Pinstrosity in the Making

Idle hands and minds lead to unexpected results, no? (Which is precisely why I’m not blogging every day anymore… I’m suddenly busier.)

To start: we had a bake off at the studio on Friday. I wanted to explore my Pin Boards for something fun, but universally enjoyable by everyone. I opted to make the vegan red velvet cupcakes I made earlier last year, but wanted to switch them to a Blue Velvet cake instead. This is why.

image (4)

However, I also ended up with these by mistake/quick thinking.

image (5)

My downfall? I forgot how much red dye is actually needed to make red velvet cupcakes. I usually pour in a good tablespoon or three. For some reason, I thought that I needed less blue dye to make blue velvet.

Turns out that this:

image

Plus this:

image (1)

 

Equals this ugliness on the left.

image (3)

Now, as you can see, I did end up with blue cakes. But that was some white cake box mix made with a cup of plain greek yogurt and a cup of water. (And then a lot of blue dye.) And then they were conveniently frosted electric blue canister frosting from Target. (Because I was just lazy at that point.)

But I had two dozen greenish brown cupcakes that were completely edible, but ewwww… gross.

So they became Grouches after some dairy-free frosting was made.

The recipe for the Mostly Vegan Cupcakes (dyed to your preference):

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar (I used organic cane… you can use vegan. Or Splenda. Or whatever.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (though, I probably would have preferred coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring (I didn’t go vegan on this. I’ve seen recipes put in as much as 2T of gel color or a bottle of dye.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, refined sugar, cocoa powder, sea salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, stir together the grape seed oil, milk, vanilla extract and food coloring. Stir the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients, then stir in the distilled white vinegar. Pour the batter into cupcake liners and bake for 18- 20 minutes or until cupcakes come out clean after a toothpick test.

For the frosting, I mixed one stick of Nucoa plus 2 cups+ of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of almond milk. Then dyed it. The problem with Nucoa is that it doesn’t really mix THAT well. But it doesn’t have soy additives either. If you can, use some other non-dairy spread like Earth Balance or whatever.

Taste verdicts:

The vegan cupcakes were really moist. I probably could have baked them a little longer and they would have been fine. The original recipe called for a 10 minute bake time and that was NOT enough. They also weren’t very sweet, which was nice.

The Greek Yogurt Box Mix wasn’t bad either. Just kind of had a chewy texture. It was a little bizarre honestly.

Frosting the cakes:

So – for the fuzzy Muppet-ness, I used a Wilton #233 tip (Grass) to frost the cakes. I used white chocolate candy melts for the eyes and then dotted them with some Wilton brown gel. I DID buy some edible writers which did NOT work on the white chocolate. (They are getting returned to the store.) If you have the patience to make and dye your own additional frosting, feel free. I didn’t. For Cookie Monster, shove half a Chips Ahoy cookie where the mouth should be and viola! A Muppet.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Housewife Adventures: Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Well – I’ve sent out so many resumes to jobs that I’m either overqualified for or severely underqualified for. My plan is to dedicate the two hours a day each morning to the job hunt, and then live on unemployment for as long as humanly possible The good news? My COBRA isn’t going to be unreasonably expensive and I’ll still have great coverage.

So – now I’ll embrace the duties of housewifedom, as I told my husband this morning. (His response was that he expected a martini when he got home.) First order of business? Bake!

I found this recipe on Pinterest, but all the pins are marked incorrectly as SPAM.

photo

Ingredients
2.5 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup plain low fat greek yogurt
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar {or sweetener of choice}
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 ripe bananas 

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray tin with non-stick cooking spray or line 12 muffin tins with silicone or foil liners.
2. Place all of the ingredients, including bananas in a blender or food processor, and blend until oats are smooth. {I added the oats a cup at a time and blended in between}
3. Divide batter among cupcake liners, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Of course, you can add Splenda instead of sugar, but I used organic cane. The batter tasted delicious, so I assume the muffins do to.

Enjoy!

Oddly Fashionable

photo

Pump 3.0 is here and it’s purple! But I couldn’t just let the purple flag fly alone on this one even though it matches just about everything in my wardrobe!

