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Paleo Pumpkin-Cashew Blondies

Hello Baking Friends!

I had some requests for the sharing of a recipe I made last night and took into work today for my unsuspecting coworkers.

Paleo Pumpkin-Cashew Blondies

I have recently discovered I have quite a lot of food ‘allergies/intolerances’, and the closest ‘diet’ that I can follow is the Paleo diet. Knowing that this is something a lot of people are getting into, I have been intrigued by some of the lovely blogs and resources that I have found.

So far, however, my favorite named blog, and inspiration for my Blondies, is Clean Eating With A Dirty Mind. First of all, the name is just giggle worthy. I love it. Next, the author actually responds to comments, which is sometimes rare for some of the more popularly commented on bloggers (due to time). And finally, Vanessa actually discussed some alternatives with me, and gave me her stamp of approval. So of course, I am biased towards her! ūüėČ

So here is the Paleo Pumpkin Pie Blondie recipe from Vanessa at CEWADM. Her blog entry is worth reading.

Now, here is the recipe that I did, which yielded a deep-dish 13×9 pan of Blondie yumminess!

Paleo Pumpkin-Cashew Blondies

Ingredients:
6 eggs
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tspn vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup cashew butter (I used JIF)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (I used Libby’s)

1 cup oat flour (homemade is easy, recipe below)
1/2  cup coconut palm sugar (looks like brown sugar)
1 tspn each ground nutmeg, ground cloves and Saigon cinnamon
1/2 tspn each ground cardamom seed, ground ginger, vanilla bean powder and ground allspice
1/4 tspn (or a dash really) Pink Himalayan Salt

Directions:

Step 1: Mix all the wet ingredients together with a whisk until evenly blended.

Step 2: Add the pumpkin and the cashew butter to the wet mix, and whisk until thick but well mixed.

Step 3: Mix all the dry ingredients together with a whisk until evenly blended.

Step 4: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture..

Step 5: Whisk until evenly blended.

Step 6: Pour batter into a 13×9 baking pan.

Step 7: Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour, but best if it sits overnight to settle.

Final Touches: Slice into 24-28 pieces, and add a dollop of cashew butter to enjoy to the utmost!

I input the caloric value, roughly, at 28 pieces per recipe, into CalorieCount.About.Com and came up with the following nutritional information (which is probably not entirely accurate, guessing on the high side):
Serving Size: 1 piece + 1/4 teaspoon cashew butter spread on top
Calories: 180
Total Fat: 14.3g
Saturated Fat: 7.8g [I am going to see if I can reduce this in a further rendition of this recipe]
Cholesterol: 6mg
Sodium: 98mg
Total Carbohydrates: 13.2g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8g
Sugars: 5.3g
Protein: 2.1g
Vitamin A: 11%    Calcium: 2%    Iron: 4%

As promised Рif you want to make your own oat flour, all you need to do is take equal amounts (i.e. 1 cup) of raw oats, or 75% oat bran, to what you need for a recipe. Pulse in food processor until completely refined to almost a powder, about 2:00 Р2:30 minutes. I made mine a little thicker, and it came out pretty tasty in the recipe, I thought!

So all of my coworkers who tried it enjoyed it (and no, they didn’t say it just because I was standing there, many actually came and found me to tell me they enjoyed it, so neener to all you nay-sayers who may have wanted to give me some teasing crap on that one, hahaHA!). Favorite way, however, was indeed with a smidge of cashew butter on top!

So go check out Vanessa, and try one of our variations of this recipe (or both), and let me/us know what you thought of it! I look forward to hearing about it!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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Charlotte Oktoberfest – Homebrews Plus

Hello Beer Fiends,

As long-promised and overdue, here is the second of the Charlotte Oktoberfest write-ups that I have from the 2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest festival held at the Metronlina Tradeshow Expo on September 29, 2012. Apologies for the delay, this took forever and a half to type up! Yeesh, my fingers hurt now!!! All for you all, though, all for you! ūüėČ

2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest Homebrewers

2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest!

