Sugar free, gluten free peanut butter cookies

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If they look like peanut butter cookies and they taste like peanut butter cookies, then they must be peanut butter cookies. But no flour? Surely, you jest. Nope! This is a recipe I saw on an old Paula Dean show…even before she was diagnosed with diabetes. She made them for a friend who had to limit sugar intake, and they are so simple your five year old could make them. Three ingredients. Yes, I said three ingredients:
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1 cup peanut butter
1 cup Splenda
1 egg
Just mix them with a fork, scoop out a walnut sized ball and roll it around in your hands to smooth it out.DSC00066
Paula used a fork dipped in Splenda to criss-cross them, but I find the taste of the Splenda on top is a bit bitter. Since you are only using it to coat the fork, you are adding only a pinch of it, so I prefer sugar. That might add 2 calories and 1/4 of a carb, but to me, it’s worth it.
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Now, they are ready for the oven. 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. I highly recommend using parchment paper for all cookies, but for these, especially. They lift right off. Otherwise, they tend to crumble. You can slide cookies, parchment paper and all onto the cooling surface or rack.
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And there you have it. Would I prefer the original recipe my step mother-in-law gave me years ago loaded with sugar and flour? Sure, but if you are restricting carbohydrates, this is one of the few “sweet treats” you can enjoy, and, trust me, after a few weeks without anything sweet, you will love, love, love them!

Trailer Re-do Update

Now, I can admit that I was having major second thoughts about tackling this project. Painting the cabinets was no easy task, and when I saw the stark white, I was mortified less than impressed. The tones of the trailer interior simply did not work with bright white, and I did not relish the idea of changing out the wall coverings, flooring, and counter tops. After all, I only wanted to redecorate, not overhaul.

After much googling and a few phone calls, I was convinced hopeful that, even though I had used a high quality oil based paint, I could still do an antique glaze over it. I was going for a coastal look, so I purchased a small can of RUST-OLEUM wood stain (sunbleached was the color I chose.) It was perfect! I spread it lightly on the cured paint with a sponge brush and then wiped it down with a soft cloth. The result was a driftwood tone that blended with its surroundings nicely. Whew! Amazing how far a little bit of success will go in encouraging one to move on. After that, I selected fabric for recovering the banquette seats and for replacing window treatments. Here is a sneak peak at what I’m doing with the windows in the kitchen.
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I think you’ll love how they turned out. I know I do, but I’m not ready to reveal those, just yet. What I am ready to show you is one of the most unexpected, pleasant surprises. The stove and microwave are black, which is fine not bad for staying with the coastal theme, but the refrigerator, although framed in black, had fake oak inserts. I had a wild hair brilliant idea to paint the inserts with chalkboard paint. Absolutely the most fun decision I could have made.
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Isn’t that adorable?
Another idea popped into my head when I noticed the new driftwood colored paint technique exacerbated the gap between the closet and back wall. A 3/8 inch strip of cotton (sailor’s rope) roping hot glued into the corner added to the coastal theme. BEFORE
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AFTER
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I’m getting closer and closer to the big reveal. Good thing, too, because camping season is just around the corner. More to come. Insert excitement!

Survival Kit

The two kits are assembled and placed in the “fraidy hole,” easily accessible in case of an emergency. The forecasted ice storm amounted to a slippery deck; nothing on the roads or sidewalks, but I was ready!

So, I mentioned that I have four categories, and today I wanted to share what I put in from each. Here is a picture of the items in FOOD AND WATER:DSC00036

4-20 oz. bottles of water (I have gallon jugs in the closet, but I’m trying to keep the pack light.)
2-single serve foil pack tuna
1-3oz. pkg beef jerky (low sodium to keep the thirst at bay)
1-7 oz pkg banana chips
1-8oz. can cheese product (squirt can)
1-12oz. can Spam
1-4.5 oz can chicken breast
1-5oz can evaporated milk
2 protein bars
Small jar peanut butter
1 pkg sunflower seeds
water purification tablets
1 pkg lemon flavored drink mix (suggested to make any water tasteless)
From the SHELTER AND SAFETY group, I added these things:
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The complete list includes the following:
5×7 tarp
Nylon string
Multipurpose tool (knife, screw driver, snippers, saw blade, can opener)
Waterproof matches
Fire starter flint
batteries
small flashlight
headlamp
Bic lighters
solar blanket
candles
Glow sticks
The CLOTHING group gave me the most grief. I read that you should only pack one change of clothes, but do you switch it out seasonally? I decided upon these things:DSC00037

Sports bra (for walking)
Comfortable underpants (I also added some panty liners since they could be used for other things and take up very little space.)
Silk long underwear (base layer)
Waterproof pants and windbreaker
Earmuffs and gloves
Socks

I read a suggestion to throw in a pair of flip flops even in winter because you might have to travel through water and need to keep your shoes dry.

The HEALTH and HYGIENE list consists of these items:
Antibacterial ointment
gauze bandage
band-aids
Homemade dry shampoo in a baggy
Moist antibacterial wipes
Baby wipes
Toothbrush, floss, toothpaste
Sun screen
comb
deodorant
Vaseline petroleum jelly (because you can use that for practically everything.)
Advil and Advil PM because you may not have the best sleeping conditions.
I even included a razor and shaving cream simply because it came the little travel kit. By the time I took out the packaging, I was able to put in lots of the other things I listed, here, so this group was fairly compact. I added needles with large eyes and some thread, which prompted me that I could use a magnifying glass and a pair of reading glasses. I threw in some Bianca Breath Strips and a thin pack of gum.
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So, you can see that I had plenty of room in the back pack, but the problem is weight. When I put it on, I decided that I would not like to be trekking across country with all this on my back. Saint will have to carry this one and I’ll take the one on wheels.

