Sands of Time – An update

Hey all! I realize it’s been a good while since my last post, but I’ve not been completely idle. Been on adventures with kiddos, looking for a weekend job, and of course tinkering in my kitchen!

I have some recipes coming very soon, so stay tuned!

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We made some magnets for Mother’s Day and sent them with cards the girls colored.

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Made cupcakes for the Renaissance Faire Mother’s Day Cupcake Wars. I made it into the second round. From the left: we have mocha cupcakes with espresso buttercream; Ode to the Queen which is a sponge cake with raspberry filling and a raspberry cream cheese frosting, the crown is made using white chocolate; then we have a chai cupcake, green tea cupcake with a chai spiced buttercream.

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The girls had their faces painted! They loved it. 🙂

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The girls had fun decorating some of the extra cupcakes. We were given a box of cupcake decorating candies and followed some of the designs pictured. They sure had fun!

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Made a lovely and filling drink using apple and quinoa with some cinnamon, yum!

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The complex office planted some new flowers. 🙂

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We made Rosquitas, a butter/shortbread type cookie from Peru. Has some Anise in it, gives a marvelous delicate flavor!

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The girls got to participate in VBS. The theme was the Spy Academy. They had so much fun!

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The cake we made for Father’s Day. Strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting, yum! Had some new friends over to celebrate with us and helped make the cake. 😀

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Blueberry Grumble. Like a crisp but a thicker crust. Pure deliciousness!

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Went to the 4th of July Fest. It was fun watching the plane first do a smiley face. Then it spelled out ‘Airshow’. 🙂

Coffee Braid, Apple nut strip, roquitas, mother's day 929 Spidey and Batman was spotted at the festivities!

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Had a hard time getting a clear picture of her face. She was sitting in my lap, lol. It was a lot of fun being that close to the fireworks!

 

There’s my quick update. I’ll have a recipe coming very soon!

A couple of questions:  When you go to a coffee shop, how likely are you to get more than just a drink?

What kinds of goodies would you expect/like to find at a coffee shop?

Have a great day!

A rambling about Handwriting, Pen Pals, and Poetry

When I moved recently, a friend offered to be my pen pal. Which I of course happily accepted. Receiving a letter in the mail is like receiving a present. The envelope is opened, just like wrapping paper. There is often a card of some kind, with fun colors! Then you read what is written and you are overwhelmed that this person took the time to write to you, spend money for a card and stamp, and mail it to you. What love! But there is a problem. In writing my first and second letters I was reminded what meager handwriting skills I possess, at least compared to what skill I dream of having. You know the classic, old fashioned, almost caligraphic handwriting? Imagine the handwriting of the time period portrayed in the Titanic. That’s what I want to strive for when I write a letter. Not some chicken scratch that’s barely legible. Can you imagine I’ve wanted to have that kind of handwriting since I was in High School? Gosh, I have my 10 year reunion this summer: it’s been said that if you study a particular subject for 1 hour a day, in seven years you will be a master of that subject. Now envision what delight my handwriting would be like presently if I had done so!

Maybe something like this…

Or

Or maybe…

Versus

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Hope you can read it ok. The top part is my regular handwriting when I’m trying not to go too fast, the bottom is my much lesser used cursive, which I had to remember how to do the I, kept doing an S, and also needed to remember how to connect the capitals to the next letter. Can you tell I’m out of practice? 😉

In thinking of writing, for some reason I thought of doing a poem. I never really got into writing poems, though I enjoy reading them. So here is something I came up with.

I’m ready to charge out into the world
Banners flaring into the wind
My secret heart, bared upon my sleeve.
Where to shall I go?
Or maybe I should just leave.

Yes, just a quick little ditty. But there it is.

If you didn’t like it, maybe you’ll like this one…

This Is Just To Say

by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

 

Mmm, breakfast. I made a white chocolate and raspberry bread pudding yesterday. I think that sounds good with either a cup of coffee or some lovely loose leaf Yerba Mate. I made some yumminess for a competition on Mother’s Day that included a chai tea cupcake, which I used the Yerba Mate for the green tea flavor. Came. Out. Awesome. 😀 I plan on posting on this later. Soon, very soon.

