Life Lately

1,254 page views of our fire PSA.

Not a huge number by blogland standards, but for a post that's neither about pretty room eye-candy nor a fun DIY project, I feel pretty good about that number.

And if by reading our PSA just a single person reflected on fire safety in their household and made changes that helps keep their family safer, then sharing our story was a definite Win-Win.  In fact, sharing that story was my primary purpose for starting a blog.

Soon after my entry into blogging I realized I liked it, really really liked it. Writing has always been a passion and photography became a new interest.  And sharing my ideas was a nice networking outlet and often provided the needed incentive to finish my projects so we could close this fire restoration phase of our lives and move on to new adventures.

And that's where things stand ... preparing for new adventures.  Here at Happily Home After, 2014 has so far been a challenging year.  After suffering the loss of our most beloved Beaver, and one of our humans facing a true mortal scare, and after lots and lots of questions of purpose and self-doubt, our life and spirit is beginning to recover.

Lately I've attempted to write numerous posts for this blog only to realize that the time in our life that is tied to this blog is in the past.  Sure I could try the rebrand / reposition route but quite honestly  I want I need to allow this moment in time to pass.  I need to move on.

For now you'll continue to see @ Happily Home After as my signature in comments left on your blogs.  At some point I may leave that signature behind as well.  Perhaps there's another blog - a different blog, in me.  I'd like to think there is but I'm not making promises.

I want to thank y'all for your support and encouragement.  To the folks I've personally connected with, you are the best, and knowing you even if only online further enriches my life.  Please drop me a line at happilyhomeafter /// gmail /// com {but format it correctly, this is me being savvy and trying to not publish the address} if you want to keep in touch and hear about my next adventure.  And just a reminder, comments have been turned off for all blog posts.

Kiss This Day,
Bye





The Incredible Shrinking Blog

Update: April 16, 2014 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Welcome.  Whether you're a returning blog friend or new visitor I'm sure you'll notice that technically things are a mess around here.  Blog problems.  Software problems.  Perhaps brain problems too.

While I work through these issues I've put this blog into a suspended mode ... no new posts for a while and comments are temporarily turned off.

Feel free to browse the few remaining posts ... you'll find some yummy recipes on these pages.  And if you need to reach me please use the email address in the sidebar.  Hopefully I'll get things worked out soon.
Kiss this day,
Robin

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our family room today.
It would be so sweet if we could lose unwanted pounds as quickly as blog posts can be lost.  
============

My computer crashed last month.  Ugh. Fun times around here I tell ya.

I've finally recovered / restored our household files and am up and running on a shiny new machine.  So it was time to turn my attention to the blog.

I knew one of the folders corrupted beyond recovery was "Blog Stuff".  Sophisticated naming system.  I assumed those lost files only impacted me so much as I wouldn't be able to edit or update them.  I was wrong.

After poking through the posts online I realized the blog now looked like swiss cheese.  Lots and lots of holes where there used to be linked content to files on my computer.  Couldn't re-link, didn't want to (and probably couldn't) re-write, so I started deleting anything that wasn't a complete post.

In just minutes this blog shrank from 200+ posts to 58.

Because my recipes files and posts were stored separately they're OK.  Don't miss yummy and healthy treats like this ...



Or a delicious update on lasagna ...



Or a refreshing salad and homemade dressing ...



And a few DIY posts survived too; my best contribution to the internet - my Chandy-Fan solution, can be read here and here.



And perhaps my most important posts - my PSA on dishwasher fires and another on a fire safety planning tip for your home, lives on here and here.  All {my remaining} "Lessons from a Fire" posts are here.



Stripped down to almost nothing So my blog is now a bit lean.  Time to figure out what's next.  Somewhat seems appropriate ...

I started blogging to document our recovery from the house fire.  Our recovery is basically complete although far less amazing and fantastic than I hoped.  In fact I've already made changes to what was restored.  Guess I'm a true DIY-fix-it-up-gal never leaving anything alone for too long.   So that could be a future for the blog.

