This blog is mostly going to be my little place to talk about the novel I am writing. Which is why I stole a quote from one of my favorite tv shows, as this novel I am writing, I plan to finish, and at times.. it feels like an impossible thing. Also this is to journal my move to the UK, and starting my own business as an Indie Yarn Dyer

Foodie Food

This makes me very happy. (And a recipe for homemade almond milk)

 

Yeah… I started this “diet” on Monday, October 1st 2012. (The fact that it was the first of the month was pure happen-stance. I was just waiting for the Monday after the mother in law went home, as I knew I couldn’t escape carbs right then.)

For those who are interested in what I’m doing, I’m doing the Keto Diet. Which is basically High Fat, Low Carb. Don’t worry, I’m not just eating bacon and fried eggs.

I have lost 6lbs since Monday (as I write this, it is Saturday.) That’s nearly half a stone for my UK friends. Or nearly 3 Kilograms for my friends in other countries.

This makes me exceedingly happy. I can see the difference in my face, my collar bones, and just the rest of me in general.

The weekends are the most difficult for me on this diet, because it’s generally when the hubs and I would make pancakes, or would get a pastry while out doing the shopping.

I’ve found many good resources for Keto Friendly baking, unfortunately I don’t as of yet have the supplies to start baking. Eventually I’ll get everything I need.

This is the first time in my life (adult life I should say) that I’ve started having almond milk. I made it myself even. I made it thick on purpose, using the information I gleaned mostly from this website: Almond Milk Recipe – Latte di Mandorla from Sicily and also this one: Raw Almond Milk

Now here is how I actually did it, and my thoughts.

I put the raw almonds (which I thankfully didn’t have to remove from the hard shell like Anita (Italy) did) in a bowl and poured boiling water over them. I let that soak for 30 minutes.

I then peeled the skins off the almonds. I was expecting this to be such a chore, as a previous coworker (from my stint at British Airways) came in one day with a tub of peeled almonds and complaining how her hands were so sore, and her skin so dry from peeling the almonds with her mother. I think it was these comments that truly put me off making my own almond milk for so long. Let me tell you, that was stupid. These almonds were so easy to peel! Just simply pinch your thumb and index finger on the fat end of the almond and they quite literally pop out of the skin! Occasionally they might stick in one spot, but this was not a bother at all.

Here is where I deviated from Anita in Italy, and went to Sweet Freedom. I put the whole almonds in my blender, added 2.5 cups of water and let it rip. Sadly, I am coming to hate my blender. It’s a cheap one we purchased from Asda, to tide me over, but the truth is… I hate it. Every single time I try to blend something in it, no matter how little or much liquid I have, it always comes out the top.  This is unbelievably frustrating, and I cannot wait till I someday get my Vitamix. (Hell, I’d even settle for having my Ninja back.. I never had overflow problems with that! I don’t think I can get a Ninja in the UK though…)

So once I felt that it was ground up enough (not that I could really see), I poured the liquid through a fine mesh metal strainer that I have into a bowl.

I then transferred it into a clean bottle I had, and then popped it in the fridge. Voilà!

Here is what I would do differently: I would stick with Anita in Italy and mostly dry grind the almonds up first. That way I all of the almonds actually got ground up. I discovered after I had set the almond meal to dry that there were still some pretty big chunks of almond left.

I think I would also sweeten it, as I did not.. I am trying to decide how I want to sweeten it whilst staying in the diet. I don’t know if Xylitol would work or not… Though I do have some Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup that I made (xylitol) that I have added to a cup full of the almond milk, and that was quite yummy… so who knows. I’ll try experimenting. (I’ll post the chocolate syrup soon.)

So even if this diet doesn’t last, it is doing very good at making me start making things from scratch again. I love doing that, I love knowing I have complete control over what myself or my family puts in our bodies.

This makes me happy.


Perpetual Organic Green Onions. Brilliant!

I love Pinterest. I really do. I have learned so much on there. I know some friends of mine are currently cancelling their accounts, as they feel they spend too much time on there, but I don’t know what I’d do without mine. I think I’d get rid of Facebook before I got rid of Pinterest. The reason for this is the fact that nearly half of the meals the hubby and I have eaten in the past 2 weeks alone have been dishes I’ve gotten from Pintrest.  Actually, last night’s dinner, today’s lunch, AND tonight’s dinner were all found originally on Pinterest.

One pin a few weeks ago that caught my eye was regrowing Green Onions. Perpetually growing green onions.. how fabulous!

 

Here’s the deal. You chop up your green onions, normally you’d throw away the little root at the bottom. Everyone does it, don’t feel bad. You can feel bad from this point forward. So I decided to get some green onions, and I shelled out the big bucks for the organic ones, because I figure anything I’m growing in the house/garden I want to be organic, which means starting with… organic materials!

