laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

The Tale of the Master of Distaster (And His Sidekick)


So… you know those days where you feel like you’re so on top of it all? The dishes are done and put away. The laundry is washed, folded, and put away. The children are bathed, fed, and napping? If you do, leave. Right now. And never return. Unless you’ll tell me your secrets, and then I’ll wait patiently at your feet. Either that or I’ll out you as a bold-faced liar.

I will admit, lately, I have felt pretty on top of things. Laundry got caught up on. Dishes get washed. (Ok, so they’re not put away until the next time I need to wash more, but I can live with that.) My children have been fed. And bathed before public appearances. I even rearranged and did some redecorating of the house. For the most part I’m feeling more zen these days. More in control. More like I can actually survive having had three children in three years. (Ok, 3 and a half years)

So I did my salsa making and canning with a girlfriend. While it’s debatable whether or not it took less time to do it together, with all of the children between us, it was definitely more fun that way. Well, my dear friend is recovering from meningitis and left me all alone my own with two 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes for sauce. I got brave (or the fear of  having to admit that the tomatoes went bad before I got to them to my husband took over). I took out all of the tomatoes and set them on the bench to make sure they were all good, throw out the bad ones, etc. After I did that, I started getting out the pots and pans, and bowls and everything I needed to turn these lovely ‘maters into even more lovely pasta sauce.  And then this one called to me from her room, downstairs….

The Miss E

So I went to go help her with whatever crisis she was currently facing.

I returned to find that between these two, disaster had ensued:

Littlest E …aka The Master of Disaster

Sidekick of The Master of Disaster

What did I find when I came back upstairs? Well, I’ll tell you. I found all of my tomatoes being thrown on the floor, off the table and bench. I found the dog either trying to do a grape stomp, or eat them, catch them… whatever he was doing, he trampled them. In hindsight Littlest was probably clearing the bench and the pup was probably trying to catch them. That or they really were trying to ruin my life. Regardless. I found my tomatoes being smashed on the floor with the sidekick trampling them. Upon finding them in this state, I immediately yelled for the dog to get away from the tomatoes. I forgot our dog is a big, huge baby who gets his feelings hurt. He immediately began to pee. All over the tomatoes. The trampled, peed on tomatoes. There went any thoughts I had of rescuing them.

Thankfully, this one was a good helper during clean up.

Biggest

Thankfully, a glass of wine helped. And in the end, I still love them.

 

Next time, I’ll just buy my pasta sauce.

7 Comments »

Simple and Impressive


For a fantastic dinner, first you start with…

One very delicious margarita.

Next you get the main course going…

Yes, it did taste as good as it looks!

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 lb)

2 tbs butter, melted

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs worcestershire sauce

2 tbs orange muscat wine (you can use 2 tbs frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed)

1. Heat oven to 375. Brush whole chicken with butter; sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, pepper, and half of the ginger (1/2 tsp). Place chicken in shallow roasting pan. 2. Roast chicken uncovered for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the other half of the ginger (1/2 tsp), brown sugar, soy sauce, worchestershire sauce, and the orange wine. (Don’t forget a sip for yourself, you know, just taste testing.) 3. Remove chicken from oven. Brush mixture over chicken. 4. Return to oven; roast uncovered 20 minutes. Brush remaining mixture over chicken and squash; cover loosely with foil, and roast 30 minutes longer. (Until thermometer reads 180 and legs move easily when lifted or twisted.)

While the main course is going, you get some sides together:

Really yummy ears of corn.

And…

Watermelon, Cantaloupe, and Strawberries. Served with an incredibly delicious cream cheese fruit dip.

And it was fantastic! We’d had so many grey days that I need a meal to make me feel like it was summer- and this did the trick! And I loved it so much that I’ve decided not to wait until Thursday to share it!

