Saturday, August 31, 2013

{Recipe}: Rice Cooker Bread Pudding!

So yesterday was my cheat day. Without a doubt. Honestly the only reason I cheated was because I ran out of food. Soooo I had a whole bunch of wheat. 

This week I made a lot of new wheat free delicacies including GF Chocolate Chip cookies. I brought them to work and NO ONE KNEW. So the recipe, which I tweaked and made pretty much PERFECT is now my go to gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe. I don't think I can even share it. That's how good it is. I will think about that though.

So for the bread pudding! 

I got this mini rice cooker from Macy's for like $11.


 It works swell but I realized that I could also make other yummy things in it. That aren't rice. Now after I made it, I realized that I probably could have made it a lot easier had I used my mini crock pot (that I don't own but really want). So if you have a crock pot, I would highly suggest using that.

I tweaked the recipe because the actual recipe was for a larger serving. You can easily make this recipe gluten free and dairy free. To make a sufficient amount of bread pudding you will need:

• 3 cups cubed bread. I didn't use stale bread but it makes it tastier. 


• 2 eggs


• 1/2 cup of milk. I used whole milk, you can use whatever!

 
• 1 tsp of vanilla


• 3 dashes of cinnamon


• 1 dash of nutmeg (it called for 1/4 a tsp but I don't like nutmeg. At all.)
• 1/4 cup of sugar


• 1 pat (1 tsp) of butter (melted)

So! Combine all of the wet and dry ingredients and add them to the bread. Make sure all of the bread is moist.


 Don't we all just love that word?? I sure don't! Anyways. Place the bread mixture into your crockpot or rice cooker, and click it down to cook for twenty minutes!


This is why I would suggest using a crock pot. Rice cookers cook based on pressure, and there wasn't enough pressure to make the cooker stay on the cook setting, so it kept turning to warm and un cooking.

After 20 mins of waiting and continuing to check on my puddin' it was done! 

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it.. So yeah! I would add some yummy bread pudding syrup to it, you can find a recipe online most likely.

 Enjoy!!





Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Great MN get together! STATE FAIR 2013!

That's right folks, it's time. Time for the STATE FAIR. Minnesotans from all over come together during the 12 days leading up to Labor Day to stuff their faces, walk around in the heat, watch people ride horses and chug endless cups of milk. Why? Excuse me, but is that even a valid question??

Who wouldn't want to eat fried candy bars, munch on sweet Martha's cookies and get heat stroke while doing it? Okay I actually don't like the fried candy bars, I've only tried it once and it wasn't that good. But you catch my drift!! Minnesota is the largest state fair behind Texas, and that's only because they run twice as long as we do. 1,790,497 were in attendance at last years fair in 2012. What a number! There's all sorts of expos and things to do there, rides and concerts (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are gonna be here on the 31st I guess!), and much more. I'm so stoked. 



You can't even believe how excited I am. I even made a list of food I want to eat while I'm here: 

-Fried Cookie Dough
-Sweet Martha's Cookies
-Aussie Potato's
-Nitro Ice Cream

Who's Martha and why is she so sweet?? Because her chocolate chip cookies are awesome, that's why!


Soooo my list is pretty lame. I know. But honestly I vetoed pretty much EVERYTHING on that list. Except for the nitro ice cream and the Aussie potatoes. What's nitro ice cream?? It's ice cream frozen REALLY REALLY fast by using some sort of nitro product. Producing creamy smooth ice cream. It's Delish and totally not good for you. So what have I eaten then?? I got spaghetti and meatball on a stick (meatball with spaghetti in it, then fried in batter and dipped in marinara sauce), then I had a bite of nitro ice cream, I bought a cinnamon roll (and only ate the insides. Obviously.), and a giant thing of pop. Then I was done with pop and refilled it with water. A smarter choice.

And now I'm regretting it.. because I know my stomach is going to be screaming at me tomorrow. It's already whimpering. 

I tried donating blood today, but I didn't have enough Iron AGAIN. I'm O- and they need my blood!!  :( 

Matt got to donate, but I think he secretly felt bad because I was being a nerd and donating at the fair (even though I couldn't, so he volunteered.)


Then he got sick. And thought he was going to pass out. OOPS. 


We saw some pigs getting born today too. That was fun! And a cow who just had a baby calf. It was cute! 


