Saturday, October 04, 2014

Awesome Cauliflower Crust! (Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb)

Before this, I made cauliflower crust once before and while the taste was pretty darned good, the texture was lacking. I knew I'd make it again for the taste, but I really wanted to combine taste and texture together, to create a crust that I felt had the closest texture to "the real thing". Well, this crust totally makes the cut! It's really easy and simple, and the trick is to make sure you REALLY wring all of the water out of the riced/minced/mashed cauliflower after you cook it.

You can cook the cauliflower any way you'd like, but I prefer to boil it. I see some people prefer microwaving or steaming, but for me boiling is the simplest and easiest way. After the cauliflower has been boiled (I cook it until it's really, really soft), I leave it in the pot and run cool water through, and let it sit and cool for a bit before straining. After that, I mush it all up and put it in a cheesecloth.

That's the secret -- cheesecloth!

It really helps wring out a lot of the excess moisture, which is what's going to make your crust crisp up nicely on the underside and the edges, while keeping the middle and center nice and chewy.

For the crust:
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • tsp garlic powder (to taste)
  • tsp oregano (to taste)
  • tsp parsley (to taste)
For toppings:
  • Mozzarella
  • Parmesan, garlic powder, and parsley (optional)
  • Any other toppings you'd like to add!

After the cauliflower is nice and wrung out, put it into a bowl. Add egg, grated parmesan, pepper, oregano, parsley, and garlic powder. Mix it up! Take your dough and press onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375F for about 15 minutes, then take it out and off of the parchment paper to bake for another 10 minutes directly on the baking sheet to help the bottom crisp up more. Then add your cheese (and toppings, if adding) and bake until the cheese is melted.

YUM! So easy, so simple, so delicious~

Friday, July 04, 2014

Grain-free Pumpkin Muffins

Lately I've been sifting through my Pinterest food board looking for more recipes to try out, and last night I really wanted muffins. Mmm... muffins. I love muffins.

I love the muffin top and the muffin bottom, and how together they form one compact and portable morsel of deliciousness. I love the firm and sturdy (yet soft) texture of the outside, and the even softer, more fluffy texture of the inside. This is pretty much how I feel about cupcakes as well, but with the added bonus of frosting. Mmm... frosting. But that's another recipe for the future...

I was also wanting something with pumpkin in it, and all of those Fall-like spices associated with it. Fall-esque muffins in Summer, why not? I opted to try Fall's Best Pumpkin Muffin recipe from The Prime Pursuit. It was an awesome choice!

Grain-free pumpkin muffin
There's only half of one left! Gone so fast. Grain-free pumpkin muffins are a hit!

Grain-free and refined-sugar free, super easy to throw together, and the taste is awesome! They tasted even better the next day. I think I would have loved them even more if I had put raising in them, but we only had cranberries. But they still tasted amazing! The recipe uses pure maple syrup to sweeten, but also gives the suggestion of using a very ripe banana if you'd rather just use fruit to sweeten. I think these work great as a dessert or for breakfast, and can even work as a bread to go with lunch or dinner. You could even but the sweetness by half to make it a more savory side for lunch or dinner.

We only have cupcake pans at home, but I'm starting to think I need to invest in an actual muffin pan, because I see more muffins in my near future. I'm especially eyeing a few lemon poppyseed muffin recipes, because that's probably my most favorite muffin ever, and I haven't tasted them in years. I like this Lemon Poppy Seed recipe from Civilized Caveman Cooking, because it combines both almond flour and coconut flour, which seems to be a combo that works out great and produces great texture and flavor in baking, as well as stability, and I wouldn't need to make any substitutions of ingredients, either. I'm also considering this recipe from Elana's Pantry because of its simplicity, or this recipe from Almost Supermom. I like that there are these three different recipes to try... one with both coconut flour and almond flour, one with just coconut flour, and one with just almond flour. I might even try all three and see which I like best. :)

Now I just need to buy some poppy seeds and lemon...

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Liberty & The Great Dictator Speech

I'm really loving this song right now.