1 Comment »

Cream of The Crop


We had a friend over last weekend, and her sweet little girl had the worst diaper rash. I’m talkin’ major owwie. And we’ve been there. We’d found a recipe for a diaper cream and were elated that it was labeled as cloth diaper friendly. In the world of cloth diapering, this is a big deal. (Regular diaper creams can cause repelling which is definitely no bueno.) We thought this was the perfect excuse for us to make a batch of the diaper cream!

The sweet little one had her rash covered in it before going home (and we set them home with a jar too!). By morning, the rash was gone. By the following day, the rest of the owwies the rash had caused were gone too! That is pretty amazing! Hubbyman is so thrilled, he wants to go into business! We have yet to use it on Littlest. (Hubbyman said he half hopes he gets a rash, just so we can try it out.) If it’s as good as my friend says it is (I’ve used it on my hands and it feels great!), then we probably will have to do just that!

I’ve spent a good chunk of time working on my syruping pictures, but they’ve been making themselves more difficult than seems necessary. If you’re interested in the cream, you should definitely go over to My Big Cloth Adventure and check out her story of how well the cream worked for her!

2 Comments »

Cream Cheese Delight


Hubbyman was home early today, and since I stayed up late and got caught up on household things…today I could do what I want. Relatively. We played games, we cuddled, we read books. And then they requested “girl cheese” (grilled cheese) and toast with cinnamon.  It’s been months since I’ve made bread and so I decided today was the day for it! I used a recipe I found on Our Best Bites last August. (I blogged about it, but it went largely unnoticed.) They’re still rising, but I can tell you they’re going to be equally as fabulous this time!

I turned the rolls into bread…and it was fabulous!

Last time I made the frosting pink for Miss E since lots of times she gets left when it comes to deserts. This time I couldn’t bear to let the “filling” go to waste (since I’d forgotten to halve it, due to not making a full batch), but I still wanted it to be kind of glazed (versus frosted) so I added a good amount of milk, and then a little powdered sugar. Which also helped it to be not quite so rich since it already had the rich filling.) Perfect. Delicious. Even better than the first time around!

If you want to try them, go here for the full recipe! Or go to my link for my version of them (their recipe makes them rolls- I turned them into bread and used the extra dough to make a few of the cream cheese delights. Just enough to enjoy without them going bad as lots of desserts do in our home.) Oh, and the recipes are easy and other than the time for letting them rise, they take hardly any time!

I know, I normally (ie. when I remember) do recipes on Thursdays, but I decided these were too yummy to wait! That and my *&$#% keyboard has yet to be replaced.)

6 Comments »

Meadow Gardens


Ok, ladies and gentlemen… today I have another review. I thought about spacing them farther apart, but decided against that. Thankfully, these are products that I want to share with you, so that was all the extra incentive I needed!

The lady of Meadow Muffin Gardens, is an awfully busy one. Her shop is full of amazing products! Seriously, I can’t look at it, without wanting to throw her whole etsy store in my cart and ordering it all! I’m hoping to look through it with hubbyman, because I think he’d appreciate some of it as well. (Plus, he’ll keep me in check! ha!)

If you’re interested in any time of personal care products, her website and etsy stores are the place(s) to go. She’s got it all! I mean really, from facial moisturizers for wrinkles, to insect deterrent, to shampoo, blemish treatments… I mean the list goes on! Thinking about how you could just buy all of those things from the drug store? Well, you could… but if you’re wanting something that is kind to the earth as well as our bodies in that they are free from chemical, synthetic components.* (It’s an excerpt taking from her profile about why she does the awesome things she does!)

And now, let’s talk about the Serenity Moisturizing Cream!

