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Birthday Birds

June 2, 2013

Cardinal   RedTailHawk

My friend, Jonah, had me paint these for his parents for their birthdays, which are just a few days apart in May. His mom’s favorite bird is a Cardinals, and dad’s is a Red-tailed hawk. It was a really fun and challenging project.

I’ve got some artwork going up at The Big Bean in Newmarket on Friday, and there will be new stuff in my Etsy shop soon (which is now officially called Caracol Studio!).

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Healthy Homemade Samoas

April 1, 2013

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Samoas were always my favorite Girl Scout cookie. Despite years of hating coconut after an unfortunate coconut pudding incident, they always won out over the close second, Thin Mints. When Ben came home with a box of each the other day I was excited until I saw what was in them… a quick look at the ingredients in Samoas (ahem, I should say Caramel deLites- what a terrible name!) reveals this:

ingredients

Literally the only thing I’m comfortable eating in there is coconut. So I was psyched when I came across this recipe from cooking ala mel on Pinterest. No hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup, not even any wheat or dairy. I took it a step farther by making my own chocolate (mostly because I didn’t have enough chocolate chips, but why not go ahead and make them completely raw while I’m at it?). They are DELICIOUS and, dare I say, better than the originals.

These are comprised of three basic layers that are pressed into a parchment-lined 9″ x 9″ pan. I actually used a slightly smaller pan, so mine came out a bit thicker.

“Shortbread” Base
2 cups walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup raw honey
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t sea salt
Pulse the walnuts and coconut in a food processor. Add the other ingredients and continue to pulse until it forms a dough. Press into your lined pan.
Coconut “Caramel”
1 1/2 cups dates
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 t vanilla
1/8 t salt
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
Put the dates in hot water to soak. In the meantime, toast the coconut at 350° until golden brown (about 5 to 8 minutes). Drain the dates, and pulse in a food processor until it forms a paste. Mix in the coconut milk, vanilla, and salt, and then add the  coconut and pulse until combined. Spread this evenly over the “shortbread” and place in the freezer to firm up.

Raw Chocolate
Based on this recipe from Empowered Sustanence
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 Tbs. maple syrup
Pinch salt
If your coconut oil is solid, scoop out 1/4 cup and melt on the stovetop (or just throw it in the toaster oven for a few minutes after toasting the coconut until it melts). Mix in the cocoa powder, maple syrup, and salt. If you want it a bit sweeter add maple syrup to taste. If your coconut oil got really warm let the mixture sit in the fridge for a few minutes to let it thicken. Take the pan with the other layers out of the freezer and cut into squares. Dip the bottom of each square in the chocolate and set on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Finally, drizzle chocolate over the cookies and place back in the freezer.

These do need to be stored in the freezer, but they won’t harden up too much. You won’t be storing them long though, good luck not eating them all right away!

The Finestkind of Beard

March 7, 2013

Introducing… the hop beard!

HopBeard

I painted this hop beard for Portsmouth Craft Beer Week. It sold right away but I hope to have more up in my Etsy shop soon. I’m even thinking about making greeting cards (“Hoppy Beardthday” anyone?).

Maple Spice Granola

February 20, 2013

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I always have a large batch of homemade granola on hand. It’s great for breakfast instead of cereal or to just to top some oatmeal or a smoothie for added crunch. Granola’s something that’s so easy to make at home you’ll never buy any ever again. You’ll save money and avoid those nasty vegetable oils and refined sugars found in the store bought versions. Instead, this calls for coconut oil and maple syrup to sweeten. You can even play with switching up the kinds of nuts and seeds depending on what you have on hand, but this is my favorite combo.

Note that this granola isn’t the chunkiest. If you really want those clumps you can add a couple of egg whites to the wet ingredients to get everything to stick together a little better, although I usually don’t bother.

5 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup pecans
1 cup pepitas
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup water
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 egg whites (optional)

1. Preheat over to 350° (if your coconut oil is solid at this point spoon it into an oven-safe bowl and put it in to melt while you prepare the rest of the ingredients)
2. Mix together oats, almonds, pecans, and pepitas. Stir in water, maple syrup, coconut oil and egg whites, if using. Mix in the salt, spices, and vanilla extract
3. Pour into a large ungreased roasting pan and bake, stirring occasionally, for an hour or until browned.

Let cool and enjoy with fruit and homemade almond milk!

Remi on the run

February 10, 2013
Remi on the run by shebbels
Remi on the run a photo by shebbels on Flickr.
This might just be my favorite picture of all. Of course now Rem is rolling around half-sedated on the living room floor trying to get the cone off of his neck. An eye injury, vet visit, and $175 later he can’t be scratching at his eye, so this poor guy’s got to wear an E-collar for the next week. He’s not a happy camper.
You can see more pics of Remi here.

Meet the pup!

January 23, 2013

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A week and a half ago we went to Vermont for the day and came back with this little guy! Remi is a four month old Redbone Coonhound mix- he’s probably got some lab in him. He’s a ball of energy but crashes hard and could sleep a solid 13 hours every night.

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Oh yeah, I went to Thailand.

December 28, 2012

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Ben and I recently returned from two weeks in Thailand. Despite losing my wallet, finding my wallet, losing my iPhone, a possible bout of Dengue for Ben and bed bugs for both of us, it was an amazing trip. We went to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Yao Noi, Krabi and Railay, gobbling up as much cheap, delicious street food as we could along the way. Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip.

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There was a ton that we didn’t get to do; I would have loved to see Ayuthaya, Sukhothai, Chiang Rai, Ko Samui, Ko Tao, Ko Phi Phi, and anything in Northeast Thailand, but it just wasn’t in the cards. I guess this calls for a return trip someday. I’ll add some restaurant recommendations to my travel page as soon as I get a chance to type them up.