I have not blogged in a long while. My only followers aka my mother have probably been wondering, what have I been up to? What have I been cooking, and serving the family? A whole lot of artisan fun actually, from thanksgiving to my birthday which was Jan 2nd, I have been a crazy creative person in the kitchen. But I have not been able to write about much of it.
Why, for my surface pro computer is broken, I thought it was just my keyboard, until days ago, I replaced the keyboard, tried to connect it, and it did not work. The depression is indescribable, I am finger typing on a glass screen right now, just to purge a blog outta my head, just to prove I am not done blogging, and will never stop cooking.
Now I suppose the nice thing to do would do be to share 1000 pictures to show you what I have made, but alas, another blogging problem I am facing is stopping that from happening. My blog is almost full I mean like 80% of my free data is taken from blog pictures of the past. Now I have only had this computer and blog since November 2014 and on my year anniversary, November 2015, everything dies, my keyboard port and my range of data to use.
So now the new plan for the new year is to Clean out the blog, god knows ALL my pictures are not the best..so although I have been making all sorts of crazy things I wanna share; made up recipes like white caramel, to popcorn balls, and even chocolate bark and now I am even making #beetpowder treats like Beet pasta and beet flavored meringue,..I CANNOT flood the blog until I clean it out, aka purge old photos from experiments past. I do not know how long it will take to do this. But I will try and get it done asap, I have however been trying to keep up posting on Facebook since November, and you can see all my photos since Nov 2015 there.
I got so many foodies presents for Christmas, so I have a lot of new toys to share, from a pasta machine, pasta tree, immersion blender and a whole lot more, so stay tuned I will get working on this blog, I will purge the photos from before, and I will get back to posting daily recipes asap.
I think I for sure will come back to daily blogging with a new section called ‘recipe a day’ and share something each and every day that’s new. I hope every one had a wonderful thanksgiving, Christmas and new year. I sure am enjoying cooking since Christmas, and I will post ‘pasta’ how to’s, ASAP, I promise.
So I have not blogged anything in a really long time. I have a surface pro tablet and broke my keyboard and have not been blogging since. But since breaking my keyboard I have become more fluent with my on screen keyboard typing..its very awkward and odd but I am trying to get used to it. I am trying to stay ergonomic with it, and not finger type, but its still really slow and not effective.
But I am going to blog for the sake of blogging anyways. Just to be fresh, just to let you know what my favorite holiday recipe is so far. Because its so versatile and yummy. I have so far tried it with a few variables and yesterday even gluten free, and it still worked out fine.
The original recipe is a food network sponsored ‘giada’ recipe, here is the link for it.
I was sitting at home bored one day, and turned the food network on and it was Giada’s holiday special for thanksgiving; I had to watch it for the cake she showed in the previews, looked and sounded divine.
Apple spice walnut cake, I mean just the first 2 adjectives got me. I love spicing my apples and I always seem to have a ungodly amount of them so, I knew upon hearing its title, that I had to see it made and see how easy it was to execute.
I had to wait a minute for the cake part of the show, but finally she was making the cake. She was chopping some apples from the transition from commercial and had a good bowl full of them, when she added the wet ingredients one by one. Maple syrup, eggs, oil, wait I have all these things, like all the time too. It was getting me excited. She put the ‘wet’ bowl aside and made a ‘dry’ bowl of flour, baking soda, baking powder and a nice splash of my favorite spices; cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. The pure simpleness of this recipe and the fact that it did not use butter, got me hooked.
Then she grabbed the wet bowl and ‘Gradually’ added the dry mix into it. If there is two things you really learn the definition of while baking its “gradually” and “patience.” If you add your dry too fast you can get lumps. I have learned the term gradually whilst baking many things; meringue, you cannot add the sugar too fast or you can deflate the peaks of the egg whites.
Anyways seeing her create the cake so easily, in only 2 bowls with just a wooden spoon to mix, well that made me try making it later that day.
I made that cake so fast and so easy, even subbing a few things; like not having a bundt pan for one, but for 2, I only had generic maple not organic. I mean maple flavored corn syrup, so instead of the called for 1 ½ cups I used less than a cup of maple syrup, just for the flavor. I also did not have walnuts, so my recipe was without them. Also I almost forgot, I subbed some applesauce for oil, I hate using a lot of oil.
The first time that I made the cake I used all fuji apples. Everyone loved the cake so much that I was more then impressed. I prematurely cut into one cake and iced each slice with swirls and then iced the other one with one large swirl.
