Monday, May 31, 2010

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes with Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Welcome to the 93rd weekly edition of...

Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This week's "YOURS" goes to Jessica over at Moneyless Mommas! She posts a recipe on how to make your own chocolate syrup, and since I'm totally into chocolate, and we have a milk cow, I love the idea of making my own syrup. For Jessica's recipe, click HERE. Thank you so much, Jessica, for linking up and please feel free to take the "I Was Featured" button from my left sidebar. We'll look forward to hearing much more from you in the future!

MINE: Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes with Vegan Chocolate Frosting


I have a new best friend. I've introduced you to her before, but I'm going to do it again, because I just can't get enough of her. Now, our relationship is a bit one-sided, in that I'm pretty sure she doesn't know I exist, but still, no prob.

Her name is Elana and I have totally been loving her recipes! They are all gluten-free, and it's not that I or anyone in my family have a wheat allergy, but I don't like using white flour and sometimes using 100% whole wheat flour in confections just doesn't do the trick.

Apparently it was cupcake month on her blog, and since I've been faithfully following her for the past three weeks or so, it's become cupcake month for me, too!

We just loved these peanut butter chocolate cupcakes. If you check out her post on this, you'll see that she used whole nuts to garnish the frosting. I, on the other hand, since I knew some of the kids wouldn't really dig whole nuts on their cupcakes, finely chopped my nuts and sprinkled them on instead. One way to get nuts really finely chopped is to partially chop them, then leave the nut chopper and the nuts out on the counter and if things go as planned, every kid who walks by will reflexively grab the chopper and the chop the nuts even further...


I certainly could not have foreseen this happening, but it did, and we ended up with lovely, super-fine nut topping...


(I had to share this picture because I'm in love with my $.99 two-tier confection server purchased from my favorite Good Will store!)

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that these cupcakes turn out a little "sinky", to use Elana's word, meaning after they are baked, they have little wells in them. That's okay, though, because they can just be filled with extra frosting! So here's the recipe, and enjoy!

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

A delicious gluten-free cupcake!

See Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting on Key Ingredient.


For the cupcakes:
* ½ cup natural creamy peanut butter
* ½ cup agave nectar
* 2 eggs
* ¼ teaspoon sea salt
* ¼ teaspoon baking soda
* 1 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
* ½ cup dark chocolate chips 73% cacao
For the frosting:
* 1 cup dark chocolate chips 73% cacao
* ½ cup oil
* 2 tablespoons of agave nectar
* 1 tablespoon vanilla
* Pinch sea salt
* 1 to 2 cups powdered sugar


For the cupcakes:

1. With a hand mixer, combine peanut butter, agave and eggs.

2. Blend in baking soda and salt.

3. Fold in chocolate.

4. Spoon ¼ cup-fulls into cupcake papers and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.

For the frosting:

1. Over very low heat, melt together chocolate and oil.

2. Mix in agave nectar, vanilla and salt.

3. Place mixture in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

4. With a hand mixer, add in enough powdered sugar until frosting reaches desired consistency.

5. When cupcakes are cool, spread with frosting.

Direct recipe link:

OURS: Okay, I'm so looking forward to reading your tips, recipes, and homemaking strategies today. Thank you so much for linking up and visiting and I hope you have a wonderful Homemaker Monday!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Super-Cheap Vegan Brown Sugar Chocolate Ice Cream


Sometimes when you lose, you win.

The 15-year-old girl has recently become a vegetarian, and is trying to stay away from dairy as well. Thus, she has taken to drinking rice milk, which I'm okay with, as long as we are making up what dairy offers in other ways. The problem with rice milk is that it is expensive, especially compared to having our Daisy milked every day, and it has strange ingredients like "natural flavors", which no one seems to know anything about.

So.... I decided we should try our hand at making rice milk from scratch. That night we had stir fry, and with the leftover rice, we made the attempt, and...

We did not like it, not one little bit. The texture was all wrong, the taste was bland, and basically, it was a big disappointment.

As we stood by the counter looking at the 5 quarts of unwanted product, I suggested that we try making ice cream out of it. The 15-year-old girl thought that that was a great idea, so I did, and it worked, and instead of losing, we won, because ice cream made with homemade rice milk is really, really cheap, and has about half the fat of Häagen-Dazs®.

