Thursday, October 27, 2016

Yummiest Dark Chocolate (gluten free) Cookies EVER!

The Headlines:


These may look like something you've tasted...

BEWARE - they're not!

They're BETTER!



Sometimes looks can be deceiving.  Like on Halloween.  You may dress up like a French Maid but you don't clean for a living!

Kinda like this cookie recipe.  It looks like something you've had before.  Maybe even something your sweet Grandma used to make.  But guaranteed - it's not!


Why?  First of all, there's no butter or flour in them.  And therefore, I guess, not that many calories.  You could maybe call it a "skinny" cookie... but I think it makes them sound too boring.  Which these are NOT!   See, kids below having LOTS of fun!

SO, without flour or butter - how do they work you ask?  It's the cornstarch.  And the chocolate.  Yea, those 2 things.  But here's the deal.  You're not missing anything in these cookies.  They are truly stupendous... even with just a couple ingredients!  I couldn't even stop eating the batter (which I never do) - it was outrageous chocolate goodness, as was the cookie itself.

See, I found this recipe a while ago and have been wanting to make it ever since.  This Fall Break we finally pulled the trigger and my kids were stoked (obvi, above)!  It was first published here: on Picklee.com but I tweaked it just a tad.  Not much.  That awesome gal gets most of this credit!

Here's What You Need:
coconut oil (non-stick spray)
1 tblspn cornstarch (nope, no gluten in here)
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
3 egg whites
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (make sure you get the gluten free kind - some pow sug's have starch in it)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tspn salt

Here's What You Do:
Set oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet (or 2) with parchment paper.   Or use that spray I mentioned above.  Melt 1 cup of dark choc chips in a micro proof bowl, set aside.  Take a large bowl, 3 egg whites and beat them with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  Add in 1 cup powdered sugar.  Mix until it's not quite as "stiff" anymore.  Then, in a separate bowl blend salt, cocoa powder, cornstarch and another cup of powdered sugar.  Now, take that mixture and slowly add it in the egg white bowl.  Grab the 1/2 cup of choc chips and pour those into the melted chocolate, then add that to your cookie dough.  SaveSaveSaveSave

Now, scoop little balls of dough and roll them into the rest of your powdered sugar. About 22-24 times.  They look like this:


Bake for 10-12 minutes.  This is a tad tricky.  They can get a little over-cooked if you keep them in a couple minutes long (12 or longer) or they can be slightly under-cooked if you get them out too early (10).  So experiment.

But in the end you'll have these little dollops of melty, yummy goodness.  I'm telling you, Scary!  Scary good.


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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Benefits of BONE BROTH & How You Can Make It!

The Headlines:



It's Nature's Multi-Vitamin. 

The healthiest thing you're NOT EATING.

Let's change that.




This world has come a long way.  We've gone to the moon, invented the internet, heck we mass produce ice cream in the form of little tiny dots.  But sometimes it's nice to go back to the beginning.  Hundreds and hundreds of years ago some woman used the bones of the cow that her husband slaughtered for their family and made soup.  It wasn't only good but it held the key to pure and total health.  



Not long ago, I wrote an article on my 10 year old daughter... who is recovering from a horrible drug that was supposed to make her feel better.   It's a long story that many of you read.  Thank you by the way.  If you haven't I encourage you to do so HERE.  It's my most popular post so far and I can't tell you how happy that makes me.  I make no money on my blog.  Not a cent, just ask the husband.  So it makes me proud for the simple reason that it's chalk full of important information that I know will help others.

Anyhow, because of that post many people emailed/messaged me.  Including a college friend of mine who told me, in my quest to heal my little girl, I should also be feeding her Bone Broth.  She lives in Southern California where it's become all the rage.

Seriously.

You can buy it in Malibu for $8.50 in a small sized to go cup (gulp) or you can make it yourself.  More on that later.

My friend uses it to aid in her "Leaky Gut Syndrome" which is a real thing, I promise.  So I looked into it more and Bone Broth really is an all-powerful elixir.  No wonder everyone in NYC and LA are doing it... It aids in overcoming intolerances and allergies, detoxification, brain development, boosting the immune system, better sleep, more energy, joints/muscles/bones development - and yes ladies - collagen production!  

