Friday, May 25, 2012

Safe Cookie Dough

If you are like me, you don't really care to eat an actual cookie.  The dough is what I want.  I don't eat sweets much but when a craving strikes I like to eat a spoonful or two of cookie dough.  I'm not too worried about getting salmonella from raw egg.  The statistics show that salmonella from an egg is actually pretty rare. But of course, it gets blown out of proportion every time it happens.  I have NEVER been sick from eating cookie dough.  However, when I was pregnant, I didn't risk it.  I also don't risk it with my young daughter.  So, I started looking for a recipe I could make without egg.  I'm sorry I don't have a picture of this one.  When I made it, I just made a little bowl of it.  Well, actually a couple of little bowls to get it right.  None of the recipes I followed got it exactly so I modified until I liked what I had.

And here it is:

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup butter, softened (Note:  Do not melt!  It makes the texture all wrong.  Just let it soften or just starting to melt)
3/4 cup white sugar (you can use raw/organic too as long as it is a finer grain)
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (using an extract is not corn-free so use one you make yourself; I have yet to find an alcohol that is for sure corn-free so I am experimenting with vanilla beans instead; hopefully I'll have a better update for this ingredient soon)

In a bowl (Recipes always say this but I don't know why. What else are you going to put it in?), cream together butter and sugar.  Mix in flour and vanilla.  It will be a little dry and crumbly at this point.  Add water one tablespoon at a time, mixing until you get the right texture.  I found the right amount is usually about 2 tablespoons but this may vary with weather changes.  The weather always affects my baking.

Now, chill and enjoy.  I like it but it is really rich.  Don't expect to eat this entire amount by yourself in one day.  A spoonful or two is perfect to curb that sugar craving though.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chai Tea Latte at Home

Well, I've been sick the last two weeks so I've been drinking a lot of warm tea to sooth my stomach and my sore throat.  I love the Chai Tea Lattes at Starbucks iced and hot.  I decided to try to recreate them at home since I can't go spend $4 everyday.  They are actually pretty easy.  Not to mention I know all of the ingredients in the tea.  I don't know what kind of craziness they put in those drinks elsewhere.  I have not made an iced one yet although I plan to try that this summer.  For now I will give you the way I make them hot.

This is the recipe I liked the best:
2 Spiced Chai Tea bags or favorite Chai Tea loose leaf mix (We have a great tea shop near by now so I get a loose leaf mix there.  I can trust the ingredients easier from a local, organic shop.)
2 Tbsp. canned coconut milk
2-3 tsp. sugar or honey (I keep organic sugar and raw/organic/local honey around so I just use what I have on hand)
approximately 16oz of water

You can boil or microwave your water.  I try not to use the microwave most of the time but if I'm just making a quick cup of tea I usually put the cup in the microwave or run the water through my coffee maker to get it hot fast.  My coffee maker works faster than my stove.  I also have a tea kettle now.  I've never used a tea kettle until recently but I love having one around.  Anyway, get the water really hot.  Then put the tea in the hot water and let it steep for a bit.  Then remove the tea and stir in the milk and sugar/honey.  Of course, these are the measurements I use but if you want it sweeter or less sweet, you can modify accordingly.  Here is a picture of my latte:

Yes, I just showed you a picture of a cup of tea!  That's probably silly, but I am a visual person and it helps me to see things.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mother's Day

So every year I try to do at least a few homemade gifts for some holidays.  This year I got crafty for mother's day.  This is the second year in a row to get crafty on Mother's Day.  I will post some pictures of last year's gifts at the end of this post.  For now I will explain this year's craftiness.  I've never been the artist of the family. My sister got that talent.  Unless it is the art of music, I'm lost.  But I've been trying to change that a little bit when I can.  Part of the reason for this is that I don't like to spend money.  Yes, I'm a tight wad.  Just ask my husband.  This year I saw some yarn wreaths (on Pinterest of course), but most people were selling them, not telling you how to make them.  So I figured it out myself.  Here is what I did:

At first I was looking for foam wreaths at my local Hobby Lobby.  However, they are in the middle of a remodel so it was slim pickin's.  The only foam wreath I found was a circle but it had squared edges.  Well I didn't want corners on my wreaths so I found some straw wreaths.  With a few adjustments to my plans, they worked quite well.

Here is a picture of what I started with:

I bought two, one for each mom.  I used yarn I had laying around.  I used to do plastic canvas so I have tons of yarn laying around.  I just tied one end to the wreath and started wrapping.

Like so:

I wrapped in one continuous wrap although I'm sure you could do it in small pieces too.  Add some ribbon, some cheap fake flowers and some ribbon (using hot glue when needed) and voila:

I was pretty proud of myself.  I know these have been done, but none of this just comes to me easily.

Last years gifts were tote bags with L's hand and foot prints along with some monkey stencils.  We've called L a monkey since her first ultrasound where she was always flipping and moving.  There were three totes:  L's Mama, L's Nana, L's Grandma.