I just need to warn you about one thing, though. Because of the low fat content of this ice cream, it sets up kind of hard. That can be remedied, however, using a number of techniques, such as leaving it out for a few minutes before eating it, putting it in the microwave for a few seconds, or initially spooning it into individual containers after taking it out of the machine.

Other than that little issue, this ice cream is really chocolate-y and really good. I just went and got a bowl of it and am eating it right now. Hope you love it, too.

Vegan Brown Sugar Chocolate Ice Cream

A vegan ice cream with rice milk as its base.

See Vegan Brown Sugar Chocolate Ice Cream on Key Ingredient.


1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 cups rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Melt the coconut oil by placing it in a glass and submersing the glass in warm water. Pour this, the sugar, and 1 cup of the rice milk into the blender and blend until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes.

2. Pour the remaining ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth.

3. Immediately pour mix into your ice cream maker. It will take longer than normal to freeze because you won't be chilling the mix. If the mix is placed into the refrigerator to chill, the coconut oil will float to the top and make the ice cream unpalatable.

Before serving, leave ice cream out at room temperature for a few minutes for easier scooping.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Root Beer Float Popsicles


Just in case you haven't noticed, I'm totally into Popsicles lately. I've tried my hand at plenty of fruit and veggies pops, like these...


...and because I decided that having only 4 Popsicle molds wasn't enough, I thought I'd invest in some more. So I went to Amazon, and at Amazon, they are always so clever and tell you that if you buy three like products in a group, you will get a better deal, so, I was sucked in, and bought something I hadn't planned on purchasing...this...


(And because I'm clever, too, just know that you can buy this by clicking the link above.)

And can I tell you..... I'm so not sorry! I LOVE this book! I go to bed with it every night. I take it with me wherever I go, and I breastfeed with it! And I'm pretty sure, because of the inspiration that is flowing through me and in me, I'm going to declare June national Popsicle month and blog about Popsicles every day. We'll see.

Some of the recipes I want to try are Popsicle wonders such as peanut butter sesame raspberry Popsicles, wheat grass and orange Popsicles, and banana split Popsicles. But I thought I'd start with something simple. So, after common consensus, we decided on root beer float Popsicles and we were NOT disappointed. Here's how you do it...

Root Beer Float Popsicles

Nostalgia on a stick!

See Root Beer Float Popsicles on Key Ingredient.


* 4 cups root beer
* 4 cups vanilla ice cream
* 8 maraschino cherries


1. Poor the root beer out into a bowl, then place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. This will get it very cold and cut down on the ice cream melt factor. It will also release some of the carbonation.

2. Place one cherry into each mold, then fill Popsicle molds with about an inch of root beer.

3. Carefully lower in a scoop of vanilla ice cream into each Popsicle mold.

4. Slowly fill the remaining mold with root beer, then wipe away the foam.

5. Freeze for about 6 hours. To release from molds, run under cool water for a few seconds, then slowly pull the Popsicle out.

Direct recipe link:

For another refreshing Popsicle recipe, check out my Whole Food Kids blog today, featuring Fresh Kiwi Popsicles!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rosemary Olive Oil Chocolate Chunk Cake


I have been totally stoked to make and post this recipe. Rosemary is probably my all-time favorite herb and chocolate is probably my all-time favorite thing about life, soooo.... why not put them together in a cake?

I found the original recipe at 101 Cookbooks dot com, a really wonderful food blog written by a really cool girl that I'm jealous of because she travels everywhere and is pretty and knows all these big, smart-sounding food terms and has like 375,000 subscribers to her blog, literally. I came across her blog while searching for a black bean brownie recipe, and I totally fell in love. I subscribe by email to 3 blogs, and her's is one.

So... you should really go check her out. Her photo composition is gorgeous and her recipes are amazing.

Providence was on my side when it came to making this cake. It just so happened that John had purchased myriad dark chocolate bars from different countries at Walmart the week before...


...and as far as the rosemary was concerned, after calling all over town, I found someone who grew it. I know I had some last summer, but the pot it was in was moved before the frost came, and I couldn't find it when I needed it. Thanks Ken and Lauretta!


To make Heidi's cake, I altered the recipe a little. She called for spelt flour, which I've never heard of, and I am sure the people at the local Mexican market have never heard of it either, so I used whole wheat flour...


....I also added a ganache-style chocolate frosting to make it a little more "dessert-y", also made with the dark chocolate John had brought down...


