Friday, November 15, 2013

Thankful Turkey

I'm alive!!! case you were wondering. Also, we moved to Texas. And the baby is now crawling! Sheesh. Anyway, this is the thankful turkey craft we did this morning. It was very fun. It may become a tradition.

You can go here for actual instructions if you'd like. It's just a toilet paper roll glued onto two bowls that are glued together. Then you glue toothpicks between two papers for the feathers and stick them in the back of the turkey.

You can't see the other side of the bowl but the Monkey did the front and the Boy did the back. And then I spent 5 solid minutes sweeping all the little papers off the floor. Seriously, crafts are messy.

It was fun though. We started the turkey off with like 10 feathers and I have a bunch more we can add to it every day until Thanksgiving. Or whenever I remember. It was a good handwriting practice project and they had fun with the glitter glue on the feathers. Plus the gratitude part, of course.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Simple Frozen Yogurt

In my head, I'd like to be eliminating sugar in my diet. I'm totally not there yet in practice though. And I'm giving myself until I've had a full week of sleeping thru the night from my baby before I start trying in earnest. But in the meantime, I'm experimenting a bit. And this one was a success. For me and the kids anyway, V didn't really like it. He thought it was too tangy. 

1 container Nancy's whole milk plain yogurt
1 dropper full squirt of vanilla stevia
1/2 cup frozen raspberries, thawed and smashed with juice

Mix together. Turn on ice cream maker. Pour in. Process until frozen (mine took 20 minutes). Eat immediately. 

Notes: I did put the small amount of leftovers in the freezer and they froze solid - not like ice cream you can pull out and eat from the carton. It was still delicious when I gave it time to thaw before eating, but the texture was definitely better fresh. I don't think I can fix that with an amateur ice cream machine. Plus, this was easy enough, I don't mind making it fresh when I'm having a craving.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - Wildflour Bakery Style

One of our favorite things about Boise are the "Coop Cookies". They're really cookies from the Wildflour Bakery in Boise but we buy them at the Boise Coop or at Whole Foods. They are so delicious. And it's adorable to see the Boy with a cookie the size of his face.

No, he doesn't eat the whole thing. Anyway, I attempted to make up a copy cat recipe today using my previous favorite oatmeal raisin recipe and the ingredients list on the pkg we bought today and I must say, they are close. Very close. If you're in town, you should go get the originals, but if not, these will do.

3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
4 cups oats
1 cup coconut
1 cup raisins

Cream sugars and butter. Add eggs. Mix just until blended. Add baking soda, powder, salt and flours. Mix. Food process coconut and oats for about 10 seconds - just enough to keep a few of the oats still whole. Add to bowl and mix. Stir in raisins. Form into 18 large cookie balls (or 3oz each). Flatten balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 275' for 25 minutes, or until done. Cool on rack. If you don't have a rack, wait a few minutes after they come out and then turn upside down to cool.

Notes: To be closer to the original, they need more salt. I'd go up to 1 1/2 tsp salt and maybe take down the baking soda to 1 tsp. The originals have a bit more brown color in the cookie as well so you may try 300' for 20 minutes. Personally, I like the less salty version and the lack of color didn't bother me so I'll keep it as is. I used sweetened coconut cause I was trying to use it up but I also have unsweetened that I am interested in trying out later. It has a finer texture so I wouldn't bother food processing it.


Friday, May 31, 2013

Cottage Cheese Cream

This was one of V's go to treats on his diet. I really like it too. It's super simple to make, healthy and delicious!

32 oz cottage cheese
15 oz cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vanilla stevia

Whip cream. Fold in cottage cheese and flavorings. Serve over berries and top with pecans, if desired.

Note: the fat in the dairy makes the usual stevia aftertaste non-existent.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Baby is here!

We welcomed our new baby boy last week! Recovery is going smoothly and the other kids seem to be transitioning well. I haven't been in the kitchen much for the last month or so - but V has been cooking up a storm. As I get the energy, I'll post some of his more notable successes.

Monday, February 25, 2013

hair care

Acure Shampoo and Conditioner! I could not be more excited about these. I've tried a bunch of all-natural hair care options and these are by far the best that I've found. The shampoo actually foams, the conditioner actually conditions, and they're actually non-toxic. Also, they smell good.

I even put the ingredients into the skin deep database and they passed with flying colors. The shampoo is a 1 and the conditioner is a 2! I couldn't believe it. My local Whole Foods carries them for $8 each - so that's pretty much awesome. I've already stocked up.

For styling, I have low-maintenance curly hair so I use Beautiful Curls Curl Defining Gel (for wavy to curly hair) and once in a while, I'll use Giovanni mousse (skin deep profile here - except that it also contains fragrance). And that's literally it for my hair.

Other natural options of note that I've tried:
Beautiful Curls  - shampoo and conditioner worked really well for the first week but then my hair started feeling dirty/greasy and wouldn't get clean. (I do still love their curl gel though.)
Terraessentials - eww. Mud in my hair. No foam. No clean feeling. It was terrible.
Dr. Mercola brand - this one was vicarious from my sister but no foam and didn't feel clean.
USANA - I got the shampoo and conditioner and they foamed and totally worked. I thought it was too good to be true and sure enough, I did a skin deep profile on them and they were like 7-8 for toxicity! They even had 'fragrance' as an ingredient. Lame, lame, lame. And I paid like $45 for that stuff.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

dishwashing soap

This is what I use for washing dishes - SAL SUDS by Dr Bronner. It's super natural and still acts like dishsoap. I used to have it in a pump bottle at my sink but my new kitchen came equipped with a built-in pump - so now I just have to refill.

