stawberry rhubarb bars.

STRAWBERRYRHUBARBI’m still working like a mad-woman to use up all this rhubarb in my garden. I froze a whole bunch, gave some away, and I still have a bit more to harvest. I found this recipe, and since it was pretty low on the sugar side, I gave it a go. I love the crust. Would think this recipe would be great with just about any fruit that is in season. I ate this all week for breakfast, and maybe for dessert too…but who’s counting?!

CRUST
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup  raw almonds
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp (24 g) coconut sugar*
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp (68 g) coconut oil, melted
FILLING
  • 2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup straweberries
  • 1/4 cup orange or lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
CRUMBLE TOPPING
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 Tbsp coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare an 8×8 pan.
  2. Add oats, almonds, sea salt, and coconut sugar to a food processor or high speed blender and pulse into a fine meal.
  3. Add melted coconut oil and pulse to incorporate. It should form a loose dough that forms when squeezed between two fingers. Add more melted oil if too dry.
  4. Spread the mixture into the baking dish and press down into an even layer.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then increase heat to 375 degrees F and bake for 5 minutes more, or until the crust is fragrant and the edges are slightly golden brown. Set aside.
  6. In the meantime, add rhubarb, strawberries, juice, coconut sugar and cornstarch to a medium saucepan and warm over medium-low heat until slightly softened and bubbly – about 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking, then remove from heat and set aside.
  7. Next prepare crumble by adding all ingredients to a small mixing bowl and using a fork or your fingers to mix ingredients into a crumble. Set aside.
  8. Add strawberry-rhubarb mixture to the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer. Then top with crumble topping and spread evenly to cover fruit.
  9. Reduce oven heat back to 350 degrees and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the strawberry topping is warm and bubbly and the crumble is golden brown.
  10. Remove squares from oven and let cool completely – 1-2 hours. Once cooled, gently lift bars from pan and slice into 9 even squares, or 10 bars.

zuchinni fries.

ZUCHINNIFRIESJust like the years before, I have yet again neglected my garden and wind up finding GIANT zuchinnis growing and then racking my brain trying to figure out what to do with them. I’m going to take a stab at some zuchinni noodles this year, but for the time being I tried some zuchinni fries.  DEFINITELY a fan. These were so so delicious.

Sliced zuchinni
1/4 cup flour
1 T cornstarch
1/2 cup plain almond milk
1/2 tspn apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tspn salt
pepper
1 tspn olive oil

Preheat oven to 450. Spray pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Youll need a bowl for the batter, and another for the breading. In one bowl add flour, cornstarch and almond milk and mix really well. In another add the bread crumbs and the olive oil and mix together with your fingers.

Dip zuchinni in almond milk mixture, then into the bread crumbs and lay on pan.  Once finished, bake for about 10/15 minutes, and then flip over and bake another 10 minutes more or so.  Add more salt and pepper to your liking.

whoopie pie smores.

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Fourth of july was just here and I used that as an excuse to get some cooking/baking in. I was drooling over this recipe for these whoopie pie smores – and since I had a bag of vegan marshmallows from trader joes, I used this as the perfect opportunity to make them! The original recipe is gluten free, but I didnt have gluten free flour blend, so i just subbed some regular flour and these turned out pretty great!!

