Friday, June 20, 2014

Mexican Chocolate Vegan Ice Cream

Summer is here!  And with summer comes HOT, HOTTER, and HOTTEST.  I'm talking about the weather, not Norman Reedus.  To combat this hotness, I figured it would be a good idea to make my vegan ice cream.  The boys don't care that it's vegan.  They just care that it tastes good....and it does!   It has 4 ingredients; coconut milk, raw cacao powder, cinnamon, and maple syrup.  It's sooooo yummy! You should definitely make it and let me know how you like it!

Here it is in the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker

Mexican Chocolate Vegan Ice Cream

The first thing that I did was put everything into my Vitamix.  Then blended it until it was all combined and threw it into the ice cream maker.  Thirty minutes later....viola!  The BEST vegan Mexican chocolate ice cream EVER!

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream (using Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker)
2 cans organic coconut milk (I used Whole Foods brand)
3-4 tablespoons raw organic cacao powder (I used this brand)
3-4 tablespoons of organic maple syrup (I used Kirkland brand - use as much or little as you want)
a few sprinkles of cinnamon.

Place all ingredients into the blender.  Whirl it around until combined, then pour into the ice cream maker.  30 minutes later, you'll have the best ice cream, I promise!

The base is coconut milk.  You could put anything into this you want.  If you come up with a fantastic ice cream concoction, let me know!

Happy Summer!!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Cheesy Crack - a - lackin Crackers

I've been wanting to try some cracker recipes and the very first one I try, I LOVE!  It has 4 ingredients and some spices.  THAT'S IT!!  It didn't make a whole lot, so next time, I'll double up on the recipe.  But, it's a nice small amt for two people having some wine and cheese :)  

This is how I made it:  I grated up some cheese, added some butter, threw in some paprika, cayenne & salt, then some whole wheat flour.  Mixed that all up with a couple of tablespoons of water and rolled it out to about an 1/8" thickness.  Then I used a pizza cutter to cut my squares, put those on some parchment paper in the oven and in 15ish minutes, I had homemade, better than store bought, crackers!!!  

I only used one type of cheese here, cheddar.  If I had used parmesan along with the cheddar, I think they'd have been even tastier.  

Do any of you have a cracker recipe that you love?  If so, please share!

Crack - a - lackin Crackers

1 cup loosely packed shredded cheddar
2 tablespoons room temp butter (very important that it's room temp - you need to be able to smoosh it)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspon paprika
a shake of cayenne, or more if you want it spicier.  But this amt gave it a nice heat on the back end.
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of cold water (more if the mixture is too dry - but in small amts, like a another few drops)

Mix everything together, except the water, with a spatula until combined and the butter is all the way through.  Then take a fork and make all the bigger pieces tiny pieces.  Once you have your mixture looking like crumbly sand, add the water and mix with spatula again.  Your dough should be coming together.  If not, add a few more drops of water.  It doesn't take much water!  Your dough should be squishy and together, but not sticky to the touch.  Form it into a ball and wrap some plastic wrap on it and throw it in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so.  It rolls out much nicer when you do this.  Preheat your oven to 375 near the time your will be taking the dough out of the fridge.  Once the 30 minutes is up, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out until it's about 1/8" thick.  Then take a pizza cutter and slice it into little squares. Once the squares are all cut out, take a skewer or chop stick and poke some holes into each cracker.  I did 5 on each cracker.  This way, they won't puff up or be uneven.  Lastly, place the crackers on parchment paper on a cookie sheet, or a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.  They should be golden brown on top.  Let them cool completely before eating.  Otherwise, they won't be cracker, crisp :)  

OH, and I should add, that if you want to try other cheeses, like parmesan, I'd cut the cheddar by 2/3 or 1/4 and make up the rest in the other cheese.  I'm going to try this soon with parm.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Our New Patio Table

A couple of weekends ago, the Hubs made a patio table for me.  I LOVE it!  It's like the ones you have all seen on Pinterest.  It seats 10 and fits perfectly on our upper deck.  It's made from redwood and gas piping. The wood, we purchased at a lumber yard.  It was on sale and cost around $75.  We also purchased stain and sealer bringing our total to about $95.  The piping, we purchased at Home Depot for about $30.  We had our measurements ready, so they cut and threaded it for free.  I read on another blog that their particular HD charged them per cut and per thread.  Ours did not.  So, I don't know if that was a mistake or if they just don't charge here.  I'm in northern CA, by the way.  So all of my prices are going to be a lot more than say, Texas, or anywhere else for that matter.  We used 3/4" piping and 6 boards that were 2x8.  The boards didn't have to be cut.  We just sanded those bad boys so there wouldn't be any splinters.  We connected the bottom of the boards with three 2x2x3's and used a Kreg jig to attach the long boards together.  The Kreg jig is a very important tool for this job.  If you don't know what one is, check it out here.  We are currently working on a bench for one side and I'm looking for some Tolix like chairs for the other side.  Once we have the bench built, I'll post that too.  All in all, our patio table cost less than $200.  That doesn't include the bench or chairs I'm going to buy.  I'm really please with the outcome.  I've looked all over for a LOOONG table and can't find one that isn't thousands of dollars.  This table is perfect for our family and has room for friends, too!

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