Here is what her site has to say about this product:

Ideal for all skin types, a soothing facial moisturizer utilizing only natural wholesome ingredients. Ideal for sensitive allergy prone skin. Essential oils lavender and sandalwood both offer antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits. It can be said that lavender essential oil is a combination first aid and beauty kit. Its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make it beneficial for blemishes, sunburn, bug bites and skin regeneration. The aroma can be stimulating as well as relaxing. Exotic sandalwood essential oil offers an earthy, sensual scent with subtle lingering power. Besides its wonderful hydrating effects for dry skin, sandalwood is a balm for the mind and spirit as well.  Rich in nutritional value almond and hazelnut oils absorb quickly into the skin without leaving an oily residue. They are light and odorless which are a plus in body care products. Both oils are unrefined and cold-expeller pressed which means there are no chemical solvents used to extract the oils. Coconut oil is added for its cool, creamy texture as well as its help to stiffen the cream. Its unique molecular structure allows it to easily absorb into your skin while not leaving behind a greasy film. The natural antioxidants found in coconut oil fight against free-radicals which damage connective tissue and cause the skin to lose elasticity and wrinkles. 

Did you hear that? fights against free-radicals, which cause the skin to lose elasticity and wrinkles?! Um, sign me up!

Does it get any better than that? No, it really doesn’t. When the package arrived, I opened it up, and hubbyman happened to be right there, so he took a look. He was impressed! He thought it looked and smelled like something I would have gotten at a store. (I’m assuming like a natural foods/products store. Because it doesn’t smell processed to me. And yes, I can smell processed.)

Now you should know, I’m usually hesitent to try out new facial moisturizers. My face is equal parts dry and oily. And I’m always afraid that I’m going to choose a product that will make it go either extremely oily or extremely dry. I am happy to say that didn’t happen. And actually, it helped heal my skin. Yeah, you heard me right. Under one of my eyes I’ve had this weird dry spot. And I have a couple of the store bought, facial moisturizers. I even have an expensive line of skin care products (that I hardly ever use)… and none of them had any effect on it at all. After using it once at night, it was gone. I’m not kidding. Fantastic! And my skin doesn’t feel all sticky and greasy the way that some moisturizers can leave you feeling. As far as the scent goes, it’s really pretty light. I think the lavender and sandalwood mix really well together. Plus, it’s pretty awesome knowing exactly what is in the thing I’m slathering on my face. (I’ve even been using it on my blistered, did-too-much-raking-without-gloves hands! And it feels really soothing.)

I’d definitely give this product 4.8 out of 5 stars. The .2 are pretty much me… and the fact that I just hate the fact that I’m getting to the age (ok, fine, so I’m to the age) where I really do need a moisturizer routine for my face. You know, to continue fighting those free radicals!

Wondering why you should take the necessary measures to clean out your medicine cabinet, dump all the bought-at-a-drug-store/pharmacy/department store products? When pregnant, women are encouraged to forgo lots of products. Especially ones that go on the skin. Cleansers, moisturizers, and the whole gamut of facial products. Why? Because the chemicals and preservatives that they’re made up seep into your skin, and can have adverse affects on the development of your baby. Ok, hold up… if something can cause really awful things to happen to my baby in my belly, what kind of things is it doing to my body? Or yours? See… that’s what got me to this point. So, when you reach that point, I’m here to help. Along with the Meadow Muffin Gardens. They have graciously given a coupon code for anyone who orders!

So…first, go to facebook and “Like” Meadow Muffin Gardens, follow them on twitter, then go to Etsy and favorite Meadow Muffin Gardens, then you can go check out their lovely blog, and then their website. When you get to the buying products part, add in the code: JUSTFORU for 15% off (at checkout -on her etsy site!!-) whatever you buy from her  etsy store! It’s a fantastic deal and a great way to get you started on your way to healthy insides and out!

And don’t forget to keep entering yesterday’s giveaway! “Like” the post (on facebook and wordpress), comment here on the blog post, follow the blog by email, follow by twitter… are all things you can do for extra entries! So make sure you do!

Disclosure: I received the products mentioned above in exchange for this review; a big thanks to Stacy at Meadow Muffin Gardens! No monetary compensation was received by me. This post is entirely my own opinion and you may find it differs from yours.

