Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mint Chip Ice "Cream"

Now that we are mostly dairy free, processed foods free, and refined sugar free, I tend to make my own ice cream, or something similar to ice cream that is just as good. I have been experimenting with different milks, some cooked bases with eggs, other uncooked bases with different dairy free milks, and I have stumbled upon many other blog posts about non-dairy ice cream. I read in one blog that they thought a mixture of almond milk and coconut milk resulted in an ice milk that would not freeze into a solid block. So, I tried this, and I can honestly say, it doesn't freeze into a solid block. This is my first time making it that it hasn't. However, this recipe in its original form is not 100% dairy free, so maybe that had something to do with it. I want to try it again, or at least use the base ingredients again, with no dairy and see how it freezes.

Anyway, here is the recipe, and I truly believe that right out of the ice cream maker (Cuisinart ICE-21 at our house - 1 1/2 quart), it tastes and looks exactly like store bought, full of fat and bad sugars, mint chip ice cream. After it froze in the freezer, it was a little less sweet, but was still pretty good.

Mint Chip Ice Cream with Dairy Free Option
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (Silk original for us)
  • 1 can of organic full fat coconut milk (we use Thai Kitchen Organic, about 13.66oz)
  • 1 frozen banana, sliced (you may be able to use room temp. banana, but I don't know what the results will be)
  • 3/4 cup organic heavy cream (we used Horizon Organic) *omit and replace with an extra frozen banana for the dairy free option. We have not tried this yet, so I would love to know how it turns out for you.
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp mint extract
  • 1 Tbsp honey (omit and use all agave if you will feed this to any children under 1 year old)
  • 2 Tbsp organic raw blue agave nectar *(or your favorite sweetener. I hope to try it with stevia drops. I do not recommend stevia powder for anything as it uses maltodextrin which has the highest glycemic index- 150- of all sugars)
  • 10 drops of green food coloring optional (you could also try using spinach to color. I have read you can't even taste it, but my blender doesn't pulverize the spinach, so I am left with flakes that would be less than appetizing in ice cream)
  • 3/4 cup dairy free chocolate chips (We use Enjoy Life)
Add everything to the blender and blend until smooth. This should thinly coat the back of a spoon. From here, if it is sweet enough for your tastes, Place it in the ice cream maker. If you do not have an ice cream maker, move on  to the next step and place it all in a covered freezer safe container (preferably BPA free). I can't say for sure, but I believe this should be frozen over night or at least six hours without an ice cream maker. While the ice cream maker is running, melt the chocolate chips in either a double boiler or follow the instructions for melting in the microwave. Melt them until they are pourable. In the last minute or so the ice cream maker is running, pour in the chocolate. It will freeze almost immediately. I just used my spoon to shove it down into the ice cream maker and it made chunks and small chips. Another easy option is melt the chips in advance, pour them into a parchment lined 8x8 pan, and place the pan in the freezer. When the chocolate is frozen, pull it out of the pan with the parchment paper, place it in a gallon freezer bag and smash it into chunks and throw them in with the ice cream in the last 5 minutes (or mix them in with the liquid if you do not have an ice cream maker).

This makes 6 cups of liquid. It didn't all fit in my 1 1/2 quart ice cream maker. I strongly recommend against over-filling your ice cream maker because the ice cream will not freeze well. I may be saying this from experience. ;o) This ice cream is truly best straight from the ice cream maker. It was not rock solid when had frozen in the freezer, but it did require a 30 second thaw in the microwave (another reason bpa free is best).

My husband loved it, and it is even a contender in the running for which homemade ice creams I will be making for Liam's first birthday. :) It is now only 5 months away! hehe.

Do you have any experiences with dairy free ice creams? How do you get them creamy without dairy? What sweeteners do you use?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Peacoock Circle Vest... LOVE!

Last week, I decided to try Craftsy to sell my patterns. I uploaded most of my patterns there. I haven't had any sales there yet, but it is worth a shot if you are a pattern seller. Unlike Etsy, and even the much cheaper Ravelry, Craftsy lets you list your patterns for FREE! I decided to jump on it because, well, why not? I have nothing to lose.

Anyway, as I was going about adding my patterns, Craftsy would recommend patterns to me. A few of them were cute, but one of them really caught me eye. I loved it! The Crochet Circle Vest/Shrug was suggested to me, and I think it is so cute. It is drape-y, light weight, open and looks super easy to make. I did end up purchasing the pattern, but I haven't made it up yet. It sent me on a wild goose chase to look at other circle vest designs.

