Sunday, September 14, 2014

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Oatmeal Cookie Bars

...but not sugar free.

These are bars because I was too pressed for time to make individual cookies. I used the recipe on the inside lid of the Quaker Oats canister, "Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies," except I made so many substitutions that my daughter thought I should make a note of what substitutions I made. I was scared that they were going to taste terrible, but they were pretty good!

First the recipe calls for mixing the butter and sugars.
The recipe says, "1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tbsp. butter, softened." I used Coconut Oil instead of the half cup. Then, I tried to figure out what fraction of a cup 6 tablespoons is and it's roughly 1/3, so instead of the extra 6 T. of butter, I used molasses.
I heard it is good for people low on iron, so sometimes I remember to use it in baking. It has a strong smell though, hence part of my nervousness.

The next two ingredients are 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, I changed the ratios a bit and used 1 whole cup of packed brown sugar and slightly less than 1/4 cup of raw (turbinado) sugar. They were in little packets and I opened 9 of them and they almost filled the one fouth measuring cup. Then you cream the 'butter' and the sugars.

Next you add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Oops, we didn't have any eggs. Forgot to check for that before starting the recipe. Never fear, the Costco sized bag of Chia Seeds is still in the cabinet! Costco has a good price for a large bag.
Three tablespoons of water (lukewarm) and one tablespoon of chia seeds equals one egg.
So, I doubled that into a little bowl and let it sit while I mixed the dry ingredients in a different bowl.

Next, it calls for 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. I usually use half rice flour and half corn flour for avoiding wheat. You could also use the more grainy cornmeal, but I would use less of it and not 50/50 with the rice flour. I've had pretty good luck with this substitution, though some things do turn out crumbly.

No substitutions for the 1t. baking soda, 1 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. salt.
I did add 1/4 t. nutmeg though I didn't actually measure it, just a little sprinkle.

Stirred up the dry ingredients, including the 3 cups of Oats. Then, used the hand-mixer to blend the coconut oil/sugars with the chia seeds and vanilla.
Then, stirred them both together with a spatula. It was looking a little dry and sadly, we didn't have any raisins! One Cup raisins!
But, I had some very ripe bananas, so I put 2 of them in the bowl that had had the dry ingredients and blended them with the hand mixer and stirred that in with the cookie batter. No nuts, sadly, but I split the batter in half and added carob chips to one half.

For my birthday, earlier this year, I bought a bag of carob chips at an upscale grocery store, it cost $7 for the regular sized bag, which is probably 2 cups. I ate them plain a little at a time. They were soooo gooooooood! I hadn't had carob in years. Then, I saw them at the outlet grocery store for $2/bag! I couldn't believe the price difference and I bought five bags. When I got home, I opened one bag to have a little taste and I about gagged, it tasted so bad compared to the more expensive ones. So I haven't used them much, but they tasted good in this recipe. I think I used half a cup, since for the whole batch I would have used a whole cup.

Anyway, that's about it. You can tell from the pictures that I used two round cake pans. No need to grease the pans. For bar cookies, they need to bake about 30-35 min. at 350ºF.

I don't think Picky Eater #1 tasted them, but all the other kids ate them as well as my husband.
I call that a victory.
Here is where you should find the original recipe side by side with the substitutions in a nice recipe looking format, but it's late and I'm going to bed instead. Perhaps later...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

some crafty type stuff

This first craft was a trial run. I want to do this on a canvas, but for the trial run, I glued cutouts from magazine pages onto paper. Then, I made letters out of Post-It Note Correction Tape, so it wasn't very sticky; easy to peel off, but the corners got flubbed. It's also not the easiest to make beautiful letters with, but I didn't want to pay twenty dollars for the professional ones they have at the craft store. So, the real version of this is stalled until I figure out what to do about that. Anyway, black acrylic paint on top of glossy magazine pages might need two coats.

I wanted it to say, "Learning is life," but there wasn't enough room on this page. I like how the word 'for' is half red, half green.

I also wanted to experiment with making a collage from book pages. I picked up The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at a thrift store for 25¢, but I didn't look in it first and discovered there was so much outlining throughout it, that I couldn't use most of the text. So instead I cut out pictures and just a little bit of text.

As I was doing it, I was wishing I had started in landscape rather than portrait orientation.
Oh well, I like it as a good first effort.

For the next craft, this girl loves dresses to wear to church, not skirts, but it's hard to find dresses long enough. So, we made an up-cycled t-shirt dress. I found the red t-shirt at the thrift store, cut off the bottom hem and attached many other pieces of t-shirts also from the thrift store. So, I'm guessing this dress cost around $10. Not bad.  The t-shirts sat in my closet for a couple months I think before I finally got around to getting the sewing machine out. Now, I want to make one for my smallest girl, too.

I would have started the stripes a little higher on her waist, but she wanted as much of the red shirt as possible.

I added the yellow-orange piece of t-shirt at the collar, because she didn't like how low-cut it was, but now she says it's scratchy, so I'll have to do something about that. 

I think it will fit for a while!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Epiphany Quote by Richard Peck

"In fiction writing, the epiphany is a sudden breakthrough of understanding, of self-awareness. It's that moment of change that changes every moment after. It's the lightbulb switched suddenly on over somebody's head. Novels tell of epiphanies acted upon. A short story tends to turn upon a single epiphany, sometimes in the last line. The change to come is to play out in the reader's mind.
     "In real life we have epiphanies all the time. But we wait for them to go away. Change is too hard, and threatening. That's why we have fiction. Stories are better than real life, or we wouldn't have them. Stories for the young present the metaphor of change upon the page to prepare the readers for the changes coming in their lives. Non-readers will never be ready." - by Richard Peck in Past, Perfect, Present Tense