Here is a picture of the first attempt. It made two rounds which I iced with buttercream icing homemade.
Upon trying this loverly creation of mines, I realized that apples were not the only fruit that melded well with this spice mix, so the next attempt at this recipe for cake I used zuchinni and raisins instead of apples and walnuts. That one, was an even better hit I believe and I had way more taste testers who all loved it a lot.
Here is the best picture of the zuchinni version of this cake.
Also yesterday, I made the most inventive version of this cake recipe that I have tried thus far, and the picture will not do it justice, so I must indulge. I made this cake recipe gluten free. I had some oatmeal on hand from the food bank and some dehydrated granny smith apples.
Don’t ask me how but my first and foremost thought getting dehydrated apples is making them into apple flour. I know I am a little crazy. But I have been researching flavoring baked goods with fruit powder and finally I had the opportunity to make some. I have been looking for some cheap freeze dried fruit to do this with food stamps, but running into this bag of dried apple chips at the food bank was the next best thing.
So I did what any good mom would do and saved 4 snack bags of apple chips for the boy…then I pulsed the rest. I made about a cup of very fine and sour tasting pure granny smith apple flour, I was very pleased with myself. Then I figured I would stay gluten free and pulse some oats for some oat flour as a base and bake with the apple flour as a flavor and a binder. I added the usual apple cake ingredients but used the gluten free apple and oat flour and even chopped up a whole bunch of mini golden delicious apples from the food bank as well. Actually I added too much apple this time, and I cut the oil by using ½ a cup of applesauce. The cake still comes out very moist.
Here is a picture of that attempt. Very moist, very interesting medley of flavors, you can taste the spice blend, you can taste the granny smith, you can taste a hint of maple, and certainly you get a mouthful of apple chunks.
Conclusion is I love this apple cake recipe and I will be making fruit powder aka dried fruit flour again asap!!
I have made all effort to make this webpage reflect what I stand for.
I have constructed everything from my name, my home page, my theme, my categories and all my posts to reflect what I would like to represent in life. This is my ideal Self that is represented here.
I am a Mom, who lives low income and on Food Stamps and I am an artist-writer/overall creative person. I showcase my creative efforts here in a WAY MORE ORGANIZED manner than Facebook. I came over to WordPress with a page title the same as my way older Facebook page here:
I started my Facebook page with the same name in 2012, when I was learning so much ways to local food from the farmers market every week, and I wasn’t paying for any of it. Food stamps and generousity of others supported my family then, and I learned a whole lot directly from the farmers that were raising and growing my food on how to cook it.
I started this blog in November 2014 when I realized that I had so much information to share and now years worth of photos on Facebook to round up and organize and I had no place to do it.
So I started this page, and the first blogs that I wrote is a reflection of how I wanted to be represented to others.
Here are a few of my favorite early blog examples:
I also came to realize that the recipe research that I conducted on a daily basis, when I get free food that is new to me, is so extensive that it deserves to be documented and shared. I got weekly food from the farmers market before and now I get free produce weekly from the local food bank. Most of the time when I was asked a question on Facebook on how I came to realize how to cook certain things, I had already lost the link, and now I try to document each new thing that I make, so that I can reference it later in life, for myself or others. I have a whole category on my “ingredient breakdowns”, in my menu if you want to check out some of those well researched blogs.
I also am trying to branch out a bit more lately with this blog and showcase some of my art & writing skills. I have been an artist and a writer since I was a young child and also studied each extensively later in life in Junior College. I have joined Blogging University to prove to myself that I can appropriately write about any subject that is thrown at me, and so far I think I have been doing pretty well. I am going to try my best to keep posting my creative writing as it comes to me, I do have the courage to have a pretty nice “Poetry” category in my menu. And to be honest I am pretty proud of my recent poetry, enough to post it on the internet at least.
So if that doesn’t explain enough, just look at my clean design, ready for long and lengthy content- like my writing; look at my awesome menu that is navigable and clear to read; check out my blogs that are more low income foodie authentic then anything; check out my sidebar which last night I worked hours on adding a “Sweet and Savory” photo gallery to; check out my tag cloud on the bottom of the page that showcases the things that I have most written about, and more importantly remember that I am the one and only Boho Mom!
In response to today’s daily post challenge “Mirror Mirror on the wall”
Today I made Ice Cream cups. The other day I was thinking of making them and now that most of the berry curd-meringue treats are eaten, I decided to make another dessert for the family. That and its my husbands birthday tomorrow, so I wanted to have something special to snack on anyways.
