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Dash of Butter pinch of sass &a gallon of love

New Direction

I know, I know. It’s been a while.

Life distracted me. And I let it.

What’s been going on in the last year? Well, my littlest got into the pre-competitive gymnastics program and was training 8 hours a week (on top of school and dance). My oldest keeps me on my toes in his own way, I’ve taken up a hobby of freshwater aquarium fish (don’t knock ’til you try it – everyone needs at least one “nerdy” hobby), we took a family trip home to BC for a couple of weeks …

And my Father-in-Law passed away at the end of July.

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One of my favourite pictures of him from when he built Logan an ice rink in the backyard.

 

He was an amazing man. I was first introduced to him 18 years ago when Dave described him as “Santa with Tattoos”. I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with him over the years, especially once he moved closer to his grandkids and visited more often. He kept me up-to-date on the news (it was his favourite thing to watch in the morning), and was an asset around the house for all of my crazy project ideas, never once saying no – he would always just get to work. My kids absolutely adored him, and it was a devastating loss for everyone in our house. It still doesn’t feel quite real, but Dave and I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking of all the funny and happy memories he gave us.

His death wasn’t a surprise. He had spent a month in the hospital prior, and fought a long battle. In the end, he had my husband by his side, which I am grateful for. But, his declining health, and the aging issues on my side of the family has caused me to realize that I am directly responsible for 2 generations that follow his footsteps. I have a clear-cut glimpse into our future if I don’t make changes, and I wouldn’t be a good person if I chose to ignore it.

What does this have to do with food? Actually, a lot.

For the past several months, I have been eliminating processed food from our diet. I have been weeding out the dairy, refined sugar and cutting back on grains. Most recently (as in the last few weeks) I have brought back healthy grains, but ditched meat. It has been the hardest to let go of, and I’ve had a couple of slips (just nibbles or lack of options and being too hangry to care).

So, I’m now committed to being a vegetarian, with a lot of vegan tendencies. I can’t actually say that I’m a vegan. While I eat mostly vegan (usually 2 out of 3 meals), I still occasionally enjoy honey and eggs, and am not about to part with my leather jacket. My family is shockingly on board, making this transition really easy. Madelyn has never really enjoyed meat that isn’t “processed”, so she was easy. Logan eats just about anything I put in front of him, and Dave realizes that he can’t live like a human garbage disposal for the rest of his life without suffering some serious consequences.

I hope you’ll stick around. I’ve been having a lot of fun making some really, really good vegetarian and vegan stuff. So much so, that the boys in my house haven’t really asked for meat (on the odd occasion that Dave gets in the kitchen though, he makes all sorts of junk food for him and Logan. I’m just glad that it only happens once a week or so). I’ve been remaking some of my favourites from this blog with vegan ingredients (helllloooo oatmeal rum-raisin chocolate chip cookies!!), picked up some new camera gear, and will get posting here again really soon.

I’d love for you to leave me a comment with some of your all time favourite things to eat – I want to try my hand at giving them a meatless, healthy twist!

xo

I was hacked, but now I’m back.

They say that terrible things happen in three’s. If that is true, then I should be all topped up for a while.

About a month ago, my hosting account was hacked. While it would of been simple if I had only this one website, I actually have several. I am pretty well versed in technology, but dealing with this was way over my head. So, my host provider suspended my account and directed me to a company that could clean it up for me.

Ugh.

After painstakingly going through each domain, I decided which ones I wanted to keep, which ones I had to say goodbye to, and which projects were in just the beginning stages and could be easily done over.

After paying this company to scan and clean up over 5000 malware from the websites I kept, I finally got the clean bill of health from my hosting account and was re-instated. But, the fun didn’t end there. What a mess.

Still have no idea why I was hacked, and what the hackers could of possibly gained from this – but my theory is that the companies that are there to take your money to clean it up after are the ones doing the hacking. It was a headache for sure.

And then? …

The hard drive in my big shiny iMac also died. I knew there was something wrong, and wanted to make sure all 750gb of my files were backed up offsite before I started to really do some investigating. The computer still worked, but at a snails pace. It took 2.5 months to get the majority of my stuff backed up, and then I got impatient and picked up an external hard drive to do the rest (which took less than an hour … why I didn’t start with this, I’m not sure). When I went to update the operating system, my computer informed me that the hard drive was damaged beyond repair – Man, was I thankful I had everything backed up (and really relieved that it didn’t die before or during the backup).

