2010 in review…a little late, but why not?

Sine cool facts from my favorite monkey’s from WordPress:

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.

 

In 2010, there were 103 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 171 posts. There were 343 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 59mb. That’s about 7 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 22nd with 292 views. The most popular post that day was Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin) Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were simplysugarandglutenfree.com, thenourishinggourmet.com, facebook.com, foodintolerancescook.blogspot.com, and digg.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for healthy pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, homemade peanut butter chips, homemade cheetos, freegf, and homemade cheetos recipe.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin) Chocolate Chip Muffins November 2010
5 comments

2

Homemade Reese’s (Peanut Butter Cups)! :) (refined sugar-free) March 2010
16 comments

3

GF (Gluten-Free) , dairy-free, sugar-free, soy-free, vegan, homemade frugal chocolate chips! March 2010
26 comments

4

Homemade Cheetos/ Cheese puff’s/ Cheese balls March 2010
4 comments

5

Mini Grain-Free, GF, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan Chocolate Brownie Bites April 2010
11 comments

Maple Cashew Cookies

I’m back. I’ve been taking a little hiatus from blogging if you haven’t noticed. Winking smile It’s been nice to have sometime to have sometime to think and spend time with family and decide what really matters and what I really want in life. As a result, I can’t promise I will blog as often as I used to, but I will try to post more than I have been of late. Winking smile 

Anyway, to kick this off and celebrate my return to blogging (because if no one else is celebrating, I am), I would post the recipe for these delicious cookies I made tonight. I’ve been trying to find something to do with my cashew butter and I also have been craving peanut butter cookies…but peanut butter hasn’t been agreeing with me. Sad smile Thus, these cookies were born! Smile They even taste very similar to peanut butter! Smile

cashew cookies 001

Don’t they look good? Smile  I promise they are even 100x better than they look!

Maple Cashew Cookies

from Ari’s kitchen

Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks- Peanut Butter Cookies 

Flour idea from: The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen’s Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. sorghum flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 + 1/8 t. sea salt
  • 1/4 t. xanthun gum
  • 1/2 c. cashew butter
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 2 T + 2 t. melted (measure before melting) earth balance or butter or oil
  • 1 t. vanilla

cashew cookies 002

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven for 350. Mix the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients. Mix again. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Roll into balls and flatten carefully with your hand and then even more carefully with a fork to make the fork prints. To make this easier and to give it a contrast in flavors (think sweet and salty), dip your fork in salt between cookies. (If you can’t get the salt to stick, just try flatting the cookies without salt…the greasiness will help the salt stick to the other cookies.)

Bake for 10-11 minutes but no longer, as they will get too hard. Let them cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then remove to a cooling rack.

Enjoy with a nice cold glass of your favorite milk! (My current favorite: almond!) Smile 

I got 14 pretty large/ decent size cookies out of this recipe. Double if desired. Smile 

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The leaning tower of cashew butter cookies?

This post is linked to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday’s.

Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin) Chocolate Chip Muffins

         

November 2010 098

I recently came upon a dilemma. Not a large on of sorts, but a tiny small one…. Mom was making Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins tonight. A favorite in our family, if you remember from this post. But here was my dilemma, I haven’t tested chocolate or pumpkin yet! Sad smile How was I going to be able to test them both? I just finished day three of my latest “food” (maple syrup—yum!), so I could introduce one but not both.

       After thinking about it for a while, I finally came up with a solution! I would try chocolate and use sweet potatoes as a substitute for pumpkin since I have read a lot about using them instead of pumpkin…Sno White uses them a lot in her baking (due to Frog Prince’s allergy?? I think), like with this recipe for Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Bread…which looks amazing.

     Anyway, I gave it a shot, and used my mom’s recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins which I thought I had used for my original recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins….but I realized that I hadn’t. So, I decided to see if I could get closer to mom’s recipe. Smile 

   As I was making these, I realized that I could submit them for this months SOS challenge! Hooray! Smile I had wanted to participate, especially since I love sweet potatoes and eat them a lot, but I wasn’t sure what to make, and was happy that I came across something without even trying! Smile I’m also submitting these to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

Anyway, all in all, they came out great! I made notes though for you, and me, so that you can make changes as needed to fit your diet and to make the recipe more suitable for you!