Homebrewers. The local legends of beer one-off experimentations, imitations-of-large-name-beers, and classic styles redone with new twists. These are the people that like making little tweaks to their recipes to make it that extra little bit more <insert beer flavor, aroma or aftertaste of your choice here>.

So to make up for missing so many of the homebrewers available to you all, I am going to list the brews that I didn’t get to try in my post yesterday. You will feel shame for me, I am sure, when you compare the lists of today and yesterday. I definitely hung my head in shame¬†at myself!

Homebrews I Missed (in order from Oktoberfest booklet:
Adam Kaufman: Rex’s Rye Rocket
Bill Lynch: Big Bill’s IPA, Buster Cherry Blonde, Citradiculous IPA, Robusto Porter
Brian Beachemin: Beat The Heat Wheat
Brian Schonder: Hunt For Red Oktober
Bruno Wichnoski: Old Ace, Sir Bruno’s ESB, The Great One
Charles Scheffer: Pumpkin Ale
Chris Black: Smoke and Mirrors, Drunkin’ Punkin’
Chris Webber: Rhine Rain, Tip The Porter
David Jones: Eternal Hoppiness, Half Wit SC Peach Wheat
Felton Dengler: Cut The Grass Damn It! Pale Ale
James O’Leary: Night Vision Black IPA
Jen Kaufman: Jen’s Joy Juice
John Oshman: Osh’s Awesome Ale
Kelly Pruett: Centennial IPA
Lisa Johnson: Dandelion IPA
Mark Graham: Fear The Turtle!
Mike Schenk: Kashi Brown Ale
Pat Wichnoski: Crimson Oktoberfest, The Big O (aka Sexual Chocolate)
Paul Bright: Mahopma Curry IPA
Randy Griesman: Kumawannaliea Pineapple Wheat
Rob Adams: Cinderella’s Last Ride
Scott Jacobs: God Save The Hops
Stephen Gilbert: Dunkel Donuts, Flummoxed Lummox
Stephen Hutchinson: Peaceful Warrior
Tom Henderson: Ich bin ein Berliner
Tyler Norris: Choppy’s Old Bier

Alternative Beverage Staff: Alt Bev American Red Bitter, APA, Hefeweizen; Red Hook ESB Clone
Bethea Baker:¬†Alt Bev¬†American Pilsner, Black IPA, Dortmunder Export, Irish Red, Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Ale, Raspberry Wheat, Small Session Brown Ale; 60 Minute IPA Clone, 90 Minute IPA Clone, Hophead Potter, Southern Belle’s Half Hearted Ale
Chris Austin: Cherries Forever Stout
Clif Mullis: Black Currant White Merlot, Peach Chardonnay, Strawberry Riesling
Christopher Grzebyk: Hop Smuggler Centennial
Ian Peterson: Cockin’ Cannons Cherry Chocolate Stout, Eastern Steamer, Outta Boresight Bitter
James Lafferty: Autumn Trailblazer Sweet Potato Ale, Dirty Shirley Wine Cooler
Jason Thornton: Black Beard IPA
Loren Standley: Not Your Common Cider, Thomas Jefferson Ale

Crystal Gainous: Copacetic CABREW Pale Ale
Eric Allgaier: Cabarrus Breakfast Stout, Dreadful Sorry, Get your !*@$ing Chocolate Outta My Peanut Butter Porter
Ford Craven: Craven’ Cucumber Kolsch
Jenn Waterson: Hoppier The Better
Josh Davis: Deutscherdbeer Hefe Weissbier
Luke Waterson: Wit You Want?
Nancy Scott: Blumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Pie
Patty Acquaviva: Strawberry Blonde
Rick Godby / Sharon Doherty: Dark Lady Porter
Rusty Agee: Brown Party Likker
Scott Peterlin: Granny’s Apple Saison
Steve Propst: Millennium Falconer
Tim Kelley: The American Hefe

