Monday, April 7, 2014

Apron Strings

First things first, mommy fashion! This week: headbands. And hats. Wonderful things that don't require a whole lotta hair fixin' (and cover the fact that your Tiny Person may have prevented you washing your hair for longer than you would like). I like them, too, because my slick-straight hair is difficult to style, so my options are to-ponytail-or-not-to-ponytail, the end. But headbands (and hats!) add a little variety to the line up. This particular one is my current favorite - it's from Joyn (a Good company), and if you're a Fayetteville resident, Mama Carmen's has a good selection.

It's been a kitchen-y-er week than usual (what of it I felt like standing up, at least). It's a little hard to do anything in kitchen because of Brooklyn (paradoxical child - she keeps me so busy that I can't take care of her), since she either wanders off to get into something the moment my hands are full, or hugs my ankles and sobs because she's on the floor and I'm standing there doing... something. Whatever it is, it must be fabulous, and she's totally missing out. I wish I could trust her not to fall off the counter - I think she'd like watching, and being up high.

Howe're it be, I did manage two successful experiments, both gluten-free and dairy-free... breakfast first: Peanut Butter Cup Muffins. (I did actually have step-by-step photos of this one, but I used Adam's camera and he needed to video something for work over the weekend and cleared the memory card, so...)

Mix up a box of your favorite muffin mix (I used King Arthur Flour's GF Muffin mix, replacing the butter with Earth Balance vegan butter and the milk with So Delicious coconut milk). Spoon a layer of the batter into the bottom of each muffin cup, then add a couple of teaspoons of chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life! mega chunks) and a spoonful of peanut butter (I used Earth Balance coconut peanut butter - the coconut oil helps it stay softer). Fill the cups with the rest of your batter, and bake according to mix directions. They're amazing straight out of the oven, and 15 seconds in the microwave will make the middles ooey-gooey again later.

And, a summer staple for me: Egg Sandwiches. My parents have chickens, and Adam's parents know farmers, so farm-fresh eggs are something that we always have plenty of.

Preheat a small skillet, then butter it (I used Earth Balance vegan butter). Lay a slice of deli meat (I like Applegate Farms') down first, then pour a beaten egg over that. You want it to fill the bottom of the skillet. Season to taste (we're suckers for Simply Organic's garlic salt and lemon pepper). Cook over medium heat until the top is no longer glossy, then flip and finish cooking (if you're not dairy-free, now would be a good time to add some cheese). Remove it to a plate, then rebutter your pan and lightly toast both sides of one or two slices of bread (I used bread from local Dempsey Bakery, but we also eat a lot of Udi's). Assemble - usually, the egg circle will fit almost perfectly if folded into quarters. I eat mine with a mug of Blue Diamond almond milk and a handful of Beanfield's chips - the nacho ones are still dairy-free, and they taste like Doritos (but are slightly more filling, so it's harder to eat the whole bag).

I'm still hoping to work in salads over the summer, and mentioned to Adam that I'd like a pot on the balcony to try growing lettuce in. He brought me a packet of seeds yesterday, and a promise to build me a planter box --- we'll see if I can overcome my distaste for dirt with the bribe of a freshly grown salad! I loved the variety in this packet (zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots, tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers, squash, and onions) because we'll eat most of them (anyone want some tomato seeds?) and if all else fails, I've successfully grown cosmos and zinnias before so at least we can have a pretty planter.

Spring makes me want tea - it's the best way to overcome that awkward season where it's cold inside but you can't turn on the heater or it will be 80 by nightfall - so I cleaned out and reorganized my tea stash. Lately, my favorite Earl Grey has been supplanted by a coconut chai from Zhena's Gypsy Tea (fair trade and organic - and delicious!), but I'm also plotting some iced jasmine green once the weather gets consistently warmer...

If you're a tea drinker, what's your favorite? Also, easy meals that can be made in 20 minutes or less (because that's the longest Brooklyn will give me) - go!

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