Piña Colada Muffins!! or, Another Recipe Unearthed from the Bottomless Pit That Is My Drafts Folder

I had the better part of a can of pineapple slices in my fridge. I also had cocoanut milk. This means piña colada muffins NEEDED to happen. (You could also make doughnuts out of these, if you have a doughnut pan.)

I actually wrote this up aeons ago, and it’s been sitting in my drafts folder ever since. I’m pretty sure that these were awesome.

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1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c pineapple juice (from the canned pineapple
1/3 c sugar
1/2 c pineapple (chunks or tidbits, your call)
1/2 c cocoanut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 T cocoanut oil, melted

Option: Top with 1/2 c cocoanut (I used 1/4 c each of sweetened baker’s cocoanut and unsweetened flaked)

Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients, including melted oil, in another bowl. Combine them together just until mixed. Drop into greased or papered muffin tin, top with topping if using, and bake at 350 for… I have “X MINUTES” written down, so that means I either forgot to pay attention to my baking time or… or something. Start with 18 minutes and go from there. That’s usually safe for muffins. Toothpick test will tell you when they’re done!

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Categories: breakfast, brunch, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Raspberry Bars

So, whilst I am feeling Completely Uninventive, I’m going to share this recipe that is from my growing-up years. We got it from our friend Ruth because I loved these bars SO much, so I have no idea where the recipe originally came from. The problem was, they were so, SO sweet that I’m pretty sure my mom only made them maybe twice.

They really are rather sickeningly sweet. But, if you’re serving a crowd of normal people, that works out because you can cut them into smaller pieces. (This plan doesn’t work so well if you’re serving a crowd of clones of, oh, ME.)

At any rate, because I do care about my health, here’s what I have started to do. I’m posting the recipe with its original full sugar content, but these are the two things I flip between to reduce the content: I either halve the sugar in the dough, or I use smushed-up fresh berries instead of jam. It’s the sugared dough + sugared fruit that is the lethal sugar wallop with these, so reducing one or the other is the key.

(If you want a super healthified version of these, check out my Breakfast Bars from MoFo last year.)

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I used cherry jam in this particular batch.

Ruth’s Raspberry Bars

3/4 c vegan margarine
1 c packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c oatmeal
1 10-oz jar of raspberry preserves (or any berry!) (I usually use more than this – 10oz is a pretty thin layer!)

Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add combined dry ingredients. Mix well.

Press half of the crumb mixture into greased 13×9 pan. Spread preserves. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

Cool. Cut into bars.

***

Oh, and HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY. If you’re a linguist nerd like me, or just want to listen to someone speaking prolifically in Irish for around two hours, check out “No Béarla“.

And yes, yes I did schedule this post for 3:17 in the morning.

Beannacht.

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Categories: dessert, nut-free, recipes, vegan | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Things and stuff.

So, beginning yesterday, I started a temporary social media withdrawal. (This will feed into FB automatically, but I’m not personally on there right now.) I just mention this in case you try to contact me through FB because I’m not likely to see it unless it’s a message to my personal account. I have no idea whether this hiatus will be for a week or three weeks at this point. So. On to other things.

***

Life has been a little bumpy lately as I adjust to house life. Don’t get me wrong, I am thoroughly enjoying the space and the generally normal life! But I’ve been completely zapped of any food creativity and most of what I have tried to make has just fallen flat. I forget to salt my beans. I overseason my beans. I burn my rice. That kind of thing. I find it ironic that the minute I actually have room to spread out, my cooking falls like an underbaked cake in a hurricane. So, this is why there have been no food posts lately.

For suppers several times a week I’ve been making loads of raisin-oat scones because those are pretty foolproof. The girls love them. Lou Who thinks they’re cookies. So, what can go wrong there?

