Monday, October 29, 2012

Healthy Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe with Dairy-Free Options

Weather here in our neck of the woods is very distinct.  It often reaches the hundreds in the summer and doesn't rain for months.  In the winter, we can get dustings of snow and the wood stove has a fire in it's belly every evening.

We have a tradition on the first day of the rainy season.  The children never ever forget it.  When they see that first dark cloud in the sky, one of them asks, "If it rains, will you make hot chocolate?"  The answer is always yes.  I suddenly have four meteorologists outdoors trying to detect the faintest mist so we can declare it the first rainy day and justify a big pot of hot cocoa.

This year I spiced things up a bit and made Mexican hot chocolate.  The brightness in their eyes at the first sip and shrieks of this is the best hot chocolate EVER! clued me in that it was a success, so I thought I'd share the recipe with you.  If you need to stay away from dairy, simply use coconut or almond milk.

Mexican Hot Chocolate
Prep time: 3 minutes, cook time: 15 minutes, Serves 6

  1. Break apart chocolate into pieces and put in saucepan.  Add remaining ingredients.
  2. Stir constantly over medium to medium/high heat until steamy but not boiling.  Pour into six mugs and top with whipped cream, if desired.  You may also sprinkle a little bit of nutmeg on top of the whipped cream to make it extra pretty.
Two years ago: Perfectly Frothy Raw Hot Cocoa

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekly Menu Plan #50

Mexican Hot Chocolate in honor of the first rain
I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  All I want is turkey this time of year.  In fact, we usually mow through two of them all by ourselves in the month of November.  The first one is currently thawing in our fridge.  My mouth is watering just at the thought of it.  I understand that most of you don't serve turkey on November second, so tuck these recipes away for the week after Thanksgiving and never let an ounce of that moist, juicy meat go to waste.

To do: make GF flatbread, thaw chicken stock for cooking rice, thaw beans,
Breakfast: 2-Minute Raw Power Breakfast with Raw Milk & Frozen Berries
Lunch:  Nut Butter & Berry Wraps, Raw Cheese Slices, leftover GF Chocolate Muffins from Sunday

To do:   process pomegranates for the week
Breakfast:  GF Pear Cardamom Pancakes (double batch)
Lunch:  Raw Cheese & Avocado Wrapped in Roast Beef Slices, Apples Wrapped in Leftover Pancakes with Nut Butter

To do: make GF persimmon cookies, soak porridgesoak lentils
Lunch: Sourdough Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches, apple & raw cheese slices, leftover breakfast bars

Thursday: All Saint's Day!
Breakfast:  Porridge
Lunch: Almond Butter-Filled Celery with Raisins, GF Persimmon Cookies, pomegranate seeds
Snack:  Pepitas
Dinner:  Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joe's Scooped into Bell Pepper Halves & Topped with Cheese 

To do: After dinner, remove meat from turkey & start turkey stock
Lunch: Sloppy Joe's from last night wrapped in GF Flatbread, pomegranate seeds , pepitas

Breakfast:  Ham & Potato Bake
Lunch:  Tortilla Roll-Ups using GF Flatbread & Leftover Turkey
Dinner:  Turkey Reuben Sandwiches using thin slices of leftover turkey, Spinach & Cranberry Salad

Breakfast:  Reheated Breakfast from Saturday
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Leftovers
(Sunday is my day off)

I'm sharing this at Meal Plan Link Up, Fight Back Friday.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Essential Oils Giveaway Winners!

There were record-breaking entries for a riddlelove giveaway on this one!  You sure know a good thing when you see it.  It is super fun for me because I get to announce eleven winners.  Be sure to carefully scroll through the names; one of them could be yours!

Fret not.  If your name wasn't randomly chosen, definitely check doTERRA's Facebook page for all the great discounts going on.  It changes every month!  Right now, you can take advantage of 10% off elevation: an energy and mood-boosting blend that smells amazing.  A perfect, natural cure for those four o'clock blahs.

Are you a winner?  Find out below!

Congratulations Janice, for winning the kit!  The other ten winners also listed below have won the orange oil and magazine.  Please email me your shipping info so I can forward it to doTERRA and they will send your prize!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Autumn At Our Porch

Today is the first time it has rained on this parched land in over five months.  The smell of rain kissing the dry earth is beyond heavenly.  Morning chores are done, and the smell of brewed coffee fills the quiet house before the rest of the family wakes up.  If you were here, we would slip on sweaters for the first time this season, hug a mug of steamy coffee or tea to warm our hands, and we would sit on my porch, drinking in the sight, smell, and sound of this first rain.  Autumn has finally come!

We would sit between the mums and I might bring the partially-finished cowl and crochet hook out to appease the yarn mania that consumes my thoughts this time of year.

