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1  COOKING / Dessert / Supercharged Oatmeal Cookies on: September 15, 2012 12:43:37 PM
These are very high in protein, fibre, and iron. They are also low in sugar, contain no added fat, and can be made gluten-free if you use the appropriate oats. They are also incredibly easy to make! You cannot in any way taste the secret ingredient (even raw).

Yield: 42 cookies (with 1 add-in)
Time to make: 10 minutes
Baking time: 12-15 minutes

  • 1 (540ml/19fl.oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unrefined sugar
  • 2 (1g) packets stevia powder
  • 1/4 cup molasses (used black-strap for iron content)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups oats
Optional add-ins:
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (use dark for antioxidants)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. In food processor, combine chickpeas, eggs, sugar, stevia, molasses, cinnamon, and vanilla; process until smooth.
2. Add baking powder, baking soda, and oats; pulse until combined.
3. Fold in any add-ins.
4. Preheat oven to 350F.
5. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on lined baking sheet; flatten slightly with a fork (dip in cold water occasionally to prevent sticking).
6. Bake on top rack 12-15 minutes - until they start to brown but are still soft; cool on rack.

Let me know what you think!!!
2  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Vegetarian Porcupine 'Meatballs' on: August 25, 2012 06:56:17 PM

Vegetarian Porcupine 'Meatballs'

  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup kasha, uncooked
  • 2 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook rice according to package directions; cool until it's not too hot to the touch.

To cook kasha:
    Heat oil in a saucepan and saute onions and garlic.
    Mix the kasha with the egg; add to saucepan. Stir, separating grains until dry.
    Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed (about 12 minutes).
    Cool until it's not too hot to the touch.

Assemble meatballs:
    Whisk egg with tomato soup.
    Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined.
    Shape into 24 meatballs (I press them into an ice-cream scoop and get just the right amount and it's not messy).

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a 13x9-inch baking dish, lay out meatballs in a single layer.
Cover with tin-foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove foil and return to oven on 'broil' for 10 minutes.

3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Low-Fat Gourmet Mac 'n Cheese for 2 (stovetop) on: February 08, 2012 12:00:55 PM
This stuff is sooo yummy, good for you, easy, only dirties one pot, and is ready in 15 minutes!

You'll need:
  • 1 cup of elbow pasta (preferably whole-wheat)
  • 1/2 cup of grated cheese (preferably something strong like sharp cheddar or Gouda)
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 10 black olives (good quality, ex: Kalamata), pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon or old-fashioned mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • fresh cracked black pepper (optional)
  • green onions, chopped (optional)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
2. In the meantime, whisk together all the remaining ingredients (except the pepper and green onions).
3. Pour into the pot in which you cooked the pasta and cook on med-low heat, stirring frequently, until and the cheese is melted and it starts to bubble.
4. While the sauce is cooking, heat some boiling water. Pour onto the pasta to reheat.
5. Combine sauce and pasta and voil! Top with fresh-cracked black pepper and green onions if desired.

4  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Kitty Binder on: January 31, 2012 07:24:06 PM
I had this plain zipped binder that I wanted to jazz-up so, I used the Kitties in a Row Afghan pattern, on a smaller scale (20 kitties wide and 10 kitties high).Then, I sewed the crocheted piece onto the binder's fabric trim.

I wanted my kitties to be furry and have different textures so the green has some fuzzy yarn, the brown is curly, and the blue is velvety.

The motif is essentially houndstooth but straight instead of diagonal.


Hope you like it!
5  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / A-MAZE-ING: the pattern (2 versions) on: September 30, 2011 06:45:18 PM
Here's a panel I made in Tunisian crochet: It is an actual, functional maze, with entry and exit points.
Crocheted with Bernat Mosaic (Psychedelic) and a worsted weight black acrylic.

Since many expressed interest in the pattern, here it is!
*NEW*There are now two versions of the chart: the purple has an easy solution and the blue is hard to solve.