I’ve also had a Skin from Medtronic for the last couple of years that did NOT match my Pepto pump 1.0 at all.

photo copy 2

Tah-dah! So much better. (Well… not the double arrows, but I just had lunch and recovered from a low.)

Is the new pump working better? Too early too tell. However, I did get my first Calibration Error, which generally indicates that the blood sugar picked up on the sensor is wildly different from the one on the meter. Last night my pump said I was running much higher than I was. (200 vs. 100. Not even close.) So I stayed up until I was supposed to calibrate (midnight) and attempted to correct. Alarms everywhere. Also – no one told me that the sensor basically has to start from scratch after one of those errors. So I was up until 1 am worrying that I broke the damn thing… again.

The sensor is also picking up my post meal spikes more accurately.

Good signs, I suppose? Just wish they would tell me I was low faster. Even with my alarms going off at anything below 80, it still missed that 55 I had before lunch. Sigh. Not quite there yet.

Despite my friend’s claims, I don’t intend to continue to sabotage my equipment every two months.

I also purchased this:

photo copy

Yup – a custom medical alert bracelet and tag. I’ve spent a lot of money on really cheap bracelets that only say “DIABETIC” on them. Doesn’t really do much good if you are out in the wild with only your cell phone. (It’s a bad habit, I know.) And since they are cheap, they rust/fall off/unclasp/get stuck on my partner’s clothes/etc. Lauren’s Hope has lots of cute bracelets and ID tags if you want an investment piece. But I figured the only other ID I owned was from when I was a teen, so it was probably time to get a new one. I also got a “dress up” one with white swarovski beads. So excited.

And in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day:

1665_10151542489721257_258361848_n

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes! Slightly modified. I used a combination of this recipe and this recipe, plus a couple other mods. (Wheat flour instead of regular flour. Stevia packets instead of sugar. Bailey’s IS dairy, so only half the batch were completely dairy free. And I used Scottish Blend whiskey. Because I’m cheap.)

Enjoy!

Loco Coconut!

My instructor’s birthday is Friday. He’s allergic to everything. (Well, maybe just everything delicious.) So bringing baked goods to the studio becomes an extra fun challenge! But hey, it benefits me since most baked alternatives are lower in sugar and carbs… score!

Anyway, I tried a paleo recipe for a low carb, non-dairy treat. I even went out and bought coconut flour, which is crazy expensive. But – low carb. Sigh. Fine. Take my money.

My recipe of choice were some chocolate chip cookies from this blog, which were stolen from this blog. Oddly enough, the photos in each respective blog look nothing alike so I really didn’t have an accurate reference point. I chose the first recipe because the blogger went on and on about how this recipe doesn’t suck.

Well……..

IMG_0624

My cookies look more like the latter blog.

My experience:
– I’ve never worked with coconut oil before. I also don’t know the difference between raw honey and organic clover honey. I figured there wasn’t. I might have melted the oil a bit too well, but again, I had no idea.
– The dough is super crumbly. Like fall apart in your hands and onto the floor crumbly. You really have to work it into a ball and then flatten it without it splitting down the sides. Coconut flour doesn’t flatten, so what you shape your dough into is what you’ll cook.
– I felt like it needed more liquid. Crumbly dough is usually a result of something being too dry. But – wasn’t sure what to add.
– The recipe made exactly 24 cookies and started burning at 10 minutes in the oven. (Not 12.)

IMG_0623

The taste is deceiving. If you expect to bite into this awesome Nestle Tollhouse, step away from this recipe and don’t look back. With all of the coconut content, I honestly felt like I was eating a macaroon. They aren’t too dry, but definitely not the butter and sugar rich cookie I’m used to.

Are they edible? Sure! They got the husband stamp of approval. And I’m excited that they are mostly low carb. (You can’t really get away from semi sweet chocolate chips.)

 

 

Chocolate Under the Influence

muffins

I really do love Pinterest and the amount of recipes I’ve found for my busy lifestyle, diet habits and pickiness of my hubby. (Can’t complain much – he still cooks a majority of the dinners around here.) People way more creative than I can post their cooking experiments online for the world to try.

