Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Flourless Avocado Brownies

Growing up in California I was a natural born avocado lover. I eat them plain, on eggs, as guacamole, on tacos or a sandwich. The old saying that opposites attract could not have been more true for my love of avocados because my husband hates them. I came across this recipe via the DIY Natural Facebook page and as soon as I saw it I went to my kitchen to make sure I had all of the ingredients.
Dinner was in the oven and I set out all of my ingredients for the brownies. My husband walks into the kitchen as I am mashing the avocado and makes a funny face at the bowl of green mush and then says," I see sugar, you must be making dessert!" I chuckled inside and said yes. He had no idea the bowl of green mush was about to be his dessert.
After we finished dinner he asked about the brownies that were cooling. My husband is serious about dessert. To be on the safe side I told him they were a little different and to eat them with an open mind. I had no idea how avocado tasting they were going to be. His comment was, "these are not some lame Paleo experiment are they?" I know that sounds horrible but we have had a handful of epic fails in the Paleo department. However we have had more positive Paleo experiences that negative. Long story short, we both loved the brownies and you could not taste the slightest hint of avocado. They were warm, moist, fudgy and everything a chocolate brownie should be. Now I just need a recipe to disguise broccoli which I happen to love and he happens to hate.

 Here is a picture of one of the epic fails, but I choose not to share those recipes:) They were suppose to be coconut/almond flour cookies and they completely went flat and were hard as a rock. That cookie sheet was super fun to clean......not!
1 avocado 
1/4 cup melted butter (I always bake with salted butter)
1/4 cup creamy nut butter (I used peanut)
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8x11 pan with all natural cooking spray
Mash your avocado until it is a cream consistency
Add your nut butter, melted butter, egg, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla. Stir.
Add your cocoa powder and chocolate chips. Stir until all ingredients are mixed.
Pour into pan, bake
Cook for 30-35 minutes or until your toothpick comes out clean

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did. We stored them in the refrigerator because I was not sure if the avocado would start to make the brownies taste bad from sitting out even though they were cooked.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Margherita Pizza-Zucchini Style

Two weeks ago I was so very blessed to receive two bags full of beautiful veggies from a friends garden. She gave me an assortment of peppers, zucchini, eggplant, squash and tomatoes. As soon as I got home I washed everything up and started to brainstorm what I was going to make. The first thing that came to mind was an appetizer I had seen on none other than Pinterest for zucchini pizza bites. I am not a pork or beef eater so I modified the toppings and made my very own margherita pizzas.

I used a half of one zucchini, two tomatoes, fresh basil from my garden, pasta sauce of your choice and mozzarella cheese. You can add or remove any toppings to make it suit your taste buds.

Slice the zucchini about 1/4-1/2 thick depending on how think you like your veggies. Add 1-2 tablespoons of pasta sauce and top with 1 tablespoon of cheese per slice.

Add fresh basil and tomatoes followed by a tiny bit more cheese :)

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes

These were a delicious low calorie treat that took my mind off of the Mellow Mushroom pizza that I had been craving all week. Great as a meal, mid day snack or a party appetizer if served fresh.

Leave a comment if you have any questions. Happy Eating!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Paleo Friendly Fruit and Nut Bites

Before my husband and I started our journey towards the Paleo diet he would eat some sort of packaged cookie or snack with a glass of milk after dinner almost every night. He has done as awesome job at cutting out dairy and cookies but I know there are always healthy substitutes out there. After doing lots of research on non-processes snacks and desserts I realized that several of them were fruit and nut based and super easy to make with the right ingredients.
I found this recipe for a starter and kind of made my own creation from there.

What you will need:
1 Lb of dates
2 Tbs nut butter of choice
1/2 cup crushed almonds
1/2 cup finely chopped dried coconut

First things first, my local grocery store only sells pitted dates. Bend the date in half and the pit will be exposed. Just pick them out and throw them in your compost pile.

Toss the dates and the nut butter in the food processor and start pulsing. You will probably have to use a spoon to move things around a few times.

If your dates start to look like a "hot mess" then you are doing it right.

Once they look like mush with small chunks then dump it onto a piece of wax paper.

Start to roll into small 1" size balls and then roll between the almond and coconut mixture. They are ready to eat now but I like to place in the fridge for about 3 hours so they can firm up a bit.

Tada! You have a healthy snack that is great for on the go people or for a late night sweet tooth.

My next yummy recipe that I will be trying are these black bean truffle balls.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Infusing Your Own Vodka

With Summer in full swing sometimes it is nice to unwind with a nice adult beverage (if you are of age, of course) at the end of the day. If you like fruity classics like Tommy Bahama's Grapefruit Basil martini or Bonefish Grill's Lemondrop martini then you are in luck. Infusing your own vodka to any fruity flavor is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Start out my selecting your favorite non flavored vodka as well as a fruit of choice. You will want to use about 1 cup of fruit and make sure you remove any pits, stems or white fleshy residue like on citrus.
I chose to use grapefruit and lemons. You can cut or peel your fruit into one inch sections or if you are using a small fruit like a blueberry then cut the berries in half for full flavor infusing.

 Seal it up in a mason jar or container of your choice and let it sit for at least 24-48 hours.

