<data:blog.pageTitle/>

This Page

has moved to a new address:

http://thehaasmachine.com

Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
the haas machine: April 2013

Sunday, April 28, 2013

(Triple) Guinness Dark Chocolate Brownies

For the first 2 or 3 years of knowing John, I was set on the idea that carrot cake was his favorite dessert. I'm not sure how this idea got planted into my head, but it definitely swam around in there for a few good years. Because of this, I think I made him 3 years of birthday carrot cake. Each year, he would get mildly excited (I mean, who doesn't love carrot cake, especially when there aren't any raisins!) but I never saw the response I was looking for.

Now if you know John, you know that he's not exactly the most emotional man ever. Even when he totally loves the taste of something, all you really get in response is a good head nod & maybe an extra drawn out "mmm." If something is out-of-this-world scrumptious, he might even slap his knee or yell, "yes!" but I've only ever seen that on a few rare occasions.

In 2011, I actually asked him if carrot cake was his favorite & I was boarder-line horrified to discover that it was not. What the what!? Was it my favorite? What was happening? He then proceeded to list all of his other most favorite desserts. Among them were boston cream pie, anything with dark chocolate, boston cream pie, & anything with dark chocolate (I'm sure there were more things, but I immediately ruled out anything that started with "Little Debbie's"...)

So for his 2011 birthday, I slaved over a boston cream pie & it was awesome. In 2012, I baked him a chocolate pecan pie & it was fantastic. This year, I decided (on his request) to embark on these Guinness dark chocolate brownies.
I don't think I even need to tell you how these tasted, but I will. They were simply the most rich, decadent, deep, dark, fudgy brownies I have ever tasted. They require 3 times the amount of Guinness as other brownie recipes, but that's what makes them so incredible. You cook down the Guinness until it's all syrupy & even more stouty (is that a word?) They actually reminded us a bit of a flourless chocolate cake (another one of John's favorites it seems).

I dare you to not eat these with a large glass of milk, or at the very least, some black coffee.

And just in case you are in need of a carrot cake recipe, check out this post on one with no sugar that I made for my step mom for her birthday in 2012. I think carrot cake is her favorite, but then again, maybe I made that up too.

(Triple) Guinness Dark Chocolate Brownies
Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup demerara sugar
2 bottles Guinness Extra stout beer
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick foil, or regular foil, lightly greased (I was a little freaked out by this, but after texting my baker friend Lindsay, she assured me that this would help the brownies come out of the pan easily, so that I could make perfect squares. Genius!)

Pour both bottles of beer into a medium saucepan, & simmer on medium heat until it's reduced down to 1 1/4 cups. If you keep a glass measuring cup nearby, you can check the progress when you think you're close. It should take about 45 minutes. When it's been reduced, pop it in the fridge to cool down while you prepare the rest of the batter.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, & salt until evenly combined. Melt the butter, bittersweet chocolate & dark chocolate chips in a double-boiler over very low heat, stirring constantly until melted (or in the microwave in a glass bowl). Remove from the heat. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs & sugar on high speed until light & fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the melted chocolate mixture, beating until combined. Beat the reserved flour mixture into the melted chocolate mixture. Whisk in the reduced beer mixture & the vanilla (it might seem a bit thin, but it will turn out). Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan & drop the semisweet chocolate chips evenly on top of batter.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes on center rack in the oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let brownies cool, uncovered, to room temperature. Dust with confectioners' sugar if you want before serving.

Recipe adapted from Blondie's Cakes & Things

Labels: ,

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cauliflower Alfredo

Let me just get this off my chest right now- I hate basically all things cauliflower. It has just always seemed tasteless & awfully smelly when cooked. It reminds of me one of those pointless veggies that are thrown into a mix of other vegetables, just because a different color is needed. Maybe you are someone who loooves the stuff, but I just can't find it in my heart to form that kind of relationship. Until I found this recipe. 

Heck, there is sauteed garlic & even a little bit of heavy cream (if I'm going to be real honest here, I'll admit that I bought double the amount of cream needed just in case the sauce was a bust & I needed to make "actual alfredo sauce.")

I'm sure this won't be music to my husband's ears, but now I am really excited to try a few other cauliflower recipes (like "mashed potatoes" or "pizza crust"). This might be the end of my cauliflower hate!!

You can read all about how this recipe evolved here & how it was supposed to be a lovely ravioli, but turned into just noodles & sauce. It was actually quite lovely & both my kid & husband scarfed it down. John was only hesitant because he knew it wasn't "real afredo." I think next time I just need to wise up & not tell him the ingredients ahead of time.

Do you like to hide veggies in your meals & have found recipes where this actually works? Please comment in the comments below!

Cauliflower Alfredo
Ingredients
1 lb. uncooked noodles
3 small heads cauliflower (about 3/4 of a normal bunch)
6 cups vegetable broth
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup heavy cream

Directions
Chop the cauliflower. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil over medium high heat & add the cauliflower. Cook until cauliflower is soft, about 15 minutes (but the longer you cook it, the smoother the sauce will be).

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic & saute for 4-5 minutes or until soft & fragrant. As the garlic & cauliflower are cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil & cook the noodles according to directions on package.

Transfer the cauliflower to a new pot with about 2 cups of the broth. I used my immersion blender to puree the cauliflower, broth, garlic, salt, & black pepper until very smooth, but you can definitely do this in the blender, too. Once the mixture is smooth, stream the olive oil in. Add more broth or water if the mixture is too thick. 

Add the cream & cook over low heat & keep warm until ready to serve. Combine noodles & sauce in a large pot or skillet & serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday's "What We Ate April 15-21, 2013"

Can I tell you about my flop of a meal on Tuesday? Can I share how much I desperately *needed* the glass of red wine pictured below? Can I be that honest today?

Usually when I'm planning my meals for the week (I do this every Sunday afternoon during Ruby's nap), I really do try to do it with all of my brain. I purposely do it while Ruby is sleeping so I can focus, file through all my favorite recipes, look for new ones, & create my shopping list. Most of the time, I still manage to get distracted by other things & try to multi-task.