The dialogue is taken from the film The Great Dictator (1940) by Charlie Chaplin, where Chaplin portrays a satirical caricature of Adolf Hitler. This final speech is rousing, inspirational, and along with this uplifting music... just awesome and amazing.

"... We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. 
Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.... 
The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women, and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. 
To those who can hear me, I say - do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. ..... 
Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! 
In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. 
Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will! 
Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!"
(Dialogue from this page at

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Grain-Free Corndogs, yay! (grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, corn-free)

close up picture of grain free corndog made from almond flour meal
Grain-Free Corndog. So yum. So cute and wrinkly from sitting.

I had a hankering for corndogs this week, and just could not get my mind off of this recipe that I found the other day. I added it to my Pinterest "Food And Drink Are Yum" board, and even threw it over into my Pocket app so that when it came down to cook it, I would have the recipe on hand on my mobile wifi device (I lovingly call my Samsung Galaxy Player my "not-phone").

I admit I was kind of lazy to try out this particular recipe because although the ingredients and prep were super simple, recipes that call for deep fried always kinda put the lazy into me -- well, to be honest they make me uncomfortable. I wonder which pot is better for the oil, then while heating the oil I get all antsy micromanaging it... and my past deep frying experiences were always with vegetable oil which has a low smoke point, making it more unhealthy, plus more volatile at high heats... not to mention the stuff pops like crazy and smells really, really bad. My brain starts to panic about grease fires and oil burns...

Well, normally I use coconut oil, butter, or ghee for most of my other cooking needs, so I don't know why I never thought to use coconut oil for deep frying as well. Coconut oil used to be the oil of choice for frying once upon a time, and now it's making a comeback. Plus, the Satisfying Eats recipe called for coconut oil, so I was like... sure, why not? Well, now I don't know why I ever used anything else. It smells great, has a low smoke point, didn't pop everywhere... felt totally comfortable using it to fry with. :) Yaay.

As as for the corndogs? So. Freaking. Good. I made half a batch with less sweetener (my sweetener of choice is either brandname or generic Truvia), and half a batch with more sweetener. I think in order to balance out the naturally bitter and nutty taste of the almond meal, more sweetener wins. Both batches were good, but the sweeter version was just so much better. I used Oscar Meyer Selects Turkey Hotdogs, but next time will definitely opt for either beef or the classic mix of beef/pork/chicken, because turkey hotdogs just have a weird mix of mild, yet distinct flavor that I just can't get over... but even when using my less favorite version of hotdog, I still loved these grain-free corndogs.

picture shows grain free hotdogs on chopstick skewers sitting on napkin. half batch already eaten.
Grain-free corndogs on chopsticks. Half the batch already eaten by me and my dad. ;)

Visit Satisfying Eats for the original recipe.

I doubled my batch and used a total of 8 hotdogs (16 when cut in half). These are the ingredients I used, and the measurements. Make sure to visit the original recipe for cooking instructions!

Grain-Free Corndogs (No corn in these, yay!)

Such a nice treat when you're grain and/or gluten free :)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Re-Learning How To Care For My Hair (Curly, Coily, Kinky, Type 4)

Learning how to wash, style, and maintain your hair is usually something women learn while watching mom take care of their hair as a little girl. You observe which shampoo and conditioner she grabs in the shower, patiently sit there cross-legged while she combs or brushes your hair, and puts it into a style. Eventually you start to wash your hair yourself, and maybe she only styles it. She shows you some of the styles she does, and you start to struggle your own hair into ponytails or pigtails or buns, and so on and so forth, until you're an adult and pretty much have your own hair routine down.

But when you grow up in a mixed family, and your mom has hair that is vastly different from yours, the techniques that you learn are ones that mainly suit your mom's hair texture and hair needs, and maybe only barely suit yours -- or don't suit yours at all. A lot of moms become helpless, and see chemical straightening (straight perms) or mechanical straightening (flat irons) as the only way to make their daughter's hair more manageable. Over the years the damage piles up, the irritated scalps get harder and harder to sooth and nearly impossible to heal, and your hair just seem so dry and thirsty no matter WHAT you do.

