Saturday, October 17, 2015

Best Sambussas Ever!

I have made several sambussa receipes over the years, but this one I made this morning for B's fall fair at school is amazing!  He thinks it "tastes better than Ethiopia" and I think it is just as delicious as my favorite ones we had in Addis Ababa.

  • 2 pounds ground beef (as finely ground as possible)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large shallot chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander (I always just crush mine roughly with a morter and pestle)
  • Handfull of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped (white and green parts)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • black seeds from 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste (We use Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning instead)
  • 1 jalepeno, seeds and white part removed, finely chopped (if you like spicy, leave them in or add a little sriracha as well)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated on microplane
  • oil for frying
  • 1 pack of eggroll wrappers cut in half vertically
  • paste of 1/4 c warm water and 1/4 c flour
Saute the onion, shallot, garlic, in oil until soft. Add meat and all other spices. Cook until meat is cooked through, stirring frequently to break up lumps.

Cut the egg roll wrappers in half vertically (so each one is two long rectangles). fold the bottom edge up to form a triangle or cone and past the edge together with flour paste. fill triangle cone with 1 1/2 tsp of filling and flip the bottom corner of the triangle up to the long edge(sealing the to of the triangle. Seal edges with flour paste (including opposite corner) and the fold the remaining flap over the top and seal with flour paste.

Fry in small batches.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Clean Green Protein Smoothie (like Juice Press)

I got hooked on this smoothie a few weeks ago when I got one for lunch in between meetings, but at $10 a smoothie and a neighborhood that is far away that is not in the cards for me.

Here is my version at a fraction of the cost and with no subway ride required, I think it tastes even better:-)

Makes 1 1/2 servings (1 for me and 1/2 for my toddler)

10 oz water
2 Tbsp Hemp Hearts
1 Tbsp Chia Seed
3 handfuls spinach
1 FROZEN RIPE banana
2 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp almond butter
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp maple syrup
pinch salt

Process on high in vitamix for about a minute, until smooth

Add ice and process again until smooth (I use 6-7 full sized ice cubes)

It is SO good. It tastes like vanilla ice cream, keeps you full until lunch, and gives you lots of energy.  The hemp hearts are the secret (I got Manitoba Harvest from Amazon).  They have an incredible creamy taste and texture when blended. I tried using almonds when I didn't have hemp hearts and it is not the same:-)  Get the hemp hearts!  Also the banana has to be frozen and it has to be ripe (soft, strong sweet banana smell, starting to get brown spots on the outside) I made one with a greener banana earlier in the week and it was good but not amazing like this!

Edited to add: I made this today and spaced out, leaving out the almond cutter and the vanilla and it was still amazing (not quite as rich but still incredible)!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Speech therapy is working!

B lost his privileges to play with his toy boat tonight.  He was very upset and had much to say about the whole thing (even when he's upset now his pronouns, verbs, and adverbs for his feels are very clear).

My personal favorite comment was:

But mommy, mommy, I have something important to say. This is UNACCEPTABLE.  It is unacceptable that we only have one boat! I need another boat so that when I lose my privileges for this boat I can still play with a boat.  This is unacceptable!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Genes aren't destiny, and other things I have learned from being adopted (fantastic article)

Genes aren't destiny, and other things I have learned from being adopted (fantastic article!)

Head on over to Vox to check-out this interesting article about Todd VanDerWeff's perspective on genes, adoption, nature vs. nurture, and what might have been.

Everyone's experience is different, but lots of great insight for me as a mama and I am hoping to compile many of these for B as he gets older so he can read how others have and are processing their lives and adoptions as he builds his own life and thought processes on all the facets of his life.

Monday, June 22, 2015

What a difference a year makes!

Since our "little angel" is going through a particularly "challenging" time (strong willed kid+being 1+teething+not sleeping+3 days of 104 degree fever+tantrums, tantrums, and more tantrums=mommy and daddy are not amused) I thought a little trip down memory lane might be fun:-) 

Summer 2014 (I think this was June)

Summer 2015 (today:-)

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Egg Free Mug Cake I Have Been Looking for all My Life....(or at least since like 2011)

Mug cakes look great on pinterest and sound fabulous in theory, but mine always seem to taste and feel like biting into a natural sea sponge.


gooey, chocolately, velvety, incredible.

