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cleaning (5) craft (26) DIY food (7) niftyman (4) nondairy (18) vegan (11)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nondairy Lemon Curd

Whenever we go to my sister's house, my brother-in-law lets my kids harvest lemons from his tree. We always leave with a huge bag of lemons. Phoebe named this one Biggie:

We had so many lemons last weekend that I finally made lemon curd. I used to bypass lemon curd, because of the butter. But then I thought what if I just leave out the butter? I do that when I make pudding for Phoebe. Would the fat in the eggs and flavor of fresh lemons be satisfying enough?

Adapted from joyofbaking.com

3 large eggs
1/2 c sugar
juice of 2 lemons
zest of 1 lemon

Fill a small saucepan about a third full with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, sugar, and lemon juice in a heatproof bowl, such as Pyrex or glass. Your bowl should be slightly larger than the diameter of the saucepan, as the bowl will rest on the rim of the pan. If you have a double boiler, use that.

Turn water down to a simmer. Place bowl over saucepan, such that water is not touching the bottom of bowl.

Whisk egg mixture until it thickens. This will take about 10 minutes. If your mixture is still not thick by 10 minutes, turn your stove up slightly. The first time I made this, I was getting worried when, by the 8 minute mark, still nothing. And then magically, it thickened! This time nothing by the 10 minute mark so I just turned it up to medium and it thickened so rapidly that I had to turn it off. If you get impatient and turn it up, just make sure you keep whisking so your eggs don't scramble.

Strain lemon curd into a clean bowl.

Stir in lemon zest.

Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of lemon curd.

Refrigerate for at least an hour. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

This tastes so delicious on toast or as a pie filling. If you live with someone who misses the butter, just butter the toast and then top with the lemon curd.

Nondairy Cake Donuts

Tomorrow Phoebe is leaving for outdoor ed. I already cried a little last Friday just thinking about next week. Pathetic! I know I'm going to miss her like crazy. The rational-sane me knows she can take care of herself and she'll have a blast on this mini-vacation with her classmates, but the needy-selfish me wants her never to leave my side.

One small consolation: Chloe gets to indulge in as much dairy as she wants next week. So far we have pizza, sundae, pie, and fondue on the agenda. Woohoo, no cooking! On our last-minute Target run for Phoebe's travel toothbrush, Chloe grabbed a bag of Hostess mini powdered donuts. Phoebe looked at the bag and said, "Sheesh, I'm not even gone yet!"

This morning we wanted to open the Hostess donuts so we decided to make some non-dairy ones for Phoebe. We have the Sunbeam mini-donut maker, which is kind of like a waffle iron. They turned out so good that we forgot all about the Hostess ones.

1 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 c almond milk
1/2 t vinegar or lemon juice
1 egg
1 t vanilla
4 T grapeseed oil

Oil donut maker and preheat. Prepare homemade "buttermilk": Mix vinegar into almond milk and set aside.

Whisk dry ingredients together. Beat egg and vanilla into milk mixture. Pour into dry ingredients and combine. Add oil and mix until smooth, about 1 minute.

Fill wells of donut maker. Avoid getting batter on the center prong, as this needs to be clean to make the hole in your donut. Our mixing bowl has a spout so I just poured carefully. Otherwise you might want to put your batter into a measuring cup.

Cook for 3 minutes.

Gingerly lift out donut with a spatula and cool on wire rack while you make the glaze. Makes about about 15 donuts.

1 c powdered sugar
1 to 2 T almond milk
1 t vanilla
orange zest (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Dip one side of the cooled donut and let dry on a wire rack. You can also drizzle the glaze with a fork.

For the chocolate glaze, we added about a teaspoon of cocoa powder, a teaspoon of almond milk, and 1/4 c powdered sugar to our leftover vanilla glaze. Sorry about the imprecise measurements. You'll know when you dip your donut if the glaze is too thin. If so, just add some more powdered sugar.

