Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Grain free waffles (that actually work, and taste like waffles!)

I've had a lot of unfortunate results while experimenting with grain free cooking.  Almond meal is very dense, and coconut flour requires so many eggs that many things end up separating and tasting like...scrambled eggs.  BUT this recipe from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition was a success!  The kids liked it (came back for seconds and thirds!) and I thought it was delightful.  Serve with butter and maple syrup, or peanut butter and applesauce, or whatever sounds good to you.  Yummy!

(please note that I have ever-so-slightly modified this from the original, as well as doubled the amounts.)

8 large eggs
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup milk, plus 2-4 tbsp if needed to thin the batter
2 tsp vanilla extract (I used my homemade version)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder


Preheat a waffle iron.
Mix together eggs, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, melted butter, milk, and vanilla. (I mixed everything in my Vitamix.)
Add coconut flour and baking powder and mix until there are no lumps.
Let stand for 5 minutes. If the batter is thick, add 2-4 tablespoons of milk to thin it out. You should have the consistency of a pancake batter.
Pour into a preheated waffle maker and cook for 2:30 minutes. (Note that you need to completely fill the waffle iron with batter each time - the batter does not expand as much as typical waffle batter, and if you don't have enough it will be difficult to remove the waffles when cooked.)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

A post that made me smile and appreciate all the little things my husband does for me, all year long.

Image credit

The love that sustains our relationship isn’t showy love.  It’s a late night trip to the grocery store to satisfy the other person’s chocolate craving.  It’s packing the kids’ lunches to make the other person’s morning just a little easier.  It’s a pot of coffee brewed exclusively for the other person before leaving for work.  It’s volunteering to be the one to go into the creepy basement to switch the laundry.  It’s not pretending to be asleep when the children cry in the middle of the night.  It’s allowing your belly to be used as a foot warmer.  It’s crossing the finish line together even though one of you is significantly slower than the other.  It’s cuddling on the couch and pretending you didn’t already watch this episode of Homeland.   It’s bringing home a Jane Austen movie for that day in the 28-day cycle.  It’s intertwined fingers on a walk to the park.  It’s being the one to fill the car with gas when the tank gets low.  It’s putting your socks in the hamper.  It’s being the one who responds to “I need a wipe!” It’s not making the sound the other person hates when you turn the pages of the newspaper.  It’s making breakfast while the other person sleeps.  It’s returning the wanting kiss even though you’re tired.  It’s not telling a single soul that the other person secretly loves The Bachelor.  Little love—small but frequent acts of kindness, consideration, and compassion—sustains us.

From Brain, Child Magazine's blog.  While I certainly don't agree with everything they write (they lean towards the militant feminist sometimes) I love their articles for making me engage and think hard about things that matter in my mom/wife/woman life. 

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Winter planting

It is hard to remember that it is winter, here in Southern California, since it never snows and rarely rains.  But it is, at least, cooler.  And so it is a great time to plant!

Thomas helped me get the lettuce, kale, and peas planted today.  Peas from seed, lettuce and kale from "starts" because I'm kind of behind and I also have an irrational fear/expectation that any seeds that I plant will never sprout.  This was unfortunately supported by the fact that the last peas I planted really didn't grow...but they were very old seeds so hopefully these new ones will be ok!

I spent the last 2-3 months carefully planning a huge overhaul of the front yard.  And by huge, I mean really huge; it includes such things as the demolition of the concrete path, installation of a new stepping stone path, removal of 2000+ square feet of lawn, building a rock feature and rock mini walls, planting a tree, adding some shrubs and a whole lot of perennials.  It is going to be amazing when it is finished but oh my word, it is a lot of work!

I'm just starting to see some tiny results in the first stages.  Those tiny plants under the peach tree are spaced out a lot because they will eventually get a lot bigger. 

And while right now there is only mulch under this tree, in a few more days I'll have vintage stock, and dianthus, and daisies in there.

More flowers, waiting to be planted.  The shrub on the right is a gorgeous soft pink hydrangea - it will eventually be about 4 feet high and wide and is going to be amazingly beautiful!

And this isn't part of the yard, but our front entrance is making me smile right now.

The costs of such a project could easily become prohibitive, so I'm being creative and spending a lot of evenings searching Craigslist.  All of the rock used so far has been free; other people re-landscaping their own yards who don't want to pay dump fees.  The raised beds in the back yard were both free from a local business man who has too many to use and hated to throw them away.  Most of my tools are yard sale or estate sale finds.  I've also made a habit of buying used composters from people who just want them out of their yard and are selling them cheap.  I empty them (why yes, I'll take your perfectly good compost!) clean them up, and then re-sell them for about 4x as much.  That money pays for hoses and fertilizer and plants, and you'd be surprised how cheaply you can get plants if you're willing to be patient and not purchase them at their peak of beauty!  I've found quite a few plants in the clearance section of Lowe's; just this afternoon I brought home two perfect camelias for $3 each.

Also this afternoon, I got an email saying that my application for "turf abatement" has been pre-approved!  Which means that I have 120 days to turn my front yard into the garden I'm dreaming of...and if I can do it, the city will give me about $2000.  Apparently Anaheim doesn't really approve of lawns, and prefers my garden plans. :)