banana blueberry bran muffins.

BranMuffins

try saying that ten times fast!

Since I start my day with a smoothie, around 10 am I’m ready for a little something- usually sweet. I like to make healthy muffins because they satisfy a sweet craving, and usually keep me sustained until lunch. I tend to look for muffins that are low in sugar, and try to substitute healthy flours and fruits to make them worth my while. They are a great breakfast treat for milo too.

I found the recipe for some bran muffins here.  Then I customized them to make them vegan. You can add any kind of fruit, or even use spelt flour if you wanted to stay away from white flour. Spelt flour is my favorite to add to muffins!

1 1/3 cups almond milk, mixed with 1 tspn apple cider vinegar
1 T ground flax, mixed with 3 T water
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I did a mixture of half veg oil, half unsweetened applesauce)
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or sub brown sugar if you dont have this)
1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup all-purpose flour (or sub spelt flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoonsgranulated sugar, divided
1-2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup blueberries

Heat oven to 425 degrees F and coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Whisk almond milk, flax, oil (or oil and apple sauce), and mashed banana and coconut palm sugar in a bowl. Whisk bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir wet mixture into dry until just combined and still a bit rough.

Spoon two 2 tablespoons of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Add about 3-4 blue berries to each muffin and sprinkle each with one of the teaspoons of granulated sugar (1 tspn divided over the 12 muffins). Spoon remaining batter (about 1 tablespoon each) over fruit and sprinkle tops of muffins with remaining teaspoon of granulated sugar.

Bake muffins for a total of 16 to 18 minutes.

tooth fairy pillow.

toothfairy

My little guy just turned five. I know were probably still a ways off, but I whipped him up a little tooth fairy pillow following this tutorial.

Instead of a fat quarter, I used an old sweater. So its kinda lumpy and a little messy – but I asked milo if i should redo it and he said “no! I love it!” soooo, messy and lumpy toothfairy pillow it is!

This is a really easy project that can come together fairly quickly. However, trying to explain the concept of how the tooth fairy works to a five year old proved to be a little tricky. He just wasn’t really understanding HOW the tooth fairy will know that his tooth is in that pillow. And where should he leave the pillow?! And how much money does the tooth fairy leave? Does she leave presents? I think i have some time to do my tooth fairy training, but in the meantime, we have the pillow situation covered.

 

vegan cheez-its.

cheezits

Cheez-its were probably my most favorite snack back in the day. I almost always had a box of them at my desk to snack on. I recently saw that Earth Balance was coming out with a vegan version. I CAN.NOT.WAIT. to get my hands on these.  So far no luck. it does just so happen though, that I came across this blog post last week and knew that I HAD to make some myself!

Now, these crackers didnt necessarily taste like the good-ol fashioned cheez its I remember, BUT they were a fantastic, cheezy-savory cracker that came together in no time! Milo could not get enough of these, and frankly, neither could I!

  • 1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Oat flour
  • 3 Tbsp Yellow corn meal
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2-4 Tbsp cold water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add dry ingredients to a food processor or blender and process to thoroughly combine.
  3. Then add olive oil and  pulse again until crumbly.
  4. Add cold water 1 Tbsp at a time until it forms a loose dough. You don’t want too much water, so just add a little bit at a time. It shouldn’t need more than 3 Tbsp.
  5. Remove from processor and form into a loose ball with your hands. It’s actually good for this dough to be worked and warmed by the heat of your hands, so don’t worry about touching it too much. However, you are not kneading it, just forming it into a disc.
  6. Lay on a lightly floured surface, dust the top with flour, and roll to 1/8th inch thick with a lightly floured rolling pin. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into square crackers. Dot the centers with a fork prong wooden skewer tip to resemble a Cheez-It.
  7. Bake at 350 for 12-17 minutes or until puffy and golden brown.

 

lego crayons.

legocrayons
Milo’s birthday was earlier this month – and we made some lego crayons to go into the lego goodie bags i created for the kiddos. As you can probably guess, Milo is REALLY into legos.

