Another Weird Recipe

While cruising Pinterest (I seriously have to stop starting posts with those words) I stumbled upon something magical. I don’t even remember what drew me to it, the picture wasn’t fantastic and I think it said something about cookies with protein. Not something I would ordinarily care about. Anyways, fate brought me to the recipe. I knew I would try it, but if it would turn out was another question. It was quite simple. Take chickpeas (gasp), add peanut butter and chocolate chips.

Kurt kept suggesting I just use chickpea flour instead. I responded with ‘oh ye of little faith’. No, I didn’t, but I wish I had.

So, I made the cookies. I had to puree the chickpeas in the blender because we don’t have a food processor (I don’t advise this, because it’s really hard to get it out afterwards and a processor probably breaks them down better). I mixed it all in a bowl together and threw in a handful of oatmeal for good measure. I should also tell you that I used sugar instead of honey (half brown, half white).

They emerged from the oven and we ate 3 each immediately. They were that good. They were moist and gooey and delicious. They also had protein, no fat (that I know of), and very little sugar.

We probably would have eaten the whole batch if we hadn’t been watching a really disgusting horror movie.

The day after they are still wondering, but I’ve been warming them up.

You seriously have to try this one. Here’s the link:

http://www.texanerin.com/2012/04/grain-free-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip.html

In other news I’m really freaked out about this giant, scary storm that’s supposed to hit here later today or tomorrow. I saw that they have evacuated some areas in the states, but the news seems to be saying that my area will be hit the worst. Yicks. I’ve never experienced the kind of storm where you need to have ‘supplies for 72 hours’. We have some water prepared, but I’m not really sure what else to do, other than make more cookies.

A Little Halloween Madness

Today we were supposed to dress up and go to the Halloween parade, but since it’s pouring out and having your zombie makeup run is no fun, we stayed home. I still wanted to get a little Halloweening in though, so here’s what I did:

I made Homer a shark costume! I wanted to make something for Daisy too, but whenever anything out of the norm happens to her, she deals with it by just falling over, so this kind of takes the joy out of it.

That’s not all I did today though. I wanted to bake something and I’d had this recipe pinned for a while. It seemed easy enough so I went for it.

http://www.larecetadelafelicidad.com/en/2012/10/steam-cupcakes-apam-dot-dot.html

It’s probably the strangest cupcake recipe I’ve ever seen, but you have to admit, the picture is super cute. Another plus, there are many possibilities for funny names to give them, like dessert dim sum, or sauna cakes.

The only thing I changed about the recipe was that I halved it and used two eggs, plus a little vanilla. I also added some water (about 1/4 cup) because it seemed really gluey.

I used marmalade for the center, and orange colouring, and I cooked them in my rice cooker. I just put some water in the bottom and used the veggie steamer tray. Seriously, a weird recipe.

I really only 25% thought they would turn out. Kurt was even more sceptical. We both crowded around for the big reveal.

They turned out great. They are very light with just a little sweetness. The steaming seemed to treat them well. All except this guy, who couldn’t handle the heat and tossed his marmalade:

Sorry for the sideways picture, it just wouldn’t rotate on the website, grrrrr.

So, is anyone else up to any Halloween madness? Anyone else have a cat shark, and steamed cupcakes? I doubt it! I hope everyone is having better weather than us so you can head out and enjoy the season!

P.S. For some reason half my posts keep disappearing soon after I publish, and since it’s sporadic, I don’t always notice right away. So if you reading a post and it seems to end abruptly please check back the next day, after I’ve had time to re-write it (double grrrr). That way you will get the whole story! In the mean time, I will try to fix the problem. Sorry, and thanks!

Learning to Crochet

The other day I was cruising on Pinterest (the root of many of my projects) and I saw a bunch of beautiful crocheted things. Like these:

http://pinterest.com/pin/156781630749292473/

http://pinterest.com/pin/156781630749292480/

http://pinterest.com/pin/156781630749292476/

Sadly, like all things, I had to start small. Though I would have loved to just miraculously had the skill to whip up that blanket!

I began with a trip to the yarn store down the street. I love that can walk there in, like 2 minutes. They helped me pick a crochet hook and then I grabbed some cotton yarn.