The mama wanted the baby!! But she was going to get milked soon, so I guess they couldn't be together...? 

Overall it was an OK experience. I've had better times at the fair. Maybe because it was SO FLIPPING HOT today and HUMID. 

Have a good night!! 


Nat


Sunday, August 25, 2013

The great homeschool debate.

Growing up, I DESPISED school. Like, if there was one thing I hated more in life than anything else, it was school. Why? I never did well in school growing up, and it caused me a tremendous amount of anxiety, stress and disappointment. My Mother, being an educator always stressed getting your college degree, making perfect grades, and always acing tests. 

Those two words make me cringe. The value placed on students making perfect grades today in our world is at the level where if or some reason, you happen to get a lower grade than the rest of the class, you are slow. You need tutoring. I always (for the most part) got below average grades. But there were a few years where my grades really tanked and my parents had no idea why. And I didn't either until now. 

When you put 20 very different kids in a classroom, give them a test and expect them to all to achieve the same grade, what happens when a few of the 20 don't? They are automatically flagged by the teacher as a "student who needs additional help", when really, they could have needed more time. More time on the test, or more specifically more time on the subject. 




Last night, at about 12:00 AM, I finally had the chance to view Angel Selden's talk on the Ecology of Learning that she gave two months ago. Angel is the president of the MN LDS Parent Educators, as well as the brain behind the blog, Nourishing Genius. The way she has attacked and corrected the flaws in education fascinates me, and only sparks my interest in the matter even more. Here is a quote that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE which she used during the Symposium in June:

I love this quote because it is so true. This picture (via google) is a perfect example of the lack of individual attention children get in the classroom, as well as being deprived of opportunity to grow as individuals. 

So, homeschooling? I'm sure the first thing you think of is a small "schoolroom" with 8 kids all different ages, socially awkward, and no real personal identity. That stereotype no longer exists. I can't and won't believe that it does because I have seen homeschooling first hand. I recognize the benefits. I've seen the results. 

An even newer term used within the homeschooling community is "unschooling". If you have never heard this term before, it's exactly that. Taking the child out of the typical stereotypical  school atmosphere and placing them into the real world to learn, through natural experiences. The child might go to the museum one day and learn about a new species of frogs found in the Caribbean. Then she just might study that subject for a whole month. On her own. Because she enjoys learning. 

Children naturally like to learn. By letting them work at their own pace, curriculum free, they are able to explore all aspects of education without feeling suffocated. It truly makes for happier kids, who are excited to learn!

You may ask, why is this girl talking about homeschooling?? She doesn't have any kids. Heck, she's not even married!! I'll tell you why: 

Because it wasn't until recently that I realized that I could take this exact same theorem and apply it to my life right now. I am not in college, and I have no plans of ever going back. I realized that by not being subjected to all of the stress that college brings, I was able to find my true interests in life, and apply that to my future, whatever it may be.




Now, don't quote me wrong on this. I'm not saying that college, or education for that matter is wrong. It's of course necessary for some. But you can make a great living doing something you love, without first having to go through the perils of college. It can be done. And for me, it will. 

As for my future kids, when they are at the age when they want to go to school, or college, I will of course allow them to decide. But I haven't met anyone yet who has chosen the traditional "brick and mortar" schooling life over unschooling. 


That's all I have for now! Go check out Angel's Blog! She's an amazing lady with some amazing thoughts. ALSO! Here is a video! I couldn't find the actual symposium video.. somehow it won't let me upload it to blogger. But here is the link!!!


Why Angel chooses to homeschool:




Friday, August 23, 2013

Vintage Hat for sale! (and a new bike!)

So I found this hat deep in the cavernous lair that is my closet, and I realized that I have absolutely no use for it. It's a cone hat and looks to be 30s-40s WWII era. I've sold it on eBay, for quite a bargain I would say.


Also! I got a new cruiser! Meet Lucille! 



Sadly, she's a foster child because I am moving soon and shipping cruiser bikes is a headache. Sooooo hopefully I can find someone who wants it.

That's all! 


Nat

Friday, August 16, 2013

Struggles. Everyone's got em'.