And to add to all this, I doubled the recipe and made one a healthier, whole foods version, substituting all of the white flour with whole wheat flour (which I ground myself in my handy-dandy Golden Grain Grinder, by the way), and using honey as the sweetener. There were a few other minor changes I made as well. If you'd like to see that recipe, just go to my Whole Food Kids blog.

This cake was moist and had a wonderful, unique taste. It tasted, I guess I could say, "classy" for lack of a better word. The rosemary added a surprise in the flavor and the chocolate chunks of different sizes were so good...


(shown above before frosting)

This is something I would love to make for a lady luncheon, and plan to. Hope you love it, too...

Rosemary Olive Oil Chocolate Chunk Cake II

A delicious cake with the surprising twist of rosemary!

See Rosemary Olive Oil Chocolate Chunk Cake II on Key Ingredient.


For the cake:
* ¾ cup whole wheat flour
* 1 ½ cups white flour
* ¾ cup sugar
* 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
* ¾ teaspoon sea salt
* 3 eggs
* 1 cup olive oil
* ¾ cup whole milk
* 1 ½ tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
* 5 ounces chocolate (70% cacao), chopped into ½-inch pieces
For the frosting:
* 1 ½ cups chocolate chunks (70% cacoa)
* ¼ cup butter


1. In a blender, process oil and rosemary until smooth.

1. Combine the dry ingredients.

2. Combine the wet ingredients, including rosemary olive oil.

3. Combine these two mixes until barely moistened, then stir in chocolate chunks.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 40 minutes, depending on your pan size. I used an 8×11 and baked it for about 35 minutes.

5. For the frosting, slowly melt butter and chocolate together, then spread on cake once it has cooled.

Direct recipe link:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Images From A Goodbye

So the 18-year-old boy is gone. Here's how it went...

For his last meal, I made something called the "bacon explosion". Yes, this was not appropriate for a proclaimed vegetarian to prepare, but since it was his last meal with us as a boy under our roof, I thought I would succumb to his wishes. Just look at this...


Now, I'm not going to take the credit for the woven bacon mat. I attempted this, but failed miserably, continually weaving strips where they didn't belong. Finally, in frustration, I grabbed the hideous mat, balled up the raw bacon in my hand and threw it back down onto the cookie sheet. The 15-year-old girl, who is also a vegetarian, was having wild success weaving her bacon mat, and asked if I would like it if she wove mine. I said yes.

Then, as if a woven mat of bacon wasn't enough, we fried more bacon with sausage, added onions, garlic, spices and a sauce, rolled it up, then baked it. If you have carnivorous men in your family you would like to really impress, I would suggest making this for them. Just search "bacon explosion" on youtube. The 18-year-old boy pointed out how easy that is to remember because "bacon" and "explosion" are the two coolest things on the planet.

For those who chose life and health over angioplasty, there were other alternatives to the bacon explosion, such as this lovely strawberry salad...


...and mashed potatoes...


(You know I always have to throw in a picture of the twins since they're adorably gorgeous.)

The next day it was time to drop him off at the airport. Even though native El Pasoans make fun our of town for many reasons, including the fact that it is the third "fattest" city in the nation, and the first "sweatiest", I have to say that the airport renovation it just lovely. Copper patina seems to be the theme, such as the roof with pineapple accents...


...and this metal carving along a divider...


There are Mexican and Southwest accents throughout as well...


Okay, enough of that. Back to the 18-year-old boy. Here he is checking in...


I can only imagine the thrill he was feeling knowing that he was taking the first step to striking out on his own.

There was sadness on our parts as we said goodbye...


But there was also indifference...


....and even maybe not so much sadness because I think there were some left-behind X-BOX agreements that took place with the 10-year-old boy...


After he boarded, we hung out a little longer...


...and just in case you want to know, I'm doing okay. My stomach does do a little flip every time I think of him on his own, but then I remember what a good boy his is and that my sister will make him do push-ups if he messes up in any way.

Miss you, 18-year-old boy!


Today on Whole Food Kids: Dark Chocolate Shakes...


Monday, May 24, 2010

Setting a Goal to Not Get Finished

As you can imagine, it's totally insane having ten kids. Even though two of them have moved out, there are still eight, including a 3-year-old, 2 year-old twins and a 2-month-old.

