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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Elyse's First Ray-Bans and Maple Cinnamon Cakes with Healthy Frosting!

Shopping today was very productive
(unlike many of the shopping days we have had! HA!)

Elyse and I enjoyed Lindsey's company today... and we found Elyse something very fun at Target:

Her first sunglasses.

They kind of look like Ray-Bans to me though!

"You want me to do what with these??"

.... you can tell she is a bit unsure what to do with these!

But she'll dig 'em for a bit!

She's ready for the sun, dad!
Time for VACATION!

Silly little sun girl.
Can't wait to take a vacation now!

Now, on to the Cinnamon Maple Cakes with heatlhy frosting!
I had snack duty today at our Romans Bible Study so I whipped up a couple of these.
It got some raving reviews from the gals, which was honestly surprising to me!
(I mean, it was good-- but they really really enjoyed it. YEY!)

Soooo... I guess I will share what I made with you too!

The recipes include both the original, my alterations and the short-cut

Ok, my pictures for this little treat does not do it justice.


Cinnamon Maple Cake... (or muffins!)

Makes 1
(but if you make them in muffin tins, it will make two hardy ones)

■1/2 cup oats

■1/4 tsp vanilla extract

■1/2 tsp cinnamon

■sweetener, such as 1 1/2 T maple syrup or 1 to 1 1/2 packs stevia
■1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
(You can sub pumpkin or mashed banana)

■1/4 cup milk, creamer, juice, or water

■heaping 1/16th tsp salt

■Optional, for a more-buttery flavor: 1 T oil or nut butter
(if oil, scale the other liquid back)

■Optional: handful of raisins, chopped walnuts, brown sugar for the top

The quick version/my atleration:

* Oatmeal packets, measured to the amount called for in oats
(for example: 1/2 cup oats=1/2 cup instant oatmeal packet)

(add vanilla, applesauce, milk, salt and nut butter if you choose to use it)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine raw oats, spices, applesauce, and liquid. Pour into a small baking pan, loaf pan, or 1-cup ramekin (or the muffin tin). Cook for 15-20 minutes (10 minutes for the muffin tin), or more until it’s firm. Finally, set your oven to “high broil” for 3 more minutes (or simply just bake longer, but broiling gives it a nice crust). Don’t forget to spray your tins first, if you want your cakes to pop out.

Nutrition Facts:
(based on the Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal recipe on Katie's blog)

Calories: 180
Fat: 3g
Protein: 7g
Fiber: 9g

(Katie's note: All flavors are pretty similar, nutritionally-speaking. I usually add some form of nut butter to my boatmeal, but I’ve calculated the nutritional info without the optional nut butter for those of you who wish to keep it low-cal.)

Healthy Cinnamon Bun Frosting:
(also from Katie's blog)

■1/4 cup mori-nu silken-firm tofu
■3-4 T vegan cream cheese (or Neufchatel cream cheese)
■1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

■2-3 T non-dairy milk (but works just as well with milk)

■sweetener to taste (such as sugar, stevia, agave, xyhitol etc.)
Combine all ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Calories per tablespoon:
■ Calories: 10
■ Fat: 0g
■ Protein: 0g
■ Sugars: depends on how much you add (sugar-free if made with stevia)


Very yummy!

It seems I have been cooking a lot lately....
but without a husband at home, I have a lot more time than I usually do!

Since my life had been so busy before this week, I have been taking a couple of days of resting.

And baking.

I'm sure it will plain off once my hubby gets home
(which will be here very soon, I pray!)

But for now, bake 'em up if you can!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Our New Pet: Franny the Moose... and Healthy Thin Mint Recipe!

Sooo..... yesterday I told you about our moose visitor.
Honestly, I thought he would be long gone by now.

Well, ends up our "he" is a "she".
And she is perfectly happy in our neighbor's backyard.
In fact, my neighbor was told that she was pregnant...
which makes the situation a little different now since that means she might be locating a place to give birth to her baby.

Like in her BACKYARD!

...yet, as deathly afraid as I was of these creatures, I am now quite fond of this one.
I actually want to keep her.
I know I shouldn't have, but we (Andrew and I) have named her Franny.

Isn't she a cutie?

She actually stuck her head over the fence to say hi to Eli this morning.
Eli was too frightened to get too close, but they seem to be getting off to a good, neighborly start.
Which is good considering she has officially moved in.


Ok, enough about Franny.
She is here for a while...

But these yummy things might not be!
Thin Mint Cookies that is.

We did some baking today as well.
My friend and I were talking one day on our run when she told me her latest pregnancy cravings:
(yes she is still a great runner pregnant!)
They included things like Pizza Hut, Olive Garden, Carbs and... girl scout cookies!

Especially Thin Mints.

And who DOESN'T like those crispy, yummy once-a-year delights??

So, after talking about them, I decide to try to make her some that don't make her feel too guilty about indulging, I start craving them too!
Sympathy cravings I suppose.

Healthy Vegan Thin Mints
(adapted from Chef Chloe's Vegan Thin Mints)


* 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)

*1 cup Xylitol (excellent sugar substitute)

* ½ cup cocoa powder

* ¼ teaspoon salt

* ¼ teaspoon baking soda

* ¾ cup coconut oil
* 3-4 tablespoons soy, almond, or rice milk
(I used regular milk)

*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract

Chocolate Coating

This Chocolate Coating recipe will coat half the cookies (about 32).
If you are baking off all of the dough, double this recipe.