And then I can try them and critique them. 🙂

I saw these muffins floating around my boards by a number of different people. I went back to them because 1) I like chocolate, a lot. 2) I like the idea of not incorporating white flour or refined sugar in as many things as possible given my new obsession with post prandial sugars. 3) I like that all of these items were already in my pantry/fridge so I didn’t have to shop for anything special.

Well, so I thought.

I tried these out on Sunday. I had a glass of my Mambo wine again for dinner. (I was still trying to finish the bottle… it kind of grew on me.) I broke out the blender that was inherited from my hubby’s pre-marriage rental home, which may have easily belonged to some other roommate, but it came with us. I added all the ingredients into the blender and made my batter.

Two things went wrong:

1) The blender is horrible. It mixed the bottom half of the ingredients… and only the bottom half. Mental note: when I get a raise, I’m buying a Vitamix.
2) The muffin batter was definitely not chocolate. I had to add in chocolate chips later, but surely it wouldn’t turn that dark by melting chocolate chips. It was weird. I needed cocoa powder. But I read the ingredient listing again and didn’t find any cocoa powder. (Wait…)

So I baked as instructed. I then reread the ingredient list, only to discover that cocoa powder was indeed part of the ingredients list. Hidden, I might add. Whatever… too late now. The muffins are already baking. What could go wrong.

They turned out horrible. Like a gelatinous form of cookie dough with no taste. I usually don’t mind raw dough, but others might. I wasn’t going to keep these around. Tempted to make them again on Sunday, I realized I was out of oatmeal – the base of the muffins. Hm… guess these aren’t happening. Silly Mambo wine.

Tonight I went to the store and bought more oats and egg whites in a carton. (Because I’m lazy.) I cook dinner first and treat myself to a glass of V. Suttui Moscato, which is heavenly. Attempt two included the 3/4 cup of cocoa and some semi sweet chips. My blender is still shit; almost to the point that I much rather would have dealt with my teeny tiny food processor.

Some alterations:
1) These did NOT cook in the time allotted. It said they’d be done in 12-15 minutes total? I baked for 22. That was 10 minutes to put the extra chips on top and then another 12 to make the centers solid.
2) I probably overmixed because of the blender. So the dough wasn’t as solid. I ended up filling only 1.5 trays of muffin tins, but they still turned out pretty small.

Verdict: they are edible. Are they perfect? Not really, but it’s enough to get some sort of guilt-free chocolate kick. And with the greek yogurt included, there is a little bit of protein there. (There weren’t any nutrition facts on the recipe page except for a calorie count.)

Cookies for Breakfast

Yes, you read that right. I made cookies on Sunday that are supposed to be my breakfast for the remainder of the week. However, the carb count is still to be determined, so it’s throwing my breakfast sugars under the bus.

Mmm... nutrition

Mmm… nutrition

Here is the recipe.

As you can see, no refined sugar nor flour. It’s basically an oatmeal cookie made with fruit and peanut butter. The protein count is supposedly off the chart. So I made them thinking this would be a great alternative to my missing English muffins.

The problem is the whole “homemade” aspect of it. Sure, I like knowing that what I’m putting into my system is healthy, organic, fresh, and not processed. With the exception of the extract and the protein powder, I feel pretty confident eating this. And the original blogger even gave us the nutrition facts. How nice! That’s something you don’t ever really find for insulin pumping purposes.

Except they aren’t quite accurate or don’t factor in the tiny bit of chocolate chips that I added in. Guess I should have read closer.

The original nutrition facts say 11.8 carbs for a cookie. This assumes that there are 16 in a batch and you didn’t add chocolate chips.

I made 9. Yikes. That’s quite a difference in size to batch ratio. And full of melted chocolate. Yum! (Well that explains my crappy glucose control.)

Some other edits besides making these ginormous cookies.

  • I used crushed almonds as my “nuts.” I didn’t have anything else. I probably should have used almond butter instead of peanut butter. Lesson learned.
  • I used regular oats rather than quick. They are a little bigger than those pictured in the original blog.
  • I didn’t have butter extract. I have no idea what that is or where to find it. She said it was optional, so…

Taste wise… I’ll be honest. I don’t know if I’d like them without chocolate chips. They are pretty bland otherwise. But reheated in the morning with my cup of coffee and a hard boiled egg is nice and quick.

