On July 30, 2013 my husband and I welcomed the much anticipated arrival of the newest member of our family:

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Evan Mitchell, 6 lbs 5 oz

Evan, 1 day old

Evan, 1 day old

 

There certainly is nothing that compares to the whole experience of pregnancy, labor (oh, man, the pain!!!), and that unreal moment of finally seeing your child face to face. He’s got most of his dad’s looks, but will most likely have my eyes and definitely has my toes:

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There’s hardly time to cook, much less post about cooking, so I will be taking a break from The Foodery for the time being. I’ve enjoyed sharing my recipes, home renovation experiences (which is still ongoing), and fitness goals. There were lots of blogs where I found great kitchen tips, tricks, and terrific recipes (I’m cooking Moroccan chicken for dinner tonight, thanks, REM Cooks!) which have become all-time favorites.

I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting my blog, take care and thank you for stopping by. Aloha!

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Evan, 5 weeks

Hi, folks! I’ve been away for quite some time, mostly because the third trimester of pregnancy has sapped my energy and creativity in the kitchen. I apologize for the long silence, and most likely won’t be posting any new recipes until after the baby arrives.

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Me at 35 weeks.

I hadn’t realized how tiring pregnancy is, especially now at 37 weeks! My garden is full of weeds, I don’t want to cook, and grocery shopping isn’t so much fun, anymore. All my plans to prepare frozen meals and keep healthy snacks on hand have gone out the window–I just don’t care at this point, I just want to have the baby, already!

Last month we were invited to a neighbor’s for barbecue and wanted to bring something you’d normally see at Hawaii get-togethers. I asked my sister for her Mochi Cake recipe, thinking desserts are a good way to introduce new foods to people. I make a chocolate version for those of you that want to give it a try, and either recipe will yield a chewy, spongy mochi cake that’s a nice change of pace from sheet cakes or brownies.

I don’t think our neighbors have ever had anything like it before, and everyone seemed to enjoy both flavors of mochi cake. It’s gluten-free and, if you use coconut oil and water instead of milk, dairy-free, too!

I didn’t take pictures of the dessert itself, but here are pictures I got off the Internet of some of the specialty ingredients:

   

Mochiko (sweet rice flour, gluten-free), frozen shredded coconut, instant espresso powder.

Mochi Cake

Ingredients:

4 C mochiko (1lb box)
3 C sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 C frozen shredded coconut (DON’T use the dried stuff you find by the boxed cake mixes, totally different taste and texture!)
6 T melted salted butter (if using unsalted butter or coconut oil, add 1 tsp salt)
1 14 1/2 oz. can coconut milk + water, milk or cream to make 2 cups
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Mix together: dry ingredients
In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients then pour into dry mix. Stir until well combined.

Pour into pregreased 9×13″ pan and bake for about 45 minutes at 350º.

Cool, cut into small squares or rectangles (I like rectangles, easier to bite!) and place in paper muffin liners to serve.

Keep uneaten portions in an airtight counter for up to 2 days.

Double Chocolate Mochi Cake

Ingredients:

4 C mochiko (1lb box)
3 C sugar
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (such as Megdaglia d’Oro)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup frozen shredded coconut, defrosted (DON’T use the dried stuff, totally different taste and texture!)
6 T melted salted butter (if using unsalted butter or coconut oil, add 1 tsp salt)
1 14 1/2 oz can coconut milk + water, milk or cream to make 2 cups (can find it at some supermarkets or Asian store)
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix together: dry ingredients

In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients then pour into dry mix. Stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips OR pour batter into pan and sprinkle chips on top.

Pour into pregreased 9×13″ pan and bake for about 45 minutes at 350º.

Cool, cut into small squares or rectangles (I like rectangles, easier to bite!) and place in paper muffin liners to serve.

Honey-Coconut Chex Mix

Honey-Coconut Chex Mix

Who doesn’t enjoy Chex Mix? There’s more than enough recipes to satisfy every sweet or salty taste out there, and if you ever lived in Hawaii, you may have received Furikake Chex Mix from one of your aunties or coworkers at Christmas.