The next part took awhile. I kept finding videos with instructions on getting started. I would start out all right, but then the video would either go too fast or be too complicated. After many false starts, I finally found a video with worked for me. It’s about how to make a simple dishcloth. Here’s the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8V_NVqpCGZU&feature=relmfu

It’s nine parts long, but once you get the hang of the stitches he’s doing, you only have to watch the first few seconds of each. I’ve only finished two rows, and it’s definitely not perfect, as the video says, it’s just a dish cloth, no one cares what it looks like!

It’s more difficult than I thought it would be, but it goes pretty fast and I seem to be improving even just after those few rows. I just wish I know how to not make it so tight, that was the same problem I had with knitting that did me in.

Embroidered Word Art

Erg, I already did this post, but part of it was mysteriously deleted, so here I go again.

I’ve been wanting to do a project involved words for a while now. I blame Pinterest. I was thinking something was a canvas at first, but this weekend I decided to try something a little easier first.

I started by choosing what phrase I wanted. I went with ‘Do more of what makes you awesome’. I typed it up, and sized it so that it would fit in a 4″x6″ frame. Then I printed it, and clipped the printed paper to some cardstock.

The next step was to take a needle and poke holes through the letters. Try to make enough that the letters will be recognizable, but not too many that when your cat does a dramatic jump off the couch arm at you, grabs the string and tries to run away, they don’t rip, not that that would happen. So, not too close together. Also, you need to have an even amount of holes in each letter.

Lastly, unclip the printed page and pick what colour of embroidery thread you want and go to it, weaving in and out of the holes. If you find that you need another hole for whatever reason, it’s fine to poke one with your needle during the process. Once I was finished I chose a frame, took the glass out and used it to trace the right size on my paper, then cut it out and pop it in.

I want to do a bigger one on fabric next, I just have to wrap my head around how to do it. I don’t think it will be as simple.

Replacing ‘Processed’ Food

Today I read this post. It reminded me of me! I do this when deciding on my grocery list quite often. I need (insert desired food item), but I hate buying it because (it’s expensive/chock full of crap/comes in undesirable container), so I decide to pursue the internet and see how easy it would be to make myself. Often it turns out it is doable.

A lot of things I haven’t been able to sustain though. For example, last year I spent a few hours and made tons of crackers from scratch. They were pretty good and lasted a while, but it was just so much work that I haven’t done it again.

The big store-bought item I replaced this year was all tomato products. I made my own canned tomatoes, and froze my own tomato paste and a general sauce. That was basically the last canned item we bought, other than the occasional apple juice.

There are some things that I would love to be making from scratch, but we just don’t have the freezer space. I hate buying perogies and broth, but it’s a lot of work to make them so it’s not worth it for just a small batch.

The point is, when you are buying food be conscious of what you are buying. Don’t buy food out of habit. Choose one thing that you buy a lot of and try to make it. It may turn out it’s much easier than you thought.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Squash is really cheap right now, so we have lots kicking around. I really wanted to use up half of a butternut that was left, but I couldn’t decide what to make so I put it off for a few days. Finally I had a random idea. Butternut squash gnocchi. I have never made this before, or seen a recipe for it. We made it that same way we would with potatoes. We cut up the squash into cubes, coated it with a little oil and roasted it at 350 until it was soft.

We used a potato masher to squish it up. A food processor would be great for this if you have one. We added an egg, just because squash is less sticky than potato and mixed in flour until it resembled a dough. The amount of flour you need will obviously correspond to how much squash you have. You can knead it a bit to really incorporate the flour if you want.

 

Next, bring a big pot of salted water to boil. While you are waiting, roll out small pieces of the dough into long worms, then cut into sections. We like to cut ours a little shorter than an inch, but it doesn’t need to be exact. Roll a fork over the gnocchi to make lines in it (this helps the sauce stick). Put them on a cookie sheet with a little flour sprinkled on it so that they don’t stick. Once the water boils throw them in. Cook them in batches, depending on the size of pot you used. Stir them once to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom. Scoop them out as they start to float.

For sauce I would use something fairly light. I made a curry cream sauce. What I did was mix about a teaspoon of curry and corn starch with half a teaspoon of garlic powder, and a little salt and pepper in a frying pan. I put in about 2 tablespoon of butter. Once the butter browned I added about a cup of milk and put the heat on low. Once it thickened I added a spoon full of plain yogurt. As the gnocchi cooked I put them in the pan to keep them warm while the rest cooked.

Luckily, we have some dough left over so we can make more because they were delicious!