I did make a pretty good spinach pesto last week, but it was one of those “bit of this bit of that” concoctions that can never be quite recreated. And if I’m following a recipe, stuff comes out okay. I think I’m getting a little burned out on some things, though. Our church has been doing a weekly after-church meal for a couple months now and while we get all the details worked out for the different rotating menus the biggest chunk of work falls on me and F. It’ll lighten up soon. And I’m cutting back on cookies, partly because I’m sick right now, but also because I just need to cut back on cookies.

Oh, we did have a nonfire! But that deserves a post of its own.

And I made myself a skirt. So, that’s something. And I’ve got myself a little music corner that’s enabling me to actually practise more readily. That is awesome.

Okay, bye.

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Categories: Lou Who, Mrs Pine Nut, sewing | Tags: | Leave a comment

The End Is in Sight

So, in the past few weeks, things like this happened:

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And also this happened:

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We have insulation in our ceiling. We have a functional woodstove. We have our range and kitchen sink hooked up and the office set up as a temporary bedroom.

Does this mean that maybe, just maybe, we’re about to get out of this moudly deathtrap of doom, er, trailer?

YESYESYESYESYESYESYES

The first photos I have of our treading foot on this place were taken at the end of March, 2011, so it’s getting close to 3 years. Believe me, I never dreamed 3 years were going to go by of waiting for the house we designed to be a place we could actually live.

I was asked recently by another mom of girls about my girls’ age: would I recommend this trailer dwelling stuff to anyone else? This family is, like us, hoping to make the move to the country but it might be a while between purchasing land and being able to finish a house for them, too.

And the following is my $0.025.

Do you have kids or plan to have kids? Not an automatic no, but make sure you and they each have your own sleeping space, especially if they are older kids. Our trailer wasn’t designed that way.

Do you have pets? Again, not an automatic no, but if you have both kids AND pets, well. Think about it. They need space too! If you have a cat, where will the litter box/food/water go? If a dog, is there a place for her to sleep?

Do you have musical instruments? Um, is there space? I know of a family of 4 + cats who’s living in a trailer with a cello, a harp, AND a piano. I don’t know how they’re pulling that off. But apparently it’s doable.

Do you have a plan? Things come up. We thought we had the money to finish the house the first year we were here, and then taxes sucked a bunch of our money out of our pockets. Are you prepared in case your 6 months turns into 36 months because of your financial situation?

Will you have a storage unit to keep your things in until the house is finished? We did. $60ish a month does add up, but at least the stuff was safe and dry.

Do you ever deal with depression? Definitely not recommended. I think mentally I went downhill a lot faster in the trailer than I had been going in a regular place.

Trailers tend to be damp. Stuff gets mouldy. You have limited kitchen space. Stir craziness is just part of life.

Overall, no, I wouldn’t recommend it. But it was, for us, a means to an end (if not an ideal one), and it could be for you too. The ultimate question is, would I do it again? Not if I didn’t have any other option!

But it doesn’t matter now.

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My Etsy Shop has been REVAMPED. Yay!

My Etsy Shop has been REVAMPED. Yay!

Now accepting credit cards, Etsy gift cards, and requests for custom orders!

I’m currently prepping some more alphabet colouring pages, and have some other items I hope to be adding soon. I hope you’ll check it out! You can also like my shop’s Facebook page for updates as I list things.

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Jaunt to Eugene. Keystone Café + Vanilla Jill’s

Today my friend and I went to Eugene, FINALLY.

I mean, we’ve been talking about it ever since we went to EVEN’s (Eugene Veg Education Network) little vegan fair in… August. Yeah, kind of a while ago. But I won a gift card for $10 for Keystone Café in a drawing! That was kind of awesome. So ever since then we’ve intended to go back to Eugene to check out this Keystone Café and hit the Goodwill. We’re so exciting, right???