This is a super easy project that uses up all those cracked, broken, old crayons you might have laying around. They are fun to make solid colored, or use hues of the same color and make a multi colored crayon.

heres what you need

Silicone Mold (I bought mine these on amazon!)
exacto knife
crayons

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.
Use an exacto knife and slice the wrapper off your crayons.  Break the crayons into small pieces. Fill the silicone molds as much as possible, Place mold on a cookie sheet to avoid spilling when you take them out, then bake for 15-20 minutes. Take these out of the oven very carefully, as they will be all liquid at this point. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes until starting to set, then put into the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once completely cooled, remove from the tray.
Be careful when

quilted potholders.

potholders
I took a stab at using some fabric scraps to make these simple potholders.  It was pretty easy, and took almost no time to complete! you will need:

insul-brite lining
fabric, 2 pieces cut 10×10 inches, and a little more for the strap
sewing machine
thread
pencil
Iron

1. Cut two fabric square pieces 10 inches by 10 inches.
2. Cut two or three batting pieces depending on their thickness , 10 inches by 10 inches.
3. Cut one strap 10 inches by 2 1/2 inches.
4. Lay your strap flat, right side down on ironing board. Fold over the edges a bit and iron flat. Fold piece in half and sew seam.
5. Attach the batting pieces to the WRONG side of one of the fabric pieces.

7. Take the strap and lay it on the RIGHT side of the fabric piece in the top left corner.
8. Now lay the other piece of fabric on top of the fabric piece with the strap on it.
9. Pin all the layers together.
10. Sew all of the layers together with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Leave a 2-3 inch opening on one of the sides.
11. Trim the corner edges of the potholder.
 13. Pull the potholder through the gap you left unsewn. Pop out your corners of the potholder.
14. Iron the potholder flat, ironing the little gap closed.
15. Topstitch around the potholder edges with a1/4 inch seam allowance, sewing the gap shut.
15. Draw straight lines in both directions on the potholder with chalk or a pencil. Make them evenly spaced, about 2 inches apart. Stitch on the lines, quilting the potholder.

carrot and oat dog cookies.

dogcookies

These are a simple cookie to make for your dogs. My dogs sat patiently while I was making these, watching my every move – they were excited to get a homeade treat of their own.

This is a rare instance where I’m posting a non-vegan recipe. This recipe uses eggs and it acts as the binding in the cookie. I bet you could substitute an egg replacer like a flax egg, which would also give it some added nutrients!

1/2 cup carrot juice
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
1-3 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter (you decide depending on how your dog likes peanut butter)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 T flax
1/2 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
1/2 cup rolled oats

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, with a rack in the center of the oven.
Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and set aside.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine and form a thick dough. Flour your surface well, and turn the dough out onto the board.

Sprinkle flour on top of the dough and onto a rolling pin, and roll the dough to approximately 1/4″-1/2″ thickness. Be sure to use plenty of flour, as this dough is very sticky!

When the dough is rolled out, dip a cookie cutter into flour and cut out the biscuits.

Transfer the cut out biscuits to the prepared sheet pan, leaving about 1/4″ of an inch between each treat. These don’t spread out, so you can fit upwards of 40 onto a baking sheet at a time.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the biscuits to cool completely.

Transfer the biscuits to an airtight container, where they will keep at room temperature for up to two weeks.

tissue paper chicks.

IMG_6363
Easter is right around the corner and I had to rush to get our craft on! This is an easy craft that you can put together with your little one in no time. Milo liked doing this project because he got to do just about all of the work, even the cutting.

heres what you need:
IMG_6360Paper
glue
tape
googly eyes
orange pipe cleaner
yellow tissue paper or streamers
feathers

Cut a circle shape to your desired size out of white or yellow paper. Cut your tissue paper into all kinds of shapes and sizes. this is a great step for your child if you have child-scissors because tissue paper is really easy to cut and there is no exact science here. Put some glue all over the circle and have your child place the tissue paper on it until its totally covered. Glue the eyes and nose in place. Glue (and tape for extra support) the feathers to the back of the piece, as wings. Cut your pipe cleaner to four pieces (two longer, two short). bend the short piece around the long piece to make the feet, and affix with glue (and tape!) to the back of the chick.

Display proudly!

