Health & Beauty
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With Father’s Day on the horizon, now is a good time to start thinking about all the dads in your life. Even though we call the holiday “Father’s Day,” it’s really a day to take some time and appreciate all the special men in your life which to many of us, can mean more than just our own fathers and Cardstore.com gets that. Whether you’re looking for a card for your Grandpa, Brother, Uncle, or Husband, Cardstore.com has the perfect choices ready for you.
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Creativity for Kids Kit – Monster Trucks Custom Shop
My Friendship Bracelet Maker Kit
Creativity For Kids Shrinky Dinks Refill Set
Quincrafts Learn To Sew Needlepoint Kit-Rainbow
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As I’ve said before… I have the taste buds of a 6-year-old. Because of this I am on a constant quest for ways to trick myself into eating vegetables. Imagine my complete and utter shock when I found a way to eat cauliflower. One of the grossest of the gross.
I had seen the idea of a cauliflower pizza crust floating around the blogosphere and I finally decided to give it a try. After a recent beet smoothie incident (where I spit it out almost as fast as I put it in my mouth), I admit I was skeptical and a bit nervous.
The first thing I noticed was how very simple it was to make – easier than any homemade pizza crust ever. That was a plus for sure. Then, as the crust was baking, all I could think was how delicious it smelled. What? Cauliflower smelling delicious? Well, it smelled like pizza crust, not like cauliflower. And then it was just plain delicious and there was no weird texture at all. It was just… pizza. I admit that there was a teeny tiny slight aftertaste type smell or something when I took the first bite – but it may have been psychosomatic because after a couple of bites all I could think was how delicious it was.
There are a number of recipes online… I combined a few and this is what I did:
1/2 Head of cauliflower (mine was a smallish head)
2 C shredded cheese divided (I used mozzarella, but any medium/hard cheese will work)
Italian seasonings (I used oregano, parsley, fresh garlic and some onion)
Pizza sauce or marinara sauce of your choosing
Toppings (we used sausage, black olives and pineapple)
Grate your cauliflower. I used a food processor with the grater blade (cause you don’t want it to become pureed, just shredded). Place the grated cauliflower into a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 6-8 minutes (depending on your microwave). You want to make sure the cauliflower is soft but not mushy. Do NOT add water or anything to the cauliflower.
While the cauliflower cools off (I put mine in the freezer to cool it quickly), preheat the oven to 450* and prepare a cookie sheet or pizza pan by spraying it with cooking spray. This is also a good time to prepare your toppings – cook your sausage, cut up your pineapple, whatever…
To the cauliflower add 1 C shredded cheese and spices and combine. Add egg and mix well with your hands. Press the crust onto a pan and shape into a 9-12″ pizza (depending on how thin you want the crust). I did mine closer to a 12″ and it worked great! Spray the top of the crust with cooking spray (to help brown) or brush with oil.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes (or until golden brown). It is really important to get it nice and brown so that it has a crispness to the crust otherwise, the texture isn’t a convincing pizza crust! When you pull out the pizza, turn your oven to broil.
Add your toppings (we did 1/2 sausage and 1/2 pineapple/black olive) including 1 C cheese and put pizza under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Just broil it long enough to melt the cheese and caramelize the toppings a bit.
Seriously delicious! My husband will eat cauliflower, but doesn’t love it. I am one of the pickiest eaters on the planet. My daughter is another one of the pickiest people on the planet. We ALL loved it!! I made this Sunday and they are already asking for it again!! Cauliflower! Who knew??
Summer wreaks havoc on my daughter’s sleep schedule; it is light when I put her to bed and the light in the morning gets her up much earlier than I want to join her! I purchased a black out shade a few summers ago from Ikea for my own bedroom and it works great – totally where I recommend buying them if you don’t want to go the DIY route – but since our Ikea is quite a drive, I just bought a $20 shade from Kmart for my daughter’s room. And it broke in a week. She does have blinds, but they just don’t block out enough light. I decided to use the broken black out shade and some decorative fabric to make my own Roman Shade.
I used these blinds because that is what I had already, but you can follow these same instructions if you have the cheap mini-blinds. OR, if you are starting from scratch, mini blinds are super cheap at Walmart.
Take the blind, open them all the way and lay them out on the floor.
You will cut the thin strings that hold the slats in place – the ones that look like a ladder. DO NOT cut the heavier string that runs up through the holes in the slats – that’s the string that makes the shade go up and down.
Cut them all the way, top to bottom.
Now remove the little plastic plug at the bottom to reveal the knotty mess of strings there. Pull all the strings out – the knots in the thin strings that you just cut can just be cut away. Carefully untie the other string – the thicker one.
Now take that bottom board off and you will be left with the slats on the thicker string.
Remove all the slats and it will leave you with this:
Set this aside and prep the fabric.
I am using a piece of fabric and the plastic from the broken shade. You can buy black out fabric, or you can use just the decorative fabric if your shade is more decorative than for light control.
First, you will cut the black out fabric -if you’re using it- to size for your window. Then cut the decorative fabric to size plus one inch on all sides.
Fold the decorative fabric over 1/2 inch on all sides and iron.
Then fold over 1/2 inch again and iron.
BE CAREFUL if you are using plastic that you don’t melt it!
