Thursday, July 13, 2017

"Cake" and Ice Cream Treat - gluten free!

There is nothing earth shattering about this recipe.  People have been putting ice cream on cake for decades - maybe even centuries!  Why not?!?  And substituting a brownie for cake is not a new idea either.  But.....you knew there was a "but" coming....... making a gluten free chewy brownie that is the most delicious thing ever on its own, and THEN topping it with homemade ice cream is indeed a wonderful .

These brownies are so good - even if you are not gluten free, you will love them.  They have NO flour in them at all, and no refined sugar.  So how could they be good?  Well I don't know, but they are!  My neighbors are my taste testers and they said these are the best brownies they have EVER had.  Seriously - the BEST EVER!!!!  I was so delighted.

So they are delicious AND good for you - a real success in my book!  These turned out a bit thin because they needed to bake in an 8x8" pan and all I had was a 9" square - but even that did not diminish the flavor - they are just a little on the skinny side!

After I passed out samples, I packaged the rest and put them in the fridge - and quite honestly forgot about them.  I know - it's hard to imagine but I did....that is until tonight.  I decided to send dessert to one of my neighbors, so I put one of the brownies in a glass custard cup, topped it with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream, and drizzled slightly warmed Trader Joe's caramel sauce over the top. It looked beautiful and it was enjoyed with rave reviews.




DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHEWY BROWNIES
adapted from Easy Flourless Muffins, Bars & Cookies

6 T. coconut oil
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips and dark chocolate chips (I used about 50/50 of each)
2 large eggs
2/3 c. coconut sugar (133 g)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. unsweetened cacao powder (you can use cocoa powder (20 g)
3 T. arrowroot powder (21 g)
1/4 t. salt

Preheat the oven to 350 and line an  8 x 8" square pan* with foil with two sheets of foil (one on top of the other forming a +) so the brownies can easily be removed when done.  Grease the foil with coconut oil or cooking spray (I like the coconut oil cooking spray!)

Place the coconut oil and chocolate into a small saucepan and heat over low heat until they wre melted.  Stir continuously so the chocolate doesn't burn.  When melted, remove from the heat. to cool slightly.

Beat together the eggs, coconut sugar and vanilla for about 2 minutes or until the mixture becomes smooth and pale.  Add the melted chocolate mixture and mix until well combined.  Reduce the speed to low and add the cacao powder, arrowroot powder and salt, mixing until well combined and scraping down the sides as needed.  The batter will be thick and smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a greased spatula.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center is set. Remove from the oven and let the brownies cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely..  Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze for longer.

And remember, you can get creative with these brownies and add your favorite ice cream on top to make them a special occasion.  And let's face it - every day is worth celebrating, right?!!?

*I didn't have the correct size pan at the time, so used a 9 x 9" pan following all of the directions. The brownies came out delicious, they were just really thin.  Next time I will be prepared! :)









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Saturday, July 8, 2017

No Churn Vanilla "Coconut" Ice Cream

I have been wanting to try this idea for a long time and with the temperatures beginning to climb this week (and my ice cream supply in the freezer at an all time low) - well - there was no time like the present.

So the no churn ice cream is nothing new on this blog - or on most blogs.  It is clearly something people are happily embracing and enjoying.  But I wanted to work toward a "healthier" version and this is step 1.  Instead of using sweetened condensed milk, I used coconut sweetened condensed milk.  The downside of this product is that it is made with cane sugar, and I am trying so hard to eliminate refined sugars from my diet.  That is why this ice cream is step 1.

It is super easy to make your own coconut sweetened condensed milk.  I have found recipes using full fat coconut milk and either honey, coconut sugar or maple syrup.  It does however need to simmer on the stove top for a long time.  But that would be an easy project to do in the evening.  So I am going to make all three varieties (depending on reviews out there and other ideas), and then try them with a basic no churn vanilla recipe and see which delivers the best flavor.  This will definitely be a fun experiment and I hope to end up with a tasty, "healthier" ice cream.  Once I have the base, then I can play around with flavor.  Such fun!

In the meantime, this step one preliminary recipe is fabulous.  I used vanilla bean paste because I love getting all of that rich vanilla flavor in the ice cream.  And if you don't like the flavor of coconut - never fear.  I could not even tell that there was coconut milk in it.  I will try it  again when it is frozen to see if there is a difference, but so far so good. (full disclosure:  I love it whether or not the flavor of coconut is present.  I am not a coconut hater, but I understand that many are, so trying to find a way to be sure this appeals to all!)




NO CHURN VANILLA "COCONUT" ICE CREAM


1 can unsweetened coconut sweetened condensed milk
1 pint heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (extract is fine, but the paste gives the flavor more depth)

Always chill a mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for at least a few hours - overnight is even better.