Today at last our schedules and other things coincided and we went. I took Lou Who. GooGoo stayed at home with Daddy and M’s kids were all in school, so it was a peaceful mommy day out. :-)

First we went to Goodwill, where I did not find shoes for GooGoo as I had hoped, but I did find other things, like a shirt that’s way too big but it has a blue brontosaurus and “vegetarian” on it. I couldn’t resist. And a 3-in-1 Thomas Kinkade puzzle for 99 cents and a glass punch bowl with 12 cups for $4, and a couple other things. Like a 99 cent little husky dog for Lou Who who is really, really into cuddling stuffed animals and dolls. She clung happily to that thing from the moment it got into her hands until we got home, barring the time we were eating.

After Goodwill, we made a run to Walmart because I forgot to bring diapers for Lou Who and she was starting to get Damp Pants. After Walmart it was off to the Keystone Café.

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The place is small with tables pretty close together. We got treated to a lot of fascinating conversations around us while not being able to have much of one of our own.

Eating her complimentary fruit cup. Her mouth was full of grape and her arm full of stuffed Husky.

Eating her complimentary fruit cup. Her mouth was full of grape and her arm full of stuffed Husky.

Unsuspecting M is unsuspecting.

Unsuspecting M is unsuspecting. She thought I was taking a selfie.

DOUBLE SELFIE

DOUBLE SELFIE

The waitress was very friendly and got us our food quickly. We had 11 specifically vegan items we could order, which were handily grouped together on the menu, and both decided to get the Vegan Tofu Skillet+extra homefries.

Here’s their description of the dish:

Grilled Tofu Scrambled with Homefries, Spinach, Zucchini, Green and Red Bell Peppers, Onions, and Mole Sauce. Topped with Cabbage, Salsa & Cilantro. Served with Corn Bread Topped with Enchilada Sauce & Nutritional Yeast Gravy.

And here’s a picture:

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And here’s our rundown. The nooch gravy: excellent. Like, really good. I’m not great at gravy making, and I would love to be able to make that good of gravy at home. The spinach was perfectly steamed, which was great. The homefries were very good. I mean, I can make comparable ones at home, but they were good.

All in all, though, there was just flat-out too much going on with this dish. You have the cornbread topped with TWO sauces. Both were good, but just the gravy would have been better. The tofu had obviously been frozen, and not all the water was cooked out. There was also absolutely no detectable flavour to it. It looked like it had a rub, but I’m positive there was no marinade or anything to pep it up, and it really didn’t look or taste grilled. I added a bunch of salt trying to make it edible. Then there was some crazy spicy sauce mixed in with the veggies that made the veggies pretty much inedible. I don’t mind spicy but it just didn’t… mesh with the dish. It’s hard to describe. Seriously, three sauces in one dish?

M had the exact same reaction I did. In retrospect we wished we had ordered different things just to see if everything was mediocre or if we just didn’t pick a good dish. My suspicion, though, is that vegan isn’t their specialty – it appears to just be an option they offer to cater to the Eugene population. Next time, I plan to go to the Cornbread Café instead, where the entire point of the restaurant is to make amazing vegan food that you can’t easily recreate at home. I haven’t been to the CC, but M has, as well as another friend, and they all rave about it. CC’s Facebook page is a constant stream of delicious food photos that make me want to just go there almost daily.

So, we left there feeling a little blah and decided to go to Vanilla Jill’s.

I approve of these hours.

I approve of these hours.

Kombucha on tap! I... didn't take advantage of the option.

Kombucha on tap! I… didn’t take advantage of this option.

We almost didn’t go, but we were SO glad we did. We ordered the cocoanut lime creme flavour from the vegan options, mine topped with chocolate chips, and it was SO good it completely made up for the Keystone meal. Now that is something I couldn’t make at home. SO GOOD. Did I mention it was good? We kicked ourselves a little when we saw “VEGAN SANDWICHES” advertised on the whiteboard. They were probably pretty fab vegan sandwiches.

Seriously, so good.

Seriously, so good.

Then we drove back to the place where I had left my car and sat in the parking lot and talked for a long time before she left to pick up her kidlets and I went home.

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Categories: dessert, Lou Who, lunch, Mrs Pine Nut, restaurants | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Invasion of the CeramiCats

Some years ago, I bought a shirt from the clearance rack of Christopher & Banks. It had cats on it.

