Chocolate pudding – vegan, healthy

This is from one of my go-to blogs for vegan, vegetarian food.  Angela has such a way with words and she seems to work effortless magic in the kitchen.  Here’s her best chocolate pudding recipe – just in time for the holiday season.

Best Chocolate Pudding (tofu-free!)

by Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows

Prep Time:10 mins, Cook Time:0,

Keywords: raw no bake snack dessert vegetarian vegan soy-free nut-free gluten-free low-sodium


The most luxurious chocolate pudding I have EVER tasted! You won’t go back to the regular kind once you try this pudding.

Ingredients (approx 1.5 cups)

  • 2 cups avocado flesh (approx 4 medium avocados), pitted and scooped out
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter (or omit for nut free)
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder (thickener, probably optional)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, melted (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

Instructions

  • 1. Place all filling ingredients (except chocolate chips) into food processor. Process until smooth. You can either stop here for a lighter pudding or move onto the next step for a more intense chocolate pudding!
  • 2. Melt chocolate chips in microwave and then add into food processor mixture. Process until smooth. Makes about 1.5 cups.

In the original post, she serves this up on a chocolate cake base.

Love & Hate

When we’re kids we say things like “we hate peas” as we shudder at the site of them.  We say “we love ice cream” so much we’re asked if we wanna “marry it.”  Ah, the funny kids things say. 

Even kids get that what you say you “hate” you can’t “love” and vice versa.  They are truly opposites much like “wet and dry” “hot and cold,” “clean and dirty.”  There are absolutes.  There is no kinda hate, or kinda love.  You either do or you don’t. 

Recently, the word “hate” was thrown my way.  And, for the first time in my life I realized that “hate” was solely the issue of the person using that word.  Nothing I had said or did could cause this person to despise me to their very core.  Nothing I could do could cause the hate to fade, either. 

Hate is not only the absence of love for a person, but also the incessant wish of “bad” will for that person.  It is the absolute absence of compassion.  Hate is based on a debt that is perceived as unforgivable and unnegotiable.    

Hate may appear to be reflected at one person or one ideal, but it steals attention from other areas of your life.  Where there is hate, there is less room for love – for joy – for personal growth.  It takes energy to feel hate – act on hate – show hate.  It takes committment to continue the hate – to allow it to hold on to you.  It takes even more energy to try to hide the hate. 

Life is too short for hate.  Forgiveness is the only way to move forward.   Warranted or not, you must forgive and forget.  Where there is no hate, there is peace.   And in peace, love can grow.

A simple RAW brownie recipe

This is on my list of things to try.  It came highly recommended from two sources: Loving Simple Living and the originator Wayfaring Chocolate.

Credit: wayfaringchocolate.com

Here’s a link to the original recipe from Wayfaring Chocolate: http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2011/01/18/raw-brownies-with-chocolate-icing-of-pure-amazingness/

I want to try to make these date and honey sweetened brownies.  Yum!

Chores for kids – by age

In yesterday’s post, I listed enlisting kids to help with dusting.  Apparently, there’s quite a bit more that I can ask them to do.  See the list below from Tip Junkie.

What kids can do at each age. Here’s an outline for training them to be independent.

3 years

  • Dress Self
  • Use Toilet independently
  • Beginning to brush teeth
  • Pick up toys
  • Clean Glass tables

4 years

  • brush teeth
  • make bed
  • make own breakfast
  • make sandwiches
  • beginning to clean room

5 years old

  • straighten room
  • vacuum
  • empty garbage cans
  • set table
  • clear table
  • make own lunch
  • warm up canned food
  • get allowance

6 years old

  • take shower
  • dust
  • load dishwasher
  • empty dishwasher
  • clean sinks
  • run microwave
  • water plants
  • make and answer phone calls

7 years old

  • wash dishes
  • floss teeth
  • clean toilets
  • pull weeds
  • have a savings account
  • read with comprehension

8 years old

  • groom nails and hair
  • get up by self
  • participate in team sports or clubs
  • develop personal talents
  • clean mirrors
  • memorize phone number and address
  • do own hair
  • begin piano lessons

9 years old

  • mop floor
  • clean pictures
  • bake cakes and cookies
  • understand emergency preparedness
  • learn basic first aid
  • fill car with gas
  • wash car
  • vacuum interior of car
  • hammer nails
  • saw wood
  • cook vegetables
  • write letters
  • understand puberty and sex
  • use email
  • understand basic science
  • wrap presents
  • sew on buttons