Have a great day everyone! Hope you don’t mind my ramblings on. 🙂

Nominated for Liebster Award

Sweet! I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award. I’ve seen around on WordPress since starting the zerotohero challenge. Every time I saw it I secretly hoped I would get nominated. I want to thank my blogging friend Tiffany at Mermaid for a Day for nominating me! Her tagline reads “Swimming through anxiety, living life as a single working parent”. Her writing is fun and down to earth, go check her site out!

Here is what the award looks like!

http://waxyworld.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/liebsterblogaward-2.png?w=460

The Liebster award is awarded to bloggers with under 200 followers to try to promote their blog a little and also bring together a community of bloggers.

The rules of the competition are as follows:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2.Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.

5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

Here are the questions that mermaid for a day asked me…

1. What was the name of the last book that you read?
Hmm, on my kindle I read Time Management 2.0: 15 Secrets of a Self-Made Millionaire for getting things Done by H. Reardon.
But since I prefer hardcopies, that’s what I’m going to actually count here as the last book I read. It was called The Historian. It’s a great take on a Dracula story.

2. What song/band are you loving right now?
I like a variety. I’m not stuck on any one group right now, but my most common Pandora stations at the moment are Michael Buble, Mika, and Enya.

3. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? Why?
Before I got married I would’ve said Europe, I want to tour the entire continent. But at the moment I think it would be Peru to visit my Mother In-Law. We haven’t physically seen each other since my eldest turned one and I really miss her.

4. Make-up or fresh face? If make-up do you feel naked without it?
Fresh face. It’s easiest to do. Plus when I dress up and do wear make-up I can feel extra special.

5. What made you decide to write your very first blog post?
I’d been thinking about starting a blog. Once I did I figured it better have a post. My first post was an Apple Swan. One of my kids favorite snacks.

6. What one thing off of your bucket list do you want to accomplish the most?
Own a coffee shop. I really like The KaffeeKlatch for a name.

7. What was the last thing that made you smile?
Listening to my girls playing. They like to ‘run errands’ which is basically chasing each other throughout the house.

8. If you could have a super power what would it be?
It so happens I’ve thought about this rather often and it’s hard to think of the perfect one. I’ve thought about being in multiple places at once, telekinesis, mind reading, and flying, among others. For practicality purposes I would like to have the power of communication (how can I convince my daughter that she doesn’t need to fear thunder and lightening but it’s ok if she does as long as she doesn’t wake me up about it?).

9. Who is your personal superhero?
Hmmm, growing up it was Peter Pan (Robin Williams in Hook was always a favorite!). But I’ve always looked up to my Dad, and grown to appreciate both my parents more and more as I have my struggles and successes of being a mother. So my parents are my personal superheroes (how in the world did they do 5 kids!?).

10. What was your favorite childhood cartoon?
We didn’t do a lot of cartoon watching as kids. In middle school I and my bro watched quite a bit of Spiderman. The current Spidey just isn’t the same.

11. Do you prefer cats or dogs? or both?
Depends. We don’t currently have pets in my house. I know we would have a dog. Dogs can be more fun and interactive. But I sometimes would prefer the autonomy of cats.

11 Random facts about me:
This is the hardest part!
1. Second oldest of 5 kids

2. I’m passable in Spanish, need to practice some more.

3. Played french horn in Middle and High School.

4. I love being out in nature and taking walks with my girls.

5. I love reading books. In high school there were periods where I was checking out a book every day/every other day. Wasn’t that much into historical, mostly enjoyed the Fantasy novels. Read Lord of the Rings during this time. Then there were the Xanth books. These days it tends more towards self improvement.

6. I used to play DnD with my brother and his friends. I miss that a lot and would love to get back into it if I could. My favorite character type is halfling Rogue.

