Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ice Storm Fun

That sounds like a bit of an oxymoron doesn't it?

Thankfully, it hasn't been all that bad for us. Everything did freeze over and the husband took a day and a half off from work (not that he's complaining, or me..) but our power stayed on, we had plenty of goodies to eat, we only lost one dead part of a small broken down tree, all in all we did pretty well and I am grateful.

We did decide to let the Little Bit take a venture outdoors and check out all of the ice and a bit of snow..  she enjoyed busting icicles, having her Daddy spin her around on the slick ice in the road and crunching the ice under her feet in the grass.

I can't wait til we get a big snow she can play in.. probably not this year but who knows?

Our surroundings, our fun:

 well.. there was one casualty.. a dog toy left outside..  LOL

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Southern Ketchup AKA Ranch

Like any good Southerner, I love ranch. It's just one of those things. However, practically every ranch that comes in a bottle is downright gross..  sure, I will eat it in a pinch but it's not like "restaurant ranch" or maybe I should say steakhouse restaurant ranch, for whatever reason, they seem to have the best.

Now, I have tried a few of the fancier cold bottle ranches that you find in your vegetable section and some of those are good, particularly the various yogurt ranch brands you can find.

But alas, none are quite like that of restaurant offerings..   so, among a few other things I decided I will never buy bottled again, ranch is one of those, it's mind bogglingly <--yes, bogglingly..easy to make at home. Now, you CAN go the full fat route here and it IS good..   1 package of hidden valley (haven't tried any others) ranch dressing mix, 1 cup milk, 1 cup mayo - whisk, store - it gets thicker once it sets for a bit.

I've made it just like that and it was yummy but unfortunately or fortunately since I am on the road to healthier eating and a more trim waistline, whole milk and full fat mayo isn't going to cut it because let's be honest, 1 teaspoon of dressing ain't going to cover it.

So today, I swapped whole milk for part whole milk, part silk cashew milk. I swapped mayo for 3/4 light mayo and 1/4 greek non fat yogurt.

I also tossed in some dried cilantro and a touch of hot sauce. It is absolutely lovely and although I am not going to divulge the nutrional info because I am a bit green in that department and I dont want to give out incorrect info...from what I calculate, it is about half the calories, maybe even less than that of the bottled junk or if you were to use the full fat versions of mayo & milk. You could scale this back further of course if you used all greek yogurt or non fat mayo if that exist & 2% milk or any of the nut or soy milk varities..

Anyway, I am pretty happy with how it turned out and even more happy I don't have to dump half of my days calories trying to sauce up my salads...

As a side note, I am having photography block or something, I can't seem to get the lighting, angle, anything down recently..   oh well? You catch my drift.  :]

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Not What I Intended

I spent some time this last Sunday making "truffles"..   yummy, healthy, raspberry truffles..  I took pictures of my process, was amused at how yummy they ended up being, even more amused at how few calories each contained..  but then, when it was time to roll them into neat little balls and dive them into a pool of chocolate, I got lazy.. really lazy. They ended up partially bathed in chocolate and in no round ball form to speak of.

Damn, they really are good too.

I plan to make more and I plan to share because I cannot keep these to myself. Not that I came up with the recipe but they are lovely and just in time for the pinkish red holiday on the horizon.

Please forgive my laziness and accept this cute picture of my cute kid being cute.

I taped together a sturdy little card board box so that she can get up to the window sill and spy on the neighbors and wave to their dogs and point out the birds and of course, greet daddy when he gets home. Simple pleasures, for us all.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Butters of the Nut Variety

I can't stop making nut butter. There, I said it.

Two things: (1) Never knew it was easy. (2) Really..  never knew it was this easy.

I cannot imagine buying store bought peanut butter again..

This butter that I am about to show you is a roasted cashew "nutella" and kind of happened by accident - as some great things do tend to do.

So, I was originally just set on making sort of standard cashew butter but it really wasn't coming out how I imagined or liked so I decided to step it up a notch and smooth it out a bit with almond milk & coconut oil and I then tossed in some cocoa for good measure and I was half ass shocked how good it tasted.

It's just sweet enough, thank you, Agave. It's just creamy enough, almost like a thick frosting, thank you coconut oil & milk and it's just chocolately enough..  you get it. Roasting (drying, really) off the cashews really gives it a nice flavor that is quite reminiscent of hazelnuts, in my opinion of course.

Here's what I did:

  • soaked cashews over night (7.5 oz can)
  • pour off water, rinse
  • let them dry on a paper towel for a bit
  • put on pan and let them dry in the oven at 250ish for about a half hour or so
  • toss them in the processor, i let them do their own thing for about 5 minutes or so before i decided i wasnt crazy how they were coming out 
  • at this point, i added about 2 tablespoons, maybe a touch more of coconut oil and let it do its thing
  • added about 2 tablespoons of cocoa and then followed with roughly 1/4 cup or less of almond milk
  • blended for another minute or so
And here's what we got: