Oyster Mushrooms

I am starting with a store bought product but this is possible as a hobby for some people. It’s interesting to try out.

This is a kit from BackToTheRoots.com though there are other companies that offer these kits. This seems to be the best marketed product to be found by beginners.

This particular kit’s requires almost no effort to maintain beyond spritzing with water, it grows to the harvest stage in about 10 days and they are edible. I dried mine and used them in pasta sauce a few days later.

Occasional Quilting

So it took me 1.5 years to fully complete this quilt because it turned out that I am not that thrilled about it and just wanted to try out a jelly roll quilt. I needed to reclaim the chair it lived on. I could totally store it, or finish it. So there’s that… It did get completed, but there was a lot of lazy sewing at the end.

I don’t have proper binding and that is ok because this is just my couch blanket for the winter or mailing to my sister. I used the backing as the binding and folded it over on itself in a backwards sort of fashion as I wanted the black border. I wasn’t bothered enough for the nice corners that I’ve put into my other quilts and I am completely ok with that…it looks fine anyways.

Now I can plan the one I really want to make.. I am thinking black, charcoal, and burgundy.

Almond Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 1/3 cup flour

1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup almond milk

2 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds

almond slices, optional topping

Instruction

Preheat oven to 350

Cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, then the almond extract and lemon zest. Mix well.

In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture alternately with the almond milk until combined. Fold in poppy seeds.

Pour equally into 6 jumbo muffins if you are using a pan for large sized muffins lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 -35 minutes. I absolutely think these are better as a larger muffin.

For regular cupcake sized muffins use cupcake liners and fill 2/3rds full (12 muffins) and bake 15-18 minutes.

Portabella & Chicken Risotto from leftover chicken

This is a good leftovers recipe for an extra piece of chicken. You can cook the chicken as a first step also but I more often make this with a piece of cooked leftover chicken. Add 1/3 cup parmesan for cheesy chicken, or you can exclude the chicken entirely and use vegetable broth for a meatless side dish.

Stir constantly. The key to obtaining creamy rice is directly effected by your dedication to constant stiring.

Ingredients

1 cup precooked chicken breast, diced

2 tablespoons of oil

2 large portabella, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 1/2 cup long grain white rice

1/2 cup white wine

6 cups chicken broth, low sodium

2 tablespoons of butter

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Instruction

In a sauce pan place the chicken broth, cover and heat to a simmer.

In a skillet, over med-high head add the oil, portabella, onion and bell pepper. Saute until soft and beginning to brown, this is where most of the cooking will happen so make sure they are nicely cooked and browned to your satisfaction. Remove the portabella, bell pepper and onion to a bowl and set aside with the diced chicken.

Mix in the rice and then de-glaze the pan with the white wine. Turn the stove down slightly to medium. At this point you should not stop stirring the rice until it is done. Once the wine has been absorbed you will add a half a cup of the simmering chicken broth. Stir until it has absorbed completely before adding another half cup of liquid, repeat until there is no chicken broth left.

When you get to the last of the chicken broth you should have a thick creamy texture rice from the stirring. Once the last of the chicken broth absorbs, turn the heat to low and add the butter, salt, and pepper. Mix until melted. Add the chicken, onion and portabella back into the rice and stir until the chicken has heated through.

Spanish Chicken & Rice for Tacos

Sumac is definitely a rare spice where I am, it has a tart and lemony sort of flavor that enhances the lemon, but it can be left out if it’s not on hand. I make this often, and about half the time I do not have a lemon or lime on hand so that is how Sumac originally ended up in this recipe. Double it to 1/4th teaspoon add a pinch of dried lemon peel if you have it… it’s an acceptable replacement for a fresh lemon. And also enhances the flavor of the lemon when you do have it.

The chicken and rice is fine as a meal on it’s own with beans and warm tortillas on the side. Being steamed with the rice.. you end up with very moist and flavorful piece of chicken.

Ingredients

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast meat

3 tablespoons avocado oil

1 bell pepper, diced

1 cup rice

1 lemon

1 2/3 cups chicken broth(low sodium)

Seasoning

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/8 teaspoon sumac

Instructions

Mix the ingredients for the seasoning and divide it into two parts. Set one part aside and use the other half as a dry rub on the chicken. To prepare the lemon, cut it in half and then cut one half into slices and set aside.

Add the avocado oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Braise the chicken and diced bell pepper together, cook until it begins to brown. Remove the chicken to a plate temporarily and add the rice to the skillet along with the chicken broth, lemon juice from half the lemon and the rest of the seasoning, stir to de-glaze the pan and then return the chicken and situate it with the rice mostly surrounding instead of underneath the chicken. Bring the chicken broth to a boil and then cover and simmer on low for 20-25 minutes or until both the chicken and the rice are cooked through.

In the meantime, prepare and set out the toppings of your choice.

Use two forks to shred the chicken meat when it is done.

Flour Tortillas can be heated in a skillet over high heat if you do not have tortilla pan(or directly on a burner if you learned to do it that way.) Corn tortillas as I was taught to make them, would be fried in oil momentarily until crispy and them shaped in a taco shape to cool before filling.

For Tacos

1 pack tortillas (they are also easy to make)

1 can of refried beans

Toppings

I never would have thought to include this list until I moved from the South West… and was shocked to find broccoli… BROCCOLI on a taco!… and I learned that it is rare to find a good authentic taco’s in some other places.

Toppings range from a handful, to all of the following.

Diced raw onion, diced tomato, shredded lettuce, avocado chunks or guacamole, salsa, shredded Mexican blend cheese, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, lemon or lime wedges, jalapenos or other peppers(fresh or fire roasted), cholula hot sauce.