10 years old

  • do own laundry completely
  • set personal goals
  • play musical instrument
  • maintain personal journal
  • participate in exercise program
  • rent videos
  • clean stove and oven
  • make several kinds of salad
  • understand basic nutrition
  • use leaf blower
  • plant plants
  • place a collect call
  • use a pay phone
  • place a long distance call
  • write creatively

11 years old

  • arrange for own haircuts
  • clean refrigerator
  • clean cupboards
  • straighten drawers and closets
  • sew hems
  • bake pies and bread
  • make several main dishes
  • iron own clothes
  • plan meals
  • mow lawn
  • use weed whacker
  • maintain garden
  • place credit card call
  • start basic mission prep
  • have good math skills
  • use a camera
  • learn to crochet or knit
  • participate in first aid training
  • take a babysitting class
  • clean windows
  • use internet (filtered)

12 years old

  • shop for clothing
  • have basic fashion awareness
  • plan wardrobe
  • develop reading program
  • read newspaper
  • speak in public
  • make and keep dentist/doctor appt.
  • understand weight control
  • keep personal calendar
  • understand basic filing
  • use common computer programs
  • order something by mail or phone or internet
  • paint interior or exterior of house
  • baby sit
  • mend clothing

 This is an excerpt from the a blog post by the Tip Junkie, to see the full post including ages 13-16, follow this link: http://printable.tipjunkie.com/chores-at-what-age/

Household cleaning hacks

Dusting

Try dusting cloth lampshades with a lint roller. It works quickly and effectively without the hassle of a vacuum. Slip an old unmatched sock on your hand and dust as you go.

Katie’s tip:  Give your kids an old washcloth and let ’em at it.  Make it a game to see how many dust bunnies they can catch.

Windows and Mirrors

Use old newspapers to clean mirrors and windows. You’ll have a great disposable cleaning rag and be recycling at the same time. Vinegar is an inexpensive easy cleaner that can be used on windows and mirrors. To prevent streaking and extra rubbing, wait for an overcast day to clean your mirrors and windows. 

Katie’s Tip:  When you’re done cleaning the bathroom mirror, use the same towel to wipe down the chrome faucet at the sink.  When cleaning windows and screen doors, use the same towel to wipe the dust off the window sill.

Cleaning Out the Microwave

Bring a cup of water to boil in the microwave, the steam will help loosen dried on particles making them easily wiped away.

Scrubbing the Toilet

Put toilet cleaner in the toilet to soak while you wipe down the outside. The inside dirt and stains will be loosened and more easily cleaned. Buy a drop-in toilet cleaner dispenser, to increase the time between needed cleanings.

Katie’s Tip:  Use the towel from cleaning the mirrors and counters to wipe down the outside of the sink.  For homes with little boys, wipe down the floor and walls near the toilet occasionally.   You can’t see it, but it’s likely that some splash over has landed here and will smell if it’s not taken care of.

Cleaning Out the Refrigerator

Briefly clean out trash and bad food each trash day morning. It only takes a few minutes to dump the stuff, and will clear out space to make cleaning easier. Use baking soda to wipe down the inside of the refrigerator. It scrubs and eliminates odors without damaging surfaces.

Cleaning Out the Oven

On nights when you get take out, take a few moments and spray the inside of the oven with oven cleaner. Then after dinner, or the next morning if your stains are tough, you”ll be able to wipe away the dirt and grime easily, without missing the use of your oven.

Filing Paperwork

Make filing time coincide with a favorite show that you feel guilty for taking time to watch. Most filing can be done with little thinking, and you’ll get to watch your favorite show in the process. Sort the papers into categories based on your file names. Don’t forget to include trash. You’ll be surprised how much of the pile you won’t need to keep.

Katie’s tip:  Recycle all the mixed office paper you can.  Shred anything that you don’t keep that includes personal information (account numbers, birthdates, etc.)

Laundry

Make each person responsible for washing, drying, and putting away their own clothing. Write and post some basic instructions in the laundry room. Have a trial period where your trainees assist you with their clothing. If you get truly overwhelmed by your laundry, check out a local Laundromat that will wash, dry, and fold your loads for you. These services frequently charge by the pound for laundry and aren’t inexpensive, but may save you time and energy when life starts to overwhelm.

