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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rich Creamy Dairy Free Chocolate Ice Cream

Dairy Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Gelato


It's so nice that there is now a selection of dairy free ice cream other than fruit sorbet, even TCBY carries SILK chocolate ice cream made with almond milk....but honestly, it's still somewhat disappointing.  The SILK dairy free ice cream is not thick and creamy like regular ice cream and it leaves something to be desired.  So here is a recipe for dairy free chocolate ice cream or dairy free chocolate gelato, made with almond milk but much richer and creamier than the story version.  I don't add a ton of peanut butter so the peanut butter flavor is pretty subtle, I just add it to give the ice cream a little extra thickness.

1 cup sugar
4 cups chocolate almond milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
 6 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
2-4 TBsp peanut butter

In a saucepan, add sugar, milk, cocoa powder and egg yolks.  Stir over medium heat until it starts to thicken.  Remove from heat and add peanut butter and vanilla.  

Cover and chill in fridge for a few hours until completely chilled.

Pour mixture into prepared Ice Cream Maker and proceed using your ice cream makers instructions.  Ours comes with a bowl that you freeze for 24 hours ahead of time then just pop it in the ice cream maker, add your ice cream mixture and turn on for about 25-30 minutes.  When Ice cream is done, and you've had enough, store in an airtight container, we also line the top of the ice cream with pastic wrap before putting the lid on the container, it prevents freezer burn.  

We like the Silk and Almond Breeze Chocolate milk both so either one would be yummy.  You could also make this with Original Almond Milk or Coconut Milk and leave out the Cocoa powder for vanilla ice cream and then add your own additions, I'm thinking some Glutino Oreo Cookies for some dairy free gluten free Cookies and Cream Ice Cream! Our last batch we made the Chocolate Gelato version and added in chopped up Glutino Sandwich cookies and we LOVED it...Chocolate Cookies N' Cream!  We went to TCBY a few days later and had the SILK chocolate ice cream and it was just so watery and bland compared to our ice cream.  The secret is making it like Gelato with the egg yolks.  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Baby and Chicks Photo - Sony DSC-RX100/B 20.2 MP

OK I just had to share a couple pictures I took of my little guy with the chicks a couple weeks ago!  He was 7 months old here and the chicks were between 1-2 weeks old.





I guess if I'll add anything else, I will say that I love our new camera!  We had to replace our old one right when he was born because it stopped working, I think it got sand in it at the Oregon Coast last summer.  We got a deal on this because it was last years model and we found it through Amazon Warehouse Deals.  Once you know what you are looking for, check regularly till a really good deal comes up.  This was hundreds of dollars less than the original because it was the previous years model and it was also discounted because it has a small scratch on the LDC screen.  


Sony DSC-RX100/B 20.2 MP 

Exmor CMOS Sensor Digital Camera with 3.6x Zoom


We wanted a nice camera that could take high quality photos with manual and automatic settings, but we didn't want to have to carry a big heavy camera with a giant lense everywhere either...we love that this can slip in your pocket or the cell phone pocket of a purse and takes great photos.  it currently isn't as deeply discounted as when we got it but like I said, with the warehouse deals, if you are patient and keep checking, you can get save hundreds off the regular price due to minor "damage".  We also got our TV from Amazon Warehouse deals, same thing, my hubby checked frequently for a couple months and then when the price got really low on one he wanted, he ordered it.  It had a small scratch on the back of the frame...you can't even see it! (we had to replace our old TV after the move because the movers didn't wrap it or anything for that matter-they damaged a LOT of stuff , some of the boxes looked like they had flown off the truck while it was driving down the freeway!-the screen was so badly damaged it wasn't usable.  Thank goodness for insurance!)  