I didn't have any chocolate hazelnut spread on hand, so I just dropped a Tbsp of frozen chocolate chips in the center.

So good!!!!  and a perfect quick treat when we don't have an egg free dessert on hand for B.  Tomorrow I am going to try the vanilla version.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Egg-Free Pecan Sticky Buns!

For what feels like forever, I have been trying to find a soft, rich dough for sweet rolls that doesn't use eggs. I have come close in the past, but this time...this time I found magic.  It is rich and yummy and stays soft even after a few days. I may have exploded my butter in the microwave when melting it, and used coconut cream instead of heavy cream b/c we had none in the house, and made my own buttermilk with the last dregs of a gallon of milk and a questionable lemon I found in the fridge, and I almost burnt the caramel, but we didn't care one bit when these gorgeous buns came out of the oven!

Filling and Caramel adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Dough loosely adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1/4 cup buttermilk 
6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or coconut oil
3/4 cup yogurt (I used Indian style yogurt which is not quite as thick as greek yogurt, but thicker than regular)
4 ¼ cups flour (plus about a 1/2 cup for kneading)
¼ cup  sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons active yeast proofed in 1/4 c warm water with a tsp of sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons salt

1/2 cup  unsalted butter
3/4 cup  brown sugar
3/4 cup  heavy cream or coconut cream (the solid white part in a can of coconut milk)
1/3 cup  honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt (I may have liked up to 1 tsp)

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
11/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp coarse or kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or coconut oil
1 cups toasted and cooled, chopped pecans
2 cups toasted and cooled pecan halves 

Make the dough:Proof yeast in sugar water for 10 minutes
Stir together buttermilk, butter, yogurt in a medium sized bowl
Stir together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the yogurt mixture and the proofed yeast mixture
Stir together and then when a dough starts to form, turn out onto a silpat and knead
Knead for 15 minutes

Alternately,dump everything into a stand mixer with a dough hook and mix for 10 minutes until you have a supple ball of dough 

lightly coat dough ball in butter or oil, place back in bowl and let rise in a warm place until double (1 1/2-3 hours)

When the dough is doubled, make your caramel base: Melt butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cream, honey and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until caramel is golden brown and glossy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into a the bottom and up the sides of a deep 9×13-inch baking dish and let the dish cool down in the fridge while you assemble your rolls.

Roll out and fill buns: In a small bowl, stir sugar, cinnamon and salt together. Remove slightly cooled caramel base from fridge and sprinkle it with 2 cups pecan halves. Roll dough into an 18 x 12 rectangle.Brush the dough with melted butter. Sprinkle it with the filling and then 1 cup chopped pecans. Roll dough into a tight 18in long spiral (like a jelly roll). Using dental floss or a sharp serrated knife, cut into 16 sections. Arrange the buns evenly spread out over pecan-caramel base.

Proof buns: Cover with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for another 1 to 2 hours, until they press tightly together in the pan and look puffed again. Or, you can refrigerate the buns overnight, and up to 16 hours. If chilling overnight, remove from fridge 1 hour before you’d like them to bake. Heat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Bake buns: Bake your buns until they’re puffed and golden (my internal temp was about 180 degrees F), approximately 30 minutes. 

Let rest in pan on cooling rack for 2 to 3 minutes, then carefully and quickly invert onto a large serving tray, nudging any caramel left behind over the tops and sides. Eat warm. Store any leftovers in the fridge, rewarming slightly (like 30 seconds in microwave).

P.S. I know it's been a while.  Apparently, chasing after a very active 1 year old (how did that happen?!?!?!) and an inquisitive 6 year old (why? what? how? when? who? which?...a.l.l. d.a.y. l.o.n.g!!!) and working full time, with a husband applying to medical school (a full time job in and of itself) and an apartment renovation all combined does not leave much time for blogging!  Life in our house consists of answering questions, reading through the Narnia series, rescuing keys/phones/remotes from the toilet and legos (as well as the aforementioned toilet-dunked items) from the mouth of E, and unsuccessfully attempting to get a handle on the ever-growing mountain of laundry! It's crazy and wonderful and exhausting and rewarding and we are embracing life with both hands as time is flying by.  less time for blogging, but more time for living!