Monday, October 24, 2011

When We Pray (Quote)

In prayer we speak out to another and yet there is a second form of communication taking place simultaneously: we are also speaking to ourselves.

We need to do this because we are a little deaf. It is only through speaking out that we put into words some of our deepest fears, longings, joys and hopes. As we put them into language we begin to hear them for the first time ourselves and gain more insight into our feelings. We are thus, in effect, having two conversations.

Until we have articulated these feelings in such a way they remain a mystery to us. Prayer thus acts as a mode of revelation, not simply revealing our inner world to some presence "out there", but of revealing this inner world to ourselves.

~~Peter Rollins~~

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cooking With C.C. ~ Almost Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno Dip

It's time for the 4th installment of Cooking with C.C. Last Thursday, we made Almost Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno Dip. This was for Damaris' birthday dinner on Friday night. Chuy's is our very favoritist Mexican food restaurant in the Houston area. Not having access to a Chuy's was on our Top 5 reasons not to leave Houston list, or would have been if we had made such a list! Anyway, our favorite part about going to Chuy's is their Creamy Jalapeno dip that they serve with their chips and salsa. We could probably eat it by the gallon. Since we were having Mexican food for Damaris' birthday dinner, my Momma searched and found some copycat recipes. And then I narrowed down the choices and we came up with this one. Let me walk you through how to make it and then we'll compare it to the real deal.

First, scoop 16 ounces of light sour cream into a bowl.

Then add one package of ranch dip mix to the bowl (I used Hidden Valley brand).

Next, finely chop up 2 large jalapeno peppers (throw out the seeds and the stem obviously). You'll know you have chopped them finely enough when your arms are so tired you can no longer chop. Then ask your awesome friend Katie (or a friend of another name if you don't have a friend named Katie) to help you and have her chop them up until her arms are tired too. Add them, the peppers, not Katie's arms, to the bowl.

Add the juice of one large lime to the bowl.

Then add 2 cloves of garlic unless you are like me and buy the wrong thing or can't find cloves of garlic and then in that case, add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt to the bowl.

Tell Katie what an amazing job she did chopping up the jalapenos so that she'll chop up the fresh cilantro. You need 1/3 of a cup of this. Keep chopping until either your arms are about to fall off again or you've chopped the cilantro up as finally as humanly possible.

Then add the cilantro to the bowl. And stir, stir, stir to get everything mixed up.

Stir in milk (we used almond milk) a little at a time to thin the dip out to a more dip like consistency. If I make this again, I would add even more milk than we did this time.

And there you have it - Almost Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno Dip!

The taste of our dip was almost right in comparison to the real stuff. I think it was the consistency that was off for me. We kept thinning it and I was afraid to thin it more. I thought it would be too runny. Everyone loved it at dinner though so that's a positive. I'll just have to keep thinning next time.

This recipe came from the Tasty Kitchen.

Hope you've enjoyed this episode of Cooking with C.C. If you try out this recipe, let me know how it goes. Maybe this will become a family favorite for your family too! I'll be back soon with the gluten free pumpkin cake we made for Damaris' birthday. Enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Damaris' 12th Birthday Party

Damaris turned 12 last Thursday and we had her birthday party on Friday night. It was us, my mom and dad, my sister, brother-in-law, and niece, and Damaris' youth minister and his wife. We had a delicious dinner of cheese enchiladas, refried beans, pinto beans, tortilla chips, guacamole, and almost Chuy's creamy jalapeno dip (recipe coming here on my blog soon). Followed that with lots of fun gifts. Hysterical time of watching Damaris' do a scavenger hunt for her final gift which then entailed unwrapping 3 boxes to get to the gift. The look on her face when she got to it was priceless!!!!! Cake was an amazing gluten free pumpkin cake with maple icing. We had a great time. I just can't believe my baby is 12 years old!!!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Happy 12th Birthday Damaris!

From a beautiful baby girl... a beautiful young lady!

Happy 12th Birthday Damaris Mikaelia Almon! I am so blessed and honored to be your Mamma! I pray that as you continue on this journey called life that you will surround yourself with things of beauty and honor, people who love and respect you, and walk with the grace and peace that our God gives us through our relationship with God and community. I love you so much!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cooking With C.C. ~ Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing

It's time for the 3rd installment of Cooking with C.C. On Tuesday, we made Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing. My 34th birthday was on Tuesday and I chose to have this instead of a birthday cake. The recipe says that these scones will be similar to Starbucks Pumpkin Scones. We'll see at the end of the recipe whether that is accurate.

