Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cutting My Own Hair Again!

This morning I cut my hair again. This time I didn't want a straight cut at the ends - I really don't like straight cuts, I like them curved. Last year when I was researching how to cut my own hair on You Tube, I came across videos women were using with this tool. It was really cool, but I couldn't see myself paying that much for something I could make myself. Mine doesn't have the teeth inside for grabbing your hair, but it held enough for me to cut my hair, and it came out just the way I wanted it.

If you look at the pics in my first hair cutting post, you will see that the ends of my hair is pretty much straight. I did have a cool video link to how I cut my hair like that, but sadly, the video was removed.

Anyways, back to making this cool tool that I didn't want to buy - here is the one I made yesterday, it was so easy.

Here is how I made it:

I took a large piece of paper and something circular that I wanted the shape of the ends of my hair to be - I believe I used a large bowl (I drew the design months ago and set it aside, it might have been a large plate). I drew it about 1" wide and cut out the pattern. I then took thick foam core and taped the pattern to the foam.

I used an exacto knife with a straight, flat blade.

I held the knife straight, and cut down. If I use the regular angular blade, I have a tendency to cut in, which creates an uneven cut.

I went back to the angular blade and cut in between the cuts made with the straight blade - if you overlap your cuts, you can avoid this (I tried, but still had some areas attached).

Ready for the other side to be cut.


Now, repeat this process to cut another one that's identical.

I used a hole punch and simple office supply brads (shown above) to secure the two together.

Ta Da!!

It didn't feel like it could hold my hair, foam core is not rigid, so I ended up punching another hole in the center for hold.

I did buy a level that's used for RV's and thought maybe I could attach this somehow. That CreaClip has a level on it so you can get a straight cut and your hair won't be crooked, but I don't know if I really need it.

What do you think?

So am I crazy for cutting my own hair? I would love to know you're opinion? The tool is too wide for my hair - I have thinned out over the years, so I will shorten it for next time, which will probably make it hold better. My husband, Jim btw, said it wouldn't work because it needed to have a rigid backing. I will show him my hair this evening and see what he thinks. I bet he'll be impressed.

Thanks for reading!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Please be sure that your email address is sited so you can receive my response. Thanks!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Apple Rice Muffins

I've been gluten free since 2007. When I first started out, I was using mainly rice flour for all my baked goods. Years after researching and following many gluten free bloggers, I learned about almond flour and started using it - I fell in love with it. It was so easy to use - I made a lot of recipes with this flour.

Recently, I have been having several health issues and I took a food intolerance test. When I got the results back, almonds were high on the list of foods I should not eat - I was really bummed, I had to figure something out. What can I use? I tried the gluten free mix at Costco, but that has buckwheat, and buckwheat is on my list too. Not as high as almond flour, but it might as well be. I decided to go back to rice flour. I have to scrap all my almond flour recipes and start looking for rice flour recipes. On one of my searches, I found this recipe for Rice Flour Muffins. I also found a different recipe for apple muffins. I decided that I would combine the two recipes and make my own. Here's how I made it.

Take the half of an apple (eat the other half for a snack) and grate it on a medium sized grater in a bowl. Scoop up the grated apples and squeeze it in your hands and let the juice fall into the bowl. Place the apples on a clean paper towel and squeeze whatever is left in the apples. You really don’t want wet apples in the batter, it will make your batter too soupy. Pour the apple juice into a measuring cup. (Please read notes at the bottom regarding grating your apple).

 Add enough dairy free milk to equal 1/2 cup, I used *almond milk - I have also used rice milk in the past.

Dry ingredients in a bowl waiting to be mixed together (I had forgotten to add the cinnamon at this point and added it later).

This is how I do my nuts - I put them on a small baking sheet that will fit in my toaster oven and toast it like I would make toast (on the medium setting) - keep an eye on them, they can burn if your setting is too high. I let them cool on a cutting board. After it's cooled, I take a measuring cup (I used the ¼ cup) and lightly pound on each nut. I find chopping nuts better this way, no chasing after runaway nut pieces. Any larger pieces can just get broken up with your fingers. 

Wet ingredients.

All incorporated.

I used a 1/4  measuring cup so each muffin has the same amount of batter. Last time, I ended up with eight muffins, this time I had seven and a half. If you get less than one muffin cup worth, you can divide it among the other cups, or just bake it like I did.

7-1/2 cups filled and ready for baking.

Testing for doneness - I use a clean barbecue skewer I keep in my utensil caddy for this, when done, just wipe clean and put it back for next time.

Using the barbecue skewer to remove muffins - spraying well helps prevent any stickage. If you spray it well, it'll just dump out on your cooling rack - you don't even have to let it cool, it'll come right out.

Cooling off.

These didn't come out as big as the previous ones, that's my 1 tablespoon spoon (sorry, no pics of those). Each batch I make comes out differently - I do have a tendency to add things which changes the finished product.

They were sure yummy with some strawberry Earth Balance. I recently had a friend give me some homemade strawberry jam and I mixed it with some Earth Balance that I store in a small mason jar (no proportions, just mix the two as desired).

Printable Recipe   
Apple Rice Flour Muffins    

1 c. rice flour
2 tsp. baking soda           
1 tsp. cinnamon
up to 1/2 tsp. salt (I don't like a lot of salt)
1/2 c. toasted nuts of your choice (I used pecans)
2 tbs solid of melted coconut oil
1/2 a grated apple of your choice (I used a Gala)
1 tsp. honey
1 room temp egg
Apple juice squeezed from grated apple
Dairy free milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 2 regular muffin tins with cooking spray, can also use a 24 cup muffin tin. Set this aside.

Measure and mix all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl, mix in nuts and set aside.

In a larger bowl, if your coconut oil is not melted, melt put 2 tablespoons of the solid oil in your bowl and microwave for 20 seconds. Let it cool slightly, then add your egg, grated apple, honey, and enough milk to your app juice to equal 1/2 cup. Mix till thoroughly combined.

Dump your dry ingredients into the wet mix and using a spatula, incorporate everything together. You will be looking for a semi chunky pancake batter consistency.

Using a 1/4 measuring cup that's been sprayed with cooking oil, scoop a 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin tin.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, these took 13 minutes. Test the muffins to see if they are done by sticking a toothpick in the center. If there's stuff on it, put it back in the oven for another minute or so. Test again, in a different spot, it's done if it comes out clean.

Immediate take out your muffins (they should dump out easily) and let them cool. I store my muffins in a large zip top bag in the fridge. If you will be eating these everyday, like me, fridge storage is ok - for longer storage, I would put these in the freezer.

In the mornings, I cut them in half and schmear each with some strawberry Earth Balance - three halves do me nicely with my cup of tea.

Faith's Notes:

Don't grate your apples until just before using - they have a tendency to oxidize and that may effect the color of your muffins.

Despite what I said in the beginning about almonds, I recently went back to almond milk. Rice milk is twice the amount of calories as almond milk and I started mixing 1/2 milk and 1/2 water for my tea in the morning. I love the mouth feel of using milk with my Roiboos Chai tea.

In the future, I will just use 2 tablespoons in each muffin tin (half of 1/4 cup is 2 tablespoons), then I won't have to cut them in half and each one will have a nice top to it.

I will try and make these with an egg substitute to see how they turn out - that will be at a later time.

Happy Baking!!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Please be sure that your email address is sited so you can receive my response. Thanks!