order cards before Thanksgiving so I can address and mail them that weekend.  I haven't decided on exactly which one or ones we'll be using.  Part of my problem is they have too many I like!  Last year I made a custom desk calendar on Shutterfly and everyone at work loves it.  They almost make it too easy.

What ones would you choose?  Guess what, it's not exactly a rhetorical question.  Shutterfly wants you to have the opportunity (read freebie) to try their cards out this year too.  And, they don't have to be Christmas cards.  Do it for some other event if Christmas cards don't float your boat.  They gave me three codes for 25 free cards each.  Comment about your community or your Christmas traditions.  The winners will be chosen randomly.   

In addition if you are a blogger: You can register at for  a chance at 25 free cards this holiday season?

October 22, 2011

Flax Seed "Bran" Bread

This is pretty much this lady's recipe.  I don't think it's like focaccia as she describes it but it's not too bad.  We'll see about in the morning.

Flax Seed "Bran" Bread

2 c freshly ground flax seed (again, you're using that dedicated coffee grinder, right?)
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
5 eggs, whipped
2 T molasses
1/2 c water
1/3 c melted coconut oil or butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease a 9x13 pan and a bread pan.

3. Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl.

4. Mix wet ingredients well in a separate bowl.  

5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Stir well and let set 2-3 minutes to thicken.

6. Divide between the bread pan and the 9x13 pan.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
7. Enjoy!  Food is meant to be enjoyed!

October 21, 2011

"Curry" Chicken Soup

Apparently, not everyone looks in the fridge in the fall/winter and thinks...I'm going to make a soup out of whatever is in there.  But, seriously, throwing together a soup doesn't have to be that hard!  With that in mind, the following recipe is a guideline.  Many of my recipes are guidelines.  I just don't take the time to measure things :)  

Remember, it's not worth it to take yourself or soup so seriously!

"Curry" Chicken Soup

2-4 T melted coconut oil
1 small head garlic
1/2-1 tsp cumin
1/2-1 tsp coriander seed ground to a powder in your dedicated spice grinder, i.e. coffee grinder dedicated to that type of stuff
1/2-1 tsp ginger
1/2-1 tsp chili pepper flakes
1/2-1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2-1 tsp salt, or to taste
 half of a leftover roasted chicken, diced
1 c diced cooked squash
1 c diced carrot
1/2 c white Zinfandel or other white wine you have on hand for cooking with
1 can full-fat coconut milk; and 1-2 cans of chicken broth or water, rinsing all the yummy stuff out of the coconut can
1 c cooked squash, not necessary to be diced
1/2-1 tsp turmeric

1. Melt coconut oil in medium soup pot.  Add garlic put through garlic press or well diced along with the spices and saute a bit on low heat.

2. Add the chicken, carrot and squash as you dice it up.

3. Deglaze a bit with the wine.

4. While you're doing that, puree the second set of squash with the coconut oil and water.  Add to the pot and let simmer for 20-30 minutes or longer.  Add the turmeric and stir.

5. Enjoy with your 14-month old...oh wait, that's just at the Jones Cottage.  But do find someone to enjoy your dinner with!

6. I made this a second time and used the 1 tsp of all the spices.  It was a little spicy (with the 1 tsp pepper flakes) but we thought it tasted better!

Tomorrow, I'll post the flax seed bread recipe I made to go with this.  Kind of like a bran flat bread without the wheat.

For more interesting ideas check out Monday Mania , Pennywise Platter and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays!

October 9, 2011

German Potato Salad

I hate potato salad...this is not potato salad.  I think it's ridiculous that it's called potato salad.  No mayonnaise anywhere near it.  Bacon, vinegar and potatoes, what's there not to love!  Andrew still doesn't like it but I'm not sure he tried it.  He certainly won't try it with the onions in there :)

German Potato Salad (adapted from this recipe)

6 c diced potatoes, leave the skin on, it won't hurt you!
8 slices bacon, diced a bit before you cook them, mine was still slightly frozen which makes it easy
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 c rice vinegar
1/4 c water
3 T sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 T fresh parsley

1. Place potatoes in a pot and fill with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside to cool a bit.

2. Place bacon in large, deep frying pan over med-hi heat.  Fry until browned and crisp.  Remove from pan with slotted spoon and set aside.