But I have to admit, the loss of our sweet pup Beaver has really taken more out of me than  I anticipated.  Please don't mock me - I truly thought of myself as a stay-at-home mom with Beaver and now I'm not.  I'm also not a "lady who lunches" nor am I these days motivated by a career outside the home, although I could always re-think that, dust off my credentials, shimmy into some Spanks, and see how it goes.  The most honest statement possible is I'm currently seeking a direction, looking to write my next chapter.

So who knows?  Clearly I don't!  I wish I could say I'm totally excited and pumped and ready to get started.  But the only thing I'm interested in right now is another cup of coffee ...  Care to join me?  Let's see how this goes.

///// kiss this day /////
Robin

Radiant Orchid: A Super Easy Art Update




Once upon a time there was a lovely piece of art that grew a bit drab due to a linen fabric matt that yellowed with age.

So inspired I was with Rub-N-Buff I applied a coat to the matt.  Where it hung for a while it was fine.  But in a new location in another room with a different wall color the rubbed gold effect wasn't working.  Not even a tiny little bit.





Couldn't have been an easier update.  Didn't even have to remove the acrylic painting.  Just taped and burnished the edge of the tape with a firm but not sharp edge ... a credit card.

The paint was a sample pot in a Satin finish.  The fabric absorbed the paint and the matt ended up in a matte finish but true to color.

Although I'm the original owner of this piece I now know to not walk away from linen framed art at consignment or thrifts that show age or wear.  Easy-peasey to update.


===================

Plate Wall / No-Holes-In-Wall-Hanging-Experiment Update


It's been over two weeks and all the plates are still, well, hanging!
Just a reminder, no nails or other method that leaves a hole in the wall was used to hang these plates.
I'll share the results of my experiment next week - success or failure, and share the deers on how the plates were successfully (fingers crossed that's the result) attached to the wall.



///// kiss this day /////
Robin


Giving A Plate Wall A Try (and a creative plate hanging experiment)

This post is about a creative solution {hopefully} to safely and securely hanging a plate wall without making holes in the wall.  No nails.  Nothing making a hole in the drywall.

It is an experiment in-progress and I'll be reporting back to let you know if my Noritake wedding china survives my desire to decorate without requiring wall repair when I change my mind later.

Yes, I'm putting my good china on the line with this experiment, or more precisely, on the wall.  

This is a short "here's what I'm trying" post and it doesn't have gorgeous photos of my plate wall.  After all, it could all fall down before I finish writing this post.  But here's a quick look ... photo taken on a gloomy day so the lighting is definitely lacking, but hopefully you get the idea.


Yes, it is a really tall wall.  And a long one too even though you're just seeing a small section between two large archways.  So tall + long = big and I don't want to repair and repaint the entire wall should this not turn out to be my forever decorating option for this semi-awkward section.  I'd have to rent scaffolding.  Not going there.

So, remember, no nails are being used.

I'll keep you posted on how this goes and if works I'll share the simple details of how I did it; if a few plates break I'll probably post a really good deal on the few remaining place settings of my china!

Kiss this day
//////
Robin








A Dear Homeowner Tip {Using the back of outlet covers to document electrical details}


A short and simple tip today.  Might be a time saver.  Or problem solver.  And its also a safety tip too.

In our house there isn't a single room where everything electrical is controlled by the same fuse.  Even if you isolate a single wall there's often multiple fuses represented in the electrical wiring.  So when we need to power off a fuse to safely work on something there's lots of time spent studying the very long and often confusing labels on our fuse box.

This past weekend we realized just how outdated the labels in our fuse box are ... the labels referenced rooms such as "Dining Room" and identified locations with decor references, like an accent wall (the pumpkin wall).

OK, our original dining room is now our home office and the original playroom is now our dining room.  Fortunately we knew the labels referenced the old locations and we realized we needed to update those labels.  And BTW, we no longer have a pumpkin colored accent wall!