 

Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins

by Ariana Anderson, based of mom’s recipe

November 2010 110Sweet potato love! And look at all those chocolate chips! Mmm! And they’re homemade too! Smile 

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. brown rice flour (I find I need less flour if just using brown rice flour, it seems to be very thickening) OR 1 to 1-2/3 c. GF flour blend OR 1-2/3 c.“regular” flour—whole wheat or spelt would be great!
  • 2.5 t. liquid vanilla stevia (next time, I would decrease or omit this as I found it a little to much overbearing, but not too noticeable since I had chocolate chips in it too) OR 1 c. sugar (I would suggest Sucanat OR palm/coconut sugar) if tolerated
  • 1 T. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 large eggs (I suggest free-range)
  • 1 c. sweet potato (blend mashed sweet potato with a little water until it is more of a “canned pumpkin” consistency—ie. you want it smooth and thinner than just mashed up sweet potatoes with nothing else….I used my food processor) OR 1 c. plain pumpkin (which is 1/2 of a 1/2 lb can)
  • 1/2 c. melted butter or oil or applesauce (I used applesauce)
  • 1 c. chocolate chips (I used my own recipe—free of sugar, gluten, and dairy)
  • 1/2 t. almond extract (I omitted because I haven’t tried almonds yet)

 

Directions: Heat oven to 350*. Grease muffin cups or use papers. Thoroughly mix flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Break eggs into another bowl. Add pumpkin/sweet potato and oil. Whisk until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and almond extract. Pour over dry ingredients and fold in with a rubber spatula just until dry ingredients are moistened. Scoop batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes until puffed and springy to the touch in the center. Turn out onto a rack to cook. Makes 12 (1 dozen)

Notes: Next time, I think 1/2-3/4 c. chocolate chips would be plenty. Also, while the brown rice flour and stevia worked fine, I would like to try it with a GF flour blend (at least of brown rice and tapioca flour) and less or no stevia and some agave or honey instead.

 

November 2010 108

Swirls of sweet potato….and spice!

“Kitchen Scraps and Food Storage”

I found this article on another site and I wanted to quote and post it here because I thought it was so good and useful!

“Kitchen Scraps and Food Storage…
Here is a wonderful way to save money, have gourmet items in your pantry and enjoy great tastes!

Dehydrate!
You will need a food dehydrator or an oven and a way to grind the dried material into a powder. Spice grinders, coffee grinders, food processors are all good. Work with what you have or are comfortable with. Once ground into powder, store the powders in baby food jars, spice jars or whatever tightly lidded jars you have handy. Sterilize and COMPLETELY DRY jars before putting powder in. Also, put an O2 absorber in each jar.

TOMATO PEELS
Those tomato peels that are usually flung in the trash when you can tomatoes? Dry them out, nice and VERY dry, grind them into powder. Tomato powder sells for big bucks in gourmet shops, but essentially, it is made from peels that would otherwise be discarded.

Use the powder to boost the flavor in soups, stews and sauces, add some to your tortilla recipe to make those gourmet *tomato wraps* most people pay a premium price for. Make your own pasta? Add tomato powder! Add to softened butter for tomato butter (great on steaks and fish!) Combined with dry milk and a few spices, you can have a quick and easy instant tomato soup! Toss tomato powder into your favorite breading recipe to add a little sparkle to the flavor of fried chicken or fried fish. Add a teaspoon to your salad dressing and shake!

ORANGE PEELS
Grate orange peels or toss in a blender or chopper to have your own orange zest without paying those high supermarket prices. Orange zest can also be used in home made soap recipes. I have even dried out orange peels, ground them up and added a teaspoon or two to a regular bottle of shampoo for a citrus-wake-me-up scent. Orange powder can also be used in sachets and pomanders to repel insects and freshen closets.
Orange peels (powdered) can have a *bitter* taste to them if you get too much of the inner white peel in the powder, so be careful of that! You can also add orange powder to salad dressings, breading, butter, ginger ale (orange ginger ale is pretty good). Use your imagination!

APPLE PEELS
Dry those apple peels out nice and very dry and grind into powder as with tomato peels.
Apple peel powder is great to add to oatmeal and other cooked cereals. A teaspoon in a glass of ginger ale is lovely on a hot day, or add a teaspoon to a hot mug of tea on a cold winter night. Toss some apple powder into your body wash for a wonderful scent, or add to unscented talcum powder and dust some on! Apple powder can also be used as a sachet scent or in a pomander.

BROCCOLI STEMS
Slice up your leftover raw broccoli very thin and dry it completely. Grind into powder. Mix with cream cheese and sour cream and a smidge of tomato powder for a great dip. Broccoli powder + dried milk + water = cream of broccoli soup. (I always scatter some grated cheese on top) Again, use your imagination!