Bill Dubas: El Deguello, Masala Porter
Brian Sico: Dicken’s Cider, Hop Monster, NitWit
Chris Duke: Sweet Georgia Blonde
Dave Buning: Campfire Wheat, Some like it hop, Yep that’s a Stout
Mike Hahne: Knicker Twist

Adam Childers: Fraulein’s Delight, He Ain’t Hefe He’s My Brother, What the Helles?
Barry Wray: Go2Helles, Woooooo!
Brenton Queen: My British Fling
Eddie Wetmore: Carpet Doesn’t Match The Drapes
Jason Garvin: Velocity Redlight 1.1, Velocity Redlight 1.2, Velocity Redlight 1.3
Lee Wagoner: Wham Bam Thank You Mamber
Paul Watkins: Dead Ringer
Steve Moulton: Knicker-dropper, Stoutzilla
Tom Wechter: Painted Lady

Chris Miller: Fade To Blackberry Wit, Frost On The PUmpkin Porter
Jake Atwell: Amaretto By Morning
Lee Hill: Captain Nolan’s ORCA
Mike Marble: One Giant Leap Double IPA, One Small Step Amber
Mike Pflugrad: Porky’s Prostitute Porter
Sam Victory: Creature Feature, How ‘Bout Them Apples, Unity Wit
Silas Swaim: Cottonmouth Brown, h’Wheat
Terry Smith: You Didn’t Brew That!
Terry Smith / Sam Victory: HOPS’ High Point Pride Cask English Bitter
Tim McDonald: Fire In The Hole Jalapeno Ale, Man On The Moon Cherry Wheat, Once In A Blue Moon, Skidmark Porter
William Speisberger: Hubba Bubba Cranium

Brad Albrecht: American IPA
Brian Little: Jamils Evil Twin
Chris Olden: Chirs’ Pilsner
John Crnich: German Hefeweizen
Kevin Neyland: Chocolate Milk Stout
Michael Thomas: Dry Hopped Cider
Patrick Stephens: Brown Eye Ale
Press Brewery: American Pale Ale, Jalapeno Ale
Velocity Brewing: Redlight Version 1, Redlight Version 2, Redlight Version 3
Russ Burnitt: Old Chub Clone, Surly Furious
Rusty Starnes: Black IPA
Tim Kelley: American IPA, Oxford Nut Brown
Wes Midkiff: Axis IPA, Sorachi Ace IPA
Will Omsbach: Right Coast IPA, Right Coast IPA 2

Adam Puzerewski: Bunny Hop Wheat, Philly Peach Wheat
Alex Pagano: Batch 674
Andy Kalinoski: Brown House Ale, Das Golden Shower
Brent Brewer: Knockout Stout
Louis Oliver: Cherry Poppin’s Cider
Michael Pribble: Breakfast of Champions
Patrick Allen: Red Blooded American Ale
Trevor Gildea: Fantasy Draft 2

Brad Petit: Nothing But Cascade
Dan Adams: No Soul, Welfare John
Jim Griggers: Guten Morgen, Janet Weiss
JP Boileau: Land of Barley & Blue, Palmetto Oaked Ale, Waking up at 6:23am Breakfast Stout, Hop Witit, Push Up, Sweet Southern Blonde
Keven and Wendy Deaton: Cluster F#$K Chocolate Coconut Stout, London’s Folly, Oaked EPA
Matt Rodgers: Dweller Marzen, The Black Key
Paul Selig: SMASHed Cherry
Phil Tollison: Gestalt, Souther WatermALEon

Chad Hahn: Blonde Ale, IPA
Jason Alarcon: Snatches of Pink
Kevin Dolan: The APE
Ryan Trask: CitrAm Pale Ale
Ryan Weir: Cream Ale, Peanut Butter Porter