So we updated the labels in the fuse box.  And also added references to each switch and outlet ...

Use the back of your outlet covers to document devices controlled by the outlet / switch, the associated fuse number, and even room paint colors / formulas.
























Of course while I was adding labels I didn't overlook the opportunity to document wall colors / formulas.  Just in case.  So in the future neither hubby nor I should have any difficulty recalling those details.  Hope you find this tip helpful!

Kiss this day
/////
Robin

Styling Our TV Area

Happy Friday folks!  Its brrrr cold here today and f-r-i-g-i-d or very wet in other parts of the country, so I hope wherever you are you're snuggled-in and safe from the elements.

This end of winter weekend seems just perfect for at least some TV watching.  Yesterday Bethany and Nancy, the ladies at powellbrower blog, posted a few quick tips for adding style to your TV area.  As I read their post I thought "great ideas" ... and then I realized I had in fact recently used many of the same tricks in our TV corner.

About the before.  Hubby thought it was perfectly fine ... he had a great viewing angle to the TV, the accessory components were organized, and it looked "very tidy".   I promised not to mess with what was working but wanted to take the presentation up a notch.

Here's how the TV wall looks today ...


And here's where we started ...


Yes, the modern suburban architecture that provided a partial open staircase (our stairs are in the back of the house rather than the more traditional stairs in foyer situation) results in a sliver of a wall + a smallish corner.  We've tried many furniture arrangements but in the end this corner truly seemed best suited for the TV.  

Given the small proportion of wall to the actual width of the room I thought it best to use larger art pieces to oomph up the perceived scale of the walls (you know, going with the theory that small rooms look small with small scale furnishings but expand in perceived size when larger pieces are used).  An added plus is the art is a fav of mine and provided the color palette for the room too.



Added some Anthropology pulls for fun, flair, and color ...



And added seating on both sides of the credenza.  The upholstered chair is on casters and can easily move if needed and the little side table is super lightweight for easy movement as well.



A piano bench with a sheepskin rug tossed on top and an outdoor (easy clean) pouf underneath provide two more pull-up perches in the room.  As well as texture, color, and something to balance the credenza and lighten the weight of the furnishings.  



And where do I sit snuggle to watch TV?

Here's my perch on the other side of the room (directly across from the TV).  Why yes, that is a really large sheepskin rug draped across the sofa.  Cozy.  Also an easy way to protect upholstery ... sheepskin rugs are way easier to clean than upholstery.



We're loving our bookcase / fireplace wall as a backdrop to our room.  We previously had the sofa(s) perpendicular to the bookcases in a very symmetrical / formal arrangement and it never felt like us.  By changing the orientation of our furniture we truly have a new room that feels much wider, more proportionate, and welcoming.  

Want a good laugh to begin your weekend? 

Here's the same bookcase / fireplace wall.  This photo is from a time capsule buried in our yard ;)  Seriously, this seems so very long ago.  And even then we were battling the issue of incorporating the TV and decor.  In this example, the TV won and decor lost



I hope you either found a tip to help style your TV area or had a pleasant break from your hectic day while visiting here.  Please share any suggestions for further tweaks to my TV corner styling.  And make sure you read Bethany's post on decorating around a TV (here).



Kiss this day
/////
Robin






Un-Resist: My 2014 "Un-Word"

Having posted my 2014 word of the year ... bodhichitta ... meaning "tenderness of heart" (read that post here) it's now time to explore my "un-word" of the year:

un-resist


You can't control the uncontrollable even if you struggle, strain, and exert all your will to change an outcome.  Things happen.

If you struggle against the inevitable then you're adding a layer of unnecessary pain to the experience.  False, self-created pain.

Do I really want to distract myself with self-created angst from the real moment happening right here, right now?  

Um, nope.