Off to the store to spend $$ on a new hard drive, and Dr. Husband pulled out his reference material (aka, YouTube) to do some surgery. I had to hide when he was pulling 27″ of glass off the front, but he got it done and now I’m rocking a 2TB hard drive, instead of 1TB, and everything is back where it should be.

What’s the third terrible thing?

My dryer died.

Not very exciting, but just icing on the cake.

So. Now I’m back, and you can see all my recipes again :)) I promise I’ll start posting regularly as soon as possible. If you see anything that is missing or out of place, please let me know – I still have a few things to put back where they belong.




Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bark

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bark

frozen blueberry yogurt bark - dashofbutter.com

My name is Rhiannon, and I am a food hoarder.

Not the creepy kind that will end up on an A&E show or anything. I just love having stocked cupboards and freezers. Rachel came over last week and helped me clean out my fridge, and when she was done, it looked so empty. When I run low on something in my pantry, I get antsy. But I love love love coming across a recipe and having all the ingredients to make it right there.

But, when I come across a good sale, I buy a lot. Right now, I am in possession of 16 lbs of blueberries. The cashier at Safeway asked me what I was going to do with all those blueberries, and I replied “freeze them!”. But, I also have a blueberry obsessed daughter who will likely polish off at least one flat all on her own.

I also sometimes buy things at Costco that I shouldn’t because I think I will use it.

Like yogurt.

Plain greek yogurt.

3 tubs of it.

I don’t like yogurt at all, and my kids don’t like plain yogurt. But I like the versatility of yogurt and will try and find ways to use it. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I’m not. Plain is great because you can add it to sweet or savoury dishes, and greek yogurt makes for an awesome tzatziki (which I’ll be making today) without the hassle of straining regular yogurt overnight. Yup, been there, done that.

We are also in the middle of a little heat wave right now, and the idea of turning on my stove or oven makes me cringe. I came across the idea of frozen yogurt bark on Pinterest, but didn’t have to click to see the recipe. I just started mixing things together and threw it in the freezer. What came out was a healthy frozen dessert / snack / treat / breakfast that my kids enjoy on these hot days. It’s kind of like the frozen yogurt tubes, but without the portability and weird ingredients. Even now, I’m thinking of all sorts of variations and flavours I could try to mix it up in the future.

But, right now, I’ve got 16lbs of blueberries to do something with.

frozen blueberry yogurt bark - dashofbutter.com frozen blueberry yogurt bark - dashofbutter.com frozen blueberry yogurt bark - dashofbutter.com IMG_2046

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bark

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bark

Ingredients

  • 2 c. plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract (I used vanilla paste)
  • 2 c. blueberries, washed and stray stems removed

  • **If you have other flavoured yogurt on hand, omit the honey and vanilla and just mix the yogurt and blueberries together instead.

Instructions

  1. In medium sized bowl, stir together the yogurt, honey and vanilla.
  2. Gently stir in the blueberries and mix until all combined.
  3. In a parchment lined 9x13 pan, pour in the yogurt mixture and spread out evenly making sure blueberries are evenly distributed.
  4. Freeze overnight and cut into desired serving size
http://www.dashofbutter.com/2014/07/15/frozen-blueberry-yogurt-bark/

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Strawberry-Pomegranate Cheesecake Milkshake

Strawberry-Pomegranate Cheesecake Milkshake

strawberry-pomegranate cheesecake milkshake | dashofbutter.com

We had a less than lazy week, with Madelyn starting her not-so-fun-but-she-loves-it gym camps from Monday to Thursday, a day trip to the lake on Tuesday, and the weather was hot! hot! hot! All of this leads to a a big painful sunburn with ugly tan lines, and a lack of motivation in the kitchen.

I did, however, manage to take advantage of a few good deals in the grocery store this week, and am now the proud new owner of 4 tubs of ice cream. I had a couple of extra kids the other night for a sleepover and a husband and bff looking for a treat, so I decided to make something I usually don’t like for more than a sip or two. Milkshakes.

strawberry-pomegranate cheesecake milkshake | dashofbutter.com

Warning! Some husbands are excellent in the kitchen (mine can definitely be), and some husbands (ahem, again mine) get a little eager when they are excited about the final product. Dave decided he would take my idea and run with it. After the ice cream got added to the blender, he dumped the rest of the jug of milk in (which was a lot), making for a very runny milkshake. The kids all inhaled it, but it wasn’t the thick and creamy milkshake that I would of made. So, when I made it again the next night (I have issues – if something I experiment with making doesn’t work out, I make it again until it does), I didn’t let Dave near the kitchen.