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 5 Tbsp  water)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp  maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup  almond meal (finely ground from raw almonds)
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (finely ground from raw oats)
  • 3/4 cups + 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
FILLINGS
  • 1 10 ounce (283 g) bag Vegan Marshmallows
  • 6 ounces  vegan dark chocolate, broken/roughly chopped
  • optional: Fresh blueberries + sliced strawberries
Instructions
  1. Make chocolate cakes by measuring out almond milk in a liquid measuring cup and adding apple cider vinegar  and baking soda and stir. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, prepare flax eggs by combining water and flaxseed meal. Let rest for 5 minutes while you prepare your other ingredients.
  3. Add the oil, coconut sugar, and maple syrup, and whisk to combine.
  4. Next add applesauce, vanilla, and salt, and whisk to combine. Then add almond milk mixture and whisk again until everything is thoroughly incorporated – about 30 seconds.
  5. Lastly, add baking powder, cocoa powder, almond meal, oat flour, and gluten free flour, and whisk to combine, making sure no large lumps remain.
  6. Transfer batter to the refrigerator to chill/thicken for 20 minutes, and preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Grease two large baking sheets with nonstick spray (if you don’t have two baking sheets, just use one and bake the cakes in 3-4 batches).
  7. Once the oven is preheated, scoop out 1 heaping Tbsp amount of batter onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1-inch of room for spreading. Use your tablespoon to slightly spread them into a small disc. One standard baking sheet should fit 12 cakes. Repeat on second baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-14 minutes, or until the edges appear dry. (I found 12 minutes to be the perfect time.) Remove from oven and let rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
  9. Repeat this process, baking the mini cakes until all batter is used – you should have about 40-48 total cakes.
  10. Once the cakes are completely cooled, arrange half of the cakes on 1-2 baking sheets (upside down) and top each with a chocolate square and several halved marshmallows.
  11. Broil on the top rack of the oven on high broil until toasty and brown. Watch carefully as they will burn/toast quickly! (Alternatively, if using a grill or campfire, toast the marshmallows over the fire and place between cakes once toasted).
  12. Top with fruit (optional) and another cake of similar size and shape and press down slightly.
  13. Enjoy immediately! Best when fresh.
  14. Leftover cakes will keep covered at room temperature up to 3 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month.

 

berry + mint smoothie.

smoothie

I can’t get enough of mint in my smoothies lately. Ive also been using coconut water instead of almond milk and its a refreshing change. I made these changes to a pretty common smoothie and really enjoyed it, so will be adding these to the rotation!

1 cup coconut water
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries – strawberries/blueberries/blackberries
1 frozen banana
handful of spinach
1 T hemp seeds
Fresh mint
1 clementine

Mix in the blender and enjoy!

umbreon hoodie

UMBREON

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I transformed this black hoodie into an umbreon hoodie from pokemon. I dont really have clear directions on how to do it since I kind of just watched various videos and looked at other hoodies online and sort of just figured it out myself, but this is a run down of what I did.

You need a black hoodie
black, red and yellow fleece
stuffing
scissors
corresponding thread
sewing machine

First i cut all the pieces out. I cut the ears (black and yellow), the circle for the top of the head (yellow), the eyes (red), the eyeball slits (black), and tail (yellow and black – Not pictured)

I first pinned and sewed the eyes to the front part of the hood. Then did the same for the circle that goes on the top of the hood in the center. The ears I cut in half, and then added the yellow stripe in the middle. I sewed all three pieces together. Then sewed the ears together, turned right side out and stuffed with stuffing. I figured out where they would live on the hood and cut a slit in the hood, then put the bottom of the ear through the slit and sewed it up. I did the same for the other ear as well, and pretty much the same thing for the tail. I didnt stuff the tail though, so it doesnt get in the way when you sit.

There are some you tube tutorials that show some of this in better detail.  I didnt have any patterns, i just kind of winged it. Its far from perfect, but it made my little guy happy.

cashew seitan.

cashewseitan

 

This dish is easy, ready in about 20 minutes, and is loaded with flavor and easy to customize to your liking. The original recipe called for chicken, but I swapped it for some upton’s seitan, and I love the texture. You could swap for tofu too, I imagine, but I needed a change of pace. Below is my take on the recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 package uptons seitan
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 heaping cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup red bell peppers, diced small
  • 1 cup shelled frozen edamame
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted dry-roasted whole cashews
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Asian chili garlic sauce, or to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 to 1 cup green onions, sliced into thin rounds (from about 3 or 4 green onions)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To a gallon-sized ziptop bag, add the cornstarch, salt, pepper, seitan, seal, and shake to coat seitan evenly.
  2. To a large skillet, add the oil, and seitan, and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes over medium-high heat, flipping and stirring so all sides cook evenly.
  3. Add the broccoli, bell peppers, edamame, garlic, and stir to combine. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.. While vegetables cook, make the sauce.
  4. To a medium bowl add the soy sauce, maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, and whisk to combine; set aside.
  5. Add the cashews to the skillet and stir to combine.
  6. Add the sauce and stir to combine. Allow sauce to simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Add the green onions, stir to combine, and serve immediately.

strawberry rhubarb crisp.

strawberryrhubarbcrisp
I
ts that time of year again where I have rhubarb coming out of my ears and no clue what to do with it besides make pie. So I present to you a crumble. I tried to find something that was refined-sugar free; this was a little tart, but it was pretty good. I think it would be great mixed into some yogurt! The top makes almost like a granola – it was my favorite part.

