Monday, April 14, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

It's a cold (in the 40s, y'all, in Central Texas) and rainy day today. It stormed and thundered and lightening-ed and hailed last night. While others complain about the cold, I relish it. I loathe summer. I loathe heat. So, I'm a happy camper today with the weather.

It seemed only perfect to do some baking.

Back on Valentine's Day I blogged the vegan ganache truffles I made. My daughter noticed I still had some chocolate in the freezer, so she suggested I make some vegan chocolate chunk cookies. How do you argue with that?

While I didn't exactly have chocolate chips, we did 'chunks' out of the vegan (dairy free) chocolate I had.

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate - chocolate chips, chunks, bark chopped up....etc.
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream together the coconut oil (I melt mine in the microwave) ; brown sugar, then add the almond milk.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Combine the wet & dry ingredients. It's a dry dough...meaning it's crumbly. When you make the balls for the cookies, it all comes together. Then fold in the chocolate & any other mix-ins of your choosing.
  5. Roll into Tbsp sized balls & place them on a cookie sheet (or on a sheet of parchment paper on the baking sheet), then flatten them out a bit with your palm. 
  6. Bake for 7-10 minutes.

Chopping the chocolate!

Cookie balls!

The chopped chocolate is just chunked and

There they are!


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Saturday, April 12, 2014

New Items at DawnMoodyDesign

It's been busy here...taking orders, processing orders, shipping orders, gallery work work!

And I am not complaining!

Last night, I was a part of the opening of The Cast in Downtown Waco gallery opening. The Creative Art Studio & Theater, a creative arts space in downtown Waco, is home to the Brazos Theatre Group. Classes, workshops, gallery and more! It's a great place, I met some wonderfully talented people and some of my art is hung on the walls!  Just an awesome thing to get to be a part of!

I also have some new items in the store!

WIRED is a series of word necklaces from wire.

Light Up Wine Bottles....battery operated lights inside a wine bottle decorated with glass baubles in the shape of grapes, leaves and a twine bow.

Announcement/Commemorative Hangers....for baby, weddings, anniversary..

Stop by DawnMoodyDesign and take a look around!

Vegan Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Banana Bread

That's a mouthful.

Literally. A good, sweet mouthful of goodness.

My daughter has become quite the baker and she's been wanting to make something with the dying bananas that have been patiently waiting to made into something. Originally, she wanted to make a banana type cake....with dark chocolate chips. Since we cook vegan, the chips had to be vegan.

Mama's been a bit preoccupied with getting my art together for a gallery showing this weekend and couldn't make it to the store. Bad MommieDawn...I know. And today I'm recouping from having this fibro-ed, RA'ed Aspie'ed body standing for about two hours. I have to decompress the Aspie mind and recoup this pain ridden body...and that all takes time.

I'm very honored and excited to have my art hang at The Cast downtown and to be among many awesome local artists! The exposure is incredible and I've met some great people through this experience!  I plan to be way more involved in my wonderful town that we call home now.

Ok, back to the food!  So, since I've not been able to get to the store, my little resourceful child wanted to make something out of what we do we just put together a loaf of Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread....vegan of course.

As I do, I find a recipe I like and tweak it to make it my own. In this case, it was taking a normal recipe and making it vegan...but delicious!

*Remember - 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce takes the place of one egg to make recipes vegan.

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf

3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
3/4 cup sugar
¼ cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
1 ½ flour

For the swirl:
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Oil and flour a loaf pan. Or spray it. Whatever you normally do. I used a normal sized bread loaf pan....a glass one.

Mix bananas, melted coconut oil, sugar, applesauce, and vanilla together. sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture. Then gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix! This is a somewhat dry batter...more like a loose dough, so don't worry it's not sopping wet.

In a small dish, mix together the 1/3 cup sugar and 1 Tbs cinnamon.

Add 1/2 of the batter to the loaf pan and then sprinkle half, or a little more than half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter, and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon-sugar on top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, but remember, if you’re using a different-sized loaf pan, be careful and keep a close eye on it!

Fresh out of the oven! The house smells DELICIOUS!

The swirl is close to the bottom...

See that plump, warm, juicy, sweet raisin?
Yeah...I ate, real quick. 

The top is a crust of cinnamon sugar goodness!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Open Letter To Parenthood on NBC

I just can't watch the show.

While it's wonderful there is an Aspie on the show....I nor my daughter as (as Aspies ourselves) just can't take it.

