Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gluten/Dairy Free banana hemp bread

A couple of trips ago to Costco I bought some raw shelled hemp seeds. I was almost out of the hemp protein powder that I normally use in my smoothies and thought I'd try the hemp seed instead. The following morning I made a smoothy and while the seeds mixed really well and had a wonderful consistency, I wasn't to fond of the flavor. It wasn't bad but it really drowned out the flavor of the cup of berry mix I love to taste. So here I am with a big bag of hemp seeds and not sure what to do with them. 

Fast forward a few weeks. I'm in the kitchen and really have a hankering, yes I said hankering, for something bread like.  My husband, and I have been trying to watch our carbs. He is out of town on business for the day and not here to keep me on track by the way. I'm on day three of no honey in my tea, no gluten free cinnamon toast with my eggs, and no bananas in my smoothy. Speaking of bananas, I look over at the bananas hanging on the banana basket, so ripe the tops are about to break from the weight of them when it hits me, I'm gonna make the kids some banana bread.  Grabbing my phone, I pull up a standard banana bread recipe online and do some major tweaking to make it gluten free and dairy free and with as little amount of carbs as possible with the ingredients I have on hand. The original recipe called for a cup of sugar and I figured if I was substituting a cup of dry ingredients with a tiny teaspoon of liquid stevia I would need something dry to balance it out. This is where the hemp seeds come in. Finally I found another use for them!

 I tested the finished product out on my kids because as many of you know, kids are natural born food critics. They raved and forced me to try a slice...or two:) Sorry husband! So here is my creation. Feel free to comment if you get a chance to make them, I would love the feedback. 

2 cups gluten free flour mix (I use namaste foods perfect flour blend)
1/4 cup raw shelled hemp seeds
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut oil 
1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla xtract 
3 eggs or equivalent substitute
1 tsp alcohol free liquid stevia ( or 1 cup sugar if you prefer)
3-4 medium overripe bananas smooshed or 1 1/3 cup.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease baking dish
Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl
Mix all wet ingredients in small bowl
Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix. 

Form loaf in baking dish ( I used a 8x 6 x 2 glass Pyrex dish) It helps to put cooking oil on your hands.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Note: If using another dish to bake like a loaf pan or muffin tin you may need to adjust cooking time. 

Also a handful of chopped walnuts would be tasty to throw in If you have some on hand.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New begginings & Sweet Potato Tacos

I know I keep making promises that I will be blogging and sharing recipes more often, and have not.  I apologize for not keeping those promises. Life has thrown our family several curveballs the last 8 months all of which we have managed to successfully swing our way through. My husband got a promotion which we needed to relocate for. We spent a couple of months and lots of elbow grease getting our house ready to sell. Unfortunately we bought our house right before the big bubble pop of 2008 and were unable to sell, forcing us to find renters and Stat! Five days after posting an add on craigslist we found awesome, creditworthy, dependable renters. Phew... We also had to say goodbye to our family Dog of 14 Years, lost a dear childhood friend and my husbands grandfather all within the same week. So that's were I've been.

We moved from a fairly small town to the city or Redmond, Washington. I've got to say despite moving from a 1250sq ft three bedroom house on a quarter of an acre, to a 904 square foot apartment I don't miss the space. There is so much for the kids and I to do here within minutes of our front door. Now instead of spending my spare time mowing the lawn and tending to the house needs, we explore. Also, moving into a smaller space that doesn't have a 2 car garage/storage unit has forced us to get rid of about half of our stuff, which feels great. Less stuff=Less to clean up=more time to spend with the family and my interests. We also have an awesome gym that we don't have to pay a monthly membership for and a pool we can use anytime we want. Oh and did I mention that I don't have to mow the lawn:) That's right someone mows it for us weekly and we get to play on it. It really works for our family.

I have lots of posts planned so stayed tuned, but today I wanted to share a link to one of my favorite blogs called Two Blue Lemons. She has many awesome recipes but my favorite one is a sweet potato taco recipe which I always get special requests for, except from my husband that is, and only because there was a time when I made it sometimes twice a week and suffice to say he got tired of them. I could still eat it twice a week or more though if it were only up to me:) I like to use feta cheese instead and sometimes add tomatoes. Also if you are in a pinch and don't want to make the refried beans yourself, I have found Amy's Organic refried black beans to be comparable in flavor to the homemade version. Not as good, but my kids couldn't tell the difference. Be sure to click on the link above if you want to try these tasty tacos.

So enjoy & here is to new beginnings!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chloe turns 7...Lalaloopsy style

Were shall I begin....let me just say this; my little girl is growing up. I feel like she was just a couple of years old and then I blinked. Then I opened my eyes she is 7. I am in awe of the person she is becoming. Sweet, thoughtful, generous (unless it comes to her brother of course) and obsessed with Michael Jackson lately.....hmmm, not sure where that one came from. Anyhow, the birthday party was a success. All the hours spent gluing buttons and cutting out paper dolls was well worth it. Most of the girls that were invited showed up. There were lots of giggles and smiles, and thanks to my husbands ninja like time keeping skills we were able to keep to our party timeline.