So I'm learning how to be accepting and flow with experiences rather than to struggle and resist.

un-resist

I recently read that this practice "doesn't promise happy endings".   True, the things we deem uncontrollable are often the very things we simply don't want to happen, don't welcome into our lives.  So  the classic understanding of happy, you know, everyone dancing merrily off into the sunset, that probably won't be part of some experiences.

But I'm discovering different "notes of happy" in those uncontrollable moments with my practice of un-resist, meaningful and pleasant aspects that hold the possibility for deeper happiness later ... presence, authenticity, connection, and peace.  

Just do the best you can at the time.  Right here, right now.  Recognize and appreciate what each moment offers be it joy or sorrow, promise or closure. Un-resist.

I love this little guy.





Recently we had to say our good-byes. His medical files measured over 4 inches thick. Over his 14.5 years with us it felt like he had every medical condition and disease possible, at least once. Throughout his life there were many "this may be it" moments. We got through them but I was so beat up and worn out each time ... all by my own doing ... by the struggle and resistance I added to my experience.

I'm so grateful I had begun my study and practice - minimally skilled that it may be, of "un-resist" and bodhichitta prior to this past month. Although I'm sad - remember it doesn't promise happy endings, I'm OK. My feelings are authentic and part of being human, I can navigate that. Its the false drama of struggle and resistance that I couldn't work through and don't need to.

Thank you "un-resist".

By the way, his name is Beaver and my un-word of the year is inspired by and dedicated to him.

{pet portrait painted by Lesli DeVito and won in a blog give-away.  such a lovely remembrance.} 


kiss this day,
Robin

P.S.  I'll be back blogging soon.  Home projects are piling up.  Self-awareness and self-care projects are too, and they might show up as a new blog topic for me.  For those new to this blog as well as known blog reading friends alike, I hope you'll return here to see what develops.  Thanks friends.
////////

One Word for 2014 {bodhichitta}



i thought i should post my "one word" for the new year before the calendar flips and it's the second week of 2014

so my little sleeping blog is awakening briefly to whisper ...


bodhichitta

tenderness of the awakened heart

----------------------

wherever you are in life, whatever life brings your way in the coming year, who couldn't benefit from more tenderness?

tenderness towards self

tenderness towards others

tenderness to connect with all the joy in the world

tenderness to carry you through difficult situations

----------------------

i admit I don't fully comprehend this fairly new to me philosophy, but it offers a softness and richness of experience i haven't had when i try to control the uncontrollable

i hope to share my growth as a practitioner of bodhichitta here on this blog this year

and yes, there will be home improvement projects as well, the big ones planned are the kitchen remodel and a bathroom too

but for now I need to finish my little blog nap

i hope you don't forget about us, that when we return full force you'll stop by and visit



till then, stay warm, stay safe, maybe google "bodhichitta", and kiss the day
much love
robin

see you in 2014



I’ve settled this little blog down for a long winter's nap.

Happy Holidays y’all.

See you in 2014.





A DIY Cell Phone Charging / Storage Station {A "Hack" using the IKEA Bastis Hook}

A little sliver of our kitchen counter seems to be our preferred location for charing our cell phones.  Not because its a good location for that activity but because it is a super convenient spot where we drop a lot of stuff after coming into the house via our garage.

While the aesthetics of charging phones and cords isn't pleasing I'm also sort of freaked out concerned about, heck I'll just say it, germs.  Those phones travel everywhere with us and touch a lot of stuff.  So do our hands but we wash them regularly and also carry hand sanitizer.  I do wipe my phone case with an antibacterial towelette every so often but not each time I come home.

I've shopped around for some way to mount the phones to the wall for charging and as their "place" when home.  There are some good solutions out there that cost $$ and up and there are some solutions that hold the phone but not the cords.

If you've not read this blog before let me just say we're dog lovers.  The real thing as well as dog motifs.  So it shouldn't be a surprise that I had several IKEA Bastis hooks laying around.









