Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Mo'Betta Flower

What makes a flower mo'betta?
When you can eat it of course!
(the pic is supposed to look like a flower if anyone is scratching their head wondering what in the world I'm talking about)

caprese saladaka Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad.  aka Da Bomb.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of tomatoes, but when they are drowned in balsamic vinegar and paired with cheese and fresh basil....mmmmmm mm.  That's good stuff.

I just couldn't wait any longer for my garden to grow, so I broke down and bought the very expensive little plastic pack of basil at the grocery store.  Along with grape tomatoes.  I just couldn't wait any longer for the taste of summer-time!

and what is it about toasting bread with olive oil that makes it so divine?  I could eat it everyday.  Every. Day.  So peeps, go make this fabulous salad.  You won't be sorry.  There are tons of variations out there in blog land.  I can't even give you any measurements, b/c I just dumped everything together.  It's amazingly simple, yet so delicious!

Have a great weekend!  The weather here is supposed to be wonderful.  Which is good, since I'll be camping with my girls.  In a tent.  On the ground.  Outside.
But there will be S'mores!!!

Lessons from Easy Bake

Do your kids have an Easy Bake Oven?  It was one of those items I wanted very badly as a child (along with a trampoline), but never got.  Of course, before my oldest daughter was even old enough to play with one, my mom bought her one.  hmmm, what's up with that?  Anyway, not going to delve to deeply into that.  And no, this is not a sponsored post for Hasbro or Easy Bake.  This is an FYI.  I was a little shocked when my kids were playing over Spring Break with their little oven.  I thought it was great b/c they were playing away (not fighting!) and I love that they have so much fun cooking, but my oldest daughter - who reads nutrition labels religiously!-  said "Mama!! This has TRANS fat in it!!" (said with much disgust, outrage and surprise - since I'm always preaching how we should never eat anything with the evil trans fat in it)  I had to admit, I was pretty surprised.  I mean, here is this little baking kit - specifically designed to be prepared and consumed by children, and it contains trans fat.  Yuck. 
EASY BAKE Sweet and Savory Pretzels Mixes
It looks innocent and fun right?!  But look at this -
The frosting and nacho cheese mixes to dip the pretzels in were horrible!  And - not allergy safe, so the little man had to stay away from it.  Now, this is only for the pretzel kit, b/c it's the only we had left, so I can't speak to the rest of the product line.  And I'm NOT saying 'don't let your kids play with Easy Bake', b/c my kids love it...

What I am saying is be aware of what your kids are consuming, and teach them how to read nutrition labels, so that they, too, can be aware of what to look for and how to make better choices.  We just threw the frosting mix away, and were going to use our own mix of confectioner's sugar and milk, but they ended up with other plans for the rest of the day.  So they quickly abandoned the Easy Bake (leaving all the mess for me to clean up).  So anyway, just thought I would share that little tidbit of information with anyone reading.  I know I'll be paying closer attention the the mixes next time.  I guess we could make up our own mixes....but they would have to be in super small quantities so they could cook under the light bulb!  I'll have to google that, see if anyone has tried it before!

Okay, so I Googled it...and yes, there are several "recipes" online for making your own mixes for the Easy Bake oven! Awesome. (They aren't cheap ya know!)  That way, you can control the quality of ingredients used!  My kids will love making up their own mixes, then baking them!  And I love the small individual portions, so that we don't have a big cake laying around tempting me.  I have NO will power!

I won't be around this weekend, b/c (for some unknown reason) I'm taking my girls camping (in a tent!) with Girl Scouts.  How do I get myself into these things?  Camping?  In a tent?  As in sleeping on the ground?!  With NO SHOWERS.  That's the worst part.  Well, besides what the bathroom accommodations may be.  And the mosquitoes.  And the ground.  And no electricity.  ohhh. emm. geee.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins (egg free)

I love cornbread. and muffins. and blueberries.  So naturally, I thought, why not throw them all together and see what it's like! 
They are pretty much what the name implies, a cross between cornbread and a blueberry muffin.  These are not sweet, like I think of a breakfast muffin.  I served these with dinner, and loved the flavor and texture of the cornmeal.  I will even increase the cornmeal to flour ratio next time I make them.  And of course, I love me some blueberries!  You could add sugar on top for a sweeter muffin.