Here are most of the ingredients for this recipe. I think I hadn't gotten a couple out of the fridge yet. I'll spell them out as we go so you'll know exactly how much you'll need of everything.

This recipe seems to work best when you have 3 cooks in the kitchen. The 3 cooks present today are Damaris, Katie, and me! :)

You'll want to go ahead and pre-heat the oven to 350*.

In a bowl, combine 2 cups of gluten free all purpose flour,

1 tablespoon baking powder,

1/2 teaspoon sea salt,

1 teaspoon xanthan gum,

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon,

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves,

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg,

and 4 tablespoons brown sugar.

Whisk these dry ingredients together.

Add 7 tablespoons butter to dry ingredients. We found it best to slice the butter into smaller pieces.

Use the wire whisk attachment on your hand mixer to mix until the dough appears sandy in texture.

To the dough, add in 1/2 cup canned pumpkin.

In a separate bowl, use a fork to whisk one large egg until it is frothy.

Then add the egg into the large bowl.

Add 3 tablespoons sugar-free maple syrup into the large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons almond milk and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice.

Whisk the almond milk and lemon juice together with a fork.

Add almond milk and lemon juice mixture to the larger bowl.

Use your hand mixer with the regular beaters on it to beat the batter briefly until the dough forms a smooth mass.

You do not need to beat the dough very long - just until it is mixed.

When you're finished mixing, you probably will need to use a rubber spatula to get the dough off the beaters.

Spray a baking pan (I think this is a 9X13) with cooking spray and spoon dough into pan. (You could also use a pie pan. We just didn't have one handy.)

Spray your hands with cooking spray (see, I did learn from my mistake when making the Gluten Free Rice Krispies Pumpkins) and then shape the dough until flat. Make sure and spread the dough to the edges of the pan.

Use a knife and cut the dough into pieces (I cut ours straight down the middle and then into 5 rows for a total of 10 scones - since we did ours in a rectangular pan, our scones are more rectangular in shape versus triangular). At this point, you have the option of either baking the scones in this pan or removing them and baking them in a separated fashion on a baking sheet. We chose to leave them in the rectangular pan.

Brush the tops of the scones with almond milk and then place them into the oven to bake. Bake until the scones are firm and slightly golden - roughly 20 minutes.

Allow the scones to cool (don't they look amazing!) while you make the icing.

In a clean bowl, combine 1 cup powdered sugar,

2 tablespoons sugar-free maple syrup,

1 tablespoon almond milk,

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Beat until smooth while adding more almond milk until the icing is creamy, but not too thin (I think we added 1/2 tablespoon more). Taste test and add more nutmeg if it needs it (ours didn't need it). Beat the icing for three to four minutes.

Spoon the icing over the scones (another option is to put the icing in a pastry bag and draw squiggles of icing on the scones). Spread with a rubber spatula.

Voila - pumpkin scones. Eat while warm.

Share with everyone in the house, including your 3 year old niece Lola who won't be satisfied with just one scone. Explain to her that there are only enough scones for everyone to have one. Then convince her that playing with toys in the living room is a perfect thing to do after eating a pumpkin scone.

Devour the scones so quickly that the pan is almost empty within an hour of baking. Decide next time to either make a bigger batch or bake when no one is home so you can have the entire batch of scones for yourself!

Now, as to whether these are like the Starbucks pumpkin scones, not quite in my opinion. There was something taste-wise missing, but I'm not sure what it is. I'll have to try to figure it out. Texture-wise, the tops were pretty much spot on, but the sides were much softer than Starbucks. I think it was because we baked it in a pan that didn't allow much space between the scones. Katie took a scone home to her hubby and she said that the sides firmed up between the time she left with the scone and the time he ate it later in the evening. That's a bit confusing to me because the recipe says to eat them immediately. I guess I'll have to make more and try different things to see what happens. You know that will be a huge sacrifice for me to bake and eat all those scones, but I'll do it for you, my loyal blog readers. :)

This recipe came from the Gluten Free Goddess. Check out her blog which is full of tons of great recipes. We did make a few edits to the recipe so if you want the original, you'll want to visit her website to get it.

Hope you've enjoyed this episode of Cooking with C.C. I'll be back next week with another gluten free pumpkin recipe. Enjoy!