Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dairy Free Caramel Apple Dip

Confession: I'm not a chocolate person. However, before you threaten to have me excommunicated, I could stab a B for good caramel. Those ones in the plastic wrapper you are supposed to use for baking? I could eat the whole bag. My mom couldn't keep them in the house. And making your own often involved recipes with the words "candy thermometer", "soft ball stage", and the like. That is ridiculous. No one has time for that. 

Sooooooo..... I cried inside at parties with that wonderfully chemical laden caramel dip concoction was served alongside crip apples.  

I found a few recipes for dairy free or vegan caramel.  Still with the crazy thermometer. Ok, I gave up. Then I found and started with this recipe on pintrest. But, if you know me, you know I'm completely incapable of leaving well-enough alone. It's against my DNA. Seemed too easy.

And maybe it should be harder because Holy-Baby-Jesus-in-a-manger it's wonderful.  It isn't dark like standard caramel (she added a touch of molasses and I'm sure that would have darkened it up). But the taste is spot-on. I second guessed and added closer to 4 Tbsp of arrowroot powder and it thickened up a lot once cooled, but it's still amazing. So just be aware it won't seem thick enough for dip until it's cooled. But straight out of the pan would be divine on ice cream.

So here you go. 



Dairy Free Caramel Dip

1/2 C Butter
1 C Sugar
1/2 C Dairy-Free Creamer*
2-3 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder (or corn starch if not corn-free)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1-2 Tbsp Maple Syrup (I used closer to one)
Juice from one small Lemon (approx. 2 Tbsp)
1 tsp Molasses (optional, mostly for color)

Whisk arrowroot into cream until dissolved. Melt butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbly. Add cream mixture and all remaining ingredients, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. 

Continuing to stir, allow mixture to lightly bubble until it thickens and starts to become fragrant.  Mixture will darken slightly.  Remove from heat and pour into your serving bowl. 

Allow to cool and refrigerate if serving as dip for fruit, but can be served hot. Mixture will thicken greatly once it cools.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Cheer

Lloyd is in full holiday love.  He is talking about Santa, excited about Christmas Day, excited for Jesus's birthday, you name it. We read and watched the grinch this weekend and he about plotzed from excitement. 

He is making this season so incredible for us. He noted that our tree doesn't have a topper. He wanted a twinkle star. We have never had a topper so I figured we could trek to Kohls to find something with my coupon and $5 off voucher. As we are strolling around the ornaments section and I'm not seeing ANY toppers, he spots (with sheer, unadulterated, 3-year-old glee) a horrible golden light-up toper. It is, literally, the only topper they have. It's on clearance. With our coupon and free $5 we paid $3.

He carried it proudly around the store. Dancing. Telling all the ladies about his "twinkle star. For my tree. At my house. I decorated it."

Multiple ladies complimented him. Multiple ladies uttered the words "what Christmas spirit". Commented on his joy. 

So I let it go. And smiled. And was proud of my son. Excited with him. Helped him put it on our tree. Let him turn it up. And hugged him back as he hopped around in excitement. This is what Christmas is about. Not that my silver tree has a sparkling, sequined, giant, gold star on it. But that my son is excited beyond words to pick out a yellow twinkle star. For his tree. To celebrate Christmas.

Then he was a robot in the box. I love this age! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 51 Weeks

December 12, 2014

Dear Asher:

This week you got 3 molars! Holy cow kid. You also have pretty much stopped sleeping at night as a result, which has been brutal since you'd been sleeping through the night! There were a couple rough nights you just cried and cried and cried. But you are still happy during the day. All day long: "wiggle-iggle-iggle", it's hilarious. You call out "Ooydt" [Lloyd] a lot, which is fun to see. You say his name more than Momma, but if you want me you let me know. Your favorite thing is removing any toy from its bin or container and making a gigantic mess. You can destroy the Livingroom in minutes. But you play independently really well, so it's ok as long as you are happy. 

Love,
Momma

Friday, December 5, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 50 Weeks

December 5, 2014

Dear Asher-

This week you have turned into a mimic and a chatterbox. You love pointing at the fixtures in the ceilings in every room or store, you now point and say "light" too when we name them. Your gestures are so clear; if you want something specific at meals you point to it and wave for more.  You cruise around the house to all your favorite spots: dumping out big brothers legos, playing with my spools of bright threads, to your room to play with your wooden pegs and cube pieces. You can stand, squat, and stand again unassisted as long as you don't actually think about it (i.e. to grab a dropped toy). Quit growing up so fast, you are just incredible but I already miss the baby time we had together. You're turning into a toddler big boy! 

Love,
Momma

Mommy Diary Take Two: 49 Weeks

November 29, 2014
Dear Asher-

Every week you seem so much older now. You point to things all day wanting to know names: fan, light, blue, green, brother, doggie, peg. You are obsessed with ceiling fixtures and point them out the second you enter a new room. You still love peek-a-boo endlessly, covering your own face now to pop back up and laugh. You are built so much like the Crocker/Haidusek clan, very broad and strong. So different from your brother it's almost comical. 

Love, 
Momma

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 11 Months

November 20, 2014

Dear Asher:

Where has the time gone. This month has seen you stand independently, cruise around furniture, and reach out to try and take steps. You sign purposefully "up", "milk", and "more" and occasionally "all done/finished". You say "Daddu", have said "momma", and we swear you have also said "brother" and "Lloyd" a handful of times. You play with you toys now; intentionally moving parts and pieces into their correct places and movements. You love destroying your brothers lego and block creations which has been a bit of a struggle, but such is being a sibling. So much has changed. You are full of joie de vivre, as my Mur used to say. Love it.

Love,
Momma 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mommy Diary Take Two: 48 Weeks

November 21, 2014

Dear Asher-

This week has not been our best. Big brother came down with a nasty virus then you got it. You had such a high fever for a couple days, totally lethargic and crying. You felt so awful it broke our hearts. You still have a little cough and drippy nose but your mood is getting back to normal slowly. It's so easy to tell when you feel bad little one, your happy personality disappears and is replaced with a clingy little baby wanting to just curl up. I hate seeing you sick but I also know these years where you boys want to crawl in my arms are so fleeting. I'm holding your healing body extra close.

Love,
Momma