Quinoa Experimentation

photo

Quinoa Bake attempt – “fancy oatmeal”

I’ve been busy trying to start my year off right with new food ideas. Particularly at breakfast time.

I had some luck with this recipe (though it molded super fast. Yay zero preservatives!) I managed to have one slice for breakfast with a hard boiled egg and my postprandial records seemed to stay semi normal (i.e. didn’t spike above 200.)

Quinoa at other meals has also been beneficial as a side. Much more so than my typical rice standard. (Which has a really high GI, apparently.)

Tonight I tried making another breakfast recipe so I wouldn’t have to worry about scrambling to find something healthy to start my day with. And I have to take my boss to the airport tomorrow so I don’t have an hour to putz around as usual.

So here is the Cinnamon Quinoa Bake. My version is nearly sugar free, gluten free, and dairy free. (But not vegan.)

A couple things that I changed:

  • I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of soy milk.
  • I used sugar free maple syrup instead of plain. (Because I’m still a PWD; “fake” food be damned.)
  • Yes – that is 2.5 cups of cooked quinoa. (Or 1 cup pre-prepped.) The baking doesn’t cook the quinoa. I made that mistake once before.

The taste? Well… as I was prepping this, I noticed the recipe only had about a 3 star rating. Honestly, it tastes like Quaker Instant Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal and it kind of has a jell-o consistency. And with a lot more protein (that’s 4 eggs there). The hubs didn’t really care for it. I’m debating, but I’ll see what happens after I store and reheat in the morning.

Top 10s Begin NOW

With 2012 wrapping up, I’m dedicating the next couple of days to top 10s to summarize my year.

Let’s start with my newest obsession: Pinterest. Here are some of my favs from the last few months. (I joined back in September or so and have 650 pins. Yikes!)

10) White Chocolate topped Gingerbread Cookies ended up being my most popular baked treat this year. Will definitely have to repeat these next year.

9) Apple Pie Cocktails: Mix 5 parts cold cider with 1 part vanilla vodka in a pitcher. Dash of cinnamon. Add more vodka if necessary. (We did.) Yum!

8) 8 Can Taco Soup (no coincidence): We got our canned goods at Trader Joe’s in order to avoid preservatives and whatnot. It tastes like Tortilla Soup and warms up nicely in a crock pot in 2 hours.

7) Reinbeers. A fun gift to give and receive. (I couldn’t find the original source, but they are pretty easy to make.)

6) Peacock Make Up: Part of the reason I joined Pinterest was to find make up ideas for my Halloween costume. If only I had known…

5) This cat.

4) This chicken dinner. The link didn’t work, but the instructions were posted. (Melt in Your Mouth Chicken Breast, 1/2 c parmesan cheese,1 c Greek yogurt, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt 1/2 tsp pepper, spread mix over chicken breasts, bake at 375 45 min.)

3) This under-the-sink storage idea, which the hubs is apparently building for me this weekend. Woot!

2) A “clean” banana bread recipe that was modified to make even more diabetes friendly.

And my favorite for the year?

1) Something that must absolutely go in a future nursery some day. (If I can find it.)

This Was My Weekend

Yup… after having all of the knots from showcase pounded out of me by a new therapist (who I can’t knock… she used to ballroom dance and knows what real west coast swing is), I baked. All weekend. I have enough sweets in my house to turn 4 people into diabetics. And enough alcohol to wash it down with.

It’s going to be a crazy two days. Have a Merry Christmas all!

Wordless Wednesday: Holiday Baking Edition

cookies

Many hours on Pinterest led me these! Of course, I had to make them slightly different and use much more fun sprinkles.

I suppose you could make them with Splenda, but why? The Candy Cane Kiss in the middle pretty much negates the effort. But – I did use whole wheat flour for 90% of my holiday baking this year.

The dough and cookies are a little “grainier” than normal, but everything tastes the same, really. I’m sure it all breaks down to about the same carb count in the end, but at least it’s a bit slower.

Enjoy!