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins from allrecipes.com - slightly adapted by Mo'Betta 
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup AP & 1/4 cup whole wheat - couldn't resist adding a little!)
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries I used frozen since that's what I had on hand
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable canola oil
  • 2 egg whites (one "flax" egg - 1 T. milled flax seed with 3 T. warm water)
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk and oil just until mixed. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter add flax seed to warm water and let sit a few minutes until thickened, add to flour mixture.  Gently fold in blueberries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done.
They rose nicely and held together well, no eggs needed!

So, Hot Cross Buns yesterday, Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins today....I think I'm a carb addict. 

Speaking of carbs, I hope you're getting your cookie recipes ready!  May 2-8 is the first annual National Cookie Week!  This event is being sponsored by The Gay Gourmet and Schmackary's Bakery in New York City.  They are trying to get as many people involved as possible, so if interested, join in on the fun!!!  Tweet about #NationalCookieWeek, FB it, blog about it, contact anyone and everyone :)  If you are in NYC, give them a shout out, they'd love to have you on board.  I have a few new cookie combos I want to try out, so stayed tuned :D  Any excuse to eat cookies right?!

I'm linking up today's recipe with Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, The Hearth and Soul Hop, 33 Shades of Green, From Mess Hall to Bistro, For the Love of Blogs and Eat at Home (Ingredient Spotlight - Blueberries!), Life as Mom

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

Happy Easter....Monday!  I hope everyone had a fab holiday, and I know lots of kids have this week off for Spring Break.  Unless your county is like mine, and decided to do it last week instead.  Bummer.  Anyway, regular day for us.  Kids are off to school and I'm busy being domesticated.  Not really, I'm sitting here on the computer. obvi.   The dishwasher is running if that counts.  Instead of ruminating on all the things I need to be doing, I'm going to share these lovely buns and a little tidbit of info I learned about the ever elusive...allspice.

As I mentioned on Friday, I made Hot Cross Buns (for the first time).  If you have never had one, they are like a spiced yeast roll with raisins (or currents and sometimes candied fruit peel).  They are very tasty.  They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday and there is a whole history on the buns if you are so inclined to do a search on them.  I am so not a history buff, and skipped over all the boring stuff history, looking for the right recipe.  I know, some people are tsk, tsking me for my lack of pursuit of knowledge.  BUT, that's not exactly true!  I did learn something....about allspice. 
The recipe I used for the Hot Cross Buns is from Pioneer Woman.  If you go to her site, she has great step-by-step instructions (with pics!) on how to make these.  I followed her instructions exactly, b/c I didn't want to mess them up! (They were for the parentals you know).  The only changes I made were...(you know there had to be at least one) is that I used skim milk, b/c I didn't have any whole milk, and I added 1/4 t. allspice, 1/4 t. nutmeg, 1/4 t. ground cloves, in addition to the teaspoon of cinnamon called for.  AND I added a tablespoon of lemon and orange zestThis is a must in my opinion.  Oh, and I did not use raw egg white in my frosting, b/c that seemed like a bad idea (especially for my dad who has a weak immune system from his bone marrow transplant last June).  I used 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 1/4 t. vanilla, and enough orange juice to get the right consistency.  I think it was 2-3 T.  Okay, so more than one change to the recipe!
Back to the allspice.  Did you know that allspice is an actually spice, from a berry, not a combination of spices (like I heard many times in the past)?  You can read all about it here, if interested.  Since I rarely use allspice, I didn't have any.  But, you can make an allspice substitution, which is a combination of spices.  All you have to do is combine equal parts of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper.  Yes, pepper!  I made mine up and stored it in the classy plastic baggie that you see above.  See, I learned something this weekend.  (Actually, I learned it a while back, but does anyone really care?).  Just passing it along, in case you find yourself without any allspice.

Also, I tried the chocolate covered Peep.  Dark chocolate of course.  Still not a fan.  I ate the whole thing (it was covered in chocolate), but the marshmallow inside was really soft and soooo sweet.  Not that I have a problem with sweet, but marshmallow is just not really my thing.  I've been told that I should try a stale Peep, that once they harden they are really good.  So...there are some Peeps sitting around, maybe I'll give that a try too.  Not that my thighs want me to like anything else.  hmmm, that sounds kind of weird...but you know what I mean.  'a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips' :P 
I officially dislike whoever came up with that little phrase.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter awesomeness

There are so many Easter-y (pretty sure, not a word) things floating around the web.  I have several things bookmarked, and considering Easter is Sunday, I'm pretty sure most of them will not be getting done.  So, I thought I'd share a few, maybe you'll get a chance to try one or two...
There is a tutorial on how to make these incredibly awesome eggs. 
They are dyed using old silk ties!!  Too cool.