2 Comments »

Spring Has Sprung (In My Washing Machine)


At the encouragement of a friend and fellow blogger, I reached out to some etsy dealers. Why you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. In our efforts to go chemical free, homemade, environmentally friends, and you know- cheap… I’ve been making my own cleaning products for a while, along with dishwasher detergent. And we’ve made toothpaste (we finally have one that I looove!), made some lotion (it needs some tweaking), and continue to test out new and new-to-us ideas for personal care products. There is one thing I’m a little afraid of. Laundry detergent. I know it’s really not difficult. I even made some once. I didn’t love it. I didn’t love making it and I didn’t love using it. So when trying to decide what kind of products I wanted to do reviews on- it was a no brainer. Personal care products and more importantly- laundry detergent. A family of 5 goes through a lot of laundry. I’ve always got one of two types of laundry mountains going on- needing to be cleaned or needing to be put away. Worst case scenario is when you have both! Yikes. The first two lovely ladies to reach (back) out to me were for two different products. One is laundry detergent! And the other is a moisturizer! Today I’m going to give you my review of the laundry detergent (I’m hoping that gives me extra incentive to get my laundry done… and then maybe put away. Maybe.).

Her name is Kari and she has a lovely little (virtual) shop on etsy- Karbipbaby. Go and check it out. Sweet, right? And when she sent me the laundry soaps to test out- she included a thoughtful, handwritten note. I can already tell she’s my kinda gal! She started making them as gifts and then began using them herself. Now they use it exclusively. And the best part (well, one of the things I love about her and her products) she gets quality time in with her daughter under the guise of something to do while they watch tv. I love it! I can totally picture a tween version of my MissE, sitting on the couch, chatting about whatever happens to come out of her mouth while we work on some project or other. Actually, that doesn’t sound so different than now, only I’m working on a project and she’s generally undoing my project while chatting. (Biggest has taken to calling her ‘Yakkity Yak’ after seeing a very chatty Yak given that nickname on a cartoon.)

Back to the soap, if you’ve been looking for a more cost effective, eco-friendly, vegan, or “green” laundry soap, then this is it! Her handmade soaps have three ingredients! As a mom of kids with allergies (and thereby prone to Eczema), I was pleased to read that it’s a great product for people with sensitive skin,  babies, and yes, even people with Eczema (she has two kids with it as well and cites that using natural cleaners in her home really makes a difference!).

photo credit: Karbipbaby Etsy Store

Upon receiving my package of four different kinds of laundry detergent (Lavendar,  Clean and Clear, Original, and their newest scent- Spring Has Sprung), I left it on my counter. I kept walking into my kitchen thinking what the heck is that smell? (It didn’t smell bad, just a little out of place in the kitchen!) Now that I’ve moved them onto my washer, I am loving that smell! Seriously! As a cloth diapering mom… sometimes a little scent is a good thing.

Now I’ve always had sensitive skin when it came to laundry detergents. Chemically induced fragrances have always been a big no-no. So I will admit to being a little hesitant about the fragranced detergents. But guess what? I totally love them. I always thought I wasn’t a big fan of lavender scented things (my mama loooves her some lavender!), but I think that was my favorite of all the detergents she sent me! No rash. No itchy, scratchy skin. Just clean (and clean smelling) clothes! Oh and did I mention it cleans the clothes? Because it does. Toddler dinner mess? No problem. Big kids playing in the dirt all day? No signs of that here. Hubbyman’s shirts that smell like him even after being washed?  They smell much better. Not having to worry about all the chemicals and preservatives that are in the bottle? No worries here. That’s pretty priceless. I am totally sold! I haven’t used all of the Spring Has Sprung yet… I’m thinking of saving some just to keep near the diaper pail because it smells so good! Haha! (It’s funny, because I mean it.)

I should also note two things about the scents. 1) The lavender is a lighter fragrance than the Spring Has Sprung. 2) Neither of the scents are incredibly strong after being through the wash. The lavender is very light, and the Spring Has Sprung, while  your clothes will smell like Spring has Sprung, it won’t be overpowering. Because I’d never used fragranced detergents, I had no idea how the clothes would come out smelling. To me it was perfect, it makes the wash smell wonderful (and therefore my laundry room smells good!) and my clothes come out clean and smelling good without smelling like I’ve got a really potent perfume on. Got it? Good.

photo credit: Karbipbaby etsy store

Our of 5 stars… I’d give this laundry detergent mama all five of those stars! 