It doesn't solve the dishwasher detergent dilemma though. I experimented with a soap nut version a while ago but kind of gave up on finding something ultra natural after that. Now I just use Method. I get the packets because they're easier to put in quickly and shut the door fast when you've got an interested toddler on your heels. And it's a small pkg that doesn't take up much room in my upper cupboards. It's hard to imagine the day that I can use my lower cupboards for anything breakable or toxic again...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

jicama homefries

These actually didn't turn out to be awesome - but I love the idea! I got the recipe out of the Well-Fed Paleo cookbook (free sample here). I think the recipe would have worked if I'd followed it better but I was multitasking and my crockpot ran dry. Basically, you cube the jicama and then put it in your crockpot for 24 hours with water. Then drain and saute on the stove with onion, oil, salt and pepper, and whatever else you'd put in homefries. 

They look surprisingly like the potato version and have a decent texture. I imagine they'd be heaven to someone who hasn't eaten potatoes in a really long time. But currently, that's not me. I will say, I love the cookbook it comes from. It's very practical and the section at the beginning talks about setting up your paleo kitchen and how to streamline processes - it was really useful information for me. I haven't actually made many recipes out of it but I have changed my weekly methods based on the book - for the better.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

bean salad

This was my awesome and quick lunch today. I don't know why it hasn't occurred to me before, but I can make 'pasta salad' with beans instead of pasta. The kids preferred their beans plain with red pepper on the side. I added olive oil and salt to their straight-from-the-can white beans. To mine, I also added red pepper, cucumber, green onion, avocado, salami, and aged provolone. I put a teensy bit of balsamic vinegar over the top but it honestly would have been better with fresh lemon juice instead. The cracker is a croccantini from costco. I actually ended up spreading avocado on it to eat. Delicious!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

diet update

Contrary to how the other posts look this month, we've actually been strict about our diets again since New Years. V is taking a work weight-loss competition seriously (weighing food and keeping spreadsheets), and I've cut out sugar and bread. I'm not actually cutting carbs, since I'm pregnant, but bread is just a gateway drug for me. We're doing big breakfasts with eggs, fresh juice, sometimes nitrate free bacon or sausage, sometimes oatmeal or sourdough waffles. Lunches are meat with veggies and dinners are smoothies (green or yogurt) with something (cottage cheese, crackers, muffins, modified cookies) or lentil soup (Greekdhal, or mujaddara). And we're going thru a ton of produce.

I've been making big food orders from Azure Standard to keep costs down (mostly on juicing and meats). We have a local coop I joined and a new Whole Foods in town to fill in the gaps. And my Dad regularly drops off wild trout within hours of it swimming in the lake - there are some serious perks to our recent move :)

Thanksgiving - a bit late

I know this is super late and all, but I just have to post our Thanksgiving meal for my records. This year we went with turkey (last year's lobster is here). We actually had a family outing to the farm and got to see the turkeys getting rounded up. It was very cool. My 18 month old even started saying 'gobble, gobble'. Anyway, we actually scored two local, pastured turkeys - one for a trial run and one for the real deal. V did a salt brine and roasted them in the oven.

The rest of the meal was divided up between my siblings and parents. We had 23 people to feed so everyone brought something. V made the pastured turkey and two cranberry chutneys (spicy and sweet), my dad make a smoked turkey in his kamado, I did the Bunny stuffing (with bacon), yams (recipe from my sil), beets, and mint and honey carrots. My brothers' families did the potatoes, gravy, pudding fruit salad, rolls, and pies. The pies deserve their own post but I didn't make them and didn't get any pictures. For the record, they were fabulous - we had like 8 flavors. Then my sister and mom did about a million dishes.

The turkey relish tray made it's appearance for dinner with crackers and leftover turkey with rolls (the real meal was served during the lunch hour). I was worried I'd need more options available for dinner with all of the kids but they were too busy playing to stop long for food.

And we had several meals of turkey sandwiches for leftovers. Dressed up with V's cranberry relish, goat cheese, farmer's market sourdough, and spinach, I didn't get sick of leftovers for a long time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Peach Cobbler

Somehow I have neglected to post my peach cobbler recipe on this blog. I had to dig up the recipe to make it. I'm actually not eating sugar right now, but for the next time I feel like making this, I'd like the recipe to be handy. It's delicious. And if you're in SLC, go visit Red Rock and order their's.

8 large peaches (ish)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 425'. Skin and pit peaches and slice into thin wedges (may immerse peaches in a boiling water bath for 30 seconds to loosen skins, if desired). Use enough to fill the bottom of a glass 9x13 pyrex. Toss peaches with sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch and bake in 9x13 for 10 minutes. You may add more cornstarch, depending on how juicy your peaches are - and how soupy you like your cobbler. Also, you can cheat and use bottled peaches if you'd like.

Meanwhile, heat some water to boiling. In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend butter in with fork or pastry cutter (someday...) until crumbly. Pour in 1/4 cup boiling water and stir until just combined.

Remove peaches and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Don't worry about being too precise - it will spread as it bakes. Return to oven and bake until golden - about 25 minutes.