{Wall mounted cell phone / charging station made using a pair of IKEA Bastis wall hooks}

Love it!  Only problem is I need another pair of Bastis hooks so I can make a second station for hubby's phone and drat, the Bastis hook isn't available for online purchase.  Ugh. Super ugh.  Closest IKEA is more than a 5 hour round-trip and we won't be making that drive just for a couple wall hooks!

Where do you charge / keep your cell phone at home?  And since we're talking cell phones, do you know about the ICE {in case of emergency} contact entry? You can read my post on ICE here ... hope this entry on your phone is never used but you definitely still want to have one.

kiss the day,
Robin
/////

Sharing with these great parties:
The Shabby Nest

Suburbsmama

DIY Show Off

Read more at http://diyshowoff.com/buttons/#5AC4ysMT2zgkzv4b.99

Homemade Muffins: A DIY for making your own healthy "box mix" {My Mindful Dinner Plate}

Hi love muffins ... just had to say that since this post is about our homemade breakfast muffins that we just love.  And I hope you will too. And don't fret about the time involved to bake homemade, cause I've got some tips for you!

If there's a short-cut that doesn't compromise quality I most certainly will take it.  And that's especially true for me with cooking.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy being in the kitchen and cooking, I just don't want to work any harder or longer than necessary.  There's other things in life I enjoy doing too, so bake to live, not live to bake, right?


So when I found myself in an every third day baking cycle for our Whole Wheat Bran and Flax Blueberry muffins (recipe here), including clean-up of lots of bowls and measures afterwards, I started looking for some productivity enhancement.  Ya know, a short-cut.

One day as I was getting my whole wheat flour from the fridge* I had an idea ... {duh} just premix the flour + other dry ingredients and store in the fridge.
Tip: whole wheat and other whole grain flours go rancid more quickly than traditional processed white flour ... to extend the usable-life of whole grain flours store in the fridge or freezer.  If frozen you can use the flours without defrosting as they remain soft and loose as long as the container is air-tight (humidity / moisture absorbed by the flours could cause them to freeze solid).
This off-the-shelf-box-mix approach blends the whole wheat flour*, flax meal, Splenda*, salt and baking soda for the recipe in a large volume batch.
* If you use different flours, say a whole wheat and buckwheat combination, or a different sweetener, say white table sugar, just substitute those ingredients and you'll be fine with refrigeration.  Of course, should you prefer a liquid sweetener like honey or agave, you'll need to omit that from this mix and add separately on baking day.  Also, if you use ingredients different from my base recipe {here} then you'll need to also alter the amounts and / or weights noted below ... a little more pre-work once for you, then you're good to bake.

Option 1: The Low Tech Zip-Top Bag Approach

Yep, you've already got this option figured out.


Line up lots of plastic food storage bags folding their opening down to make filling them quick and not messy.  Optional: label the bags including a date just in case you find one deep behind a container one day and wonder how old it is.  This approach is great for getting started with bulk-prep baking and deciding just how often you might bake these muffins.  Downside is, if you have a fridge like mine where small bags can sometimes drop behind the shelves and get lost behind a veggie drawer, well, you know, muffin mix bags can go unaccounted for.

Fill each bag with:
1.25 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour, followed by ...
1/4 Cup Flax Meal, followed by ...
1/2 Cup Splenda, followed by ... (getting boring isn't it) ...
1 Tablespoon Baking Soda, followed by ...  drum roll ...
1/2 Teaspoon Salt, and you are done.

How many batches did you just make and how quick was that?!  So now you burp and zip each bag closed.  Store in fridge.  Grab one on baking day and go!

On baking day, get the cereal soaking in the milk.  Using the same measuring cup from the milk, now measure the oil and crack an egg into the oil, and mix well.  When cereal is soft, add oil mix, add dry ingredients from bag, and mix well.  Using that same measuring cup again, get 1 cup of frozen blueberries, add to the batter, stir to distribute, spoon in to prepared baking pan, and into the oven it goes.  

