Friday, August 31

Foodie Penpals: Eats From the East Coast

Holy cannoli!  I can't believe it's the last day of August already!  I almost forget to post...

The Lean Green Bean 

This month I was paired up with Rose from CT.  I was pretty excited to see what kind of goodies New England had to offer, and was definitely not disappointed!

I mean, look at all that goodness!  I immediately dove into the crispy vanilla pastry sticks annnnnd they're ALL GONE! They didn't last too long in my house.  :o(  I had a teeny nibble of the chocolate, SO GOOD!  I'm hiding that one...  Also, it was pretty neat because it says "direct trade" instead of fair trade, which was kinda cool after listening to a "What You Missed in History Class" podcast about the history of chocolate and the labor involved a few months ago.  I love their podcasts.  :o) 

I had some of the goddess dressing on my salad for dinner.  Yum!  It is definitely different from the kind of dressing I'm used to, but not in a bad way at all. :o)

Oh the tea.  It is so good.  I don't add a single thing to it.  

Yeah, that's a pretty amazing looking pastry stick right??

The assortment that came in the box was aaaaaaaamazing!  Each tea bag different...

New teas I haven't tried.  So far, I've loved them all. 

Thank you, thank you Rose!!!  

I sent a themed package to Amanda over at Manda Kay Makes It.  I had fun trying to stick to a theme.  :o)

Thursday, August 30

Adults Should Grow Up and Act More Like Kids

Yup.  You read that right.

Tonight I painted my nails because I'm pretty sure this is the longest they'll be until May 27th.

Is it too early in the year [this is the 2nd week back to school] to have a knot in your stomach?  Or to be reconsidering the whole bartending gig instead of school psychology?  I think I'll be drinking more coffee this year.  Wee!

On top of having a bleh work day, it was GROSS outside.  Like pouring rain gross.  Cold gross.  Fall is here gross [ok, I LOVE Fall.  It's, in my opinion, the best season ever.  I'm just not ready yet, because after the pretty leaves comes the windy snow that stays for a long long time.  I like the snow too, but not in October...]  So naturally, Sarah and I took the dogs out for a walk.  My Gore-Tex rain jacket failed me.  My iphone was soaked as it sat in my {zipped up} pocket with waterproof zippers.  Hmmpf!  It's spending the next few days in a rice bath.  Fingers crossed that helps, because right now it is all kinds of special...

So when you're having a work is blah, weather is blah, adults are blah, my phone has gone blaaaaaah, you buy a 12 pack of seltzer water to find random cans of other beverages in it blah, kind of day, what's the best plan of action?

Naturally the answer begins with changing out of soaking wet pants and into deliciously worn and soft sweatpants from college.  Next comes grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Then, a snuggly (albeit still damp) pup passed out at your side while you write a post to vent your blah'y'ness and try to turn your frown upside down.  Fourth, decide that you are not going to tackle your cleaning/organizing project tonight and be okay with it.  Last, make pumpkin snickerdoodle oatmeal bars. 

If it's going to feel like Fall, and start to look like Fall, then I'm going to break out the pumpkin.  So there cold, wet weather!  :op

Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars
Inspired by Lovin' From the Oven

Oatmeal Layer:
  • 1/4 c. oil (I used canola/olive blend)
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T milk (I used soy)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 c. oats
  • 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
  •  butterscotch chips (to your liking)
Pumpkin Layer:
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 4 T coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
First make the oatmeal layer, since it goes on the bottom.  :o)  I mixed the wet ingredients, then added the dry ingredients.  Stir in the butterscotch chips at the end.

Pour the oatmeal layer into the bottom of a greased baking dish.   Bake @ 350*F for 5-8 minutes.

Next, make the pumpkin layer.  Same thing, wet ingredients then dry.

Pour pumpkin mix on top of the oatmeal layer.

Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top.

Bake @ 350* for 40'ish minutes (I made mine in a deep dish, so it took a bit longer).

Wednesday, August 29


How's that for keeping things random??

Just when you thought I'd be returning to the blog to post one of the bagillion (ok, slight exaggeration) recipes or projects I've been working on, I post on the wonderful world of psychology.

Told you this blog was a smattering of this and that.  :o)

I may, or may not, have attention difficulties...
Ok, so I myself have been feeling rather ADHD'ish of late.  I, the child who could sit in a tree and read uninterrupted for hours or work on a project without stopping forever,  have become notoriously fantastic at starting projects and flitting about to a new one.  Seriously, the number of started projects is horrendous...  The number of finished projects, well they are much smaller in number.  :o)  It's like my brain in its frequent state of multitasking over the last 10 years has gone all ping-pongy.  Although I'm sure I would rate fairly high for distractability on the Conners-3 (attention rating scale), I don't think I have Adult ADHD.  I think I've just really changed my behavior (and brain, perhaps?) to be a bit bouncy in task completion and wandering thoughts.  :o)

So, the point of this post.  ADHD.

With the whole back to school, I'm brushing up on my research on various frequently seen disorders in the school setting.  I've been mostly reading about reading, Autism, and dun dun dee duh! Attention!

Personally, I think that there are a lot of ADHD diagnoses out there that really aren't ADHD, but maybe behavior associated with something else, whether it be environmental or co-morbidity with another disorder.  So, I found this neato toledo study on ADHD and thought I'd share.  :o)  Maybe it's just my nerdy self, but I think it is oh so interesting!

So, research by Shaw and associates at the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) theorize, and show data demonstrating, that the ADHD brain is DELAYED not abnormal.  Cool, huh?  They found that certain areas of the brain (generally speaking the outer cortex that plays a role in executive functions*) develop slower.  They were finding that there was a 3-5 year developmental lag between the brains of kiddos with ADHD and their typically developing peers.  Bonus for the ADHD kids?  Their motor cortex was shown to have matured faster. 