I had the idea from a recipe from the Pioneer Woman’s show, she made cookies and cream cups in the freezer easy to eat for her boys before she took her girls on a college trip. It was such a great idea; to have already made, ready to eat ice cream cups. I decided to make my own version with what I had.
I did not have Oreo cookies, or anything like them. But I did have leftover pulsed animal crackers from the other day when I made curd bars. So I used that with some melted butter and a bit of shortening and I crumbled in the fat with a pastry cutter. It was a good consistency then I put it into cupcake liners into a cupcake pan. It filled up about 2/3 of each cup. Then here was the fun part.
I took a round ice cream scooper, an old fashioned one, as a presser to mold my cups. I pressed the crumble into the foil liners and made walls with the round edges of the scooper in each one. I thought I did pretty well, and I had some really smooth looking cups here. I wish I would have taken pictures of this step.
Then I froze the cups until they were set. Then I took the giant vanilla ice cream bucket we got from schwans out and I used the nice round ice cream scooper to put a scoop into each cup. Then I smoothed the ice cream down with a bit of finesse and pressure from the scooper and made each top smooth. I made sure to try and make the ice cream touch all sides of the cups in this step.
I also had defrosted and slightly heated up some raspberry and blackberries from my schwans frozen bag of them and then I scooped 2 berries unto each cup and some leftover berry juice. Then I froze them until they set again.
I think I may have a bar obsession. I think that having protein, natural fruit sugars and even veggies in a hand held granola- breakfast bar is just about the most convenient food for me. Being constantly busy taking care of my family ie husband, dog and 5 year old, keeps me looking for the most healthy convenient food I can get my hands on. And if it packs a punch of protein, well that’s all the better. That means whatever sugar is infused into it will not only be paired with a healthy carb like most bars are, I get some protein to go with it. Here’s to some long lasting energy!
I swear that before I moved to the lost coast, I tried a whole lot of bars from whole foods and my local health food markets. I’ve taste tested quite a few that I developed a little bit of a spoiled taste for them. But selfishly Getting Lara bars and chocolate veggie bars everyday for a snack at jr college, was a big dent on the food stamps and that’s family food money.
Once I moved to Fort Bragg, CA, I stopped buying convenient food. Not that I couldn’t afford it, its just that I couldn’t even dare be selfish with the food stamps and buy single packaged food that only I liked. So, I started buying the ingredients that I saw inside the granola bars and breakfast bars that I enjoyed. Gluten free flour, dried fruit,honey,almond butter, bananas, dates…even my favorite dried cereals.. this is where the fun began.
I started doing research on making homemade granola bars. Who would have thought that simply brown sugar, peanut butter and cereal would be an amazing granola bar.
I tried it many different ways and came to find that brown sugar is way too dense of a sugar to be working with.
I tried working with honey and maple syrup instead. Those are interesting with a nut butter, and dried cereal and even fresh fruit.
After a while my taste buds could detect the high amounts of sugar in the granola bars and it was making me sick, I missed the veggie bars and fruit bars. The natural sugar in the dried fruit was a perfect energy kick for the middle of my day and working and taking care of business. Making sugary syrupy granola bars at home are great if I am trying to replace the Quaker Oats sugary granola bars they sell in the store in the kids section, but not for my house.. we don’t eat those things.
So I stopped making them. I started to realize that it wasn’t that I was missing anything in my bars.. it was I was putting too much.. so I stopped adding sugar or syrup. And I started using only exclusively fruit and nuts. Granted Lara bars are easy to make if you have a high speed blender or food processor and they are plenty of copycat Lara bar recipes out there.. I found a ton here.
The biggest thing that I had trouble with in those various recipes was weather or not to add water to your dried fruit paste before you make it into a bar.. the wetter your dried fruit, the wetter the bar, and I hate having to freeze a granola bar, or even keep it wrapped up and cold.. I just want a fruity yummy veggie bar.. that you can hold in your hand without it falling apart and it chewy and sweet without sugar..
I found the answer to my prayers here,.. it wasn’t a recipe its a formula. And the formula works.
It turned out the answer to the bar I am looking for is called a protein bar and people make them before they go to work out, with protein powders and even kelp powder to add minerals and vitamins. I realized what I wanted was definitely not a granola bar, its a protein packed breakfast-workout bar that is basically a meal replacement, when you really need it. I found some recipes that even have hidden protein like white beans and almond butter…
I started to make more protein bars that resembled blonde brownies but tasted like veggie bars.. here are some examples..