So, on Monday, which was the Chinese New Year, I made a noodle dish for dinner with green onions. I chopped mine up like normal, and then I grabbed a glass out of the cuboard.. just a juice glass that the hubs and I don’t really use.  I put water in it (filtered from my Brita… but if you want to use non filtered water, I guess that’s your prerogative. ) and dropped the roots in. When I threw the roots in, they were perfectly flat from where I cut.

 

And today.. just a day later, I can already see growth!

 

 

See? See that little bump in the center of my onion root. That is new growth! I kid you not, that root was perfectly flat when I threw it in the water yesterday.

Please ignore the stuff on my nails. I had just made the Kale Pestummus and I hadn’t gotten all the chopped up kale off my hand apparently.

I’m so excited! These are growing so quickly, and I will have perpetually growing green onions!

All you need to do is change out the water every few weeks (I’d probably do it every week, but then I’m OCD… ) I’ll probably also need to transfer them to a taller container later on… I’m thinking a decorative vase would do nicely… Just make sure you keep them in a sunny spot and they should do fine.

 

Think about all the money you’ll save! And now I know that from this point forward the green onions in my house are organic and happy.

 

Now I just need to be better about using green onions. lol. I swear it’s not a dislike of them, it’s just that I never had them in the house. Now I won’t have to worry about that! Woot!


Kale Pestummus!! No, it’s not a new holiday.

Kale Pesto Hummus Fusion.

I realize my last post was all about me and a new diet. And then you heard nothing from me. Yeah… it didn’t go so well. I just am not one of those people who can go without carbs for any long amount of time. I was raised to respect fresh bread, and yes, I am one of those people who could happily live off of just a bit of fresh baked bread, a bit of cheese and nothing else. Honest.

I am not calling my attempt a failure, as I learned a lot about my body and what it can and cannot handle, and also how it will react to various things. I am taking what I learned, and I am still using it to create a modified version that will work for me. Mainly, I’m going to try to keep my carb and starch count down, and eat more and more veg. Yes I know that isn’t a ground shattering revelation, but there you go. I also know that from a genetic standpoint, I need to keep an eye on my sugar levels… but I also know that I cannot deny myself a sweet when I want it. If I deny myself, I will only think about it, and nothing else and the urge will become overwhelming and I will then binge. I do think I am going to follow someone else’s idea of not allowing myself a sweet (in any form) until I eat something healthy, as a way of seeing if the craving will subside.

Right now I have an absolute craving for GREEN. Which I figure can’t be a bad thing at all.

Today, I made a not-quite-hummus,not-quite-pesto concoction that is really good.

It was inspired by Oh She Glows’s High Protein Oil Free Pesto

I had been really wanting to make it, but sadly didn’t have all the ingredients.

I did however have Kale. Now my exposure to Kale has always been very limited, even though I’ve always WANTED to be on the Kale bandwagon. Now I do believe I can be.

Eating Kale raw isn’t bad, it’s just not that great. I’m a supertaster and thus the bitter is a bit too much for me. It isn’t enough that I am put off from eating Kale raw, it’s just I don’t know if I could have a whole bowl.

I sautéed the Kale with three cloves of garlic in a tiny bit of olive oil. Okay, I probably used more olive oil than I normally would have, but thats because I kept adding more Kale to the pan and needed a wee bit more to sauté the new leaves. And also, my definition of using a lot of oil is a teaspoon, yes one teaspoon. I really do not use much oil when cooking. My oil use will be even further reduced when my new Pampered Chef Oil Spritzer arrives. (I’ve been wanting one for years and finally decided to take the plunge. I went with a Pampered Chef one as I’ve actually USED one in the past and liked it, and the ones on Amazon didn’t get great reviews. I figure go with what you know, and it’s not that ugly either. And for the record, No I have not received any compensation for my comments about the Pampered Chef Spritzer. – Ugh this new rule of disclaiming is tiresome.)

Enough gabbing. On to the recipe. I was really trying to come up with a clever name for the Kale Pesto Hummus Fusion. Even put the call out on Facebook for naming assistance, sadly most of my friends are all in the US, so they aren’t quite as quick to respond as they used to be. You’ll just have to deal with my only slightly clever naming. I am a writer after all, but today my muse called in sick. Hmm Kale Pestummus does sound like a holiday greeting… or maybe it’s just me.

Some of the other name suggestions were amusing… Humsto? Pestum? Humto? Hummsto? Pummsto? Kalesto? Kaleummus? One friend piped up that Pestummus sounded like a Greek God, so it got her vote. It amuses me, so it’s got my vote as well. Huh, guess my muse didn’t call in sick after all.