Want to know something almost as fantastic as the laundry detergent? She has been gracious enough to offer THREE of you a Multi-Pack of her laundry detergent! The multi pack contains a sample of each of the scents. Enough to do 10 loads of laundry! How do you enter? Well, I’m so glad you asked! Just click right HERE which will bring you to my facebook page, under the lefthand column, click on Giveaways and follow the instructions to enter! The contest ends Friday at midnight, so be sure to get all the points you can between now and then! And be sure to stay tuned for tomorrow’s review!!

Disclosure: I received the products mentioned above in exchange for this review; a big thanks to Kari at Karbipbaby! No monetary compensation was received by me. This post is entirely my own opinion and you may find it differs from yours.

5 Comments »

Simply Comforting


I’ve seen a lot of other blogs recently featuring their favorite comfort foods. I even did a chicken noodle soup one. While this one isn’t so terribly different. It’s good enough that you’re going to want to try it. And for a limited time only, I will offer you two recipes for the price of one.

Bacon Chicken and Dumplings and how to make your own, homemade version of bisquick.

One of my favorite cooking companions. My sweet little Sous Chef!

Bacon Chicken and Dumplings (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

3 slices of bacon

3 large potatoes, peeled and diced

1 onion, diced

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts diced*

3 cups chicken broth

1 tsp poultry seasoning

salt and pepper (to taste)

1 can whole kernel corn (drained and rinsed)

2 cups half-and-half**

1 1/2 cups biscuit mix

1 cup milk

*I used 4 because I wanted it extra chicken-y, and of course the eternal problem where hubbyman doesn’t like soup.

**I used whole milk (because that’s what I had).

***You could add in more vegetables. If I’d of thought about it, I would’ve at least added some of the carrots sitting in my fridge.

1. Place bacon in large, deep skillet. Cook over med-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside; reserve bacon drippings in skillet. (I didn’t have any bacon thawed, but I thought it sounded so good. I did have some bacon drippings, so I did use that. But I will be using the bacon next time.)

2. Add potatoes, onion, and chicken to bacon drippings and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in chicken broth; season with poultry seasoning (here’s what my poultry seasoning has in it: marjoram, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, onion powder, and savory), salt, and pepper. Stir in corn, and simmer everything together for about 15 minutes.  *

3. Pour in milk (or half-and-half) and bring to a boil; add crumbled bacon. In a med. bowl, combine biscuit mix with milk and mix well (dough should be thick). Drop tablespoon sizes of dough into boiling mixture; reduce head and simmer for 10 minutes (uncovered) and then another 10 (covered). Avoid stirring while it’s simmers, or the dumplings could break apart.

*It was during this time (the 15 min simmer) that I whipped up the homemade version of bisquick, so by the time the simmer was done, so was the mix.

(image credit: AllRecipes.com) I couldn't find my camera so I didn't get any pictures. But it looked and tasted wonderful!

Homemade Bisquick Mix

 6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted *

3 tbs baking powder

1 tbs salt

1/2 cup cold butter

*I used Tom Sawyer all-purpose gluten free flour (it’s my favorite) but I’m hoping to come up with my own blend

1. In a med. bowl, measure and sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a wire whisk to make sure it’s blended thoroughly.

2. With a pastry cutter (or something similar – I actually used a cheese grater to “grate” the butter), cut in butter until it’s fully incorporated.

3. Store in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 months.

You can use this in place of bisquick. We’ve made pancakes, snickerdoodles (My Aunt said she actully preferred my gluten free version!), and biscuits out of the mix. It’s fantastic. And, in my opinion, even better than the box. Also- it’s way cheaper. So there you have it folks!