How Does It Work? 
The bones of heathy, grass fed, organic animals carry minerals and nutrients that we can't get to unless we boil and then simmer those special ingredients out of them!  It's not enough to just eat the meat around them... you have to suck the extra GOOD STUFF straight out.

Drinking bone broth puts anti-oxidants, vitamins, amino acids, minerals and electrolytes in your body like magnesium, collagen, glucosamine, calcium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, potassium, gelatin, arginine and more.  The problem is, typically, many of the aforementioned items are hard for the human body to absorb... consumption through broth makes it possible.

I heard it said that Bone Broth is Nature's Multi-vitamin.  That seems like an accurate description.


So WHY AREN'T YOU DOING IT?

I know what you're thinking... I'll just buy some organic broth at the store.  You can't.  My acupuncturist says, even organic, store bought doesn't even come close to what you make in the kitchen.  He says, you may as well just drink water.  So let's get started.

Here's What You Need:
1-2 lbs of Organic, grass fed cow bones (found at most grocery stores today - about $8 per/lb)
Filtered water
Carrots (organic)
Celery (organic)
1 large Onion
Garlic
Non-iodized Salt (himalayan salt, )
Pepper
Apple Cider Vinegar
Powdered Collagen (optional)


Here's What You Do:
Put bones in water with 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and bring to a boil.  Remove scum and transfer to crock pot.  Add coarsely chopped vegetables, salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of collagen if you choose.  The whole thing takes maybe 15 minutes.


Keep on low setting for at least 48 hours... up to 72.

Could it BE any easier?


Once it's finished, strain bones from broth and keep in fridge to re-use (at least 1 to 2 more times).  Now you can either choose to strain everything from the broth or keep the veggies and extras in there.  After it cools place in fridge and/or freezer.

Also, you can sip some along the way and just refill with water but the best benefits come the longer the potion sits and simmers.

How Does It Taste?
That probably depends on who you ask.  My 10 year old likes it, my 5 year old doesn't.  My friends husband won't touch it.  My husband has it every morning.  I like it but I don't love it.  Maybe you should decide for yourself.  Two words of caution, my first batch was darn right yummy.  When I added the collagen it took a bit of that "yumminess" away.  Plus, I HATED when I tried doing it with chicken bones.  I threw it out.  

I know it's voo-doo sounding, as BP (the husband) likes to call it.  But in the same breath he now touts how amazing it is... all the "voo-doo" we do and have mentioned on this blog like Himalayan Salt LampsFERTILITY - How to Get Pregnant When Doctors say You Can't and of course Healing Your Child from A Prescription Pill  - REALLY WORKS.  It just does.

As I always say, I'm not a doctor but there's certainly nothing harmful about Broth.  If you're interested in reading more about the Benefits of Bone Broth - I got much of my information HERE.    Hey, if it helps me with wrinkles, my daughter with her nut allergy and my husband with his aching joints - SOLD.

Finally, tonight, I believe we, as a people hear things when we want to hear them.  It's how we survive in this information dense world we live in.  The other day I walked into my acupuncturist's office (whom I LOVE and respect by the way) - Robert Koagedal - with Acuheath in Scottsdale, AZ.  Find him HERE.  I told him, "Hey, I'm making Bone Broth" to which he chuckled and replied, "I've only mentioned that to you about 10 times!"

The benefits of Bone Broth go deep. So, hear me now... or when you're ready.  And take that plunge.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

DIY - How to Antique a Mirror

The Headlines:


I needed a LARGE mirror. 

But I didn't want to spend 2k

So I spent $110.

And did it myself!




Decorating is hard to do.  It's so personal.  What one person loves, another hates.  I like to decorate differently than many people.  I love an occasional West Elm buy but mostly, I like original stuff.  Things you can't buy in big box stores.  Things you won't see everywhere.  I also, however, don't like to spend a ton of money for that "original" stuff.  Which means I need to get pretty creative.  This is one of those times.

For a long time I had an entry I kind of threw together.  It went with my "Defined Style" of "Desert Cottage" but didn't keep up with my newly tweaked Defiintion of "Desert Cottage Elegance."  I figure I'm growing up and maybe my decor should too!