This week wasn't so great. At all. Not only did I get into SEVERAL disagreements with my mother (who doesn't) but it was a sucky week at work too. :/ 

Tomorrow is our ward temple trip, and even though I should be excited to go, I'm not. Why? Because the fight my mom and I got into was about her name being on some "website". That website just happened to be family search. So she made me take it down, naturally. I should say I'm disappointed, but honestly, I don't want to have anything to do with my family right now so I don't care. Maybe in 70 years I will feel differently but for right now... Yeahhhh no.

So I told one of my best LDS friends yesterday and she couldn't believe it. Of course her family is LDS and it would never happen to her. She didn't understand that my mom doesn't understand the blessings of family history work. Otherwise obviously she would have let me keep it on. I told the sisters and they didn't even believe I COULD. But again that's because they probably never have had to! 

So...I deleted them. And just like that they are gone. Just as they wanted. It's almost a more accurate picture of my family because I don't have a relationship with them anyways.

I would give anything to belong to a family that cares for me as much as I try to care about them. Sometimes (all the time) I wonder why Heavenly Father placed me into the family I was put into. Why he didn't just leave me in the foster care system. Then I remember His plan and His reasonings are much greater than I can comprehend at times. But there was a plan. And there is reasoning. 

I know that I am a royal spirit daughter of Heavenly Father. But honestly it's hard sometimes to remember that when my life keeps rolling like it is. Sister Smith told me a story in which she was going through a rough time getting her footing in ballet, and felt miserable. Her ballet teacher told her that whenever she felt that way, she looks into a mirror and tells herself: "I am beautiful." So that's what Sister Smith does when she feels low. Honestly when she told me that I laughed. Then the Sisters got mad because they thought I wasn't taking it seriously. That's because I couldn't, and I thought it was dumb, even though I understand the logic behind. Through everything I go through, every trial that I face, heartache I endure, struggle I encounter, I am a beautiful spirit daughter of my Heavenly Father. He will never leave me nor forsake me. 

I have to remember to stand firm on those beliefs. Maybe someday I will get to the point where I can say those words out loud. But for now, just remembering this is getting me through.


Have a good weekend everyone!


Nat






Tuesday, August 13, 2013

{Recipe}: Almond Flour

As you know from my earlier post, I try my best to stay away from Gluten (and grains in general). It's not that I'm oblivious to the fact that gluten is harmful to my body, because I get it, I do. It's just that I love food too much to care. Two days ago I had a horrible "gluten overdose", and let's just say I'm on a gluten free cleanse for awhile (i.e. as long as I can last). It was horrible. I don't ever want to experience that again. Why not go COMPLETELY gluten free? You may ask. Thousands of people are, so why just pick and choose? Because its EXPENSIVE. It really is. And I've tried the whole "buy gluten free items, tra la la la..." and they taste NASTY.

So my only solution thus far has been to 1. Suffer the consequences, and 2. Make everything GFree Homemade. I'm not a fan (AT ALL) of Rice Flour. It has a nasty grainy texture and tastes horrible. Plus, like most gluten free flours, its uber expensive!! So I knew I wasn't going to mess with that stuff anymore. Enter Almond Flour.

When I realized how easy (and cheap) it was to make homemade Almond Flour, I almost threw my phone across the room in glee. Then I went upstairs to see how much of my organic raw almond stash I had left. Almost 2 cups worth! YAY!

Homemade Almond Flour northern belle


The directions for the flour call for:
  • a blender or a coffee grinder (not a food processor) because it allows for smaller flour particles. I used my trusty Hamilton Beach single serve Smoothie Maker, because it is perfect for grinding things up!
  • a flour sifter.
  • an airtight container to store it in.
  • a bowl to sift your flour into.

Like I said, I had almost 2 cups of almonds.


Directions:

Grind the almonds in your blender.

Homemade Almond Flour northern belle

After your "first grind" or the first time you try to grind the almonds, pour the contents into a flour sifter, and sift your flour into a bowl.

Homemade Almond Flour northern belle

 The remaining contents can be placed back into the blender. 

Homemade Almond Flour northern belle

Homemade Almond Flour northern belle

I did this two times through, and by the third time, all that was left was about 1/4 cup of almond flour "balls", so I just decided to toss the rest.

Homemade Almond Flour northern belle
little almond balls. Just toss em'

Homemade Almond Flour northern belle

After you've sifted all of your flour, you have to store it in an airtight container and place it in the fridge or freezer so it doesn't get rancid. The oxygen hitting the fresh flour can spoil it I guess. Placing it in the freezer lasts longer, so that's where I put mine.