That's what I've found myself dealing with over the years. I haven't chemically or mechanically straightening my hair in several years due to the damage its done to my hair and scalp, and have sported natural hair for the past few years... but I found that after it would grow out to a certain length, I was at a loss of what to do. I would drench my hair and scalp with all kinds of product, but still had problems with dryness, breakage and other damage, and flaky, itchy scalp problems. So I would take drastic measures and shave my hair short into a TWA (teeny weeny afro) style. But lately I'm really missing having longer hair, a more pronounced afro, and more defined, healthy, soft curls. I want a healthy scalp, and don't want to have to keep chopping my hair off every few months just to keep my hair manageable and healthy, and my scalp more better soothed. I know it's possible to have longer, healthier natural hair. But apparently, I've just been doing my hair wrong!

So more and more I find myself having to research terms like "black hair care" "natural curly hair" and "type 4 haircare"... not to mention searching for hairSTYLES. I honestly have no idea how to style my hair, much less how to do PROTECTIVE styling -- who knew that was even a thing?? I found out that I've basically been doing a daily wash-and-go, which I guess is problem #1, because I shouldn't be washing my hair every single day, and I also need to find a protective hairstyle that I can wear for a good amount of time to give my hair and scalp a rest from manipulation.

One site I just recently stumbled upon has been immeasurably helpful. Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care was originally created to help parents of transracial adoptions, but has expanded and has an ever-growing base of followers who all seek knowledge for caring for curly, coily, and kinky type hair, whether it be for their child of adoption or birth, or for their own hair. I've ran into other sites that talk about a lot of hairCARE, but this is the first that I've seen that goes more in depth about the details of both haircare AND hairSTYLE, as well as daily routine. I love it because it really breaks things down specifically, with detail... great for the natural hair noob that I am!

Other sites that I visit frequently for more inspiration, advice, problem-solving, and ideas are Curly Nikki, Naturally Curly, and Neno Natural.

So here I am... re-learning how to care for my hair in the way that my hair will benefit from the most. I'm honestly trying to fight the urge to chop my hair off out of frustration. Instead I'm going to invest in a good pair of barber shears and learn how to trim my own damaged hair off, then find a good protective hairstyle that works for me, and continue on this hair & scalp care journey. :)

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Vote for Vernon Simpkins for Best Director!

Boy has it been a while! I have to start blogging more regularly. I keep reading other blogs for writing advice, including blogging advice, and that's like the number one piece of advice... blog regularly! Whether it's once a day, once a week... every month. Just do it regularly, without huge gaps.

It's been a while, and I probably have a lot to talk about... but for today's post I just want to encourage you to please go and put in a vote for my friend Vernon Simpkins. He's one of the nominees for Best Director at The Bay Awards.

You can check out Vernon's Youtube Channel for more of his works, and stop by his website to view both his film & photography, both of which are great!

If you ever need any film or photography work done and you're in the Sacramento or Bay Area, check him out. :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Low Carb / Paleo / Nutritional Ketosis / Grain-Free

Yay, I'm eating healthy again! Okay, so "healthy" can mean a lot of things... but basically I'm eating the way I used to, and the way I used to blog about. Paleo, low-carb, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar free, etc. At the moment the most accurate way to describe my diet ("diet" as in, what I eat... NOT "fad diet") is "nutritional ketosis" because I'm eating low carb with the intention of putting my body into ketosis (NOT "ketoacidosis" that's something totally different and unhealthy). To put it simply, I'm changing my body from sugar-burning into fat-burning.

I really miss eating this way, and I've pretty much neglected myself for a while. But now I'm back, and exercising again too, yay! So far I've lost almost 10 pounds in less than a week, which I'm happy about, but even more happy that I feel better. Before, I was still eating gluten-free, but definitely getting way too many carbs than I could handle, as well as sugar, which was still messing with my blood sugar and packing on the pounds. But now, with the carbs and sugar cut out, I have energy again! I'm not bloated all the time, either. :P

If you're interested in a better, more thorough explanation of nutritional ketosis, I love these videos:

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