3.  Add the onion to the bacon grease and cook over medium heat until browned (or even carmelized but to carmelize turn the heat down a bit).  If there's too much grease drain a little bit.  Add the vinegar, water, salt and pepper to the pan.  Bring to a boil and then add the potatoes and parsley.

4.  Add about half of the bacon.  Heat through, then transfer to a serving dish.  Add remaining bacon over the top and serve warm.

Note: I made this for a potluck at work last week.  I made the dish the night before and then transferred it to my crock-pot.  The next day I just heated it up on low for a few hours before the potluck.  Seemed to work fine to me! 

Posted at Monday Mania and Grain-free Real Food!

October 5, 2011

AMAZING Dairy-free "Ranch" Dip/Dressing

This stuff is amazing!  No really, it is amazing.  I adapted it from this lady's recipe...most of my adaptations are because I don't have the stuff on hand or I'm too lazy.  Either way, it's amazing.  I know I said it before :)

Note: If you don't have a high powered blender like I do, you might actually want to soak the cashews.  I have a Vitamix and it just blends the heck out them!

AMAZING Dairy-Free "Ranch" Dip/Dressing
1 1/2 cups nuts (cashew or mac or combo) soak them for a creamier dressing (1-2 hrs is fine, then drain)
1 cup filtered water for blending
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use light olive oil so it's not strongly flavored)
3 dates (can totally be left out!)
1 teaspoon garlic pwd, heaping
1 teaspoon dill
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon basil, dried

Put everything in the blender and puree the heck out of it.  It will thicken up in the fridge.  So, let it do it's thing and see if you want it thinner or if you like it that thick.  I tend to thin a bit for dressing but use it as is to dip vegetables or put on buffalo chicken wings!

It makes a great taco salad dressing if you thin a bit and add some chipotle Tabasco!

Find more to try at Pennywise Platter Thursday!

September 19, 2011

Roasted Eggplant Soup

We get a weekly box of produce from Minto Island Growers.  Good stuff.  With the box, they include an electronic newsletter with information about the farm and some recipes to give folks ideas.  I used to make Andrew use the eggplant as eggplant Parmesan but I'm not eating the carbs or cheese like that.  So, what is a girl to do?  And, we've had lots of eggplant!

This week's newsletter had a recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.  I adapted it further.  It was tasty!  And, nutritious.  Try it, even if you don't like eggplant you'll like this!

Roasted Eggplant Soup

3 medium tomatoes, cored and halved
3 medium sized eggplants, halved
6 cloves garlic
Olive oil
1 tsp or so chopped fresh thyme
4 c. chicken broth (make your own in your crockpot...if you don't know how contact me immediately!)
1/2 c. creamy part of canned coconut milk

Preheat oven to 400°F. 

Arrange tomatoes and eggplant in a  large baking pyrex, or two smaller ones if you like. Put the garlic in a separate dish with a lid (use the lid on the garlic to keep them from burning).  Drizzle all of the vegetables with olive oil (be generous!) then roast them for 20 minutes. Check the garlic, if they look like they are getting too done take them out (mine were fine).  Keep roasting  another 25 minutes, until the  vegetables are tender and brown in spots. Remove from oven and scoop eggplant from skin into a heavy, large saucepan or soup pot. Add the rest of the vegetables, the thyme and the chicken broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes or so. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until it is as smooth as you'd like it to be. (Or, if you have an immersion blender, you can do this in the pot.) Put the soup back in the pot, add the coconut milk and season with salt and pepper.

