Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Almond Cookies (dairy and egg free)

My kids and I ate at a local Asian restaurant where a waitress brought some almond cookies with a check. I could tell that the cookies were not freshly baked. After tasting them, I was positive that they were prepackaged cookies with loaded of artificial ingredients.

After I mentioned this finding to my kids, Brek challenged me to make a healthier version. Challenge accepted!!!

The ingredients I used are pretty much the same as other dairy and egg free cookie recipes. Keep this in mind too if you wanna play with other flavor for cookies.

Taste testing. My kids said that my almond cookies were pretty close in texture to the prepackaged ones. The crisps were there because they were baked and devoured on the day they were baked. Flavor wise, they agreed that mine tasted better. Score!!!

Almond Cookies (dairy and egg free)
makes 16 cookies

1/4 cup (2 oz.) shortening
1/4 cup (1.8 oz.) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1.8 oz.) granulated sugar
1/2 cup crunchy almond butter
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup (3.7 oz.) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
16 raw sliced almond
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degree. Line a baking pan with a parchment paper or a nonstick matt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the shortening, sugars, apple sauce, and almond butter with a hand mixer until creaming.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the almond butter mixture.
  5. Mix it with the hand mixer until just combine.
  6. Using a small scoop, scoop the cookie dough on to the prepare pan, making sure they are about an inch apart.
  7. Press a raw sliced almond on top of each dough.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven for exactly 12 minutes.
  9. Allow the cookies to cool on a pan for 5 minutes then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy!!!
STORING: These almond cookies are best eating the day they are baked for the crisp. But they can be kept in an air tight container at a room temperature for up to 3 days.

Allergy Info: These almond cookies are free from or can be made without dairy, eggs, corn, legumes, and fish.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Blueberry Banana Muffins

Grandpa luvs anything muffins. He told me that he prefers muffins to a cupcake. Maybe it has something to do with breakfast. Grandma told me that he gets up at 6am, on the dot, to eat something with his coffee. So she told me to be sure that I bake him breakfast sweets.

At first, I didn't really know what to bake for breakfast. I did the easy muffins like my banana chocolate chip muffins. One day, while we were at Trader Joe's, Grandpa asked me if I could bake him something with blueberries. He luvs blueberries. DONE!!!

Basically, I modified my chocolate chip banana recipe. I had never baked blueberry muffins before because Camden is avoiding blue foods in his diet. With that in mind, I wasn't sure how the muffins would hold its flavor with just blueberry in them. So I went with two versions... 6 muffins with just blueberries... another 6 muffins with banana AND blueberries.

Everybody... Grandpa, Grandma, Brek, and I... totally agreed that banana blueberry muffins had more flavor. It definitely had to do with the flavor from the ripen banana. So there you go. When in doubt, try a few flavors with the add-ins. So glad I did.

Blueberry Banana Muffins
modified from William Sonoma's Banana Bread
make 6 regular size muffins

1 large egg
3 Tbs. (1.5 oz.) vegetable oil
1/4 cup (2.5 oz.) granulated sugar
1/2 (2.5 oz.) very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
3/4 cup (3 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon grounded cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grounded nutmeg
1 cup (3 oz.) frozen wild or regular blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F degree. Line the 6 regular size muffin pan with foil or paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, and egg.
  3. Add the mashed banana and mix again.
  4. In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and whisk until just combine.
  6. Fold in the blueberries.
  7. Using a large scooper, divide the batter equally into the prepared muffin pan.
  8. Bake until the tooth pick inserted into the muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.
  9. Enjoy them while they are warm or at a room temperature.
STORING: Keep these banana blueberry muffins in a container at a room temperature for up to 3 days.

Allergy Info: These banana blueberry muffins are free from or can be made without dairy, corn, legume (soy and peanuts), nuts, and fish.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Resolution 2016

For the past two years, I was able to keep my New Year's resolutions because I set a realistic goal for each year. So what is my 2016 New Year's resolution?

2015 was life changing for my family. My husband was laid off from a job that he had for over 8 years because the oil industry's been doing poorly. We had to downsize and sold our home. It was very hectic. But we persevered and sold our home within 3 days on the market. I've continued to homeschool my kids. Brek is now a teen, 13 to be exact. Camden turned 6, but he seems to behave like he's a teen. On top of all this, we were unprepared for the health insurance crisis. My husband and I thought we would be okay with a year or two worth of saving. But a health insurance for a family of four makes a big dent in our savings.

My parents came to visit us in October. We asked if they can stay longer, so they're scheduled to leave at the end of February. I'm so thankful that they are here because they've brought perspectives to what we've been going through right now, reminding us what to worry about and mainly what not to worry about.

The first week after my husband was out of a job, he suggested that I went back to work full time so that we would receive a health insurance benefit. Seriously, who's gonna hire a mid 40 year old woman who's been out of workforce for over 12 years? And just exactly what job was I suppose to apply for?

That was when I realized that I needed to stop dreaming and to start doing something about my dream. I decided to research the Texas cottage law where a home baker can bake and sell sweet items from her home kitchen. It was pretty simple. I took a food handling license, spoke with a friend of a friend about the home based bakery business, asked my cousin to design a logo for my bakery, started retesting recipes and totaled up the costs, worked on my bakery on line menu.... and the list just went on and on and on.

Finally, my dream came true. I'm officially an proud owner of my own bakery, Something Sweeter. For 2016, my New Year resolution will be... working very hard to have a successful start-up bakery business. I also want to work on my first cookbook this year. I want to accomplish all this while I continue to homeschool my kids and be a stay-at-home mom. Because, let's face it, I like being at home and do the things I've been doing with my kids. If I can help my family's financially without losing that privilege, then that is all I need to do.

Visit my on-line Something Sweeter bakery at http://menusomethingsweeter.blogspot.com/

Cheer to 2016!!!