Posts made in January, 2011

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

Posted by on Jan 25, 2011 in Cooking / Baking, Wellness | 2 comments

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

Ray and I went gluten free for the month of January (more on that later) so I was excited to find a gluten free brownie recipe that used black beans instead of wheat flour.  We’ve been noshing on these amazing (but expensive) bite-sized brownies from WOW foods, so I figured I could make something similar.  I was unsure about the black beans, but almost all of the reviews said that the brownies were amazing and fudgy and delicious.

Here is the recipe with my edits:

1 (15.5 ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used ghee, you can also use butter)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 pinch salt (I omitted)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee (I used 1 teaspoon of brewed coffee)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (recipe said optional, but in retrospect, these are very necessary).

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and melt the butter

2. Grease an 8×8 baking pan

3. Combine everything but the chocolate chips into a blender or food processor until smooth.  Add the chocolate chips and mix by hand.

4. Pour into the greased baking pan and bake for 35 minutes.

The verdict?  Meh.  They definitely satisfied my sweet tooth and had a “fudge-like” consistency.  They even tasted like chocolate.  But they were just a little off. As Ray’s friend Ben said, “They’re missing something… I think its gluten.”

Sigh, some things just aren’t meant to be gluten free.

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Tote-ally Cool

Posted by on Jan 19, 2011 in House Stuff | 1 comment

Tote-ally Cool

Have you guys heard of Amazon Tote?  Its a new, free service available in a handful of Seattle area zip codes and its fucking cool.  When you purchase something on Amazon, you’re given the option to add it to your weekly “Tote”, which is then delivered to your house for free on your given Tote-delivery day.  There’s no minimum order, no service fees, no sign up, nothing.  Basically, if you can wait until your zip code’s next delivery day (and doesn’t stuff on Amazon usually take about a week to arrive anyways?) there’s no reason you wouldn’t use Amazon Tote.  This is such a smart move in e-tailing.

I came home to find my first Amazon Tote today.

I love that the Tote is reusable – it reminds me of a reusable grocery bag, only stiffer.  I’m pretty sure that I can either keep the bag or put it out to be picked up on my next Tote day.  Inside there was no packing slip nor any wasteful packing materials – just the book I bought for Ray: Canning For a New Generation – Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry.

I think most fermented foods are disgusting, but recently Ray’s been very into canning and preserving foods, and I’d rather he didn’t off himself with some home-brewed botulism or something.

If that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.

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Before and After: Front Door

Posted by on Jan 17, 2011 in House Stuff | 2 comments

Before and After: Front Door

I completed our front door overhaul this weekend and wanted to share the before and after photos.  When we moved into this house I immediately tacked a scrap of white fabric over the window panes since I hate the nighttime fishbowl effect of bare windows.  Two years later, this temporary solution had become a permanent, tacky textile and I stopped noticing how awful it looked.  The door also had dented, shiny gold hardware and dirty, cream colored paint.

Here’s the before:

And here’s the after:

Ok, so its not drastic, but the bright white paint, updated bronze hardware and starched fabric panels look so much better than before.

The biggest change is the window coverings.  I wanted a way to provide privacy at night but still let in light and show off the nice details around the window panes, so I followed this tactic for applying fabric to windows with cornstarch.  I just cut the fabric that had been hanging over the windows into rectangles and then adhered each piece to the window with the cornstarch and water mixture.  The final effect is nice and clean, and definitely not the crusty kindergarten-looking result you might expect.  The panels still let plenty of light through, and you can even see general shapes through them at night.  In fact, if they were any less opaque I may have torn them down and tried again with a thicker fabric.  I loved this project because it cost $0, used no harsh chemicals, was pretty fun to do and is completely reversible – the fabric comes right off with a yank and a wet sponge.  You could even implement this in a rental where you need a reversible privacy solution.

If anyone attempts to recreate this in their own home using the Manhattan Nest tutorial, I have a few suggestions:

  • Cut the fabric a littler larger than the window.  If you cut the fabric too small any gaps around the window are obvious.  But if the fabric overlaps onto the frame a bit its not noticeable.  The fabric will cling to the frame just as well as the wall.
  • Use a credit card with rounded edges to push out the bubbles and see how your fabric responds.  For some reason my fabric was easy to scrape vertically but got totally messed up when I tried to scrape horizontally.

In other news, Goa finally Pepe Le Pew-ed (or I guess it would technically be Penelope Pussycat-ed) herself.  After months of painting the trim white, it was only a matter of time before she rubbed up against a wet surface.  In the course of an hour she managed to get a white racing stripe down one side and completely coated her whiskers and eyebrows.  Good thing there were no horny skunks around.

She’s been a good sport through all the chaos.  Here she is sitting pretty in the middle of the mess I created while working on the door.

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