Disclaimer: I worked many hours on making these charts so I ask that, should you use it for any kind of project, you credit me (Jennifer Bush) for it. I also ask that you not sell items that you have made with it online (offline is fine).

I made the one pictured in Tunisian crochet, but you could use other techniques such as tapestry crochet or knitting.

In black: Ch 47. Work 2 rows of tss.
Begin chart: Always work 1st and last stitch of row in black (not included in the chart), except for the row where the entrance to the maze is, you'll want to work the first st in your cc.
Finishing: End with 1 row of tss in black, but work the stitch where the maze exit is in you cc. Fasten off.

Ch = chain
Cc = contrasting colour
Tss = Tunisian simple stitch

Please let me know if you make this, I'd LOVE to see pictures Cheesy
Enjoy !!!
6  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Homemade Sunbutter on: September 10, 2011 12:41:33 PM
I've never had the store-made stuff, but I had a huge bag of plain, shelled sunflower seeds to use up (and I'm not a huge fan of them). In 20 minutes and for under $3.00, I was able to make 2 1/2 jars and this stuff is absolutely delicious! So, I thought I'd share with you guys. This is especially interesting for those with nut allergies. It looks like a lot of work, but that's just because I've been very voluble in my explanations.

If you have a food processor, this process will be a lot easier and you can make it all in one batch. However, all I have is a picky Magic Bullet - never fear though, I have a couple tricks that work great!

Use can use whatever oil you choose. The amount will depend on whether your oil firms up when cooled (ex. coconut, olive) or not and how thick you want your spread to be. I used about 2/3 hemp oil, and 1/3 coconut oil (when unrefined it's actually good for you). All amounts are approximate.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Food processor or blender (with the curved blade attachement, not the flat)
  • 4 cups of sunflower seeds
  • Sweetener (I used powdered stevia, 1 packet)
  • Salt
  • 3-5 tbsp Oil
  • Cookie sheet
  • An oven
  • Jars or containers
  • Spatula (to scrape down the sides)


First, you'll want to toast your sunflower seeds. Start by spreading your seeds on the cookie sheet. I used my toaster oven with I set to the highest temperature on the 'toast' setting. And roasted, 2 cups at a time, for six minutes each. If using a regular oven, you can put all your seeds at once on a larger sheet and set the oven on 'broil'. You'll want to watch the seeds closely to make sure they don't burn. They need to start browning but not completely as they with be too dry.

In my Magic Bullet, I made this in two batches, you'll want to do the same with a blender. For a food processor, it all depends on the size of your recipient. Add the seeds while they are still hot (this will keep your oils more liquid and facilitate processing), and 3-4 tbsp of oil, whatever is needed to make a nice liquid consistency. So, start the blending process. It will be a little more difficult at first, listen to your appliance, it will tell you when it needs to be stirred. When necessary, scrape the sides down. For the Magic Bullet, they recommend to not run the motor for more than 1 minute at a time, so I stopped and stirred every minute. It takes about 2-3 minutes to start blending smoothly. At this point, you'll want to continue blending another 2-3 minutes until nice and smooth. There shouldn't really be any need to hand stir at this point, though running a spoon through once in a while to remove any air bubbles can help. At this point, your sunbutter should have the consistency of pancake batter.

Transfer most of your butter to a bowl of cup, leaving a little at the bottom. Roast the remainder of your seeds and place in your blender (while hot). Pour the prepared butter over top and wiggle the recipient a little to make it go down. For this batch, your prepared sunbutter will do what the oil did in the previous batch: facilitate the processing. Proceed as before, blending and stirring. Add more oil if necessary. Season with salt and sugar to taste. Keep on blending until it is once again nice and smooth. It should now have the consistency of cake batter.

Pour into your jars and allow to cool at room temperature before placing the lid and refrigerating or freezing. Your sunbutter will firm up as it cools, how much depends on the type of oil you used (I found mine was the perfect consistency with about 3 tbsp liquid oil and 2 tbsp solid). Voil, you're done! Spread on some toast or sandwich, use in your baking or smoothies, as a dip for fruit or veggies, or just eat by the spoonful.