Find more yummies at the Fat Tuesday Forager Festival! or Pennywise Platter Thursday!

September 17, 2011

Cabbage Goulash

We have a bit of cabbage...and by a bit, I really mean a LOT!  So, I needed something to use it up.  This recipe takes care of that and tastes pretty darn good.  It's like cabbage rolls with out the rolling part.

Cabbage Goulash

1 lb ground pork or pork sausage
1 lb ground beef
1 T Italian seasoning
1 tsp fennel seed, ground up a bit in mortar and pestle
1 T chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 14.5 oz cans of petite diced tomatoes
1  6 oz. can tomato paste
10-16 cups diced cabbage (I had one LARGE head that ended up being around 16 cups!, can do smaller ones too)
salt and pepper to taste

In large soup pot (and I mean large), brown the meats.  Add the spices and tomato products.  Stir around a bit.  Add the cabbage and cook on medium-low until the cabbage is cooked through.  

Be prepared to feed an army or freeze some for another meal!

September 7, 2011

Quick Sugar-Free Pan-Fried Carrots

There are a lot of recipes that I make that are made on the fly and thus I don't share them here; mostly because I don't measure anything.  This is a bit like that but I feel it's flexible enough that you (or I) can reasonably recreate it with the following "notes."  Also, this is truly doesn't have a fake sugar or a white sugar substitute like honey or such.  I have a hard time when folks call something sugar-free and then use honey or splenda, etc.  I know, that's my personal beef, but still.

I cooked down some really ripe apricots we got this summer so I'm calling it apricot butter.  I've had a few store bought things that are basically just fruit without any sugar and they would work great in this recipe as well!

Quick Sugar-free Pan-fried Carrots

one bunch small carrots or about 1lb carrots cut up
coconut oil
apricot butter (or possibly another mild flavored fruit butter)

Cook the carrots in a covered-dish until almost soft in the microwave.  Heat coconut oil in a pan until pretty hot.  Toss in carrots.  Sprinkle with salt and a few pinches of cumin.  Stir frequently and make sure the carrots are coated with oil and spices.  Add a few spoonfuls of the fruit butter, stir around and let caramelize.  Enjoy!

August 22, 2011

Gluten-free Spicy Carrot Cake with Cheesy Layer

Today was a very good friend's 55th birthday (love you Babbitt).  I know he likes carrot cake so I thought I'd try and be a little creative.  I think the result was pretty good. 

 It's basically a spice cake with carrots in it along with a yummy cream cheese layer and of course cream cheese frosting!  And, it has none of the yucky stuff like raisins or pineapple :)  Of course, if you can't do the cream cheese it would be great without it and a powder sugar glaze instead of the frosting...but where's the fun in that :)

 Be sure you have a large bundt pan or it will overflow! And, no one at work realized it was gluten-free.  Seems like a winner to me.

Gluten-free Spicy Carrot Cake with Cheesy Layer

Cake Part:
1 3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 c vegetable oil (I used olive)
4 eggs
1 T vanilla
2 c or to be more accurate 10 oz. gluten-free flour mix
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3 c peeled, grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil and flour a large bundt pan (I have to admit I used PAM with flour because Mom left it here after this weekend and it worked great).  

Beat sugar and oil until combined.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add the vanilla.  Sift all of the dry ingredients together and mix well.  Add to the liquid mixture and mix well.  Stir in carrots.
Pour into the prepared pan.

Cheesy Part:
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 egg
1/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

Use the same bowl and mixer...It won't hurt anything.  Mix all of the cheesy ingredients until well combined.  Drop into the cake batter in the center.

Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes until it starts to pull away from the edges and a toothpick or something sharp like that comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan at least 10 minutes if not a little longer.  Turn out onto a plate.  A little will likely stick in the pan.  Scoop it out and pat it back into place.  You're just going to cover it with frosting anyway and no one will know but you!

Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting or use the recipe below as a starting point...sometimes you need to add more sugar!

