Vegan Salted Caramel Dip

Saturday, October 17, 2015 freaking good!

Now that we have that out of the way, I present to you my salted caramel dip. It's vegan, it's dairy-free, it's gluten-free, it's amazing.

This was so easy too! Here's the recipe:

•1/4 Cup Sugar
•1/4 Brown Sugar
•2t Vanilla
•1/2T Coconut Oil
•1/2t salt
•1 Can (14oz) full fat coconut milk

And here's what I did:

Combine sugars, oil, and vanilla - cook over medium heat until combined and sugar starts to dissolve. Add salt, and coconut milk. Stir until evenly combined.

Now - here's the tricky part. Cook over a medium heat, for 30 minutes - and don't stir.

At the end of the 30 minutes, your caramel should be thicker and darker. Give it a stir, and then continue cooking, stirring occasionally until it reaches the color and thickness you'd like.

I cooked mine for a about 10 minutes longer, and when it cooled it was very thick. A few minutes longer, and I can probably make caramel candies (which I'm going to try....vegan caramel apples anyone?!).


Baking Elephants

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My son is in his second year of preschool, and things are getting intense are the "parental involvement front". Just kidding...kind of.

His class is doing Zoo Phonics, and each week, as they discover a new letter...they have a snack to go along with it. So, For "C" week, someone brought cheesy crackers, for "D" they had D-shaped Donuts...get the picture?

Well, here's the first problem. The mom who had the letter "A" made these acorns out of mini cupcakes, and a vanilla wafer - complete with a chocolate chip for the stem. My son thought they were the coolest thing ever. But, really? Did we have to set the bar that high on the first week?!

 Problem #2. My son's name starts with an "E", so of course, that's his favorite letter - and his choice for Zoo Phonics week. You know how many foods start with the letter "E"? About 4. Eggs, eggplant, escarole...edamame? My options were slim.

 So, I did what any mom would do, and turned to Pinterest. I literally typed in "Zoo Phonics E Snack" - and this project is what I came up with. Elephant Biscuits. They seemed simple enough - so I decided to make a few tweaks and give it a go.

The ingredients:
•Refrigerator biscuits

 Equipment needed:

•Baking Sheet
•Knife or Kitchen Scissors
•Cutting Board

And we're off... The instructions were pretty simple, two biscuits per elephant. Leave one whole, and the second - make two cuts, so you're left with two semi circles, and a rectangle (two ears and a trunk). Now, keep in mind...we decided to up the ante a little, and used the Grands initial thought process was that then I would only have to make one per kid, instead of 2 per kid using the small refrigerator biscuits.

Next - you just attach the ears to the sides of the whole biscuit, attach the trunk to the middle of it's face - and you have an elephant. Finish it off with two raising eyes, and a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar.

Then, just bake at the recommend temp and time on the biscuit package. 

Problems we encountered:
 •Biscuits stuck to the cookie sheet. Instructions said not to great cookie sheet...we did the on the second batch, and it went much better!
 •The trunks puffed up quite a again, on the second batch we made an adjustment and really smashed them into the center of the biscuit so they didn't separate as much.
 •The raisins didn't stick. We tried pressing them in more...didn't work. So, we just crossed our fingers that everyone's elephant had two little raisin eyes at snack time. Do kids even like raisins?

So - all in all...we give this Pinterest project a "B". It was fun, and pretty easy - but did need a few tweaks along the way. an interesting plot twist...the other preschool class ended up with the exact same snack. Great moms think alike.

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