Cupcake Bunny Cake
This cake is made of cupcakes, with marshmallows to make the bunny.
I think it's so cute!!  This would have been really good for my son's preschool Easter party if I had not made the Peep cupcakes.

Hidden Surprise Easter Egg Treats™
These are hollow, egg-shaped Rice Krispie treats that you fill with little candies/treats.
My kids would love this, but we didn't get around to making them.  Yet.

TPW_3253
I actually did make these today! They aren't as pretty as Pioneer Woman's, but lets face it...I'm no Pioneer Woman.  She rocks.  These buns are a tradition for my parents.  When we lived in Winston-Salem, NC my parents would get Hot Cross Buns every Easter from Dewey's Bakery.  If you live in the area, I'm sure you know the place!  However, it's been many years since they moved further East, and they haven't been able to find them every year.  So this year...I got to baking!  I'll admit they are kind of a lot of work, but hopefully they will enjoy them!

I think my kids would also love having these on Easter morning!  They are so fun and colorful.  I'm getting quite addicted to sprinkles.  And it's awesome to have kids to blame it on.....hehe.

Happy Easter everyone!  Enjoy your time with family.  I plan on reading a few children's books I have about Easter with the kids tonight, to make sure they remember it's not all about colorful candy and Easter baskets!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cookies!!

How awesome are we?!  Cookie decoratin' fools. 
Isn't the yellow duckie the best? What about the blingin' egg on the left?
Ok, so they might be mine.
My artists, hard at work.  What you can't see in the pic is how their mouths and hands are all shades of red, pink, etc. from where they were eating as many decorations as they were using on the cookies! 
And with some of the dough, I had to try out my new mini cookie cutters.  Are they not the cutest things you've ever seen?  Oh yeah, you'll be seeing these again.  Homemade animal crackers are in our future.  I love these little bad boys, and they are the perfect size for Mr. Three!

Now, you're probably wondering about the recipe for above cookies.  Well.....hmmmm, well, the cookies....uhm, well, the cookies....sucked.  They were mucho bland.  It was a new egg free recipe that I tried, and it just wasn't very good.  Of course, my little man likes them anyway.  The girls added so much frosting and sprinkles, you can't really taste the cookie - so they were fine with it.  However, I hate to post the recipe when I didn't think they were very good AND the dough was kind of hard to work with.  So...I'll be trying some others out next time! Especially since NATIONAL COOKIE WEEK is coming up!  May 2-8!!  I know, I'm pretty excited about it too!  A whole week, devoted to cookies!!  Simply awesome. 

You want in on the week of utter bliss?  Cookies galore?!  Got some favorites you need an excuse to make, or have new ones you've really wanted to try?!  Hook up with @TheGayGourmet and @schmackarys on Twitter.  It's gonna rock.  I'm having visions of dark chocolate dancing in my head.

Now, gotta run and see if I can make Hot Cross Buns!

Hope everyone has a Good Friday :D

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Review of Tools Bench Scrape Shovel in Blue

Originally submitted at CSN Stores

This multi-purpose tool will soon become one of the most used in your kitchen. Use it to scoop and transfer chopped foods directly from the cutting board to the pot. It is also great for scooping and cleaning residual foods from the cutting board to the trash can.

Featur...


The item you never knew you needed!

By Mo'Betta - mommy blogger from NC on 4/21/2011

 

5out of 5

This is the greatest little kitchen "gadget". I use mine all the time for dough (lifting, cutting) and also anytime I've chopped or grated anything. It's so handy to have, that once you have one, you wonder how you lived without it for so long!

(legalese)

WHOLEmega Supplement Winner!

Sorry it took me a while to get this posted but the first winner picked via random.org did not get back with me.  (First time that has happened! I hope nothing happened to this person. I'm such a  positive thinker, always thinking the worst in every situation.  Character flaw.) 

