Baking Brownies

Hey Everyone!

I have wanted brownies for the past couple of days, so I finally made some today. I had today off so it was a perfect time to bake brownies.

While I love baking all year round, I love it even more when the weather is cooler, and now that Autumn is here and today has been in the low 60’s, it was a perfect day to do some baking.

I used a package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie mix and a stick of earth balance vegan butter alternative. I did use eggs this time because I wanted the brownies to turn out right.

Advertisements

Shortbread Cookies and Daylight Lightbulbs

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday I had gotten some new lightbulbs for my bedroom, I had picked up some IMG_1453daylight lightbulbs. In this part of the country, we are used to grey, wet winters and we don’t get enough sunlight. While I don’t have S.A.D, well at least not from the amount of grey and wet we have, this winter and spring has been particularly hard for some reason, as it has been more grey and wet than normal. I am trying to see if the daylight bulbs help out with that. I am aware that the ones I got are not the same as full spectrum light bulbs, which are for those who do have S.A.D. I also wanted to try these bulbs to see if I liked the lighting, and if it was any good for Vlogging, as I want to do more of that, once I get my own place again. So far I am liking how much brighter they are than the soft white lightbulbs. They will definitely make it easier to see to knit and read in the evenings.

IMG_1446Yesterday I also baked up a batch of Gluten Free (and Dairy Free) Shortbread Cookies, using the Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Mix from Bob’s Red Mill. This is the third or fourth time I have made these cookies, the first time using my new round cookie cutters with the rippled edges. I love how these cookies turned out. I had also used my Scottish Thistle Cookie Stamp. Each time I have made these cookies, the better they have turned out. The first time I made them, was kind of a disaster. Practice makes perfect, and the more times you do something the better you will get at doing whatever it is you are doing.

Today was one of those days where the idea of home has been on my mind a lot. Beings as the city has really never been home to me, I have though a lot about how I would love to move back to the one place I do consider home, if I had the opportunity. I had to move back to the city after college because of the lack of employment in the area. Being someone who prefers the outdoors and homemaking, and would love to live on some acreage with a garden, some chickens, and a few goats, the city life grows old real quickly.

I have been interested in and intrigued by homemaking of generations past, especially during the 1950’s as well as the 19th century in the American West (life on the frontier & homesteading). Back then the food was real, without all the added hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals. The meat was grass fed, and quite often free range (especially the bison, venison, elk, fish, cows, etc). Women worked hard. Back in the days before electricity and running water they had to haul water, cook over an open fire or on a wood stove. They did laundry by hand, cooking took a lot more time, they also had to can and preserve a lot more food in the summer to sustain their family during the winter. They also made clothes for their families, and had many children, all without epidurals, and many at home, with a midwife.

While I really don’t want to live completely off grid, there are things to be learned from the lives women led throughout history, and be able to take what we have learned from that to live the best life possible. I consider what I would like to do, to be able to live semi off grid. I still want running water, toilets that flush, a hot shower daily, electricity and internet. At the same time I would love to be a part of building my own house, on some land, having solar panels, and getting as much electricity as possible from those, and using the main grid electricity more as a back up (especially in winter, when there is not as much daylight), canning, preserving food, and growing as much of my own produce as possible in the summer.

 

Dairy Free and Gluten Free from Scratch

Hey Everyone!

The last few days have been extremely rainy, and wet. I didn’t feel like going anywhere, so I had spent yesterday, at home, in the kitchen.

Yesterday I had whipped up a batch of Gluten Free & Dairy Free cinnamon rolls, which turned out amazingly. They tasted as good as I remember regular cinnamon rolls tasting. I had added pecan pieces in with the cinnamon filling before rolling them up. The recipe I used called for regular milk, but I substituted that with Coconut Milk, and use earth balance olive oil spread instead of butter.

IMG_0806

Beings I was in the cooking & baking mood yesterday, and also needed dinner, I made up a pot of lentil soup. I used a package of Bob’s Red Mill lentils, as well as a couple cans of Heinz organic canned tomatoes, in additions to the spices and chicken broth (most of it was Organic as well) that I used. I also added a couple of sausages, that didn’t have have preservatives, nitrates or nitrites in them. I have been on a lentil kick lately. I had made Mujedra a few weeks ago, then couple weeks ago I made some lentils, and now I made Lentil soup. Lentils are supposed to be good for you, and are something that I have liked, apparently since I was little.