The next batch was sooooooo much better. Thick, fruity, and just the perfect amount of vanilla flavour. To up the strawberry flavour, I added some strawberry jam as well as the fresh fruit. I also added a good amount of homemade pomegranate syrup (super easy to make ahead of time and store in fridge to pour over pancakes, cheesecake, or can even be added to a cocktail or mocktail). Throw in a little bit of cream cheese and sprinkle with graham crumbs to take this dessert over the top.

I don’t really like milkshakes (except when I was pregnant, then I drank so many), but even I found myself stealing sips from everyone else’s.

strawberry-pomegranate cheesecake milkshake | dashofbutter.com strawberry-pomegranate cheesecake milkshake | dashofbutter.com

Logan’s face is priceless. He was so happy I asked him to model for me.

strawberry-pomegranate cheesecake milkshake | dashofbutter.com strawberry-pomegranate cheesecake milkshake | dashofbutter.com

If there is a record for how fast 2 kids can drink a milkshake, I’m sure my kids beat it. Logan actually asked me if I could make this again, instead of taking them for slurpees. I consider that a success!

strawberry-pomegranate cheesecake milkshake | dashofbutter.com

Strawberry-Pomegranate Cheesecake Milkshake

Ingredients

  • 3 c. vanilla ice cream (I used french vanilla)
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. strawberry jam
  • 1/4 c. pomegranate syrup, if desired
  • 2 tbsp softened cream cheese
  • 7 large strawberries, hulled.
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • whipped cream & crushed graham crackers for topping

Instructions

    For the Pomegranate Syrup:
  1. in saucepan, bring 3 cups of pomegranate juice, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 6 tbsp of sugar to a boil.
  2. boil gently until reduced to 1 cup
  3. refrigerate until ready to use

  4. For the milkshake:
  5. Place all ingredients, except whipped cream and graham crumbs in blender. If using a high powered blender like a Vitamix, turn on for just a couple of seconds. If using regular blender, this could take a little longer.
  6. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and graham crumbs.
http://www.dashofbutter.com/2014/07/11/strawberry-pomegranate-cheesecake-milkshake/

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Brown Butter Vector Cereal Squares

Brown Butter Vector Cereal Squares

Brown Butter Vector Cereal Bars | dashofbutter.com

Cereal in dessert form has to be in the breakfast rule book somewhere, right?

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and all my American friends had a safe and wonderful Fourth of July! I’m learning that sometimes the best weekends are the ones that happen spontaneously, without a plan. I thought I needed to have a plan because it was the only full weekend that Dave and I had off together for pretty much the rest of the summer. Instead, we made a trip to the mall to get a couple things and dine food court style on Friday, spent Saturday morning being lazy and then took 6 kids to the movies. We decided to divide and conquer and Dave took 4 boys to see the new Transformers movie, and the otha motha and I took the 2 girls to see Earth to Echo (cute movie by the way). Everyone was happy.

Saturday night, the otha motha and I (I guess since I talk about her enough, I can use her real name, Rachel) went out for a night on the town, and stumbled in the door at some hour way past our bedtime. Shockingly, I woke up feeling pretty good. So good, that I decided to keep the party going with a BBQ for my family and Rachels on Sunday night.

Yup, it was a great weekend.

On Friday, Rachel and I also made a fairly impromptu trip to the spray park with 12 kids (she runs a dayhome so we had our 6 kids plus 6 from her dayhome). Here’s a tip. If your kids aren’t the greatest eaters, take them to the spray park. It never fails. Within minutes of getting there, you’ll hear “I’m hungry”, and they won’t stop until you’ve kicked them back out to play, or it’s time to go. This happens to us. Every. Single. Time.

So, I got smart and said we should pack each kid their own snack bag. They could eat it whenever they wanted, but once it was done, that was it. And, it worked so well! Some kids came and started eating right away, some grazed, and some didn’t come looking for food until near the end. We didn’t have to dole out portions or shoo them away for eating too much, it was far less frustrating.

12 snack bags all labelled and packed and just about ready to go!

12 snack bags all labelled and packed and just about ready to go!

Anyways, I wanted to give them some sort of baked good. I didn’t have enough muffins in the freezer, and didn’t have any time or desire to make more (it was after midnight at this point). I didn’t have rice krispies to throw together some rice krispie squares, but I did have Vector. So I made Vector squares instead. And they were a hit!