  • 2 cups rhubarb, diced
  • 2 cups strawberries, diced
  • zest from one orange (or lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 5 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1½ Tablespoons cornstarch
For the crumbles
  • ½ cup chopped almonds
  • ¾ cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the strawberries and rhubarb in a large mixing bowl with the zest, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and cornstarch and mix well.
  2. Mix the almonds, flour, oats, cinnamon, salt and maple syrup together in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the coconut oil with your hands or a pastry cutter until the mixture begins to form crumbs.
  3. Grease an oven proof casserole or skillet and spoon in the fruit filling. Crumble the topping evenly over the top. Bake for 25 minutes, checking occasionally. When the topping is browned and the fruit is bubbling, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

fizzy toilet bombs.

toiletbombs

I whipped these fizzy toilet bombs up in no time. You drop one in your toilet and let them do the cleaning and deoderizing. And since you use essential oils, I love how refreshing they make the bathroom smell! Drop one in your toilet bowl and watch it fizz, leaving your toilet fresh and clean. I found the directions here. 

1 1/3 cup baking soda
½ cup citric acid
1 tsp water
30 drops Lavender essential oil
30 drops Peppermint essential oil
30 drops Lemon essential oil

Mix the baking soda and citric acid together in a small bowl. The next step is to add the water and essential oils to the mixture. To minimize the fizzing action, use a small spray bottle that produces a fine mist.

Gently mist and stir the dry mixture until all of the oils have been added. Test the mixture at this point by squeezing some in your fist. If it isn’t clumping very well, put a little more water in the spray bottle and wet it down some more, but just until it can form a good clump in your hand.

Then, pour the mixture into your silicone mold of choice, and pack each cell down firmly. Allow the bombs to dry for several hours, then remove them gently from the mold and they’re ready to use!

 

harry potter party.

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Milo had a harry potter birthday party this year at the Laboratory Science Academy in Wicker Park. The kids spent the afternoon making harry potter potions and doing science! There are SO many harry potter party ideas thanks to pinterest, and I tackled a few of them.

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We got some nerd glasses at a toy store near our house, and just popped out the lenses and each kid got their own pair of harry potter glasses.

We visited universal studios this year, and I was able to pick up some of the candy bags at honeydukes. They don’t typically sell them, but I asked if I could have them weighed and I would buy them and they agreed.  So we filled these with some bertie bots jelly beans, I got off of amazon, Homeade golden snitches made from ferrero rocher chocolates, some gold chocolate coins from gringotts bank, and a rainbow lollipop.

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But no harry potter party is complete without a wand! I got some wooden cooking chopsticks at Super H Mart, coated the end with some hot glue and painted them brown. Easy peasy!

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The party was a hit! I can’t reccommend the Laboratory enough! The staff was so kind and patient with all our silly kids and the kids had a blast. Milo told me one of the kids had their wands with them at school on monday! Success!

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cucumber + pineapple + mint smoothie.

cucumberpineappelsmoothie
I recently tried a smoothie at the juice bar near my work and it had mint in it. I almost asked for it without, but I figured, they wouldnt add it if it wouldnt taste good, right?! I took a sip and it tasted fine, but then immediately I got a little kick of mint and was like “whoah…” I think I’m now strangely addicted to this goodness. I recreated the smoothie, with my own twist on things and this is what I came up.

1 cup coconut water
juice from half a lime
1/2 cucumber
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1 frozen banana
a few sprigs of mint
Handful of greens (spinach or kale)
1 Tablespoon hemp seeds

Blend in a high speed mixer and enjoy!

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