Katie’s Tip:  Don’t let clean laundry pile up.  Don’t put anything in the washer until the dryer is empty.  Fold clothes right out of the dryer and put away immediately.  It is less work to fold and put away one load of laundry at a time than 3 loads. 

Washing Dishes

Let the person who is in charge of washing the dishes, get to pick out dessert. When you begin cooking, run a sink of hot soapy water, and wash as you go. Food on dishes won’t have a chance to harden, and you’ll be that much ahead when the meal is done. Keep a supply of disposable plates, flatware, and cups. On nights when you’re overwhelmed by double-header Little League games on the same night as PTA, you won’t have to worry about dishes. Washing dishes can be a great time to have a parent interview with a child you need to reconnect with. The job may not go more quickly, but you’ll be accomplishing a lot more than clean dishes.

Katie’s Tips:  Have you’re family put their plates and cups in the dishwasher after large food articles have been removed.  When, the dishwasher’s cycle has finished, take the 2-3 minutes necessary to put the dishes away at the first opportunity.  Doing this will keep the dishwasher available for dirty dishes – keeping the sink free of piled up dirty dishes.

Clearing Clutter

Find a local charity to donate items to prior to a clutter clearing session. Some charities may even be able to pick up your donations at a prearranged time, saving you a trip. Label various storage containers before you begin to sort your clutter. A label makes placing items in the right category a much easier task. Go through and grab obvious trash as the first step. Once the trash is gone, it makes it easier to see what you want to keep, and just how much stuff you’ll need to get rid of.

Katie’s Tip:  Only keep the things you need.  Freecycle, donate, or sell the rest.  Keep clutter from coming in to your home.  Say no to promotional freebies (keychain flashlights, pens, letter openers).  Chances are you already have something that fills that need and don’t need another.

Cleaning Schedules

Reposted from About.com http://housekeeping.about.com/od/timesavingideas/a/shortcutsclean.htm

The most important things…

…aren’t things at all.  With kids, it’s the time we spend with them that counts the most. 

This is an excerpt of a blog post from my friend, Narrelle’s website.  Narrelle, mom to two young kids, is a family/kid/couple photographer based in Austrailia.  Her post today really struck a chord with me.  I need to bookmark this.  I need to engrave this on my wall.  It’s a message I need to revisit often.  And, most of all, it’s a message that is totally true.

“At my son’s kinder there’s a wall covered in hand drawn pictures of a lot of rather odd-looking daddies. And descriptions that go with them, to explain why (despite their odd cartoonish looks) they’re the best daddies in the whole wide world. Every sentence starts out “I love my daddy because….” and every single answer is based on what their daddy does with them. Not for them, but with them. It really struck me the first time I stood there and took them all in. I love my daddy because he gives me the best piggy back rides. I love my daddy because he takes me to Bunnings and lets me push the trolley. I love my daddy because he gives mummy and me lots of hugs and kisses. I love my daddy because he tickles me until my tummy hurts. I love my daddy because he plays trains with me. The list obviously goes on.

I have a weakness, while out shopping, of buying the kids things. Usually just little things that might cost a dollar or two, but it’s a quick and easy fix for making me feeling like a good mother, for wiping out the irrational snappy reply I just gave them. But two weeks on they don’t even remember what we bought that afternoon, let alone where it is. They remember that we caught the train to the shops and we had a coffee together, and on the way home people laughed at us because we kept getting the words wrong to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. They don’t even remember the irrational snappy reply. Ten minutes sitting together over caffeine (for me) and steamed milk froth (for them), and unabashed giggles on crowded public transport trumps a stressed mum in a bad mood who buys her kids toys to make herself feel better.

Why am I sharing this? I don’t know really. Other than to say how continually surprised I am to find that all our kids really need is us. The hugs. The kisses. The chasing of butterflies. The dizzy whizzies. The silly faces. The nonsensical songs. The tickles. The horsey back rides. The wearing of pretty weeds flowers in our hair because our daughter thinks it looks beautiful. And it strikes me when I walk away from a photo session that has me feeling particularly happy that this is what it was all about. The hugs and the kisses and everything in between. Doing the kind of nothing that means everything.”

To see the whole post, visit Narrelle’s website at: http://www.njoythemoment.com.au/?p=4210&cpage=1#comment-2558