Dairy Free Chocolate Bar

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll have a friend over to play with Bubba. His *best* friend, mind you. This friend has a dairy intolerance, and it’s really not a big deal as long as he’s not eating dairy.

But then it hit me that chocolate bars have milk in them. And I was so sad for him. I decided to give it a try to make him a chocolate bar.

It was super duper easy, and pretty darn tasty! I think that if I were to make it again, I would use refined Coconut Oil, so there is less of a coconut flavor to the candy. Otherwise, you couldn’t even tell that it’s dairy free.

Store this candy in the fridge so it doesn’t melt after it reaches 72 degrees (the melting point of coconut oil.)

 

Dairy Free Chocolate Bar

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons melted coconut oil

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until completely mixed and smooth. Pour into wax paper lined bowl or candy mold. Freeze for 30 minutes until hardened. Store in refrigerator.

A Year of Catch-Up

Recapping the past year in one post…

I will start with April, since I did happen to post up through last March.

April: Peanut turned 7 years old and wanted a “Rainbow Party”. Many friends came, and they all had a blast.

rainbowparty
Party Table

 

rainbow cake
Fondant and Buttercream Rainbow Cake

May: My twin sister and I had a quick three day trip back to San Diego to support our sister in the loss of her daughter at 30 weeks gestation.

June: Wonderful news, I was pregnant, and so thrilled.

July: My twin sister and I hosted a yard sale, Peanut had a very successful lemonade sale, and the next day I had some concerns, which resulted in an ultrasound. The test showed one healthy baby and one “non-viable egg sac”. One week later a follow up ultrasound at about 6 weeks, and both babies had not survived. Oh. And I turned 30.

August: Three weeks after the  devastating news, I finally miscarried. I was hospitalized due to blood loss. It took me three weeks to build my blood levels back I up to where I could stand for more than a few minutes, and clean my house. We also started second grade for Peanut. And I made a wedding cake for my neighbor. (Probably shouldn’t have done that- healthwise.)

wedding cake for neighbor
wedding cake for neighbor

September: I took on the role of co-teacher for our homeschool group.

October: Bubba turned 3; we celebrated with a Pirate Party. Bubba and his cousin dressed up as Jake and Captain Hook for Halloween.

Bubba's Birthday Cake
Bubba’s Birthday Cake

 

The Birthday Pirate
The Birthday Pirate
Trick or Treating
Trick or Treating

 

November: I announced to the Facebook world that I was 12 weeks pregnant! (yes, again! the pregnancy in the summer wasn’t announced nor was the miscarriage, other than to family and close friends at church)

Baby at 12 Weeks
Baby at 12 Weeks

December: I honestly can’t believe it’s over already, but we reflected on the gift of God’s Son, made over 20 dozen cookies and enjoyed family and friends.

So, 2013 was truly an eventful year. It was filled with grief and sorrow, but also with wonderful memories, beautiful family moments, and so much love. I learned, last year, that God is faithful, no matter our Earthly circumstances. That submitting to His will brings about peace I couldn’t even imagine. I learned many things about myself, about my faith, and about my limitations. And I can honestly say that it was a good year. Not because of what happened during the year, but because the year was given to me as a gracious gift. And because I am a different person than I was last January.

How to Eat an Avocado

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Growing up in southern California blessed me with the appreciation for a good, ripe avocado. Living in the Midwest for a decade has taught me to appreciate them even more when I can find a really good one.

Talking with native Midwesterners has taught me that a lot of people don’t know how to eat avocados. There are many, many recipes out there for adding avocados to dishes, but my absolute favorite way to eat them is straight out of the shell.

It may be weird, and I may be the only one to do it this way, but it sure does taste good. And it’s the way my Mama taught me, so I’m going to stick with it!

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After slicing a ripe avocado, remove the pit and fill both sides with 1 Tablespoon Vinegar, 1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise (I prefer Miracle Whip), and sprinkle with Paprika. Grab a spoon, and dig it out, taking a bit of the dressing with each buttery bite.

Weird, I know. But as I said, I like it.

Quick, Easy Homemade Biscuits

I used to be the type of person who kept three rolls of refrigerated biscuits in stock because they were so quick, and easy. I mean, pop open the roll, place them on a baking sheet, and in ten minutes you get… dry, hard, biscuit pucks. I can’t think of any reason why we suffered through those awful biscuits, other than I thought it was hard to make them from scratch.

Then, I found this recipe, and boy is it good. Whip up a batch of sausage gravy, slather it on top and it’s the best biscuits and gravy! These biscuits are flaky, moist, and taste best fresh out of the oven! I don’t even buy the rolls anymore. They’re really very easy to make, and a good beginner recipe if you’ve never made a type of bread before.

Biscuits

I have found that a pastry blender (or pastry fork) is an essential tool for making this recipe. It helps keep the shortening from blending too much, and keep the biscuits flaky and light. This recipe makes about 18 biscuits, depending on how thick you roll them out.

018b

Biscuits

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup solid shortening
1 1/2 cups milk

1. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt until ingredients are evenly distributed.
2. With pastry fork, cut shortening into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. (Don’t blend too much! You should still see small lumps of shortening in the flour!)
3. Make a small well in the mix, and add milk all at once. Stir with a fork until dough comes together.
4. Turn on a lightly floured surface and knead 10-12 times.
5. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. (You can also use a glass turned upside down.)
6. Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Reroll dough and cut more biscuit shapes.
7. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Let me know if you try this recipe!