To try to get anything accomplished during the day with the 4 under 4 is like moving Mt. Everest, literally. It is literally impossible to get done in a day all that I think I need to get done. If I focus on making my kitchen spotless...,


...then the laundry get neglected. If I focus on laundry, then the kitchen doesn't get done...


If I focus on making a spectacular breakfast...


...then no cleaning at all gets done, and the kitchen gets messier than it was before.

So this is what I've come up with. I've decided that if there is an area of my house that is driving me crazy, for instance, the island in the kitchen, which was cluttered with so much junk it made the whole kitchen look ridiculous, I am going to set the time for 5 minutes and work on decluttering that area.

Now I know this system has been tried before by people like The Fly Lady, but she uses 15-minute increments. Even that time-frame is not doable for me, because it seems like there is never a 15-minute span of time where at least one out of the four isn't either crying, making a mess, or creating some type of emergency situation, like the molasses disaster..


...that needs my attention.

So you might wonder what one can accomplish in 5 minutes. Let me tell you.... more than you think. Here's what happens. You work for 5 minutes, and you can see that you're making a dent. And it feels good to be getting something done. Your mind has a focal point and you aren't wandering around the house wondering what mountain to move next.

As minute 6 approaches, you realize that the baby is still happily kicking on his quilt, the twins are still playing upstairs in the toy room and the 3-year-old is still looking for some outlandish outfit to wear.

So you keep organizing. And the more you do, the better it feels, and it becomes a cycle of cleaning and organizing and ego-feeding, not a vicious cycle, but an I-might-actually-be-a-good-homemaker cycle!

This worked so well the other day when the twins got into the flour bin in the food storage room while I was blogging, breastfeeding, breastfeeding and blogging....and the rice bin...and the popcorn bin..... and then....

...they poured cups of water from the water fountains on top of all this and walked around in it a lot and then walked all over the kitchen.

I knew in my mind that there would be no way I could clean all of this up at once, so I simply closed the door to the food storage room, cleaned the flour/popcorn/rice trackings in the kitchen, and waited until I had 5 minutes to make a dent in the food storage room. And it worked! I didn't get it cleaned up all at once (it actually took 3 days of 5-minute increments), but by the time John came home from out of town, all he saw was organized shelves of our year's supply of food and 4 happy little boys.

I challenge you to try this and let me know how it goes!

Thanks for listening.

I am pleased to list this post @...

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Today on life in mexico {and other places} a picture a day: {the best soup place in town}

Homemaker Monday: A Goodbye Letter to The 18-Year-Old Boy

Welcome to the 92nd weekly edition of...

Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This week's "YOURS" goes to Sarah over at "For the Love"! She posts a tutorial on how to make the cutest pompom sandal flats. This is like a copykat recipe, but with shoes! Take a look...


Cute, right? Click HERE to see Sarah's entire tutorial. Thank you so much, Sarah, for your great tip, and we'll look forward to hearing more from you in the future! (Please feel free to take the "I Was Featured" button from my left sidebar if you'd like!)

MINE: What is one of the most important things about homemaking, the end product we are all striving to achieve? To me, the answer is to be able to provide a warm, loving, place in which our children can develop physically, mentally and spiritually and mature into human beings who can then go out into the world and make it a better place.

The time has again come in my life to realize this event, as the 18-year-old boy is striking out on his He will board a plane headed to California for the summer, where he will work in a science lab with my sister (yes, the one who anonymously stalked me through my email and who has improved drastically after receiving therapy), and surf every day, then report to serve a two-year mission for our church at the end of the summer...


(Shown above posing for the photo for his mission paperwork)

To express my feelings about this, I wrote him a letter to read on the plane. I wasn't sure I should share it with you or not, because it is personal, but because I usually err on the side of being an open book, I decided to post it here. After all, I'm only sharing the way I feel about my son with you, and I hope that's okay. Here it is...

"Dearest 18-year-old boy,

"Hi 18-year-old boy. You know I'm not too comfortable with being all sentimental and stuff (although I know I should have been better about it all these years), but I just wanted to tell you what a pleasure it has been to raise you. I'm really grateful that God gave me the opportunity to be your mom. You are a very unique individual (and I mean that in the best of ways), and you have taught me so much. You taught me that humor can break the ice, and make a difficult situation easier to work out. You taught me that yelling and raising my voice hurts people, and that there are much better ways to teach kids. You taught me that someone can be obedient and do what is right, even if they don't want to or if it's hard.