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 c butter (at room temperature)
8 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
2 c powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Mix well.

August 21, 2011

Zucchini and Corn Fritters

As I've said before, it's that time of year...the time of year when there are lots of zucchini!  And, I have a weakness for free food.  I'm growing some yellow zucchini but do I say no when others want to give me some...yeah, not so much.  Therefore, we are eating a lot of zucchini.  Beyond chocolate cake, Dylan and I made fritters tonight that were inspired by this recipe.  I had some leftover frozen corn so I thought I'd add it.  All in all, pretty darn good.  Dylan thought so too!

Zucchini and Corn Fritters

2-3 zucchini shredded, didn't measure but it was probably around 3-4 c.
2 tsp salt
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp dried dill
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 to 1/2 c frozen or fresh corn kernels
2/3 c gluten-free flour blend

For pan frying:
2 T olive oil

Shred the zucchini and put into a colander.  Sprinkle salt on top and let set in the sink or over a bowl for approx. 10 min.  After the 10 min. squeeze as much of the excess liquid out as possible.  Combine with the remaining ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Drop by spoonfuls in a pan heated with the olive oil.  Flatten slightly and cook approximately 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown (I did ours on a nonstick electric griddle at around 300 degrees).  Enjoy!

August 20, 2011

Classic White Gluten-Free Cupcakes

We had Dylan's birthday party today.  While Mom made a beautiful teddy bear cake for Dylan, it had wheat in it, so I made a few gluten-free cupcakes for the rest of us.  And, they turned out pretty darn well.  I used a half batch of the Chocolate Honey Beet Cake recipe (with 2 eggs) for one set (made 10 cupcakes) and this recipe for the other.  I was going to make cream cheese frosting but there was enough chocolate butter cream frosting leftover from the teddy bear that I just used that.  It also worked pretty well to cool the cupcakes, freeze them in a Ziploc without the frosting and then defrost them the day before and frost the day of.

Classic White Gluten-Free Cupcakes

1/2 c butter, at room temperature
3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c (or more accurately 7.5 oz) gluten-free flour blend
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pan with paper liners.  Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in the vanilla.  Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture one third at a time, alternating with the milk.  Pour into the prepared cupcake pan (approx. 1/4 c batter per cupcake).  Bake for 18-24 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Makes 12 cupcakes.

August 7, 2011

Coconut & "Nut" Macaroon Torte...and Kubb

Last night we had Rebecca, Hans, and Destiny over for dinner. Andrew and I really enjoy spending time with them. There is no drama and while we have many things in common, we have enough not in common that it's fun learning from each other. 

Speaking of learning from each other...We also learned a new yard game from Rebecca and Hans called Kubb.  It's a Swedish game with blocks you knock down with sticks and then you knock down the "King" in the middle.  I wasn't very good but it was a lot of fun.  We're hoping they can bring it to Dylan's birthday party.

Rebecca and I aren't really eating wheat so I wanted to try a new recipe for dessert. I made the Coconut & Almond Macaroon Torte recipe from Molly Katzen's Enchanted Broccoli Forest.  Of course I can never leave well enough alone though.  I decided because my other friend, Rebecca, had given me some pecan meal when I was down in Georgia that I would use that instead of the almonds.  I also didn't have chocolate chips so I used a couple Rice Dream chocolate bars for the topping.  Turned out well enough I'm telling you about it here today :)

Coconut & "Nut" Macaroon Torte

The Cake
6 eggs, separated and at room temperature
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 c finely ground almonds (or pecans)
1 c shredded coconut ( I use unsweetened)
1/2 tsp orange rind (I used almond extract)

The Filling and Topping
1/2 c raspberry jam
2 T butter (I used coconut oil)
1/4 c semisweet chocolate chips (I used two Rice Dream chocolate bars...probably quite a bit more than 1/4 c)
1 T cocoa
1 T powdered sugar (I didn't use this at all)
1/4 tsp orange rind (didn't use either)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter the bottom of a 10-inch spring form pan.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff in a large bowl.

