Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Week Alone

You may be thinking, why is a week alone very interesting?

It's unique, because up until this point, this month, we have not been able to stay at home alone when both of my parents were gone. Not only did my parents not want us to be alone, but also because there wasn't anyone to drive us places, cook for us, and not to mention clean! 

The last two things, I've been able to do for a few years now. Those aren't too hard. BUT, yes, there is a "but". Not until the 21st of January, when Caleb got his driver's license here in Czech, could we be home without anyone else here! 

Here in Czech, for those of you who don't know, you can get your driver's license until 18. Caleb celebrated his 18th birthday on the 20th of January, so it was perfectly timed for when my parents were gone!

Mom left to the States for a week on Monday, and Dad left that same day to Estonia. Now Dad's back, and the house feels fuller again. It was a fun week, and my "mom" responsibilities continue until Thursday, when my mom comes home. Dad keeps reminding me that this is good training for me some day, but it still doesn't make it easier! I'm hoping he's right. That would make the extra work worth it!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A rainy day

There's nothing like a rainy day to get you into a comfortable, creative sort of mood. The sound of heavy drops falling on our roof, the deep gray/blue sky that seems to just hang there, the smell of fresh air outside. calms me.

I would like to share with you a picture that captures some of my favorite things on a day like today.

Hot tea. Baking. Warm light. The Bible.

These are things that make my heart happy. It doesn't take much, but a quiet moment with them is just enough.

What calms your spirit? What four things would equal a moment of happiness? I'd love to hear.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bran muffins and peanut butter cookies

I said that there was more to come, so here are the recipes that I promised!

Bran Muffins (recipe from Elana's Pantry)

Gluten Free Bran Muffins

½ cup blanched almond flour
½ cup flax meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
6 dates
3 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup water
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup raisins

  1. In a large bowl combine almond flour, flax meal, baking soda and salt
  2. In a Vitamix (or other high speed blender) blend dates, eggs, olive oil and water on high speed until very smooth
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry, then stir in sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and raisins
  4. Spoon batter into lined muffin tins
  5. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes
  6. Cool and serve
Made about 16 muffins if I remember correctly! 

Claire's tip: If you can only buy whole flax seeds, you can grind them in your food processor and that will work just fine for the flax meal! These taste great slightly warm with some butter and jam! Yum!

Peanut butter cookies (just the plain old classic recipe, but great all the same!)

1 cup peanut butter
3/4-1 cup (depending on how sweet you like it) sugar
1 egg

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Form little balls of dough and put on prepared baking sheet (you can make them however big you want!) Flatten with the palm of your hand.
4. Take a fork and make little indentations- just to make it look cool!
5. Bake at 350° (180°C) for nine minutes, or until edges are golden. 

Not sure how many these make- maybe 15? I can't remember!

Claire's tip: I made my own peanut butter in the food processor (grind peanuts until they release their oils), and used organic cane sugar instead of white sugar. This made forming the balls a lot more difficult, and there was more of a crumb to the cookie, but they tasted AMAZING. I didn't get any complaints from my family- they were all gone by the next day! 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


It's no secret that I love Elana Amsterdam's recipes. They are simple, easy to follow, highly nutritious and gluten-free.

This week, I've been home sick, so to keep me from feeling completely unproductive and lazy, I've been baking! I've made "bran" muffins, lemon cranberry muffins, oatmeal cookies, banana choc chip muffins, and peanut butter cookies. Most of these recipes I've gotten or adapted from Elana! 

You're probably wondering, "Your family ate ALL of these things in one week?". No. I took some of the muffins over to my friends the Tills, who appreciated them, since they are busy with a three-year-old son at their house right now! 

Lemon cranberry muffins (recipe adapted from Elana's Pantry)

1 cup blanched almond flour- if you can't have rice, use 2 cups of almond flour here
1 cup fine brown rice flour 
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup fresh/frozen cranberries
½ cup grapeseed oil
3 eggs
½ cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon lemon zest

  1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, rice flour, salt, baking soda and cranberries
  2. In a smaller bowl stir together oil, eggs, agave and lemon zest
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry
  4. Spoon batter in lined muffin tins
  5. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes
  6. Cool and serve
Makes 12 full muffins- I made mine smaller, which made 18 muffins

Claire's Tip: to change up this recipe, use frozen raspberries, blueberries, or sub lemon rind for orange rind! 
Banana Muffins (adapted from Elana's Pantry)

1 cup blanched almond flour- or omit rice flour and use 1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup brown/white rice flour
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup agave nectar
1-2 very ripe bananas (about ¾ to 1 cup mashed)
__ Chocolate chips- just dump in how ever much you want! Try 1/2 cup, and add more if needed

  1. In a large bowl, mix together almond flour, rice flour, arrowroot powder, salt and baking soda
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine eggs, grapeseed oil and agave and then stir in mashed bananas
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry
  4. Fold chocolate chips into batter
  5. Scoop batter one heaping ¼ cup at a time into lined muffin tin
  6. Bake at 350° for 15- 18 minutes or until lightly browned
Makes about 16 muffins

Claire's tip: add chopped nuts for a little crunch! Or top with whipped cream/ frosting and sprinkles and you've got a beautiful dessert to serve to guests!

More recipes to come!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The season in pictures

What better way to capture the last few weeks than through pictures?
 Our family all together again for the season! We got to take a special trip to Vienna three days before Christmas. We visited the Christmas markets, an Israeli restaurant, and Starbucks too!

 Of course, I had to have some roasted chestnuts at the Christmas market- my favorite! My dad was sweet and bought me some. :)

And...the best Bratwurst ever!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pictures continued...

Our Christmas tree this year was fresh from our yard! 
An annual picture on New Year's with Hannah and Hayley. :)
A little fun with my brothers...

I'll miss having Tyler around...but wish him all the best at Moody this semester!