Chocolate??? YES!

I’m feeling the wind whipping as I rise on these new wings of freedom that I find myself with.  Cookies and now…

Chocolate!

And the making of said chocolate was encouraged by Dr Sister Dear!  (kind of?)

I’m definitely taking some morsels with me this summer.  Chocolate is as necessary to graduate students as pencil and paper, right?  It was hard thinking of making it through classes and exams without it!

I mixed in a generous amount of granola before freezing, as you can see in the photo.  A great addition!  SO GOOD.  Rich.  Just a small bit is satisfying.  I also added just a touch more honey.

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Encouragement comes in many forms.

It’s been awhile.  I must say that the past several weeks have had ups and downs, mostly downs in regards to enthusiasm for the diet and spending a lot of time in the kitchen.  Maybe mostly from being around gatherings and parties and baking desserts and just feeling… different.  And worn out.  And weird with my separate foods.  And it’s been hard at times not to succumb and eat even just a little.

It’s also been discouraging looking for answers to my problems and seemingly running down one rabbit trail after another, chasing after one good sounding idea after the next.  Trying doctors again and not finding help.  But finding less money in the bank account nonetheless.

The past few days have found me much more encouraged.  Here are a few reasons, to name a few:

-school year finishing up
-upcoming visit to Seattle next week
-starting SIL courses with Wycliffe in just a couple weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-watching some good ol’ Gaither Homecoming with mommy and daddy
– finding (I think) some promising answers more pertinent to my specific problems (we’ll see)
-Cookies!

It’s amazing how uplifting cookies can be.  AND how discouraging they can be if one over-indulges.  That’s why I’ve exercised self-control and stopped at cookie number 6 (or 7?).  Ok, I should have stopped at cookie number 3, actually.  But I really WANTED to eat the entire batch.  Cooked or uncooked!

These were very uplifting cookies.  Maybe a little too good since I found them SO very tempting warm out of the oven.  Once completely cooled, they were very good, but not necessarily amazing.  Soft, warm, and slightly gooey after cooling JUST a minute…  they completely held me captive.

Warning – I just kinda threw these together, so the recipe needs tweaked.  And I’m not positive I’m remembering everything I threw in.  Look below for “thoughts for changes.”

PB Banana Cookies!

¾ c raisins
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 c almond flour/meal/ground
1 c peanut butter
½ c honey
dash cinnamon
¾ t each baking powder and baking soda (opt for GAPS-approved?)
1 banana, chopped in chunks

Beat 2 eggs with vanilla; add raisins and let sit overnight in fridge.  Purée with immersion blender before adding.
Combine everything.  Chill in the freezer ‘till it will hold shape on the pan (maybe an hour?).  Drop by spoonfulls onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for…  10 minutes or so?

And if you’re skeptical about the banana chunks (like a certain long blond-haired sister I have), TRY IT.  WOW it’s good.  Or go for chunks of apple maybe?  But I really like the pockets of gooey sweetness.  Kinda-sorta like the effect I remember chocolate chips having in cookies, back oh-so-very long ago when I had one last.  *sigh*

THOUGHTS FOR CHANGES:

-more raisins, to help firm them up and hold together
-less honey (These were quite sweet, addictingly so.  I kept tasting the raw batter, which isn’t really like me.  But it was SO good.)
-maybe ½ c more almond flour, at least (batter too runny)
-maybe a T or 2 of coconut flour?
-allow plenty of time to freeze before cooking, so it holds shape in oven

Bonne fête des mères!

Taking a break from typical cooking posts to announce something very important….

It’s MOTHER’S day!!!!!

Mother Dear really should get special tribute on this blog anyway; she keeps me going in the kitchen through support, help, company, suggestions, ideas, inspiration, shopping.  And cleaning.  Lots of cleaning, bless her heart.  I don’t think I would be attempting this diet without her help.  I definitely wouldn’t be enjoying it NEARLY as much.

I love mothers.  And specifically I really love MY mother.  I think we should celebrate mothers more often.