So I did this:


What did it look like before?

It was fine.  But it hadn't jived with me for the last few years.  See, this is the Foyer area.  It's what you see the moment you come in the door.  In other words, it matters.  I knew I wanted a mirror on that wall. A large one.  I wanted it to open the space rather than stop it.  But I needed a big mirror here.  Really large.  It had to take up a good majority of the area so it would have to be at least 4 foot by 6 foot... it could even be larger.  I researched it.  Do you know how much a mirror that size would cost?  Like thousands of dollars!

Not in my budget.  That's why I decided to make one.  But not just any mirror, I wanted it too have some visual interest... not just be reflective.


It's hard to see so here it is close up:


Put it this way... it's a lot more interesting to look at.  But the key to this whole thing: it was incredibly INEXPENSIVE.

More on that later.  For now... let's get started.

Here's What You Need:
Large, think plastic bottom layer (for your work space)
Working Garden hose
Muriatic acid
Spray paint stripper
Eye goggles
Face mask
PT's and/or rags
Funnel (chem resistant)
Gloves (chem resistant)
Spray bottle (chem resistant)
Plastic putty knife
Black basic spray paint
Mirror

Here's What You Do:
Pick a day that's not too hot and not too cold.

Step 1 - Find an outdoor work space.  Lay the plastic material down.  If you buy a new mirror, you can even use the cardboard it came in like I did below.  Carefully lay your mirror on top.  I actually chipped mine, but I figured, I AM aging the thing... it works!

Step 2 - Gear up.  Put on your goggles, mask & gloves.  Take the acid and pour it through the funnel into the spray bottle.

Step 3 - Spray the paint stripper all over the back of the mirror(s).  You're actually taking off the protective layer.


Wait a couple minutes... you can see it working.  Then, you start working.

Step 4 - Scrape the paint off with the putty knife.  It's ok if some of the paint is left behind.  Once finished, use some paper towels or rags to wipe it down.  Mine looked like this:


Step 5 - Spray the Muriatic Acid.  This is the heavy duty stuff so be careful.  Aim towards the sides but spray some randomly everywhere.  You'll see it working.  You'll also feel it on your lungs if you don't use that mask!  Leave it anywhere between 1-3 minutes.  Perhaps it depends upon the mirror.  Some say 1 minute.  But when I kept it on for only 60 seconds - barely anything happened.  I had to re-do it 3 times.  It also depends on what look you're going for... i.e.: how much age or "black" you want to see?!?  I wanted to see some but not too much.

Step 6 - Hose off the Acid.  This is where you need that garden hose.  Be careful where the acid goes too... don't use too much water! Your Mirror will now be "see-thru" in some spots!  It will look like this:


Step 7 - Spray paint the back black.  After the water dries, you need to protect the mirror as well as add the "antique" look so spray that black on.  Once that dries - you're finished.  The whole project took under and hour.  Or it would have... except for the fact that I had to go back and spray the acid several times.  Plus, I had to move the mirrors at one point because the sun was too harsh and hot.  But really, overall, not a lot of time.


Step 8 - Hang.  My last step was to hang these puppies.  Some people lean their mirrors, which I also LOVE to do!  But for this, we actually used the exact same things handymen use to install bathroom mirrors.  Those metal clips.  They looked the best and were the least invasive.  Plus, they cost next to nothing.


You could also make your own mirror frame around it with molding but I didn't want to... I decided to hang a grapevine wreath with some burlap that I had laying around the garage.  I just thought it added an element that was missing.

Finally, tonight, back to cost.  This project set me back a mere $110.  A lot of bang for my buck!  But cost really depends on the type & size mirror you use.  Have one at home?  That's free.  The two I bought (each were 36"x48") totaled about $90.  You can also get mirror tiles like these at Home Depot: CLICK HERE they're 12"x12" - $10 for a six pack.  I almost did that so I could make it as large as I wanted but it also added an extra step.  After I "antiqued" them I'd have to affix all of those to a board before I could hang.  But it too would have looked super cool.

I'm super happy with this... I got a 4 foot by 6 foot mirror for a fraction of the price it would have cost to buy.  Now, your turn!


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