Anyways, I love this camera, I am getting better at figuring out the settings, I wish it had a little better of a zoom because our old camera had a really great zoom lens, but it was bulky.  I can do without the extra zoom for the quality and convenience of this one.  And if you can get a good deal on this or something similar, it might even cost less than a professional photography session for your baby or kids and with this you can take professional quality photos yourself, whenever you want!  So anyways, there are great camera options outside of the big Canons and Nikons if you aren't trying to start a career in photography or concerned with having the ability to change out lenses.  I LOVE that I can slip this Sony into the pocket on my ERGO when I'm on field trips with the kids or hikes as a family. (Another deal! I found my performance ERGO for like 60% off the regular price on Zulily). With baby number 3 it was really the only new thing I got.  

Oh and one particular feature I love is that there is a dial on the front to quickly change the aperture or shutter depending on what settings I am using so I can be holding the baby in one arm and with only one hand free, be taking a picture and quickly adjusting the settings with ease.



Monday, May 12, 2014

Chasing Chickens and Beginning Gardening

Chasing Chickens

So the other day a storm was coming in and the chickens were out free ranging so we wanted to get them all back in the coop before we got dumped on.  So far it's been relatively easy to get the chickens back in the coop when we are ready to do so, half the time they are already waiting inside when we go down there and then just shut the door otherwise it's been pretty easy to just pick them all up and put them in.  Well, this time the big ones were already ready to go in, I think they sensed the weather was changing and getting more skiddish.  We got all of the in fairly easily except for Buffy, she was an elusive pain in the leg! Seriously, look what happened to my leg during one of my attempts to catch her....I didn't see a small tree stump and smashed my leg on it.  

(ok it's not that bad but my skin is so light and scars easily and it's hot here and now I have this ugly thing to show off!)
Oh and yes, our grass in the back yard is actually a mix of grasses and weeds and clovers...but right after we (as in he) mows the lawn, it looks like it might be grass if you don't get too close! lol

She kept hiding under the coop, then running all over the place, darting between trees...I was impressed really, I heard Buff Orpingtons were the most docile and likely to get eaten by an animal or picked on by the other chickens but she's insanely quick and elusive, I think she'll be OK.  I finally had enough of us running after her like idiots...I'm sure we made a hilarious sight, but after bashing my leg I realized "This is stupid!  The chicken is too scared to stay out here by itself, the other chickens aren't trying to come out...I'm done!  I bet if we leave and come back in 2 minutes she'll go in by herself"...and that's what happened.  

Yesterday we had them out again , when Tyler asked me if I would go start rounding them up and getting them in the coop.  I went and checked on them...they weren't done foraging.  It was getting closer to dusk and I was just like, "nope, I'm not doing THAT again...They'll probably go in in the next 20 minutes. I'm not dodging through trees trying to catch them."  And they did.  So....lesson learned...don't kill yourself trying to catch a chicken to put it in the coop.....now I'll probably have a scar on my leg. They will go in on their own if we just be patient.  And if you MUST get them put away for some reason and they aren't ready to go back in, go for the easy ones first and once they are in, if you leave the more elusive ones alone, the will go hop in by themselves to be with the others.  Don't break a leg over it!


Here is the recent progress on the coop....Tyler's working on the run out the back...he got the frame up and a trench dug out, now he just needs to get the wire in place and make a door...I helped a little ;) But really, he's the main man on the job!  GO BABE!


 We are excited to see we have lots of blueberries coming in!  We had one pretty unfruitful blueberry plant that produced 3 berries last year, but I guess blueberries do better if you have at least 3 plants for cross pollination.  A couple weeks back we stopped at some small nursery on the side of the road on our way back from a hike.  We picked up a couple more blueberry plants and some tomato plants.  It was WAY cheaper than getting them at a place like Home Depot, these plants were already a good size and only a couple dollars each!

 Here's hubby checking out the little tomato on one of the plants.  We alternated blueberry plants and tomato plants...We aren't that experienced in gardening, so there was not any reason for this...just did it that way.  My mom is a gardening superwoman and my mother in law is also a big gardener so hopefully we can follow in their footsteps. :)  We want to get more tomato plants, we want tons of tomatos, plenty to eat fresh but also we want to roast and can a WHOLE bunch for making homemade pasta sauce.  So, our beginning garden consists of blueberries and tomatoes so far...But I hope to add more over time and make a real vegetable and herb garden and I also REALLY want to plant lots of hydrangeas, peonies and lavender!  I even got curious today about having a bee colony on the property, I looked it up and 1 beehive can produce 50 pounds of honey a year!  WOW!  BUT for now I'm good with 6 chickens and a beta fish!




