Saturday, June 14, 2014

Grain-free mixed berry crisp

I made this dessert last night for company, and it turned out really tasty, so I thought I'd share it here.  Amounts are approximate - I didn't measure anything.  Enjoy berry season!

about 2 cups total of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
about 2 tsp butter or coconut oil (solid, not melted)
about 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
about 1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
honey or brown sugar to taste (if you like it tart, you can omit this or go really light)

  1. Slice the strawberries and mix with blueberries and raspberries in a bowl.  Stir in honey or brown sugar to taste and let it sit for at least half an hour.
  2. Mix the butter, coconut, almond flour, cinnamon, and salt with a fork or pastry blender until crumbly.  You may need less of the dry ingredients - just add enough to make it crumbly.
  3. Divide up the berry mix into 4 ramekins, or put it all in one small pie plate or casserole dish.  Sprinkle the crumble mix on top and put a little additional honey or brown sugar on top.
  4. Put the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.  
  5. Broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the top, but keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!  

Let it cool a bit - this comes out HOT!  Great with homemade whipped cream or ice cream.  I think this might be my go-to potluck/company dish for summer.

Monday, June 2, 2014

11 dishcloths

So I went to Pennsylvania for a week, and while I don't have photographic evidence, I knit 11 dishcloths.  I gave them all to my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law so I wouldn't have to tote them back on the plane.  What would drive someone to knit 11 dishcloths in 5 days?  Actually having downtime, I think.  This was Alek's first visit to Pennsylvania, and everyone wanted to play with him, so I kind of checked out and found myself with idle hands and my mom's leftover cotton yarn.

We had a very busy week: two towns, lots of extended family, power wheels, and trains!

Alek was very well behaved, them proceeded to turn into a monster when we got home.  I think he's a little angry to lose the constant attention of doting grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  Today he told me to go to work, and when I told him I couldn't because I don't have a job, he told me to get a job.  I think I need another rest...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sock leftovers scarf

Still on a quest to use up my leftovers.  This is a bias-knit scarf using the big bin of leftover sock yarn.  Lots of soothing garter stitch, good for watching TV.  I have a feeling I could make this pretty long and not run out of leftovers.  It's fun choosing the colors, and I think it will be fun to wear too!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Oops, two weeks went by kind of fast

Yikes, it's been two weeks since I posted.  I've been actively avoiding the blog, no idea why.  I guess I'm feeling a bit scattered lately and I didn't feel like I could write anything good.

I've been more social than usual, which has been great, and I've been reading a lot.  I did a bunch of mindless knitting, replacing all my dishcloths with big stack of the same pattern, making them from my cotton leftovers.  I am still making progress on my yellow lace shawl, almost done with the center and ready to move on to the edging. And I've been making slow progress on a red pullover, mostly due to not working on it very much.

Battles with the 2.5-year-old continue.  We have good days and bad days, but there are always battles.  It wears me out.  I'm also about 5 weeks back in to training.  It's only 3 days a week, but it certainly makes you more tired than being really sedentary!  It feels good to be weightlifting with other weightlifters again.  I have some technique issues to iron out, but overall I feel like it's going well and I'm enjoying the process.  I'm not feeling any pressure to compete anytime soon, so it's just about making slow improvements and moving in the right direction.  We're still working on a space for our gym, no news yet.  I'm anxious to get started on that adventure, but we have to secure a space first!  Cross your fingers for me that it works out soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday is 10 things you like to do outside.  This one's pretty easy - with over 300 sunny days a year in Colorado, outside is kind of our default.

10 Things I Like To Do Outside

  1. Hiking.  We live in an amazing place for hiking and the pace is slow enough that you can actually see stuff.
  2. Snowshoeing.  The best way to hike in the winter!
  3. Snowboarding.  It hasn't been something I've been able to do much in the last couple of years, but it's exciting and challenging.
  4. Playing.  The best thing to do with a little kid is to follow them around outside.  They look at every rock and bug and stick and puddle and notice all the stuff you forgot about.
  5. Drinking.  I like to enjoy a glass of something nice out on the deck when the weather is nice.
  6. Dining.  Boulder has a ton of wonderful restaurants, and it's always a pleasure to have a relaxing meal on a patio (and not have to prepare it or clean it up).
  7. Reading.  A good book in the sun makes me feel like I'm on vacation.
  8. Sightseeing.  I don't really get to travel now, but in pre-kid days Mike and I would go to a new place and cover many miles on foot.  Now I just pretend to be a tourist and explore Boulder.  
  9. Socializing.  Parties and get-togethers are so much less confining when they can be out of doors.  Good for an introvert like me.
  10. Nothing.  Just being quiet and enjoying nature is my favorite.  Not much opportunity for this anymore because it turns into #4!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Simple fast paleo pancakes

Okay, so I don't usually make this kind of food.  But here's the story.  Recently I ordered a set of Curious George books for Alek, and he loves them, which means I read them several times a day.  One of them is about a pancake breakfast, and for the life of me, I couldn't stop thinking about pancakes.  I was never much of a pancake fiend, so this was weird, but I had pancakes on the brain.  Then I heard a couple of people I knew talking about gluten free pancakes at various local restaurants, and I really think the universe wanted me to have pancakes.  But I didn't want to do the gluten-free junk food thing.  And I didn't want to make one of the 500 hyper-palatable "paleo pancake" recipes that have 12 ingredients in proportions that you'd never eat, resulting in a regret-inducing binge.  So I figured I'd do a little experimenting.