7. Did a stint as a paper delivery girl with my older sis and my brother. I was about 10 years old. Quite a character builder to get up at about 6 am every morning to deliver papers. Even during the winter.

8. I was talking with my mom the other day about putting my oldest in swim lessons. Apparently on my second day of swim lessons I decided I had it all figured out and pushed off to the deep end. The instructor let me struggle it out briefly before bringing me out. I sure paid attention after that.

9. I don’t specifically have a favorite color anymore. In High School it was green, then early college a deep red. Now I’m leaning more towards purple. But I love all the deep rich colors.

10. My two brothers are professional jugglers. I juggle only by association. 🙂

11. I used to participate in Renaissance faires. Did juggling shows with my brothers, playing the pennywhistle for their show. I made a costume for my senior project in High School. I even studied some classic fencing. I get to go to a Renaissance faire for Mother’s Day this year! 😀

Next up are my nominees for the Liebster award. These are blogs I’ve found to be fun or intriguing and believe you should check them out!

http://101thingstodowithkids.com/

http://makelifemontessori.wordpress.com/

http://meredithlbl.com/2014/04/29/how-important-is-it/

http://livinglearningandlettinggo.wordpress.com/

http://mebymeblog.wordpress.com/

 

Here are my questions for the Nominees:

1. What is the strangest food you ever ate?

2. What did/do you want to be when you grow/grew up?

3. If wishes were fishes, what would you wish for?

4. What is a favorite childhood snack?

5. You are going out for a night on the town. What does your outfit look like?

6. What is one thing on your bucket list?

7. Avengers or X Men? Who would you be?

8. You have a fun evening planned, what are you doing?

9. Breakfast. What are you eating?

10. Today is show and tell. What do you bring?

11. Books or movies? Tell us about a favorite.

I am so pleased to have been nominated for this award. Thank you all for supporting my blog!

Have a fantabulous day!

Coconut Flour Banana Bread

So, my best friend Carissa has a gluten sensitivity and has such a hard time staying away from bread (I can’t blame her!). One of the things she loved to surprise me with was banana bread. So, I decided to make her a version that wouldn’t leave her with a tummy ache. Kaleidoscopefied of course: in this instance, that means with chocolate chips and walnuts! What is banana bread without chocolate chips, I mean really?

I originally found this recipe done by Caroline at Gutsy, to check out her recipe click here. I left the recipe base practically unchanged (left out the optional stevia) because, frankly, it was quite perfect! A nice level of sweetness without being too sweet. Coconut flour, which has a good amount of protein and fiber but low in carbs, is known to make baked goods a little dry and dense. Not so with this! Spongy and moist in texture without being soggy, you couldn’t tell it was unglutenized (is that even a word?) freshly baked. I have noticed the coconut flour texture more obviously after the first day, but still a great texture and flavor! You don’t hardly need to spread on some butter. Seriously that good. (Am I weird that I typically enjoy some butter on my banana bread?)

So, can’t wait for the recipe? Here it is!

Coconut Flour Banana Bread
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup coconut flour
1 1/2 cup very ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
4 eggs
6 tbs melted butter or coconut oil
5 tbs honey
1 tbs vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
1tsp-1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
Optional: 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

*Note: Just for kicks, I added 1/2 tsp xantham gum to my last batch to see what it would do to the texture. It helped the bread stick together a lot better, but the texture came out more dense. I think perhaps next time I’ll try 1/4 tsp.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease your loaf pan.
Step 2: In a large bowl, mash up the bananas. Whip in the eggs, butter/oil, honey and vanilla.
Step 3: In a separate bowl, sift together the coconut flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and xantham gum.
Step 4: Combine the flour mix with the banana mixture. Should look like this:

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Step 6: Add the chocolate chips and walnuts if using. I like to reserve some walnuts for the top.

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Step 7: Scoop the dough into your prepared pan. Top with remaining walnuts, if using. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

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The top and edges should be browned. Let sit for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Once cooled enough, slice and serve. Even with some butter if you like. 🙂

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Store in a non-reactive container in the fridge (so basically, don’t store it in metal).