I have Trader Joe's to thank for the mums and autumn wreath, and I might mention how I want to grow those little pumpkin things next year that I don't know the name of.

The two hay bales I accidentally bought for the sheep instead of alfalfa after a sleepless night with a teething baby found a new home outside the front door.  I have plans for them year-round and I might babble on about what we'll do with them for each season.

After a night of prowling and hunting moles before they hibernate for the winter, the kitties would rest on the bale closest to us, all cuddled together for warmth in a huddle.

We would chat a bit, or maybe even just sit in silence to let the rain do all the talking. Then I would remember the apple corer/peeler/slicer that was delivered over the weekend and the bushel of apples waiting to be processed.  We would venture back indoors to serve breakfast to the family, prepare the older children for school, and start Apple Day with the two littles.  You would be welcomed to stay and help or just sit and keep me company, or I would send you on your way with a slice of chocolate chip banana bread that just came out of the oven.

Except no one actually comes a'callin' at five o'clock in the morning.
It would be fun, though.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to enjoy the rain with my coffee and crochet for a small moment before the children wake up and breakfast finishes baking.

I'm sharing this at Simple Lives Thursday.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Coconut Flour Recipe Collection

Cooking with coconut flour has become an increasingly frequent affair here in the riddlelove kitchen.  Some of our favorite recipes are made with it.  Here is a collection of gluten-free coconut flour recipes that we make and enjoy the most:
Happy coconut flouring!

I'm sharing this at Monday ManiaReal Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fight Back Friday.

Weekly Menu Plan #49

We have survived fully celebrated birthday week!  Five cakes were made to prove it.  I now have a 35-year-old husband and a seven-year-old daughter.  It really was a sweet week and memories will be tucked away in our hearts forever.  Having two days off school really made it feel like a holiday weekend.  We are now back in the saddle of normal routine, and we all very much look forward to Thanksgiving vacation next month.  Next month.  THANKSGIVING.

To do: thaw meat for Wednesday night & pumpkin
Breakfast:  Porridge
Lunch:  Nut Butter & Berry Wraps,  Carrot Slices, Hummus

To do: make paleo pumpkin bars & start chicken stock after dinner
Lunch:  Sourdough Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches, Leftover Coffee Cake
Dinner:  Roast ChickenSalad

To do: make cookie dough bites, thaw roast for Friday
Breakfast:  GF German Pancakes
Lunch:  Hummus, Jicama, Apple & Raw Cheese Slices, Paleo Pumpkin Bars
Dinner:  Stir Fry with Mixed Veggies, Rice, & Meat

To do: thaw ragu for Saturday
Breakfast:  Breakfast Burritos
Lunch: Apple, Carrot, & Raw Cheese Slices, Cookie Dough Bites
Dinner:  Warming Butternut Squash Soup, Biscuits

To do:
Breakfast:  GF Chocolate Chip Scones thawed from last week
Lunch:  Leftover Scones, Pear Slices, Baba Ghanoush, Bell Pepper Slices
Dinner:  Italian Pot Roast with baked potatoes instead of noodles, Salad 

To do:
Lunch:  Irish Nachos

To do:
Breakfast:  GF Chocolate Muffins
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Leftovers
(Sunday is my day off)

I'm sharing this at Simple Lives Thursday.

Friday, October 19, 2012

For the Sake of the World CD/DVD WINNER!

The giveaway has ended, and we have a winner!  It was really fun reading all your comments and seeing which songs touched your hearts.  A lot of work went into this project and it is so great to know it's being received.  We already have two other albums in the works: "Without Words" will be our first instrumental compilation.  I'm really looking forward to this one for bedtimes and background music to soundtrack our days.  "The Loft Sessions 2" is also in the works!  Jeremy just finished three new songs for it and in my very unbiased opinion, they are AMAZING!!!

Congratulations to Andrew W!

We actually have another giveaway going on for an essential oil starter kit!  I have really enjoyed using this kit and seeing immediate results on my family, and I'm so excited to offer you a chance to win one.  Take a gander here!

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GIVEAWAY: Essential Oils!

I am so very pleased to offer this essential oils introductory kit generously provided by Simona of doTERRA oils.  This kit includes an introductory audio CD and booklet highlighting the uses of essential oils and three 5ml bottles of doTERRA's CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade) oils: lavender, lemon and peppermint.  The stunning presentation box also includes suggested uses of the included oils, providing you with an immediate experience of the wonderful benefits of essential oils.

What to do with these oils?

For starters, each of these oils would be amazing in my 3-minute deodorant recipe.  

