Brownies–A Recipe

Fall is officially here now (although I think that it has felt like fall for about a month).  It has definitely been cooler out – last night the temperature dropped down to 37 degrees!  I have been looking forward to the cooler weather, but now that it is here, I am not enjoying it so much.  Well, maybe once I get used to it, I won’t be so chilly all the time.  🙂

We have been busy. (I am really starting to sound like a broken record, am I not?  Maybe I should just stop saying that all the time, and you can just assume I am busy.  How’s that sound?)  We were out of town two weekends ago (my grandmothers birthday!), and then my dad was out of town the next week.  Mom and us children did all kinds of different things (a Christian Civics class, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra concert at Art Hill – followed by an impromptu dance, and a fun movie night with friends).  Saturday we got together with a whole bunch of friends for kickball – dads v. children.  I systematically forgot my camera almost everywhere we went, with the exception of our out of town trip.  I hope to post about that soon.

I also have just about forgotten about my blog.  Not completely, because I keep checking on it every few days or so, but not posting.  I keep thinking “Oh, I need to post that recipe,”  but I just move on, because, you guessed it, I’ve been busy.

So without further ado, here is my brownie recipe.  Here is the link to the original post.  I will include directions for making them mint-chocolate covered, but you can just as easily make them plain (and they are delicious that way, too!).

Grain-free Brownies   (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

5 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips (you can use semisweet, but I used bittersweet)
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter, unsalted
3 Tbsp. Dutch-processed cocoa (I think I used regular once because we couldn’t find the Dutch.  Still very good.)
1 1/4 c. coconut sugar (Sucanat, evaporated cane juice crystals, or just plain ol’ white sugar would work here, too)
3 large eggs
2 tsps. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. almond meal (if you use almond flour, let me know how it turns out)
1/4 c. coconut flour

1.  Start by putting the oven rack right in the center of the oven, then preheat the oven to 350*F.  Grease either an 8”x8” square pan or your mini muffin tins with butter (this will make about 40 brownie bites, maybe a few more).  Melt the chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate, butter, and cocoa powder together in a double boiler, or a makeshift double boiler (a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water – a metal bowl might work, but it may get too hot).

2.  Combine the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt in a separate bowl.  Next, add in the melty chocolate mixture (if you haven’t eaten it all).  Now add the flour and the meal, and stir until well mixed (but don’t stir too much).

3.  Scoop the batter into your pan or muffin tins.  Bake the 8”x8” pan for 35-40 minutes (I usually check my grain-free baked goods ten minutes before the earlier time, so I don’t over bake).  The bites will take 10 minutes.  Be very careful not to over bake the bites.  It is very easy to do.  (I did it the first time.)

4.  Let the brownies cool.  Or don’t and just dig in right away, and burn your tongue while you’re at it.  If you are planning to coat your brownie bites in mint chocolate, remove from pan and let them cool completely before coating.

Notes:  Don’t be afraid to play with the ratio of coconut flour to almond meal/flour.  I will probably try using a bit more coconut flour and less almond meal next time.  Oh, and I am sure stirring in some whole chocolate chips into the batter before spooning it into the pan would be delightful.  I really like that idea.  If chopped nuts are your things (they are not mine), you could add those in before baking, too.

(I actually remember being at a friends’ home when I was, oh, five, and complaining quite loudly about there being nuts in the brownies.  I stand ashamed.)

Mint-Chocolate Coating for Brownie Bites

1 bag bittersweet chocolate chips
Peppermint extract

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, or a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Add the peppermint extract a little at a time, stirring well and tasting after each addition.  You want it to be minty, but not overpoweringly so.  I would guess I used somewhere between 1 and 1 1/2 tsp., but I am not sure.  Just do whatever tastes best to you!

Turn the little guys (brownies) upside down, and coat the top and side(s) (does a round brownie bite have a side or sides?) with the chocolate.  I did this with a spoon, dolloping it over the top and swirling it down the sides.