It was awesome. I’d take a picture, but mine is so shabby and stained and faded it’s embarrassing to even show you guys. So, I googled it instead, and there’s a sleeveless version on eBay! It’s orange rather than the more golden tones of my shirt, but the print is the same, so I nabbed this screen shot so you can see it:

Seriously, how adorable is that?

Seriously, how adorable is that?

There was a place called Hands On Art in Yakima, Washington, where you chose a ceramic something-or-other and painted it and they’d fire it for you. One day my sister and I went there. Or maybe it was my brother. I don’t even remember any more, but whichever one it was did a two-tone ice cream cone of awesome.

I chose a tile. I thought, I’ll make a trivet. Trivets are useful. I chose my four paint colours: sage green, rose, grey-ish brown, tan. But I couldn’t decide what to put on it. So I sat there with my pencil in hand for a while and then I looked at my shirt and I thought, “I will make a cat.” And this is what my finished trivet looks like:

I incorporated the "meow meow" part of the print by scraping writing into the paint in the corner.

I incorporated the “meow meow” part of the print by scraping into the paint in the corner.

I was very pleased with this little guy and used him whenever we had company to put under my Large Pots of Hot Stuff. I never particularly thought of ever doing any more cats.

Then last December (2012) my church’s women’s ministry had an event at Surefire in Albany. (At the end of this post I’ll talk more about them.) I was broke, surprise surprise, and trying to decide what to choose to paint when a lady came along and told me to choose whatever I wanted and she’d pay for it. That was really sweet. (And no, I didn’t pick the most expensive thing in the place! ;-)) I decided I wanted to do a cake plate. Somehow it ended up with a cat on it – again. I wasn’t wearing the shirt that day, so I had to go from memory on what cat I would do.

You’ve seen the rim of the plate before in my post about Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka’s cake. But here it is in all its feline glory:

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This year finds me a co-head of our church’s women’s ministry and we decided to do the Surefire event again. I’ve been thinking about how nice a spoonrest for my stovetop would be, so that’s what I made.

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It was a nice way to get the fish from the shirt incorporated! (This time I brought along the shirt, but I didn’t wear it. I might have been mistaken for a hobo.)

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I love my cat ceramics. I think I’ve kind of started a Frankenstein. I have a little thought rattling in the back of my head now that a toothpick holder and a utensil holder are the next two things I’d like to do. There are so many elements on the shirt I still have to work with! The mouse! The yarn! Moar cats!

The funniest thing is that I never started out to do my kitchen in rose and sage and cat. But it happened anyway. Of course, one could argue I don’t even have a kitchen yet… which is partially true… but I already have known for a while that I wanted to move away from the red, white, and black theme I had going when I first moved out on my own.

***

More about Surefire:

*Unlike Hands-On Art, Surefire has no limit to the amount of colours you can choose for your project (although I personally still like to stick with 5 or less just for the challenge of it!) They also offer things like puff paint to add dimension to your project and have quite a collection of ideas and inspiration.

*They will get stuff in for you if you want it. (I overheard the manager saying this to someone else.) So, I have no doubt I could ask them to get in a toothpick holder for me even if it’s not something they always have.

*It’s not particularly cheap – you can pick from the clearance shelf that has $2-5, or get coaster-size tiles for $5 each) but it’s a lot of fun. Tiles like my trivet are $10. The spoonrest was $16. I don’t remember how much the cake plate was but I’m guessing it was probably around $20.

*Really my only true complaint is the selection of brushes there. They are brushes that have seen better days. They are very used and abused and some barely even have bristles left at all. Next time I go in, I’d like to bring my own brushes, because it’s next to impossible to do fine detail (like writing or outlining) with their brushes. You’ll notice that the lack of definite outlines is one of the biggest stylistic differences between the trivet (where I had access to good brushes) and the two pieces I did at Surefire.