Now use fabric glue to glue this hem down on all four sides – gluing it to the black out fabric if you are using it.
Glue it down on all four sides and weight it down while it dries (I used the slats from the blinds).
Once that’s dry, you will glue the top of the blinds to the top of the fabric. Stop the glue a couple of inches from the ends so that you can hang it back in the brackets when you’re done.
Line it up carefully, weight it down and let it dry. Make sure you don’t get glue on any of the strings.
Once that’s dry, you will start to reassemble the shade. First, you need to decide how many folds you want in the shade when it opens. It’s totally up to you; I just measured the length of my shade and came up with a number that made sense to me; mine are about 9 inches apart.
Start at the bottom of the shade and measure up, making a mark on each side of the shade.
However many folds you want (however many marks you made) – that’s how many slats you will use. Slide them back onto the strings.
Put glue on the back of the slat – being careful to avoid the strings – and line it up with the marks you made.
Repeat for all of the marks, weight them down and let them dry.
Now restring the bottom board back on, glue it to the bottom of the shade, and weight it down while it dries.
When everything is dry, retie the strings at the bottom and replace the little plastic plugs.
Now rehang the blinds in the brackets. You can see here how I left the fabric loose at the ends, so that I could lock the blinds back in the bracket properly.
But it lies nice and flat:
At this point the strings are behind the blind. I’ve seen people deal with this a couple of ways; I’ve seen a few people glue the fabric to the BACK of the top bar on the blinds, but I don’t like the way that looks. Most people seem to leave it behind – you can open and close the shade, but I think it’s inconvenient, and since this is in my little girl’s room I needed her to be able to do it on her own.
I opted to cut a slit in the shade right where the pull strings come out of the top bar. I threaded the pull strings through the slit to the front of the shade. Put a little fabric glue on the fabric around the slit so that it doesn’t fray or tear.
Here they are open:
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We have diary allergies in my family. I inherited it from my dad, and then passed it along to all of my kids. For the most part, it hasn’t been bad – in fact, I made it all the way to 16 before I was officially diagnosed. My kids have had symptoms to varying degrees, although one has now outgrown it and does fine with dairy. And for most of my life, I have just lived with it and not worried about following a special or strict diet. I just could not give up cheese and ice cream! 🙂
But the newest addition to the family is very sensitive to milk protein (casein) and so I have had to eliminate all dairy, eggs and beef products from my diet while I am nursing her. This has been QUITE a change for me! I am definitely new to the world of cooking for food allergies, and at times it has been a bit of a struggle, although it is getting better. The hardest for me has been giving up the baked goods and the textures that come with items made with dairy.
I found some premade dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free cookie dough two weeks ago at Whole Foods, and picked it up to try. It made some of the best cookies I have ever tasted – EVER!!! Even my husband (who is not dairy-allergic) loved them! But at $5 a tub, which only made about 20 small cookies, and with the store being 45 minutes away from my house, these just aren’t a very practical solution for me. So I’ve been scouring lots of recipe books and blog sites looking for dairy-free, egg-free cookies that I can make myself, at home.
Here is my first attempt, and I have to say, it was a definite winner!!! These are fabulous! Big, thick, chewy – just like you get at a bakery!
Dairy-free, Egg-free Chocolate Chip Cookies
(I believe these would qualify as vegan, as long as you use vegan chocolate chips)
1/2 c dairy-free margarine (I used Nucoa in this particular recipe)
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar, packed*
2 Tbsp whole flax seeds**
3 Tbsp plain milk alternative (I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, no hint of coconut flavor in the cookies)
2 Tbsp plain dairy-free yogurt (I used Silk soy yogurt)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 c bread flour***
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips from Whole Foods Market)
Preheat over to 375F. In large mixing bowl, cream together margarine and both sugars. Grind the flax seeds into a fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder (I used already-ground flaxseed meal, the Bob’s Red Mill stuff). Pour the flax seed mixture into the margarine and sugars, along with the yogurt, vanilla and vinegar – beat to combine. Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and mix thoroughly. Fold in chocolate chips. Scoop out dough using 1/4 cup measure, roll into ball and then flatten slightly on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are set and just beginning to turn golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes on sheet before moving them to wire rack to cool completely.
*Original recipe called for dark brown sugar, but I didn’t have any, so I used regular brown sugar and think they turned out just fine. Of course, I do have molasses and could have made my light brown sugar into dark brown sugar myself, but that’s just too much work! 😉
**I used already-ground flaxseed meal (Bob’s Red Mill brand). It worked fine, just left little tiny dark flecks in the dough that didn’t affect the taste at all.
***If you don’t have bread flour around (I do not), you can use plain all-purpose flour just fine. The bread flour has a higher protein (gluten) content and will help the cookies be a little chewier than with the AP flour, but either works just fine in the recipe. If you are a bread-maker and have vital wheat gluten, you can convert your AP flour into bread flour by adding 2 tsp vital wheat gluten for each cup of flour used in the recipe, which is what I did last night and I really loved the texture it produced!
I modified this recipe from one in the book Go Dairy Free by Alisa Marie Fleming, who in turn got the recipe from Hannah Kaminsky, author of My Sweet Vegan.
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