"Some of the best memories I have of you are times like the one when we were in the restaurant in Utah, and you stood in the back of a random family who were getting their photo taken. The woman you stood next to thought you were cute enough to stay in the photo, but I remember that the woman who was taking the shot didn't like the idea at all. Didn't she say, "Get him outta here!"? That was hysterical!

"Then on a different note, there were the times when the twins were small babies, and John was working in Juarez, and you would hear them both crying at 11:00 at night, and you would get out of bed on a school night, and come downstairs, and ask if you could help. I'll never forget that you did that for me,18-year-old boy. You were really there for me during that, one of the most difficult times of my life, when the twins were babies, and John couldn't be around to help me with them during the week. Thank you.

"Also, it was really special to me that you asked me out to dinner for Mother's Day. It might not have seemed like a big deal to you, but it really meant a lot to me that you would think of it.

"18-year-old boy, I know you've been through a lot in your life. In five and a half short years, you lost your dad in a tragic way, I married someone only 7 months later, and we dragged you down to Mexico, a place I thought would be wonderful and safe and tranquil, but what turned into a dangerous, scary place after we settled in. You should know that I don't ever regret marrying when I did or moving you kids to Mexico, but I want you to know that I acknowledge and understand how difficult it was for you. I know you came away with some really good friends and I also know that EVERYONE in that town, both young and old, absolutely loves you, but I also know it was hard not being able to have the freedom you deserved because of the dangers.

"Something else I want you to know is how very, very proud and happy I am that you have decided to go on a mission after the summer is over. 18-year-old boy, I know this wasn't an easy decision for you, and even now, I'm sure you have mixed feelings. I really can't even begin to imagine what it must feel like to know that you will be going away for two years, working hard sharing the gospel, but not knowing where you will be sent! Will it be to Mexico or South American, where so many young men are being sent, where it's hot and humid, but the people are humble and wonderful? Or will it be in an Eastern Block country, like Russia of the Czech Republic, like where Cody went, where it's bitterly cold, and the people speak a language that you literally know not one word of? Or will it be an island, where you can see the ocean every day, or somewhere in the states, somewhere that is perfectly familiar to you? It must be really exciting to think of it, but really scary at the same time. Even so, please know how proud I am of you for being obedient to this call to serve. I know it was hard to make this choice, but of all the things you could have been obedient to, this was the most important so far. You have made me so happy by doing this and I know that your life will be happy for doing it, too.

"We are really going to miss you. I'm going to miss your help with the kids, how you teach them what is right, how you always drove them around for me, how you rough-housed with the twins and the 3-year-old boy, and how you even held the baby, especially if I put on the password on the computer for you. I'm going to miss having someone so capable around, someone who can fix things and figure things out that I can't, especially things having to do with electronics (although the 13-year-old boy is coming close to your ability in this area). I'm going to miss it when you tell me you like the food I made (which has been rare since I decided to cook mostly vegetarian, but still, sometimes you liked what I made, and I loved that.) I'm going to miss you coming home from school telling me about random stuff that happened, and confessing crazy stuff that you and your friends did after the fact, knowing that I wouldn't get too mad because it happened two months before and you lived through it.

"18-year-old boy, there are things about you that I have heard, things that you don't know I know, that show me what an amazing person you are, what a good person you are, and how you really want to do what's right. Again, I want you to know how proud I am of the person you have been, the person you are, and the person you are becoming. I have seen such change and development in you over the years and you are truly a man now, someone who I KNOW will do great things in his life. I don't worry about how you're going to take care of yourself. You are so capable, a great cook, and a smart, kind, loving person, and you are going to have great success in your life.

"Thank you for being who you are, 18-year-old boy, and I feel it has been a privilege to have been given the chance to raise you until you could be out on your own. I love you very much and I'm actually somewhat jealous of Robyn that she will have you all summer. That being said, I'm so happy you will be with her and I know you are going to have a great time doing mad-scientist kind of stuff and surfing all summer. I'm looking forward to seeing you in July, and then again before you leave for your mission.

"I love you and be good.

Your Mother"

OURS: Okay, what are you doing to make your home a better place? I would really like to know! Link up!

Friday, May 21, 2010