SPINACH STEMS AND PIECES
Dry out completely. Grind into powder. Spinach powder + sour cream + cream cheese + spices = terrific dip or spread for crackers! Cream of spinach soup when mixed with dry milk and water.
Add to pasta dough when making pasta. Add to flour tortilla recipe. Good to add to salad dressings or mayonnaise.

CUCUMBER PEELS
You have to be careful with this. If you grow your own or buy locally, you should be okay. You cannot dry out most store bought cuke skins as they are wax coated! That being said–dry out totally and grind into powder. Add to cream cheese or sour cream (or both-mixed) for a nice dip or flavorful spread. Cucumber is a pretty popular additive to bath salts, soaps, shampoos, etc. Add to alcohol and water (half and half) in the summer and put in a spritz bottle. Spray yourself to stay *cool as a…* you know the rest! A teaspoon added to a bottle of salad dressing is great for cool summer salads. Add to mayonnaise.

CELERY BITS AND PIECES
Slice thin and dry completely before grinding into powder. Use in place of celery seed in soups and stews. Add to salad dressings, dips, spreads or mayonnaise. I like to sprinkle it on deviled eggs (VERY lightly!).

CANTELOUPE RINDS (ALSO WATERMELON OR ANY MELON)
This one always gets me weird looks, lol! Okay, there is ALWAYS some leftover *meat* in that rind. Dig it out, slice it into thin slices and dry it out. (NOW you can toss those rinds in the compost heap!) Once dry, grind into powder.
A teaspoon in a glass of ginger ale is absolute heaven on a hot day in July! Adding watermelon powder to hot tea sounds weird, but is actually pretty good! Add some to unscented bath salts.
I have used watermelon powder in a white cake batter to make a watermelon cake. (It was terrific! Just add 3 to 5 teaspoons (depends on your tastes) to batter and mix in well. Add to softened cream cheese, sour cream and add a bit of honey and mix well to make a dip for fruits.”

“I highly recommend the dried watermelon powder…watermelon cake is really good. I have also made watermelon ice cream by mixing the powder into a basic ice cream recipe.
I recently watched a show on the Food Network and a chef was just going nuts over a tomato ice cream he had tried somewhere…I thought “Gee, that’s easy to make”, lol!..have also made peach, nectarine and apricot powders. Strawberry powder, too. Basically, anything you can dry out thoroughly and grind into a powder–fruit or veggie. The only limits are your imagination and your taste buds!”

So, there you go…eat your garbage!.”

Mom’s Applesauce Muffins

October 2010 Elliotts Bday and so forth 015

My gluten-free version (also sans raisins)

What do you eat on a cold, fall morning? Muffins! Smile What do you eat on a chilly night?

October 2010 Elliotts Bday and so forth 017

I served this warming turkey noodle soup last night with these applesauce muffins.

Soup and muffins!Winking smile  Muffins are great anytime of day.

One of my absolute favorite muffins that my mom makes are applesauce muffins! Smile They are so good….especially with mom’s homemade macoun applesauce! I decided to make them for my family one night and one morning for me. So, Winking smile I’ve tested this recipe both as my mom originally wrote it (with wheat flour and all) and gluten-free. Both are great! Smile 

Mom’s Applesauce Muffins

October 2010 Elliotts Bday and so forth 011

Mom’s original recipe: made with whole wheat flour and raisins

Ingredients:

1-1/2 c. brown rice flour*

1/4. c. tapioca flour/starch*

*If you can have gluten, sub 1-3/4 c. whole wheat flour (as originally stated in my mom’s recipe) or spelt flour

1 t. baking soda OR 2 t. baking powder (original recipe)  

3/4 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. ginger

1/3 c. oil or applesauce or half oil/applesauce (I used applesauce, although I think it would work the best with at least 1/2 oil)

1/4 c. apple juice

1 egg, beaten

1/2 c. honey (original recipe) or agave (I used agave)

3/4 c. applesauce (yes, in addition to using it as a sub for oil if you used that)

1/2 c. raisins (optional, but my favorite! I didn’t add them this time, because I haven’t “tested” them yet)

1/2 c. chopped pecans (or other nuts, also optional; I don’t remember my mom ever using these, but it’s on the recipe, so I’m sure it’s good!)

Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Combine egg, applesauce, honey, oil, and apple juice. Add to flour mixture. Stir just until flour is moistened. The batter should be lumpy. Fold in pecans and raisins (if using…dried cranberries might be good here too!) Fill 12 greased or papered muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 400* F for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Red heart Ari

Home…A time to heal!