5 Comments »

Simply Sick


The last time I was sick (and of course a couple of the kids were as well), all I could think of was how I wanted some good, old fashioned, homemade chicken noodle soup. Of course, the last thing I wanted to do while I was sick was to make anything. And being gluten free, we can’t really just grab any old can. And the can of gluten-free, chicken noodle soup at the grocery store is over 4 dollars. For one little can. If I were desperate, I might pay that. But under normal circumstances, no way. That’s ridiculous.

So this last week,  my MissE had a day where we worried she was getting sick. I figured it was perfect timing to try my hand at making some soup! Even if she wasn’t sick; I could at least freeze some, so there’d always be some on hand for if when someone got sick. As any parent can tell you, when your kid is sick, you don’t get a lot of free time. Usually they’re in arms, or on lap, or both. Even when sleeping. So as I looked through countless recipes, I knew I needed something I could throw together quickly and relatively easily. Enter my beloved crock pot. (You know I recently read a “de-cluttering” article, and they actually said to *whispers* throw away your crock pot, because nobody ever uses them! *gasp* Oh the blasphemy! *More whispering* Don’t work ‘crock, I’ll never let you goeither of you.) I love crock pot recipes, they’re easy, they’re time saving, they’re not a don’t-stand-there-and-watch-the-water-boil-or-it-never-will type of recipe. Which for me, is terrific.

So in true form, I scanned through about 20 different crock pot chicken noodle recipes… and then did something of my own accord. (I just can’t help it! And you shouldn’t either! Why should you waste timing making something how someone else would prefer it? No way! Make it how YOU would!)

In the crock pot

Ingredients:

4 cups chicken broth

4 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper (do this to taste. I might have used more as we like pepper in this house.)

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp garlic salt (my garlic salt has parsley in it. If you don’t have garlic salt, just add salt to taste.)

4 chicken breasts

at least 3 cups noodles, uncooked. (I really wanted to make my super yummy, taste like the chicken noodle soup noodles, but I didn’t have eggs. So I just used a -whole- bag of rice noodles. They worked perfectly.)

In crock pot/slow-cooker (whatever terminology you prefer),  combine chicken broth and stock, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, pepper, basic, garlic salt/salt/lowry’s (again, whatever you have/prefer). Place chicken on top of vegetables. Cover crock pot with lid and cook either on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours (I used this option, and prefer this option, because I don’t normally decide on dinner until just before lunch).

After cooking, take chicken out and put it on a cutting board. Also take out and toss the bay leaves. Add the noodles to the crock pot and put the lid back on and cook on low for about 20 minutes. While the noodles are cooking, shred the chicken (with a fork!). Return chicken to soup and serve!

*NOTE: You can also add celery, but I don’t love it in my soup (and my kids deem celery only acceptable with peanut butter on it) and I didn’t have any, so I went with what I did!  You can also use a whole -roasting- chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds). If you do, then you’ll want to remove the skin and fat and bones before shredding (obviously. I know you know this, but I’m sayin’ it anyway.) And after that you’ll want to skim fat from the soup and discard that. With the chicken breasts I used, they were very lean to begin with, so I didn’t really have the fat to skim off the top.  And you can of course use your favorite egg noodle that’s gluten-filled. And about the broth/stock. Hubbyman is not into soup. He always looks dejected whenever he looks in the pot and finds it filled with soup. Which is unfortunate considering that my girl and I love soup. And the little boys are always at least willing to eat it. So sometimes I just go ahead and make soup, even though hubby won’t be thrilled with dinner. Some recipes called for 8 cups of water (if you were cooking with a whole chicken) and some called for 4 cups water and 4 cups chicken broth. I wanted the stock for both the flavor and the consistency. And it turned out perfectly.

Hubbyman is not a huge soup fan. So I made his less soup-ish and mine more so!