So the second person chosen via random.org is Cheryl F.!  Who promptly got back with me...thanks Cheryl!!

Now you know, if I try to reach you, you need to respond asap or I'll think you are dead or seriously injured.  You know, just a FYI.

I have a couple of reviews coming up soon, but this week is Spring Break for my kids and I have been working on getting my garden planted!!  Yay!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

(not really) Wordless Wednesday

I've been slack in posting this week since the kids are driving me crazy out of school for spring break.  Trying to spend some quality time with them (and keep the girls from killing each other).  Today, making cookies is on the agenda.  If I can ever get the energy! 
I made this Easter wreath for my front door.  It was super easy and cheap!  The grapevine wreath was from Wal-Mart, for $3.50 I think.  Then I just hot glued Easter grass and plastic eggs on it.  Then added the 'bunny carrot' that I already had.  Any little decoration would work!  It's nice and colorful and looks good from the street (in my opinion. which, is the only one that really counts.  haha)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Cupcakes for my Peeps (egg free)

I know there are lots of Easter treats floating around blog land, and of course, I had to share mine too!  These are super easy, and I thought they turned out really cute.  I made them for my son's preschool class, and they thought the cupcakes were awesome (but really, how hard is it to impress 2 & 3 y/o's?).  Except for one little boy, who said "take this chicken off my cake! I don't like chicken!"  Not everyone is a peep fan apparently.  I have to confess, I don't actually like Peeps either.  They are cute and all, and definitely make me think of Easter, but I don't actually want to eat them.  I must say, however, that now that they have come out with a chocolate covered Peep...it may be a different story.  I'll let you know.
Now, all you need are Peeps...whatever color you like, and some edible Easter grass! I bought mine from Target.  (You can also use coconut, dyed green, but a lot of kids don't like coconut)  The edible grass comes in different colors too.  I decided on a traditional green grass and yellow chick.  The grass tasted like flavored styrofoam.  In case you're wondering.  And you need some cupcakes...
I used an egg free recipe that was very similar to Mr. Man's 3 y/o birthday cake, but I decided on yellow cake (b/c I knew chocolate would be all over the kids' faces!)  Just like the b-day cake, it turned out very well!  You never miss the eggs.
If you want the vegan cupcake recipe, go HERE.

Egg Free Cupcakes adapted from Vegan Cupcakes at allrecipes.com

1 tablespoon white vinegar


1 1/2 cups skim milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canola oil

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

few drops of yellow food coloring (optional) *If you really want the yellow hue you get from butter/eggs etc, you can add some food coloring.  I added a couple of drops, but I really don't think the kids care!

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup and a 6 cup muffin pan or line with baking liners.

2.Add the vinegar to the milk. Let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk mixture, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly. (I filled mine abt 3/4ths full)

3.Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. 

After the cupcakes cool, frost with whatever frosting you want to use.  I used canned vanilla frosting, b/c I had lots leftover from Number One's baking b-day party.

Slap some frosting on your cupcakes (it doesn't matter what it looks like b/c it will be covered up), add your edible Easter grass (I just made little "nests", but you can arrange the grass however you like), then stick a Peep on top.  You can use extra frosting to "glue" them on.  Then, I added a few jelly beans, b/c the chicks looked sad sitting on top of the cupcakes all by their lonesome.  FYI, preschoolers love jellybeans!  And there you have it.  Cute AND easy Easter cupcakes that kids will love.

I'll be linking up these cupcakes at several places this week (b/c I think they are adorable) - you can see all the linkys HERE.  Go visit them for great recipes and craft ideas!  Easter is right around the corner peeps :D

I'm also entering this in the Iron Chef's Challenge over at a Latte' with Ott, A! This month's challenge is baking powder! An ingredient I couldn't live without!

Also linking up at SusieQTpies Cafe

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ultimate Gum Kit from Educational Toys Planet - Review

Recently I was given the opportunity to review this....

and by saying "I was given the opportunity", I mean my kids Number One and Miss Two were given the opportunity to review!  (They allowed me to "supervise".)  The Ultimate Gum Kit is just one of many science toys offered by Educational Toys Planet, as well as one of their best sellers.  After watching my kids, I can see why.  Educational Toys Planet has tons of different toys for all age groups.  Science, math, pretend play, arts and crafts, building toys, outdoor toys, you name it, and they probably have it. 