You've got this!  And clean-up is only a mixing bowl, a measuring cup, and a large spoon.  And assembly time is so much quicker; for me it takes less than 10 mins prep time,And you'll be amazed at how much time and clean-up effort you save with this approach.  For the eco-conscious, frugal, or both, shake out the plastic bag, fold and save for the next bulk batch you're going to make.  I wouldn't reuse the bag for other purposes in the mean time but I don't really think you need to rinse the bag between several uses.  Definitely toss the bag after a couple of uses cause the zip may not seal as well as it did originally and that's just a whole other mess to deal with.

Option 2: Higher Tech + Some Equipment Required Approach
Have a digital kitchen scale? And a large container (big enough to hold the contents of a 5lb. bag of flour) with a really tight sealing lid?  Then you might prefer this option ... this is how I currently make my large batch muffin mix:


My large XO brand vacuum sealed pop-top container (love it for this use) can easily accommodate the equivalent of 6 batches of dry muffin ingredients.  I can push it to 8 batches but then the ingredients are not as easy to mix.  Whatever size container you use and however large your muffin mix batch, definitely leave several inches of "air space" in your container, at least as much as shown in the above picture ... this is necessary to fully mix the ingredients.

So, for 6 batches, start filling the container with the dry ingredients, layer by layer:
7.5 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour, followed by ...
1.5 Cups Flax Meal, followed by ...
3 Cups Splenda, followed by ... (getting boring isn't it) ...
6 Tablespoon Baking Soda, followed by ...  drum roll ...
1 Tablespoon Salt, and you are done.

Put the lid on the container and be certain it is securely in place.  Shake, lay the container on the counter and spin, turn the container over and over, whatever, to mix the ingredients well.  Basically, this is how a commercial bakery makes large batch mixes.  The lines marking the layers of ingredients will quickly begin to blur ...


... but keep going, cause you want the mix to have a consistent and uniform appearance throughout the entire container.  Take a real good look ...


And turn the container over and look at the bottom, if the bottom is consistent you can be assured you have achieved a well mixed muffin batch.


Here's your zen muffin mixing moment ...



On baking day follow the same routine as the low-tech approach above, but instead of using the contents of a bag you'll grab your kitchen scale, place your mixing bowl with the soaked cereal + oil / egg on the scale, use the tare function (sets the weight on the current contents to zero) and spoon 8.7 ounces of dry ingredients into the mix.  Remember, if you have any ingredient substitutions, then the weight of mix you need may be different ... you'll need to make a single batch with your ingredient choices once, weigh it, and use that weight instead of my recipes' 8.7 ounces when working from a large batch.  Got it?

Stir the mix, add your blueberries, spoon into the baking pan {mine is lined with parchment paper so I don't have to wash it, just a light rinse and dry in the dish rack}, stick in the over, bake and enjoy.  Done and done.  

Lots of words in this post but truly this is a quick quick quick baking technique!

Do you think you might give the DIY muffin batch approach a try?  Low or High Tech version?  Any kitchen {breakfast or other} short-cuts you'd like to share?

Happy cooking and healthy eating,
Robin

Linking with these parties:
Sweet Bella Roos

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Easy Whole Wheat Bran and Flax Muffins with Blueberries {My Mindful Dinner Plate}

Since we're friends here, I'm interested in what you had for breakfast this morning.

Cold cereal, something sugary, or maybe just a cup of java or tea?  

Perhaps you commuted to work with a fast-food wrapper on your lap?  

And I suspect there's a few out there that just didn't eat breakfast ... no time, couldn't stomach {ha ha} the idea of eating in the morning, or you simply wanted to save those calories for more exciting food later.

