Thursday, June 27, 2013

Personal Size Gluten Free Berry Brownie in a Bowl


Personal Size Gluten-Free Berry Brownie in a Bowl by Substance of Living
Personal Size Gluten-Free Berry Brownie in a Bowl

You've probably heard of cakes in a cup or seen some photos flying around the internet or have received a recipe in your email.  In fact, it took until the other night that I actually made one of these chocolatey delights.

Couldn't find the email with the recipe so I went in search of a recipe that was quick, easy, and hopefully yummy.  Well, there were so many!  Where was I to begin?  OK, one thing was that I didn't want to make an entire cake so anything that required the usual cake staples had to be eliminated or modified.

On hand were some mixed berries and Neufchatel cheese that I wanted to try and incorporate.

Here is what I came up with after looking at so many different recipes out there.  I don't even remember all that I looked at; but here are a few Jessicakes, Clay Designs by Glee, and Squirrel Momma.


Personal Size Gluten-Free Berry Brownie in a Bowl by Substance of Living
Personal Size GF Berry Brownie in a Bowl with a glass of wine


Ingredients

2 T Flour
2 T Sugar
1 T Cocoa
Dash Salt
1/4 t Vanilla
1 T Canola Oil
1 T Water
2 T Berries
2 oz Neufchatel Cheese

Place all the ingredients in a personal-size microwavable bowl or mug.  Mix Well. Microwave 4 minutes and allow to stand for a few minutes - the berries will be extremely hot otherwise.

Personal Size Gluten-Free Berry Brownie in a Bowl by Substance of Living
Flour, Sugar, Cocoa, Salt and Berries

Personal Size Gluten-Free Berry Brownie in a Bowl by Substance of Living
Flour, Sugar, Cocoa, Salt, Berries, and Neufchatel Cheese

Personal Size Gluten-Free Berry Brownie in a Bowl by Substance of Living
Flour, Sugar, Cocoa, Salt, Berries, Neufchatel Cheese, Vanilla Extract, Water, and Canola Oil

Personal Size Gluten-Free Berry Brownie in a Bowl by Substance of Living
Gluten Free Berry Brownie in a Bowl


Personal Size Gluten-Free Berry Brownie in a Bowl by Substance of Living
Want some?


Personal Size Gluten-Free Berry Brownie in a Bowl by Substance of Living
Delicious! Rich and Creamy!!!

Yes, I actually ate the entire brownie.  You have permission to call me "Miss Piggy".

If my adorable husband had been home, it would have made a perfect dessert for us to share.  The red wine was a Merlot and paired beautifully with the berries and chocolate.

Where was DH?  Oh, he was out with the guys after playing a round of golf.  There is a group of men and lady golfers in our neighborhood that after we play a round, we stop off at the club house for dinner.  When we play as couples, men only, or ladies only it is our unspoken tradition.

Have you made a cake in a cup or a cake in the microwave before?  How did it turn out?  Would you do it again?  What is your favorite recipe?

P.S., If you replace the sugar with Agave or another alternative and eliminate the Neufchatel cheese this recipe will be sugar and dairy-free.  If you remove the cheese you can most likely shorten the cooking time.

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Substance of Living

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Homemade Nut Butter

Noreen


Noreen, I've sent you an email.



Now onto today's originally scheduled post:
Homemade Nut Butter by Substance of Living
Homemade Nut Butter
Do you like all natural nut butter - such as peanut butter, almond butter, pistachio butter?  Bet you don't care for the price, though.

You can buy any nut you prefer or use up all your leftover nuts from the holidays or your last party.

Averie from Averie Cooks shows us how easy it is for us to make our own nut butter at a fraction of the cost.

Since Averie shares the actual recipe, It would really be best if you visited her site.  She also provides a printable version of the recipe.

I did make a couple changes to Averie's recipe that you'll see in the Findings section of this post.



Mixed Nuts for Homemade Nut Butter by Substance of Living
Mixed Nuts

Homemade Nut Butter by Substance of Living
Getting started. If you like crunchy nut butter, you might want to take some out at this point to add back in later.

