Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lavender Earl Grey Iced Tea

So a couple days ago I picked up some Monin Lavender syrup. Since here in Portland we are enjoying the last few dwindling days of summer I wanted to make something that's a blend of summer and fall.

I'm not sure why I associate Lavender with fall but I do. I also think Earl Grey is a great fall/winter tea, with the smell of bergamot it's so comforting.

So I decided to make an Earl Grey & Lavender iced tea. Now I can't take credit for coming up with this all on my own, it was suggested to me one day as I frequented a local coffee establishment by my office. However it's so fantastic I needed to share.

Here is the recipe:

1/2c Monin Lavender syrup
6 bags Decalf Earl Grey tea bags (you could use caffeinated of course)

Boil 40oz of water, once it boils pour it over the tea bags. I steeped the tea bags for 4 minutes, don't steep too long or the tea gets that acidic taste to it. Remove the tea bags and add 6 cups of ice. Stir until the ice has melted. Then add the syrup. I thought 1/2 cup was enough to give it the flavor and sweeten it without going overboard.


So there is this rad site called Spoonflower. You can design your own fabrics, and now you can design wallpaper and wall decals!

I think it's a pretty awesome idea!

I have been meaning to design some fabrics for some sewing projects- but I also think the wall decals would be a awesome alternative to painting.
I stenciled one of our kitchen walls (not the best picture, just ignorethe mess)and our half bath and although they look really nice it was a lot of work.

How awesome would it be to just do wall decals and swap them out if you want to change the look of a room.

Here's the link!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Portland Bloggers Night Out

In a few weeks there is a Portland bloggers night out. Being new to the blogging scene I'm a little nervous about attending, fortunately I'm going with my friend Erika from A Tiny Rocket.
I figure it will be a good opportunity to meet some new people and do some networking, and it looks like its going to be fun!


Breakfast muffins

One of my friends posted a recipe on pinterest using oats, yogurt and bananas to make breakfast muffins.

I have made it twice so far. My biggest complaint is they are pretty heavy, but otherwise they are great. Even my husband eats them, if I add a sprinkling of chocolate chips.

The most recent batch I added Chia seeds.  I think next time I might add some diced apricot, coconut, and nuts.

Here is the recipe:
2.5 c oats (I used Trader Joes gluten free oats)
1 small container greek yogurt (I used fage 2% as that is what I had on hand, any type would work though)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 mashed bananas
1.5 tsp baking powder (Clabber Girl is GF)
.5 tsp baking soda
3/4 c sugar ( the first time I used organic white sugar, the 2nd time I added 3 packets of stevia in the raw)
1/3 cup chocolate chips (if you want)
Blend together in the blender, adding the oats a little at a time until the batter is smooth.
Mix in chocolate chips and pour into sprayed muffin tins (I used silicone bakeware) and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

On my 2nd batch I used the stevia and added in 1/3c chia seeds.  I think the next time I make them I'll reduce the oats by about 1/2 a cup.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Owl Obsession

As you may or may not be aware, I kind of have a thing for owls. I absolutely fell in love with this owl sweater over at ASOS. I might have to splurge and get it.

I also have Owl salt and pepper shakers, owl art, a owl tray, owl candleholder, carved wooden owl, the list just goes on and on.
If you are an owl addict such as myself I recommend following http://www.myowlbarn.com they always have tons of owl stuff and its updated pretty regularly.

Friday, September 21, 2012

On the hunt!

So I have been trolling craigslist for old library card catalogues and have yet to find one.
I have wanted one for years, but recently I have really stepped up my search.
I'm hoping I'll be able to find one soon but as far as I can tell they are few and far between.

Worst case scenario, I'll try and build a version of my own, but its not even close to the real thing.

Wish me luck!

Knitting mania...

So I am working on two knitting projects right now- one I started back in June that I still haven't finished....sewing and schoolwork, and work work and other stuff has been taking up my time....and I of course decided to start another scarf in the meantime. I won't be posting pics of scarf #2 as its a Xmas present work in project but the yarn is awesome so I will post a pic of it.
I really want to try some new more complex stitches and knitting in the round, which I might attempt in making a hat for my friends 1.5yr old daughter. If it works out I'll post pics.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Baby blanket

So today I spent a little time working on the cute animal blanket for my friends daughter.
After a minor mishap with getting the bobbin threaded I put a seam around the edge, it might look a little messy but after its trimmed and the binding is added you won't see it.
I also decided to use a super cute stitch around a couple of the animals, you can see the test swatch below.