Unless you're lived under a rock your entire life, at some time you've heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I too heard that but grew up with breakfast looking more like "snack time" ... let's just say my mom wasn't June Cleaver in the kitchen {did I just date myself with that reference?  saw it on re-re-reruns folks, on cable, really late at night, I'm not THAT old}

So 9 years ago when hubby & I changed our eating habit from the (sad to say) more typical fare of tastes great "party in the mouth" food to a mindful dinner plate of healthier whole foods to fuel an active lifestyle and trim our waistline, it was clear I needed to re-learn breakfast; this was hands-down the single biggest struggle for me.  Even more difficult than getting the sugar monkey off my back.  

I quickly experienced though that fueling my body well at breakfast really made a huge difference in my day ...
I had way more energy.
My horrible daily migraines lessened in frequency and intensity and then one day I realized they had stopped :)
And I didn't have a growling stomach throughout the morning, snacking my way from one co-worker's candy dish to another until it was time to race to lunch.

The breakfast combo th
at works for us is: 
eggs + vegetarian sausage + homemade whole wheat bran muffins

And coffee.  Definitely several cups of coffee a  pot of coffee.

Today I'm sharing my homemade whole wheat bran muffin recipe. 


{Whole Wheat Bran and Blueberry "Muffins" cut into bars rather than baked with traditional cupcake papers ... quicker to bake this way and reduces the expense of the cupcake liners.  But those little liners are so cute, definitely use them for special occasions or when baking muffins as food gifts.

Please excuse the less than stellar food photography, getting an exciting pic of lots of brown food is currently beyond my food styling skills.}
I hope you'll try these muffins soon and then hurry back later this week when I share how I DIY my own homemade "box style mix" for these muffins so I'm not always taking the extra time to measure ingredients and dirty all those dishes each and every time I bake ... I just pour, stir and put into the oven, turning homemade muffins into about 10 mins prep time in my kitchen. Totally do'able.  

But first, the basic single batch recipe and instructions.  Feel free to copy and print this text for your muffin baking.


---------------------------------------

Whole Wheat Bran “Muffins”

In a large bowl, mix:
2 cups Kellogg’s All-Bran Original cereal
1 ⅔ cup milk (cow’s milk including “skim” is fine, or coconut milk)

Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together in another bowl:
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
       (or 3/4 cup whole wheat + ½ cup buckwheat flour for a hearty flavor)
½ cup Splenda or other sweetener * (see note below)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flax meal

And in another bowl mix until well blended:
1/4 cup oil (canola oil, grape seed oil or refined liquified coconut oil)
1 egg

When the cereal / milk mixture has softened, about 5 minutes, add both the flour and oil mixtures to the cereal and stir well.

Finally, add the following and stir until well distributed:
1 cup frozen organic blueberries, they do not need to be thawed

Spread into an 8x8 baking pan that is either coated with a cooking spray or lined with parchment paper (or if you must, into twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray or lined with baking cups).

Bake @ 375 degrees in a convection oven (that’s what I use) OR 400 in a conventional oven.

@ 375 degrees / convection oven / 8x8 pan, I bake for 30 minutes. The "muffins" should be slightly browned and a knife inserted comes out clean. Baking times may vary based on your oven and a single pan vs. 12 muffins.

Recipe yields12, Serving = 2 “muffins”. For a square baking pan, cut the baked “muffins” into quarters, then cut each quarter into three sections … total sections = 12.


About Sweeteners In This Recipe
Anything that adds sweetness will work in this recipe; the recipe does not need true sugar for structure. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup sugar; you can certainly scale any sweetener you choose to your preferred level of sweetness.  We've used 1/2 cup Splenda very successfully.

If you use choose honey, agave, or maple syrup as the sweetener you probably want to use less than the 1/2 cup measure because these syrups are sweeter by volume than sugar; somewhere between 1/4 - 3/8 cup depending on your taste.  Typically when substituting these sweeteners for sugar, other adjustments need to be made in a recipe but that is not the case this time.

If using Truvia you will also need to scale down the amount following the conversion ratio on the Truvia package; Truvia is also sweeter by volume than sugar.