Homemade Nut Butter by Substance of Living
Perfect for a pie crust or base of a cheesecake at this point.

Homemade Nut Butter by Substance of Living
Whoa! I'm getting dizzy!  Hehe

Homemade Nut Butter by Substance of Living
See how it is clumpy?  It's starting to mix.

Homemade Nut Butter by Substance of Living
Look how creamy this is.  You could always stop here add some chopped nuts to make it crunchy.


Homemade Nut Butter by Substance of Living
Creamy Homemade Nut Butter


Homemade Nut Butter by Substance of Living
Homemade Nut Butter

Findings

  • You'll notice that my mixed nuts, which had no flavoring/sugar/salt added, went through the same steps as Averie's.
  • I used 1 1/2 cups mixed nuts rather than peanuts.
  • I had to add a little water; about 2 - 3 Tablespoons.  My food processor is good but not one of those super powered deals so I usually end up adding a little liquid.
  • This will last about 7 - 10 days in the refrigerator since there were no additives.  If your family is anything like ours, we eat it all before the time is up so there aren't any issues!

Can you see yourself making this?  Have you ever made homemade nut butter?  If so, what type did you make and did you add chocolate or flavoring to your nut butter?

Please link your page with us or tell us how you make your nut butter in the comments below.  Thanks!

P.S.,  Doesn't my lovely husband make the best hand model?  He is such a good sport.  One of the MANY reasons I love him.

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Basic Steps to Goal Setting

A goal is a dream upon which one acts.


The First Step in goal setting is to decide which dream you'd like to turn into a goal and eventually a reality.  Then figure out if this goal is:
  • Short-Term - something that can be accomplished within a day or week
    • Daily or Weekly To-Do List
  • Intermediate - something that will take longer than a week but typically a couple months
    • Canning or preserving items from your garden
  • Long-Term - Buying a house or going on a dream vacation
A daily To-Do list is a great way to keep each day organized as well as break down tasks to reach your goals.  To make a long-term goal managable, break it down into intermediate goals, then into short-term goals and then list each task on the daily To-Do list.

Once you incorporate a daily To-Do list, guesstimate more time than you think a task will take.  Then mark down how long the task actually took.  This will help you more accurately schedule your time in the future.

For example, you put down "Dust the house" and allow 10 minutes but the task actually takes you 20 minutes to go through the whole house.  Now you've thrown off your schedule and might get discouraged.  But if you had estimated 30 minutes and were done in 12 minutes you can realistically schedule probably 10 or 15 minutes in the future knowing that the time frame is real.  You've also found 18 minutes in your original guesstimation so you can work on something else or move on to your next task.

Another example of reaching a long-term goal is let's say you want to read 12 books in a year.  Your intermediate goal would be to read one book a month.  Then your short-term goal would be to schedule pockets of time to read throughout each day.  Or, as in the example above, you have 12 minutes left over from another task to slip in a few extra minutes of reading.

Stay flexible and realistic because life has a way of throwing curve balls.  There will be days that you will accomplish everything on your To-Do list and that's AWESOME!  Then there will be days that tasks will need to be carried over for one reason or another.

Make out your list at the end of each day so that you're ready to go in the morning.  Start each month looking over your long term goal and each week revise your intermediate goals for the month.

The Second Step is to share your goals with your family or a close friend.  These are the people who will encourage you along the way and will also help you stay accountable to your progress.

Ensure that your goals are attainable.  Saying that you want to win the lottery is nice but it's not a quantifiable goal.  Oh sure, you can buy lottery tickets every week but how are you able to track your progress of getting closer to your goal?

Let's say you want to lose 10 pounds in a 30 day period.  You don't have any control over the scale if you simply step on it each morning.  You do, however, have control over what and how much you eat each day or how much exercise you do.  Tracking your food and exercise is quantifiable and realistic thus making your goal attainable.

The Third Step is to set a start and end date for your goal.  Let's take another look at the weight loss example; you know you want to lose 10 pounds in 30 days, now let's put a start date and count out 30 days from there.  Now you have a goal and a time frame within which to work.


