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A fun day

Today was a good day.  It was one of those days where we had no commitments and enjoyed the luxury of time.  The boys and I started the day with a smoothie.  They've gotten really good at combining flavors.  This morning they used 3 bananas (1 for each of us), 3 carrots, a handful of kale, 3 cups of raw baby spinach and enough almond milk to blend (about 2 cups).  The result was a kermit green smoothie that tasted like banana and was creamy and thick.
My mommy move of the morning is adding a tablespoon of flaxseed per person for omega 3 goodness.  Any more than that and the smoothie will get bitter.  If flaxseed is something new to you, start with less and work into it.  My kids usually choose to add the flax themselves, but either way it gets into the smoothie!  




















I knew that we'd be having leftovers and a big salad for dinner tonight so I had time to do some baking with the boys this afternoon.  Taking the opportunity to teach my young men to make something is very rewarding.  This afternoon we made A-B-C dough and were able to enjoy some chocolate animal crackers for snack.  As I'm typing, I am enjoying a cup of tea with one of the cooled biscotti from the batch as well.  YUM!

Right, here's the roadmap from today's kitchen adventure:

A-B-C dough
This dough is something I modified from a Chocolate Animal Crackers recipe that I used to make using regular flours and all.  It’s now gluten free and vegan and a total triple threat, as far as I’m concerned!  The A is for Animal Crackers (you’ll have enough for snack time), the B is for Biscotti (you’ll end up with 8 slices, good for snack, afternoon tea and morning coffee) and the C is for Chocolate Cookie (you can cut out a few rounds from the animal cookie scraps that are good enough for me!)

Ingredients:
1 Cup gluten free Oatmeal (I like Bob’s RedMill)
½  Cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
¾  Cup Teff Flour
½ cup Tapioca starch
¼ cup almond meal/almond flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
½  tsp Salt
½ tsp Baking Soda
6 Tbsp agave nectar
½  tsp Almond Extract (orange extract also worked well)
½  tsp Vanilla Extract
8 Tbsp almond milk
2 Tbsp olive oil or softened Earth Balance

Add in's for the biscotti:
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup dried cherries
4 Tbsp almond milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Put the oatmeal into the food processor and pulse it until the oats are floury.

Add the remaining ingredients into the food processor.

Pulse until combined and then let the blade work the dough until its uniform and makes a ball shape. If you find that the dough is too dry add a tablespoon of milk at a time until the dough is pliable but not wet.

Divide your dough in half, set one piece on your surface and the other piece aside.

Flour your surface with teff and roll out the dough to about 1/8th of an inch thick.  Lightly dust the top of the dough as well.  Now pull out your set of super cute animal cookie cutters and get to work creating your chocolate cookie menagerie!
Place the cut out crackers on to a parchment lined cookie sheet.  They will not spread, but should have a bit of room between each animal.   

Now take the dough that you set aside and get ready to make magic!  Add a handful of almonds to your food processor and pulse for a few seconds.   We want small chunks of almonds, not almond flour.  Add the dough back into the processor bowl along with ¼ cup of dried cherries.  Pulse the mix, adding up to another 4 Tbsp of almond milk to get pliable dough.

Take this dough and shape it into a log that is about 8 inches long and 3 inches wide.  Round the top a bit if you’re into the asthetic.  Firm up the ends so they are as squared off as possible.  Set this guy on a parchment lined baking sheet and put it in the preheated oven on a middle or top shelf.





Bake the animal cookies in the same oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.  We are aiming for a crispy animal cracker.  Some of my animal cracker shapes turn out smaller than others and need to be removed from the oven before the rest of the gang.  You will need to check yours out and pull them when they are solid but not burnt!

Take the animal cookie sheet out and transfer your cuties to a wire rack to cool.  Leave the dough log in the oven for another 15 minutes.  Remove the cookie sheet from the oven after the 15 minutes and lower the oven temp to 250.  Let the dough cool for a few minutes, then slice the log into 8 pieces, each about ½ inch thick.  Lay the slices down on the parchment sheet again and put it back in the oven.  Bake for 25 minutes, then flip the slices and bake for another 20 minutes or until the slice are a bit crisp.  Remove the tray again and transfer the cookie slices to your wire rack to cool.  Enjoy these bad boys with a cup of coffee or tea.



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