Friday, September 18, 2009

The Girls Sleepover

Silliness reigned supreme last night as three high energy girls ate, bounced, laughed, talked, squealed and generally had a ball.

My daughter, Brianna invited 2 of her friends to sleep over last night and as you can see, they definitely had a good time.

Where does the energy come from....or rather...where did mine go to? I could barely keep up just taking the pictures.

Lots of funny, goofy faces....

Plenty of smiles and giggles....

Yup....

They're wonderful nut balls!

This was one of the first shots I took while trying to figure out how to take pictures at night. I added it because it's pretty neat....especially for a mistake.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gluten Free Pizza

gluten free pizzaAlmost everyone loves a good pizza. So you can imagine how depressing it is when you can't just order one anymore....and when every recipe you come across tastes like either mush or cardboard.

Well not anymore! I've found the perfect recipe for a great tasting gluten free pizza crust. The picture above does not do the pizza justice, I'm afraid. It smelled soooo tasty that I didn't spend much time trying to take a good photo. The kids and I pretty much just dove in and devoured it rather quickly.

While I was making the crust (my counters scattered to the brim with ingredients) I got to thinking. How often am I going to make this if I have to make such a mess every time? Not often I'd bet. So my next thought was, "Why not just measure out a couple of batches and ziplock them for later?" Like a mix. Yeah! Great idea! So that's what I did.

Here is the recipe, slightly changed from the original as usual.

Gluten Free Pizza Crust

Place these ingredients in a ziplock bag for later use. I suggest marking the bag with the date and using within a month or two.

• 1/3 cup brown rice flour
• 1/3 cup sweet sorgham flour
• 1/2 cup tapioca flour or potato starch
• 2 tablespoons flax meal (optional)
• 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
• 1 teaspoon garlic seasoning (or other seasoning of choice)

When you're ready to make pizza, place the contents of the ziplock bag into a bowl and add the following ingredients.

• 1 tablespoon dry yeast
• 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (optional)
• 2 tablespoons milk powder (dairy, coconut, nondairy)
• 2/3 cup water (110 degrees F)
• 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Directions:

o Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
o Mix all ingredients on low speed until blended.
o Scrape down sides and beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
o The dough should be soft and sticky, much like cookie dough.
o Place the mixture on a lightly greased pizza pan and sprinkle with rice flour.
o Press the dough flat until it covers the pan, continuing to sprinkle with flour if needed.
o Make the edges slightly thicker to hold in the toppings.
o Bake the pizza crust for 10 - 15 minutes.
o Remove from oven and spread with sauce and toppings.
o Bake another 10 - 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the top is nicely browned.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's Apple Season

Lately, apples have been featured in our local grocery store fliers at much more affordable prices. For some reason, when food is on sale, I feel the need to stock up and I usually end up with a bit of a surplus.

Thankfully I have a couple of handy dandy gadgets that make processing apples a snap. The first gadget would be the apple peeler/corer pictured above. My mother-in-law gave this too me when my daughter (now 15) was first born. If you don't have one....get one! I mean it! You won't know how you lived without it.

The second gadget is a dehydrator. I must admit that I don't use this for a lot of things but I do use it a lot for ONE thing. Making apple chips. My family loves them. Quite often I'll open up the dehydrator and half the apple chips are gone before they are even done!

It's a good thing they are so easy to make! Simply peel and core the apples with gadget #1, cut in half and place on the drying racks. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon for variety if you like and turn the dehydrator on.

Then you just walk away for the next 6 hours or so. Once the apple slices have a leathery feel to them (some like to dehydrate until they are crispy), turn off the machine and allow them to cool. To store the apple chips, place them in a Ziploc bag or airtight container.

You can use apple chips in a variety of ways. I cut them up and add them to granola bars, cereal and trail mix. You could put them in cookies, slices or cakes like you do with raisins. Or just eat them straight out of the bag!

My biggest problem with apple chips is keeping them around long enough to put them into anything....not such a bad problem, huh?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Treasure Hunting!!

Garmin gpsmap 60cxRecently, I made an expensive purchase. It's something I've wanted for quite some time but kept putting off due to the high cost. Well, now that I've got it, I'm not sorry what so ever. This little gadget is a GPS or Global Positioning System.

Hmmmm, you're wondering? Why on earth would she want something like that?

To go treasure hunting of course! Or more accurately Geocaching.

"Geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS unit can then try to locate the geocache."

Basically, you plug in the co-ordinates for a cache into your GPS and then go find it. The GPS unit has a compass on it that points you in the direction you need to go. Mine tells you how far you need to go and how long it will take you. Once you find the treasure, you sign the log book and then trade a small trinket in the box for one you've brought with you.

Check out the Geocaching website and click on "Hide & Seek a Cache". Do a search in your area to see how many there are. Lots probably. I was shocked to see that I walked by a number of them every day. Little treasure boxes hidden all over the world.

So far I've taken the kids on 6 searches and they love it. Not only are they getting outside for some exercise but they are also getting away from the TV, computer and video games. See their smiling faces!


This is one of the trails we found a cache on.


We even took the dog. No amount of coaxing would get him to go near the water! He's such a baby.


Nick, of course, had to practically get in. If the water hadn't been so cold, he probably would have.