Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer in a Day

All my favorites in one day...

Friends, Rainbow sandals, new bathing suits, beach, sunshine, Sprinkles cupcakes, Whole Foods Market, good food, gelato.

GIANT sandal!
They're cute :)
View before the water.
Real FOOD + SALAD = delicious. delicious. NUTRITIOUS.

I know, I haven't been around much lately. So much has been happening and I haven't had any time to tell you about it! I finished up work and fun stuff at home, and am now back in California. This day was kind of like the last hurrah before the new semester begins. Tomorrow I start classes. My course load is quite full again. I am taking Physics + lab, Neurobiology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Theology I, and Bowling as a PE class. I am looking forward to most of my classes but NOT physics, since I know that math has never been my strong point and I will struggle with it. I would really appreciate your prayers as I start. I can do this if I set my mind to it, and get some good tutoring :)

Hopefully I will have a few moments in the coming week to get some more blog posts up, though I don't anticipate finding time. There is a lot of content that I've been wanting to share with you. I appreciate your patience and the fact that you keep stopping by, my lovely readers! I've also been having too much fun seeing friends and getting moved in to blog. Starting classes is always really hectic time.

Until next time,

How have you been ending your summer?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Adventures in Quechee!

At the beginning of August Mom and I whisked ourselves off to Quechee, Vermont for two days of antiquing and a time of "getting away" from it all. It was such a fun trip and I've been meaning to blog about it for a while now; I've just been soo busy. Here are some photos from the trip. Pictures mean so much more than I can tell you. It was a short weekend of full of antiquing, finding cast iron pans, cheese, tourists, farmers markets, hiking, beautiful scenery, rest, good food, working farms, great weather, maple syrup, animals, exploring, lots of pictures and stop after stop of fun.

A hike ahead. Down the Gorge we go!
Views at the top.
Fungus on the way down...
A delicious and nourishing dinner at a new favorite restaurant.
Downtown Woodstock.
Leftover chicken with butter, one banana, raisins and coconut flakes for breakfast :)
Covered bridges.
So picturesque!
Maple syrup, cheese, animals.
Farmland scenery.
Georgeous Simon Pearce glassware.
Huge dam!

I hope you've enjoyed the pictures,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream.

(Holy Cow - I just found this post in my archives from JANUARY. I must have been waiting to post it because of a picture? Who knows!)

Sometimes making homemade ice cream can be a bit tricky. All of you who have tried it probably know what I mean. It takes a some time and some internet research to find out what works! The ice cream can come out too icy, freeze too hard, taste too sweet, taste too strong or be lacking in either flavor or texture. It's also disappointing when you spend so much time and dollars on ingredients, only to find that the batch did not turn out as you hoped.

Homemade Almond Joy Ice Cream on top with whipped cream and
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice cream on the bottom! Delicious.
Unfortunately I don't have a better picture than this!
I've been making homemade ice cream this whole month with my lovely ice cream maker I received for my birthday this summer. Some batches have been good, but others have been rock hard, and not in a good way!

One of my family's favorite ice cream flavors is chocolate peanut butter cup. I have not had this flavor of ice cream in years ever since learning about my allergies. So after doing some research, I finally mustered up the courage to tackle this ice cream flavor!

I could not be happier with the results, and I think you will like it too. It's hard not to eat the whole tub at once!! Chocolate and peanut butter. I cannot tell you how highly I regard the culinary combination of chocolate and peanut butter. To say that I love it, crave it and think it is so incredibly tasty is an understatement. I love chocolate and peanut butter.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
    makes 2 quarts, with inspiration from here

    4 cups  raw cream (or 2 cups cream, 2 cups raw whole milk)
    1/2 cup  raw whole milk
    1 cup  organic cane sugar - I use Whole Foods brand
    1  scant cup unsweetened cocoa powder (about 3/4s cup)
    2 Tbsp  organic maple syrup
    2 Tbsp  organic vanilla
    1 1/2  Tbsp arrowroot powder
    4  egg yolks

Peanut chunks:
    1 cup  smooth organic peanut butter - my (current) favorite is Maranatha
    1 cup  organic cane sugar or confectioners sugar