Looking at these little blueberries is getting me thinking about making my 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal

 Cookie Bars

Gluten Free & Dairy Free


So My aunt posted a healthy paleo recipe for chocolate chip cookie squares on facebook the other day and I really wanted to make them, but when I went to the recipe I didn't have the right ingredients, but at that point I was already craving cookie bars so badly so I made up my own version, they aren't a healthy recipe but they ARE gluten and dairy free :)

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Bars
1/2 cup gluten free oats
1/2-1 cup gluten free flour (add more til you are happy with consistency)
(I used a premixed gluten free flour blend that contains xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan gum if your flour blend doesn't have it)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup shortening or palm oil (or butter if you aren't dairy free)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli, the ones I buy don't have milk in them)

In mixer blend peanut butter,shortening, sugar, egg and vanilla.  Add gluten free oats, gluten free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.  Press into a 8x8 inch baking dish and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. (baking time may vary as I used the convection setting)

So no these aren't paleo or sugar free or anything awesome like that, but I did add the peanut butter and oatmeal to make them a little more hearty and satisfying :)


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Teenage Chickens and the Chicken Poop..I Mean Coop

Teenage Poopin' Ninja Chickens


So let me see here, we got our first 2 chicks on March 24, so that means when we went camping 2 weekends ago they were right at a month old, but for chickens that means they are pretty decent sized teenager chickens.  Our 2nd flock is 2 weeks younger than the first flock.  Anyways, so 2 weekends ago we went on a family camping trip with our American Heritage Girls troop.  My husband was going to get the coop ready for them the weekend prior but wasn't able to because he got sick and then we had this campout, so we had them in a box in the house (we don't have a garage otherwise they would have been out in there).  We had a great time at the campout but left early Sunday morning as quickly as possible so we could get home and get to work on the coop.  Well, when we got home we found POOP all over the place.  My husband had put their box in the playroom with screens on top and then closed the doors to that room just in case they somehow got out...which they never had even come close....but they did and before we left one of the kids must have run in there for something and maybe bumped the box or something and then left the doors open because those chickens got out and free ranged around the house.  They were huddled around the box when we got back and most of the poop was in that room, but we found droppings throughout the house, up and down as they pretty much explored everywhere.  So that was super fun to clean up!  I will give my hubby credit for that one, he cleaned up most of it, I did the spot cleaning on the carpets but he cleaned up the main room that was full of it.  I just don't like the chicken poop, I know I deal with kid and baby poop all the time but still, the chicken droppings make me want to puke.  So I was thankful he took care of it.  Anyways, you gotta watch those teenager chickens, they are naughty and will have a house party when you are away and leave their crap everywhere!

Here is one of the naughty girls!

So anyways, after researching Chicken Coops and getting all inspired and wanting to build something cool, Tyler realized the little shed we already had was practically the same size we were planning on building and we didn't have that much stuff in it so he decided to repurpose it...but it was right next to our driveway and not a good spot for a chicken coop so he took it apart to the frame and was going to continue to disassemble it when our neighbor came over to see what Tyler was up to after hearing him banging away and suggested they just move it as is and not take it all the way apart....so Tyler and our neighbor rolled the shed across the property, back into the woods on logs (trees that Tyler had previously cut down) and wow, it looked like a LOT of work!  But in the end, it worked out and Tyler got it put back together....mostly....enough to be functional and get the chickens out of the house.  It still needs the trim and ramp put back on and we still need to build a chicken run out the back and give it a fresh coat of paint.  We moved all 6 chickens out there finally and they are all enjoying it and they love when we let them out in the yard, they stick together in their little packs of 3.  It was so cute tonight was the 2nd time we let the younger ones out and they had a ball but when we were ready to put them back in the coop, they had already gone in by themselves.  

