Thursday, February 28, 2013

Resolution Update #2

How did this month go? February wasn't the greatest month for my resolutions, but I did make progress in a few areas.

1) Lose the 15-20 lbs of baby weight that refuse to disappear nicely on their own! 
The scale still isn't showing much progress, but I did meet with the personal trainer at the gym and she gave me some ideas of a few circuits I could do for strength training and toning both in the gym and at home. I'm aiming to get to the gym 3-4 times a week, and did so this past week. Hopefully by the March update, I'll finally see some progress here! I ordered my bridesmaids dress for SIL's wedding, so now it's on...

2)  Read 25 books.

I only read two books this month, and one was a book that I started last year but never got around to finishing until now. I will still count it though. Sick kids and school vacation did a number on my reading time, so I'm glad I at least read something. And with 7 books in 2 months, I should still be able to meet my goal of 25 books this year.

6. The Beggar King: A Hangman's Daughter Tale by Oliver Potsch
The latest in the Hangman's Daughter series, and the followup to the book I read last month. I still enjoyed all the characters and appreciated the change of scenery from the small town of Schongau to the big city of Regensburg. I look forward to what happens next in this series. Again, the author's notes at the end of the book about the true history and descriptions of all of these German locations was as interesting as the story itself.

7. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
The third book in a series about a time traveling nurse Claire and her Scottish Highlander beau Jamie. I really enjoyed the characters developed in the first book Outlander, but found this one harder to stay with. Part of that may be due to the fact that I didn't get to finish this book in a timely fashion, but I'm not sure I'm invested in the series enough to read book 4. 

3) Explore a new hobby and take more pictures. 
I've been having fun playing around with my new 50mm 1.8 camera lens and have been taking a lot of pictures with that. Mostly of Baby A since he is the most convenient subject! On the recommendation of a couple of friends, I also joined ClickinMoms, a website for moms who love photography, both amateur and professional. I hope I'll be able to learn a lot more through their forums, and maybe even a beginner course.

 4) Blog more.
This month I wrote 3 posts (including this one).  Here's where I really fell off...Hope March brings more time to think and write!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for VEGAN Ice Cream!!!

For Christmas, SIL gave us a fancy ice cream maker. But even more wonderfully, she gave us a book full of dairy free ice cream recipes!!

The New Scoop by Alina Niemi

Due to C's milk allergy, we've never been able to enjoy the traditional family outing to the ice cream shop at the end of a fun summer day. Yes, there are soy ice creams that one can buy, and our freezer is typically stocked with some of these, but the flavors are limited. I've always thought about trying to make my own ice cream for C, but didn't know how to begin. I never even thought to look for a book on how to make dairy free ice cream. It just didn't occur to me that such a thing existed! But as I discovered, this book plays to a wider audience than just those with food allergies, also targeting people who are vegan, people who prefer to make their own ice cream to avoid common additives like dyes and preservatives, people who like the idea of using the freshest produce, and those who just want to experiment with exciting new flavors of ice cream!

The boys requested that we make a "normal" flavor first, which was easy since the book does have a section detailing how to make the most typical flavors. They settled on strawberry ice cream, and it was quite fun to make our own beautiful pink ice cream with fresh strawberries, tofu, soymilk and some oil for fat. It tasted quite like the store bought strawberry soy ice cream we've had in the past.

Our First Homemade Vegan Ice Cream Experiment!

For our next experiment, I wanted to try something more adventurous, and went for Avocado ice cream. With great flavor from fresh avocados and freshly squeezed lime juice, this came out delicious!! I will definitely make this again.

Avocado Ice Cream
Most recently I tried the Pomegranate-Strawberry-Banana Sorbet recipe and that too was delicious! While I love this book for its dairy-free aspect, I've also come to appreciate just how delicious and healthy freshly made ice cream can be! I look forward to whipping up a lot more flavors in the future!
Pomegranate-Strawberry-Banana Sorbet

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Picture Update

Somehow it's been 3 weeks since I last posted. I have been taking a lot of pictures though. I got a new 50mm/1.8 lens and have been enjoying playing around with it. I'm also thinking of taking a photography course to learn how to use the manual settings on my camera, but we'll see if/when I can fit that in.

A few pictures from the last couple weeks...

One of many snows!
Valentine's Day brought a pretty bouquet!
Fun with Chalk...
...and Trains!