The Ultimate Gum Kit was absolutely perfect for my girls.  One, it allows you to make your own gum.  I mean, hellooo, what kid wouldn't like that?!  Plus, you follow 'recipes' to make different flavors - something else my girls love to do.  I loved it because it required the girls to READ and FOLLOW instructions
It allowed them an opportunity to work on something together, without fussing and fighting!  However, this can be done by just one person.  (The Ulimate Gum Kit is recommended for ages 8+). 
They had to use their math skills and MEASURE ingredients.
It's a "HANDS ON" project.  (She could have used a rolling pin, but liked getting her hands messy!)
CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS - "What will happen when I add this flavor to this flavor?!"
ANALYZING - "hmmmm, do I like this flavor better?"

And the best part?  They had lots of fun!

So, I really can't complain about a little mess (which washes off!) when they enjoyed it so much and it really does have a lot of educational benefits.  This kit is not a "one time thing" either...they still have lots of ingredients left to make more, which is one of the things they will be doing over Easter break this upcoming week!  I think boys would really enjoy this kit too because did you see Number One's hands up there?  You can make crazy colors and flavors, it's sticky and gooey while you're making your gum base, and then of course, you get to eat it!  Click on any of the links in this post to go to Educational Toys Planet and view this kit, plus the many, many other toys they offer!

A special thanks to Educational Toys Planet for giving the Mo'Betta house a chance to review this product!  They supplied us with the kit seen above to facilitate the review.  All opinions are my own (or those of my children!)  No other compensation was received.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Mr. Three!




check out other wordless wednesday posts and wednesday hops by clicking on the tab at the top of the page (under my header)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Another birthday cake!

Yep, mo'cake.  And homemade icing too!  I know I just posted about this, but I had another kid with a birthday!  Mr. Terrible Two, is no longer two :(  He's a big THREE year old.  I'm not sure what to call him now.  Mr. Terrible Three just doesn't have the same ring to it.  I'm hoping to leave the "terrible twos" behind us...but so far, it's the "wide-open crazy boy still want to have tantrums threes".  He's my baby, I love him to absolute pieces, but he is a handful! 

Mr. Little Man has food allergies.  He is allergic to eggs and nuts, which makes baking....creative.  However, I couldn't let my baby boy down.  He wanted a shock-it (aka chocolate) cake.  I asked if he wanted brown or white icing and he very quicky replied 'brown'.  So chocolate cake with chocolate icing was on the menu.  I sent out a tweet, I googled, and I scanned my allergy friendly blogs and decided on Crazy Cake from allrecipes.com.  I actually saw this recipe on several different sites (or variations of) and my dear fellow foodie bloggy friend @adrienzgirl emailed it to me as well.  So, I figured this was a tried and true recipe and decided to give it a go.

Ingredients for egg free chocolate cake!

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  *I used Hershey's Special Dark

3/4 cup vegetable oil  *I used 2/3 cup

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups cold water

Directions

1.Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into a 9 x 13 inch ungreased cake pan. Make three wells. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well. Pour cold water over all, and stir well with fork.

2.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Frost with your favorite icing.
 
Looks pretty good right?!  It rose nicely and didn't shrink up like an old woman when I took it out of the oven as my cake mix cakes are wanton to do.  Don't ask.  And for the icing...even though I really liked this one, I decided to try Chocolate Frosting from foodnetwork.com.  Because I like to try different recipes, always searching for THE ONE.  Anyway...this icing was good. but not great.  It was thicker than I expected, but it was spreadable so I didn't want to keep adding anything for fear of messing it up.  It had a nice milk chocolate-y flavor that was a really good addition/contrast to the dark chocolate cake.  Even though I would have been happy with dark chocolate everything.  But, it wasn't my birthday. 
 
Ingredients

•3 cups confectioners' sugar

•3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

•1 stick butter, softened

•3 - 4 tablespoons heavy cream
•1 teaspoon vanilla

I also added a tiny pinch of salt and abt a half teaspoon of instant coffee granules (ground to a powder).  I should have added more, but I didn't really want to be able to taste the coffee flavor, just give the chocolate more depth. whatever that means.