I looked all over Ravelry and Etsy, and yet another vest caught my eye. This one has a gypsy/bohemian style and is actually a dress/vest. I cannot help but be drawn to the gypsy/bohemian style. I love the long tiered skirts. I love the layers. I love the long wavy hair. It all just speaks to me. I think there is a romantic freedom that sort of emanates from this style that I really love. So... I bought another pattern! It is actually called the Spider Web Mandala Dress Vest, and, as far as I know, it can only be found on Etsy.

I was so inspired and in love with this dress that I managed to finish one in just 2 days! It reminds me of a peacock. It was super easy to customize. You can change colors whenever you like and use any colors you wish, but the designer does give suggestions for where to change colors if you are feeling uninspired. It was really easy to understand, and works up quickly. The finished product made me so happy! Check it out.

 Give it a twirl. ;o)
 I really love it over a simple cotton summer dress. I tried it over a plain lilac t-shirt and jeans yesterday and it works great for that as well.

What do you think? I don't often make things for myself. Usually when I do, I have to really love them. This just happened to be one of those things. What have you made for yourself lately?

Oh, What a ... Morning!

I have been pretty into green smoothies lately, and I decided I might try to make them in the morning as breakfast instead of my usual oatmeal. People always talk about how they are such a good start to the day, so I really figured I should try it for myself to find out.

Oh, how I despise changing up the routine! Why does it seem that every time I wake up with some sort of plan for my morning, Liam also wakes up feeling especially irritable? And why, then, does everything seem to go downhill from there?

Most mornings, I know how my day is going to go based on the way Liam wakes up. If he wakes up quietly and seems to be pondering, the day could really be good or bad. If he wakes up smiley and ready to play, I am usually going to have a fairly easy day with him. But, if he wakes up and starts getting whiny before I can even roll myself out of bed, and proceeds to throw a fit as I attempt to slap on whatever clothing is closest, I can almost bet, there won't be a shower or a warm meal in it for mommy this morning.

Well... let's take a guess how my morning started on the one day I wanted to change things up a bit and try a green smoothie for breakfast instead of the 2 minute oatmeal I normally have. Yeah... that's what I get, but guess who decided to shoot for the green smoothie anyway.

So, we come downstairs. I change Liam's diaper, put him in his walker. These are both normal parts of our morning. He plays for a little while, chasing the cats and throwing toys. ;o) I start the smoothie process, pulling out all the things I'm going to throw into this little green power house: kale, chia seeds, celery, carrots, apple, banana, peanut butter, almond milk, plain yogurt, etc. I get started on all the chopping, pouring, slicing, and once I have all the ingredients in the blender, I am feeling pretty good. Liam is still having a good time in the living room, and all seems well. Do you happen to hear some signature "shark attack" music in your head right now? Or maybe even a menacing, "Dun...Dun... DUN!"

Good, then we're right on track. I turn the blender on, and my 15 year old blender (the new one we got for our wedding a few years ago stripped the gears in my green smoothie making), and it made this slight shift to the side. I grabbed onto it thinking the top was going to blow off or something. Nothing happened, so I felt fairly safe. I just decided to hold onto it the rest of the time. But then... the blender started to make a different kind of whirring noise and didn't seem to be blending as efficiently (as a 15 year old blender can blend). I tried setting the speed higher, but the noise continued. I shut off the blender, and out of the corner of my eye I notice something green.

"Well, duh! You are making a green smoothie, Kylie. Just where exactly is this story going?" You may be thinking to yourself.

No! I mean, I noticed something green oozing out onto my counter... like the blob, only I was much more afraid of this. My green smoothie was leaking out the bottom of my blender, so I, being the genius I am most mornings, started to liftg the top of the blender off the base and... green slop comes flushing out everywhere! I drop the blender back on the base, and I cannot tell you what possessed me to do what I did next... I really can't figure out how I thought this was a good idea.

I picked up the blender from the base yet again. When the rest of the green slop started pouring out, I decided I had lost the war and just let it all flow out as I stood there thinking about the 6 cups of organic ingredients that were literally about to go down the drain. Awesome... And did I mention that Liam was having a full blown crazy fit by this point? So, not only did I get to waste all those wonderful, gorgeous ingredients. I got to attempt to clean up a mess worse than exploding poop from all over my counter fast enough to make Liam happy. I was not successful.