To make your ice cream:
  1.  Put your raw cream and freezing bowl (the tub you scoop the ice cream into- NOT your ice cream maker's freezer insert) into the freezer to get really cold as you prep the other ingredients.
  2.  Get out a sheet pan and place some plastic wrap on it. In a small bowl, mix together peanut butter and sugar. Using two knives, dip one into the peanut butter mixture and use the other to scrap off a small quarter sized dollop of peanut butter onto the cookie sheet. Repeat until you use up the whole bowl. Place the sheet pan in the freezer. The peanut butter "coins" will freeze and will make it easy to incorporate it into the ice cream later.
  3.  In a large bowl, crack out your egg yolks, add arrowroot powder and cocoa powder - sifting both through a metal strainer. Sprinkle sugar into the bowl. Drizzle in 1/2 cup milk, vanilla and maple syrup, and whisk all ingredients until well combined. It will look like flourless dark chocolate cake batter. Make sure these ingredients are well mixed, that there are no lumps, that it is slightly thickened and that the mixture is smooth.
  4.  Take the raw cream out of the freezer and slowly pour it into the bowl while whisking.
  5.  Rush to the freezer, grab the ice cream maker bowl, tear off the plastic wrap (protects the bowl from freezer burn), put it into your ice cream machine, turn it on and pour in your chocolate ice cream mixture.
  6.  Churn for 30 minutes until the machine sounds slightly labored and the ice cream is thick and creamy, or "freeze according to your manufacturers instructions."
  7.  Take out your peanut butter chips and ice cream freezing tub/bowl from the freezer. Scoop out the ice cream in layers, placing several peanut butter chips on top of the ice cream for each layer. It should look like this - bottom of the bowl, ice cream, peanut butter chips, ice cream, peanut butter chips, ice cream... continue this until ice cream and chips are gone. Freeze immediately and lick up the dribbles on the counter. The ice cream will be ready to eat after it has been in the freezer overnight.
  8.  Take out ice cream from freezer. Try. Spoon. Mouth. Swoon. Scoop into bowls. Spoon. Mouth. Eat. Gone. Enjoy!

This ice cream, if made with 4 cups cream, is rich. If your taste buds are accustomed to eating sugar, the amount of sugar listed will taste perfect to you, or if you are like me and do not eat much sugar at all, this will taste very sweet and you may want to decrease the sugar content a little.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Adventures in North Conway!

This past Thursday Mom and I were able to sneak away after work and go to North Conway! We typically go every summer and there are lots of fun shops, outlets and country stores that we love to visit. Last year when we visited we were thrilled to go to Rafferty's for lunch, this time not so much. Listen to my story.

Our first stop was a store on the way to downtown where we love to look around and where I've found my most favorite earrings, ones I get compliments on all the time! Lat year I bought two pairs, one stud and one drop style, but unfortunately I lost one of my studs! I wanted to go back especially to try and "rebuy" so I could wear the earrings again. One earring out of a pair doesn't do me much good! When we got there as always there are lots of options and Mom and I took several several minutes to decide which ones we wanted to purchase. I wasn't quite sure which one matched my lonely earring, so I bought the pair I thought matched it and another one that I liked as well. I unpacked our goodies this morning and it doesn't match :( but they are still pretty and I will enjoy wearing them. Now NEXT summer I know which one to get!

After this stop we continued down to downtown North Conway. We visited our favorite country stores and walked across the street to a HUGE tent that had winter coats to see if they had any good ones for me, but they were all ski-style and not what I was looking for. Before we knew it we were getting hungry! We drove over to Rafferty's and got a table and expected to have as good an experience as last time. But soon it was obvious we weren't. Rafferty's pub has the largest gluten free menu in New England (I think) or at least New Hampshire. Last year when we asked about my soy allergy, it wasn't a problem, but this year it certainly was. The chef came out and started telling us what he could do. He basically said that soy is in everything. He even said that they don't use real butter? That the rotisserie chicken they serve is not made in house? That they sautee everything in fake soy based butter substitute? Wow. After hearing about all this fake food I quickly lost my desire to eat there and Mom and I left, disgusted! 