*2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (dairy-free)

*1 tablespoon coconut oil
* ½ teaspoon peppermint extract

(Or, use Wilson's Dark Cocoa Baking chips for a shortcut)


To make the Cookies:

In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda until combined.
Add oil, milk (use less at first), vanilla, and mint extract.
Pulse a few more times until the mixture comes together.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and knead it with your hands until it comes together and all the flour is incorporated.
Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove dough from refrigerator.
Roll a heaping teaspoon of cookie dough into a ball and place onto prepared baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches in between each ball.
Evenly flatten the dough with your fingertips so that it is about ¼ inch thick.
Bake for 12-14 minutes.
Let cool completely.
To make the Chocolate Coating:

Melt chocolate chips and oil in a double boiler or microwave.
Stir in the mint extract and mix until smooth.
Dip completely cooled cookies into the chocolate and remove with a fork, gently scrapping off excess chocolate using the side of the bowl.
Or, spread a thin layer of the chocolate on top of the cookies.
Place cookies on a parchment-lined plate or tray and refrigerate until chocolate coating sets.
Store in the refrigerator until serving.

Melt Wilson's chips however you prefer (microwave or stovetop).
Dip the cookies in the mix, following the same procedure as you would above.
This method does not require refrigeration....
but in my opinion, they are best served from the freezer.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Good morning from Alaska!

You may or may not be able to see that large creature camouflaged in the snow there....

But it is a MOOSE!
A big bull moose at that!!!

My neighbor called to tell me it was in her backyard.. then another call to tell me it was almost on their porch!! AH!

He got so close because of an apple enticement
(KIRSTEN! Now they are going to tell their moose friends and before we know it, they will be camping OUT at your place... and MINE!)

Not that Eli minds it at all.... ;)

I think he has had enough of us....

There he goes...

Bye bye moose!

Luckily, we have something else to look forward to in the Thornbury household this morning....

Look what just came out of the oven: 


And let me highly recommend this Mango Crisp. ITS SO GOOD!
(And totally healthy!)

Breakfast Mango Oat Crisp
Serves 1

(It was inspired by this recipe from SheKnows: Miso Vegan )

*1 Mango, diced
( you can choose to skin it-- I kept my skin on because I like it that way!)
* 1 Banana, sliced
* Lime juice, a squeeze or two
* Cinnamon, sprinkled
* Stevia, to your liking

For the Crumble:
* 1/4 c cooking oatmeal, uncooked
* 2 Tbs. flaxseed meal (or flour)
* Stevia, again to your liking
* * 1/8 (or less) c coconut oil, melted

Preheat your oven to 375 and spray pan you are using (I used a glass bread pan). Combine all the fruit together and set aside. Then combine all the dry ingredients together and pour on the oil, just enough to form a crumble (I added too much in mine). Put the fruit in the bowl and cover with the crumble topping. Bake uncovered for 17-20 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve with warm with milk, or nothing at all.

I obviously choose to do it without milk and it was DELICIOUS!


Time to get to some organizing... ugh!

Blessings XOXOXO

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Playing games and Tossing SpRiNkLeS!


We are getting down with CRUD.

The Canadian pool game that is ;)

Just recently, our squadron was asked to compete with the other squadrons in a Crud tournament. And considering we all had no idea what Crud was three weeks ago, I would say we did pretty well.... our team didn't lose until the VERY FINAL GAME!

Yey us!

All of the teams we ALMOST beat :)

I am so proud of us girls ;)

Having fun!

Lady love <3

The following day after the Crud tournament (aka: today!!!), we got together to sprinkle our good friend Tara...

And her baby on the way, of course!

Tara (the gal to sprinkle!) and I

'A' is for Abigail Christine!

The cupcakes await their sprinkles....

Don't I look like Martha Stewart ;)

(If only I was as PREPARED as that woman! AHHH!)

Oh well, too late...

Ready or not, sprinkle on!

The guests:

The spread:


Ok, so some of the recipes were so good I will test/perfect them before I post their recipes here on the blog.
Soon soon!

But just as a teaser (because I'm so sweet), I will list some of the yummy items from above:

* Cake batter donuts
* Chocolate chip cookie dough dip with cinnamon toast sticks for dippers
* Vanilla Pear Breakfast Cobbler

On to the games:

Game One: "What's the Story?"

This was surprisingly fun! It brought out the creative writer in everyone. I laughed pretty hard at everyone's story, which consisted of things from baby items to very unrelated items. Let me just tell you that the game got funnier with the more random elements involved, like Darth Vader and chainsaws.

Game Two: "Who's that Baby?"

We actually had NOone guess all of babies correctly!
(So we played Baby Bingo for the tie breaker!)

And the way you play baby bingo is by opening shower gifts!!!

So here we GO!

Oh pause the gift opening... !!

..we have a baby bingo winner!!

Ok, resume:

Ok, taking a coffee break...


Ok, lets go again:

Ok, Game 3: SPRINKLE wars!!
(Yes, a spin off the popular Food Network show 'Cupcake Wars')

The objective: Decorate a cupcake in a creative way to win Judge Tara's affections.

You have FIVE minutes.


First up, Team 1: Mother's Love

Beth explains their cupcake...

...but Amy cant stop laughing!
( I love her! )

They are twin baby girls:

(I would have had them win because of how much they enjoyed this game! HAHA!)

Next up: The Kristins (and Kate!)

Team next: The Weeks!

Team Lyndsey and Caitlin:

Last, but not least, the winners of our SPRINKLE War:

Team Lindsey and Michelle

They made a MOOSE!

...well done!

Phew.... all of these fun and games have me worn out.
And its only been 48 hours!


Time to get some shut eye so we can tackle tomorrow.

Blessings! XOXOXO