No worries, though. I ended up getting it all cleaned up, gave Liam a bottle, got him calmed back down, and later, I was able to completely remake my original green smoothie, and... it even turned out pretty well. So well, in fact, that my husband even drank one after work. I wish I could tell you how important that last fact is, but let it suffice to say my husband very, VERY rarely puts green things on his plate. ;o)

So, would you like the recipe? I mean, there must be some good to come from all my toiling and moments of insanity. Sure. Let's go with that.

Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie 
  Serves 2! 
  •  2 lacinato kale leaves with stems cut out (should be very large)
  • ½ cup baby carrots
  • ½ avocado (omit if you do not want a creamy smoothie)
  • ½ cup almond milk (1 cup if you do not want a thick smoothie)
  • ½ cup organic plain probiotic yogurt
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped (2 6-7” stalks)
  •  ½ cup frozen blueberries
  •  6-8 frozen strawberries
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 cored, sliced small red apple
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 2 heaping Tbsp raw, no salt peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup ice (1 ½ cups if you do not want a thick smoothie)
Cut the stem from the kale. Chop into 1” sections. I like to place it in my cloth steam bag at this point and steam it in the microwave for 30 seconds so it isn’t so rough. Throw it all in the blender and blend all until very smooth, being sure to place the liquid on the bottom. Makes about 38 oz (with only ½ cup of almond milk and 1 cup of ice). Divide and enjoy! To me, this tasted like a peanut butter and banana smoothie. I really couldn’t taste any of the other ingredients, and my husband agreed.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Healthy(ish) Fried Green Tomatos

I have just made and tasted my first EVER fried green tomato! 
Now, I understand this may not be such a big deal to most of you, and I understand you may be wondering how this could possibly be healthyish. First, let me tell you why I made these.
At some point in my early childhood, I remember seeing a movie where a boy was hit by a train getting his foot stuck in the track. Every time I walked on a train track (my mom would have had a cow if she had known), I thought of this movie, but I couldn't quite remember the name. Later, when I started dating my husband, the movie came back up in conversation once. After watching it, I was reminded of a simpler time in my life. Maybe that is all this lifelong wonder over fried green tomatoes has been about. Maybe it was the camaraderie of the southerners that made me wonder if they knew something I didn't. Maybe it was my inherent tie to the south, deeply rooted in my dad's side of the family. Who really knows?
Whichever, I always wondered just what was so great about a fried green tomato. I mean, they named an entire movie about it. Something had to be special, right?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but I still can't pinpoint the exact reason these are so coveted. I don't mean to say they didn't taste good. I just don't know what exactly it was that keeps people coming back. I do know, however, that upon eating these first ever fried green tomatoes, I felt I was sharing some sort of bond with my southern family, the grandmother I will never know that had 13 children, woke up before dawn to cook for them all and, from what I hear, rarely sat down or enjoyed much of the meals herself. I wonder what life lessons she might have shared with me?
Anyway...let's talk about what makes these so much more healthyish than any other fried green tomato. First, they are gluten free! Second, they are egg free. Last, they are fried in coconut oil.
"Wait... Didn't I hear that coconut oil was like, the root of all evil?" you might be thinking to yourself. No, no, silly. That was just another of the government's hair-brained, under-studied, over-generalizations. You can read all about the wonderful tropical secret in this awesome book: Virgin Coconut Oil.
Just one more thing, and then I promise I will give you the recipe. ;) Don't you want to know what I thought of my first ever fried green tomato? Well, here goes. It was tangy... or tart. It had a zing. It was slightly crunchy, slightly soft, mildly salty, and overall, I kept chewing, swallowing, sitting for a second to ponder, cutting, chewing, and swallowing. Each bite made me feel a little warm inside, but as for flavor, I just don't think these will automatically become something I crave (Though, these days, I don't fight the battle of cravings anymore. More on that later.) What do you think? Do you go back to fried green tomatoes for the flavor or for a deeply rooted family memory? I'd love to hear your own fried green tomato stories. is my recipe, adapted and tweaked from Lexie's Kitchen.
Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free Fried Green Tomatoes
  • 1 Large Organic Green Tomato
  • 1/4c. Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp to 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup or so non-dairy milk (I used Silk unsweetened Almond)
  • 1/2 cup organic virgin coconut oil (or enough to coat the bottom of the skillet about 1/4 to 1/2")
  • 1 sheet parchment paper