I hope this has been helpful for someone. Let me know what you think if you do try this out!

7  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Gemstone Bracelet - Advice Needed on: July 08, 2011 05:01:13 PM
I've been wanting a bracelet made with a whole bunch of different semi-precious gemstones because I just love them so much. I've finally materialised that wish but I'd appreciate your advice on the two different versions of it I've made.

From left to right: turquoise, opalite, sodalite, aventurine, lapis, snowflake jasper, malachite, jade, dragon veins agate, fluorite, amethyst, rose quartz, fresh water pearl, agate, palm wood, unakite, tiger eye, wood, and ox bone. Oops, just realised I switched the order of some beads on the second one! The first order is the one I intend on using though I will most likely switch a few of the beads as I am awaiting delivery of sibinite, coral, and amber beads.

I'm afraid the ball on the first one would come undone and I'm more used to wearing closed bracelets. However, the second one is a little snug but I have more confidence in it... this chain is 18cm whilst in reality, a 19cm one would be ideal.

Which version do you think I should keep?
8  COOKING / Dessert / Caramel-Apple Surprise Pops on: June 15, 2011 06:44:53 PM

Doesn't get much easier than this! A perfectly decadent treat for a hot summer day. If you don't have any popsicle moulds, you can use wooden sticks and disposable paper/plastic cups (just allow to freeze partially before inserting stick). I recommend refrigerating your caramel first so it's firmer and a little easier to work with. To make dulce de leche, I cook (closed) cans of condensed milk in my pressure cooker, filled with water, for 45 minutes; there are also several other methods to make it. You could also use ready-made caramel or make it from scratch. Though I'm not a fan of food colouring, you could add some green or red to the applesauce to make a nice contrast with the centre...

You will need:
- popsicle moulds
- applesauce
- dulce de leche

Pour applesauce into your moulds until 2/3 full (keep in mind they will expand once frozen).

Drop some dulce de leche into the centre and lightly push down into the applesauce. If your moulds are tall and slim, drop smaller quantities and repeat a few times so there is caramel all along the pop.

Fill the rest of the moulds with applesauce. Place sticks and freeze until solid.

Enjoy Grin

9  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Cooling Necklace on: June 11, 2011 10:08:52 AM
After seeing this video tutorial, I decided to take the project one step further...

I have a very hard time bearing the heat yet, I spend all summer in the garden for work. As I was browsing the aisles at the dollar store, I saw reusable ice cubes (seasonal section). So, I picked them up along with some nylons and proceeded along with the tutorial, replacing the bouncy balls with the ice cubes. My nylons weren't long enough, so I lengthened the necklace with some matching ribbon (which I actually like better). Now, all I have to do is throw it in the freezer and wait for the heat wave to hit. I put it on and voil! I can also turn it around so the ice cubes are around my nape. I think I'm going to make myself another one to keep at home with the leftover ice cubes. Two stylish and useful necklaces for $2, not bad Wink

Though they were sold out, I've seen round reusable ice cubes too, which would make it pretty much identical to the original necklace. Be sure to share a picture if you make one! Comments are very much appreciated Cheesy

Thanks for looking!
10  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Sausage "Chips" on: May 27, 2011 06:19:00 PM
I recently came up with these and they have definitely become one of my favourite snacks... I make them with veggie sausages, but I'm sure they could be made with meat ones, though you may have to adjust baking time.

You'll need 1 sausage (not hot dog ones) and some dip (green ketchup, ranch dressing, cream cheese, mayo, etc.)

Here's how you do it:
1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Slice sausage thinly.
3. Place slices on a baking sheet.
4. Bake 10-15 minutes, flipping slices every 5 minutes (or until crisp).
5. Serve along with dip!

Hope you like them (let me know your comments and criticisms if you try this recipe)  Grin

Image: homemade ketchup and Tofurkey sausage
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