 

Both hubbyman and I determined that this was the best chicken soup we’d ever had. So, so yummy. There was enough for leftovers and to freeze. It was still hot so I put it in the freezer container and put in the fridge until it was cooled through before freezing (nothing worse than freezer burn!). And it got eaten. By my non-soup-loving husband. I should note that with the stock it does change consistency after being cooled. (plus that and the rice noodles started to fall apart, just a little) So then it was more like another one of my favorite- chicken and dumplings. Either way, it was delicious. I will definitely be making this again. Especially since hubbyman gave him approval to add this to the list of regulars. So easy, so good. It’s a win for me!

mine (more broth-y)

with garlic biscuits

less broth-y

 

 

 

 

 

6 Comments »

I Scream Simple!


Our family is not huge on sweets. Cookies we’ll eat, but cakes, pies, and anything else in the dessert family, tends to go stale before it gets finished. Every year we would order a big DQ Cake for hubbyman’s birthday. It’s his favorite. Last year I got him a tiny one that he and I shared after kids had gone to bed. This year we’re more conscious about US not eating things with wheat/gluten in it, so I needed a new plan. Thankfully, I have a firm and devout love of cookbooks. And the only books I’ve read the last couple of months have been my new cookbooks, and so I was well versed in which cookbook would work. And in true fashion- I combined my favorites! From two of my favorite cookbooks!

That's right, it has a bite out of it. Because it's so yummy, I couldn't even wait to take the picture before taking a bite!

Big E insisted Daddy would want blue sprinkles on his cake, and the M&Ms frozen in the ice cream middle layer, added a nice splash of color!  

The basis of this cake, I got from the Babycakes Covers the Classics (Gluten Free, Vegan Recipes from Donuts to Snickerdoodles -just typing that makes me want to go eat make some snickerdoodles!). The photos of all her baking is amazing. If I could get all my baker-y to look that picturesque, I could die happy.

However, pretty much the only thing about this recipe that I stuck to, was that it has cake with ice cream in the middle. But it was my jumping off point. 

One of my other favorites is my Gluten-Free Cupcakes book.  (This is my go to for desserts to make and desserts to bring anywhere. They are quick, they are easy, and they don’t contain a million different ingredients.) Elena Amsterdam has quickly become on of my favorite cookbook goddesses! She also blogs: Elena’s Pantry.

One of my favorite cupcakes to make is Red Velvet. I usually leave out the red, because let’s face it, that doesn’t change the taste. And food dyes really aren’t great for you. And (here’s the truth) I ran out of my red dye that’s natural and made from vegetables, and they’re pretty much always out of it at the natural food store. Anyhow, it’s yummy, it’s moist, and it’s easy. So I made two of them.

My Favorite Red Velvet Recipe

1/2 cup coconut flour

2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

4 lg eggs

2 Tbs grapeseed oil

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 Tbs red food coloring, made from vegetable dye (Or like a million drops of the fake kind. Although technically I think it calls for 35.)

This recipe is traditionally used for cupcakes, but I used it to make Big E’s Cat in the Hat cake a few weeks ago, so I already know it works as a cake! (A bit thin, but still really yummy. And perfect for a layered cake!)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray pans. In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking soda.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, grapeseed oil, agave nectar, and food coloring (if you choose to use any). Blend the wet ingredients into the dry with a handheld mixer until thoroughly combined (Truth= I used a spatula and that worked just fine).

Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in pan for an hour.

I did this x2. Gluten free measures a little differently, so recipes generally work better if you make two batches, rather than just double. So I made it twice (that way I didn’t have to dirty 2 more bowls).

ICE CREAM CENTER

1/2 pint (I think I actually used about 3/4, but whatever) ice cream. I used vanilla, because that’s what I had in the fridge, but you can use whatever sounds good to you. Raspberry or strawberry would probably pair really well with the red velvet! Ok, after softening the ice cream, transfer ice cream to a medium bowl and fold in whatever you want. The original recipe used cookies. I used M&Ms and white/milk chocolate swirl chips. It was a fantastic decision.