I also try to plan "easy" meals on the nights that we are going to be busier than usual. We do generally have a pretty busy life, so if I want to make something that takes more than 20 minutes to prepare (i.e. frozen pizza), then that usually means I'm starting dinner during Ruby's nap in the afternoon so we can eat around 5-5:30 (yes, we eat early around here!)

On Tuesdays, John & I lead a lifegroup through our church. It's a time where a group of people come together & chat about life & talk about the bible a bit & pray for each other. It's definitely one of the highlights of our busy schedule & we love the group of people that attend. However, it starts at 6:30 (our choice) & for some strange reason, for the past couple of Tuesdays, I just haven't planned our meals well.

A few weeks back, I was making falafel salads & was having some serious problems with cooking the falafel. We tried deep frying them & they just kept falling apart, so I resorted to also baking them. I got dinner on the table, literally at 6:10, which hardly gave us enough time to scarf it down & locate a stick of gum (mmm falafel breath).

This week, I decided to try making homemade ravioli using eggroll wrappers. The only problem was that I accidentally bought spring roll wrappers. I'm not even sure what the real difference is with the wrappers, or if my technique just completely sucked, but either way, my attempted scrumptious pumpkin + ricotta ravioli with sauteed thyme + rosemary covered in cauliflower alfredo sauce ended up to be a soggy, wet, falling apart, goopy mess.

So instead, we had macaroni noodles with the alfredo sauce, which worked out I guess because the whole time Ruby was begging for "cacka ruby & cheese" (macaroni & cheese). The sauce was actually pretty awesome & I really shouldn't have told John what was in it before he ate it because we both hate cauliflower & he was skeptical from the start. I thought it was marvelously creamy & rich, he thought it was "pretty good, but I wouldn't call it alfredo sauce." I took that as a compliment, considering the meal was over & we were finally eating something.
Tuesday's dinner: Whole wheat elbow macaroni with cauliflower alfredo sauce, salad (spring mix, broccoli, avocado, red bell peppers, soy nuts, & balsamic vinaigrette), & ciabatta bread

The rest of our meals this week went alright. I was possessed enough to not only have a rummage sale on Friday (it was 30 degrees, snowing, sleeting, & raining), but I also hosted a clothing swap on Friday night & Saturday morning. Oh yeah, & we also tore out a huge bush from our front yard & built 2 raised beds for my massive vegetable experiment. So yes, we ate out a few times. We almost went out to eat on Sunday, but I was stubborn enough to not want to eat 3 dinners out in a row, so we resorted to breakfast, which is hardly a compromise. 

Check out our vegetable garden progress. I'll be sure to post about that specifically soon!
 My little vegetable babies
 Tearing out the roots of the bush John cut down (thankfully we had some help from some of our friends!)
 Roots in the truck after lots of, um, effort
 2 raised beds complete! Now I just need the cucumber/zucchini trellis & 1 more bed & we're done building- then to fill them with dirt!
Our dirty little helper

What meals have you totally flopped? Were you able to redeem them into something else? Please share a story in the comments below!

What We Ate April 15-21, 2013
Monday: Naan Thai chicken pizza with hummus & raw carrots & broccoli
Tuesday: Whole wheat elbow macaroni with cauliflower alfredo sauce, salad (spring mix, broccoli, avocado, red bell peppers, soy nuts, & balsamic vinaigrette), & ciabatta bread
Wednesday: Salmon burgers & salad (spring mix, cucumbers, red bell peppers, sunflower seeds, & balsamic vinaigrette)
Thursday: Sweet potato hash with caramelized onions, sausage, & eggs with whole wheat toast
Friday: Pickerman's sandwiches
Saturday: Toppers Pizza (one mushroom & the other chicken, spinach, & tomato)
Sunday: Whole wheat English muffins, covered with eggs, sausage, & cheese, with sauteed potatoes & onions

I also made a batch of hummus, lara "balls", & fruit & vegetable smoothies this week.

Labels:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Whole-Wheat Cornbread

Is anyone else not only sick of the cold weather, but everyone complaining about it? I've literally had to stay away from most social media lately because it's just been driving me crazy. Yes, we know it's cold! Please talk about something else! Or at least stop moaning about it!

Now to be fair, my hometown of Duluth, MN has been getting some pretty stupendous amounts of snow. As of right now, this is the 2nd snowiest April on record, ever! When we were visiting Duluth last weekend, it snowed 14.5 inches & 4 more as we were leaving. This morning, my Dad texted me a picture of snow mounding over his mailbox with a message that said, "20 inches yesterday." My Mom, on a similar train of thought, sent me a picture of the Target parking lot's snow mountain. These are crazy times here, folks.

Although I definitely am one to complain about the weather (I always seem to be either too cold or too hot), I just can't take it any more. All this complaining has got to go! No more snowman memes, no more "ahh shucks another snow day" facebook updates or "will it ever end?" twitter tweats. Let's talk about something else, please! How about this cornbread?
On Friday, I was foolish/dumb/stubborn enough to have a rummage sale. Yes, it was 20 degrees. Yes, it rained, sleeted, & snowed. Yes, it was incredibly windy. But you know what? I kinda had fun. Again, remember that John & I kinda love extreme weather situations. Plus, I was selling a whole bunch of gems (crap). It's really amazing what people think are treasures.

After the sale, all I wanted to do was curl up with another bowl of vegetarian chili & soak it with some of this cornbread & crawl under a blanket for the rest of the day. I almost did that (except that my chili was still frozen, I didn't make any cornbread, & I had a clothing swap to go to-- yes, I planned this, too).

So since it's still winter in much of our country & since it sucks to bake in the summer, why don't you at least treat yourself to the best cornbread you will ever treat your taste buds too. Seriously, this bread is da bomb (sorry).

Whole-Wheat Cornbread
Ingredients

2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup whole grain corn meal, preferably organic (I used Arrowhead Mills)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
2 eggs
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk 2/3 cup whole-wheat flour together with corn meal, baking powder & salt.

In a small pan over medium heat melt the butter. Whisk in 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour & keep whisking until it begins to brown. Add the frozen corn kernels & let thaw in pan for a minute. Pour in heavy cream & whisk entire mixture together until it thickens (should only take a couple minutes). Mix in tablespoon of maple syrup & remove from heat.

