"The wife is like the fire, or to put things in their proper proportion, the fire is like the wife.
Like the fire, the woman is expected to cook: not to excel in cooking, but to cook,

.... be a cook, but not a competitive cook,

a school mistress, but not a competitive schoolmistress; a house-decorator but not a competitive house-decorator, etc...
She should have not one trade but twenty hobbies; she... may develop all her second bests.

Women were not kept at home in order to keep them narrow;
on the contrary, they were kept at home in order to keep them broad.

G.K. Chesterton, What's Wrong with the World?

June 26, 2013

Maple Walnut Scones

This recipe is from the Farm Chicks in the Kitchen cookbook.
They taste like maple bars.  My kids love 'em.


(p.s. Come on up for breakfast Paula and I'll make these for us. ;)

June 25, 2013

White Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies

As most of you know, I'm a cookie addict of sorts.
I make cookies probably, oh, three or four times a week.  Because after all, they're for the kids!
And if you believe that I've got a cookie to sell ya.

But I do try to health-ify my cookies in different ways each time.  That way I can justify eating as many of them as I do. Ahem.  I rarely make a batch the same way twice, unless I happen to hit upon a real winner, but even then my curiosity for what will happen if I add a little of this or take out a little of that usually wins over a steady recipe.

So, having a bag of unsalted macadamia nuts on hand (yes, I've heard they have something like the highest fat content of any food on the planet) I decided to make up a new batch, with white chocolate chips of course. 

So this recipe is a variation of this recipe, because as I said, all my cookie recipes are variations of each other, none being able to claim status as "the original." (Yes, I try to keep my cookies' pride levels down too. Unhealthy, pride. :P)

Wheat Free White Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies
1 Cup (or a little under) Expeller-pressed Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Evaporated Cane Juice (I buy by the ten pound bag from Costco)
1/2 Cup coconut sugar
2 Tbs Brown Sugar or Sucanat (optional)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract (Homemade is GOOD!)
2 Flax Eggs
1 Cup Almond Flour
1 Cup Pamela's Gluten Free Flour Blend
1/2 Cup Oat Flour
2 Cups Oats
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt

1 Cup Macadamia Nuts (I used unsalted. I suppose if you use salted you'd have to adjust the added salt amount.)
1 Cup White Chocolate Chips (Totally unhealthy!)

With a mixer, mix up coconut oil and sugars until creamy. (I didn't heat and liquefy my coconut oil first.  In it's natural solid form it creams with the sugars almost like butter would.)
Add vanilla and flax eggs and mix until blended.
Combine flours, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
Add flour mixture to the bowl of the other ingredients and mix until just combined.
Add in oats, nuts, and chocolate chips and stir or mix until combined.

For bars, spread dough about half inch thick onto jelly roll pan (or cookie sheet with sides).
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until just golden all across top (edges will be a tad darker).

For cookies, place 1-2 tablespoons of dough three or four inches apart on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes (depending on oven and cookie size).

Homemade Vanilla Extract

This is good stuff.  I got original recipe from this post.

Every few years I clean it out and start a fresh batch, but as long as the vanilla beans are in there, you can keep refreshing the vodka in little bits as long as there's enough strong vanilla flavored vodka still in the jar to blend with and flavor the vodka addition.  At least that's what I do.

June 24, 2013

Tips and Tricks: Oil and Honey

When making any recipe which includes oil and honey (like so many bread recipes do!) try using the same measuring tool for both.  Measure out the oil in it first and it is then greased so that the honey pours out easily without leaving much behind!

I do this all the time when making breads and it saves scraping all that sticky honey out of the cup.

June 12, 2013

"Urban Onion" Lentil Soup

So there's this little restaurant downtown Olympia that has long been a local favorite for its lentil soup.  Years ago my sister procured their recipe.  I made this soup last night for the first time and it came out perfectly! My children even liked it, and that's saying something if they like a bean soup of any kind.  My homemade refried pintos or black beans they love, but soup?  That's iffy.
I've changed the quantities of some of the ingredients slightly to fit our family's preferences (I increased the carrots and potatoes) from the original recipe.

"Urban Onion" Lentil Soup

1 3/4 C lentils
3 quarts water
2-4 potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped into tiny pieces
3 large carrots, cut into small bite size pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into very small pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C fresh basil, chopped into tiny pieces
1 12 oz. can tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste (I added a dash of celery salt also)

Fill the pot with the lentils. Cover with the water and simmer until lentils are tender, about 2 hours.
Saute the onion, celery, and carrots until transparent. Throw in the garlic for the final minute or two.
Add the sauteed vegetables to the lentils along with the remaining ingredients and simmer until potatoes are tender. (About an hour or so?) Season with the salt and pepper toward the end.

Serve with some crusty homemade bread and you're in for some healthy, hearty goodness!
It's even better the next day, whan all the flavors have melded and the broth has thickened.


June 11, 2013

Ranger-Style "Vegan" Cookies

This is a recipe for my own version of "vegan" cookies.
No wheat, no dairy, and no eggs.

No, I'm not going vegan, but since I like to eat cookies for breakfast I like to make them as fiber-ful, protein-ful, good-fat-ful, and low-cholesterol as possible.  Just so I won't feel too guilty snacking on them with my coffee every morning.

I don't know if I've ever made them the same twice.  But here's the basic recipe I deviate from.

Leah's Ranger-Style Cookies

Mix together until creamy:

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil*
1/2 Cup Almond Butter
1 C Brown Sugar 
(If you like a sweeter cookie you can also add 1/2 C evaporated cane juice.)

Add in and mix:
2 tsp Vanilla
2 Flax Eggs**

Combine these dry ingredients:
1 Cup Almond Flour
2 Cup Oat Flour
1 C Oats
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt (if you used unsalted almond butter change this to 1 tsp salt)
1 tsp Cinnamon

Add dry to wet and mix until just combined.
Then add the desired amount and combination of any of the following that you like.
Mix and match. 

Chocolate chips
Coconut (unsweetened or sweetened)
Chopped Walnuts or Pecans
Dried cranberries (These work well in combination with white chocolate chips.  In autumn I've made this combo with a dash of nutmeg or cardamom added in to the dough with the dry ingredients. But remember, a little of either of these spices goes a looooong way.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

(I usually make mine on the bigger side, using a large size ice cream scoop to put the dough on the trays.  So mine take more toward the 12 minute mark to bake.  But adjust your oven time to your oven's heat level and the size of the cookie.  I found that taking them out just when the edges are golden and the middle is no longer "shiny" is the perfect time, even though they may not look all the way done.  Then they stay moist and chewy longer, whereas if you wait until the entire cookie is golden brown, they're already overcooked and will not last as long.)


* I use the expeller-pressed oil from Tropical Traditions.  It has been stripped of all coconut flavor but still maintains most of the health benefits of regular coconut oil.

** 2 TBS ground flax seeds placed in a small bowl with 6 TBS of water and left to sit for 3-5 minutes