Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review of Namaste Pancake And Waffle Mix

For people that are avid followers and viewers of my blog you probably know all about the parcel of goodies I received just recently. For ones that have no idea what I'm talking about or are brand new followers, I'll tell you now that I won a giveaway package from Namaste foods.

What is Namaste foods you ask? Well its a company set in
Idaho, U.S that creates products for people that have common food allergies.Namaste is a company that you can trust to create safe food for everyone to enjoy.  Even for someone doesn't have food allergies can easily see what its like for themselves and I'm one of them.If you want even more information about Namaste then be sure to visit their site by clicking on the highlighted words above.

Namaste really tries to cover the board of all the common food products that many have allergies to.From research, I found all of Namaste products are gluten free along with being free of wheat,soy,corn,potato,dairy,casein,peanuts and tree nuts. They also have quite a few mixes to chose from and they even gave me three mixes of my own .For this post I chose to share about their pancake and waffle mix. I am a big lover of homemade buttermilk pancakes with chocolate chip so I'm pretty hard to sway for mixes;however I'll give anything a chance.Hope you enjoy!

For this mix I went the simple route and chose to make their pancake recipe on the back of the package. This product actually has enough mix to even use for a second batch of pancakes or another Namaste recipe. They even made sure to double package the mix and I assume they did this for safety reasons. It's also quite helpful for me because I am able to read the recipe flatten out on the counter and prevents flour flying about. The packaging tell you exactly whats is in the product and there is no big confusing words to figure out.Just clear and direct information.

In the picture above you can see the ingredients and equipment that I needed to create the pancakes and the only items not shown are the hand mixer and frying pan. You also might see the additional ingredient that I snuck in their, milk chocolate chips. The recipe directions were pretty simple and I'll even give all of you a breakdown of the whole process, including my opinion on the pancakes themselves.

The first step, I cracked in two large eggs in a large bowl and I highly recommend using brown eggs because they be an excellent choice for this.
Second step, I drizzled in 2 tbsp of extra light olive oil.The recipe didn't specify what kind of oil, so I went with what I had. Olive oil is actually better for you then any vegetable oil and has a great flavor.
The last wet ingredient was a choice between water or rice milk.I didn't have the rice milk available so I went with the obvious choice, water.Then I did some beating with a hand mixer till it was frothy and bright yellow.

Then I measured and leveled out 2 cups of Namaste mix and poured it into a large glass bowl. I proceeded to pour in the egg mixture.
I mixed all the ingredients together till it was nice and smooth using a hand mixer.No lumps in this batter. Also I assume a whisk could be used in replacement of a mixer as well.That's a basic pancake batter from Namaste.

Wait,Now whats this special ingredient?. I couldn't resist adding a handful of milk chocolate chips to give some sweetness.I folded them in and that its.Also a little note to everyone they are not allergen free chips.

Here I am setting up my frying pan with a little olive up to medium to high heat. While it was heating up I noticed the recipe said one batch makes about 6 , 4 inch pancakes;however it tells me no measurement.So I improvised and chose to measure about 1/4 cup of batter. I do wish they gave me a number of some kind so I would of been able to get the right size and thickness.

Each one evenly cooked on each side being crisp and golden.However the big difference is they don't rise that much and are a lot thinner then a homemade pancake.I assume they are not as thick because of the amount of batter used and gluten not being presence in the mix;however this is not a big deal to me.

Once I was done I had about four chocolate chip pancakes before I got really full. These pancakes actually reminded me a lot of original Betty Crockers Bisquick Mix ,especially in flavor and little in texture too.Bisquick even has a new mix that is gluten free as well.

The pancakes are thinner as I said before and slightly crisp.They do miss out a bit in being fluffy ,however the moisture and chocolate chips really help out these pancakes.The chips give that added sweetness and texture that it really needs.

I am a homemade buttermilk pancake lover and I get pretty specific in what I like. Overall I do wish they were a little fluffier and slightly sweeter on their own.For someone that does have these common allergies and doesn't want to give up waffles and pancakes then I recommend this mix. For someone that has no allergies and are a lover of homemade buttermilk pancakes like I am, I stick with homemade.We all have something we really like and stick with it.