Bill MacElroy: Stiche Alt Bier
Brian Cendrowski: Dieterhosen Festbier, The Fixer
Hang To: Tripel
Jake Grove: Sage Advice Cascadian Dark Ale
Jeremy Grieshop: Harold-is-Weizen
Joe Coxey: Doverdale Wheat
Margaret Antonik: Sweet Ginger Brown

Dave Koenig: Brunette Bombshell, Koenigfest, Pooh’s Hunny Blonde Ale
Dave Wanucha: Dag Gum Dunkel
Mark Stoehr: Bahama Mama Smoked Coconut Wheat, Hoppy Stout
Steve Nance: Absinthe Of Malice
Tom Nolan: Cocoa Love, Farmhouse Floozie

Dave Keller: Bat Cap
Bernie Kessel: Pink Lady Cider
Mark Staffon: My IPA
Rich and Lee Pettus: Smokey Mountain Porter

Bill Lynch: Amber Ale with Carrots, Candied Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Vanilla Beans in Bourbon
Brian Beauchemin: Smoked Porter
Charles Scheffer: Pumpkin Ale
Felton Dengler: Ale Brewed with Carrots and Spices
Ford Craven: Brown Porter Mashed with Butternut Squash
Josh Davis: Farmhouse Ale with Wild Blackberries
Kevin Martin: Ale Brewed with Roasted Tomatoes and Fresh Rosemary
Lisa Johnson: Ale Using Sweet Potatoes In The Mash
Mike Schenk: Ale Brewed with Potato, Sweet Potato, Carrots and Beets
Rob Adams: Spiced Carrot and Parsnip Belgian Dubbel
Shawn McBride: Olde Ale with Pumpkin

WHEW! That was quite the list! As you can see, my trials versus misses were grossly outnumbered. Clearly I need to party with the homebrew tent way more next year! ūüėČ So that is all for today, and thanks for your patience while I got all of that typed up. I will continue more in the next installation after a short baking/cooking break tomorrow! Until then, though….

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Little Snowballs

Hey again Baking Friends!

One of my favorite series of books to read is the Hannah Swensen Mystery series by Joanne Fluke. I like that it’s murder mystery style books, with a lot of the every day monotony thrown in that most books leave out, and then the best part is¬†the recipes! I have tried lots of Joanne’s recipes, and have yet to find one that I don’t like. One of these days I will try her coffee trick, I swear, but I need a huge batch of coffee drinkers to do it.

Anyways, a few years ago my work did a Cookies for Civil Servants thing around Christmas where everyone brought in bags of scratch-made cookies, and volunteers distributed them to Charlotte Mecklenburg Police, Fire and Medic stations across the county. I had made some extras for my co-workers, small samples of the 4 cookies that I made, and one of my friends LOVED the Little Snowballs that I made. Think similar to a Wedding Cake Cookie.

Little Snowballs!

Since her birthday is at the end of June, I decided to make her a batch of cookies for a snack. Hee. Birthday cookies will get you every time! Muahahaha.

So anyways, here is the recipe, and hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

What You’ll Need:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted (3 sticks)
3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus 1/4 cup for coating
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (walnut chips and sliced almonds are my go-to choices for these cookies!)

How To Make Them:
1.
Preheat over to 350 F. Melt the butter in microwave for 2 minutes.
2. Add in 3/4 cup powdered sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and salt, and mix well. Add the flour and mix throughly. Stir in the nuts until evenly distributed.
3. Form the dough into one-inch balls (just pat them into shape with your fingers), and place them on an UNGREASED baking sheet.
4. Bake them for 10 minutes, until they are set but not brown. Remove from oven.
5. Let the cookies cool for 2 minutes, then roll them in powdered sugar. (You must do this while they’re still warm.) Place them on a wire rack and let them cool completely.
6. When the cookies are completely cooled, roll them in powdered sugar again. Let them rest for several minutes on the rack, and then store them in a cookie jar or a covered bowl, or a large freezer ziploc bag! Enjoy them with friends!