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400.
  2. Slice tomato 1/8" to 1/4" thick. I read that if you slice them too thin, they will not have the tangy flavor of the tomato, and if you slice them too thick, they will not cook enough before the crust is done.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the flour, salt, garlic powder and paprika. In another small bowl, pour the almond milk.
  4. Prepare your coconut oil in the skillet, letting it melt all the way down if it is not liquid at your room temperature.
  5. Place the tomato slices on a shallow baking pan lined with parchment paper. This is a Paula Deen trick to making fried green tomatoes. :) Lightly salt each side of the tomatoes and pop them in the pre-heated oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Paula Deen says that green tomatoes hold a lot of water, and putting them in the oven cooks off some of that water so you don't have mushy fried tomatoes. It worked for me.
  6. Take the tomato slices out. Let them cool or use tongs. Dust each side of the tomato with the flour mixture. Dip the tomato slices into milk and dredge them through the tomato mixture. Place them in the heated oil. If it does not sizzle as you place it in, it is not hot enough. I read that foods are normally fried around 350 to 375 degrees. If you want to, check the oil temp before putting any tomatoes in.
  7. Fry until light golden brown, flipping carefully and frying both sides. My electric burner was on high heat and this took only a couple of minutes for each side.
  8. Remove to a paper towel covered plate. Allow to cool and enjoy! I sprinkled a bit of salt on one side of the tomatoes before drying the oil.
*Let it be known that my tomato-hating husband ate an entire slice and said, "They're not bad." Hehehe...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Over a Year Later!

Oh. My. Goodness! I cannot believe it has been over a year since I have posted anything. So much has happened in a year... We are proud parents to a very sweet little boy who is now a little over 6 months old! The time definitely flies, and I can promise that I take the advice to enjoy every moment we are able. And because I just can't resist, here are 6 months worth of our sweet Liam!

 1 Month
 2 Months
 3 Months
 4 Months
 5 Months
And our most recent... 6 Months!

Parenthood has been interesting, to say the least. I hope I get a chance to post on all such topics as breastfeeding, natural birth, formula, and any of the fun stuff in between. I struggled severely with breastfeeding due to chronic thrush and whole body yeast issues. It ended sadly (heart-breaking-ly for me) with me no longer being able to breastfeed and having to choose the next best option for Liam. I would love to discuss what went into our decision to choose Baby's Only Organic Lactose Free formula. I would also love to get some time to do an in depth post on Candida and all the issues it entails in hopes of helping others. If you happen across my blog between now and when I someday get the time to post up on my battle with Candida, please shoot me an e-mail at because it is brutal to go through and brutal to have to research on your own. I would be glad to pass on what I have learned.

And, in the crochet world, I don't get nearly as much done as I used to. Who would have guessed that I would be consumed with a certain little blue eyed boy zooming through my house in his rocket ship walker? :) I have drafted up a handful of patterns in the past year that I have had no time to sit down and edit, revise, find testers for, etc. Now that Liam is mobile, I get a little more free time with my hands, but most of that has gone to research in the past few months. I have been researching health and nutrition to death LIFE! Hehe. I make myself laugh. 

Today, compared to a year ago, I am a green-smoothie-drinkin', whole-grain-eatin', cloth-diaperin', attachment-parentin', health-and-nutrition-lovin', caffeine-free(in'?), Bible-studyin' crazy wife and momma! As you may have guessed, I never really needed the caffeine to feel EXCITED for life. I hope this is the first of many blogs to come, and I hope to share all of my thoughts with you about all my crazy roles in life. 

Oh, and one more quick note that I... you guessed it... hope to go more into depth later with, here is a great blog post I found about the whole copyright/licensing debacle I posted about such a LONG, LONG, time ago. Over at Speckless, she has posted her Thoughts on Making and Selling, and I feel like she was in my brain! :) I completely agree with her post, and I must say, over a year later from posting my initial thoughts on copyrights and licensing for patterns, I have gained much more experience and my original thoughts have changed. I offer most of my patterns to buyers letting them know that they are responsible for their finished items, meaning they can do whatever they wish with the items they put so much time and effort into. However, a small selection of my patterns are offered with the understanding that you cannot sell the items you make from the patterns online. I chose to list those patterns that way because I am a WAHM (work-at-home-mom). My husband supports us solely and is constantly working 10-15+ hour of overtime a week to ensure my ability to stay home with our little guy. The money I make from my Etsy shop is our only extra income, and most of that money comes from the sales of custom items using the select patterns I do not allow sales from. I know that legally, I have no rights to prevent people from making sales. That is why I have asked in the listing that you not purchase the pattern if you cannot agree not to sell the finished items. I am happy to answer any questions further regarding this policy upon request, but I just wanted to make a quick update. People change and grow, and their opinions change and grow. That is really all this update is about. :)