Add creamed corn mixture, eggs, yogurt & grated cheese to dry flour mixture. Blend together well without over-mixing. Pour the batter into a silicone bread pan (or other pan) & bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Recipe adapted from 100 Days of Real Food

Labels:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Creating Clean #4: Bathroom & Bedroom Cleaning

Welcome back, faithful readers! I hope that you've enjoyed taking a look at my cleaning routines, homemade cleaning recipes, & planning methods for cleaning & I hope that it's helped you figure out a way to clean that works best for you.

I want to assure you that I am no superhero when it comes to cleaning. Obviously there are things that come up from time to time & I am not able to get to cleaning. Sometimes a family member is sick & we can hardly get dinner on the table, let alone clean, or I'm just too unmotivated/busy/lazy to wash the floors. Life happens & we need to just go with the flow sometimes. I've learned that it's always way more important to play with my daughter than it is to scrub the toilets, or unload the dishwasher, & that's partly why I do the bulk of my cleaning during her nap on Thursdays (the other "part" is that it takes me waaaaay less time to clean when I don't have a mini obstacle around my ankles).

I've also learned that it can be something that I do with Ruby when I'm feeling especially energetic. For example, she loves to take a rag & "dust" with me, "vacuum" the rug with her elmo vacuum, & my personal favorite, she loves to sweep the floors with me after mealtimes. I got Ruby her very own mini broom, so she gets pretty excited to help mama instead of insisting that I hold her or color, etc. I also like to have her help me unload the dishwasher sometimes. Sure, it takes a lot longer to finish, but she gets a huge sense of accomplishment from it & I like that we're doing something productive together. Win win.

I do not, however, let her help me clean the bathroom. There's just too much potential for things to get stuck in the toilet (one of my biggest fears... ahem, see the lock on our toilet in the picture below), &/or for her to touch really nasty things. I save the really dirty cleaning for when she's fast asleep.

The key that I keep bringing up is finding a system & schedule that works best for you. Maybe you need your partner to do more chores & that's a conversation you need to have or maybe you need someone to play with your kids so you can get more done. Maybe you'd rather clean one room a day or spend a bigger chunk of one day cleaning. Find something that works for you & your family! Some people have way stricter cleaning routines than I do-- others wash their sheets a few times a year without batting an eye. Whatever works for you, works for you. Here's what works for me (make sure you refer back to this post for all my cleaning recipes):

Bathroom Cleaning
 Me vs. toilet
Toilet (once a week)
  • I sprinkle about ¼ cup of baking soda in the bowl & then squirt white vinegar in the bowl (make sure you use enough to make it fizz). Take your toilet bowl brush & give the bowl a good scrubbing. If it’s not getting clean, you may need to let it soak for awhile. 
Tub & shower (once a week)
  • I use Bon Ami cleaner on our tile walls in our shower & the bathtub. I first wet all of the surfaces a bit & then sprinkle a little bit of the cleaner on all of the surfaces. I then use a scrubby sponge & dig into cleaning. I also keep a spray bottle of white vinegar in the shower & spray all of the surfaces after showering so that we don’t get buildup (we have really hard water). 
Sink (once a week)
  • I remove everything from the sink area & then wet it down. Then I sprinkle Bon Ami on all of the surfaces & scrub with a scrubby sponge & rinse.
Floors (once a week)
  • I remove everything from the ground—the rugs, garbage bin, step stool, etc. & then give everything a good sweeping. I use the floor cleaner mixture in a bucket, along with 1-2 clean rags. I dip the rag into the cleaner, ring it out, & get on my hands & knees & scrub away. I actually enjoy this in a weird therapeutic kind of way (invest in some nice rubber gloves). I use a fresh rag when I need more water to keep the water clean (I used to use one rag per room, but would need to fill up the water bucket several times because it got dirty). 
  • I wash the rugs as needed 
Towels (once a week)
  • I wash our hand towels & bath towels along with the kitchen laundry. I wash them all on hot & then put white vinegar in the rinse cycle to keep them from getting musty. In the summer, I dry them for about 20 minutes in the dryer & then stick them on the clothes rack outside to finish drying. In the winter, I dry them all the way inside. 
  • I usually do 5 loads of laundry a week- 1 of towels, 1 of clothing, & 3 of our cloth diapers. If you are interested in reading about how to wash cloth diapers, check out my post about that here.

Bedroom Cleaning
Sheets (once a month)
  • Some people really are good about washing their sheets more than once a month… I’ve never been one of those people. Sure, I love fresh sheets, but I find it to be exhausting to strip the bed, wash everything & then put it all back together. At any rate, I get to it once a month. I take off the douvet cover, pillow cases, sheets, & mattress cover & wash them all on the bedding cycle on our washer. 
Pillows (every 3-4 months)
  • Use a gentle detergent that is ideally scent-free (we use Country Save). Press out as much air as possible before loading it into the washer. For top load washers, do 2 at a time for balance (front load washers don’t have an agitator so you can do 1-2 per load). Set your machine to run a full cycle using warm water. Run a second spin cycle to help eliminate excess moisture. By removing excess moisture, you’ll help reduce mold growth and any unpleasant odors from developing. To dry, take 2 tennis balls & split them into 2 socks. Tie the socks to secure the tennis balls in place. The tennis balls will help beat out excess moisture while putting them in socks will prevent the smell & color of the tennis ball from transferring to your pillows. Put the pillows in the dryer using a low heat setting. It may take a few cycles to fully dry the pillows. Once dry, take a deep smell of the pillow to test if there’s still moisture in the pillow. If it’s warm & sunny enough outside, you can even just set them out in the sun for a few hours. 
Mattress (every 3-4 months)
  • I do wash our mattress cover every month when I wash the sheets, but just about every 3-4 months, I actually sprinkle some baking soda, mixed with a few drops of lavender essential oil, onto the mattress itself. I usually let it sit for about an hour & then I vacuum it up. 
Dusting (once a week)
  • I most often use a micro-fiber cloth & dry dust all of the surfaces in our bedroom. Occasionally I might use a product like Ecosense. 
Floors (once a week)
  • I remove everything from the ground—the rugs, garbage bin, etc. & then give everything a good sweeping. I use the floor cleaner mixture in a bucket, along with 1-2 clean rags. I dip the rag into the cleaner, ring it out, & get on my hands & knees & scrub away. I actually enjoy this in a weird therapeutic kind of way (invest in some nice rubber gloves). I use a fresh rag when I need more water to keep the water clean (I used to use one rag per room, but would need to fill up the water bucket several times because it got dirty). Our bedroom floors are hardwood, so I just make sure that the rags are rung out very well & just lightly damp before washing the floor. 
  • I wash the rugs as needed. 
Thank you for checking out this series on creating clean! I hope that you have found it to be at least a little bit helpful. Please, if you have any questions or comments, leave them in the comment section below! And if you've missed any of the previous posts, check them out:
*Most of my cleaning methods have come from the book, "Organic Housekeeping" by Ellen Sandbeck (an incredible resource from a lovely Duluth native!), but also from these fine sources:

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday's "What We Ate April 8-14, 2013"

We were on the road again this week, this time getting to go to Duluth. John had a 3-day work training up there, so he stowed Ruby & I away so that we could spend some time up there with family & friends. It's always such a treat to get to go back to Duluth. It's such a profoundly gorgeous place & a piece of my heart will definitely always be there.

Something that's not so wonderful about traveling can be the food situation. As we were leaving town, it was nearing dinner time, which when we're traveling, can be a dangerous time between me & the Mr. We are both very budget-conscious, but at the same time, we both enjoy killer food. I'll admit that we both even kinda enjoy all of the junk food available when we travel, but we decided (& neither one of us regretted it!) to do our best on this trip to not eat tons of junk. Well, I decided & John supported me.

For example, we chose to eat at Panera instead of another fast food restaurant. Sure, it's still Panera & not the healthiest thing ever. I suppose I could have made dinner ahead of time & brought it with, but I was already overwhelmed with packing & cleaning before we left. But we didn't eat at McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, or Taco Bell. Sure, we paid 4 times as much for our dinner, but we didn't have the fast food mumbly jumblies. 
Panera's kids meals come with this tube of organic yogurt. Sure there's still a bit of sugar in it, but not much else besides organic yogurt & blueberries. It was a pleasant surprise!

We had a fridge in our hotel room, so I was able to pack us healthy snacks like yogurt, string cheese, turkey, cut up vegetables, & apples, as well non-fridge food like bananas, bread, raisins, pistachios, almonds, homemade crackers, & a bit of chocolate for when we needed a snack during HGTV (omygoodness, I'm so glad we don't have cable).

We tried, as best as we could, to make healthy choices while we dined out. This was really hard & we definitely didn't eat well at every meal, but we tried more than we usually do, so that was a success in my book.
Ruby & I ate lunch with her auntie Keri at the Duluth Grill for lunch one day. She could hardly wait to get her little grubbies on that gorgeous fruit!

And if you weren't glued to the weather channel/facebook, you might not know that Duluth had a few days of massive snowstorms while we were there (& another storm as we were leaving). On Thursday & Friday, there was over 14 inches of snow & another 4 inches over the weekend. Surprise, surprise. I was disappointed because I was going to take John out for his birthday on Thursday (my mom was even going to watch Ruby!) but we were snowed in at the hotel. There were scary death-wish messages on TV & the radio, pleading with people to not be on the roads. We mostly listened.
 Thursday's dinner: Osaka's sushi. Happy birthday John!

And here's where things take a turn for the worse- we went to a new brew pub. John had fish & chips & I had mac 'n' beer cheese. It was pretty good, but I think I'll always be partial to Fitger's Brewhouse. It's just in my blood.
 Friday's dinner: Canal Park Brewing Company's mac 'n' beer cheese. Yep, that's kielbasa.

We stayed with another one of Ruby's token auntie's apartments on Friday & Saturday nights. On Saturday morning, Stacy shared her dad's out-of-this-world bloody Mary recipe with us. None of us had bloodies before, so this was quite the adventure, but a downright delicious one! I can't wait to whip up some more in the (very near) future.
Our first bloodies!

While we mostly held it together during the trip, we got lost (emotionally) on the way home. We chowed down a bunch of peanut m&m's & diet coke, but for me it was totally stress eating. It was snowing hard, then freezing rain, & finally just raining. I was in the back with Ruby for awhile, but got pretty carsick, so I ended up driving, which put me more on edge (but at least I held in my lunch, which was at the Northern Waters Smokehaus, by the way). It ended up taking us over 6 hours (usually 4) to get back home & man, was I white-knuckled & tense! But it's all over now & we're back to our normal routine of trying to eat 80% of our food from real healthy sources.

How do you stick to your healthy convictions while traveling?

What We Ate April 8-14, 2013
Monday: Lentil soup with sausage, chard, & garlic with a side salad
Tuesday: We ate at Panera on the way out of town
Wednesday: My mom fixed us chicken enchiladas with "yumyum" for dessert (this famous pistachio dessert my mom makes)
Thursday: We ate sushi from Osaka to celebrate John's 30th
Friday: We ate at the Canal Park Brewing Company
Saturday: My step mom fixed us Chicken Marsala (out of the Duluth Grill cookbook) with carrots, asparagus, rolls, a side salad, & cheesecake for dessert
Sunday: We snacked a bunch in the car, so we really didn't eat an official dinner (translation: we ate m&m's for dinner)

There are now 14 week's worth of meals up, so check them out if you're needing a little dinner planning inspiration!

Labels:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Creating Clean #3: Kitchen Cleaning

Welcome back to my mini series on creating clean! If you haven't read the first post on planning, preparing & cleaning recipes or the second post on kitchen organization, make sure you get yourself caught up. Today we're going to get down to business & talk about my system for cleaning our kitchen.

Cleaning is really a lot of work. I will never understand people who really love to clean (contrary to what you’re reading, I would still way rather spend my quality alone time doing something else). I just really enjoy being in clean spaces. I find that I’m more productive, creative, & sane when I’m surrounded by clean, so I try to shoot for a clean-ish house whenever possible. Obviously, my definition of clean has changed since having a busy toddler around, but I still am determined to do my best at getting things clean enough.