I’m home! I just returned tonight. As of tonight, I have had my last bite of gluten, dairy, and sugar (and other such nasty things like hydrogenated oils and such). No more for me. I’m sad that I ever got off the bandwagon, but hope I can get back on and remain free of those things….They don’t make me feel well…they only feed my emotions and keep me binging. Never mind the fact that they cause me terrible fibromyalgia pain, heartburn, headaches, stomach discomfort, and weight gain. Today, from this minute on, I promise myself and you that I will be gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. I will eat mindfully. I will learn to listen to my body and heal. I will do all I need to do to heal. I will go back to the basics…go back to adding one new food in at a time…and waiting three days before I try another one. I will start exercising again…and much more….here’s to hoping that I’ll be able to do this all…

Any suggestions would be great. Anyone know how long it takes to get the gluten, dairy, and sugar out of your system??

Thanks.

Thanks for all your support!

~Ari

Personal Health Update…Sadly, It’s Not Better..

Remember this post? I talked a lot about how I wasn’t handling school and things and just overeating and bingeing a ton even on gluten and sugar? I want to be honest with you, and appreciate your help and support. Unfortunately, things have only gotten worse and those things have continued…Besides having bingeing issues, I have also had a lot of stomach problems like normal and my old friend fibromyalgia and such…and some other personal health problems as well. Suffice it to say, I have been in and out of the doctor’s office more frequently in a shorter span of time than I care to count! I have been so sick in so many ways, and have missed zillions of classes and assignments. On Friday, I went into my doctor again.  He suggested that I withdraw from school and go home and get some help there and not have the stress of school to make matters worse and to focus on healing. I prayed about it and I know this is what I am supposed to do. It’s not easy…and it still won’t be an easy road even at home, but what I need to do now is focus on getting better. If you want, I’d appreciate prayers in my behalf as I am going through this tough time in my life and especially for the next few days as I try to rush through cleaning my apt and packing and moving and doing this all while I am not feeling well.

The stress of dealing with all of this has not made the bingeing easier either…in fact, I’ve been terrible lately…binging on gluten and sugar too. And a lot. I’ve gained some weight and that just makes me feel worse. Plus, I worry about going home…because my family still eats gluten and sugar and having that around is going to be even more of a temptation…especially since Halloween is almost here and around the same time, my brother’s birthday…

Anyway, just wanted to let you know the big news and see if you have any suggestions…

Are you addicted to food? Especially sugar? How did you beat it? (Feel free to send me a personal email too if you want….thefrugallyrichlife AT gmail DOT com).

Giveaway and Natural Deodorant

Nourishing Days is having a giveaway for a gift certificate for natural personal care or beauty products. This would be a great opportunity to switch to natural products. I’d love to win some myself! :) The natural makeup looks awesome too.

Want to begin using natural products, but have a hard time spending that kind of mulah ($)? Me too. You can start here though by making your own frugal and very natural deodorant! It’s so cheap to make, lasts forever, works great, and is so much better for you then commercial deodorant. Check it out! You’ll be glad you did…I’ll never go back to regular deodorant!

Best Banana Muffins (Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, etc)

October 2010 040

Oh my. These are so good. I’ve eaten way too many. Best of all? These are free from any grains at all….gluten-free or otherwise. And? They involved very little work, contain only one flour, and taste just like “whole-wheat” or regular muffins. :) Tested by my room mates even, and they approve!

This recipe came to be because I’ve been testing coconut flour and trying agave. :) Mmmm….good!

Best Banana Muffins

by Ariana Anderson, adapted from this recipe by Tasty Eats At Home

October 2010 038

Ingredients:

  • 3 bananas (mine were just ripe-no brown spots—but I’m sure these would be even more delicious with riper bananas)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c. agave
  • 4 T. oil (I used sunflower seed oil)
  • 15 drops stevia (I used vanilla stevia)***
  • 3/4 c. coconut flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1.5 t. cinnamon

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease well. Mash bananas with a fork, or with my prefered method, a potato masher. Crack eggs and stir  them in. Add October 2010 034agave. Stir. Add oil. Mix. Add stevia. Mix. Add coconut flour, salt, and cinnamon. Stir. Add in baking soda. Stir again. Using an ice-cream scoop (or spoon—the scoop just tends to be able give out the right amount of batter per muffin tin), pour batter into individual cups. Smooth tops of muffins with slightly wet fingers, if desired. Slide muffin tins in the oven. Let cook for 20 minutes or until your toothpick comes out clean. Mine were perfect right at 20, but every oven is different.