Homemade Almond Flour northern belle

Homemade Almond Flour northern belle
As you can see, my family likes to throw stuff away.
But you should label it so you know how long you've had it!

I got about 3 1/2 cups of flour out of the two cups of almonds that I used and I'm planning on making some Paleo friendly brownies for my co-worker and I later today depending on if she works today or not, so be on the lookout for that post!

So there's my flour! I'm wondering if any of you have tried any other nuts to make flour out of? If so, comment below! I'd love to hear your input!

Price point: $$ (I paid about $7 for my almonds, and got 3 cups worth of flour, whereas in the store it is normally $10-$15 for 16 oz. of almond flour.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

{OOTD!}

Today to church I wore one of the new vintage dresses I bought from my boyfriend Will the other day. Goodwill, that is.

It looks to me like a secretary dress of some sort, from the tag, I would guess early 60s?

I paired it with my zipper kitten heels.



I like it!! #thriftshopping

On a yummy note, we had a HUGE Linger Longer at church today and it was Breakfast for Lunch. SO good. I'm talking crepes, quiche, fruits and cereal, French toast and more. It was SO GOOD.

Well folks now its dinner time so I'm gonna stuff my face yet again!



Laters!


Nat
 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

OOTD!

Today in Church we talked a lot about change. I love the fact that the Gospel brings about change. I love that, because I am constantly seeing ways in which I can become better. 

With change sometimes comes sadness.. My dear Sister Morgan leaves next Wednesday. I don't know what I will do without her. She's like the big sister I never had but always wanted. I can't even describe it. I look up to her so much and she is such a positive influence on me. I know it's time for her to leave though. She's been here for like 2 years (ok, so 18 months..)! 



Look at Sister Smith's outfit! So cute, right??

Also, Rachel B, whom I met this summer while she was interning for the Pioneer Press leaves this Wednesday as well! She is AMAZING. Like hands down one of the coolest people I know. She has helped me grow so much in the Gospel.

 

I see Rachel V. all the time.(we're neighbors, so yeah) I love her!

And let's not forget NATALIE D!
This girl is a HOOT. We literally sat for a good 5 mins in Relief Society pullingeach others skin and comparing the elasticity of our elbow skin (ouiness?). She's the kind of friend who understands me so well. We get each others humor and from day one we were on the same page. She always jokes that we were probably best friends in the Spirit world or something! Haha.



Entire outfit: Anthropologie (except the shoes I think?)

My dear friend Brittany! (Aka best visiting teacher ever)


Anyone who knows me knows I'm a sucker for polka dots. Enough said. :)

  Guys, I'm thankful for great friends. I truly am. And now my outfit: 



Dress: Goodwill, $6.99 (one of the two vintage dresses I purchased a few days ago)
Shoes: Guess (they have zippers!!)8
Headband: hand me down from a friend 

I hope you had a good sabbath!


Laters, 


Nat




Saturday, August 10, 2013

{DIY}: Dress Reconstruction

So last year I bought a vintage dress (probably circa 1980's?) and I loved the print, but not the billowy sleeves or the long length. So now, a year later I stopped in to Joann fabrics yesterday and bought some lace trim.

 I cut the billowy sleeves off as well as the lower part of the hemline. I am attempting now to add the trim on the hemline and on the newly cut 3/4 sleeves. 

Here's a pic of the work in progress:


By the way, my sewing machine is ANCIENT. I love her. Her name is Maxine. She's been good to me over the years.



This is a pic of a finished sleeve. Now for the other! 


More pictures to come after it's done! 


Have a good weekend!


Nat



Friday, August 9, 2013

Monday Funday!

Everyone loves a little bit of Ryan Gosling. Don't deny it, you know you do. But did you know that Ryan was raised in the church?? I know! I didn't either! 

Well naturally, it just makes him even more attractive.. Obviously.

So I was on Pinterest and I found these gems and thought I'd share..enjoy! 









So those are just a few that I love but there are so many more! Search "Mormon Hey Girl" on Pinterest for more funny memes :) 


Laters,



Nat

Sidenote: this was supposed to be Mondays post, but I guess blogger didn't think it was as amazing as I thought it was... Lol