I heated up some butter in a pan and started beating 1 egg (small-scale experiment).  I beat in a pinch of salt, a tiny amount of vanilla and a drizzle of honey (no more than I'd put in a cup of tea).  Okay, that's just desserty-scrambled eggs, time to make it look more like a batter.  So I sprinkled in a little almond flour (maybe a teaspoon?), stirred it up, then sprinkled in some coconut flour (maybe a tablespoon?), and finally poured in a little of the melted butter from the pan.  It looked a bit thicker than pancake batter, but thinner than cookie dough:

I carefully poured the batter into two circles in the pan.

When the bottom started to set, I added some blueberries.  Not nearly enough - please add more than this.

Flipped them.  Mmm, nice and brown from the butter.

Then I tried to arrange them artfully on a tiny plate and shoot at an angle to make up for my atrocious out-of-focus poor lighting kitchen photos.  

Yum!  Not hyperpalatable, not exactly like regular pancakes, but they were good, they tasted like real food, and they looked and felt enough like pancakes to satisfy my craving.  Being mostly egg, the flavor and texture were like a thick crepe.  I had more butter and a tiny bit of maple syrup on them.  It was a small serving - I think I'd plan on at least twice this per person for anything more than a dainty treat.  So simple, with no fancy steps and only using ingredients I have on hand all the time.  Try them!  I think I might make them for Alek (and sub fruit for the syrup).  I might need to call them fancy egg circles so he doesn't think I'm getting soft and letting him have pancakes.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My recipe confession

I can't follow a recipe.

Really.  I sort of believe that I can  follow a recipe, but I have probably never made something according to a recipe without making at least three changes.

Sometimes I post something on the blog that looks like a recipe, but it's not.  It's an attempt to record what I happened to do in the kitchen on one particular day.

There are days when I envy people who can follow recipes.  They can flip through a cookbook, pick something out, buy the ingredients, and make it!  Crazy.  They don't say, well, my husband won't eat those three ingredients, and I don't feel like searching the store for the other one, and no, I don't have a food processor and I can't find my blender, and it's just weird to put cashews in that, and seriously that's like four steps too many, and... forget it.  I read 30 recipes, try to extract the relevant features, then just do something different anyway.

I don't know why I can't follow a recipe.  I'm a reasonably intelligent person, I can follow directions in other contexts, and I appreciate expertise - I know that most people who write cookbooks know more than I do.  I've even thought a few times about writing a cookbook - after all, I do make up most of my own food - but I'm 90 percent sure no one would find it useful.

I think I have two major impediments to following recipes.  First, the way I think about cooking is very intuitive.  I don't think, I want to make this dish, so I'll see what ingredients I have to buy and what I have to do to them to make it.  I think, maybe I'll make chicken today.  What else do I have?  Onions?  What kind of fat should I use?  Do I want to do it in the oven or on the stove top?   How about that weird spice blend I bought on impulse?  This way of thinking about food does not mesh at all with following recipes.

Second, I like my food simple.  I love to eat other people's elaborate food, I love going out to restaurants and trying new things.  But at home, when I look at a recipe, my first step is to start subtracting ingredients and steps.  I love a whole chicken basted with bacon fat and sprinkled with salt, slow-roasted in the oven.  No garlic, no spices, no lemon.  No braising, no marinating, no sauce or complicated side dish.  One of my go-to meal is hamburgers cooked on the stove top.  Throw some sliced avocado or tomatoes on them, done.  My ingredients often don't get past the ingredient stage.  I bought some nice olives?  They don't make it in the meal because I ate them out of the package.  Why would I put nuts in a curry when I could just eat them?

I never measure.  I rarely plan.  Maybe I'm boring.  I didn't spend a lot of time after I went paleo trying to recreate old favorites.  I just ate meat and vegetables and didn't worry about it.  I did experiment a little at the beginning with muffins (actually my most popular post ever on this blog!), but now I just have one go-to muffin/cookie recipe that I make very infrequently because it's so damn addictive that I just want to eat the whole pan.  Alek never gets "paleo treats".  It's mostly because I'm so lazy I don't bother to make them, but it's also because they are hyper-palatable and one bite turns him into a crazy person.  The grain-free banana cake I made him for his second birthday?  He asked for Special Treat Birthday Cake every day for the next three months (to no avail).  I sort of feel like that justifies my lazy approach to food.  If I make elaborate, delicious food that I know will turn out amazing because it's tested and published in recipes, I'll go crazy and eat way too much and screw up my appetite signals.  I guess I'd rather make simple, easy-to-cook, easy-to-eat comfort food at home and save the fancy stuff for the rare night out at a restaurant.