Thanks to Pintrest, there was no shortage of ideas to get my creative juices flowing. In fact I had a hard time narrowing down the things I was going to do. Not wanting to spend a fortune on party stuff, I thought I would start in the thrift stores. A couple weeks before the party while her brother was at preschool I would go to all of the local stores and just browse until something caught my eye. Some days were not successful, others I scored.

I got the idea for these little mouses here on Pintrest. If you are not familiar with Lalaloopsy's, each one comes with a pet and the mouse is one of them. I was able to get everything but the felt at goodwill. The stuffing was bran new, the yarn used, and the buttons cost next to nothing since I just happen to be browsing on half off linens day. I spent a little over 10$ for everything to put this craft together. You can get the pattern and instructions here for $5 or you can do what I did and just make a pattern yourself.

I sewed on the eyes, stitched the noses and whiskers and hole punched with a mini puncher around the edges to help guide the girls where to sew. The needles I got at our local craft store, they are upholstery needles and are pretty blunt at the ends preventing any poked fingers. I made the first stitch for them and placed everything in a Ziploc bag with printed instructions attached to the bag. This was one of there goodies to take home.

Another Pintrest idea was a pin the hat on peanut game. I drew peanut on purple card stock, drew the details, and made the little hats out different colors of card stock. I was pretty happy with the finished product beings that I am not the best at drawing and the girls loved it.

The back drop I made by taking a piece of white fabric that cost me $1 at goodwill and covered a painting on canvas by tacking the fabric to the back. Then I went to town decorating it. Here is the finished product. Well part of it anyway.

I made the cupcake toppers by printing out these images on card stock and cut them out and attached to a toothpick with a tiny piece of tape.

The cake topper was a Lalaloopsy Ferris wheel toy that I found at goodwill for....wait for it......$1.29. After thoroughly washing and sanitizing it, it fit perfect on top of her two tier cake I made with Bobs Red Mill gluten free white cake cake mix, which by the way was delicious! A little heavier than regular cake still very tasty.

For the party crafts, I printed out these plain lalaloopsy dolls on card stock, cut them out and had the girls glue them onto some goody bags. Then they got to decorate them, with yarn, little pieces of fabric that I cut out in the shape of shirts, skirts, pants and dresses, markers, and buttons. Later they used the bags to collect the candy from the pinata and to bring their party favors home in.

The second craft were little button barrettes. Chloe's friend is wearing hers in the picture to the right. I found the barrettes at the craft store and had the girls glue buttons onto them using glue dots. My inspiration came from these rings made with buttons. I couldn't find the rings at the craft store, so I opted for barrettes instead.

Now onto the food. There were several things I aspired to do like these adorable button cookies and these colorful popcorn balls on sticks, but even with my amazing mother and father in law who volunteered to take the kids two weekends in a row so that I would have plenty of time to get it all done without going a little nutty, I wasn't able to bring all my ideas to fruition. (Thank you!Thank you! Thank you!) I did however, manage to get to the rainbow fruit kabobs and the milk bottle cups with licorice straws. Using glue dots, I glued some ribbon onto the bottles and placed a button in the middle. The straws were inspired by a memory from when I was a little girl. It was a special treat to drink cold milk with a red licorice straw. After I was done with the milk, I would eat the licorice which was all cold and chewy. Yum. Just snip off the ends of the licorice and you have yourself an edible straw. The girls were very happy about the licorice straws that accompanied their fresh strawberry lemonade. Sorry I didn't get any pictures of these bottles. With all the excitement there were several things I didn't manage to take pictures of. I hope the descriptions give you a good enough idea on the things I missed.

After cake and ice cream, we all went outside to take a whack at the pinata. To transform it into a Lalaloopsy pinata I bought a flower pinata and added some circles to the middle to make it look like a giant button. However in the picture I managed to get the side without the circles. (Note to self...photograph everything before the party starts) Only two whacks in and one of Chloe's besties, probably the smallest of the bunch, broke it open on her third hit. What an arm! I love the craziness of the kids scrambling to get as much candy as possible in there bags before everyone else scoops it up. Good times.

I sent each girl home with a Lalaloopsy coloring book which I found at the dollar store, some crayons, which I added a Lalaloopsy sticker to, a sucker and their little mouse sewing crafts all wrapped up with the yarn and torn fabric strips in a nice bow.

When I asked Chloe what her favorite part of her birthday party was, I was kind of expecting her to say something about a toy, or the pinata, but her response was "having my friends together with me at my house and in my room".

Mission accomplished:)