Yields: 12 beautiful, soft, super moist, just sweet enough, perfectly satisfying tasty muffins great warm or cold

Enjoy! Let me know how you like them! :)

***Update: I made them again. They were so good. I used speckled bananas this time…they yielded an even more moist sweet muffin. I think in this case you could use less or no stevia and be fine…especially if you are weary of the stevia after taste you sometimes get. I’ve never eaten a more moist muffin!!! It’s almost like a cupcake or something of a dessert it feels like because it is so moist, you would think there would be cups and cups of oil in it–but it’s so healthy and yummy! :) I want to try these next time with half oil and have applesauce. If you try that or any other variations, let me know.

This is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays!

Basic but Hearty Brown Rice Flour Pancakes with Healthy Banana Syrup

Brown Rice Flour Pancakes 008

What is it about pancakes that makes them so warm and comforting? For General Conference this morning, I wanted to make a special breakfast. I recently realized that I could have brown rice flour. I didn’t think I could have any flours yet because I haven’t tested them yet, but realized that brown rice flour should be totally fine since I know that brown rice doesn’t bother me whatsoever. :) It is one of those hypoallergenic foods that most everyone can tolerate….which is true for me too. Because it is so well tolerated by me, even on bad days, it is one of my favorite comfort foods.

Anyway, as I realized recently that I could have brown rice flour, I became excited and thought of what I could make with just brown rice flour that would still taste ok…since GF flours do not taste the greatest most often on their own. I remembered a recipe I had used for crepes one time that had just used brown rice flour….Thinking about this lead me to think of just warm, comforting hearty pancakes. So I began searching. I found several recipes for pancakes made with brown rice flour but most had other flours and or ingredients that I couldn’t yet. Finally, I found this one and tweaked it to fit my needs.

Brown Rice Flour Pancakes 001

These are good size pancakes…this is the one I ate…it filled up the whole plate (except for the wide rim). :)

It turned out great! These pancakes are super hearty, reminding me of whole wheat pancakes. They are a tiny, itsy bit grainy, but barely so. Especially when you add the banana syrup that I came up with due to a moment of inspiration. :) They are very filling and you will most likely only need one medium-large one (like the one in the photo above) to be full.

Also, these are very frugal pancakes and syrup to make! :) They are also very thick and puffy! :) You could definitely play around with this recipe to make different variations…like blueberry pancakes, for example! :)

Brown Rice Flour Pancakes 007

Basic but Hearty Brown Rice Flour Pancakes (with Healthy Banana Syrup)

by Ariana Anderson, based off this recipe from Wallet-Friendly Wellness

Ingredients:

2 c. brown rice flour***

1/2 T. baking soda

1 t. sea salt

1 t. cinnamon

20 drops vanilla crème stevia

3 eggs (preferably free-range)

1-3/4 c. rice milk (or other dairy/non-dairy milk)

Directions:

Heat and oil frying pan (I used my cast-iron pan.)  on the stove to about about 3.5 or halfway between low and medium. Mix wet ingredients together.  Add dry ingredients, mixing well. Pour desired amount of batter (more for bigger pancakes, less for smaller) into warmed pan. Let cook for approximately 3-5 minutes or until you can easy stick your spatula underneath the pancake to fill it over. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Repeat for remaining batter. Serve topped with my healthy and delicious banana syrup (below)  or other desired compliments like maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, fresh fruit, etc.

*** If you aren’t allergic to gluten, try whole wheat instead of brown rice flour. Or, you can purchase it or make it by grinding some brown rice in your wheat grinder!

Makes about 7 large, hearty pancakes…which are very filling. Serves 6-7.

Brown Rice Flour Pancakes 009

(My stack of pancakes…minus the one I ate. :) See how thick they are?)

Brown Rice Flour Pancakes 005

Pancake with banana syrup! mmmm

Healthy, but Delicious Banana Syrup

by Ariana Anderson

The inspiration for this syrup comes from the fact that I haven’t really tested honey, maple syrup, or agave, yet. When I did have maple syrup, I found that I just binged on it. :( So, I’ve stayed away from all of that. The only thing that I do ok with is stevia and fruit. I thought about putting banana slices on top, but wanted something more…syrupy…which is how I came up with the simple recipe below.

Ingredients: 1 ripe banana per pancake/person

Directions: Break your banana in thirds. Throw it in the blender. Whirl it around until it is syrupy, with a few chunks left. Pour over pancake. Enjoy!

This is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

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