Directions

Sift sugar and cocoa together into a large bowl. In another bowl combine 1 cup of sugar mixture with butter and 1 tablespoon cream, beating until smooth. Add another cup of sugar and another tablespoon of cream, beating well. Continue until all ingredients are combined and frosting is fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Spread frosting on top of one round. Top with second round and cover top and sides completely with frosting. 
****
Obviously, I didn't make a round cake, but a 9x13, and I had enough icing.
I liked the fact that this icing didn't get so soft and start to melt like the other frosting I had made.  I just added some sprinkles and mini M&M's for decoration.  (since he had a Toy Story theme and I had no idea how to go about doing a Toy Story cake!)  He didn't care.
He was pretty excited!
He even helped me cut the cake :)

The cake turned out really well, and I will be using this cake recipe again.  It rose nicely, had a good flavor, and didn't completely fall to pieces when I cut it.  I may try subbing some of the oil with applesauce the next go round and see how that does.

I'll be posting more pics tomorrow for Wordless Wednesday!

Be sure to check HERE for some blog hops and recipe/craft linkys that I will be linking up with.

Linking up at Eat at Home for Ingredient Spotlight - cocoa, and I Should Be Mopping the Floor

Monday, April 11, 2011

Overnight Oats

You've probably seen these around blog land, and since I love me some oatmeal, I had to give it a try.  My usual oatmeal is pumpkin spiced oatmeal, which is warm and delicious.  Overnight oats are totally different.  But not in a bad way.  I think I'll be eating these more as the weather warms up.  (supposed to be 88 degrees today! Holla!)
Overnight Oats -

*1/2 cup steel cut or regular oatmeal (quick cooking would end up being a mushy mess)
*1/2 cup skim milk or almond milk (or whatever you like. I like the flavor the almond milk adds)
*cinnamon to taste (I like a lot)
*flax seed (milled) - optional, I have added this when I could remember!  Makes this even more filling and adds some Omega's!  Speaking of, I have a giveaway going on until Wednesday for WHOLEmega supplement...check it out!

Mix these ingredients together in a bowl, cover, and stick in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, give them a stir and add anything you like.  Yogurt, fruit, nuts, etc.  I like mine with my Salted Cinnamon Maple Roasted Almond Butter.  It's also good with blueberries and walnuts.  I haven't tried it with yogurt yet.  Since I made yogurt yesterday and it didn't turn out! I was so mad.  That has only happened one other time, but it is so annoying.  I hate wasting all that milk.  Anyway, I need to make some more.

I take my oats out first thing in the morning, and let them sit out while I get the kids off to school.  I think they are better at room temp, but that may change when it starts getting really hot!  It's nice to have something filling, that is quick and easy and doesn't require much prep.

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  I had a birthday party for Mr. Terrible Two....who is now THREE!! I can't believe it.  Pics and recipes to come!

Go HERE for blog hops and recipe/craft linkys :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Salted Cinnamon Maple Roasted Almond Butter

That's quite a mouthful, but I didn't know what else to call it.  Just "almond butter" sounds boring, and does not do this little creation justice.  I've noticed that a lot of the peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower butter, etc. all seem to have some added sugar and oil.  So I was wondering if I could make my own without the added stuff.  This was my little experiment.  I took notes while making this little concoction, on the off chance it was good and I wanted to share it.  However, in typical Mo'Betta fashion, I lost my notes, so I'm trying to recreate it from memory.  Be afraid.  Luckily, there are not too many ingredients involved ;)

I started with 2 cups roasted and salted almonds.  You can do this yourself, or buy them, like I did (I bought a huge bag from Sam's Club).  Dump them in the food processor (I guess a blender would work too).
Process them until they form a fine crumb.  This takes a while (several minutes) - at least it did for me.  I'm assuming it depends on the power of your food processor.  Then, you can get creative.  What flavors do you like?  For plain almond butter, just keep grinding with a little olive oil (I'm sure other oils would work as well, but I used olive) until it reaches the consistency you would like.  Yes, I did have to add oil or it was very thick and too pasty to spread.  I added about a tablespoon of olive oil to mine, and it's still pretty thick.  I read that the longer you process the almonds, the more oils are released.  So, I have no idea if I did it long enough or not.  I just let it run until it looked right!  Scientific, I know.  If you like flavored almond butter, add away.  I decided on maple (for sweetness) and cinnamon - because I love cinnamon.  I used sugar free maple syrup, b/c the whole point was to not have added sugar.  (This also helped smooth out the almond butter).  I used about 2 T. I think.  Real maple syrup would be awesome, and you wouldn't need to use that much, but it's all according to taste.  Do what you like.  I added about 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon too.  After adding your flavorings, process until smooth and well blended.
And there you have it.  You've made your own almond butter.  I was quite pleased with myself.  Not to mention I can eat it with a spoon!  It's yummy.  I love the cinnamon flavor and I have already been thinking of other flavors to try.  Dark chocolate is at the top of the list!  When I make it, I'll try to keep up with the recipe notes so I can share it.  But, I'm not making any promises....
(and I'm storing mine in the fridge...in my empty Maranatha Almond Butter jar!)