At first, I thought it was cool to see a character my daughter (a teen) could possibly relate to. I thought of the possibilities for her to embrace her AS and not be frustrated with it. I was let down, though. My daughter can't find anything to relate to in Max Braverman....nor can I. It seems Max is the extreme of every possible situation an Aspie could ever be in.  To me, it's just not reality.

All I hear my daughters say is, "I can't stand this show! I am not like that!" As a mother, it makes me sad that the show failed at such a great opportunity. Don't get me wrong, the meltdowns are real....I've witnessed them. Hell, I've had them. It just seems there's not grey area...down time....  Trust me....I get the walking on egg shells, but it's just not realistic to us.

Then there's all the talking that goes on in front of Max...discouraging talk...scared talk. About him or his AS. In front of him. He's not an infant....we know he can hear. That, again, is not realistic. If he freaks out over something, the parents seem scared to ever allow him to do or try again. The anxiety of a parent is almost paralyzing anxiety stress to a kid....even more so for an AS kid. We can feel the stress like vibrations going through us.

In tonight's episode, Max had a meltdown over extra questions for homework that would cut into his time at Hank's studio. Hank seemed to be the only one to help him move through the meltdown....yet no praise seems to be given to Max for moving through them....ever, it seems.  He seems to be rewarded when he acts normal, but not rewarded for being Autistic and learning to move through meltdowns.

It just doesn't make sense to me.When I tell someone I or my daughter has AS, the first response usually is, "OH! Like on Parenthood?!"  And I have to hold my breath before I say (but shout in my head),"NO!"  I understand that every Aspie is different....but this portrayal of AS to such a broad people is just irresponsible. To give people who never have heard of Aspergers THIS view, THIS mediahyped definition just kills me. And I know I'm not alone. And, yes, I understand it's a 'show', I understand it's about a family, not just Aspegers. But, come on. The reality is, people suck this up as gospel.

It's not something that is so detrimental to a parent. I'm that parent. I'm that Aspie. And there is SOOOO much more to it than this show allows. There are the moments that I've watched my child BLOSSOM into an artist, a critic, a photographer, a chef and more. More, every day. When I found out she and I were wasn't SHOCK. Shock was how the show portrayed it...  For me is was "FINALLY!" It was almost a rejoice! I didn't 'break the news' to family like I found out we just had cancer. I told everyone with a smile in my face...and if there were tears, they were tears of joy because it was an answer. It was an answer as to why I seemed to be the only one on the planet that spoke the same language as my child. Since then, it's been learning and teaching and growing. Not tippie toe-ing around like she's a bomb. Not trying to 'fix' us. Not like these parents at all.

Oh yes, I did say I can't watch it..and I did say 'In tonight's episode...', I tried to give it another chance. I can't make it through an entire episode because the dialog, while I understand it's trying to sound unscripted and's too much. Too much noise...too much back and forth and no one takes a breath and gives our ears (and nerves) a break. I'm a nervous wreck watching it.

So...I have to be done. From one mama Aspie...and a teen Aspie....we're done. We just can't.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chocolate Swirl Vegan Banana Bread

This is such a simple bread that can be a snack, dessert or breakfast. The recipe is the one I used when making the Vegan Banana Muffins but I added some cocoa powder.

When you have all the ingredients combined....separate the batter in half into two bowls. To one bowl, add about 3 tbs of cocoa powder and stir until it's all combined in the batter. Then, in your bread pan, pour the regular batter in first, then the chocolate batter and swirl it around with a knife.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

26 Things Girls Want To Know About Guys But Are Too Afraid To take

A friend of mine posted this to of course I had to add my own response.....because.....well, because I cant help it.

And, for the most part, I'm not blown away. Maybe it's because I grew up with only brothers. Maybe it's because I've watched every creepy, TMI 80s movie that told me how gross boys are. Maybe it's because I'm not really shy about asking people personal things. Who knows?