In a small bowl, combine the coconut condensed milk and vanilla bean paste and set aside.  Pour the pint on heavy cream in the chilled bowl and beat on high for about 3 minutes - until soft peaks form.  Fold in the coconut condensed milk mixture and nix well.  Pour into ice cream freezer container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.  This is so creamy and good.

I served it on grilled nectarines (mouthwatering good - but failed to take photos). Next time....
But, I DO  have a mini "cake and ice cream" recipe  WITH photos to share soon - it got a big thumbs up from the neighbors!

Enjoy!



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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Almond Flour Blueberry Lemon Scones - Grain Free


These are a treat any time of the day, but I love starting the day with a fresh scone.  I am learning that when baking with almond flour, things are best eaten fresh - right out of the oven.  These are literally bursting with lemon and blueberry.  The texture is a little different, but the flavor is unmistakably summer at its best!  Enjoy.


Almond Flour Blueberry Lemon Scones
adapted from The Nourishing Home

2 3/4 c. almond flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
2 T. cold unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 T. full fat coconut milk
1 T.. lemon zest
2 t. fresh lemon juice
1 T. raw clover honey
1/3 c. dried blueberries

Combine the almond flour, baking soda and salt in a food processor.  Pulse in the cold butter until the butter resembles pea-sized.  Use a pastry cutter as an alternative to a food processor.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and honey until well mixed. Using a spoon, stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture and blend until thoroughly combined.  Fold in the dried blueberries.  Place the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill.

While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  Sprinkle the counter or work surface with a handful of almond flour.  Melt 1 t. of butter or coconut oil to brush on top of the scones.  Set aside.

Once the dough is chilled,  shape it into a ball and place it on the floured surface.  Shape the dough into a 6" square - it should be about an inch thick.  Cut the dough in half twice to form 4 small squares.  Then cut each dough square in half diagonally to form 8 small triangles.

Carefully place each triangle (scone) onto the prepared cookie sheet.  Brush the tops of the scones with the melted butter or coconut oil.  If desired, sprinkle the tops with a little coconut or maple sugar.

Bake about 16-18 minutes or until the scones are slightly golden along the edges.  Serve warm and enjoy.



The dried blueberries plump up perfectly and add great flavor.


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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Special Wedding....






This past weekend, my family traveled to Fresno where my daughter and granddaughters live.  It is not my favorite place to travel as it is a long car ride on a good day (about 5 hours).  And in the summer, it is hot.  Fresno did not disappoint when it comes to summer weather..  It was in the 90s when we drove in and 102 on Saturday - ugh.  People tend to say that dry heat isn't as bad, but let's face it - HOT is HOT!!

But enough of that - once settled in, we were able to enjoy some family time. I loved having extra time with my two boys (who are really adults!), my DIL and my adorable grandson. He entertained all of  us with his dancing and chattering and toddler antics the whole time.  It was great fun.

Saturday was the day of the wedding and all went well. I don't think I have ever seen my daughter happier, and I hope that stays with her the rest of her life. Her daughters love her new husband, and his daughters love Missy.  Seems to be a beautiful blended family.  What more could I hope for - right?

Her colors were gray with purple accents, so I used that inspiration to design her wedding card.  I wanted it to be simple and elegant and think I achieved that.  I used a beautiful image from Power Poppy ( LOVE her floral designs) and foiled it in purple. The foiling is so difficult to capture, but hopefully with the different angles you can see how pretty it was. I was thrilled to see how all of the detail was enhanced by the foil.


A perfect example of how difficult it is to capture the color and shimmer
of the foil.  But also a good way to see the detail of the digi image.
It is beautiful in its simplicity.


A little better capture of the foiling.  Now you can see why I love it.
It just brought the image to life.


The sentiment is from Anna Griffin, stamped on Gina K Heat Resistant acetate 
and heat embossed.

I wish them a very HAPPY life.....




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Monday, June 12, 2017

Almond Flour Pizza Dough on the Grill!

Making grain free pizza just got easier with the Simple Mills Pizza Crust Mix.  I have several of their mixes in my pantry and this is the first one I have tried and I am so glad I did. It was excellent.






This is the dough before it is baked on the grill (or in the oven).


The box makes 2 - eight inch pizzas.  I followed the package directions and parbaked them first on the grill at about 350, then added the toppings and baked for close to 15 minutes as they were a bit heavy on the toppings (I seem to get a bit carried away when it comes to adorning my pizza!! :)

I had two sets of toppings for these 8 inch wonders.  The first was pizza sauce (just a little - I don't like a lot of sauce!), parmesan cheese, sauteed sliced red pepers, mozzarella cheese.  After baking I added a little more parmesan along with chopped fresh basil.


Roasted red pepper and cheese pizza

The second one had pizza sauce, uncured natural pepperoni slices, mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.  So simple and so delicious.