Have a great weekend!! My Mr. Terrible Two is turning THREE!!!  What will I call him now?!  I'll bombard y'all with pics later :)

Go enter my giveaway for some healthy stuff...check the right side bar under 'current giveaways'!

I'm going to link this recipe up here for Foodie Friday!  See more Blog Hops and Linkys by clicking on the tab at the top of the page (under my header).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (egg free)

Oh yeah, she's back!  I know, this is probably the longest I've been without posting something chocolate.  It's been hard.  It's been like, a whole week!  I wish I could say I haven't consumed anything chocolate but....

My son has something called 'Cookie Night' at his preschool tonight.  The kids will go in their pj's and sing songs and then eat cookies.  I'm not sure the point of cookie night, but it gave me an excuse to make these cookies!

Now, if you have a child with food allergies, a table set up with dozens and dozens of potential allergens, in our case eggs and nuts, is not my idea of a good time.  I mean, how hard is it going to be to tell a 2 y/o (very soon to be 3!) that he can't have any of those cookies that everyone else is eating?!  I'm having anxiety just thinking about it now.  So, I decided to make a cookie that would be safe for him to eat, yummy for everyone else, and just pack him a little container to tide him over until we can excuse ourselves OTD.  (out the 'doe')

I went through a few allergy friendly sites that I have bookmarked and chose this recipe.  It sounded easy and I was looking for a simple, basic chocolate chip cookie.  I also did not want to experiment since it was already getting late and I had to feed these to other people.

Egg-free Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies from 9to5to9

■1/2 c. butter or margarine, room temperature

■1/2 c. granulated sugar

■1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar

■1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

■1/2 c. cocoa

■1 tsp. baking soda

■1/4 c. cooking oil *I used canola

■2 tbl. water

■1 c. baking chips *I used abt 3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Use a mixer at medium speed to cream butter and sugars until fluffy, about two minutes. Slowly add flour, baking soda and cocoa. Add oil and water until completely combined. Stir in baking chips with a spoon.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet, two inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (depending on size) at 350 degrees. Cool on sheets for three minutes. Remove from sheet and cool completely.
************
These cookies were good.  I can't imagine that anyone will know that they do not contain eggs.  They had a great texture, slightly crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside.  That being said, I know these cookies could be even better!  I can't wait to play around with the recipe. Once I do, I'll post it, but this is a great base recipe if you have to cook egg-free or just want to or want to make cookies really bad and realize you have no eggs and don't want to go to the store.  It happens. 
 
Also, check out who I'll be linking this recipe up with HERE!  You'll find lots of other great recipes.  Thanks to Feeding Four for featuring my Cake Batter Pancakes today :)

Update 5/5/11 - Linking up with Eat at Home: Ingredient Spotlight - Brown Sugar!
Update 2/13/13 - Linking up with Finding Joy in My Kitchen for Ingredient Spotlight - Chocolate!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Review of 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker in Black

Originally submitted at CSN Stores

This classically designed coffeemaker is accented with stainless steel for a look that is sure to enhance your countertop. The 12-cup carafe features an ergonomic handle, dripless spout and knuckle guard for comfortable, drip-free pouring. Fully automatic, the DCC-1100 has 24...


Mama NEEDS her coffee in the morning!

By Mo'Betta from NC on 4/6/2011

 

4out of 5

I have used this coffee pot everyday since I got it, and love it! The coffee tastes so much better than from my old pot. I love the permanent gold coffee filter (saves on waste!) and the water filter.

(legalese)

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