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.

 

Scottish Thistle Cookie Stamp

Hey Everyone!

The last time I was in Bob’s Red Mill (about a week ago), I was picking up some of their gluten free (and dairy free) baking mixes that I knew I liked, or wanted to try. One of the ones I had been seeing around, that I wanted to try was the gluten free shortbread cookie mix. I had picked that up while I was there, and was like “I really want a Scottish cookie stamp to use with it”, so I began my journey of trying to find a Scottish cookie stamp as well as a round biscuit cutter or large enough single round cookie cutter (those are proving harder than expected to come by). I ended up going online to find a Scottish Thistle cookie stamp, even if I got back to the renaissance faire and if the same vendor was there, who was selling cookie stamps last year, doesn’t mean I would find what I was looking for. I also wanted it sooner than that. As for the round biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter of the right size, I am not in as much of need of one for myself as I was for the cookie stamp, as I am sure there is something in the kitchen where I am living that will work for the time being. I also don’t want to spend more than $5 for a single round cookie or biscuit cutter, let alone I don’t want to pay shipping for something I know I will be able to find in a kitchen store at some point. I just need to keep my eyes open.

IMG_0810

Those who have known me since I was at least in college, know that I am borderline obsessed with all things Scottish, and that Scotland is at the top of my international travel bucket list. Part of that is because I have some Scottish heritage, as well as the fact that I love the cool, wet, climate, and the pictures I have seen are breath taking.

There are a lot of things that if they are made in Scotland, especially items such as high quality yarn, and kitchen utensils, that I know are well made. While this particular cookie stamp was made in the USA, It is a Scottish print, and I wanted a cookie stamp that had a Scottish print, especially when I was going to be using it for something that is distinctly British.

Stay Tuned for my Gluten Free & Dairy Free shortbread cookie baking blog! that will be forthcoming soon, now that I have my cookie stamp.

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.

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

Making Healthy Food Taste Good

Hey Everyone!

It is New Years Day, and while many are making New Years resolutions that they probably won’t stick with for very long,one of my two main New Years resolutions is to make healthier food, and make it taste good. In eating healthier food I have begun buying more Organic, Natural, Free Range, Cage Free, Non GMO, Grass Fed food. I may have to back off a bit if I ever have a family, but for now that it is generally just me that I have to worry about, and I have a job to pay for it. I can buy the more expensive better for you foods that I prefer.

I am to some degree a picky eater, as in if it doesn’t sound good, look good, smell good I am not going to eat it. For years I just ate food because it was what was there, not because I wanted it. Now that I am working, and I am getting paid, I can afford to be like “this sounds good, I am going to make it and use the grass fed free range meat”. Being Gluten Free and Dairy Free has also contributed to this mentality as well. Getting food that is Gluten Free and Dairy Free also tends to cost more, and I have to be careful about what I eat. I haven’t read all the research, but there is research showing that the food we eat has changed significantly from the food that was produced, and grown in the 1950’s, and those changes with Genetically Modifying, pesticide resistance, antibiotics and such has greatly contributed to the rise in food intolerances and allergies we are seeing now days. Now that I am one of those people who does have food intolerances to contend with, what is in my food is ever present how I grocery shop for myself.

I am not going to be becoming Vegan, or quit eating all “normal” foods, I am just being more selective about what mainstream foods I eat, and what I replace with “alternative” options.

So really, my goal for this year is to have a better diet that is balances and has a lot of food that is taking it back to more of the way it was in the 1950’s, as well as the Gluten Free and Dairy Free Alternatives to keep my food intolerances in check.

Along with eating better, and making it taste good I am working on putting together a cookbook that one of my good friends so nicely gave me for Christmas, with all of the GF/DF recipes that I try and like. It will be be useful for me, when I am able to move out on my own, and for if I ever do get married, and have a family.

Gluten Free Pie Crust

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday, after I got home from work I needed to make a pumpkin pie for myself that was Gluten and Dairy Free. Beings that I was making this for Thanksgiving, I made Pumpkin Pie. The recipe for dairy free pumpkin filling (as well as baking directions) can be found here.

In making gluten free pie crust, I have tried other gluten free mixes in years past, but I never really liked it. This year I decided to try making the recipe I am familiar with, and subsitute the brown rice flour mix that I have for the regular flour. I wanted to see how it would turn out, and it worked. The Brown Rice Flour mix that I use is from the Gluten Free baking classics book by Annalise Roberts. You can find it online at Barnes and Noble as well as in store at Bob’s Red Mill (for those of you who live in the Portland Metro area).

Here is the recipe for the pie crust I used. Beings that I only made one 9″ pie, I used half a recipe.

Ingredients:

3 cups brown rice flour mix
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups Crisco shortening
1 egg
1 Tablespoon vinegar
5 Tablespoons water

Directions: 

  1. Work Shortening into flour, xanthan gum and salt until pieces are the size of peas
  2. Beat egg well and mix in vinegar and water
  3. Drizzle into flour a little bit at at time, and combine well
  4. Press into thinner crust in desired size pie pan

This recipe will make two bottom crusts or one, two crust pies.