IMG_0808

Making cinnamon rolls and lentil soup tool up most of my day yesterday. Even though what I made yesterday was bit overly complicated or difficult, it was time consuming. Baking cinnamon rolls and lentil soup in the same day, definitely gave me a greater appreciation, for what women had to do even a couple generations ago, let alone back in the day where they didn’t have grocery stores or supermarkets, and had to cook three full meals a day from scratch, yet also look after the kids, tend a garden, do laundry, and all the other house work. No wonder families who lived on farms and homesteads typically had a lot of kids.

I love being able to take a day and cook and bake my own food from scratch. I didn’t grow up having to be dairy free and gluten free, that all happened once I was an adult. I did grow up spending a fair amount of time out in the kitchen with my mom and her mom (my maternal grandmother) watching them cook and bake from scratch, and learning how to do so myself from being in the kitchen with them. After having to go dairy free and gluten free I was thankful I knew how to cook for myself, as it become more of a necessity. I still enjoy it, and i enjoy figuring out how to make some regular recipes dairy free and gluten free. I am still working on the egg free thing. I can handle eating eggs as long as they are in baked goods, which is a good thing, though I will continue to work to do way more egg free.

Over the past few years, doing more cooking and baking from scratch has become a passion of mine, and learning how to do more, then sharing what I have done with you all, is something I love doing.

WIAWS: Spring is Coming

Hey Everyone! 

I have decided to start a new weekly series on this blog with the acronym “WIAWS” which means “What I Am Warming Saturday”. I want to keep a regular schedule and post a minimum once a week if not more here on this blog. As a huge Scentsy fan, I am almost always warming some wax while I am at home. 

Today I have been warming Blackberry Meringue, which was a new release for Spring / Summer 2016, that was not brought back this year. I liked it so much last year that I had stocked up in it, so I still have plenty. 

This winter has been particularly rough for me, and I have been more than ready for spring for more than a month, I finally started pulling out my spring Scentsy bars about a month ago. 

Blackberry Meringue, is definitely more of a dessert-y type fragrance that is not overly sweet, or overpoweringly floral-y. 

Today I had spent a good part of the day working on a pair of socks that I am knitting. I also made me a batch of dairy free, gluten free muddy buddies in which I used ghiradelli chocolate chips, Trader Joe’s creamy peanut butter, earth balance spread and a box of honey nut Chex. For having no dairy or gluten, they are amazing. 

I also baked a batch of gluten free, vegan cranberry orange macadamia nut muffins using a package of Bob’s red mill gluten free muffin mix. If I don’t want to take the time to make muffins completely from scratch, the bob’s  red mill gluten free muffin mix is an amazing alternative. 

Being dairy free, gluten free and egg free didn’t come easy, it’s been almost 5.5 years in the process, and it hasn’t easy to figure it, but I finally feel like I have a handle on it. 

Baked Oatmeal

Hey Everyone!

When I was up in Canada visiting my Aunt and Uncle at their house, my aunt had made Baked Oatmeal and it was really good, so I decided to try it for myself, and make Gluten and Dairy Free.

Ingredients:

3 cups quick cooking oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free old fashioned rolled oats)
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup blue diamond almond breeze almond coconut milk
1/2 cup earth balance vegan spread melted
additional almond coconut milk for serving

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
2. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients
3. Add in eggs, melted spread, and almond coconut milk, mixing well
4. Pour into a greased small rectangular or large square glass pyrex baking pan
5. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until set.
6. Serve warm with the additional milk

Makes about 9 servings.

IMG_0592

Bob’s Red Mill

Bob’s Red Mill – I love this place, it is pretty much a baker/cook’s heaven, even more so for those who are Gluten Free (and like myself who are Gluten and Dairy Free). I love that their flours are stone ground, natural and all around better for you. They have a good variety of wheat flours (whole wheat and regular), as well as the largest assortment of gluten free flours, flour mixes, and so much more that I have seen anywhere. They also carry baking aids (like baking powder, baking soda, potato starch, corn starch, yeast, xanthan gum, guar gum, and that kind of thing). They have an Aisle of rice, an aisle of beans, honey, syrup. They have an area of bulk goods, and an area of baking and cook books, and their bakery area. 

My most recent trip there was this past Friday. I needed to get more flours to make up the two flour mixes I use for baking. I love that it is a local company (for me anyway) and that all the flours and such are made in USA (their manufacturing plant is maybe a couple miles from their retail store). So it is one company that is definitely helped the economy. There is a demand for their products, which are sold in their retail store, online, and in some area grocery retailers.