Kale Pestummus

1- 500g can Organic Cannelloni beans (Navy Beans)

2-3 good handfuls of Kale (most likely about 1 cup if packed really tightly)

3 cloves garlic

dollop olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

Sauté the kale, and garlic in the olive oil till the kale is wilted and the garlic is brown. (Well you really don’t have to brown the garlic, but I did it to mine)

Put mixture into food processor with beans, lemon juice, and water. Blend till nice and creamy.  (I had to do this in two steps and also use an immersion blender because my food processor is tiny and only allows about a cup of contents. But if your food processor is big enough you should be able to do everything all at once.)

EAT!

I spread some of mine on toast and topped with cottage cheese, and it was… SO good. And look how wonderfully green it is.


Well that wasn’t so hard…

I realize I haven’t posted in a while.

I’ve been off my game, in depression, lacking my mojo.. whatever you want to call it. I’ll make no other excuse than that, and will promise to hopefully blog more often.

Today I made Chocolate Chip Meringues.

They are yummy

I’ve never made them before. A few weeks ago, Mother of Mine made some, and though they were good (don’t get me wrong, they were VERY good)… they were hollow. Which is not what we were expecting.

I decided then that I was going to attempt to make some Meringues myself and follow some tips I found on the web.

So when Mother of Mine made some Chocolate Bread Pudding the other day, which only needed the egg yolks.. I had 6 egg whites sitting in the fridge waiting to be used. So as to not let them go to waste, today I set out to do what I had decided on doing a while ago.

I used up every gram of sugar in the house (as most recipes call for only 2 egg whites, I used 6.. so I had to effectively triple whatever recipe I was using)

They were not hollow, but they didn’t rise very much. Next attempt, I will change the bake time/heat ratio and perhaps try the cream of tartar that I left out this time. But these are very good, and could easily be used to make yummy sandwich type cookies.

And not hollow. VERY yummy.

Now, I did not follow any one set of instructions…  The measurements I used are in parenthesis, but if you don’t want to make that many, use the first number.

Preheat oven to 175 F

2 egg whites (6) (Make sure they are room temperature)

1/2 cup sugar (1 1/2 cup)

1/4 teaspoon salt (3/4 tsp)

1 teaspoon vanilla (3 tsp)

1/2 cup chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup toasted nuts (walnuts or pecans) – optional

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add salt and vanilla. Beat gently until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold in chocolate chips. Pipe or scoop out onto parchment lined baking sheet. (I used a 1 Tablespoon measuring spoon as my scoop and gave each meringue 2 scoops because I wanted to make sure I’d get them ALL in the oven at the same time.)

Bake for 3 hours. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN.

I’m serious, under no circumstances should you open that oven.

After the 3 hours are up, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN. Simply turn off the oven and reset the timer for an hour.

They need to sit untouched in the oven after baking for at least an hour. But you can leave them longer if so desired. What I would do, is bake these right before you go to bed. Then you won’t be tempted to not let them sit that last hour.


Clean Caramel Popcorn

That is an oxymoron of course.. but that’s how it goes.

Today I was craving popcorn. I decided I also craved sweet. So I went to my obsession over at Pintrest and searched for a pin I thought I pinned a while ago.

 

I was wrong, it wasn’t on Pintrest, but I did remember where I had seen what I was looking for.

I personally made it with both Raw Honey, and a dash of Clover Honey. And I used Chunky Peanut Butter. I like the chunks.

And I do think that if I were to make this again, I would use less honey and more Peanut Butter. I liked the bits best where the peanut butter was the dominant flavor.

It was good… would be better with those changes.  Though since it was a craving, I think I should have just gone with my plain old airpopped non buttered non salted popcorn… Cause I do believe that is what I was actually craving at the end of the day.

 

 

Clean Eating Caramel Popcorn by The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients
1/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
8-10 cups popped popcorn

Directions

Tip: Things move pretty quickly, and you are dealing with boiling sticky stuff so read through this first so you know what to expect and do.

1 – In a smallish pot, warm the honey on high heat. Bring it to a boil.

2 – Let it boil up in the pot about 1 inch. Remove from heat.

3 – Stir in nut butter with a whisk and whisk until smooth. You should be able to pour it.

4 – Pour over the popcorn and mix with a spoon. The mixture is hot, DO NOT MIX WITH YOUR HANDS. Unless you want a trip to the emergency room, and to not be able to work with your hands for a while.

Let it all sit and cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Baking After Midnight competition

And now to blog about it…

Literary adventures in baking!

Hey everyone, we’ve got a fantastic competition for you. As some of you are aware, James and I devour books as well as having a love of baking. And after the success of the last of the last competition (and me being on a diet, thus needing to live vicariously through you all… ) we decided to do another one.

This one is going to be literary themed. That’s right.  Baked goods based off of books.

We are allowing items inspired by movies as well, as long as the movie was based off of a book.