In a different large bowl, without worrying about washing the beaters, beat the egg yolks, gradually adding brown sugar and salt.  When all is added, beat 2 minutes on high.

Stir the ground nuts and coconut into the yolk mixture.  Add the orange rind/extract.  Mix well.

Fold the egg whites into the mixture - carefully and quickly.  Transfer to the prepared pan.  Bake undisturbed for 30 minutes.  Cool the cake completely in the pan.

Once the cake is completely cool, remove from the pan, and cut in half, using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion.  Spread the bottom half with the raspberry jam.  Replace the top half.

In a pan on low heat, met together the butter (coconut oil) and chocolate chips.  Stir in the cocoa and powdered sugar and orange rind (if using).  Spread this mixture, while still warm, across the top.  Put in the refrigerator to firm up.  

Tastes great served on a warm summer evening, on the deck, with decaf hazelnut coffee!

July 30, 2011

Healthy Banana Granola "Cookies"

I wouldn't exactly call these a cookie but they kind of are...Andrew thought they tasted good so I guess that says something :)

Healthy Banana Granola "Cookies"

3 c. oatmeal
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 T cocoa
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
3 super-ripe bananas, pureed in blender
3/4 c. cashew pieces

Mix the oatmeal, cinnamon, salt and cocoa together. Add the coconut oil. Stir in pureed bananas and cashews. Using a 1/4 c. measuring cup, make 6 cookies on each of 2 cookie sheets (ungreased). Flatten the cookies with a spatula. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Take out, flatten some more with a fork, and bake for another 10 minutes.

More yummies over Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

July 22, 2011

The Speed of Life

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the speed of life.  Watching Dylan grow and develop and realizing he is almost a year old, makes me feel like things are just going too fast.  Right now, I’m on a plane heading home from a three-day trip to Savannah, Georgia and then I’m driving to Grandma and Grandpa’s to go camping for the weekend.  It is so amazing that I can fly across the country in a day but I’m really glad I don’t have to do this all of the time.  I question whether humans should really be living at the speed that we do. 

I’ve been taking Dylan on bike rides, pulling him in his trailer behind my bike.  We’ve rode with Bonnie; we’ve gone to pick up garlic in Keizer; we went to Walgreens right before I left.  That feels like a speed I can handle right now. 

I remember wanting everything to happen faster when I was in high school and college.  I wanted to hurry up with school.  I wanted it done so I could really live my life.  I guess that was a growth opportunity for me that I might have missed.  I should have been living my life then.  I don’t always live my life now; I still have times when I want things to hurry up so I can do x, y, or z but I’m realizing that hurrying up to do that means I lose sight of that which is right in front of me.  Being present in the here and now.  That’s life.  I’d like to think I’m done with the hurry up and wait syndrome.  I think I’d rather just plod along and deal with the great things around me now.  Take the great opportunities as they come, look forward to the future, but realize that I have everything I need right here.

And, as much as Grandma wants me to work (help-out) at Campout this weekend, I’m looking forward to a lazy weekend.  Enjoying family and friends.  Being close to Dylan.  And, sleep…trying to figure out which coast my body is on while my soul continues to work on being here, wherever I am! And maybe I’ll speed up just a tad, and take Dylan for a bike ride :)

June 30, 2011

Bees...Or A Crappy Spring

We thought the Girls were going to do okay when we popped the box open in April.  We didn't get back in there until the beginning of June. 

We thought we were going to need to put another super on because we had seen the Girls swarm a couple of times.  Turns out, they weren't swarming because they didn't have enough room.  I don't know enough to know why they were swarming but I do know they didn't leave us with a queen. There were no larvae and we had a ton of drones instead. 

Ken and I went and collected a swarm and dumped them in.  Not sure yet how they are going to do but it can't be any worse than getting in there and not finding any larvae!  So, with our new Girls, here's hoping!