Refrigerate until the chocolate is hardened.  If desired, take them out of the fridge when they are mostly hardened and swirl some chocolate on top or decorate them in some way.  Refrigerate again until thoroughly hardened.


So whether they look like this…


…or this…

…enjoy!  Either way you make it, let me know how it turns out!


Dublin Coddle

Well, it is now officially September.  I am so enjoying the cooler weather.  We have had the windows open off and on the past few days, and it has even been a little chilly at nights.  When Mom and I were running errands on Saturday, I actually needed a jacket!  It was so fun to have to get my jean jacket out again!  I love fall.  It is one of my three favorite seasons (the other two are Spring and Winter), and is currently top on my list (although that could change in about 36.1 seconds.  You never know).

Well, with the onset of September, this is always a time of getting back into school.  Just something about the cooler weather and shortening days makes me want to get back to my books.

This year I am doing some unit studies with Meiling and Noah on different countries.  We just started this Monday, and I am having so much fun with both of them.  For each of the countries we are going to make a somewhat traditional dish.  It may be a dinner, it may be a dessert.  Disclaimer:  I am not making the meals very traditional.  Most of the dishes will probably be only semi-traditional.

Are you really that surprised?  I organize some unit studies, and they include food.  Amazing, I know.

This week we are learning about Ireland.  After perusing through some recipes, I found this recipe for Dublin Coddle.  It looked pretty simple and I thought everyone would like it (it has bacon).  I did make a few changes to it, and I also seasoned my own meat to use instead of the sausages, since I didn’t know when we would be able to find some.

Everyone liked it!  It was a bit too salty, but not too terribly salty that it couldn’t be eaten.  Next time I will decrease the salt in the “sausages.”

Here is my version of Dublin Coddle.

Dublin Coddle

2 lbs.  Bangers (or ground pork, seasoned, like in this recipe – just decrease the salt by about half!)
12 oz. bacon, cut into one-inch pieces
2 onions, halved and sliced fairly thick
3 cloves of garlic, minced
5 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and sliced (about the same thickness you sliced the onions)
1 to 1 1/2 c. of water or broth (I used the water since my meat was too salty)

1.  If using ground pork, mix it with the spices and form into small sausage shapes.

2.  Take the sausages (or your mini sausages) and fry them on medium heat in a Dutch oven or similar pan until brown on all sides.  Remove from pan, and cut sausages into four or five pieces (your mini sausages should be cut into halves or thirds depending on their size.  Just eyeball it).  Pour off the fat from the pan.

3.  Next, fry the bacon just until it begins to get crispy.  Remove the bacon to a bowl, and pour off all but about 2 tsps. of the fat.

4.  Add the onions and sauté until just starting to soften.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Remove onions/garlic from the pan and place on the pan.

5.  Now, according to the original recipe you are supposed to layer the stuff in like this:  first potatoes, then onions, bacon, sausage, potatoes, onions, bacon, sausage, and ending with potatoes.  After I got it all layered in my pot and added the water, I wasn’t sure if the potatoes would cook properly, since they weren’t covered with water.  So I stirred mine, trying to push the potatoes toward the bottom of the pot.  So I say:  just put everything in the pot, pour in the water, and stir gently.  If you try it the other way, let me know if it works.

6.  Simmer, covered, for about and hour, or until the potatoes are tender.  Serve warm.



Noah getting started on the “sausages”


Meiling waiting for a job 🙂






Noah forming the “sausages”


The little sausages


The finished coddle

Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Meiling’s favorite ice cream flavor is strawberry.  We have been letting her eat regular (dairy) strawberry ice cream, but since she really can’t have dairy either, I decided to make her some strawberry coconut milk ice cream.

So yesterday, while the boys were at the store and Mommy was taking a nap, we made the ice cream.  Here is the recipe.


Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Primal)
2 cans good-quality full-fat coconut milk
Approx. 13 frozen strawberries
2 tsp. to 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. honey
Fresh strawberries (optional)

1. Open the cans of coconut and pour them into a medium bowl.



2.  Place the strawberries in a sauce pan on the stove and heat them to thaw.  (You don’t want to cook them, just thaw them enough so you can break them up.)  (I did mine in two batches, so don’t be surprised a there only being 8 strawberries in this pot.)



3.  Mash up the strawberries until there are not many chunks left.  (If you like more chunks, you can leave some more chunks.  If you are using the optional strawberries, those will be chunks later, too.)



4.  Add the mashed-up strawberries as well as all the other ingredients to the coconut milk.


Adding the strawberries



5.  Using a stick blender or whisk, stir/blend/whisk until well combined.  After it is combined, taste it, and add whatever you think it needs.



6.  Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions.



7.  If using the fresh strawberries, chop them up into small pieces and add them to the ice cream when it starts being more of a solid.



I ran into a bit of trouble with my ice cream, as I left it in the ice cream maker too long.  The ice cream maker wasn’t cold enough any more, so my ice cream melted.  It should have been taken out sooner.  So don’t make that mistake.  Once it gets in the freezer, it freezes, but it is harder than it normally would be.  I may melt mine again and re-freeze it.  We’ll see.

I really liked the ice cream.  Mom and Dad really liked the ice cream.  Drake liked it, too.  But Meiling didn’t.  I am not quite sure why.  Everyone else said that it was really good, though. :/


Have a lovely day!


Strawberry Limeade

This past Saturday Mom and I went shopping in town.  Our first stop was a little produce/spice shop.  I was excited to find a bag of sixteen limes marked down to $1.49!  They were at the end of their life, but still usable.  But they would need to be used soon.  Reminded of a recipe I had just seen the other day, I told Mom that I would make limeade when we got home (a perfect accompaniment to our burgers!).

Now I have never made limeade, and I can’t say that I’ve ever had real limeade.  I was pretty sure that it would be good, since we love limes, and we love lemonade.  I was so excited!

When we arrived home, I juiced the limes and ended up with 2 cups of lime juice.  I decided to use my lemonade recipe, and substitute lime juice for the lemon juice.  Here are the portions:

2 c. fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 c. sugar (I used evaporated can juice crystals)
4 c. warm water
8 c. cold water

Combine the sugar and warm water, and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the cold water and lime juice. Enjoy!


I really liked it.  So did everyone else. 🙂 I thought it was a little on the sweet side, so next time I will probably use a bit less sugar.  But that is just personal taste.  Nobody complained. 🙂

While we were at the store, Mom had talked about getting some cherries so make cherry limeade, but I don’t think they had any.  I’m not totally sure, but we didn’t get any.  And we didn’t have any at home.  But we did have some strawberries.  Mom said that she was going to make strawberry limeade.  I am not a huge fan of strawberry lemonade, so I wasn’t all that excited.

Mom mashed up some strawberries and put them in her limeade, and said it was really good.  So I tried it.  IT IS SO GOOD!  I was quite surprised.  It is definitely way better that strawberry lemonade.  I think I am going to try to make a sorbet that is strawberry limeade flavored.  Yes, it was that good.

Limeade now ranks right up there with lemonade, in my book.  🙂


It’s really good by itself


But if you take a strawberry, mash it up…


…and mix it into your limeade, it makes it even better!


Shampoo and Conditioner

I have had this book, Pure Beauty, out from the library for quite a while.  I really liked it the few times I perused it, but I hadn’t made anything out of it.  (It has all kinds of neat lotions, shampoos, soaps, and the like.)  Today Mom told me it had to go back.  I started looking at it when I pulled it off the shelf, and I found a shampoo recipe that I had all the ingredients for!  I was quite excited.  I looked for a conditioner recipe, and found an easy recipe that I had all the ingredients for.  So I went out and started picking rosemary.

And then I made shampoo and conditioner.


Rosemary, fresh from the garden


The conditioner, which will be soaking for a week or so


The shampoo – the herbs steeping