Namaste does however get a pretty high thumbs up from me, especially for putting time and effort in creating a safe product for people. The flavors and texture may not be for everyone, but at least there are multiple products out there to try out.They are really looking out for people and dont want anyone to miss out on baked treats and pasta dishes. I feel the same way about it because I may not have allergies, but I don't want anyone missing out on the finer things in life.

Hope you enjoyed my review!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Halloween giveaway at With Envy Studios

With Envy Studios: It's Time for a Giveaway!:

I wanted to give everyone a big heads up that there is an awesome Halloween giveaway on right now at With Envy Studios.One person will win 37 pages of cool Halloween printables and my favorite of the package is the cupcake toppers. They have something for everyone.So go on and check it out!Open till September 25th,2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Birthday Cake!

I made this delicious carrot cake for my mom's 53rd birthday party. I made a cream cheese frosting and topped it with sliced almonds and sprinkled the middle with chocolate shavings. The almonds I used were from a package and I made up my own chocolate shavings by using a vegetable peeler on a Hershey chocolate bar. For short shaving I kept the bar cold and for larger curler strands I made it room temp.It was lots of fun to create this cake and this is now the second time I've used this recipe. It's not difficult at all to make and definitely recommend it for cake beginners.I am still in the stage of beginners in cakes, so good luck everyone in their cake adventures!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Food package, Photo Frames and Unique Nature

I just recently received some giveaway wins. I won two creative origami photo frames made by Debby Dyja at HandmadeBy Deb. They are super adorable and I love the patterns on them. If your asking yourself why I didn't put any photos in the lovely frames its because I don't have any picture just yet that fit.I'll have to look through some older photos or take some new ones.Anyways, thank you so much for the gift Debby!

I also entered and won a big giveaway at Theresa's blog called coffee bean kisses. I was sent a large parcel filled with goodies from Namaste, which is a company that makes food products for common allergies.If you like to know more information about the products and how there made, please check out Namaste website.I also like to say thank you to Theresa for the great giveaway and waiting for my return e-mail.

I'm really excited I won this package because they gave me all baking mixes, which fits perfectly for this blog and their a product I've never tried before.It will be a lot of fun to try out the recipe mixes and give my honest opinion about them in future posts. For me I don't have any common food allergies and I knock on wood right now that I never develop one;however I am very happy that company's are finally putting time and effort, including Namaste into making product for one's with allergies.No one deserves to miss out on delicious treats and I couldn't imagine myself without baking.

Anyways,Namaste gave me 3 mixes which include a spice cake,pancake and waffles and a pizza crust mix.I am very curious about trying the pizza crust because I've only ever made and eaten homemade or frozen pizza.So any mixes will be brand new to me.I also recieved a lot of other goodies as you can see in the picture.Everything in the photo, includes a Simple pleasure gluten free cookbook, living without magazine,Namaste tote bag, dollar off coupons, and recipe cards.

I'm very excited to give my own review on the  recipes mixes and to give my most honest opinion on the products for one's that have common food allergies or know someone that does. I don't want anyone missing out and everybody wants to know if these mixes are worth it.So be sure to look out for my reviews.

I also have a cute little story to share and its a little off topic.But anyways,I was recently at the beach with Dave when I found this really unique rock. I picked it up and saw that it was almost a heart, but one side was to long so I decided to placed it back down. However Dave grabbed it again by the long side and jokingly said I'm holding your heart.I laughed and told him what he said was incredibly corny. 

I kept the rock anyways because I thought its now part of a sweet memory and I can now create a heart to hold.The imperfect is always the unique.Have you ever found a great rock at the beach? Did it ever create a memory for you?Anyways, I'll be back again for more updates.Have a great week!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Guest Post- Featuring Krysta from The Random Adventures of the Rambling Artist.

