Monday, January 6, 2014

Deep Freeze

The Midwest is under a blanket of frigid air right now. As I write this post the real temperature is -7F and the windchill is -38F! Schools are closed. Even some businesses are closed. My boss texted me this afternoon and said to stay home tomorrow. Snow days as an adult ROCK!

A friend posted this on her Facebook today. I was 11 years old when this blizzard hit. We don't get snows like that anymore!

I've been busy, as usual, lately. The holidays are over and I finally un-decked the house today. It's always kinda sad putting away all the cute Christmas decorations but it's nice to have the house clean and uncluttered again. Now I have this empty corner until I find someone to help me move the TV back over.

Feeling quite accomplished (and having no desire to open the door to leave) I decided it was a chili and cornbread night. Have I mentioned how satisfying it is to whip up dinner with ingredients that I canned myself? Because it really is!
And I've been meaning to try this vegan cornbread recipe I found so tonight was the night.

I cooked the cornbread in the oven in my cast iron skillet. Beautifully crispy and brown around the edges. A perfect pairing with chili full of beans, lentils and veggies. And yes, that is peanut butter on top! Don't hate. I've always loved peanut butter with the spiciness of chili. I've been doing it that way since I was a kid.

Vegan Cornbread (adapted from Pickles & Honey)

Preheat oven to 425F
Grease an 8x8 inch pan (or 8 inch round)
In a small bowl combine 2T ground flax and 6T water to create 2 flax 'eggs'
In a large bowl combine 1C whole wheat flour, 1C finely ground cornmeal, 1T baking powder and 1tsp salt.
Add the flax 'eggs', 1/4C agave syrup ( maple syrup, honey or any combination can be used) and 1C almond milk.
Once combined add 1/4C melted coconut oil and keep stirring till combined.
Transfer to your prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Now I know you want to cut right in and eat this while it's piping hot from the oven but DON'T! Just wait about 8-10 minutes and I promise it'll come out of the pan easier and it will stay in one piece instead of crumbling. I learned the hard way.

I also made a batch of chai flavored steel cut oatmeal this week. Wintertime calls for stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. It may not look like much but it sure tasted delicious!

I used Tazo chai tea and almond milk to cook the steel cut oats on the stove along with a stick of cinnamon and a vanilla bean. Once it was cooked and thick I removed the cinnamon and vanilla bean and added golden raisins, chopped pecans and a little bit of brown sugar. I can't wait to make this in other flavors! Anytime you wanna come over for breakfast just ask!

I've made a couple hats for special orders. Thanks to my favorite panda/esthetician for modeling them!
I also had a request for an little crocheted amigurumi unicorn so I've almost finished this guy!

Just a few more curls for his tail and mane and some buttons for eyes. Kinda fun :)
Well, that's about it for now. I'm staying under this blanket and not leaving the house tomorrow either! Hope you're all safe and warm as well.
I have a special request for you, dear readers. I very close friend of mine has been in a tough battle with cancer for over two years now. He's just been given 6 months to live and the doctors are trying to prolong that with chemo starting this week. If you have any extra positive energy to send his way to help him with the pain during this last chapter I know he will be grateful. Hug your loved ones extra tight today and be thankful for your health.