Enjoy!

 

P.S. – Hubby bought me a cookbook to make Peruvian dishes. Totally excited! Had this for dinner last night!

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It’s called Lomo Saltado, a beef stir-fry with Peruvian rice and french fries (I bake mine). So delicious, I want to make it twice a week! 😀

In the glass is Chicha Morada, a typical purple corn drink. Still learning on the Chicha, the recipe apparently used fresh purple corn  and I was using dried corn (it was unspecified). So basically instead of making the regular juice, it was more like the essence of it. Just the spices were a bit out of balance. Still good, just need to tweak it. 🙂

Who I am and Why I’m Here

I’m writing this post as part of zerotohero blog workshop offered by wordpress. It’s a wonder I didn’t write something like this previously! 😉

I’m wife to a wonderful Peruvian man, and mother to two wonderfully zany beautiful preschool girls. I’m here to retain some sanity while having fun in the kitchen: sometimes my girls like to lend a hand! This is mainly a food blog, but I may add in some other things as well along the way, like adventures and crafts.

Since my first years of college it has been a dream of mine to have a coffeeshop, which I colluded with my BF Carissa to call The Kaffeeklatch; but I believe that name has already been taken by a café in Alabama. However, in pursuit of that idea I studied international business in College. (What? International? … Ok, so poor advice I took from my Advisor my first year of college). Realized it wasn’t what I was after and took a break. After getting married and having my first child, I went to a local college to study business and culinary.

Culinary is my dream. As a teen, I used to be all about the pastries, breads and desserts. Eating them mostly, but once in a while I’d make some too. 🙂 I cooked some meals and received cooking tips from my father and baking tips from my mother. They both continue to be a source of inspiration. Once I took some real culinary classes, a whole new world opened up to me. I extended my knowledge of proper knife techniques, safety procedures, how to make sauces, properly cook meats, poultry, and fish. It truly expanded my repertoire. On my own, I’ve learned how to make sourdough starter and yogurt. I’ve even dipped my spoon into Paleo and Gluten Free dishes. I love to play and experiment with things new to me!

I’m certainly no writer but in the interest of opening a coffeeshop of my own in a few years, it is my wish to show you what I have to offer. I’m looking for feedback on what is of interest to you as a future customer.

Come enjoy a cup of coffee/tea and have some conversation!

Caramel-y Roasted Butternut Squash Surprise

Growing up, I always loved breakfast. Waffles, pancakes, syrup, eggs n bacon; the whole nine yards. During my teen years I would often make breakfasts on the weekends, including the family favorite German Pancakes which aren’t truly German at all, to my understanding. Like many people, I’ve been working on getting more veggies in my diet. Though I’m not paleo, I love so many Paleo recipes that I’ve encountered. Many paleo recipes emphasize vegetables/fruit. (Carrot Cake Chocolate Chunk Breakfast Cookies from Paleomg.com? Yes please!) So, in an effort to add some diversity to my breakfast I created this, possibly inspired by a paleo recipe I came accross some time ago. This recipe has butternut squash, sweet potato, apple and nuts (I prefer pecans but walnuts or cashews would work too) with a drizzle of a olive/coconut oil and a good dusting of cinnamon all roasted to caramel perfection. Seriously, it could practically be used as a dessert. That’s the surprise. You could slap it into a crust and call it pie!

Here is the delectible concoction. I didn’t measure, but hard to go wrong with these ingredients!

Caramel-y Roasted Butternut Squash Surprise
What you need:
A large bowl
½ whole Butternut squash
1 Sweet potato
1 Large Apple
1 tsp – 1 tbs Cinnamon
¼ cup Nuts (Pecans for the win!)
2 tbs Olive/Coconut oil (Coconut oil will add a touch of sweetness)

Other spices: Can totally add other spices depending on what you are looking for. Ginger, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg are just a few. For a touch more savory approach try some salt n pepper and rosemary.