Some of these things I do daily or weekly, others I do every month or every couple of months. As discussed in my first post on planning, it really helps me to put these things on my google calendar & set it up to repeat so I won’t have to think about when the last time I cleaned the fridge. Plus, it allows me to ignore the charred on mess in the oven because I know that I have a scheduled time to work on it later. It’s a win-win for me.

If you’re not a scheduling kind of person, you’ll just have to work out a system that helps you the best (I’m not sure what that would be since I find I’m most productive when things are scheduled). Some people clean a little bit every day so that they don't spend one whole day cleaning, others don't clean until they absolutely have to. The key is finding a sustem that works for you.

Make sure you check my first post on all of the recipes I use for cleaning. Here is basically what I clean, how often, & how:

Oven (daily wipe down, actual cleaning once a month)
  • Remove racks. Sprinkle about a ½ cup of baking soda on the bottom of the oven & spray with white vinegar (it will foam). Let sit over night & then wipe out in the morning with a few clean rags & water.
  • We have a glass top oven, so to the best way to keep it clean is to wipe it immediately when there are any spills. If you have a life, you will forget to do this & need to do some more heavy duty cleaning. I don’t use any of the creams that the company suggests (too expensive, too many chemicals), & instead also use baking soda & vinegar. I sprinkle just enough baking soda to cover the spots, then spray white vinegar on top & place a wet rag over the entire area & let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then I wipe it clean with a fresh rag & water. You may need to repeat depending on the amount of stains. 

Sprinkle baking soda on nasty spots
 Spray white vinegar enough to wet the baking soda
 Cover with wet rags & let it sit at least 15-30 minutes
Wipe clean!
  • For non-glass top ovens, simply soak the grill grates with baking soda & hot, hot water. You may need to use steel wool to scrape off the stuck on food (make sure you get plain steel wool though—nothing that contains cleaners in them like SOS pads). You can find steel wool at hardware stores. 
  • For the front door, I wipe it down with a spray bottle of white vinegar & a clean, dry rag. 
Dishwasher (every 2-3 months)
  • I first remove any chunks of food that I can see & then run a hot, sanitize cycle (with no dishes) with a cup of white vinegar. When that’s done, I sprinkle a cup of baking soda on the bottom & then run it through a short, hot cycle. 
  • For the front door, I wipe it down with a spray bottle of white vinegar & a clean, dry rag. 
Microwave (once a month)
  • I put 1 cup of white vinegar in a bowl & turn the microwave on for 5 minutes on high. Once it shuts off, I carefully remove the bowl of vinegar & take a clean, lightly damp rag & rinse out the insides of the microwave. The vinegar loosens all the stuck on food chunks so they are easy to wipe away.
Refrigerator (once a month)
  • I remove everything (everything!) from my fridge out onto my kitchen table. I toss any food that is old & expired. I make note of any condiments or staples that we are running low of or things I need to make. 
  • I wipe down the inside of the fridge by using a spray bottle of white vinegar & then using a clean, dry rag, wipe all the surfaces. I remove the drawers & give them a good rinsing in the sink & dry them off with a clean towel. 
  • Once everything is cleaned & dry, I put the food back. 
  • I also take off all of the magnets & things on the front of the fridge & wipe it down with a spray bottle of white vinegar & a clean, dry rag. 
Sink (porcelain sink) (once a week)
  • I am a big fan of Bon Ami. It’s the one cleaner I actually buy. I remove all dishes & the dry rack & any visible food & then I sprinkle a little onto the sink. I spray a little bit of white vinegar on it & let it sit for 10-15 minutes & then scrub with either a scrubby sponge or for more heavy duty cleanings, some steel wool & then rinse. 
  • The best way to keep your sink clean is to not let dirty, wet dishes pile in there for days on end. Either pile your dishes in stacks on your counter, next to the sink, or immediately put them in your dishwasher. It also helps to wash the dishes every night. My husband & I take turns doing this so they don’t pile up. 
Counter tops (daily wipe down, once a week more intense cleaning)
  • I use the disinfectant cleaning spray on all the surfaces in the kitchen—countertops, table, Ruby’s highchair, door knobs, microwave, etc. 
  • For more intense cleanings, I move all of the appliances & other items that have gathered on the counters & give everything an official scrub down. 
Floors (kitchen floor gets swept daily & washed weekly, all other floors get swept & washed weekly)
  • I move everything off of the floor that’s possible to move & isn’t ridiculous (i.e. I don’t move the huge bookshelf in our kitchen, but I do move our kitchen table & stools out of the way) & then sweep everything after I’ve cleaned the sink & counter tops. 
  • I use the floor cleaner mixture in a bucket, along with 3-4 clean rags. I dip the rag into the cleaner, ring it out, & get on my hands & knees & scrub away (invest in some nice rubber gloves). I use a fresh rag when I need more water to keep the soapy water clean (I used to use one rag per room, but would need to change the water bucket several times because it got dirty). Then I hang all of the rags to dry on a drying rack when I’m done (I typically use 4 rags for my kitchen floor alone). 
Garbage bin (once a month or as needed)
  • I remove the bag of garbage & then give the bin a good rinsing (outdoors is preferable, but in the winter, we do this in the basement). After it’s rinsed, put one cup of white vinegar & a few squirts of dish soap in it & then fill it with hot, hot water. Let it sit for 30 or so minutes & then dump, rinse,  & let it air dry. Make sure it’s completely dry before you put a new bag in, or it will get nasty real fast. 
Kitchen towels (once a week)
  • I wash all of our rags, dish cloths, & towels in a separate load. I wash them all on hot & then put white vinegar in the rinse cycle to keep them from getting musty. In the summer, I dry them for about 20 minutes in the dryer & then stick them on the clothes rack outside to finish drying (only because I don't like "crunchy" towels). In the winter, I dry them all the way inside. 
*Most of my cleaning methods have come from the book, "Organic Housekeeping" by Ellen Sandbeck (an incredible resource from a lovely Duluth native!), but also from these fine sources:
That’s it! That is my basic cleaning methods for the kitchen. How do you keep your kitchen clean? I'd love to hear, so please comment below!