Pepperonii and cheese pizza

No "grain-free" or "gluten-free" crust is going to taste as wonderful as "regular" gluten flour bread pizza crusts, but this was actually a better than expected alternative.  The toppings were so good that the "different" crust didn't matter as much - and it was honestly tasty.

I will continue my experimentation, but it's nice to know I have something reliable to fall back on as needed when that pizza craving hits! Pin It Now!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Blueberry Lemon Muffins - Grain Free



This is the time of year that I seem to be stuck on all things lemon, blueberry, zucchini etc - and this post will be no different.  I am chuckling to myself as I share this recipe, knowing that I currently have two pints of beautiful blueberries waiting to be baked into a new concoction. And who knows - I may just eat them as is or roast them with some fresh strawberries.  Yep - that's it!  With Memorial Day weekend around the corner, roasting the berries will be the perfect treat to spoon over homemade strawberry "coconut" ice cream.  Yum!  The ice cream is already in the freezer so the hard part is done!  Recipes to follow soon - once I get it all made and take some photos..... :)

But back to the task at hand - these delicious muffins.  And they truly are just that - DELICIOUS!

And let me just add, I love this cookbook, especially because the quantities are given in regular measurements and grams. With the different and sometimes challenging textures of almond and coconut flours, using a gram measurement makes me feel much more confident in my final result.  I will share both measurements, but I strongly suggest you use the gram measurement, especially for the dry ingredients. It is SO easy and much more accurate.  End of lecture! :)


Looks so simple and unassuming from the outside.... 
but inside it hides so much goodness!

Blueberry Lemon Muffins
adapted from Every Last Crumb by Brittany Angell

180 g.(1 1/2 c.) finely milled almond flour
132 g.(3/4 c.) sweet potato flour (can sub with potato flour, but the sweet potato contains a resistant starch that is better for the body)
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. sea salt
174 g. (about 1 1/2 c plus 1 1/2 T.) of maple or coconut sugar - I used both for added flavor so 87 g. maple sugar and 87 g. coconut sugar
60 g. (about 1/3 c.) melted coconut oil (melt first and then measure)
4 eggs
grated zest of 1 lemon (2 T.)
1 T. vanilla extract
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a muffin pan with parchment liners.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, sweet potato flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until well blended.  Add the remaining ingredients (except the blueberries)  and stir well to combine.

Gently fold in the blueberries.

Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean.




Cool on a wire rack.  They will keep in a sealed container on the counter for 1-2 days, or place in the refrigerator for a few days or the freezer for longer storage.

These were a hit with all of the neighbors!



Look at that blueberry vein running through the center of the muffin - 
Blueberry Gold!


And this is just sheer blueberry overload!
Fruit indulgence is NEVER a bad thing.  So good!

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Another May Birthday!



My daughter celebrated her 30++ birthday the beginning of last week, and her card is actually what got me back into making cards again after such a dry spell.  I have been waiting for her to receive it in the mail, but it seems lost :(  So at least I have this way to share it with her while I still hope that it turns up in her mailbox soon!.

A few months ago, I talked about how sitting down and just jumping in and coloring a stamp is what seemed to break through the lack of creativity I had felt for so long.  Well I knew about halfway through coloring it, that it was going to be part of my daughter's birthday card because it was all about being carefree and flight and beauty.  So I set it aside until it was time to make her card.  It would have been SO much easier if I had chose the patterned papers first before I colored the butterfly - but why should I do anything the easy way!  So I was overjoyed when I actually found colors that would work!


The stamp is from the Sheena Collection from Crafters Companion. 
Her stamps are some of the few I still have that are made from rubber.  
They do stamp beautifully. I scanned the stamped image and then did a print and cut 
with the Silver Bullet.  So much easier than fussy cutting - and so much quicker!
The butterfly was colored with Spectrum Noir markers and highlighted with a Sparkle
pen.  Pearl tipped pins were added for the antennae. And colored pearls were added
to the flowers in the first photo above.  It's simple but so pretty.

I love how this card turned out.  It was inspired by a card I found on Pinterest that used double sided patterned paper and folded it back in an interesting way - a way I had never considered.  I hope to play around more with different ways to present a card and see if that unleashes a little more creativity. And it was such fun to color. Looking forward to more of that as well.




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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Chocolate Zucchini Bread - Grain Free

This recipe was a delicious adventure into grain free baking and it turned out great.  I am still not used to the way breads "don't rise" - but I am working on getting the best results I can - and accepting this "new normal".  The rich taste makes up for the fact that it looks different than my baking used to - but that's ok.



CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD

adapted from The Healthy Coconut Flour Cookbook

2 c. grated zucchini, peeled (peeling is optional)
4 eggs
2 T. coconut oil
1/3 c. maple syrup (Grade B)
2 t. vanilla extract
1/3 c. coconut flour
1/4 c. cacao powder
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. dark chocolate chips (I like to use the Enjoy Life brand - also love Ghirardelli or Guittard)
1-2  T. dark chocolate chips (for top of bread)

Preheat the oven to 350. 