I think that the best way to make protein bars now are without syrup, or sugar and using fruit sweeteners such as banana and dates and raisins and other dried fruit. Brown sugar is for sure a cop out when it comes to trying to make a granola bar,…not the most healthy choice but it works well. If your willing to learn the formula for protein work out bars and tweak it yourself.. you will thank me in the long run.
Because you never know when your too busy to cook, and or are going to be hungry while your out. And no one wants to even think about the option of fast food for convenience anymore, so make your own replacement meal bar and formulate your favorite kind for on the run.
I have also found some interesting baked oat bars and or cakes that qualify my criteria..and I will try and keep these recipe list updated as I go.. please feel free to comment with more recipe links if you have some similar..
If you didn’t already know, refined sugars are not that good for you. Even consuming syrups like maple, agave or simple sweeteners can take a toll when your trying to go sugar free. Most vegans rely on fruit sweeteners to keep things sweet and I am going to share my baking experience with dried fruit paste as a filling and a sweetener.
You can make your own date paste by blending dates up in a blender or food processor and adding things such as water or milk a dash of salt and maybe some vanilla or lemon juice to make it to your taste. I personally like to make my date paste stretched by also adding raisins, cut up prunes and prune juice instead of water or milk. Some people cook the dates down, like a dried fruit compote, or simply just jar it up after blending it. Date paste can last up to 3 weeks in the fridge.
Dates raisins and prunes are excellent for bowels and elimination. We use our date paste at least once a week in cooking to ensure elimination for everyone in the family. We like to change up our recipes for how we use it and I like to have a jar in the fridge always.
If you don’t have sugar and or don’t want to use sugar in baking, you can eliminate the wet parts of the paste and grind up dried dates until you have a sugar like consistency and you can replace regular white sugar or even brown sugar with date sugar instead.
I like to bake. I mean I like to bake a whole hell of a lot,… you start to realize after a whole lot of baking that creaming that butter and sugar…well it adds up the calories, and well,..really we shouldn’t consume processed sugar. So after all the perfectly gluten and sugary chocolate chip cookies were made and I started to even buy those awesomely sweet organic frozen cookies at whole foods,.. I really got some weight to prove that I was eating all that butter and sugar. Oh no.. =( And even after trying all the best cookies that I could make or buy with sugar, I still never wanted to give my son even more than a bite..who wants just a bite..that’s cruelty, I mean I know I want to eat the whole cookie bag of Newman O’s sometimes and I felt the kids pain. So I did what I thought a regular Bakaholic would do, get the research done. I found that the following sugar-butter replacements are ideal when cooking for a toddler, young child, or even adult,..cause ya know, you always want more than one cookie,.. this way you wont get too fat.. I hope. And you don’t have to feel guilty about eating sugar and butter because you will not be. The first alternative to sugar would be the obvious..
Syrups. But I personally think that some syrups like agave, maple and simple sweeteners do not cream like sugar and butter do and some have more sugar content than sugar,.. so no thanks.
Honey is great for sugar alternative, but you need to be careful how much you put, or it gets a little overwhelming like maple.
But if you are making sugar free granola bars nothing works better then honey or maple and some peanut butter but that’s another post.
Date sugar and Date Syrup are my first choice. Its consistency is perfect, date syrup for more brown sugar and butter. Date sugar creams relatively well with shortening or coconut butter.
Bananas. Bananas replace sugar and oil. Mash them up and use them like you would creamed sugar and butter.
Applesauce is normally already sweetened. You can use applesauce to replace butter and sugar in some recipes. If you are using unsweetened applesauce for butter replacement, be sure to use something else with it for sugar like some date syrup or mashed banana.
Dried Fruit is sweeter when cooked or soaked, and mixed into baking batter.
To achieve the sweetest baking try combining banana, raisin, and date paste…different amounts of each will achieve different results.
Coconut sugar is used by some bakers as alternative sugar, but I have personally not used this yet.
Here are some examples of naturally sweetened baked goods I have tried. Some are even gluten free.
If you have any questions feel free to email me. Or ask my best cooking friend “google” for help. Always can find some interesting SF DF GF results there (that’s sugar free dairy free, gluten free..b.t.w).