Now make sure the cakes have thoroughly cooled. I thought mine had, but they were still just warm enough that they  made my ice cream layer melt a little more than I would have liked.  In a pie pan, or spring form, line with wax paper or plastic wrap. I cheated. I just used my silicone pie pan. It worked swimmingly. (And fit better in my freezer.) So put the bottom cake down and spread the ice cream on top. Smooth with the back of a spoon. Place remaining cake on top of ice cream. Frost (I used a really yummy whipped cream cheese frosting!) and freeze (covered) for at least 4 hours.  It is just so yummy. I’m not a big chocolate person, but I do love this! Hope you will too… you know, once a year, on your birthday. Or lunch every day for a week. Your pick.

So there you have it, I scream! You Scream! We all scream for simply ice cream cake! (Right?!)

6 Comments »

Winds of Change


Things are starting to get a little bit shaken up over here at the household full of E’s. (Seriously, I’m the only one in my house -other than the animals- that isn’t an E, did I ever mention that? My children think I feel left out, or that I should feel left out… I think it just makes me that much more special. Right?) Anyways, our house itself, is not in upheaval or anything. Ok, that’s a blatant lie. My house is pretty much always in a state of upheaval. Unless the children have gone to Grandma’s. What I’m really meaning is that things are changing over here.

Biggest is 5, and will be kindergarten age for this fall’s school session. We have decided (for numerous reasons) to homeschool. At least for kindergarten. We’ll take this year to feel our way out and see how we both feel about it. So we have been scouring the internet, fielding phone calls, and taking in numerous pamphlets via the good ‘ol USPS. It’s a little intimidating and a lot overwhelming. We think we’re settled. Now we just have to get our “school area” prepped and ready. Which means I need some more shelving. Which I’m hoping means a trip to The Container Store. (I love that place. Hubbyman took me there for Valentine’s Day last year- and I declared it the best Valentine’s Day ever. This is a true story.) So we’ve got that going on.

And… we’ve got the whole converting everything to homemade/non-chemical. I left some messages with some lovely etsy ladies yesterday on doing some reviews of their natural/homemade/chemical free home cleaning and personal products and in less than 24 hours I already have 2 in the works! This is SO exciting! Letjoy, of My Big Cloth Adventure, has been encouraging me to reach out to some retailers and start doing reviews. And I finally did it! So be on the lookout the next couple of weeks for a review and maybe a giveaway or two!

And… I’m going to be doing daycare for some very dear friends. They’re due in the fall. We just told them yesterday. They’re excited. I’m excited. We’ve been asked about doing daycare for a few other people. While I was always willing, it turned out, I didn’t always want to. And hubbyman has always been very adamant that my time at home be devoted to our children. He didn’t want them left out. And then there’s the deal of not being able to go places during the week. The thought of that always stressed me out when it was just the older 2. Now that there’s three. I really don’t do a whole lot of outings during the week. And I’m totally ok with that. I mean, we go to the park, we go to the farmer’s market, we go for walks, we play outside. We play inside. We do things, we just don’t drive places. And all the places I would feel I was “missing out” on (like walking to the farmer’s market, the park, or even the grocery store) are all walk-able. Even with an addition. And while, obviously, it won’t be the same as having my own brand new little baby. I am so happy to help with theirs. They are one of my favorite couples and I am so thoroughly excited for them. This was the first time where hubbyman and I were immediately like- we want to do this! And I’m excited to have a little baby I’ll get to snuggle on a daily basis! So while it will obviously mean some changes here, I am looking forward to it. Just as I am the rest of the changes goin’ on.  So bear with me as I’m trying to figure everything out and how to schedule it all out… and hold your breath until tomorrow. (Ok, don’t really, but it’s gonna be good.) I am going to share my super delicious ice cream cake that I made for hubbyman’s birthday a few weeks ago. And I may or may not have for lunch. (I got a piece out to have for lunch yesterday, and somehow ended up eating a salad. I’m not sure how that happened, but I promise not to let it happen again!)

4 Comments »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 181 other followers