Peppermint oil

  • If we ever feel nauseous, we simply open up the peppermint oil bottle and breathe in for immediate relief.  
  • Mix a drop in with a tablespoon of coconut oil and rub on feet or stomach to treat an upset stomach.
  • Mix a drop of peppermint oil and lavender oil with coconut oil to rub on to growing pains or sore muscles.
Lavender oil
  • If you're having trouble sleeping, try applying a few drops of the lavender oil on the bottom of your feet before sleeping.  
  • Use a drop of lavender oil to treat a bee sting.
  • Mix with coconut oil and rub on sunburned skin.
Lemon oil
  • Do you enjoy lemon water?  Simply add a drop of lemon oil to your water.  You can even carry the cute lil bottle around in your purse to add to any drink you may get while you're out and about.  This saves you from absorbing the toxic pesticides the lemon wedges from restaurants deposit in your water.
  • Add a drop of lemon oil and a spoonful of honey into hot water to make a tea that soothes sore throats and coughs.
  • Use to clean kitchen counters and stainless steal (find out how in the included CD).
Not only can you enter for a chance to win this introductory kit, Simona is also giving away ten 5ml bottles of wild orange oil along with a doTERRA fall magazine which includes tips and recipes!  It also contains articles on how to use these oils in your home or classroom to improve the learning environment, a natural beauty guide, pointers for men's grooming, and more.

Orange oil

  • This oil is used to lift moods.  Open the jar and give it a whiff, or sprinkle some on some natural decorations like pine cones to scent your home.
  • Orange oil is also a fabulous ant repellant.
  • It can also be used in natural wood cleaners.
There are many other uses each oil has; the DVD and magazine contain several more.  It's really quite simple and I never knew how fun it was to play with these nourishing, essential oils.

Enter now!  Be sure to check the Facebook page for discounts and more ways to use essential oil.


This giveaway begins Friday, October 18th, 2012, and ends Monday, October 25th, 2012.  Winners will be announced in a separate blog post here on Riddlelove shortly after the entry time ends, so be sure to check back in next week to see if you've won!  Enter below:

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How To Make Natural Food Coloring and Dyes

Colorful treats can be fun.  They can also be highly toxic if artificial ingredients are used.  Our kids can still enjoy colorful cakes and frostings without being poisoned.  The cake above was frosted with all natural food coloring.  Find out how to use real food to make fun food colors in my article over at Modern Alternative Kitchen by clicking here.  Now we really can have our cake and eat it too!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekly Menu Plan #48

Soup in mugs for lunch
It's birthday week here at the Riddle Ranch!  Jeremy celebrates his 35th on Thursday and our six-year-old turns seven on Saturday.  It's tradition that the birthday person gets to choose their favorite meals and I relinquish all food standards, so you might see some odd-for-this-blog choices a couple days this week.  To make it even better, the kids only have three days of school, so we get to enjoy some leisurely breakfasts and lunches at our kitchen table.  Happiness!

To do: make creme fraiche
Breakfast:  Porridge
Lunch:  Sourdough Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches, Applesauce, Almonds
Dinner:  Quesadillas, Butternut Squash Fries

Lunch: Nut Butter & Berry Wraps, leftover coffee cake, Raw Cheese Slices
Dinner:  Ham & Butternut Squash Spaghetti (using spaghetti squash for noodles), Collard Greens

To do: make chicken stock & baba ghanoush, thaw ground beef
Lunch: Apple & Raw Cheese Slices, Cookie Dough Bites, Carrot Strips
Dinner:  Roasted Broccoli with Tangy Peanut Sauce over Grilled Salmon

Thursday: Jeremy's birthday! No school!
To do: bake cakes
Breakfast: Breakfast Burritos (recipe coming soon)
Lunch: Creamy Tomato Bisque, Sourdough Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Dinner: Chicken Enchiladas, Salad, Cake, & Ice Cream

Friday: No school!
Breakfast: Breakfast Sausage & Scrambled Eggs
Lunch:  Irish Nachos using Leftover Sausage
Dinner:  Sour Cream Noodle Bake, Baba Ghanoush with Bell Pepper Slices

Saturday: Faith's birthday!
Breakfast: Trader Joe's Grain-Free Waffles, Bacon, Eggs
Lunch: Pepperoni Pizza
Dinner: Trader Joe's GF Mac & Cheese, Pigs in a Blanket, Cake, & Ice Cream

Breakfast:  GF Chocolate Chip Scones (double batch, freeze one)
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Leftovers
(Sunday is my day off)

I'm sharing this at Pennywise Platter.

Friday, October 12, 2012

GIVEAWAY: From Our Family to Yours

It's been a tradition around here to give away an album that my husband is apart of when it releases.  In keeping with this tradition, I offer you a chance to win a copy of For the Sake of the World DVD/CD set.
It might be a strange giveaway for this kind of blog, but this project and our family are woven together through joy, hard work, sacrifice, and relationship.  Versions-in-progress of many of these songs were played over and over again during our nightly family devotions.  When an idea would come, everything paused as Jeremy worked out a new detail of the song.  The children and I listened to daddy work on this album almost daily for the last year.  Our homestead is even captured at the end of the "extras" feature on the DVD.  I won't give it all away, but Jeremy has a moment playing matador with Shamrock the ram and Jer may or may not refer to himself as "daddy" to our woolen monster.