I also made these little card boxes.  I printed her picture on card stock and folded them into a box.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Honey Dijon Chicken

**Disclaimer:  I do not measure while cooking and I sloppily measure when baking.  I will give approximate measurements to help others but always taste what you are cooking and modify according to the tastes of you and your family.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I use tenders because they are easier for the little to eat, 12-15 tenders)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (use what amount works best in the pan you are using)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dijon mustard (I used a little less than this because my family doesn't do spicy well)
1-2 tbsp. spicy mustard (I used about 1)
salt and pepper

Note:  This recipe is not corn-free as is because of the vinegar in the mustards.  I am working on my own recipes for different mustards in order to make this recipe corn-free.  This lifestyle is a constant work in progress.

Heat skillet and olive oil.  Pat chicken dry.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.
I have a hint for this.  Put down aluminum foil and fold up the sides to put your raw chicken on.  This keeps any chicken fluids from leaking on the counter or floor and is easier to pick up without it going everywhere.  I don't know about you guys but I make a horrible mess in the kitchen if I don't use conveniences like this.

Here is a picture of what my chicken looked like after salt and pepper but before cooking.

Now put your chicken down in the pan on the seasoned side so you can season the other side while they are cooking.  Cook on both sides until golden brown.  

While the chicken is cooking, make the glaze using the honey, dijon mustard and spicy mustard.  I use a fork to mix them up in the bowl.  Taste it to see what you think.  It is going to be spicy in the bowl but once it is on the chicken it isn't.  So it's okay if it burns a little bit.  It won't when it's done.  If you leave the spicy out then it is just honey mustard and is too sweet.  

Here is what my glaze looked like:

When the chicken is done, put them on plates and immediately brush or spoon on the glaze while the chicken is still hot.  

Here is the finished product:

It has been a huge hit for the somewhat picky eaters in my house.  If you have a picky eater who absolutely does not like the glaze, the plain old salt and pepper chicken satisfied my husband and I put the glaze on everyone else's.  He likes it but just doesn't care for stuff on his chicken so I usually only put the glaze on half of his.  

Mashed potatoes and green beans completed the meal for us.  It could easily be paired with your favorite veggies though.  Green beans are the favorite in our house.  


I will start this blog with a little bit about myself and what this blog is about.  My name is Bekah and I made this particular blog public because I want to help people.  Especially people who have struggled with similar problems.  I have a private blog for private matters.  I will start by saying I am a mother, wife and teacher.  I just finished my degree in education.  It has always been my dream to be these three things and I've finally achieved all of them.  I married my husband, we will call him J since this is a public blog, about seven and a half years ago.  We have a beautiful daughter, we will call her L, who we struggled for five years to finally have.  She is now a toddler and keeps me running.  In fact, I have to type this standing up or she wants to type too.  We also have three dogs.  I'm a sucker for rescues.  Eddie is our oldest and he is a chihuahua.  Who would have thought I would end up with chihuahuas when I've always hated them.  But Eddie is not a normal chihuahua.  Molly is a mini rat terrier and may be a bit of a mix, we aren't completely sure of her origins but she has been a wonderful and loyal dog.  I totally recommend this type of dog.  She lets L do anything she wants to her.  And Charlie is a chi-weenie.  Yes, I said chi-weenie.  Half chihuahua, half dachshund.  He's a hard headed mess of a little dog but I couldn't refuse him our home when he was in need.  Plus he is the same age as L so they are growing up together.  He is basically her dog.

I have PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) which has made fertility and weight management difficult.  Most people don't make this public information but I will because I wish I had been given more public information when I was first diagnosed.

I went back to college after several years of just being in the workforce.  I was burned out in my early 20s and I knew something had to change, so I went back to achieve my childhood dream of teaching.  It's hard but worth it.  Always go back to school if it will help you achieve a dream.  It is never a bad decision.  We have discovered that our daughter has a corn allergy and I have a slight sensitivity to gluten.  Since I have changed our lifestyle and started cooking, the whole family feels better.  All of my recipes are corn free.  Most of them are gluten free or easily made gluten free.  Most are dairy free or easily made dairy free.  Sometimes I like to bake with almond or coconut milk rather than cow milk.  And most are nut free.  We don't have nut allergies but I just don't care for nuts much.  Most recipes are also soy free because those of us with hormone imbalances are told to stay away from soy when possible.  This is another ingredient that is almost unavoidable in processed foods.  I'm sorry to those with egg allergies, but we love eggs.  Many recipes are egg free but some aren't because we love them.  All recipes are shellfish free but a few have fish such as tuna, salmon and tilapia.  This is pretty rare though.

I will share recipes, projects, lessons, etc. in this blog.  If it helps one person, it worked.  Plus it keeps all of my stuff in one place.  I'm an organizer, list maker, cleaner.  I love things to be simple and uncluttered.  Feel free to pin anything to Pinterest.  I made this public for a reason and to be honest a lot of my ideas are modifications of something else I found on the internet.