*If you think you can’t paint, well, think again. I had never painted anything worth anything prior to the trivet. I’m a pencil girl, not a painter. I surprised myself with how well it came out. You can do something awesome too! Even if you just do a kaleidoscopic wash of colours on a tile, it’ll look sweet once it’s fired.

So, on the whole, I highly recommend them. The staff is very friendly and the atmosphere very relaxed and plenty of kids come along to paint as well – it’s definitely not just for grownups!

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Categories: crafty crafts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

2013: The Photoessay

Happy memories, things to be thankful for, and good friends.

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Happy 2014! I hope you all have a good, safe, wonderful year. I don’t do resolutions; I think they’re silly. But, I do have some goals! Here is what I’m shooting for in 2014:

  • More zines
  • Putting out a digital recipe book
  • Getting out of this trailer and into my house
  • Adding lots of new lovelies to my Etsy shop – what would you like to see there? I’m open to considering all suggestions!

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Categories: GooGoo, Lou Who, Mrs Pine Nut, pumpkitten, travel | Leave a comment

Ginger-Apple Smoothie

I made this tasty smoothie a while back. I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, so I’m going to share it, even though some people claim it’s Too Cold for Smoothies. (They are wrong, by the way. It is NEVER too cold for smoothies.)

smoothie

In a blender, combine:
1 T flaxseed
1 apple (i used 2 tiny ones)
1/2 c vanilla soy milk
1 c frozen strawberries
1 c orange juice
1 tsp fresh grated ginger

And then slurp it down with delight.

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Categories: beverages, breakfast, gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, recipes, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exiles of the Snow

First, business: One of the winners of the giveaway has never responded to my email, so I’ve chosen a second winner via Random.org: Panda With Cookie! You should be getting an email from me shortly!

***

The view from the living room window of our friends' house

The view from the living room window of our friends’ house during the cold snap of doom

Now, on to other things. We had a cold, cold cold snap. Our woes began when the trickle of water we left running wasn’t enough of a trickle and our trailer pipes froze on GooGoo’s birthday. This wasn’t as bad as it might have been, since we do have a water storage tank in the trailer that we can fall back on. The problem with that is that when it’s empty and the trailer hose is frozen, refilling it involves a 5-gallon bucket being toted from the house where water *was* still running, a funnel, and four hands.

Spiders are creepy, but their webs are awesome.

Spiders are creepy, but their webs are awesome.

With the weather forecast ominously predicting lows in the teens, we became exiles from our own abode on Friday the 6th. We headed with girls and cat in tow for the booming metropolis of Shedd where we found refuge with good friends until the snap passed.

We had all kinds of adventures with the their cat hating our cat and our cat being all passive-aggressive to their cat, a treacherous trip to Corvallis because Train Boy was going to just PERISH if he had to use Nucoa instead of Smart Balance just one more meal, and hearing Greensleeves practised a few times over the course of the week. I got quite a few felt ornaments made, though, and got in some music practise myself.

The girls being entertained by The Engineer

The girls being entertained by The Engineer

Well, the weather didn’t warm up on Tuesday as they had predicted. It was Friday before everything was sufficiently melted and our pipes were thawed out. So we ended up being away from home for eight days.

Pumpkitten knows there's a heater right beneath him

Pumpkitten knows there’s a heater right beneath him

We’re still getting things back in order around here and I have been afflicted with ridiculous fatigue I can’t explain. I have been lazing around hoping to regain my energy. I predict I’ll be back to normal tomorrow, but we’ll see.

***

Bonus! Three photos of GooGoo’s birthday. How is she four already?

The tiger cake!

The tiger cake!

The pathetic picture of the inside of the birthday cake.

The pathetic picture of the inside of the birthday cake.

The sweet birthday girl. I love you, GooGoo!

The sweet birthday girl. I love you, GooGoo!

 

 

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Categories: birthdays, GooGoo, Lou Who, Mrs Pine Nut, pumpkitten | Tags: | Leave a comment

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