Prepare yourself for challenges that will pop up from time to time.  In order to stay committed to your goal, make periodic checks to ensure it is still viable.

Create a Visual Board and place it somewhere you will see it everyday.  You can also take a picture of your Visual Board and send it to us.  We will post it so that others can keep you believing in your goal.


Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Father's Day Gift Ideas 2013

I'd like to start with a personal note by saying, "Happy Father's Day, Dad!"


Father's Day is a time to reflect on the men who have made us who you are today.  These men may not have been our dad and they might not have even been a dad.  They did, however, play an important role in our life.  Sometimes we are molded by a smile or a few words of encouragement.  Sometimes it is a hug.

Who are fathers?  Are all fathers dads?  No.  They can be Coaches, Teachers, Big Brothers, Supervisors, Neighbors, Uncles, Strangers.  They teach us through love and support.  They instill in us honor, pride, honesty, self-respect, and inner strength.  They show us how to give our children and future generations a chance.

Have you been looking at your dad and wondering who he is or what he even enjoys?  Remember back a few (OK, maybe more) years and think about how you spent time with him.  Were you in the garage working on engines?  Were you building with wood?  Did you spend hours in the park or back yard throwing balls?  These things were what he loved and his eyes will light up with the thought of making new memories with you.  Isn't it funny what dad's remember compared to what impacted our lives?


Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Think about what Dad (or a Father of your choosing) likes to do now.  What are his new hobbies?  Can you help him?  It doesn't really matter what you do, any time he can spend with you is a cherished memory.  
  • Is your father the outdoor type? If so, then he will love a pair of Binoculars.  Depending on the type, he could use them for watching birds, seeking out animals while hiking, enjoy front-row viewing even though he is in the back of the theater or stadium.
  • Perhaps dining alfresco is his thing.  In that case, he will really enjoy one of these Picnic Backpacks.  Regardless of which backpack is chosen, your father will be prepared when hunger strikes.  Some even have a place for a wine bottle and glasses.
  • Does he consider himself "The Grill Master"? Then how about a new Grill, some Accessories and a Cookbook or two so that everyone else will agree that he is indeed "The Grill Master" of all Masters.
  • Still not sure what to get him?  How about a Gift Card. 

It really doesn't matter how you spend the day or what gift you give your father.  He will always love you for the person you are.

P.S.,   How will you spend Father's Day?  I hope it is the best day of the year.  Well, besides your birthday and possibly anniversary. 

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Books to Read During the Month of June 2013

I am an avid reader.


I wasn't always a reader.  I'll bet that there are a lot of people out there like me, though.

Since graduating from high school, I went on to college and became hooked on books.  I literally have at two or three books going at all times.  Now, with options like the original hand-held hard or paperback books there are audio - cassette, CD, MP3, iTunes; electronic books provided by Kindle, Nook, e-Pub, and so many other juicy options.

Where do I get my books?  Local bookstore, library, Amazon, friends, and anywhere else a book might appear.  I've also been known to get books at wholesale stores, garage sales and charity stores.

These are the books I read last month.  It's not that I think you're interested in what I've been or am currently reading, but you might be curious about new options, authors, or genres.  I read everything.  I've been known to actually read a recipe book and believe it or not, my car manual.

I'm not going to tell you whether I really enjoyed a book or not because I'm more interested in your opinion.

If there is one thing that is true about books, it is that books never change only our thoughts about the book changes.

Death Dance by Linda Fairstein
Death Dance by Linda Fairstein


Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein
Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein


Year of the Chick by Romi Moondi
Year of the Chick by Romi Moondi


"A book never changes, only our thoughts about the book change."

Bingo Barge Murder by Jessie Chandler
Bingo Barge Murder by Jessie Chandler


Have you read any of these books or anything by these authors?  What did you think?  What book(s) are you currently reading?





P.S., Should you decide to purchase one of these books through the links, Substance of Living will receive a small percentage and will help keep this blog going.

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