Grease a medium loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Dust the sides of the pan with coconut flour.

Place the shredded zucchini in between several layers of paper towels or roll it up in a dish towel and wring out the excess moisture.

In a food processor or mixer, combine the zucchini, eggs, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Add the flour, cacao powder, baking soda and salt and stir until well blended.  Let the batter rest for a few minutes.


Ready for the oven with extra chocolate chips on top!

Then mix in chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan** (I like to sprinkle 1-2 T. chocolate chips on top for a little extra goodness and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Store covered at room temperature for several days or in the refrigerator for a few weeks.  It also freezes well.

Delicious!






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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day




First of all, I want to wish the happiest Mother's Day to my daughter, daughter in law and so many dear friends.  Even though we all know that EVERY day should be Mother's Day :), I hope today was extra special for all of the amazing mothers I have been blessed to know along the way, especially my own mother and grandmothers.  

Continuing my preoccupation with foiling (sorry -I just cannot get enough of it!), the card above was a traced stencil, scanned and printed and foiled with watercolor Decofoil. I love all of the beautiful shades in the watercolor foil.  The foiled image was cut on the Silver Bullet Professional using the print and cut method in SCAL, as was the foiled greeting tag that was threaded on the ribbon.  The tag was printed on a 3M transparency and ran through the FoilMaster with ease.  Assorted sequins and beads were added (see pics below) to give it some added interest.  


You can see the print and cut layout - above and the result below...


A perfect cut thanks to the Silver Bullet and SCAL software.


And again, the transparency foiled and then cut.  I placed small pieces of
                         removable tape behind the registration marks to make them easy to see 
when doing the laser registration.




HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

lebug




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Friday, May 12, 2017

Birthdays and Celebrations!

It seems like I have been making a lot of get well and sympathy cards of late.  So it was a nice respite to be able to make two celebratory cards today - one planned and one unexpected - more on that later!



First up is a card for my oldest son.  It is so hard to believe that Scott is now 42.  Yikes!  We celebrated with a brunch down here a few weeks ago,  which was a win-win for me. I not only got to have a little extra time with my son, but he is part of a package deal (!), so I could also enjoy time with my daughter in law and precious grandson as well.  I felt like I was the one getting presents - so thrilled to have the gift of time with those I love.  I really cherish(ed) every minute.

I have been doing a lot of foiling and Scott's card was no different.


The dotted images was printed on a laser printer and foiled with
rainbow foil.  The greeting is from Gina K Designs.


You can see the dimension of the card here. 

I also had the opportunity to make a card for an amazing young woman.  I spend some of my free time volunteering for the Oceanside Boys & Girls Club and serve on the board.  I love the programs we offer our youth and find such joy in watching them blossom as they grow and find their way.  One young lady stole my heart a few years ago when I met her during judging for Youth of the Year. she didn't win that year, but she had an amazing story and I could see the potential in her - we all could.  She went on to win the next two years.  This year when she completed at the county level, she won and became San Diego County Youth of the Year.  The next step was the CA state competition a few weeks ago and guess what???  Yep - she won - again!  We are all so proud of her.  She graduated from high school last year with a GPA well over 4.0 at the age of 16. She is now enrolled at the local community college where she is excelling.  She is bright, charming,thoughtful, humble, and inspiring to one and all. What an amazing role model for our youth. She attended our board meeting the day after returning from the state win, so I made her a congratulatory card from the Board.  It was so much fun to do because I think the world of her and am so proud of her and excited for her.  I just know she is going to have an incredible life, no matter what happens with the remaining competitions.  There is a regional competition in June, and then that winner goes on to compete for the national title!  What an experience no matter what........I know her star will continue to shine bright for many years to come.

So with stars in mind, I used a stencil that I printed and foiled, and then created a fun little banner with the greeting.  That was printed with a gel pen in the Silver Bullet.  I don't draw with pens in the machine often, but every time I do, I make a promise to myself to do more of it because it is really so much fun and the results are beautiful.


The words on the little banner were "written" with the pen tool 
in the Silver Bullet Professional.  Then the banner was cut out.



The stars in the background were foiled in baby blue. (It's very close to the official blue color of the Boys % Girls Club of America)  It is so challenging to photography foil, but hopefully you can
get an idea.  It is so pretty in person.
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About Me

My photo

I am a mother to three and Grammy to two beautiful granddaughters and one very handsome little grandson.  Was born and raised in southern California and am happy to call it home.  I fill my days with volunteer work, paper crafting, needlework of all kinds and cooking and baking.   I am blessed with wonderful family and friends who fill my heart on a daily basis.