Found HERE at BuzzFeed
1. No, we don’t sit on our balls. (But they can rest in uncomfortable positions that may hurt.)
   This one....yeah, I still don't know how boys/men walk around (let alone sit) with these saggy, weird things. 
2. That pain or uncomfortable feeling is why we need to adjust (or often sit with our legs apart) because… 
   I think men adjust themselves far too often...just sayin'
3. Men have little control over where things rest in our pants. Most of our parts stay in the “pocket” of the briefs/boxers, but things can move around and get stuck in a position if we sit or lay down. And sometimes it just feels like our junk is getting squished and we need to fix that.
   .....again, I don't know how they walk around with the floppy, weirdness.
4. Yes, our balls do stick to other body parts.
   Duh. Salty Balls tend to stick. Our boobs stick too, but are much better to look at than sweaty balls. 
5. Itchy balls are like an itch on the bottom of your foot: The fact that you can’t really scratch it right away kind of intensifies the itch. There’s also not a lot of breeze going on down there.
   Itchy may want to get that checked out and get some penicillin. 
6. The pinch-and-roll technique is something that every man has mastered and it is a proven method of itch relief. (p.s. It’s the skin, not the testicles)
   The Lift and Separate works for boobs. 
7. Our testicles rest at different heights to ensure they don’t knock each other when we walk.
   No. No they don't. The rest at different heights actually due to the difference in the vascular structure on the right and left sides. Bam. 
8. The phenomenon known as “blue balls” is real.
   We know, which is why we cause it at will. 
9. Being punched/kicked/hit in the balls is like an intense pain that sort of feels like someone is squeezing really hard on the testicles and then punching you in the lower abdomen. The quickness of the pain is comparable to hitting your funny bone: an immediate jolt of pain. The severity of the pain is incomparable.
   Again, we know. Y'all protect your balls like it's the Mona Friggin Lisa. I once kicked a boy in the balls in Middle School. He cried. But, that's what he got for trying to kiss me.
10. No, men do not need to be turned on to have an erection.
   I know. Morning Wood is not for us. Dicks are just dicks and do dicky things. 
11. Morning wood is involuntary and often not associated with anything.
   See #10.
12. Yes, there are different degrees of hardness.
   Hence the term 'half chub'. Man, are women really this stupid? Or do men think we're really this stupid?
13. An erect penis cannot bend. There is no need to test this.
   When we get poked in the back in the middle of the night as some sort of insane foreplay.....we wish it could a warning to get a clue. 
14. Yes, a penis can break. I can only assume it is massively painful.
   I was very close to dating a guy who had a broke dick. The broke dick thing totally weirded me out.....and I couldn't do it. 
15. Do penises float? Sort of. It’s more like they don’t sink.
   Kind of like our boobs. They suspend in water. 
16. Unless a man is super well-endowed, his penis does not touch the toilet water.
   Is this even an issue? Has anyone ever asked this? Moreso, why is your dick facing the water while your pooping...plumping doesn't belong that close together. Ick. 
17. Peeing with an erection is really hard (hah!).
   We've all seen the movies. We get it. 
18. The pressure/stream of our pee is not always constant, which can make it difficult to aim properly. This is particularly true in the morning and after sex. And sometimes there is more than one stream. Whaaaa?!!!
   Uhm...same here. Peeing after sex is different than normal peeing...peeing in the morning is extreme peeing. And like boob milk. It's never one stream. Ever. 
19. Yes, we can stop peeing mid-stream. It can be uncomfortable though.
   Really? Do some women think it's impossible for a man to stop midstream? Who the hell are these women that don't know this? I really need to give them each a love tap with a hammer. 
20. Yes, peeing on things is fun. It’s like our own little target game.
   Duh. Because boys are gross. However, if you're talented enough....or drunk enough...women can also pee standing up and take aim. Watch out!
21. Yes, we can pee hands-free. (A dangerous game).
   We know this....we clean up after your nasty ass. 
22. When at a urinal, we keep our eyes straight forward and do not say anything. It’s an unwritten law.
   Which is why women are more awesome than men. We share everything in the bathroom and sometimes make lifelong friends that way. 
23. It is totally acceptable to completely ignore another man’s presence in the bathroom.
   See #22. Men are douchhats. 
24. Are beards itchy? A beard typically gets itchy at certain stages: shortly after it’s first growing out and then when it gets long. Not so much in the middle stages.
   Exhange the word beard(s) with pube(s). That's our story. 
25. Yes, beards keep our face warm.
   See #24
26. And finally, what’s with the spitting? We either have too much saliva or some mucus in our mouth and we don’t want to swallow it. Spitting can also be a bad habit, like biting your nails. And sometimes we just like to see how far we can spit.
   No....there's no excess of saliva in your mouth. Men who spit in public, regardless of where they are, are disgusting. Just swallow...y'all get insulted when we don't. Take a hint. 


If I could physically go on strike...I would. But I can't. I literally, physically can't. I'd have a stroke trying to not clean up.

However, it still doesn't stop me from going insane when I have to pick up after people.

I clean the kitchen last thing at night.....while everyone else is asleep. Since I have insomnia, it's the perfect time to do it. I know for a fact that it will stay least until they're up and making a mess.

I went in to make me a cup of coffee....that's all I wanted to do. But I ended up cleaning the breakfast/lunch mess.