June 12, 2011

Paddler Down

From Peace Dragon Warriors:

On June 9, 2011, while riding her new Harley (motorcycle) to practice, wearing her team colors (purple and orange) and with a bright orange paddle bag slung over her back, one of our paddlers, our beloved Jackie Lee Bell, was hit by a pickup, the driver of which ran a red light. Jackie’s now had her left leg amputated above the knee due to the horrific damage sustained in the accident. We know that no matter how badly we miss our Jackie on the boat, it can’t begin to touch how badly she misses her leg. Jackie and her fiancé, Doug (also a paddler) were planning to be married at the Portland races on September 10, 2011. That’s still going to happen, and we expect her back on the boat for next season, but it’s a long, hard road she and Doug are facing, even with the love, support and impressive skills of her Salem paddling family.

We are reaching out to the greater dragon boating community/family for help. A support fund has been established in Jackie Lee Bell’s name through West Coast Bank – donations can be made at any West Coast Bank branch. We will be hosting several benefit events over the next weeks and months, including a humble donation box at the Peace Dragon Warriors Paddling Club tent at the World Beat Races in Salem and the subsequent races in Kent, Washington, and Portland.
Any help you can give –

Peace Dragon Warriors Paddling Club –
Peace Warrior Women
Pax Bellatoris (mixed)

April 2, 2011

The Girls' First Winter

With much trepidation we opened the hive on Friday.  It was a pleasantly warm day and as good as any to see if The Girls had made it through their first winter.  And, they did!  Not having anything to compare it to, we aren't sure if they did well or not but we do think they are going to make it.  The top deep still had plenty of honey and they are really starting to pack the pollen in.  We also saw fresh larvae so while we didn't see a queen, she must have been there working hard.  The bottom deep, well, it did not look so great.  There was a bunch of mold on some of the comb and it looked pretty beat up.  We cleaned up some of the frames and put that deep on top so they now think they have some place to grow.  Or, at least that's the idea.  That's it for now from the beehive at Jones cottage...more to come, we hope!

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Let's just say I have an in with a very sweet cranberry grower so having them in my freezer isn't usually a problem.  However, I find myself just using them in smoothies or making cranberry sauce.  This cake has greatly broadened my horizons.  Maybe it will broaden yours.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake (adapted from this recipe)

Topping Ingredients:

1/2 c sugar
2 c cranberries- or enough to cover cake pan bottom
1/4 tsp cloves and nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 T butter- to grease pan thoroughly


Cake Ingredients:

2 1/3 c gluten-free flour blend
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 2/3 c sugar
1/2 c butter
1 c milk (cows or otherwise)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 T vinegar, white

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together sugar and spices.  Using butter, generously grease the bottom and sides of an cheesecake pan (the type with the sides that pop off).   Spread the sugar and spice mixture evenly on the bottom of the pan and then arrange cranberries to cover the bottom.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in large mixing bowl.  Cut in butter and mix until fine crumbs are formed.  Make sure there are no lumps of butter remaining. Stir in milk and vanilla.  Mix thoroughly and then stir in vinegar.  Pour batter on top of cranberries and spread evenly to coat. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool 20 minutes on wire rack.  Run knife around edge to loosen cake sides from pan.   Invert onto plate and serve  You may have to do some reconstructive surgery to the top...don't worry know one will know and it still tastes great.

NOTE: This can be made vegan with equally yummy results by using melted coconut oil.It's a bit easier too, I just melted the coconut oil and mixed it in the Kitchen-aid instead of cutting it in.  I also used coconut oil to oil the pan and I think it didn't stick as bad so try both ways and see which you like better even if you don't care about making it vegan.

Find more at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

March 27, 2011

A Nice Spring Yellow or Maybe a Fabulous Pink?