Hello! I am Krysta, a long time friend to our awesome Dini! And for today (or this moment) I will be your  Guest host!
You know... I always thought my first guest blog post for Dini, would have some more obnoxious little dancing cupcakes. Perhaps causing some mischief. Nope, instead, you all get a taste of how nerdy some of her beloved friends are. 

I already announced my boo boo on my blog, but I hadn't really made a comic for it. Until Now!

I think this may help get out of my drawing slump that I've had for.... ugh, months! And when Dini first told me about it, I suddenly felt an urge to draw. I think I may be a bit rusty, but it's good to jump on the saddle.... And maybe someday soon, Dini will be a guest to my blog.

And before I go....I added a special... Feature to this photo I took of my T.V screen.

Don't they look like carrots!? I mean really.... When I first saw those guns, I suddenly wanted to eat some chopped up carrots..... And tasty dip..... Mmmm..... 

Anyways, back to you Dini! :P

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Great Giveaway At Janimies World!

I wanted to let everyone know that there is a great giveaway at Janimies world for two people to win her beautiful, whimsical tree necklaces like this one shown above. Her giveaway is open worldwide and closes on October 8th.

Also if your someone like me that doesn't know how to read her language be sure to scroll down for the English information.So you better check it out and click the link!These necklaces are beauitful and unique.Tootles!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Fresh Peach Cobbler

I officially made my first fruit cobbler using fresh ripe peaches, Yum.I highly recommend using fresh fruit for this cobbler because fresh is so much more flavorful and you have more control over sweetness rather then can.I also recommend to always check the amount of sugar for fillings in recipes, especially if you change the amount of fruit. For this reason is many people have different preference in sweetness and you don't want to ruin a perfectly good cobbler with to much sugar.I actually thought I ruined this cobbler at first by making that same mistake,I don't recommend it .It did come out pretty sweet when hot or warm, but thankfully the next day the sugar absorbed it self into the topping and became mild.Don't worry about the recipe below though because I made the necessary adjustments to the measurements to keep it balanced.

The buttermilk cobbler topping was perfectly scrumptious.It was soft, fluffy, crumbly and absorbed the filling flavor so well.The topping did need a slight adjustment though.I had to add a little more flour to create a soft dough;however I think this happened because I used a buttermilk replacement hence not being as thick.Beside that it was pretty simple to create.

The filling was pretty sweet at first, but with the sugar adjustment made it will be perfectly fine now. It's quite a thick smooth filling and the peaches are so soft,lovely texture overall.So what I really learned from this recipe is how to create a simple cobbler and to cautiously make changes.

Anyways its now the end of the week and I see some more baking for this weekend in the works. Also a parcel came to the house today, but no one was around to sign for it since I slept in.So must go to the nearest Canada post to pick it up tomorrow or on Monday. Must be a big parcel if I have to sign for it and it must be one of my giveaway wins! Super excited since I know what it is! I'll keep it a secret since I'll be sharing with all of you once I receive it. Everyone have a great upcoming weekend.If your in B.C celebrate the awesome warm weather were having now in September.

Peach Cobbler

6 fresh peaches(3 cups)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup milk plus 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice (buttermilk replacement)
1/4 cup flour

Oven on to 425 F.Place 6 peaches in a large pot of boiling water for 30- 60 seconds. Drain and peel off the skins. Remove pits and slice all peaches. Place sliced peaches in a shallow medium sized glass dish.

In a small bowl mix the brown sugar,cinnamon, vanilla and flour.Sprinkle it on the peaches and mix slowly.Bake for 10 minutes.

In a medium sized bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and brown sugar. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter to make the texture of bread crumbs.

Mix lemon juice and milk in a liquid measure to create a buttermilk replacement. Mix buttermilk into the dry mixture to form a soft dough. If to liquidity mix in 1/4 cup of flour to help form the soft dough.