People....the dishwasher is RIGHT there! When you're done making a mess and before you eat what you've made....take a few moments to clean up after yourself!  I vow that I will continue to shame my family until they get it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Vegan Banana Bread Muffins

Ahhh.....banana bread. I may be the only person in the universe who doesn't make them with nuts. No nuts. I hate nuts. But I LOOOOOVE Banana it was time for me to finagle a vegan recipe from my noggin.

It's not hard, really...when cooking vegan, you just remember the substitutes.....applesauce for eggs, soy or almond milk for milk, coconut oil or vegan butter for butter. Simple as that.

It was close to midnight...thanks insomnia...and as I do, I'm either cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry or baking something. As you can tell by the photos below, I opted to bake instead of clean. ;)

Here's the recipe...I made this in a muffin tin, but it can also be made as a loaf

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups mashed bananas (3-4 bananas)
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/8 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly oil your muffin tin (or bread pan) or insert baking cups and set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugars, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond milk and cider vinegar and let stand for about 2 minutes.

Then add the mashed banana, oils, syrup and vanilla...whisk it all together well.

Add dry to the wet...and mix it until it's just combined...don't over mix.  At this point, you can add any chopped nuts....I forego the nuts. Blech.

Pour batter into pan. For bread loaf - bake for an hour. For muffins - check after 25 minutes....insert toothpick and just keep checking.  Every oven is different.

The end result is some of the most moist and delicious banana bread....EVER! The syrup is a slight taste...but you really can taste it. This is a decadent banana bread...seriously.

Friday, March 21, 2014

EASY Vegan Homemade Scones


I LOVE them. They aren't too sweet. Best right out of the oven. They're SO customizable you can add virtually anything to them!

People have been making scones since before they've been writing things down. As much as I can tell, they originate around the British Isles....and not Scotland as some think. The Scottish scones were made with oats, formed in a circle and cut into four pie-like shapes and baked on a baking stone.

Around 1788, scones became popular  as a fashionable tea ritual  in England when Anna, Duchess of Bedford, would order servants to bring tea and sweet cakes (including scones). She was so pleased by the scones, that she ordered the servants to serve them every day at tea time and that was the start of the traditional English tea time, precisely at 4.

Ok, enough of the pishposh history.  I have made several recipes of scones. My first was a disaster. My second was better, then I just played around switching things up. Now that I cook vegan, I started the search over again.

I came across a recipe that I couldn't pass up. THREE ingredient scones. Really? THREE? Yup! The catch is, you can put any number of add-ins you want from berries to dried spices to chocolate. As I do, I changed a couple of things....but I couldn't have done it without the base of this recipe. Click HERE to go directly The Miniature Moose website...and poke around at her other great recipes!

2 cups Self-Rising Flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar, plus 2 teaspoons
1 cup canned Coconut Cream,  plus 1 Tablespoon for brushing on top, plus 2 tsp for topping
(This will all make sense soon)
1/2 cup water

As my add-in, I used 1/2 a cup of fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, and any additional add-in's together.
Stir in coconut cream and water until just combined.
Dump the mixture onto a floured surface and very gently fold 4 to 5 times until mixture is a nice even texture and no longer sticky.
Shape into a 8 in square and cut into 8 triangles using a pizza cutter or sharp knife. It should be about an inch thick. Keep pieces together.
Brush the additional Tablespoon of coconut cream on the tops and sprinkle with the additional sugar.
Sprinkle the rest of the sugar on a parchment lined baking sheet then move the scones to the pan. Bake on the top rack of the oven, for 17 to 20 minutes.
Let cool for 2-3 minutes before adding your glaze. I took a cup of powdered sugar and about a teaspoon or more (however thick or thin you want your glaze) of the coconut cream (or lemon juice) and whisked for my glaze. Now I wished I would have remembered I had lemons and do a lemon glaze instead. Lemons and blueberries....come on!

The original recipe called for coconut milk, but I used coconut cream mixed with water. Coconut cream is much thicker than coconut milk. It reminds me of condensed milk, or buttermilk.
Now, as I usually do, I take photos of the step by step process. However, today I didn't....basically because I was too excited to try them and not sure how my rendition would turn out. But, when I opened the oven after 17 minutes and saw how gorgeous they were....I grabbed my camera! OH, and the house smells delicious! My seventeen year old came down the stairs and proclaimed, "Scones?!" So, yeah....they were a success. 

This is the coconut cream I used.

This is mine. I devoured the entire thing, y'all!

The leftovers....saved and devoured already!

Eating outback on this beautiful morning!

Light and airy and creamy inside....if that
makes any sense. 

*Original recipe found at