Thanks to a reader comment, I will also add steel wool pads. Any other suggestions or comments about lightening the pack are welcomed. I think I could survive for 72 hours with all this, but quite honestly, I’m not fond of much of the food I packed. That way, I will only eat out of necessity.

Survival for 2013

Survival Kit 2013
I am usually neither a naysayer nor a declarer of doom and despair, so why I have paid attention to all the instructions for surviving for 72 hours after a disaster, I do not know. Could it be the post election political climate or the gun control hype after the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy? Perhaps it was the prediction of ice and snow on a 60 degree day in January. After all, such a drastic change in temperature often brings severe storms and possible tornadoes to our area. Whatever the case, I have been busily preparing for a week, now.

I keep reading suggestions about having a kit for each member of the household. It should be self contained and easy to strap on your back in case you need to travel a great distance. Common sense prevails enough to let me know that the most likely disasters Saint and I will face are ice storms and tornadoes. We have been fortunate to have only roof and tree damage from tornadic winds, and we have lived through at least two monumental ice storms with power outages extending several days. We had no kits but were blessed to have a basement with a wood burning fireplace and a “safe closet” under the stairs. Nevertheless, there might be a need to leave our little fraidy hole someday, so why not pack what we need instead of just throwing putting everything in the closet.
In considering our needs, I decided upon 4 categories:
• Food and water
• Clothing
• Shelter and safety
• Health and hygiene
We already have a couple of nice backpacks, one that converts to rollers. Many of the things I am putting in the kit were on sale, already cheap, or I had coupons for. Here is a picture of all the supplies I have gathered.
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In Wednesday’s post, I will show you what’s inside our little kits. Do you have a survival kit? Please feel free to comment and tell me what’s inside it. I’m sure I have forgotten something!

Handmade Hearts

DSC00031Valentine’s Day…or is it Valentines’ Day? I’ve never really figured it out, but in the grand scheme of love, does it really matter? This little woven heart that I’m DIY-ing today is a great way for students, parents, spouses, or sweethearts to show people how special they are. Sure, you could spend eight bucks on a glittery card that would be treasured for life probably thrown away in a week or two. When you look through your keepsakes, you probably notice that most of them have been made or selected just for you. That’s the beauty of this simple project. You can make it as easy, inexpensive, meaningful, elaborate as you wish. Here is the basic list of materials:
Paper (construction, scrapbook, specialty, grocery bags)
Pattern to trace or copy
Scissors
Glue
Accessories, if desired

Yep, that’s all. And here is the pattern with visual instructions:
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1. Copy or trace the pattern twice…using contrasting paper such as red/white, pink/red, pink/white
2. Cut carefully on dotted lines.
3. Weave the two pieces together as shown in the visual.
4. Glue tabs in place and trim, if necessary.
5. Decorate

I simply used some tissue strands and cut out the word love on the one above, but other suggestions would be to use a paper or fabric flower, (there are tons of tutorials for handmade ones on Pinterest)wire letters, glitter, decoupaged tiny hearts. The possibilities are endless. And it never hurts to throw in some chocolate…good for the heart, you know.

When Life Gives You Lemons…or White Elephants

The gifts have been opened, the mess has been cleaned up, the decorations have been put away, and the decadent leftovers have all been eaten or disposed of; all that’s left are the memories. Well, not quite!

At the Huffman family celebration, I suggested a white elephant gift exchange, instructing family members to bring something they already had and no longer needed. We would, then, do our traditional “steal the gift” game with everyone trying to get the least, least-desirable gift. Legal re-gifting, as my SIL called it. I made only one stipulation: You must take the gift you end up with home with you.

Some people just can’t follow instructions. The next morning, when I opened my cabinet to get a cup for my first cup of coffee, this greeted me.
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All I can say is, my son had better be glad he didn’t put it in the refrigerator!

In their defense, it was obvious that several of my family members had not participated in white elephant exchanges before. My younger brother cleaned out an entire shelf in his hobby room and wrapped it in a box. My older brother’s wife did the same, but she was clever enough to pretty-up the package and trick her own daughter into picking it. Terri wanted to leave the whole kit and kaboodle, but I was very selective. There were two little, ugly, gold mirrors and a planter that I agreed to take. Don’t ever under estimate gold mirrors. I wish I had taken a picture of before, because it’s truly amazing what a little paint will do. I sprayed on white primer and later brushed on the sea glass blue. After it dried, I rubbed on a little antique glaze and wiped it down, leaving dark areas in the crevices.
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I decided I needed to shabby it up a little, so I added some burlap strips and some woven brown ribbon.
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And here are the pair of them displayed with some metal work in back and another with the burlap bookends I made last year.DSC00016DSC00014
I also shabbied up some plain Jane candle holders to add to the grouping. Some natural burlap strips, ruffled by pulling a string partly through, some jute twine tied into little bows, the new glue gun I got for Christmas,and some strips of string to match the mirrors achieved this.
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Pretty chic, huh? I’ll bet my niece is going to want them back.
But what on earth am I going to do with this ancient headlamp?
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Any suggestions…other than never do a white elephant gift exchange at your house again?