Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy Baby Stella!! and Peanut butter chocolate pillows

So yesterday, we had a shower for Stella. Who is very cute and very pregnant right now. It was a great time, made even better by the friends who came into town.

Now, while the boys swear they had a better time at the Sweetwater Brewery tour, we had a pretty good time ourselves at Stella's shower.

For the shower, believe it or not, I was asked to make some desserts. I began looking online for some gluten free, nut free, vegan desserts, to try to accommodate all of our various diets and ran across these:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows

Totally SWIPED from Post Punk Kitchen and de-veganized by yours truly, since the peanut butter kind of put an ixnay on the veganay, and the nut free for that matter.
besides, I can only have so much vegan in my life

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows
makes 2 dozen cookies

Chocolate dough:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour with xanthan gum

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt


3/4 cup peanut butter

2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons half and half

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl combine oil, sugar, maple syrup, non-dairy milk and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Sift in flour, cocoa powder baking soda and salt. Mix to form a moist dough. Chill for an hour.

Make the filling. In another mixing bowl beat together peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, half and half and vanilla to form a moist but firm dough. If peanut butter dough is too dry add a little more half and half. If dough is too wet knead in a little extra powdered sugar.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bakings sheet with parchment paper.

Shape the cookies. Create the centers of the cookies by rolling the peanut butter dough into 24 balls, my small cookie scoop worked well for this. Scoop a generous tablespoon of chocolate dough, I used my bigger cookie scoop, flatten into a disc in the palm of your hand and place a peanut butter ball in the center. Fold the sides of the chocolate dough up and around the peanut butter center and roll the chocolate ball into an smooth ball between your palms. Place on a sheet of waxed paper and repeat with remaining doughs.

Place dough balls on lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake for 10 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and let cookies for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to complete cooling. Store cookies in tightly covered container.

Very stellar, if I do say so myself. Now back to my mission for a gluten free, nut free, vegan dessert, preferably chocolate. I am currently experimenting with brownies and will post soon about my adventures.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Recipe contest!!!

So, we are having an open house in a few weeks and I'm looking for yummy gluten free goodies to make and serve to my guests. And since we are in the good ol' USA I decided to request your help in the form of a....


(Oh and for you wheat eaters out there...send those recipes in too, I can convert them to what I have available in my kitchen.)

Both savory and sweet dishes will qualify for the fabulous prizes**

To give you some ideas, my random thoughts for the smorgasbord include:
feel free to build on these ideas or go a completely different route
  • marshmallows (homemade, of course)
  • ghetto petit fours (essentially any cake I can cut into small pieces and pour icing over)
  • cookies (M specifically requested lime sugar cookies)
  • hummus
  • veggies
  • fruit
  • salsa
  • guac(?)
  • cheese dip (midwest style)
  • tortilla chips
  • Cheese chunks
  • spinach dip
  • beverages (of course, and we'll even have non-alcoholic for the kiddies)

Submitted recipes will be reviewed by my very prestigious advisory panel of Kitchen Goddesses*, who will help me select the final entries to be included on the smorgasbord.

If your recipes ends up on the smorgasbord you will win a fabulous prize**

So enter early and often, remember you can't win unless you enter!!!

Here are the contest rules:
Entries must be received by August 26th. Entries can be submitted by emailing them to or by posting a link, or recipe, in the comment section of this post. If you post a recipe as part of you blog, please supply a link to the contest in your post. If you actually make the dish, please send me a picture, pixel size dose not matter, but please try to keep all pictures under 1MB. Posts that involve childhood memories or sappy stories my influence the expert panel*, we are human after all, however, the true quality of your dish is what really matters. Use of processed foods is permitted, after all "tater sluts" happen to contain all sorts of processed goodness and are a particular favorite of the expert panel*. If you are really nice to us, we may even share the recipe. All entries will be reviewed by the said expert panel*. If your entry is not selected, no pouting is allowed, although bribing of the judges may be allowed. Prizes** will be awarded to the winners. Honorable mentions may also be included in the round up post. Any questions can be submitted to or posted in the comment section of this post. Contest void and prohibited in states and countries where this kind of thing is void and prohibited. This contest is not affiliated with anything, besides my housewarming. The Kitchen Goddesses* are not receiving any compensation from acting as the expert panel in this contest,unless you bribe them. They do, however, get to eat the fruits of their labor, as do all the guests.