Makes about 4 servings

Step One: Preheat oven to 500 deg F. Prep your roasting pan (I use a cookie sheet with foil and a spray of oil).
Step Two: Prep the squash. Peel the Squash with a sharp knife: dull knives don’t do well, be careful! I’ve cheated before and roasted it whole in the oven. You can do this, but the texture will come out a bit different and takes some planning (takes roughly 1.5 hours at 350 depending on the size of the squash). Once peeled, cut in half and cull out the seeds. Chop into chunks and place in the bowl.
Step Three: Wash and cut up the sweet potato and apple. Add it to the bowl along with the nuts.
Step Four: Drizzle with either olive oil or melted coconut oil. I love the coconut oil as it adds some sweetness but don’t find it overpowering. Add your cinnamon and other seasonings if using and mix thoroughly so that everything is coated. Spread it over your pan.

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Step Five: Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. Things need to be caramelized but be careful not to burn the nuts. I recommend giving it a stir at about 15 minutes and every 5 minutes or so thereafter. (I’ve also just let it roast for a full 25 minutes without stirring. Some nuts got a little dark but nothing burned.)

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That’s it. Once it’s done, cool enough to eat. If you would like it a bit sweeter, add a touch of maple syrup. The first time I made this was without the squash and was just sweet potato and apple. It was fabulous! Served it with an egg on top.

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This is what I did with some leftovers (sure it’s even better fresh!). Layered it with some ricotta mixed with some lemon peel and fresh lemon juice and a touch of maple syrup. Topped with a very light sprinkle of ground ginger. It was divine. The bright citrus contrasted fabulously while the ginger tied it together. I should have doubled the amount of ricotta mixture as I could eat a bowlful of it on it’s own! 🙂

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There you go! Enjoy!

Got any questions? Ask in the Comments!

Date Bars!

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So I know you all have been just waiting for my next post! Here it is, finally! I made my first batch of date bars some time ago, back in spring I think. Possibly winter (boy does time fly!). I don’t remember where I originally got the recipe, probably another cool blog that when I find it I’ll link it up. The original recipe called for oats, and since I didn’t have any at the time, I used unsweetened coconut. Totally works!

This recipe is done using a food processor. If you don’t have one, I highly suggest getting one! So much you can do with it (like make your own nut butters!). No need for baking: if you do things right, you could have this decadent healthy-ish treat in about 15 minutes! If you are slow like me, or have little kiddos helping, could be more like 30 minutes.

So, without much more ado, here is the recipe (as I have remembered from the original with a couple of tweaks of my own):

The Crust:
2 cups whole almonds
2 cups coconut (unsweetened)
12 ish medjool pitted dates
2 tbs coconut oil
2 tbs nut butter (I like peanut). If you don’t want to use nut butter can substitute more coconut oil.
1 tsp cinnamon

The filling:
24 ish medjool pitted dates
1/4 ish cup water

Pan 9×11

Put the almonds into the food processor. Run it for a bit so it’s closer to pea size. (You can skip this step I just think it makes the ultimate blending a little easier). Add everything else for the crust. Process it all so it’s crumbly but sticks together when pressed. Press about half the mixture into the pan. (I have used a 9″ cake pan, 8 inch square, and most recently 9×11 with great success. I have also increased the recipe by half for a 9×13). Reserve the other half of the mixture in a bowl for the top. Place in the freezer while making the filling. Helps keep it from peeling up during spreading.

Next, put the dates and water in the food processor (don’t worry about having it cleaned from the crust, blends right in just fine). Blend it all to a spreadable paste (add more water if needed).  Spread onto the crust in the pan. Top with remaining crust and press.

I recommend freezing it for another 10-15 minutes for a cleaner cut before eating. For ease, I used my pizza cutter to slice it up, then used a knife for the edges. With the 9×11 pan, I sliced the pieces rather small, about 1 1/4 ” or so. Just about a perfect size! This gave me 50 pieces. Enough to freeze for a quick sweet treat!

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Bars before cutting.

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Kid approved! Complete with their night-shirts!

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As you can see, I enjoyed mine with some tea!

And that’s it! Enjoy!