Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mad Libs, Christmas, and Yog-Sothoth

Did you know they have crowd-sourced mad libs at You can read the one I wrote about a galactic hero's interview

Christmas was fun!  Even though Wes was sick the whole day, he put on a smiling face and we had a good time anyway.
It's a gymnastics mat for indoor tumbling!

Sapphire LOVES her chemistry set!
...and more LEGOs!

of course there are LEGOs...

We also had an End of the World party where we went back in time to the 20's to save the world from Yog-Sothoth (playing Arkham Horror).  SO, now you know why the world didn't end on December 21st like some thought it would.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Back in the Saddle

I've been out fighting the good fight, but Monday?

Monday, we RIDE.

I hope you'll spread the word and join me for more stories as we parent at the speed of life!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012 Anthropobiological Species Report (Earth, United States, New Mexico)

2012 Anthropobiological Species Report
(Earth, United States, New Mexico)

surveillance photo taken in June at Mammoth Cave in Utah
landaker quartz - This specimen has increased greatly not only in height, but in knowledge of electronics, science, and reading.  He appears to enjoy video games, legos, and riding his scooter with friends.  Vocalizations include "I wish that the bus driver forgot how to get to our bus stop over Spring Break." and "That's the thing about wizards. Do they even have moms?"

landaker onyx - When we checked on this human again, we were surprised to find him reading large quantities of books.  We were not surprised to see that he still builds legos, though the complexity of his designs has noticeably increased.  He was overheard to say, "I wish we didn't have to eat so that we would never have to use the bathroom" and "Grandma is full of a googol kisses and a million hugs".

landaker sapphire - We were a little confused when this specimen was reported to have said, "I'm part zombie, part ghost, part person, and part vampire" until we realized that the subject was pretending.  She seems to spend a lot of time pretending, and frequently invites others to do so as well.  She also enjoys making marks on paper to communicate with others.

The adults of the species do not appear to have changed much.  The one called "wesley" appears to have built a primitive 3D printer that can create plastic objects, and has changed his eating habits to exclude grains and simple carbohydrates, leading him to lose mass and shrink.  We are unsure if this behavior is intentional or instinctive.  The one with the appellation "andrea" has started taking care of a small non-human avian creature called a parakeet, and continues to make strange objects and foods that the humans sometimes seem to enjoy.  We will update our report next year as these humans continue to surprise us with their changes and strange behavior.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Low Carb Holiday Treats

Low Carb Christmas/Holiday Goodies

It seems like sweets are a holiday tradition almost everywhere. People trying to follow a no-sweets diet might feel a bit left out. But, here are some natural, low carb, dairy-free, no artificial sweetener, low glycemic index, actually yummy treats you can make easily.

Chocolate Covered Nuts
Chocolate Dipped Coconut Pyramids
Peanut Butter Fudge

Chocolate Covered Nuts
There's a macadamia inside! My attempt at tempering didn't work so well, though...
You will need some shelled nuts, preferably raw & unsalted (macadamia, hazelnut, and almond are great choices), and some chocolate.  I use 3.5 oz 90% Lindt bar, which does have a tiny amount of sugar in it, but it has a great texture.  If you use a bar of unsweetened chocolate, you will probably need to add some sweetener (half a packet of Stevia or a tablespoon or so of agave work well to make bittersweet chocolate).

First, melt the chocolate. You can use a double boiler, or do it 30 seconds at a time in the microwave, stirring in between.  The main idea is to melt it slowly and stir it a lot. Add any sweetener you are using to the melted chocolate. 

Next, you will need some sort of chocolate mold that fits your nuts.  You can use an ice cube tray, or a well-washed soap mold, or muffin tins, or silicon muffin cups, or anything that the nut will fit in.  If it's too big for individual nuts, you can put it several nuts to make clusters. Grease the mold (spraying them works well). Pour a thin layer of chocolate into each mold you are using.

Put a nut into each mold that has chocolate in it.  Then, pour chocolate over it until it's covered.  Let cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then in the fridge for another 10 minutes.  The idea is to cool the chocolate slowly so that it will temper better and not have those unsightly spots, but it comes out of the molds better from the fridge.

Turn upside and tap the molds to get the chocolates out, and enjoy!

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Pyramids

These gluten-free treats can also be made low carb by using the following recipe:

1/2 tsp. agave
pinch of stevia powder (optional)
3/4 c. shredded dried unsweetened coconut
1 large egg white
dash of salt
1 tsp. melted butter or shortening
1/8 tsp. almond extract
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
1 oz. chocolate for dipping

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone.  Put in a bowl the agave, stevia, coconut, egg white, salt, melted butter, and extracts.  Stir thoroughly (you can use your hands if you like), and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Moisten hands with water so the cookies don't stick.  Take about a tablespoon of the coconut mixture and squish it in your hands until it's a compact ball. Place them on your cookie sheet, and then press them into a pyramid shape.  You can use your hands to make a pyramid with three sides, or use the back of a spatula to make a pyramid with four sides.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.

After they have cooled completely, melt the chocolate (as described above, either in a double boiler or in the microwave) and dip the top half of each pyramid in the chocolate.  Let cool at room temperature until the chocolate is hard.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

3/4 c. chocolate (chips or bar of your choice, broken up)
1/2 c. peanut butter (unsweetened for serious low carb)
1/4 c. chopped peanuts
1 tsp. vanilla extract
(optional sweetener or choice)

Heat the peanut butter in the microwave for about 1 minute or until melted.  If it starts to bubble or pop, stop it right away.  Add the chocolate and stir until completely melted.  Add the peanuts and vanilla extract and sweetener, if desired.

Pour mixture into greased 8x4 pan and refrigerate until firm.  Enjoy!