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

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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.

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To dream of owls, and other things.

 

Last night, or I should say early this morning I dreamt. I dreamt of owls. I remember 3 owls. Blue owls, different shades with perhaps some green, but predominately blue. I know there were other owls around, but there were only the 3 that were important to the dream. They were of the standard sizes when you have 3 owls. Large, medium, and small. The small was the focus. I think I had a broken finger, as it was bandaged with the pet tape style tape (I think). The tape was black, but I don’t think that makes much a difference.

 

I was in a house that until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t been in for nearly 16 years. We were in the High Desert of California, a place owned by people I have known nearly my entire life. A home away from home.

 

My cousin Mimi was making pancakes on a griddle behind the wetbar (why not on the kitchen counter 6 feet away, I’ll never know) and I had this tiny blue owl on my broken finger. It was nuzzling me and preening like any pet bird would do.

 

There was a dog crate at my feet, nothing special. Most likely an exact replica of the current dog crate that little miss Saki uses. At first I thought it was Saki in the crate. (Though in retrospect, she might have been sitting on the couch next to where Mimi was cooking)

 

I looked in the crate, and saw Pink. The tiny Maltese who was our last puppy. I remember she looked at me, but was uninterested. When I say tiny, she was the iptome of a ‘tea cup’, full grown tip to tail no bigger than the span of my adult hand. She thought she was the biggest dog in the world though. Bless her.

 

The focus of the dream after all was the owls.

 

I cannot remember who else was in the dream, but I do know the house owners (the old family friends) were not present.

 

I cannot remember anything that was said.

 

I think I was reading something in the dream, as I woke up thinking it was odd, as why do I remember that you can’t read in your dreams?

 

All I remember was this tiny blue owl was important to me.


Happy Valentines Day.

“Happy Valentines day to those who celebrate it, and those who don’t. Today isn’t about men getting murdered in Chicago, or little cherubs shooting arrows at people. It isn’t about girls getting everything and demanding gifts and flowers. It isn’t about only feeling the love today. Remember, every day is a day you should remember to say I love you. Not just to the special someone in your life, but to the people who make your life special, and more importantly to yourself. I love you.”


Say cheese!

Sorry, shameless contest plug from another blog….

I love cheese far too much to not do it and risk not winning. I’ll blog about it if I win… And I promise I’ll give all my readers a proper blog soon.

 

If you want to enter to win the cheese as well.. go check out An Edible Mosaic… I like her recipes, and she’s got awesome photos from all her trips around the world.

 

“I’m just crackers for Cheeeeeeeese Grommit!”


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.


It’s coming…

Labyrinth by PlagueRat
Labyrinth, a photo by PlagueRat on Flickr.

More details to come… but yes, oh yes you are reading this correctly.


Because I could…

I could say it’s a result of the stress I’ve been under the past couple of weeks.

I could say it’s because I have been marginally good when it’s come to my sweet intake the past few days.

I could say it’s because I won’t have anything like this for a while again.

But the truth is… I did it because I could.

 

So I had myself a bowl of Cookies and Cream Ice Cream (Blue Bell since it just came to Colorado Springs, and Mim had never had it. Being of Texas myself, I have of course had it) topped with a chocolate chip cookie.

I made chocolate chip cookies today for this weekend. I like to feed people who are helping me out, and I’d rather myself have homemade cookies than store bought ones.

I couldn’t find my usual recipe from Martha. So I am trying one of her other ones. I think this is the same recipe I used while I was in England… I thought that they were my usual recipe but I guess not.

When I was in England I blamed the difference on the butter/chocolate chips.  I am not fond of the chocolate chips I had in England (Milk chocolate. BLEGH! Give me Semi Sweet or Dark!) and the future Mother In Law does not keep butter in the house. (She runs Cardio wards in hospitals. I personally would rather have the real butter and take care of my heart in other aspects.)

My French Grandmother would roll in her grave if she knew I had used fake butter to bake with. But that is another time.

Today I used real butter, and had proper chips. The recipe I used is still different than I’m used to, but it is quite yummy in deed. Nice and cakey. Almost too cakey.

Today I also made myself some hummus. Made it for the first time. Used a mortar and pestle even. I did use a blender, but  as my blender is a tiny thing I decided to help it out by premashing the garbanzo beans.

I think the hummus was a success. It was nummy.

Next up will be to make different flavors, and also to make Edamame Hummus.

Pictured above is also some English Muffin bread that my mum made. It is always a yummy success.

For dinner Mim made crustless Quiche and I must say that I much prefer crustless Quiche to regular Quiche. I’ve never been fond of most pie crusts, and Quiche was not an exception.  I think from now on I’ll be making this version as I am fond of Quiche, but always am disappointed with the crust.

 

I’ll post the recipes up but today you are just going to get the cookies.

 

And the next time you most likely hear from me will be after Denver’s first ever Anomaly Con. I am quite excited. It’ll be my first time selling anything from The Asylum in a public setting. I will also be harking my scribblings. Yup, as an author. (Well, it’s my artists table that I’m paying for … so it’s not quite being there officially as an author.. but hey, my Asylum.. my rules!) Yup, Aether Horizons will be at the Con. I’m quite excited. It will make me feel all official like.

 

Martha’s Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges and set in the center, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.