Vegetarian Chili- canned organic beans, tomatoes and fantastic foods dry chili mix and 1 cup tvp ( textured vegetable protein) I have made this many times and my family loves it.http://www.fantasticfoods.com/cooking.aspx
32 Bean Soup– Fantastic foods makes a dry 32 bean soup mix and its really good seasoned with garlic and herbs and adding diced vegetables into it. Butternut squash works well with it and so does adding some more dry lentils..
Food incorporated the movie, is the awakening moment that my family went organic and changed our eating habits for the better. Most of these tips I have developed over 4 years of trying to eat clean and teach my son to do so also. I hope they help you on your journey to eating more healthy, and having more organically sponsored fun in the kitchen.
1.Buy ingredients not food: If it comes out of a box, bag or is packaged already, somebody’s already processed your food. To buy more ingredients that you put into a produce or meat package yourself or watch a butcher do so, your eliminating that “processing” part of your food. Try to buy fresh grass fed organic pasture raised-rotated meat and eggs that is harvested locally. You are eating fresher then if your buying a prepackaged frozen meat from Tyson. Purchase local fruits and veggies from markets and get your grains and powders local and organic in the bulk section.
2.Buy Bulk: Grains, dried fruit, flours, sugars, cereals, and nuts are awesome purchased in bulk. Most stores have seasonal or monthly bulk sales so catch some things on sale. Fill at home with bulk products, like oatmeal, pastas, rice, flours and other such things like bulk tea ingredients and spices. Tea’s and spices and rubs should be packaged in bulk then put into small jars at home. I keep my jars filled with pantry items and my tea box is always full as well as my spice jars. I buy my rice in a 20 lb bag and all my sugars and flours in 4 lbs bags or larger. Specialty items like almonds, almond flour, goji berry are expensive most of the time, so if you catch them on sale stock up.
3.Stock your pantry:Having Jars of flours, sugars, oatmeal, pasta’s and dry beans and lentils ensures you cook your own food More often and actually learn how to cook better by working with more pantry items, we learn more how to cook fresh. Having fresh rice with beans is a meal and if you always have them handy you will not need to stock up on canned goods as much.
4.Plan your meals: I have a little formula for having balanced meals in my house. We stock the freezer in the beginning of the month and it really helps for less “what to do for dinner” stress. We always have our bulk pantry stocked so that’s protein and carbs down between pantry rice, noodles or potatoes and meat. I base my meals on what meat we choose for the night and then pair a carb with it then from advice from the USDA.gov my plate website, I fill the other half of our plates with vegetables and fruit. Every meal half our plate should be fruit and veggies. But in order not to break the bank while shopping for fresh produce, you should move on to #5.
5.Get to know your local farmers:Find a Local farm that offers a CSA or discounted veggies at the end of the farmers market. I used to get a basket of fruit and veggies donated each week from the farmers and sometimes even bartered for goods. When you get to know your local farmers, you can also ask them questions about how to cook their produce and get great cooking advice. I have discovered a great many recipes for odd fruits and veggies from farmers at the market. Which brings me to #6.
6.Try new things: sauteed salsify with garlic, stuffed squash blossoms, tomatillo salsa, burdock tea, watermelon radish salad, sorrel and eggs, kale and sunflower seed pesto. Be open to trying new produce and recipes, I discovered from being open at the market that I absolutely love the taste of fresh stinging nettle and lemon balm tea… who knew? I never did, until I discovered being more open to new things at the farmers market.
7. Have fun and get creative: Just because you cannot find a printed recipe for it, doesn’t mean that its a bad idea. I have tried some crazy ideas and end up loving the process of learning what not to do, as well as some things that worked fine. I couldn’t find a recipe for stuffed heirloom tomatoes but I have stuffed them with everything, and I have never even seen a stuffed beet in a cookbook, but I stuffed it with potatoes au gratin. Some ideas have been the best thing I have ever done and experimented with and half the fun of learning is getting it wrong. I never thought that I would invent recipes But after long and strenuous fun and experimentation I invented peanut butter and jelly pop tarts and they are a huge success. So do yourself a favor, and have fun and get creative.
8.Find a specialty: Don’t try to perfect the whole menu at once. Try one skill at a time and perfect it before you try another thing. Start with something simple, like dicing potatoes or onions well, then move on to more harder things like perfecting the over easy egg or caramelizing onions. I personally just got pie crust skill perfected and I have had over easy eggs for a while, but I take it easy on myself and learn one thing at time.