Here’s another fun easter craft we worked on last year.

vegan rueben.

rueben
Sorry for the delay in posts! We spent spring break in istanbul!

While out grocery shopping before we left, sauerkraut caught my eye. I grabbed a can so we can make ruebens for dinner. We loooove a good sandwich, and this did the trick. And while turkish food was good, it felt great to eat something closer to home.

A good sandwich bread. We use trader joes sourdough bread, but typically ruebens are made on rye or pumpernickle
Earth balance
sauerkraut
Daiya cheese
Tofu (or seitan or tempeh would work too)

Marinade:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T soy sauce
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T fennel
1 T onion powder
1 T paprikia
Few cranks of black pepper

Dressing:
1/3 cup vegan mayo
2 T ketchup
juice of half a lemon
1 T minced onion
2 T sweet relish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a 9×13 pan. Slice your tofu pretty thin, about 1/4 – 1/8 inch thick. Place in the marinade and give it a good coating, front and back.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake another 10 minutes or so.

In the meantime, mix together the ingredients for the dressing. set aside.

When the tofu is ready, slather some earth balance on slices of bread. Layer sauerkraut, cheese, dressing and tofu on the sandwich and fry up in a pan until the sandwich is krispy and the cheese is melty and gooey.

Add more dressing to your liking. Enjoy! You can also top with avocado, and or pickles.

bottlecap magnet.

magnetMilo loves easter, and who isn’t ready for spring… so we kicked off this spring season with a simple little craft using bottle caps and some construction paper.

I did the measuring, he did the gluing and cutting. It was great team work. when it was all done, we hot glued a magnet to the back and viola! Bring on the bunnies and the sunshine!

quilted coasters.

Quiltedcoasters

This is a great little project to use up some of your fabric scraps. These coasters are placed together in squares, then cut into circles. It’s great practice of sewing along curves too! I definitely plan to make more as I accumulate more scraps. This was my first time doing any kind of quilting, and I have to say, it was quite gratifying. Maybe I’ll take on a little bigger quilting something or other…. Any suggestions for smaller quilting projects? I’d love to see!

Here’s what you will need to do for four coasters.

Cut 24 3×3 squares out of your fabric. Lay out the squares to decide what order you want them: There will be four used in each coaster. Begin with two squares and sew them together, right sides facing, to form one piece Press open the seam. Sew two more squares together, and press open the seam. Next, pin the two joined pieces together, right sides facing and the seams aligned. Sew together, to form the coaster top. Press open the seam. Repeat to make three more coaster tops.

 Now, Cut circle shapes. I used a wide-mouthed glass as my template, and trace a circle on top of the patchwork pieces. Make sure to center the circle template on your fabric. Cut these circles out. I traced the glass on the backside of the patchwork, then cut a little larger than what I traced so that I could use this as my seam allowance and sew directly on the line I drew*. Cut the coaster backing fabric and some fusible fleece into four circles each.  (*I did the same thing here.)

Place one coaster top, right-side up, on a fusible fleece circle, wrong side facing the fusible (textured) side of the fleece circle. Using a hot iron, fuse the fabric to the fleece. Repeat with the remaining three coaster tops and three fleece circles.

Quilt the tops. With a chalk pencil or erasable marking pen, mark the stitch lines on a coaster top as shown on the template, with the two lines intersecting in the center. You will be stitching through the coaster top and fleece only (the backing will be added in the next step). Quilt according to your marked
lines (see figure C). Repeat with the other three remaining coaster tops.

Sew backing to quilted top piece. With a backing fabric piece and a quilted top piece together, right sides facing, sew around the edge with a 1/4-in, leaving a 1½-in opening to turn the coaster right-side out. Or you can just sew along the line that you drew in the step* above. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitches. Repeat with the other three coasters.

Close and topstitch. Turn one coaster right-side out by pulling it gently through the opening. Push out the inner seam so it makes a smooth circular shape. Turn the fabric under at the opening by ¼ in and press flat and pin if necessary. Topstitch around the edge of the coaster, about 1/8 in from the edge, sewing the opening closed and flattening the edges. Repeat to finish the other three coasters.

Original source found here.

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