Why is it that when I think things are looking pretty black...they start to turn around?  When I breathe and take a step back, things are never nearly as bad as they seem.  Yet, I never seem to remember this when I'm in the middle of that dark place.  My friend posted recently about saying it like you mean it...about giving your words meaning.  So important.  As much or more so in the words we tell ourselves.  You know what I'm talking about; those words we tell ourselves in our head.  The ones we would never tell our best friend.  The names we call ourselves.  The ones we would never call our family.  We manifest those words we "speak" to ourselves.  No wonder things start looking pretty black.  And, while I look smashing in black, I'm tired of my brain being's just not the right color!  I'm thinking a nice spring yellow...or maybe a fabulous pink!  I'm done with black brain; how about you?

March 24, 2011

Breast Milk Muffins

I think about breast milk a lot right now...maybe because my life seems to revolve around it. Anyway, the other day I felt like making muffins but we were out of Andrew's milk...Dylan, however, has plenty of milk to spare.  I can't donate it to a milk bank because I take Prozac and no one on the Facebook group Human Milk for Human Babies has taken me up on my offer for free milk.  

So, I made the muffins with Dylan's milk and they tasted just fine.  Andrew's a bit grossed out and won't eat them.  I've started quite the conversation with my friends about it.  By no means am I a trend setter when it comes to this.  Just Google "cooking with breast milk" and you will find all kinds of entries.  One friend's thoughtful response was as follows:  
In all honesty, I think we instinctively gag at this for the same reason we gag at the thought of eating dog or horse meat: because it's outside the norm and we are squeamish about food that is outside the norm. Technically, it's no different than what you ate as a baby yourself (assuming you weren't formula raised). However, it does illicit an ick factor.
Another friend commented:
I personally thought it was kind of great.
And, Dylan's pediatrician made this comment:
Very resourceful, if disturbing to our 21st century minds.
Have we completely sexualized the breast?  How about looking at them as a wonderful way to feed and bond with your child? Don't get me wrong, there is definitely a sexual component but let's get over our squeamishness and start thinking a little outside of the box.  Granted my box isn't always square...I'm off to try making butter for Dylan to go on those muffins! 

For actual recipes and ideas that go against conventional food visit Fight Back Fridays or Monday Mania!

March 9, 2011

Cranberry Date Bars

Apparently, I have a thing for dates lately.  I used to think I hated them...maybe it was the type?  I'm not sure.  But, I've been trying out the ones from the bulk bin in Winco and so far, I would say I like them...a lot...definitely more than I should!

Cranberry Date Bars

18 or so dates (use a few more if they are tiny, few less if they are huge...I know, really helpful right?)
1 c dried cranberries
1/2 c raw cashews
1/2 c raw almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

In food processor, roughly chop the dates and cranberries.  Take them out and put them in large bowl.  Add nuts, cinnamon and salt to food processor and chop until fine but stop before it turns into butter.  Combine the chopped dried fruit and nuts.  Mix well by will be sticky!  Press into a 8x8 pan or a bit smaller one if you have it.  I lined mine with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for an hour, cut into squares, and try not to eat all at once.

Find more yummies at Pennywise Platter Thursday or Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

February 15, 2011


Definition of frustration from Wikipedia (bolding is my emphasis):
"...a common emotional response to opposition. Related to anger and disappointment, it arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of individual will. The greater the obstruction, and the greater the will, the more the frustration is likely to be. Causes of frustration may be internal or external. In people, internal frustration may arise from challenges in fulfilling personal goalsdesires, instinctual drives and needs, or dealing with perceived deficiencies, such as a lack of confidence or fear of social situations.  Conflict can also be an internal source of frustration;  when one has competing goals that interfere with one another, it can create cognitive dissonance."
 Well there you have it...I'm frustrated by what I see as a lack of forward movement in my life.  I'm plagued by a number of ideas and yet I seem unwilling or unable to find the time and energy to follow through with them.  It always seems like I end up looking to others for fulfillment. 