If you haven't checked out my master spring/fall cleaning list, it's available for you here. Stay tuned for the last post in the series: Bedroom & Bathroom Cleaning!

Labels: , ,

Friday, April 12, 2013

Creating Clean #2: Kitchen Organization

Welcome back to my little mini-series on creating clean. The first post was about preparing & planning to clean in a way that best works for you. I also shared a whole bunch of green cleaning products that you can make at home, so make sure you  check that post out here.

Before we get to cleaning, we need to talk a little bit about organizing. I get so much satisfaction from something well-organized, don't you? It really doesn’t matter what it is-- a well-organized speech, closet, grocery store, food blog, spice rack… they are all very attractive to me. Even though the average person who would walk into my kitchen would find it to be organized, lately it has been stressing me out & having a negative affect on my creativity.

The junk drawer that I vowed to do away with last year has become over the top annoying, the cooking utensil drawer has always been unruly, & if I have to search for one more missing lid or cookie cutter in my cupboard, I’m about to do away with them all & only use plastic baggies & buy cookies (I’m only partly kidding).
As if this needs explanation... this is our pre-organized junk drawer

On a particularly stressful day at home with my little one, I started making a mental note of all the things I wanted to improve in the kitchen. I mean, it’s where I spend easily 75% of my day, preparing food, cleaning up, planning, blogging, even playing with Ruby (she’s way into coloring now, but only allowed to color in the kitchen for fear that she might accidentally go crazy with her colors on the hardwood floor or even more frightening, her new play kitchen). 

After dinner that night, I snuck away & shopped (alone!) at Goodwill & Target & found almost everything I needed. It was refreshing to be able to think while shopping. I told John later that night that I’m so used to triage shopping, meaning that I have to quickly make decisions instead of thoughtfully taking time to make them because I shop with a busy 20-month old. The introvert in me hates this. Needless to say, I really enjoyed those 2 hours, even if it was spent shopping (one of my top 5 all-time least favorite things).

Here are some things that help me be more efficient in the kitchen. My number one thought when putting things in their place is, “where do I use this most often?” So when I put up all my measuring cups & spoons on hooks inside my cupboard, I put them in a place closest to where I prepare a lot of food. I have all of my baking supplies in one spot, all my hot beverage things together, etc. It just makes life easier.

Dish organization
Lid organizer: If one thing drives me crazy, it’s trying to find the right lid for our pots & pans, which are always shoved to the back of our cupboard. This little organizer will save me from yelling many curses. This organizer was $0.99 at Goodwll. 
See the lid organizer on the bottom shelf?

Wire shelves: We really are blessed with tons of cupboards in our house, but we also have lots of dishes. Every day white IKEA dishes, my 60's inspired floral dishes, my inherited red dishes... so many dishes. These shelves create a little bit more space for me to keep the lids for mixing bowls & small pyrex bowl close by & organized. These shelves were $6 each at Target, here's a link as close as I could find.
The racks are pretty small, but effective at adding a bit more space & keeping lids with bowls

Bins for lids: I hate all things plasticware, but they so have their place in the home, don’t they? I love these little bins & I got two: one for organizing the lids & another for other random things that usually float around in the cupboard (like cookie cutters). They were $6.99 each at Target.
Cute little cloth bins to keep all the lids in one spot
Now I can just pull out the bin when I need a lid

Hooks for measuring spoons & cups: This is my favorite for sure. I love that these little hooks hold all my measuring cups & spoons & that I can keep them organized at eye-level. You can definitely find these cheaper at a hardware store, but I got them at Target for $3.69.
 Please ignore my super ugly apple measuring cups- I still have to paint these!

Drawer organizers: both our junk drawer & utensil drawer needed serious help, so I found these organizers in different sizes at Target for $5 each (these aren't the exact ones, but as close as I could find online) & the other one at Goodwill for $2. 
Kitchen utensils are finally easily located

Junk drawer after organization overhaul! There's still a lot going on in this drawer, but at least now everything has a place.

Magnetic strip: We got this lovely magnetic strip for our knives at IKEA & absolutely love it. We put it up next to our new cutting block (also from IKEA). I love the idea of not having to get out a cutting board or fish through a drawer to find a knife/have a knife block on our counter, using up valuable space.
I wish I would have known how amazing these two items are sooner- I would have bought them many years ago!

Food organization
When you’re trying to get a meal out quickly or are on your way to grocery shop, you want to be able to locate food quickly. It drives me crazy to unload a cupboard just to see if we have almonds. I want to be able to see most items at a glance, so here’s our little system.
We save all of our food jars (from peanut butter, salsa, etc.) to hold things like beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, granola, etc. That way I can save my mason jars for canning & recycle all the jars we use (I especially like Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter because it’s delicious, but also because the jars are so perfect for food storage). This also makes it easier to organize your cupboards because you won’t have tons of little bags of things everywhere & the glass helps you quickly identify what’s in the container (unlike the ice cream bucket of brown rice on our shelf that constantly frightens guests).
A glance into our food cupboard

Overflow storage: I have a metal shelf in the basement for all of the bulk items (like bags of dried herbs, spices, loose leaf tea, paper towels, etc.). It’s usually cheaper to buy things in bulk & it also saves on shopping time because you don’t need to buy it so often. I make sure that I put the food that’s going to expire first near the front of the shelf (“first in, first out”) so that we’re using up the oldest products first.
Overflow storage in the basement

Our spices: These are in a drawer that's closest to where we prepare food. All of the bulk spice jars were purchased at IKEA. We went a little crafty crazy & sprayed the tops of the lids with chalkboard paint & used chalk to write the contents of each jar. Every time we're at IKEA we get a few more jars so that eventually all our spices will be in the same containers.
All of our spices

 Baking organization:
I have put most of my baking supplies in different containers so that they stack better & are easily identifiable. I especially love these pyrex dishes for baking powder, salt, nuts, & chocolate chips. I also use these containers for baking organization. See my pretty little silicone baking cups? I'm still in love!!
Small containers are easier to stack & organize than randomly-shaped baking supplies