Coconut Boston Cream Cake

This is a great dairy free cake. A bit of chocolate, a hint of coconut with creamy filling. I am using my basic coconut cream cake in this recipe. It’s a winner so I have no reason to change anything.

Ingredients

Cake

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup dairy free butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cup sugar

5 eggs, separated and at room temperature

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 cup coconut cream

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Filling

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups coconut cream

2 tablespoons dairy free butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

I’m not gonna lie, I used dairy free canned frosting here. I just don’t like making frosting.

Instruction

Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cut two 9 in rounds out of parchment paper and place them inside two well greased 9in cake pans.

Empty contents of can of coconut cream into a bowl, microwave for 20 seconds, mix until combined and smooth. Measure your 1 cup of coconut cream once fully mixed.

Technique: Creaming the butter properly is important in the overall consistency of the batter.

In a bowl, cream together the coconut oil, butter and sugar using a standard mixer on low until it is white and fluffy. Incorporate one egg at a time followed by the coconut and vanilla extracts, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix for another 30 seconds.

While mixing begin adding the coconut milk and flour in small potions, mixing well with each addition.

Detatch and clean the whisk attachments for the egg whites.

In another bowl add the cream of tartar to the egg whites. Beat on medium for 6-7 minutes to form soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in thirds.

pour into two 9in round cake pans evenly and bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the cake center comes out clean.

Filling

Add sugar, cornstarch and salt to a saucepan, stir then add coconut milk and whisk steadily while bringing to a boil over medium low heat.

Once thickened reduce heat to low and whisk for one minute more before removing from heat. Add butter and vanilla. Continue to mix until combined. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes then carefully pour the contents into a gallon ziplock bag. Remove extra air and seal. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Assembly

I like to take the simple cake decorating route. I haven’t got the patience for fine detail when it comes to cake decorating.

Use a bread knife to make the cake tops flat.

Place one of the cakes on a plate place about 50% of your frosting in a piping bag with a standard round tip or, use a ziplock bag, press it completely closed. Cut a small piece of corner off the bag and use that to pipe the frosting in a ring around the top edge of the cake. This is your barrier to hold in the filling so you want a solid wall of frosting instead of dollops with space in between. Even a small barrier of frosting will generally do, save the remainder in the bag, you will frost the rest once the second cake is on top.

Take your ziplock bag of cream and cut one of the corners to make a small hole. Apply the filling in an even layer, filling all of the area inside of your frosting barrier evenly.

Gently add your second cake on top in an upside down position so the top you evened is face down against the filling. Gently press down to push down and even out the cake as needed. Fill in the gaps between the cakes with the remaining frosting in the bag. Smooth the sides with the serrated edge of a butter knife for texture. Use the remaining 50% of the frosting on the top.

Other Dairy-Free Cake Recipes

Daffodil Cake

Dairy-Free Mudslide Cupcakes and Kahlua Hot Cocoa

Wire Wrapping and Wire Weaving

I’ve always collected rocks. I grew up arould gemstome miners and jewelry makers so I decided to see of I could make something out of some of my stones. and craft wire. It’s a silly hobby maybe, because I don’t actually wear jewelry.

Starting off I was able to make some pretty good first attempts. I was using the wrong kind of pliers and the wrong kind of wire but it still turned out alright.

Week 1

I picked up on it pretty quick and ordered some of the correct tools and wire. While I wait for that stuff. I made basic stuff for practice out of what I could find. It seems like I can make something out if this as a hobby if I keep at it.

Week 2

I still didn’t have a pair of round pliers and I was running out of all the beads I had.

Week 3

I got some cheap beads and a few nicely priced grade B gemstone beads. I also have some odd sized and shaped wire I haven’t really worked with yet.

Rebatch Soap

I decided to include old samples whole for some chunks of color. This is all my soap trimmings from the past 2-3 years.

Rebatching soap is as easy as taking any lye soap, shredding it and melting it down in a crock pot by adding small amounts of water in tablespoon amounts until it becomes a thick mashed potato consistancy. You can do this for old soap, ugly soap or scraps of soap. Then use a handheld mixer to get it all combined. Add color or scent if you want, all colors mixing together like I have here makes an undisirable brown/grey color. I added a bit of a brilliant blue to make sure it wasnt a brownish sort of grey. Charcoal is also a good additive if your getting an unappealing color. You can also sort the colors of soap you are rebatching to start with if you are using large amounts of various kinds of soap. If I planed the surfaces for perfection I them I would have quite a bit more to work with but it’s easier to just throw it all together.

I added an even blend of Frankincense, Sandalwood and Patchouli which makes a very clean scent. It also goes well with all the mixed smells that are already there.

Vanilla Coconut Cream Cake

This is one of my favorite cake recipes.

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup dairy-free butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cup sugar

5 eggs, separated and at room temperature

1 teaspoon coconut extract(optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 cup coconut cream

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 can of dairy-free premade vanilla frosting ( I do, I hate making frosting!)

Instruction

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Empty contents of can of coconut cream into a bowl, microwave for 20 seconds, mix until combined and smooth. Measure your 1 cup of coconut cream once fully mixed.

Technique: Creaming the butter properly is important in the overall consistency of the batter.

In a bowl, cream together the coconut oil, butter and sugar using a standard mixer on low until it is white and fluffy. Incorporate one egg at a time followed by the coconut and vanilla extracts, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix for another 30 seconds.

While mixing begin adding the coconut milk and flour in quarters, mixing well with each addition.

Detatch and clean the whisk attachments for the egg whites.

In another bowl add the cream of tartar to the egg whites. Beat on medium for 6-7 minutes to form soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in thirds.

pour into a 9x13in pan and smooth evenly with a spatula. I added some food dye in a mantra swirl design.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer in the center area of the cake comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.