I prefer a salty Chex Mix, so made a variation of the original recipe found here. (the Chex cereal website has a huge selection of sweet and salty recipes, mostly with microwave directions.) After sampling the savory, garlicky flavor, I decided I wanted a sweet one, too.  I checked out a few blogger recipes and came across several variations of a recipe that uses shredded coconut and Honey Grahams cereal. It already sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

Improvise
I didn’t have corn syrup and I didn’t have Honey Grahams, so I made a few modifications. First, I used light agave syrup and honey. Next, I took one commenter’s suggestion and added a bit of coconut extract to give it a stronger, coconuttier flavor (and boy, does the kitchen smell GOOD!)  The addition of chocolate chips tastes great, but it may overshadow the wonderful coconut flavor, so you may want to sample a bit before adding a bunch of chocolate chips in your mix.

I was worried the butter-agave-honey mixture wouldn’t solidify, so I ended up baking it in the oven for 20 minutes (The Bomb Diggity recipe doesn’t need to be baked). I was glad I did. The syrup was more concentrated, intensifying the sweet, buttery flavor and created a crispy-chewy, coconut candy coating.

The Verdict
I had a feeling my husband would prefer the sweet version, so I asked him to try the salty one first. He liked it, but definitely preferred the Honey-Coconut Chex Mix. I gave him two containers of sweet and salty mixes to take to work, then started on another batch to keep at home. :)

Adapted from the Gooey Sweet Coconut Chex Mix (aka The Bomb Diggity), here is my version of a coconut Chex Mix.

Honey-Coconut Chex Mix

Honey-Coconut Chex Mix

Honey-Coconut Chex Mix
Make it Gluten-Free with GF pretzels!

Ingredients:

2 cups Rice Chex
2 cups Corn Chex
1 cup salted pretzels, twists or sticks
1/2 cup almonds (slivered or whole), macadamia nuts, or any nut you like
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup light agave syrup
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or white chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Combine cereals, pretzels, almonds, and unsweetened coconut in a 13″x9″x2″ baking pan. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, agave syrup and honey. Boil for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to let it boil over the sides. Remove from heat, stir in coconut extract.

Pour over cereal mixture and toss well with heatproof rubber spatula. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through baking.

With only 4 cups of cereal, you can use a casserole dish or rectangular cake pan.

With only 4 cups of cereal, you can use a casserole dish or rectangular cake pan.

Remove from oven and let cool for about 2 hours, stirring every 5-10 minutes (mixture will harden as it cools). You can also spread this out on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet if you don’t have time to stir the party mix, just break into small pieces when cooled. Add chocolate chips. Store in airtight container for up to 3-5 days. Makes about 6 cups.

Week 2 of the second bathroom installation!

A little more work has been done by putting up studs (I helped a little with the shorter side):

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There wasn’t much room to work, so putting together the shorter side was REALLY difficult for my husband. It kept on falling apart here and there, so we had to improvise and lean the frame on the open door to the basement:

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Basement door in the back was open slightly, so the frame was leaning on top of it while I was holding one side and my husband was balancing on a step stool with one foot on the wall to nail the studs from the top.

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Bathroom fan will go above toilet. It will have a humidity sensor, so will automatically turn on to keep the room from getting too foggy.

There is some water damage from the upstairs bath, but we’re hoping it’s not too extensive and only the top layer will have to be replaced…but that’s for another renovation, and another post. :)

Plumbing is the next step, stay tuned!

I was looking for nursery ideas online and came across this one for a bird mobile. I like the idea of using embroidery hoops, and I used this pattern to make mine.

I was having a rough time at work so took a break from the computer and started working on the birds for the lower loop, then finished up the rest this morning:

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Bird mobile for baby’s room.

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Close up of stitching.

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Adjust the angle of the birds to make it more interesting.

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A lousy shot of the bottom up, but this is what the baby will be looking at. :)

I like how it turned out, and am ready for more stuffed animal projects!