Go here and you’ll find the various dates when “Mother’s Day” is celebrated around the world.  How about we just have a special “We really appreciate our mom” celebration every time another country is celebrating.  Why not?  We’ve got several more “Mother’s Day’s” this month!  How fun!

Since I’ll be gone most of tomorrow, we decided to “celebrate” today instead… walking, shopping, sporcling, jotto-ing, partying, bonding over a glass of bedtime sewer water…  I really like being with my mommy.  If only she came travel size for going overseas.  This is a problem.

Sadly we didn’t get to go to our favorite park today like we wanted to.  Oh well.  There’s always next Mother’s Day!  It’s coming up on the 10th in just a couple days!!  😉  See, isn’t it so much better this way?  No having to wait a whole other year for it to come around again!

Dinner this evening was fun, spent at a Cinco de Mayo party with my church.  Over pickles and chicken, I was asking the pastor’s daughter what she was going to do for her mother for Mother’s Day.  I suggested she make a card.  And realized I hadn’t made one.  Eh…  and then I suggested she write her mom a poem.  And thought “I should do that!”  It’s been a while.  It may be nigh impossible to get them creative juices flowing again.  Hm.  Let’s see…

~

Progression of Mommy’s Intelligence 

From baby to adolescence grew her intelligence
Learning and studying brought adulthood’s good level sense
Then kiddos did come, of 3 was their sum
Back to “Jane sees spot run” returned the vocab of our mum

Upward they grew, those kiddos to grads of hers
The brain again free to prosper ‘mid philosophers
and math equations, hist’ry books, biology (sans snakes!)
She thrived ‘mongst such studies, as Dad ‘mongst iced cakes

From kids came other kids (for those first kids are grown)
Dickens, Tolkien, Lewis need dusted; nay, don’t moan!
She’ll reach for them ‘gain, I’m really quite sure of this
But now it’s Seuss, wiping poo-poos – Grammy’s full of bliss!

~

That’s all for now, folks!  Now thank God for your momma and go enjoy getting to be HER kid!

I have a fun mommy… who really likes Resee’s, apparently.  🙂  I think I should have gotten her one.  Sorry, mom!  I’ll have to do that next Mother’s Day.  🙂

Why not? 5/6/11

Kitchen happenings today!!  It was really a rather Why not? afternoon of concoctions.  🙂

Creations that emerged:
-salmon patties
-grilled marinated chicken
-grilled veggies
-random chicken stew from the grilled chicken and veggies

I’ve been interested to try making lentil flour for a while now, using Mother Dear’s grain mill.  Today was The Day.  Finally!  It didn’t ruin her mill, thankfully.  It did have a rather strange smell when milled up; it didn’t smell like freshly milled wheat flour anyway.  Hm.

So, having a new “weapon” ingredient to try out, my mind instantly began running with ideas and thoughts on what creations I should try.  Thus, I did not get a nap this afternoon.  Again.  This seems to be a recurring theme.  *sigh*

I had been given some canned salmon a few weeks back and still had green onions left over from making lentil soup this week.  Salmon patties sounded great!

(Salmon patty about to be devoured in picture below; I froze the rest of the patties, uncooked.)

Salmon Patties

15oz can salmon with juice (deboned, de-skinned if preferred)
1 egg
¼ c lentil flour
2 large stalks green onion, sliced ‘n’ diced
salt, pepper
dash cayenne
generous amount of garlic powder

Mix, mix, mix…  form into patties and grill! 

This was good!   Definitely could see doing it again, although likely I’ll tweak it up a bit next time, depending on what mood I’m in and what’s in my fridge.  🙂

I love, love, love marinated chicken!  (pictured above, on the plate)  Playing around with marinades is so fun.  Marinades are an ART, not a science, IMO.  🙂  Which is always more fun.
Here’s what I threw together this time:

Cocopeanutty Marinated Chicken

Marinade:  (Measurements are REALLY a guess.  Measuring takes the fun out of cooking.  Recipes are only suggestions and guidelines anyway.)