I read on pinterest somewhere that someone added pudding mix to their rice krispie squares for a different flavour. I only had vanilla pudding mix, so I threw some of that in too. I’m not sure if it added much more than vanilla flavouring, so if you don’t have it, I wouldn’t sweat it. I also used dried blueberries as well. I’m pretty sure that that isn’t a common ingredient in most of your pantries, so if you try something different in its place, let me know!

Make these for your next picnic, or snack needs. Kids and adults will love them!

Brown Butter Vector Cereal Bars | dashofbutter.com Brown Butter Vector Cereal Bars | dashofbutter.com Brown Butter Vector Cereal Bars | dashofbutter.com Brown Butter Vector Cereal Bars | dashofbutter.com

Brown Butter Vector Cereal Squares

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c. browned butter
  • 4 c. mini marshmallows
  • 1/3 c. instant vanilla pudding mix (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 6 c. Vector cereal
  • 1/2 c. dried blueberries (or other dried fruit)

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x13" pan with tin foil and spray lightly with oil
  2. In large pot over medium heat, heat the browned butter, marshmallows, and pudding mix (or vanilla extract) until melted.
  3. Stir in the Vector cereal and dried blueberries and quickly stir to combine.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and press evenly and compactly
  5. Cover and let cool.
  6. Remove from pan and slice into squares
http://www.dashofbutter.com/2014/07/08/brown-butter-vector-cereal-squares/

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Pineapple Coconut Non-Dairy Ice Cream

Pineapple Coconut Non-Dairy Ice Cream

Pineapple Coconut Non-Dairy Ice Cream | dashofbutter.com

I have an extremely bad habit of buying a lot of fruit when it comes into season. I go a little overboard and then have to find ways to use it up.

I also don’t really like fruit that I have to cut up. Call me lazy … or call me someone who doesn’t actually like getting their hands sticky, but I much rather have fruit on hand that the kids can grab and go. I devour it once I cut it all up, but getting to that point sometimes takes a while.

Enter the Pineapple. I bought it a long time ago, and Dave has been harping on me to use it before it goes bad. Thankfully for me, that takes a while. I finally decided to do something with it, so I cut it up … and then trimmed away the brown bits. I got a little crazy, and tossed the entire pineapple (after it had been cored and trimmed) into my Vitamix with a can of coconut milk that I had opened for something else, but didn’t need, and was sitting in my fridge … Look at me using up all kinds of things! I then added a bit of Maple Syrup and some lemon juice, and turned it on. Once I was sure that it was completely liquified, I poured it into a container, put it in the fridge to chill and went out for the afternoon.

Side note: Yes, I have a fancy pineapple slicer. But, like my apple slicer, it rarely gets used. My good friend, the knife, does it faster, takes up less room in the dishwasher, and works just as well (if not better) than the slicers.

When I got home, I put it through my ice cream maker, and my oh my, it made the most delicious, non-dairy, vegan, pineapple ice cream I may have ever had.

Pineapple Coconut Non-Dairy Ice Cream | dashofbutter.com

Ok, so I don’t think I’ve ever actually had pineapple ice cream before.

But, it is amazing! Creamy like regular ice cream, but bursting with fresh pineapple flavour. If you’re not a coconut fan, don’t you worry – you won’t even taste it in this.

Pineapple Coconut Non-Dairy Ice Cream | dashofbutter.com

I usually like to dress things like this up. See what other flavours I can mix in, but this time, I wanted the pineapple to be the star. And, I wanted to see if I could vegan-ize it and still have Dave and the kids want more.

And they did!

So, if you’re scared to make your own ice cream … because traditional custard style ice cream can be intimidating, and take a long time, I beg you to try this instead. If you like pineapple, then you’ll love this! If you don’t love pineapple, then I bet any other soft fruit would do the job just as well.

Like mangos. mmmmmm mangos.

Or peaches!

Soooo …. if you’re looking for me, I’ll be at the store stocking up on peaches and mangos and coconut milk :)

Pineapple Coconut Non-Dairy Ice Cream | dashofbutter.com

Non-Dairy Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 pineapple, cored and sliced into chunks
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • water to thin

Instructions

  1. In blender or Vitamix, add all ingredients and process until smooth.
  2. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, several is best.
  3. In ice cream maker, chill until consistency of soft ice cream.
  4. Place into freezer safe container and freeze completely.
http://www.dashofbutter.com/2014/07/04/pineapple-coconut-non-dairy-ice-cream/

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