Freezer inventory: Yes, I am that dorky. I keep this on my fridge & update it all the time. It took me maybe 20 minutes to unload my freezer one day & write everything down, but since I did that, it’s been very helpful. Now there’s no more fishing around frozen items, trying to see if you have any bacon hiding out. Just make sure that everyone in the house marks off things when they are gone.
My super high-tech pretty looking freezer inventory

And that’s the basics of getting & keeping our kitchen more organized. I find that if our kitchen is in proper working order, then I’m better at what I can accomplish. I'd love to hear how you keep your kitchens organized- please share in the comments below & stay tuned for the next post in the series: Kitchen Cleaning!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday's "What We Ate April 1-7, 2013"

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a bit of information about GMO's on my post about wheat crackers. It got me really motivated. Sometimes when you read or hear things like that, they can be really overwhelming & like you have to scale a mountainside before you can make any change in your lives, but that was definitely not my intention of the post.

Sure, it's intense, but when we look at our diets, we just try to remember that moderation is key. We try to eat really healthy, nutritous, good-for-you whole foods 80% of the time & relax about the 20%. Sure, I still get a little squeamish when I see my kid wolfing down bowls of mac 'n' cheese at a restaurant, but the reality is that unless we live in a bubble (which I'm not ok with), & unless I make all of our food from scratch (which I'm also not ok with), we're going to eat some pretty crappy food sometimes. And that's ok. Sometimes.

I might be a little obsessive over food sometimes, but it's one of my favorite things to read about. I'm talking about food non-fiction here, people. Some of my favorite books have been ones that tell the tale of the American food industry & how it has evolved into what it is today. One of my all-time favorite books is "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer. The book walks you through what one guy went through as he crossed the line from being just a guy to being someone's dad. Like many parents, he struggled with what & how he was going to feed his son. Although he & his family are vegetarians, we took a lot from his book (we are not vegetarians). This was one book (among countless other resources) that really made us push to buy as much organic & local meat as possible.

Another book that I've just started reading is called "Pandora's Lunchbox" by Melanie Warner & so far, it's very catching. I don't give books much time... if they don't grab me within the first 10 pages, they're history. I don't have the time or energy to commit to reading a "meh" book, but this one has already caught my attention (heck, I was up late last night reading it). The author was recently on WPR (click here to listen), talking about how processed foods have taken over the American diet (processed foods account fot 70% of our nations' food!)

Something that that really stood out to me was the fact that food prices have been declining since processed foods were introduced. Sure, it seems like food is expensive & everyone (in the U.S.) complains about it all the time, but "the amount we pay for our food has declined dramatically over the last six decades, from 20.6 percent of disposable income in 1950 to now 9.8 percent. This is lower than at any other time in our history & less than any other country" (Warner, p.6-7). Isn't that incredible?

Although I'm not yet finished with the book, it's already a gem to me. Some of my other favorite food resources (besides "Eating Animals" & "Pandora's Lunchbox") are:

If you've decided to eat more healthy, what led you to that decision? Do you have any resources you would like to share?

Thursday's dinner: Olive Garden's copy-cat Zuppa Toscana soup with sourdough bread

What We Ate April 1-7, 2013
Monday: Easy egg, rice, spinach, & cheese with whole wheat toast, cuties, & apples
Tuesday: Falafel salads with whole wheat pita bread
Wednesday: Black bean, corn, & spinach enchiladas (post to come soon!) with tortilla chips & salsa
Thursday: Olive Garden's copy-cat Zuppa Toscana soup with sourdough bread & apples
Friday: Homemade 4 cheese & prosciutto pizza with raw carrots, celery, & broccoli
Saturday: We ate at our beloved Burritos House
Sunday: We ate over at our neighbor's house for dinner & had homemade roasted garlic alfredo pasta & a tossed green salad (Romaine, carrots, red pepper, broccoli, avocado, soy nuts, & balsamic vinaigrette)

I made a big batch of crockpot yogurt this week & I also baked zucchini & sweet potato muffins & dark chocolate Guinness brownies this week, both of which are post-worthy, so I'll share soon!

Labels:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Creating Clean #1: Planning & Cleaning Recipes

Why am I doing a series on cleaning? Good question. Although it's not something I'm super passionate about, it does get me excited to know that I'm not bringing chemicals into our house that could affect our health or the state of our environment. I super enjoy being able to save money & custom some of the cleaners according to what we like. I happen to enjoy the scent of vinegar, but John doesn't, so I make sure to add some essential oils to most of the vinegar combinations & it really helps. I like that I can have just a handful of bottles filled with homemade recipes & that they actually work.

I love being as natural & granola as possible, & I love the act of taking care of our planet, but if I had to give up cleanliness, it might be a struggle. I'm no germ-a-phobe, but any means, but I don't like clutter, disorganization, or flith. I'm not really into killing every bacteria known to us (on the contrary, I think it's good to expose our kids to some at home germs), but I am into keeping us healthy & safe.

I wanted to do a 4-post series on "creating clean" because I find having a clean-ish space really helps me accomplish the most. It helps make room for my creativity to flow because I'm not constantly frustrated by the mess around me. I'm no slave to cleaning... I do a little bit every day & focus one day a week to get most other things clean. I just wanted to share some of my tips that I've learned over the past 5 or so years since I've become greener & greener. So first, things firs... planning.

Planning to clean
Oh, how I wish I had a calendar as lovely as this! This pic is taken from Geninne's Art Blog

Yes, I plan my cleaning. I figure it’s like everything else in my life—if I don’t schedule meaningful time in my life to accomplish it, it’s not gonna happen. I also find that it gives me freedom to not worry about certain dirty things because I know in 2 days I’m going to clean it. I have come up with a system that works for me: I clean our bathrooms on Thursday mornings while Ruby is in the bathtub (a genius tip from my friend Jessica) & then I dust & clean all of the floors every Thursday afternoon during Ruby’s nap. I do a deep cleaning on other things less frequently, but they are still on my calendar (usually one of these cleaning projects once a week, for example cleaning the oven or fridge). I do this so I don’t have to think about it or remember when to clean things (do you remember the last time you washed your sheets?)