This isn't just a nuclear family project, but our friends involved with it are family.  Brian and Jenn were the first to bring us a dinner (along with several adorable baby outfits) when Joseph was born.  We spent our favorite Fourth of July ever camping out with Leah (BJVs) and her family.  When Jeremy was recently away on a two-week trip, William, Graham (percussion), and Graham's sweet sister came over to keep us company and even help clean the house.

We are so thankful for our church family and I am very happy to offer the fruit of our labor to you.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Chocolate Red Velvet Cake with Buttermilk Frosting ~ A Recipe

The holidays are coming!  And that means lots of red food dye!  
If you know me, you know I love to get all festive-like.  However, I must draw the line at artificial food coloring (stay tuned for a post on natural food dyes next week).  Guess what?  When it comes to coloring food red and keeping things real, you can have your gluten-free cake and eat it, too.  This is when I pull out my red food coloring of choice: the beet.  You beetcha!
I just finished my cup of coffee for the day.
Coffee makes me extra cheerful (and cheesy, apparently).

Red velvet cake is the ultimate holiday dessert.  Serve it on a autumn-y platter and you've got a harvest party treat.  Doll it up with your favorite wintertime accents and add a drop or two of peppermint oil to the frosting and it's a candy cane cake.  Bake it in a heart-shaped mold and it's perfect for Valentine's day.  Decorate the top with blueberries and raspberries in a flag-like fashion and it's a healthy Fourth of July indulgence.  See?  This cake has got you covered for every holiday of the year.

Because we had to use more than one beet in the recipe to make the color pop, there is a slight earthy taste that the root imparts. The folks I've served this cake to said they actually enjoyed it.  No, they weren't just trying to be nice (these are truly honest friends) and no, they aren't of the health-nut persuasion.  So I trust their critique.

If you've never tried buttermilk frosting, you're in for a treat.  This fluffy frosting is lighter than buttercream and is the perfect, pillowy topping for this moist cake.

Grain-Free Red Velvet Cake with Buttermilk Frosting
Prep time: 20 min; Bake time: 35 min; Serves 9

For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ.  Cut the beet(s) in quarters and place in blender.  Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour batter in a greased 8x8-inch baking dish.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Allow to cool before frosting.
For the Frosting:
  • 1/3 cup soft butter (don't use ghee.  I tried it and it doesn't taste good in this recipe.)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  1. Cream butter and sugar until smooth.  Add vanilla and buttermilk and beat until smooth and fluffy.  If the frosting is still too thick to your liking, add one more tablespoon buttermilk.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weekly Menu Plan #47

Pumpkin Days

Today is the day!  The last of fourteen sets of meals without Jeremy.  I'll just go ahead and say it's been a roller coaster and we'll keep it at that (hence the quietness of the blog this week).  I'm so thankful for the community that surrounded us during this time.  They made a night-and-day difference.  On another note, the weather here has dropped to a very comfortable temperature and I am oh so ready for some soups.  It's time to dust the soup pot off.  We are back in business.  Also we have potatoes coming out of our ears, so there will probably be more potato recipes than usual this week.

To do: soak porridge
Breakfast:  GF German Pancakes
Lunch:  Hummus, Carrots, Apples, Raw Cheese, Almonds

To do: Thaw 6 cups chicken stock  & pumpkin for Thursday
Breakfast: Porridge
Lunch:  Sourdough Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches, Pears, Walnuts
Dinner: Zuppa Toscana

To do: soak pumpkin baked oatmeal, thaw tenderloin for Friday
Lunch:  Nut Butter & Berry Wraps, Apple & Raw Cheese Slices
Dinner: Baked Potatoes with cheese, creme fraiche, chives, Broccoli with Garlic Butter & Cashews

To do: make cookie bites
Lunch:  Leftover Baked Oatmeal Squares, Raw Cheese Slices, Cherry Tomatoes, Turkey

To do: soak beans for chili
Breakfast:  GF Chocolate Chip Scones (double batch)
Lunch:  Sourdough Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches, Applesauce, Hummus, Carrot Sticks
Dinner:  Beef Stroganoff over Rice Noodles, Salad, Vanilla Coconut Cream Candy

To do:
Breakfast:  Cinnamon Rolls & Fried Eggs 
Lunch: Irish Nachos

To do:
Breakfast:  Leftover GF Chocolate Chip Scones from Friday
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Leftovers
(Sunday is my day off)

I'm sharing this at Monday Mania, Meal Plan Link-Up, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter.


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