For starters, a green crunchy salad.
The oven!
That says it all!
Real meat!
My pizza!
Look at those delicious caramelized onions!
Luckily there are lots of gluten free restaurant options in North Conway so we went over to Flatbreads to check it out. We've heard they have gluten free pizza for a while, and they have a great perspective on food, so we've been meaning to try it but never have! Upon walking in we knew instantly it would be good. The atmosphere was so fun, our waitress very helpful, and it wasn't cold in the restaurant (which we always hate). To answer our soy questions, she brought out the label of the gluten free pizza crust which actually was quite nutritious, made with wholesome gluten free grains and yeast, NOT the typical white rice flour, potato starch. We were starving, since it was like 7:15 pm, by the time we left Rafferty's and waited for a table, etc, etc, so we ordered their basic salad right away. It had seaweed on top and it was delicious! The waitress totally understood about soy being in the salad dressings and she happily offered us olive oil and balsamic vinegar which we happily accepted! I am so glad we got a salad since the pizza was a long, unfortunately, wait. Their gluten free pizza is only available in a small size, but it's more than enough for one person. I got their Coevolution pizza with steak and red sauce, and Mom got the Community pizza with chicken. BOTH were delicious. My pizza was underdone and the steak still pink, but I was so hungry that we weren't about to send it back to cook it more. Mom's pizza had mushrooms (gasp) that she forgot to tell them to leave off, but they were surprisingly very good, and I (we) HATE mushrooms! Mom and I shared slices and both ate about half of the pizzas! I would go back to Flatbreads in heart beat. My new NH destination (which I never had before) for gluten free pizza! I am so happy that it was made with real food ingredients.

Insert my face here!
After it was getting late and the outlets were closing soon, but it was 8:30 and we wanted ice cream. Off to Ben and Jerry's we went! I got a Chocowlate Chip and Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl in a cup and Mom got the New York Super Fudge Chunk. It was DELICIOUS. 

It was such an incredibly relaxing day together with good company, shopping and real food. I love days like that.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Homegrown :)

We grew our own! Mom set up planters in the front yard, it was all her doing. Now after a few weeks we JUST picked our first one. I can hardly believe it! It made me feel so much like a farmer :) My mom named him "Henry" (I have no clue why, hmm, don't ask) and we had such fun picking him from the vine. Complete with pictures. Then we ate him. And Henry went to cucumber heaven!

The moment of truth!

Delicious with some healthy, nutritious and real celtic sea salt. Contrary to popular belief, salt is good for you. But like with lots of foods it matters what kind or type of salt you're buying. Celtic sea salt is an unrefined, naturally harvested sea salt that is not beached or stripped of any minerals in any way; it has no additives, no chemicals and no preservatives. It is quite the opposite of iodized salt which is very damaging to our health. You can really taste the difference, and your body knows the difference. It's a bit on the pricey side for salt, but nothing bad at all and the cost is worth it for your health. This kind is most perfect for cucumbers.

Cucumbers + salt = love.

Real foodies... do you grow anything at home, or wish you did?

Friday, August 6, 2010


Look at this lovely liver waiting for me!

Liver is such a superfood. Since learning about real food and the WAPF, I've been meaning to add foods like organ meats to my diet. It hasn't been easy, mainly because the first problem is finding a source. The second problem, the actual cooking, isn't that big of a deal for me. I have other food bloggers that have blazed the organ meat trail before me and have left behind several good recipes! After finally finding out a good source of grass-fed organ meats at a local gourmet food store, I can now jump in and try my taste buds out on some interesting "new" traditional foods, which I've never ever eaten before. Eek!

Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of my liver attempts and I just ate the last of the casserole for lunch! In the package of liver there were 4 beautiful beef livers. I took them out, rinsed, tossed them in olive oil and then breaded them in almond + coconut flour with smoked paprika. I fried it up with onions and ate it with roasted zucchini and sweet potato disks. Even with the loads of ketchup I put on top I could still not get over the fact that I was eating liver!! The texture is soo different and while the taste wasn't bad, it was queer, for lack of a better word. I think half of it was in my head :)

With the liver leftovers (lots) I placed them in a dish and pureed them with a hand blender. Then I added this liver puree to a casserole I made in my "new-old" Wapak cast iron pan that had sauteed veggies, tomato paste, chunks of raw cheddar cheese, and ground turkey; the casserole was topped with almond flour, olive oil and raw milk parmesan cheese and placed under the broiler for about 5 minutes until brown and bubbling. This casserole, while you could still taste the liver sometimes, was quite good, and spicy! I'm definitely going to try this again with less liver and spices. I ate the leftovers throughout the week and felt great. Liver is a superfood!

Have you ever tried liver or other organ meats? What did you think, would you do it again?