The competition is running from June 1st, through till June 30th (I’m going to say PST that way people to the West of me don’t get ticked off about loosing an hour).  At which point we will randomly draw a winner from the submissions.  The more items you bake, the more entries you have.

If you blog about it, you get an entry. (Make sure you link the blog to us otherwise we won’t know)

If you tweet about it, you get an entry. (Again, make sure you post that you tweeted, with a link to the tweet. Otherwise we will not know.)

If you get a friend to join the group, you get an entry. (Make sure that we know that the person joined because of you!)

You must tell us what inspired your entry. Come on people, get creative.  Will you be making bubbly pies in honor of Pern?  Scones fit for Sherlock? Lembas bread? Golden Snitch truffles?

Sweet or Savory, it doesn’t matter. But it must be baked.  ( After all, this is Baking after Midnight. So no Lucky charms in a cereal bowl claiming it was inspired by Flitwick’s class in Harry Potter. Now, you could use lucky charms to decorate cupcakes that way if you desire… if you want… Sorry, on a Potter kick at the moment.)

We have prizes for 2 winners. – Do you guys want to know what the prizes are? Or do you want to be surprised?

And just because I’m feeling generous… we might even do a “most awesome litabaked item” (yes, I just made that term up.) This is your chance to dazzle us. Make something fabulous. Or make something mundane. But either way, get your baking on. 🙂

Yeah… I’m a big old geek.


In which many things are planned

Look, new yarn! This one was dyed for some friends, as part of their baby blanket. I’m quite excited about this one as it is so subtle and beautiful and just glows.

It is part of my Neil Gaiman “Death and Dreams” series, and it is called Stardust.

I haven’t written anything on the novels in weeks.

I’ve been stressed, sick, and overwhelmed.

Even just last week, I started a dental emergency. Anyone who’s been a long time reader of mine knows that I’ve had problems with my teeth for years. Well, I’m finally getting things sorted out. Not in the way I want of course. This is more of an emergency situation.

Last Wednesday, I started having severe pain.  Then I woke up on Thursday and my face was swollen.

I did what I could do to help the swelling go down, but on Friday it was again swollen and I had been up all night in pain.  I hadn’t experienced that pain in many years, not since I had been living in Boulder and I had my wisdom teeth extracted and they hadn’t given me my syringe and I needed it.

Well, on Friday I managed to get an appointment at Peak Vista. Which I must say is an awesome place. I didn’t have an appointment, but they squeezed me in. And if I had gone to the emergency dentist I would have paid 300$. Well at Peak Vista, I paid a total of 29$, and that was including the prescription for antibiotics to get the swelling down. Yeah I had to sit around waiting a while, but that was fine. It wasn’t like I was going to be doing much that day anyway.

Due to the swelling they weren’t able to try extracting the tooth, which actually is fine. They couldn’t have given me more than just a local anesthetic shot, which from past experience… would have been bad. The last time I had a tooth extracted, a baby tooth mind you that they just used a shot.. it took 4 shots and I still felt every single tug and it hurt like a bitch.

So I’ve been referred to an oral surgeon. Which is most likely who I needed anyway since there isn’t much tooth for them to grab onto, and they have to remove the post that was left over from the root canal.

The tooth that has been giving me fits, was one that I wanted to have extracted years ago.  But I was naive and I let the dentist convince me to just get a root canal done.  Well, that was my mistake. I should have gone with my plan, my own gut instinct. My plan was to just get them pulled, and wear my retainers to keep my teeth from shifting, and then get implants some day. Good plan right? Well, the crown immediately broke on the tooth, and then I was generally in too much pain to wear my retainers, which means my teeth have shifted. Not much, but its noticeable to me. And means I’m most likely going to have to get braces again. I am going to start wearing my retainers again anyway, as theoretically the pain I was having that prevented me from wearing them will be gone. Now it’ll just be a matter of seeing if my teeth that have shifted slightly, will shift back in to place. (I’d be happy with that)

The hubs2be knows what plan we need to have for my teeth, and that I would rather have my teeth fixed than a sparkly necklace.

My cheek as of today is back to normal. Yay.

Now back to writing.

Yesterday I wrote over 2300 words. I am quite excited about this since I hadn’t written in weeks. Unfortunately it was all on The Q2-Files, and not Aether Horizons like it should have been, but you write when inspiration hits.

I’ve also figured out a lot of the direction that I want to take the Q2-Files in. So that makes me happy as well.  My first set of readers who have gotten the few measly pages, love it. Which makes me believe I have a real hit on my hands.

Oh, and the Minion and I are planning great things for Baking After Midnight; there will be a contest soon. We are just working out the details right now. OMG, the month is almost over. We really need to get cracking on getting those details sorted so that ya’all know about it.

Alright, I guess that’s all for now. Cheers!