And I like them more seeing them OUTSIDE and not in my house :)


The little yellow one is a Buff Orpington so I named her Buffy the Scorpion Slayer.....it's her destiny to help put a dent in the scorpion population around here :)


check out that awesome car jack...yep I bought that for Tyler as an anniversary or birthday gift like when we were 19...he was always working on his mustang back then...now his mustang (we still have it) needs a new top so bad last year it had like a foot of water sitting in it and was like a jungle inside...not quite as cool as it was back then!  But at least the car jack still comes in handy for other things, like leveling the chicken coop!



Friday, April 18, 2014

Frozen Elsa Costume

Elsa Costume from Frozen

Of course she is singing in this picture, how can she NOT be singing Let it Go when looking just like Elsa ;)

We had a Frozen themed birthday party to attend this past weekend and J and I decided to get resourceful and see if we could come up with an Elsa outfit with what we had.  We brushed out her seriously tangled Rapunzel wig and gave it a side braid, threw on this old sparkly dress that I had from Highschool winter tolo or whatever that dance was called and I just never got rid of it, and some blue tulle/netting from her peacock costume 2 Halloweens ago.  She was pretty happy with it!  For the dress I just tied up the straps in the back so it wasn't falling off of her.  She's pretty excited to discover she had a "real" Elsa outfit and she didn't even know it!  




Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chicks 3 weeks - Such Chickens!

Chicken Chicks!

This is Trouble.  
See that tail? My kids are determined that means it's a rooster-which would be disappointing, we were looking forward to blue eggs!

So here are the chicks at around 3 weeks old.  After talking to a local farmer who raises chickens and other animals that also is part of our local Classical Conversations group was talking about getting her chicks out on pasture and mine were a whole week older so it was warm out and we gave it a try.
I first took Trouble out and tried to put him/her on the grass....that chick was REALLY chicken and scared of the grass...Trouble kept jumping back up onto my lap and chirping at me like "Save me mommy!"  When my daughter brought out the other two, the 2nd largest one (Trouble is the biggest) did the same thing, flew into my lap and was terrified of the ground.  The runt was the only one who hesitated for a second before walking around and exploring.  After a while the 2nd barred rock was watching the other and decided to give it a try...finally Trouble was like "OK, I'm the Rooster/Top Hen around here, those 2 are making me look bad I guess I'll try it out"  So he/she hopped down, tried walking on the grass for a few seconds and then got so terrified, he/she flew up towards me, landed on the back of my hand and then RAN flapping it's wings al the way up my arm and onto my shoulder, where Trouble then immediately pooped and it landed right in my lap....which I quickly shook off my dress but BUMMER because I have to wash that dress by hand!  ugh!  But in any event, the whole thing 
was quite amusing.  

Tyler, my hubby is definitely the chick magnet.  They like him the most, but he likes them more than I do too so I guess it's mutual.  Don't get me wrong, I like them well enough and think they're cute...I'm just not real comfortable/natural with animals...I had some hamsters growing up and a dog that was untrainable and a horrible pet and some cats that I really enjoyed, but I really haven't spent much time around animals in years and being a mom of 3 littles, cuddling with animals just isn't something I even think about.  So anyways, my hubby comes home and sweet talks the chicks, holds them and pets them...the love it.  My daughter also gives them lots of attention and is really good with them.  At night the chicks make a lot of noise, My daughter told them it was time to stop and be quiet...they listened...or so it seemed.  She now thinks she has magical animal powers or something lol, I told her that maybe God blessed her with a gift to be good with animals, not so much "magical powers".

These things grow so fast I can't believe it, By the time I uploaded these pictures they are already outdated!  I was looking at them today and they are really filling out!  Oh and last week when they turned 3 weeks old we picked up 3 more chicks, we got 2 Rhode Island Reds and 1 Buff Oprington...they are so cute and this batch of chicks seems even more friendly and chill than the first.  The Araucana definitively likes attention, but it's a bit more hyper and just different.  The Barred Rocks will let you hold them but they probably prefer to be left alone, whenever my husband is trying to pick them up, The Araucana (Trouble) flies onto his hand...such an attention hog.