Our house has one bathroom upstairs, and we thought it would be better to have  second one downstairs. My husband has been planning this for several months and now that the weather is getting warmer, it’s a nice time to start tearing things down. Our house is 233 years old, so we learned a lot about how people built their homes way back when.

First thing we noticed was all the odds and ends that held together the walls. You won’t see a lot of nice, even 2x4s, but rather an assortment of wood pieces, whatever pieces could be salvaged and used as support while the main beams of the house were nice and sturdy. See where that red leveler is? That wide plank isn’t a support beam, but was probably used as a surface to nail the inside wall to.

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Future site of new bathroom. There was no insulation in these two walls, so I stapled large table cloths over the doorways and pretty much avoided using this room all winter

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Drainpipe in corner will be covered with drywall. Doorway will be from the porch. One more layer of flooring to be removed.

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View from the porch. To the left of the opening is that framed-out drainpipe, door will go here. Coat closet on the right. Door to the kitchen hidden by hanging coats.

I think he’ll work on this over the weekend again, so I’ll post more pics soon…stay tuned!

It’s week 21 of my pregnancy, and I’m starting to feel the weight of the baby right on my bladder, not to mention the occasional muscle spasms which indicate my body “practicing” for delivery, and what I’m guessing is to be some movement of our little brotchen:

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He’s looking nice and healthy…and yes, it’s a BOY!!!

Here’s proof of the gender:

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Butt shot with a clear view. :)

Food = Fatigue? I’ve been feeling really tired the past several days, and I wasn’t sure why. Sleep was okay, exercising was okay (when I wasn’t too tired) but I was still struggling to keep my eyes open after breakfast. I decided to change up what I was eating, starting with breakfast. No more peanut butter and toast, even with a cup of calcium-fortified soy moo. Maybe cutting out the wheat would help, at least for breakfast (including sprouted grain breads.)

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Clockwise from top: coconut biscuit, apple cinnamon raisin, and pumpkin muffin with almond sprinkles.

Grain, Grain, Go Away I came across several grain-free muffin recipes from wellnessmama.com the other day, and boy, are they GOOD! I made three versions already: apple cinnamon (with raisins), pumpkin, and also some coconut biscuits to serve with some buffalo chili we had last night. They all were delicious, and since they were grain free it was a great way to see if grains–including my sprouted wheat toast–may have contributed to my all-day fatigue.

The Results were Inspiring Well, I certainly didn’t feel like taking a nap after eating those delicious muffins, so maybe I’m on the right track. More protein than your average muffin, low in carbs, and they contains healthy fats. It’s wonderfully moist and tastes even better cold–and not many muffins can brag about that! So taken was I by wellnessmama’s muffins, I wanted to make a chocolate version. Following her cinnamon apple muffin recipe, I made a few modifications. The result: a light, sponge-like chocolate cake-muffin dotted with melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. It’s makes a delicious snack, or even a bonus to your already healthy breakfast. Now who’s ready for a grain-free muffin?

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Moist cakes with a slightly spongy texture and rich chocolate flavor.

Double Chocolate Muffins inspired by wellnessmama’s grain-free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (such as Medaglia d’Oro)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (gluten-free ones such as Enjoy Life, if you’re allergic)

Directions: Preheat oven to 400. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients (not chocolate chips.) Push to the sides, making a well in the center. To the middle of the bowl, add eggs, apple sauce, agave syrup, vanilla, and coconut oil. Blend wet ingredients on medium-high speed for a few seconds, then incorporate dry ingredients by “grabbing” flour mixture from the sides with the beaters and blend until combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in chocolate chips. (NOTE: batter may be liquidy, so to keep chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom, sprinkle on muffin tops after baking for 2 minutes–batter will firm up–then return to oven and bake for the remaining time.)

Using a 1/4 cup scoop, fill 12 muffin tins. Sprinkle top with extra chocolate chips, if you like. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a little bit of a moist crumb. Cool on a wire rack.

You can store these muffins in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or tightly wrap in foil and freeze for up to 2 months.

Be sure to visit www.wellnessmama.com for other delicious recipes as well as tips and ideas on making homemade cleaning products, beauty treatments, and other information on easier, healthier living.

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