Yield: 90-100 cookies (Nutrition Information: 47 calories per cookie, 2.9g fat, 4.2g carb, 0.6g protein, 8mg sodium, 7mg cholesterol)

So there they are, try it out, enjoy, and please let me know what you think! YUM!

I will say, I do intend to try a few variations on this cookie throughout this summer: substituting butter for Butter Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil, adding lemon juice + lemon rind to make Lemon Snowballs, substituting butter for applesauce + canola oil, substituting nuts for dried fruit, substituting macadamia nuts + coconut for the nuts, and finally doing the original recipe around a jumbo chocolate chip. I will, of course, keep you all posted on how these all turn out!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Brunch Stuffed French Toast

Hiya Yummy-Brunch Fans,

I did a brunch with some friends awhile ago, and we all pitched in and brought something ‘to pass’. There were only 4 of us, so we kept it simple. Mimosas, Crab Quiche and Stuffed French Toast. I made Stuffed French Toast because it’s a go-to recipe I have used for years, and it is one of my favorite brunch items to make. It’s simple, delicious, and pretty cheap to make too. All three of these are great things in a recipe!

Cooking Light’s Stuffed French¬† Toast¬†recipe is a stand-by staple that you can make without feeling all the guilt that usually comes (for me at least) along with making something so decadently delicious. I rarely alter this at all, though I do have a couple things I change, more for personal taste than anything, though!

Ingredients to Serve 8-16 people (depending on how hungry everyone is):
16 slices cinnamon-raisin bread (I use Pepperidge Farm)
Cooking spray
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 cups egg substitute, divided
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 teaspoons fresh-ground cinnamon, divided
1/8 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

Directions:
1) In one 13×9 cake pan, or 2 8×8 cake pans, sprayed with cooking spray, arrange 8 pieces of cinnamon raisin bread evenly along the bottom of the pan(s).
2) Combine 3 cups milk, 1 1/2 cups egg substitute, 1 cup half-and-half, and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour half of milk mixture over bread in dish(es).
3) Combine 1/2 cup egg substitute, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla, 1 tspn nutmeg, 1/2 tspn allspice, 1 1/2 tspn cinnamon, and cream cheeses in a food processor or blender, or you can mix by hand if you want some good exercise; process or mix until smooth.
4) Pour cream cheese mixture over moist bread in dish(es). Top with remaining 8 pieces of cinnamon-raisin bread. Pour remaining milk mixture over bread, spreading evenly.
5) Cover and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.
6) Uncover, place in cold oven, set oven to 350¬į, and then set the oven timer (where it turns your oven off afterwards) for 55 minutes. Let bake completely, and let sit in cooling oven 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
7) Mix remaining 1/8 cup sugar with 1 1/2 tspn cinnamon until fully incorporated, then sprinkle evenly over tops of stuffed french toast. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving or covering.

Note: This works beautifully if you are wanting to take a dish to pass, because you can slice the bread and literally come out with stuffed french toast sandwiches to serve everyone easily! Whole or half sandwiches, they slice easy and serve very prettily!

Glaring Changes:
– I obviously add in the cinnamon and allspice, you don’t need to do that.
– I fully intend to make the next one with a reduced fat flavored cream cheese, in lieu of the 1/3-less fat cream cheese, to add some flavor. Then top with sliced flavor-of-choice fruit or veggies. We shall see how that turns out!
– I have before sprinkled the top instead of cinnamon-sugar, with powdered sugar, or a sugar-cocoa powder mix. Both are just as delicious.
– When layering my bread, I don’t stack it like in the CL picture, because I realized (finally) that laying them flat makes easy-to-cut sandwiches as a result! SO, you can layer it, but I recommend you use a loaf of 24 pieces of bread instead, and use 12 on top-and-bottom instead of the 8 I used! Just so you know!

Enjoy this wonderful and simple brunch with sides of fruit, tea, mimosas or bloody mary’s!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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