IBS

I mentioned a while back that I was trying to go gluten-free for a while. It really didn’t go well, nor did I last very long. Recently I started looking into IBS. For a long time I have just assumed that I have IBS, but I never really took the time to look into it. I’ve gone to a myriad of different doctors about my gastro problems and have had a tonne of different tests done, but there were never any conclusions. From what I’ve read, at that point doctors usually diagnose IBS and call it a day. My doctors never really did that, they figured since I wasn’t losing weight and the problems seemed to come and go, it wasn’t a big deal.

Anyways, I was looking into it and I realized that the foods that commonly trigger IBS are the same foods that cause me problems. I know for me the major players are bran, fat, and dairy. There may be some others, but these are the foods that affect me the worst.

These are really hard foods to cut out completely (especially since we have a huge jar of whole wheat flour in the cupboard), especially since two are foods I’ve considered healthy. I’m slowly trying to reduce my consumption and think of ways to replace these foods with good alternatives, for example, spelt flour.

Hopefully, I can eventually cut out the foods that make me sick. In the meantime, I’m trying to keep things balanced.

The Case of the Missing Curd

I had been meaning to make lemon cupcakes since September. There had been lemons sitting in the fridge for probably bordering on too long so I decided to finally get on it. I looked up a few recipes and decided to go with a vanilla cupcake filled with lemon curd. I made the curd the night before because it felt like it was going to be a lot of work. Turns out it was quite easy, just double boil some eggs and lemon juice than drop in some butter. Not only was it easy, it’s delicious and gorgeous. Seriously.

I’ve never had any sort of curd other than cheese before, because frankly, I don’t think the word curd and any sort of fruit go together. It’s a gross word. Something of such beauty deserves a nicer word.

So, I finished the curd, convinced myself to finally stop eating it and put in the fridge. Yesterday, I conquered the cupcakes. The recipe I used was easy, but weird. It said to mix the sugar with the flour, and the butter with the wet ingredients. This led to giant chunks of butter that wouldn’t mix in. I think the sugar usually acts to grind down the butter chunks. This didn’t affect the baked cupcakes, it just make the batter unpleasant to eat!

As the cupcakes were cooling I started prepping my fancy new piping bag and metal thingy and put in the curd.

I filled the cupcakes as I was instructed by several videos that I watched: push the tip all the way down into the centre of the cupcake and slowly pull up while squeezing. It seemed to go well. I checked the bottoms just in case it poked through, but it hadn’t.

 

Remember this picture.

Next, I made the icing. I wanted to try a boiled icing because it doesn’t use butter and I hate using so much butter in one recipe. It didn’t go well. It was runny and tasted like pure sugar. That’s all I will say about that.

We were excited to try them. I was really looking forward to that centre of gooey goodness. Kurt ate his faster than me and commented that I must have missed the curd in the one he got. I was sure I did them all. I took one bite, then two, approaching the curd-filled centre. Then three, then four. No curd. The only evidence of curd in my cupcake was a tiny little yellow dot in the underside of the icing. Where did it go?

I figure that somehow it absorbed into the cupcakes, because they do have a slightly lemony flavour. The really strange thing is that there doesn’t even seem to be a hole where the thing went in.

So, in closing, I am very disappointed and disheartened from making filled cupcakes again.

If you want to risk the same disappointment (thought I’m sure it was just me), here is the recipe I used. On their own both the curd and the cupcake recipe are really, really good.

http://www.joyofbaking.com/cupcakes/LemonCupcakes.html

Also, if you have some advice on boiled icing, or filling cupcakes, or just have a good theory on where my curd went, please let me know!

Something’s Growin’ On

A few weeks ago when I wrote about what I was doing with my bounty of apples I mentioned that I was doing something interesting with the scraps.

I’m making vinegar. I saw this on Pinterest a while ago and was really interested in trying it because it turns waste products into something useful! When I was researching what to do every website I found seemed to have a different recipe or technique so I tried two different ways. It’s only been a few weeks, but already when I open the cupboard the jars are in, I can smell vinegar. I think I will wait at least another week before trying it.

The other project fermenting around here is beets. We got the idea from one of the lectures at Savour Stratford. Apparently it’s fantastic to eat fermented things, kind of like eating natural probiotics. We bought a bunch of beets at the farmers market and used the method from the guy who gave the lecture at the festival. Here’s his website:

http://www.foodwithlegs.com/

He has a blog, but also a bunch of fermenting recipes. We haven’t cracked open the beets yet (or slid of the cheesecloth), but they are definitely looking purple.