Friday, April 13, 2012

How to Make a Yarn Wig for Your Stuffed Animal

Here's a wig Chloe fashioned for her fave stuftie Kate:

So cute! You can adapt this for a human by gluing the yarn to a shower cap or hat.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Vegan Mac and Cheese

OK, let me just preface with the admission that this recipe does not taste like mac and cheese. It looks like mac and cheese so it fools your senses into thinking your eating mac and cheese. Those who love the creamy, smooth, tangy taste of cheese will definitely not be fooled. For Phoebe, who doesn't remember the taste of real cheese, this is not an issue. Those who are looking for a healthy alternative to mac and cheese will find that this tastes pretty good.

1 lb macaroni
2 c pasta water
1/2 large onion diced
2 celery stalks chopped
1 cauliflower (cut into florets)
1 t herbes de Provence
2 16-oz bags frozen butternut squash
1 t garlic powder
1 T dijon mustard
8 T nutritional yeast*
2 slices sourdough bread
olive oil
salt to taste

*Nutritional yeast is available at Whole Foods. It adds savory flavor to food (the way chicken broth or MSG makes things tasty) and provides protein and vitamin B. If you don't want to use nutritional yeast, you can add some silken tofu to your casserole for protein. Keep in mind that you will have to season the tofu generously with salt.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put bread in a food processor to make bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Salt boiling water generously with kosher salt and cook macaroni a little shy of al dente (about 5 minutes). Reserve 2 c of pasta water before draining pasta.

Cook cauliflower florets, celery, onion, herbes de Provence, and garlic powder until tender.

Add butternut squash and pasta water. Cook until squash is no longer frozen.

Puree vegetables until smooth.

Add dijon mustard and nutritional yeast.

Fold in pasta. Pour into 9 x 13 casserole dish. Cover with bread crumbs. Drizzle olive oil over crumbs.

Bake for 10 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Phoebe loves her mock mac and cheese. And for the cheese lovers in my family, sometimes I'll top half of the casserole with cheddar so they don't feel too deprived.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How to Dye Easter Eggs with Food Coloring

Partly because my kids are getting older and the egg-hunt days are over and mostly because I feel such pressure to make use of things we already have at home, this year we dyed with food coloring instead of those PAAS tablets. Look at these beauties!

We used the basic McCormick Assorted Food Colors, which includes four 0.25-vials of each of the following colors: yellow, red, blue, and green. (Note: We did not use Wilton concentrated gel color.) We adapted the directions for coloring eggs on the back of the box slightly: we reduced the number of drops by half. As you can see, the colors came out vibrant enough.

Food coloring
White vinegar
Drinking glasses

For each color, mix the following in a 6-oz glass:

1/2 c boiling water
1 t white vinegar
10 drops food coloring

My kids mixed a glass of each color. Then they dipped a hard-boiled egg into one color for at least a minute. They lifted the egg out to see if it reached the desired shade. If so, they moved the egg to another color. They originally intended to blend the colors. For example, dip in red and then dip in yellow to get orange. This worked for the orange but when Chloe tried to make purple, the blue and red made brown.

However, after refrigerating overnight, the dyes separated and resulted in blue and brown speckles. What a happy accident!

DIY Egg-Crate Organizer

Have you seen this cute stoneware egg crate from anthropologie?

Lately, I've noticed versions at Target and Crate and Barrel. If you plan to use this in your kitchen, by all means get the stoneware. But if you want one to organize jewelry or desk supplies, why not make your own for practically free?

Cardboard egg carton
Acrylic paint
Paint brush
White glue
Paper bowl

Step 1: Cut egg carton to desired size.
We made ours 2 x 6.

Step 2: Cover egg crate with acrylic paint.



Step 3: Hang to dry.

Step 4: Seal with homemade Mod Podge and
let dry. You can use real Mod Podge but we
ran out so we played around with white
glue: 2 parts glue + 1 part water.


If you get an 18-count egg crate or one of those 36-count trays, you can fashion an even closer copy!