In other words, just post it in the comments or send it to me in an email.

*AKA MB and Ash

**My undying love and devotion, but if that is not enough, I'll also post a round up of the smorgasbord*** after I put the house back in order.

***if you don't know what a smorgasbord is you obviously are not Scandinavian, or did not grow up in the Midwest, a link is provided at the top of the post.

Friday, August 7, 2009

where did the summer go?

A month without internet (at home), madly finishing the house, a new position at the mothership, and suddenly I turn around and realize school starts on Monday. What a crazy month July has been.

So in brief summary here is the last month (or so) of my life:

June 25th. - We can move our stuff in, but cannot stay at the house since we do not have a C/O (certificate of occupancy, in case all of you who are not crazy enough to build a house don't know that). So, M and I are left at the loft with the futon and a few odds and ends.

June 26th. - M's birthday and his sister K arrives to celebrate with us and see the house before she heads home to Hawaii. Oops. No place for her to stay. Thank God for Ash, who says "come and stay with me at MB & D's while they are out of town". This will for ever more be know as the weekend of Poop and Moving. For Ash, who is an awesome friend, not only helped me with the movers the day before, is house sitting for MB & D, and also watch about 50 of other friends and neighbors animals.

Oh, and did I happen to mention that I was holding a surprise party for M at the house that night? Amazingly, we were able to pull it off without him knowing. Surprising him with about 40 people, including A&T who popped into town to stay with us at the urban refugee camp (AKA MB & D's).

M blowing out the candles on his cake, I have MB & D to thank for the use of their kitchen, M's birthday would not have been the same without Jello Cake.

The "weekend of Poop and Moving" turned out to be fabulous fun. The party was a success, we had a great visit with K and A&T, and we all had a fabulous time at MB & D's. (wish you guys could have been there, but I'm not sure where you would have slept!)

July 1st. - We get the C/O...kind of. We get a temporary C/O and are able to move in, but there are a few things to fix before the city will sign off on it. The main one being having a certified letter from our structural engineer that our decks are sound. Should be easy, right? More on that later.

July 2nd. - Just as the Kitties are settling into the new place, we disrupt their lives even more by getting a DOG!!!! We found Amos at Lifeline in Avondale Estates and welcomed him into our new home. While, we all are still adjusting (Amos included), he is a great addition to our four-legged crew.


Most of July. - THE DECK SAGA
The whole deck saga stems from an incident that happened days before our C/O inspection. You see, a fine establishment about two miles south of us had a deck collapse. My Sister's Room had decided that the back deck off there bar would be a fine place for wrestling. While, according to the reports, they were not wrestling that night, M had witnessed it from an adjacent restaurant days earlier...hmmm.... Lets just say, we aren't planning on wrestling on our decks.

In essence, the impetus doesn't matter, the fact is we had to get that certified letter. Unfortunately for us, our structural engineer never review the deck plans. So, after reviewing them, he determined that they needed a few "minor" tweaks. Let's just say these "minor" tweaks involved things like cutting into our finished ceilings to add more bolts and further securing the supports to the decks and the house. M with help from me and some friends ended up getting the work done, but I am still trying to recover from all the drywall dust that is strewn and has yet to be strewn throughout my new house. And as everyone knows, I LOVE drywall dust. Now, although the decks seemed fine before, they now feel like you are standing on the ground. Wrestling anyone??

M working on the lower deck

The deck repairs continue throughout most of the month, and truthfully, there is still a little drywall patching that needs to be done.

July 30th. - We head to the beach for a much needed weekend. A&W invite a few couples to A's family beach house for a bit of a reunion. It was awesome. We went crabbing and shrimping, swam and walked the beach, M tried his hand at stunt kites and all in all had a fantastic time.

M castnetting shrimp at the beach. I have to say that those shrimp and the crabs that were caught along with them were awesomely delicious.

This leads to August 6th ---- we got the FINAL C/O!!!!! And we close on Monday. After over a year of preparing and building we are finally going to home owners.

FINISHED!!! Well, kind of, but definitely livable. See Amos keeping watch through the front window

Things not mentioned, my battle with Comcast and the decision to go with Clear and forgo cable TV, for a while. My new job, me a papermaker, is now going to be developing soaps, lotions, and potions!!