I also have a spring & fall deep cleaning list that I work from. Click here if you’d like to see that crazy list (it's available for your to download as well). It helps me remember to take a look at some of the less thought-of things to clean, like curtains, the ceiling fan, or shampooing rugs or furniture. I love this list. I’ve only used it twice so far, but it’s refreshing to me (to finish it).

Below are the basic cleaning recipes that I use & will refer to in the rest of this series (I will go into detail as to how to use them later on in the series). You really can make your own cleaners for pennies (literally, pennies!) You don’t need to buy some of the fancy green cleaners on the market, even though some of them work very well.

All of these cleaners have worked perfectly well for me, but let me say this. These cleaners work the best when they are used often, meaning that if you haven’t cleaned your toilet in 6 months & then try to dig in, it might be more of a challenge for you. I find that if I clean a little bit every week, it saves me from having to do massive, hard work cleaning.

Here is a basic list of things you will need:
  1. A bucket 
  2. Many rags for cleaning (you can use any scraps for rags—old t-shirts, old worn cloth diapers, ratty washcloths, etc.) 
  3. Dusting cloth
  4. The cheapest white vinegar you can find 
  5. Baking soda (also the cheapest is fine) 
  6. Bon Ami cleaner 
  7. Plain steel wool (found in hardware stores—NOT SOS pads) 
  8. Green liquid dish soap (my fav is Seventh Generation Lavender Floral & Mint
  9. Spray bottles 
  10. Mister bottle for air freshener 
  11. Cheap vodka for air freshener (or to drink while cleaning if you're stressed...) 
  12. Water 
  13. Essential oils of your liking (my favorite brand is Aura Cacia
  14. Funnel 
  15. Measuring cups & measuring spoons 
  16. Nice rubber gloves 
Basic Cleaning Recipes
For the cleaners contained in spray bottles, I find that it works the best to mix the ingredients in a large liquid (4 cup) measuring cup & then pour them into the spray bottles using a funnel.

Linolium or tile floor cleaner
Mix ¼ cup liquid dish soap with ½ cup of white vinegar to 2 gallons of hot water.

Hardwood floor cleaner
Mix ½ cup of white vinegar to 2 gallons of hot water.

Dusting cleaner
I still use a bit of purchased cleaning stuff (EcoSense Rustic Touch), but more often than not, I just use a dry dusting cloth to clean off surfaces.

Window/glass cleaner
White vinegar in a spray bottle with a clean rag. You can add essential oils if you don’t like the smell of vinegar.

Scrubby cleaner
Baking soda (alternatively, you could use Bon Ami, which is super cheap), in combination with water &/or white vinegar & steel wool (to scrub)

Toilet cleaner
Baking soda & white vinegar (vinegar in an old toilet bowl cleaner container).

Basic disinfectant spray (for bathroom, counter tops, etc.)
Mix 2 tbsp white vinegar, ½ tsp liquid dish soap, 1 tbsp baking soda, with 2 cups warm water. Add several drops of your favorite essential oils (I like peppermint & lavender, also tea tree oil is said to have anti-fungal & anti-viral properties).

Air fresheners
Mix 1 cup of water with 2 tbsp of cheap vodka & up to 20 drops of essential oil (such as lavender & spearmint, or any desirable combination) to a mister bottle.

Good alternatives to making your own
So maybe you’re just not into making your own cleaners, that’s ok. There are plenty of great alternatives, they will just cost you more. Before making my own, here were some of my favorite green cleaning products (with links):
Also, I have tried to make my own dishwasher & dish soap, but haven’t liked the outcomes of either. We have really hard water (with no water softener), but have found that our dishes are able to get clean with Ecover’s powdered dishwasher soap. I also stick white vinegar in the spot where “jet dry” type products are supposed to go (it helps keep the glasses clear). We use Seventh Generation dish soap for all of the dishes that are hand-washed.

That's mostly it for preparation & cleaning recipes. Stay tuned for the next post in the series about kitchen organization!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Coconut Bread

Right after we got back from our trip to Florida, I was sluggishly doing laundry. I was having a hard time transitioning back to our Siberia-like weather conditions & the thought of getting back to every day domestic life was really depressing. Who wants to do laundry, cook, & clean when you can just lay around at the beach, watching your kid squeal around in utter bliss? 

While I was taking our clothes out of the luggage, I caught a whiff of one of the dresses I frequently wore to the beach (don't worry, this story ends well). I actually grabbed it out of the pile & breathed it in. It smelled of the sun. Instantly I was back in the warmth, the giddiness, & the joy that we felt by being in Florida. I'm not sure why the sun does that to us, but it is so gosh darn life-giving.

I love how our sense of smell is tied to so many memories. There are times when I literally am stopped in my tracks because I catch a scent of something that reminds me of a childhood experience I had or a far off land I once visited. And for me, the aroma of coconut will always remind me of the sun. That might be attributed to all the tanning lotion I poured over my body growing up, or maybe from sipping coconut rum in my summer collage days. Who knows. 

I absolutely love baking with coconut. Since we have cut a lot of the processed sugar in our diets, I have used a lot of unsweetened coconut & I think I actually like it better than the sugary stuff. I feel like you actually get the full flavor of the coconut & you aren't left with a gut bomb afterwards. Coconut oil is also lovely to bake & cook with & besides the incredible flavor, your house will end up smelling like something out of a Jamaican resort. For the record, I've never been to Jamaica, but this is how I picture it- everything smelling like coconut.

If you are like me & all of a sudden semi-obsessed with coconut, you will absolutely love this coconut bread. And if that's just not enough, here are a few other recipes to tempt you:


Coconut Bread
Ingredients

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup demerara
5 ounces unsweetened flaked coconut (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted & browned

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk & vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder & cinnamon. Add the sugar & coconut, & stir to mix. Make a well in the center, & pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter, & stir until just smooth (don't overmix).

Spread batter in a silicone bread pan (you could use a different pan, but just make sure to spray it & lightly coat with flour first) & bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pan five minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack. Wait until the bread is completely cooled before cutting.

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Labels: , ,