Monday, December 27, 2010

Two Year Blogging Anniversary

My two year blogging anniversary was December 20. I missed it in the rush of the holidays. Happy 2nd birthday Live Simply, Love Strongly! Here's to continuely learning to tread lightly on our Earth: learning to cook things from scratch at home, repurposing, learning to make things ourselves instead of buying store-bought, simplifying our lives and learning to be content with less, gardening, preserving, and living a more natural lifestyle! Here's to enjoying life with kids, blowing bubbles, digging in the garden, playing outside, singing, dancing, laughing, and loving! Hope you continue to join me in this adventure to do more living simply and loving strongly.

Coconut Hot Chocolate

Growing up, I thought all hot chocolate was made with water. Later, I discovered how delicious and creamy it is with whole milk and never went back. Not being able to eat dairy, I needed to make some adjustments to find a hot chocolate that I was going to like.

Here's what I did:

1 can coconut milk (not light)
1 can water
1 circle (pastilla) of Mexican hot chocolate (I used Ibarra this time, I usually buy that one or Abuelita)
a little cornstarch (maybe a tablespoon, remember to dissolve in cold water first, then add)

Add coconut milk, water and the chocolate. Warm over medium heat, stirring frequently to dissolve chocolate. When warm add your mix of corn starch dissolved into cold water. Boil a few minutes til it thickens. Enjoy!

Not so Holla-daisy Sauce

Not eating dairy can limit your cream sauce options. I really like hollandaise sauce, but after reading how to make that, knew I was out of luck - lots of butter is required. So I decided to attempt a dairy-free hollandaise sauce. First, I just thought I would replace the butter with oil, but I never got it to thicken up that way, but a little bit of cornstarch did the trick. So, without further ado, here's my recipe...
Not so Holla-daisy Sauce

3 egg yolks
6 T oil
1 t lemon juice
pinch cayenne
a little dry mustard (maybe a teaspoon)
garlic powder
some cornstarch (maybe a Tablespoon)

Put egg yolks, 2 T water, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan on very low heat. Whisk constantly until slightly thickened 3-5 minutes (don't let it curdle).
Remove from heat and stir in the oil a tablespoon or two at a time. This is the part where the hollandaise is supposed to thicken. Mine didn't. I assume because I didn't use butter. So I added a little cornstarch (put the cornstarch in a little cup with a tiny bit of water and stir until dissolved, then add it). You have to let the cornstarch boil or it won't thicken, but I whisked it the whole time, just in case the eggs wanted to do funny things. Then I added the mustard powder, lemon, cayenne, garlic powder, etc until it tasted good!
We served it over shrimp, with asparagus, and bread spread with coconut oil. The white thing is the leftover egg white, cooked flat, and rolled.

Happy Holidays!

Nena, getting in the spirit of the holidays by making herself a Santa beard! Ha! If you click on the pic, you can see it larger/more clearly.

Wishing you and your family a very happy holiday season!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gingerbread Disaster aka Poop Cookies

As the title suggests, these came out crappy! ;) So much for our first time making Xmas gingerbread men. But we had a good time laughing about them. Yes, I did say in front of my 3 year old that they looked like poop, which led to her saying things like, "I like poop." (She actually did like the cookies.) and "Papi, you want eat poop, papi?" as she offered him a cookie. I know, I know, moms aren't supposed to let their kids say stuff like that, and I may regret it later, but I couldn't help it! I mean look at them! These cookies really stink!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Countdown

This week for our Christmas preparation we made a Christmas countdown chain. Remember making those when you were little?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Here We Come A Wassailing...

Time to start some merry-making! Last week we set up our tree (and then re-set up our tree, first time with a real tree, who knew they needed water?! Had to take it back down, cut off a piece, put water, and put it back up :) Chili really got a kick out of that! This weekend we made Wassail! I had never had it before, but the ingredients sounded good, and it sounded like a holiday-ish thing to do, so we gave it a try! Here's what we did...

1 3/4 c sugar (original recipe called for 2 1/4 c but it called for lemon juice, and I was using lemonaide, so I reduced, I thought it was a bit too sweet, so next time will use less)
4 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
2 slices fresh ginger root
10 allspice berries
1 T whole cloves
4 c orange juice
2 c lemonaide (see above)
8 c apple juice

Original directions said to combine sugar and water and boil 5 minutes(I added the cinnamon in before boiling too, I figured they would let out more flavor that way). Then remove from heat and add didn't mention what to do with the juice, so I added that in after the boiling too. I tried it and thought it tasted a little too orange juicy, and couldn't taste much of the spices, so I left it covered and simmering for awhile and really liked the result! Yum, tastes like the holidays!