Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Classic Chocolate Chunk Cookies
only gluten free and dairy free!

So we've been having more fun with our Cooking For Isaiah Gluten Free & Dairy Free cookbook! We had friends over for a BBQ and I made these Chocolate Chunk Cookies and our guests said they never would have guessed they weren't made like any other cookies if we hadn't told them.  I was really happy because I have missed eating a homemade chocolate chip cookie for a long time.  I've tried the Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix at the store and it was okay, but in my opinion it was expensive, didn't yield very  many cookies and they were pretty gritty.  These cookies were just like your traditional chocolate chip cookies, crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.  I REALLY enjoyed these.  I used Silvana's Gluten Free Flour Blend from the Book and used Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks I found at Super Target, I think it was the store brand called Marketplace or something like that, I checked the ingredients and no dairy.  I also have started using The Best Life buttery baking sticks by Bob Greene as a airy free butter substitute.  I was previously using Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, but since we moved I haven't figured out where to buy them and then my husband went to Walmart the other day and found The Best Life Diet buttery baking sticks and they were basically the same thing as the Earth Balance ones...but cheaper!  In the Chocolate Chunk recipe in the book, she calls for vegetable shortening, but I just used the buttery baking sticks and I think it didn't make a difference.  They were good!

Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals 
Gluten Free & Dairy Free


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
Gluten Free & Dairy Free
 Now that we are getting a little more settled in our new home, I FINALLY rounded up what I needed to make my gluten free flour blend, a combination of white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, salt and xanthan gum.  I made Silvana's Flour Blend from my new book Cooking For Isaiah which has amazing looking recipes that are all gluten free and dairy free.  These cupcakes were the first recipe we decided to try out.  I was really really impressed and so was J.  She keeps referring to them as the best cupcakes ever in the whole wide world!  These are so tasty with the strawberry puree in the cupcake batter and the strawberry puree in the frosting!  I was also really impressed with the texture, these cupcakes were soft, moist and had just the right amount of density, I was relieved they were not dry, gritty nor crumbly like other gluten free baked goods we have tried.  I don't think ANYONE would guess these were gluten free and dairy free cupcakes. The plan was to make these and freeze them individually so we could take one out for an occasional treat, but these were so good that did not happen.  They quickly disappeared and I have absolutely NO IDEA who is mostly responsible for that....hmmm....not one clue! I SWEAR! 
Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals 

I'm happy with this cookbook so far! It's my first time using a gluten free cookbook and using a gluten free flour blend.  There are some other books out there that I'm interested in getting, but I picked up this one on Amazon because, for someone who likes to bake, it looked really good and because of the donuts! I can't wait to try making the donuts! And I even lucked out and found a mini donut pan at good will the other day for $2!  

a couple other books on my wishlish I would love to try are

Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking: More than 250 Great-Tasting, From-Scratch Recipes from Around the World, Perfect for Every Meal and for Anyone on a Gluten-Free Diet - and Even Those Who Aren't
Flying Apron's Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book

Also, another great gluten free cooking resource is The Gluten Free Cooking School.  There is a gluten free flour blend recipe with accompanying recipes, and a good sandwich bread recipe that my mom has been making and I'm planning to try that out this week!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Healthy Family

One thing that I feel pretty passionate about is something I'm sure many moms out there are as well, and that is having a healthy family. Now, I'm not perfect or anywhere near it, but I do try to be as health conscious as I can, subscribing to a few natural health newsletters and trying to stay away from unhealthy foods, products and toys as much as possible.  One of my favorite posts I like to share is the one about Nutrition and having a healthy family as well as my love of Tropical Traditions and Green Toys.

One issue I am dealing with in the new house is insects.  I keep finding random ants in the kitchen and lots of spiders in the basement. I was so grossed out because in our previous apartment, I never saw any bugs ever! And we were on the ground floor too, I think they did regular pest control, however I never saw them spraying anything.  I wasn't sure if something was wrong with the doors/windows but my husband asked around at work and apparently everyone here has the same problems, even in newer buildings.  So anyways, I was researching ways to deal with these creepy crawlies naturally, because they really freak me out, I literally freak out when I see spiders but I'm hesitant to use toxic pesticides with having little kids.  I came across this website Healthy Child Healthy World and found some great tips.  The next day after I had found this website, my sister posted the video below on Facebook and I wanted to share it with you guys.  Another resource I've been meaning to tell you all about is this fantastic book I got called Natural Baby and  Childcare by Dr. Lauren Feder, M.D. I love this book because she is a trained Medical Doctor as well as Holistic Practitioner, so throughout the book, she gives you thorough advice and information from both sides of the isle as well as the pros and cons of each in every topic and area of childcare.  I think this is a must have book for every family household! It is one of my best purchases!  She also has a website with a lot of great info, check it out and bookmark it, Dr. Feder.com.
Natural Baby and Childcare: Practical Medical Advice and Holistic Wisdom for Raising Healthy Children


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our New House

Hey everybody!  I know I've been quiet over here and I'm sure not too many people have noticed! lol!  But in case you have, the reason is we've been busy moving to a new state and into our first house!  It's been a great experience overall, but busy and hectic as anyone who has moved before is aware!  I have just been unpacking, so I don't have any cool projects or decorating from the house to share, but here is a sneak peak!

The whole process went so well and I owe a big thanks to our Amazing Realtor Ann-Marie Tsatsos from CBS Home.  She is an awesome woman who is fun to be around and knows what she's doing. She took really good care of us and I would recommend her to everyone needing a realtor! We are so happy the extra time we spent patiently squeezed in our 2 bedroom apartment and being frugal paid off and we were able to snag a great home!  Rather than have a dinning room that is being overtaken by kids projects, my projects, a piano, computer, printer and everything else in between, we actually have separate places for all those things...it's amazing! lol. 

I think it will take me a little while to figure out how I want to decorate and arrange things but I have a couple ideas so far.  I want to make this Headboard that I saw at Pottery Barn using the tutorial from Knock Off Wood...Reclaimed Wood Headboard finished like this photo submitted by amandamclark85.

And am thinking I might do this rouched duvet cover also seen at Pottery Barn, because I just am a commitment phobe when it comes to patterns for bedding and I think white is just relaxing, I'm a fan of the white beds!  However, the not so good thing is our current white comforter has developed a big hole in it and it was never anything nice to begin with.  I had put a star next to this in the catalog and then came across this knock off tutorial for the PB ruched bedspread over at Fussy Monkey Business.

Here is my sauna! I told my husband if he wanted me to leave Dallas to a colder climate I needed a hot tub or sauna, with hypothyroidism, I'm already too cold all the time as it is!  So I was really excited that the house we loved did have one! My friend from Melonbelly was telling me I need to find my northern blood again, as I grew up in Northern Alberta, Canada but I told her I had burried it away and lost the key when I got to Texas, I fell in love with the sunny warm south! Another bonus feature is that the house has a reverse osmosis water filter system which is great because I was always hauling my jugs back and forth to the store to get my RO water refills.  I prefer not having flouride and chlorine, among other things in my drinking water, especially for those of us with Hashimoto's or other thyroid problems, it makes it the thyroid function worse.
 We also got an awesome pool table with the house!  (Ann-Marie and CBS Home really did help us get an awesome total package!)
 Dining room, this was the previous owners nice furniture, we don't have a dining room table yet.

Our park-like backyard which is one of our favorite parts of the home.

That's all for now folks! But as I get going with things, I'll be sure to let you know how any projects turn out and how the different rooms come together.  I'm still trying to envision things, but my mind keeps jumping around from room to room.  I need to FOCUS!!! hmmm....we'll see how that goes!