You can strain your vodka and toss the fruit or your can do what I did and use it as a floating garnish in your drink.....or just eat them plain (prepare for instant buzz!)

Other great flavors are peach, mango and pineapple.

Leave a comment if you have any questions or fun flavor creations. Please drink responsibly. Firefly stitches and its owner are not responsible for anything you may or may not do while drinking alcoholic beverages.


Friday, January 25, 2013

I'm Back!

I can't believe that I have not written a post since last April. I finished the Spring semester and had to take Anatomy 2 in a Summer crash course which consumed all of my time in addition to my then 11 month old. Not to mention my husband was in California for the Summer and I was working 3 12-hour night shifts per week. Whew!
After that long summer I was accepted into the Surgical Technology program and finished the Fall semester with straight A's. Meanwhile our family has been blessed with a little girl whom we named Willow on January 3rd. Due to Ms. Willow being almost 2 weeks late I was not able to resume Spring semester but will be starting back January 2014. In the mean time I am officially a stay at home mom so I will be blogging, sewing lots of fun things, starting a long awaited cloth diaper experience and hopefully enjoying every moment home with my 18 month old and 3 week old.
Stay tuned to lots of great recipes, tips and updates about my life and my sweet family!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pallet Garden

Before I was introduced to Pinterest I consider myself to be very crafty and creative but over the past few months of "pinning" I have found myself saying more and more, "why didn't I think of that?" My latest find was the awesome idea of pallet gardening. A few weeks ago my husband mentioned that he could get pallets from work for free and I made this wonderful wooden pallet table. That same weekend we started this fun garden project.

This was the tutorial that I originally found:
Via Gilannie

My husband and I live on just over .75 acres of land. It seems to be just perfect for our two dogs a nice inground pool and now a beautiful garden area. The main reason the pallet garden appealed to me was because we did not have access to a tiller and if you can see in the image below our area is covered in that horrible southern centipede grass and we had no way to break it up or get rid of all of the grass and weeds.

Here is what we did:

We used 4"x4"x8' posts and stacked them two high and made two rows to start. Make sure you nail them together at each end so they don't topple over when you add the pallets and soil.

I could have done the nailing by myself but it's always better to ask a buff shirtless man you help you!

While the buff shirtless man is working take pictures of any cute babies that you happen to find in your yard :)

Ok, so back to the part about not having a tiller. Newspaper is a great and semi free weed stopper. I know that eventually it will turn to compost but you can lay weed stop sheets or another form of weed preventative if you would like. Do not spray this area with weed killers because that can transfer to your veggies. I laid newspaper over the entire surface and sprayed with water to hold it in place and then we laid the pallets on top.

Once we got the paper down and the pallets in, this is what it looked like. We ended up making two beds that were 8x8'. Once you have everything in place you will want to remove every second or third pallet slat for the  area where you will plant your produce.

Go to your local nursery and get topsoil. One cubic yard of soil was about $33 and filled one of the 8x8 areas.

Sadly I don't own a dump truck or a hauler so I put my muscles and shovel to work. Fill the pallets all of the way with soil. Make sure you get all of the nooks and crannies or your soil will start to sink once you water your garden.

I purchased some plants, we started some from seeds and we ordered some from an online nursery back in the fall. Place them all where you want them to go and put the markers in the soil and plant them in the open areas of the pallet.

Once you are finished planting it should look a little something like this!
Roma  and big boy tomatoes


Bell peppers and banana peppers


Raspberry plant and rosemary

Sweet mint
Mint can be very invasion so I planted a few cinder blocks worth of mint with the same newspaper on the ground concept that I used in the garden. 


Two weeks post planting and everything seems to be doing awesome. I water the garden each morning and that is about all of the maintenance required at this time.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Small Wooden Pallet Table

I have seen so many awesome ideas for wooden pallets recently from various sources. My husband said that he could get free pallets from work so I decided to try my hand at a project today. I went with a small pallet table for near my pool area. It was fairly easy and only took a few hours from start to finish.

My husband got about 15 pallets from work and we used some to make a raised garden bed which I will be posting about tomorrow. Pick a pallet that has nice and even wood planks on top so the top of your table will be smooth and even.

I cut one pallet in half with my circular saw to start with.

After you have your length and width determined find a pot or basin to fit inside the pallet top. You will want to cut a hole in the top layer of the pallet about 1/4 smaller than the rim of the basin so the lip of the basin will rest on the wood.

I know this sounds really dumb but the only thing I could find laying around that was the perfect size was the wash basin I was given in the hospital when I had my son. Whatever works, right?

For the legs you will need a 4x4x8' post. Cut this into 4- 2 foot sections with your saw.

Get your level our and make sure they are all even so you don't have a wobbly table. It would be a tragedy to knock over a mojito or pina colada in the heat of summer :)

nail all of the legs together through the tops and the sides. You should have a minimum of four nails in each leg.

In the mean time take a picture of any cute babies laying around your backyard.

Next I broke off 4 slats from the other half of the pallet to use as a border and stability pieces for the table. The slats should already be the length of the table to just nail them on for a trim piece.

Here is the table on its side the the trim piece goes around the top. (I hope this makes sense)

Once you have the trim and stability pieces on paint the table and add your basin. Voila!!