Remove the fruit dish from the oven and begin to drop large round scoops of dough on the filling. Place in the oven and bake until topping is golden and filling is bubbling.About 18- 20 minutes.Serve when warm with whip cream or ice cream. Its very good the next day cold or heated up.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

 These are the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I have ever made and I can't even take credit for the recipe because these were created by the wonderful Chef Micheal Smith. He is my top favorite chef from food network Canada and has several shows including my favorites, chef at home and chef aboard. He has never failed me in the recipe department and so far on this blog I've reviewed his cheese & chive crackers, monkey bread and now his delicious cookies.It wont be the last recipe to get a review.

The cookies were super simple to whip up and include ingredients that almost anyone has in their pantry and cupboards.The recipe is also one you can memorize very easily since the directions are so direct and the measurements are very simple.I cant see anyone having a fail attempt at making these delicious cookies. Now thinking back to the cookies I wish I made them a little bit bigger in size because they were so good and you can't just eat one either.

One of the best parts about this cookie is its packed with chocolate chips and only a cup is used for the whole recipe. I even changed this slightly by putting in half semisweet and the other half milk chocolate. I wanted to create a chocolate combo that would balance well with the oatmeal dough and create an I love cookie.Meaning you get your strong, dark somewhat sweet chocolate along with your smooth mild milk chocolate.

However what stands out the most in this treat is the texture. It covers all the bases of soft,crisp,chewy and crunchy.What tops it all off though is no store bought brown sugar is used to achieve all these textures. Instead Micheal Smith cut out the middle man in the recipe and used a tbsp of molasses along with cup of white sugar. Essentially he made homemade brown sugar for himself  because he explains that brown sugar is basically granulated sugar with molasses mixed in.I've actually done this a couple times to use in recipes where I  needed brown sugar for texture and it was perfectly fine. I say using sugar this way is economical as well since you use a small amount of molasses for a large amount of white sugar.However for one's that might not like the flavor of molasses you don't have to worry about that because you wont taste any of the sort in these cookies.I give two big thumbs up!

I highly recommend you try out this recipe and give back your feedback here along with your own ideas you brought into the mix.I love hearing your opinion and thoughts on recipes I've tried myself.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Chocolate Blackberry Bundt Cake

Rich, melt in your mouth chocolate blackberry bundt cake with a thin coat of smooth chocolate glaze.That sounds delightfully delicious doesn't it and you can easily make it yourself.This is a simple dark chocolate cake that's incredibly moist.This cake is best eaten cold and set overnight to absorb the strong blackberry flavor into the chocolate.If your someone that doesn't like seeds in baking you can easily replace the blackberries with a different berry or even add a berry jelly. The fruit is the key to the moisture of this cake and almost comes out as a fudgy texture.This is now added to my favorite chocolate cake recipe list and would recommend it to friends and family to bake and eat.

I can see this recipe pairing very well with different toppings, for example whip cream,caramel syrup, or  a chocolate frosting.I am excited to use this recipe again and try out more of my ideas.

Chocolate Blackberry Bundt Cake

1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup 1% milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/3cup no name cocoa powder,sifted
3/4 boiling water/kettle water
1 cup or 1 1/2 cups blackberries(fresh or thawed frozen)
1 cup icing sugar
1-3 tbsp water
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp cocoa,sifted

Set oven 350F
Grease and flour large bundt pan
Mix b.sugar,oil,milk,eggs, and vanilla well.Place sifter on bowl,Add salt,flour,b.s,b.p and cocoa.Stir till smooth and no lumps remain.
Add boiling water and stir till smooth.
Add blackberries,less amount is probably best.Stir.
Pour into bundt pan,evenly. Tap pan on counter to remove air pockets.
Bake cake for 40 minutes.Test with toothpick or when cake springs back when touched.
Let cool in pan for 10 -20 minutes
After, flip pan upside down onto serving plate,let cool completely.(Do Not Remove Pan!)
Remove pan.Once fully cooled.
Make the chocolate glaze.
Mix all glaze ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.Add more icing or water for proper consistency, barely pourable glaze.
Pour glaze over top of cooled cake. Give a thin coat or drizzle. You might have extra glaze.If you do you can use the rest for a thicker coat or keep for another recipe.
Let cake set for 10 minutes or until icing is set. You can cover and keep in fridge overnight.Or serve right away.