Just know the batter should be thick and needs to be spooned into the baking dish and isn’t pourable like a cake batter. Don't think if you've made a substitution that it has effected the texture of the batter.

And since I've mentioned several brand names, please know this isn't a sponsored post.

---------------------------------------

Alright ... go bake!  and if you have any questions or thoughts leave them for me in the comments.  And later this week I'll share my process for making these muffins in a super-quick DIY off-the-shelf box mix way.  

Later!!! 
Robin

A Cake Packed with Nutritious Ingredients {My Mindful Dinner Plate}

I love, love, love pound cake but it does not treat me well.

Guilt. Bloat. Blood sugar spikes. #packonthepounds

Pound cake isn't the only one that treats me this way.  Any sugar-laden or "fluff" {my term} food stuffed full of starches and simple carbs is harsh on my mood, health, and waistline.

So for years now hubby and I have been eating only whole food / whole grain, no-added-sugar, good fat, complex carb foods that serve up taste along with nutrition and provide "fuel" for our active days.

There's lots of labels floating around for "diets" {a word I don't like cause it sounds so caloric-centric and I don't count calories} but if I had to choose a label for how we eat {or make one up} I'd say we follow a "South Paleo Beach" philosophy.  Questions?  Just ask me ...

But we're only human I'm a girl and sometimes I just need a yummy treat.  Ya know what I'm saying.  So we have treats to satisfy my need, they just have to be good for us.

Almond shortcake with fresh peaches and "whipped cream"
-----------------------------
Our Faux Pound Cake / Shortcake Treat

New to baking with almond flour?  Almond flour yields a denser cake that resembles pound cake to me; and don't expect the cake to rise like a traditional batter, it will only be ever so slightly taller baked than it was as a batter, so think shortcake.  And the almond flour will brown slightly taking on a golden hue when done, so don't think you burned the cake!

Toasted appearance of a cake baked with almond flour ... this is toasted goodness and this is the color you want on the cake.  Sorry for the dark pic taken with my phone, had to grab a pic quickly before the cake disappeared!

The base version of this cake has a mild sweet almond flavor that pairs so very nicely with peaches and "cream" {whipped cream or whipped coconut milk}.

If strawberries are the fruit du jour I suggest adding cocoa powder to the recipe cause who doesn't swoon for a chocolatey strawberry delight?

I haven't tried it yet but I can imagine using maple syrup as the sweetener and topping the cake with toasted pecans and baked apples.  Um, I'll be trying that very soon this fall.

I'd love to hear what flavor combinations you come up with but first you'll need the base recipe.
--- I mention a brand name but this is not a sponsored post, just sayin'. ---

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter or  3 /4 cup Unrefined Coconut Oil + 1 teas. imitation butter extract
3/8 cup Truvia* or the equivalent sweetener to 1 cup sugar
    (*Truvia is not a 1:1 replacement for sugar that's why I only use 3/8 cup)
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup cow's milk, from skim to whole milk or coconut milk  or almond milk
Optional for Chocolate Cake: 1/4 cup (or a little more) unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease or line with parchment a 9" x 13" baking pan.

Cream "butter" until fluffy or smooth.

Add sweetener of your choice and mix well.

Add eggs one at a time and beat well.

Add milk, vanilla, and almond extract.

Stir in dry ingredients including cocoa powder if using and mix thoroughly.

Batter will be thick.  Spoon into baking pan and smooth the batter with the back of a spoon dipped in water.  The smooth batter will be a very thin layer in the 9" x 13" pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Top of cake will be golden and the cake will not rise like a traditional flour cake.  Expect the cake to be about 2" thick.

Allow cake to cool completely before eating.

Covered tightly this cake keeps in my refrigerator between 3 - 5 days and remains moist.

Hope you find this as yummy as we do.
Robin

P.S. Here's a few more of our tasty treats with links to the recipes:


Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls (Cookie or Candy, we can't decide!)



Chocolate, Coconut Milk & Coffee "Ice Cream"