So, why do we have adults with ADHD?  Not sure yet, but it appears that while most kiddos grew out of it in their study, others did not.  Surely there are lots of factors that might influence this.  Oh, and just to be fair in this interesting study, I should mention a methodological issue: some kids were on stimulant medication during this study.  Oh boy, there is something that will be interesting to see in the future...  The effects of stimulant medication on brain chemistry in the long run.  Oh brain, you cool and complicated thing you!

*Executive functions - basically think of it as being the orchestra conductor planning and making sure that the whole orchestra is working together, at the right time, playing the right thing, etc., so that you end up with a symphony, and not a 6th grade band rehearsal**

**I can say this because 1) I was in 6th grade band, I know how it is.  2) Every Wednesday last year, I had the "joy" of listening to the 6th graders practice for what seemed forever.  I applaud their efforts and the calm demeanor of the band teacher who surely teaches the same songs to 5 different classes, year after year...

Let's break things up with some pictures, shall we?

Sometimes Rudder is uber focused

Focus usually occurs when there is a ball...

or a bird involved. [He's a bird dog! Or tries to be. :o) ]

"Who me?  Have focus issues?  Nah I...

...Oh hey!  Did you hear that?  Shoot, where'd I leave my stick?  Dinner?  Did someone say "hungry"???"

Here's the link to the article.  I was pretty ecstatic about the brain imaging (and MOVIE of the brain imaging!!!) at the bottom.  Maybe that's just a me thing though.  :o)

Ok, back to reading about the brain.  Brain and reading though... SO interesting!  Maybe I'll surprise you all with a random dispelling myths of dyslexia post sometime.  Ya know, to keep things nice and miscellaneous on this blog.  :o)

Saturday, August 11

Roasted Balsamic Blueberries

It was one of those days where I wanted bread, cheese, and wine for dinner.  

[example of my being a sucker for advertising]
Oh, and blueberries.

Do you remember the Roasted Balsamic Strawberries from July?  Well, I figured if I could make something like that, surely I could do the same with blueberries!  Thus created was...

Roasted Balsamic Blueberries

  • 1 c. blueberries
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 t balsamic vinegar

First things first, cut your blueberries in half.  Not sure if this is necessary, but I decided it'd be a good idea.

Coat blueberries in mixture of maple syrup, olive oil, and salt.

Spread out on baking sheet and bake for 12-16 minutes at 350*F.

Until they look like this!  Scrape off all of the juicy goodness from the pan and into a small bowl.  Perhaps even the one you used to mix the blueberries in the maple/olive oil mix.  :o)  I like to reduce the number of dishes I do.  :op

Add in apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar and stir it up.

Serve on warm baguette with goat cheese.

Soooooooooooooooo good!

Oh, and yes, it did taste delicious with the pinot noir.  :o)

Browned Butter Banana Jam

I just went through the camera card and realized I have a lot of posts to write...  Oops!  I'm going to try to get them written and posted asap.  :o)

Ok, so the first one I wanted to share (because I just ate the last of it the other day...) is a banana jam recipe I found on Neo-Homesteading's blog.  I was super duper intrigued by the idea of banana jam, and have a TON (ok, maybe just a big freezer bag) of frozen bananas in the fridge.  So, here it is!

Browned Butter Banana Jam
adapted from Neo-Homesteading

  • 1 c. (give or take) banana, fresh or frozen
  • 1/8 c. brown sugar
  • 1/8 c. sucanat (if you don't have this, just do 1/4 c. of brown sugar, total)
  • 1 T. lime juice
  • 2 T. butter
  • sea salt, to taste
So, this one is pretty easy peasy lemon lime squeezy!  A note though, if you have frozen bananas, go ahead and thaw those suckers!  

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.

Stir over medium heat for 5-10 minutes.  Make sure to stir frequently so it doesn't burn on the bottom!

The mixture will start to bubble, and the bananas should have broken down a bit.  Let it keep bubbling for a few more minutes.  This will make it nice and thick and perfectly spreadable!  :o)

The recipe above made enough to fill a baby food jar (about 4 oz).

Perfectly delicious on fresh from the oven zucchini bread!

Good both warm and cold.  Delicious in oatmeal.  Great little sugar fix by the spoonful.  :o)

Friday, August 3

Lavender Honey Cashew Butter

I've been on a lavender and rosemary kick lately...  I HATE the way lavender smells (like the perfumey soaps and candles),  but love to put it in food.  :o)

So, I made a Sunflower Butter with a touch of honey and really liked it, so I figured I'd try a spin on it by making my own lavender infused honey, and using cashews instead.

Lavender Honey Cashew Butter

  • 2 c. raw cashews
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3 T lavender honey
Unless you have lavender honey on hand, you'll need to make that first.  :o)

I used my "double boiler" set up and heated about 1/2 cup of honey in the smaller pot, over medium heat.

I added, oh, 1-2 T of lavender.  Originally, I was going to steep it like tea, but some of the buds were escaping so I just decided I'd strain it at the end.

I let this simmer and do it's thing for about 45min - 1 hour.  Just enough to get a hint of lavender taste.  Strain the lavender buds out of your honey, and put the honey aside.

So, now for the nut butter making!

Take the raw cashews and mix with the honey so that the cashews are nicely coated.

Spread out on parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Bake @ 325*F for 10-15 minutes.  You'll want them to be nice and golden.

Let cool for 3-5 minutes, then into the food processor they go!

Push the on button, and walk away.  Or clean up if you feel so inclined ;o)

So nice and smooooooooooooooooooooth!

Yum!  I've been enjoying mine in oatmeal lately, and am ALMOST out!  :o(   (I made it nearly a month ago, and am just now getting around to posting the recipe... oops!)