  • 1 onion
  • ½ c olive oil
  • ¼ c vinegar
  • 2 T honey
  • 4 T peanut butter
  • cayenne, salt, pepper
  • just enough water to be able to blend ingredients with stick blender

Blend all.  Add ~ 1 ½ lb chicken strips, poke to death, and marinate up to 24 hours in fridge. 

Before grilling, roll in grated coconut!

Does it bother only me to throw out the leftover marinade?  I can’t bring myself to do it.  So…  I put the leftover in a saucepan on the stove and cooked it for about 15 minutes.  A great sauce!  I put it over my broccoli…  YUM!

And then I was in a random mood.  And wanted to condense; I dislike having lots of small containers and lots of leftovers on my mind to think about eating up.

Needing to be used up…

-a couple cups of leftover celery stalks in the freezer
-the leftover cooked chicken marinade sauce
-a small container of pumpkin puré in the freezer

So I put all that in a saucepan to heat up, with a small blop of butternut squash.  And added a heavy dose of poultry seasoning.  And decided I was more in the mood for curry powder and added a dose of that on top of the poultry seasoning, trying to overpower it.  Not the smartest idea.  I don’t recommend it.

After a taste, I realized that frozen, thawed celery was chewy, not what I was looking for.  So, I used my trusty stick blender and puréed the contents of the pot.

Next I added a block of frozen turkey broth.  Why not?
Then dumped in all the grilled veggies I just grilled (a couple onions, lotsa carrots, whole cloves of garlic, rosemary, and butter)

And the plate of grilled chicken was sitting on the counter begging to go in as well.  (Really, I heard it!)  Why not?  I chopped it up and added it as well.  Finally added a small bit of extra honey and several dashes of salt, and my random hearty chicken stew was finished!

I don’t know if I would serve it to even semi-picky eaters, but I sure think it’s tasty.  😀  And a great one-dish meal!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for…

ICE CREAM of course!

I have had a lot of fun over the past couple of years with my ice cream maker from Ashley and Paul.  I’ve made some incredibly uber creamy vanilla ice cream, made mostly with heavy whipping cream.  Brother Dear took a bite and exclaimed, “Wow.  That’s creamy.  Really, really good.  I feel my arteries clogging.”  I’ve wanted more ever since.

Another time I made up some pea ice cream.  Hehe.  The peas were kinda chewy.  Very strange, but I did end up enjoying it.

A couple weeks ago after making some yogurt, I had to try making frozen yogurt.  Here was the “recipe” I created to start with:

Frozen Yogurt

1 ½ c plain yogurt
⅛ c honey
1 banana
¼ t almond extract
1 t cinnamon

Instructions:  Blend all.  Put in ice cream maker.

It was good.  It satisfied my craving for ice cream; it wasn’t too sweet, but it was nice and dessert-y-ish.  I definitely enjoyed it.  However, it seemed like it could be improved on, especially after putting it in the freezer; it turned into a block of frozen yogurt.  Letting it sit out for a bit before eating restored it, but still…  I wanted to improve on the texture.

One of my sweet roommates made her mom a cake last week that used 10 egg whites.  She couldn’t bear to throw out the egg yolks, thankfully, and mentioned a few days later that she wasn’t sure what she was going to do with them.  I was certainly up to the task of finding things to make with them!  I browsed various websites and recipes today and ended up trying 3 new recipes as a result.  How fun!

One was a new ice cream recipe.  I was not happy about the idea of having raw egg yolk in my ice cream, but when I found this recipe where you cook it stovetop first, needless to say, I was pretty excited.  Did I get a nap this afternoon?  Heh, yeah right.  I had so many ideas running through my head for what to do with the egg yolks.  My brains were pretty scrambled.

So here’s how I tweaked the recipe  (um, maybe chopped, spliced, butchered, and pieced back together is more like it) to be GAPS-friendly!

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 very ripe mashed banana
  • 1 c yogurt
  • vanilla
  • salt
  • 3 T honey
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil  (opt)
  • cinnamon

METHOD

1 Blend ½ c yogurt, vanilla, honey, olive oil and the salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat until just before it starts to simmer (do not let simmer). Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.