I've been working hard to learn to be open to new possibilities and opportunities.  It's hard not to get frustrated when I see someone else moving forward.  I'm happy for them but still a bit jealous.  What is it about human nature that makes us jealous of those people; that makes us think the grass is always greener on the other side, so to speak?

When I stop to take the time, I realize my life is great.  I'm learning new things, I love my job, and I love my family.  Stuff and things are not the important part; people are the important part.  Guess that's why frustration "can create cognitive dissonance."

Not sure this post makes any sense.  Welcome to my thought process!

February 2, 2011

Slow Cooker Citrus Pork Roast

Make this immediately!  It is yummy.  Love citrus and pork.  Serve this with baked potatoes...the "gravy" is awesome on them too. (Adapted from this recipe.)

Slow Cooker Citrus Pork Roast

pork roast - medium size
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons coconut aminos or soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup orange juice

In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, thyme, ginger and pepper; rub over roast. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown roast on all sides in oil.

Place roast in slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the broth, sugar, lemon juice, coconut aminos/soy sauce and orange peel; pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160º.  Our roast had a bone so we cooked it a bit longer.

Remove roast and keep warm. In a saucepan, combine the cornstarch and orange juice until smooth; stir in cooking juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with the roast. 

PS. If your roast has a bone, save it for making stock!

For more good ideas visit Pennywise Platter Thursday!

January 30, 2011

Energy Balls

My friend posted a link to a page about making healthy energy balls.  I tried them tonight and they came out great...especially if you don't eat many sweets.  Andrew didn't think they were sweet enough.  Go figure!

Energy Balls

10 dried dates - pour boiling water over the top for about 3 minutes
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c walnuts
Optional: additional cocoa powder or unsweetened coconut for rolling

In a Vitamix or food processor, chop the nuts until they are a fine meal but not butter.  Add the cocoa and salt.  Mix.  Drain the dates (save the liquid for cooking with later) and add.  Process until the mixture holds together.  Roll into small balls (bite sized) and roll in cocoa powder (if you like them dark) and/or unsweetened coconut. 

Find more @ Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Pennywise Platter Thursday!

January 23, 2011

Gluten-Free Protein Banana Cakes

These are different but yummy.  I promise!

Gluten-Free Protein Banana Cakes

2 eggs
1 mashed banana
1 T almond or other nut butter
1 T unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Mix everything together.  Heat pan to about 250-300 degrees (I used our electric griddle), spray with a bit of oil and make 6 smallish pancakes.  Wait until it they start to get dry around the edges and flip.  Enjoy with a bit of butter.

January 9, 2011

Italian Turkey Meatballs

Now that I'm not pregnant and the holidays are over, it's time to focus on my health again.  I've been having a hard time feeling good about myself since Dylan was born and really having a hard time getting back to eating well.  Eating well for me means limiting my grains, dairy and sugar.  Ha!  That's been quite the joke.  

So, for the month of January, I'm not eating any sugar, grains, or dairy.  We are nine days in and besides a little bit that I couldn't control, I've done extremely well.  I also feel my mood picking up.  I've been eating a ton of veggies and fruits and good meats.  It's not a bad way to be.  Today, I made turkey meatballs that were delicious.  Not sure what I'm going to use them far we've just been snacking on them as is but I thought I'd share them with you.

Italian Turkey Meatballs
2 lbs ground turkey (I used the 7% fat turkey)
1 tsp fennel seed (ground into a powder in a coffee grinder I use as a spice grinder)
1 tsp each onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp each cumin, nutmeg and ginger
1 1/2 tsp each oregano, basil, thyme, salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Throw everything in a bowl and mix together like crazy.  Don't be afraid to get you hands in there.  Yes, it feels gross but it works great!  If you can, let the mixture sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.  Form into small balls and put on a broiler pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Spray the top of the meatballs and bake in oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

For more yummy ideas check out Pennywise Platter Thursday!

Love Letters to My Sons..