Monday, September 10, 2012

cell phone cases!

So I saw this great post over at My Owl Barn today regarding some adorable phone covers over at society6.com
I have 2 phone covers from there and it takes all my willpower to not buy a couple more cases - they have so many awesome ones.

Crock pot black beans & Lentil spinach dal

This weekend I started my budgeting adventure by making a few easy items from scratch:
Tomato sauce, black beans, and lentil and spinach dal.
The black beans I picked up for $1.79 a pound for organic black beans - I bought two pounds which ended up making about 5 cans worth for a cost of $3.58,Organic canned beans cost easily $1.29 each, so that's a savings of $2.87. Seems like a lot of work for a small savings, but it adds up.

I followed the directions over at Kalyn's kitchen - http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2010/12/how-to-cook-dried-beans-in-crockpot.html and it worked out really well. I then cooled the beans on a cookie sheet and measured them into freezer bags, squeezed out the air and tossed them in the freezer.

I also made some lentil and spinach dal. I bought a bag of red lentils on sale at Trader Joe's, cooked in the crockpot with chicken stock, which I already had on hand,  instead of water and Suki's seasoning packet. Although it is less economical to buy the packet of pre-made spices I only use these spices when I make the dal, which isn't that often, so it ends up working out so I don't have spices sitting on my shelves going bad. I cooked them on high for a couple hours and then added in 2 packages of frozen spinach that I thawed.

I then measured out the finished dal into a few Kerr widemouth jars and then sealed them up, leaving an inch at the top. I boiled the full jars and then let them cool. Once they have cooled down, I'll pop them in the freezer.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Budget cooking

My husband and I recently reevaluated our budget and decided that we could be saving a lot more money per month then we currently are. We want to purchase a 2nd car and to do so will take some sacrifice on our part.
Part of the sacrifice is not dining out. At this point in my gluten free journey, we don't dine out very often, maybe once a week, but we have an awesome grocery store which is a 5 minute walk from our house that has a ton of premade foods, they make them in-house but the markup is quite a bit compared to what it would cost for me to make at home and we probably get something from the deli section once a week as it stands. Then we dine out usually once a week at a restaurant and although we bring our lunches to work most days, we sometimes eat out at lunch.  That can add up!
With our new budget it allows us to go out to a restaurant twice a month, which is definitely do-able even though it might take a bit of getting used to.  I have to plan out all our meals ahead of time and to help me navigate this I turned to Pinterest.

I found a couple blogs that peaked my interest.
One of my favorite ones was http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/ I think there are some awesome recipes and everything is priced out per serving. I will definitely be utilizing her site in the coming months.

A few other ones that looked promising, although I haven’t looked around too much yet are http://thepeacefulmom.com/category/menus/ & http://cookingwithanne.blogspot.com/2009/01/budget-meal-planning.html plus a million others on Pinterest.

Quilt completed!

So I finally finished the quilt, just in time for Katrina's shower this weekend. I think it looks pretty good for my first big sewing project. It was definitely harder then I had anticipated. I hope their new baby boy likes it!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gluten free coconut poke cake

I celebrated my birthday this week! For my birthday cake, yes I made my own cake, I'm just getting the hang of gluten free baking so I don't expect my family and friends to attempt cooking for me, especially with all the special flours needed.

I decided on a coconut poke cake- I have been craving coconut lately for some reason- maybe its the warm weather we have been having.

Most of the recipes I tried to find online called for pre made gluten free cake mix- I personally like to make my own.
I adapted it from a recipe of my mom's that is from the 70s, amazingly enough it uses rice flour as the main ingredient.

I doubled the recipe:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar ( I didn't double this aspect, with the coconut cream going overtop I didn't want it to sweet, original was 3/4 c)
4 eggs
1tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (I didn't double this)
1/4 tsp almond extract(not doubled either, it's strong stuff!) you could easily substitute rum or coconut flavoring.
1 can coconut cream

Cream together butter & sugar, then add eggs & extract.
Then add the dry ingredients.
Pour into a prepared pan, I use trader joes olive oil spray.
And bake for 35-40 minutes @ 350 until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Immediately poke holes with a fork all over the top as soon as it comes out of the oven. Then pour your can of creamed coconut over the top.
Tip: make sure you really shake or stir the coconut before pouring it on the cake as it does separate in the can.
Spread it around so it soaks in.
Let it cool. Once cool put it in the fridge to cool for a couple hours.

Once cool, spread with whipped cream and top with unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted or untoasted depending on your preference. I think the toasted looks a bit nicer.