2  In a medium bowl, beat together the yolks and half the banana until thoroughly smooth and creamy.

4 Whisk in the stove-top mixture in a slow stream into the yolk mixture to temper it. SLOWLY.

5 Cook all over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens.  (180°, 5 to 7 minutes) Remove from heat and immediately put in ice-water bath while mixing in the remaining ½ banana and remaining ½ c yogurt, to stop the mixture from overcooking.   Add cinnamon.

5 Stir until completely chilled.

6 Put in ice cream maker!  Do not over-churn.

SO.  GOOD.  SO.  GOOD.  Almost worth getting no nap this afternoon.

The picture was taken right after emerging from the ice cream maker.  Well, after I had a taste.  Several tastes.  Spoons full.  To make sure it was good.

Now after an hour in the freezer, it has firmed up even more nicely and still has great ice cream-like texture.   I’ll have to update later on how it does even longer in the freezer.
[edit:  Up to a couple hours in the freezer, it had great consistency.  When I checked it after 24 hours, it had frozen pretty solid.  But pulling it out and letting it thaw a bit returns it to creamy yumminess!]

So, is it weird that I added olive oil?  I wanted something to help it stay creamy and not turn to ice in the freezer.  I have no idea if it helps.  I’ve never heard of adding it to ice cream. [edit:  So olive oil turns solid in the freezer!  Didn’t know!  So, I really don’t expect that it helped much…]

Why not? 4-22-11

Afternoon wake-up-from-nap drink, all whirred up in a mug using my stick blender!:

+leftover whey from a couple weeks ago
+new excess whey from yogurt that just thawed from the freezer
+leftover coconut juice, from cutting up a fresh coconut a few days ago
+the rest of a banana I started eating last night
+cinnamon & a little honey

The whey especially needed to be used up.  The coconut juice as well, and I wanted to use it for something more than just drinking it plain.

Great way to use up some “leftovers/excesses” hanging around…  and delicious!

Tribute to Silicone Muffin Cups

Today, I put Susan’s “tribute to buttering muffin pans” to the test!

I baked up:
-another breakfast egg muffin batch, similar to before
-Sister Dear’s blueberry banana muffins from last week

For baking, I used:
-buttered muffin tins
-paper muffin cups
-buttered silicone muffin cups
-unbuttered silicone muffin cups

Buttered muffin tins:

AARGH!

Maybe it’s because our muffin tins are old?  Still was just about as bad as last week.  NEVER AGAIN.  (I think I said that before?  This time I mean not to listen to Sister’s Dear’s crafty butter soliloquies.)

Can I just take a break from talking about anything related to food to express how impressed I am that Mother Dear knew off the bat how to spell “soliloquy”?  I never would have guessed that way.  I, eh *sheepish* don’t really even want to admit how I would have spelled it, if forced…

Paper muffin cups:

Stuck!

Shriveled up egg muffin! Hm...

Stuck horribly for the egg muffins.  Not much better for the bread.

Buttered OR unbuttered silicone muffin cups:

Think back to being a kid at a playground.  You know the feeling of sliding down a slide full-speed, zooming down, no sand or dirt or rough spots?  It’s just zooooOOOMMMM!!!!!  Like lighting!   And smooth as silk!  That was exactly what came to mind while sliding my muffins out of the silicone muffin cups.

Yes, I'm kissing it.

Please do not tell me that silicone is harmful to one’s health.   Please don’t give me reasons why I should NOT use my new-found ONLY preferred method of making muffins.  Many, many thanks to my aunt Janet who gifted them to me for Christmas!

Another bonus about silicone muffin cups?  They save space in the oven!  I was able to fit MORE than 2 dozen muffins on one oven level.  😀  By stacking!

Stacked!

Ingredients for these breakfast egg muffins:  eggs, spinach, homemade turkey sausage & onions, bleu cheese from the Farmer’s Market (OH YUM!), salt and pepper.

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