Friday, April 21, 2017

Volcano Cookies aka Truffle Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies {gluten free option}

Volcano Cookies aka Truffle Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies with a gluten free option tips on how to make them taste as good as regular flour. Delicious cookies fun for a book club, party.  Decadent, rich, and amazing. Classic cookie with a delicious fun modern twist. Lindt truffles chocolate or white chocolate  Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

After watching Moana my son was fascinated with volcanoes; he asked me to make some volcano cookies.  These deliciously rich and scrumptious cookies were the result of his request... and he is a big fan of them.  Let's be honest, our entire family is a big fan of them. These decadent cookies are amazing!  

Volcano Cookies aka Truffle Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies are your classic soft cookie goodness with an amazing truffle (chocolate, white chocolate, caramel, etc.) stuffed inside.  I used Lindor Truffles that I bought at Costco for a great price.  It was a really delicious choice, but I'm sure whatever truffle you go with will be delicious.


The Costco variety Lindor Truffles have dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, and caramel,  The variety is fun b/c there is something for everyone.   Plus, I made these Truffle Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies gluten free and shared them at book club for My Lady Jane that I hosted.  To fit the book I called them EDian cookies.  I'm a complete nerd that likes to match the food to the book for book club.    


These cookies are delicious... to the last bite.  Enjoy! 

Volcano Cookies aka Truffle Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe: Alohamora
Active Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 20 minutes (30 more minutes for gluten free)
Servings 24 stuffed cookies

Ingredients: 
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1 box (3.5 oz) vanilla pudding, dry
2 eggs, large
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour or gluten free flour w/ xanthum gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 (11 oz) bag milk chocolate chips
1 XL milk Hershey bar, chopped

24 truffles

Directions: 

  1. If you are not making these gluten free preheat your oven to 325 degrees and spray with a baking spray or grease and flour a mini-muffin tin. If you are making these gluten free you will preheat your oven later.  
  2. In a large bowl or a stand mixer cream the butter and sugars together until they are light and fluffy. 
  3. Add the pudding mix and mix until just combined.  Make sure the pudding is gluten free if you need. 
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla one at a time and mix until just combined. 
  5. Now, it's time to add the dry ingredients.  I find a good 1-1 Gluten Free all purpose flour with xanthum gum is ideal and works well for almost all of my.  I have used with success Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 and Cup4Cup.  When adding the flour to the measuring cup make sure you spoon the flour into the cup and then use a knife to even it off. Add the flour and baking soda in the order listed and mix until just combined.
  6. Finally, add the chocolate chips and the chopped up chocolate bar.  Trust me, you need both.  The flavor and the texture of the two are a perfect addition.
  7. If you are making these gluten free set your timer for 30 minutes and let your dough rest. To avoid the funky texture you can get with gf cookies let your dough rest.
  8. If you are not needing these to be gluten free skip to step 10.   
  9. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray a mini-muffin tin with a coconut oil spray.
  10. Use a medium cookie scoop or a spoon to get approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of cookie dough and flatten the dough in your hands.  Place an unwrapped truffle in the middle of the dough and wrap the dough completely around the truffle. Place the cookie dough covered truffle in one of the muffin tins in your prepared pan.  
  11. Bake the volcano cookies at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes until they are a light golden color.
  12. Enjoy! 
  13. Store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter.

Happy EDian aka Volcano aka Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Eating

 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Radiant Child gets 3.5 Stars {picture book, caldecott medal}

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe is an art history biography picture book that won the Caldecott Medal for 2017.  The illustrations are excellent and worthy of the medal.  The story text leaves the reader confused b/c of the story's lack of depth. Excellent book for art teacher and good library collection choice for any school library or juvenile collection. Books, picture books, award winners, non-fictions. Great book. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

This colorful and bold art history biographical picture book won the 2017 Caldecott Medal.   I will say, the pictures are fantastic, and I feel Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe completely deserves the Caldecott award for amazing illustrations. 

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe is an art history biography picture book that won the Caldecott Medal for 2017.  The illustrations are excellent and worthy of the medal.  The story text leaves the reader confused b/c of the story's lack of depth. Excellent book for art teacher and good library collection choice for any school library or juvenile collection. Books, picture books, award winners, non-fictions. Great book. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

I feel the illustrations were consistent, meaningful to Basquiat, and truly what make this book fantastic.
  
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe is an art history biography picture book that won the Caldecott Medal for 2017.  The illustrations are excellent and worthy of the medal.  The story text leaves the reader confused b/c of the story's lack of depth. Excellent book for art teacher and good library collection choice for any school library or juvenile collection. Books, picture books, award winners, non-fictions. Great book. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

However, Radiant Child gets 3.5 out of 5 stars in my book review.  I love the pictures, but I think the written text is lacking.  I feel the story in this historical picture book is lacking depth and substance.  I feel the reader won't understand the impact the car accident, his mother's condition, and the other struggles he overcame had on who he became and the artist he became.  


Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe is an art history biography picture book that won the Caldecott Medal for 2017.  The illustrations are excellent and worthy of the medal.  The story text leaves the reader confused b/c of the story's lack of depth. Excellent book for art teacher and good library collection choice for any school library or juvenile collection. Books, picture books, award winners, non-fictions. Great book. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

I think you can find Jean-Michel Basquiat in the illustrations, but his story isn't completely captured in the text.  I do think the extra info about Jean-Michel Basquiat including the symbolism he used was cool, and the details with the end paper was fantastic.  

All in all, I liked this book.  I would definitely add Radiant Child to a library collection (school or public), and the school's art teacher or any art history fan will enjoy checking this book out.  Though, because I am not an art history buff I will pass on adding it to my personal collection.    

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe is an art history biography picture book that won the Caldecott Medal for 2017.  The illustrations are excellent and worthy of the medal.  The story text leaves the reader confused b/c of the story's lack of depth. Excellent book for art teacher and good library collection choice for any school library or juvenile collection. Books, picture books, award winners, non-fictions. Great book. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

Happy Art History Biography Picture Book reading! 


Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Best For: 7 to 11 year olds, 2nd grade through 5th grade
Worth a Check Out: Yes!
Buy It or Not: If you are an art history fan, or if you know an artist then buy it; otherwise, I say pass on the purchase.
Read Aloud: Not a great read aloud. 
Lesson Ideas: Art History, Life of Jean-Michel Basquiat, overcoming struggles




Monday, April 17, 2017

Smoky Deviled Eggs

Smoky Deviled Eggs. Classic appetizer to use hard boiled eggs, but this gluten free recipe has a smoky delicious taste. Quick and easy to make. Classic. Alohamora Open a Book Alohomora http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

Holiday weekends are so dang busy!  Seriously! I'm exhausted.   

I had big plans to get this recipe to you on Friday.   However, my husband was out of town for work and doing the single mom thing is exhausting.  All you parents who have to do it all for one reason or another, you are amazing.  Friday just didn't happen for me; every night as soon as I got the kids to bed I crashed as well. 

My new goal was to get this recipe to you on Saturday.  However, when the husband came home he was sick; darn food poisoning.  Saturday was not happening now. 

I had big plans, but plans never seem to go as planned.  I guess that is the fun of this beautiful thing called life.  

Now, for these delicious Smoky Deviled Eggs.  They are delicious!  Enjoy! 

Smoky Deviled Eggs
Recipe: Alohamora
Active Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients: 

6 eggs, hard boiled
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Dijon/spicy mustard
1/8 tsp Liquid Smoke
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
pinch brown sugar
dash salt

Directions: 

  1. Slice your eggs in half and remove the yolks to a small bowl. Place the halved slices on a plate to the side 
  2. Smash the yolks with a fork. 
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, and stir with a spoon or a hand mixer until smooth and well combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the egg halves you placed to the side.  You can also use a piping bag and a frosting tip to disperse the mixtures into the egg halves. 
  5. Sprinkle the deviled eggs with smoked paprika. 
  6. Enjoy! If you aren't enjoying the eggs right away place them in the fridge until you are ready to enjoy them.  
  7. Store deviled eggs in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  

Happy Smoky Deviled Eggs eating



What's your favorite way to enjoy hard boiled eggs?  I like deviled eggs and Egg Salad


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The BEST Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Veggies {healthy, side dish, gluten free}


Roasted Sweet Potatoes. Oven Baked.  Amazing. Delicious.  Add any other vegetables/veggies you want.  My Favorite and the BEST way to cook healthy vegetables kids and the whole family loves. Gluten Free, Diet Friendly, Healthy, Macro. .Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

"Wow!  What is that?" "That smells amazing!" are just a couple phrases I hear each and every time I reheat a bowl of these at work.  The leftovers are amazing, but the fresh out of the oven is even better.  

These Roasted Sweet Potatoes are oven baked, gluten free, healthy, and hands down the BEST way to cook sweet potatoes and veggies.  Seriously, this recipe and the marinade for these veggies is delicious.

Enjoy!  

I, of course, wouldn't say no to any comment love after you taste how amazing these vegetables are. ;)

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Veggies
Recipe: Alohamora adapted from Elavegan
Active Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4-6 people, but you can add more vegetables to feed more

Ingredients:
3-4 sweet potatoes, washed and chopped
1-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 onion, chunked
2 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce or Tamari sauce
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning*
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika powder
dash smoked paprika
dash salt/pepper

*Check for Gluten Free

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a baking mat.  If you are using aluminum foil be sure to spray it with olive oil spray so the vegetables do not stick. 
  2. Place all of your vegetables in a medium bowl.  You can add as many vegetables as you want, and any variety of veggies.  Many people will do russet potatoes, and those taste delicious, but I like to be a little bit healthier w sweet potatoes. 
  3. In a mug or small bowl mix the remaining ingredients and seasonings together with a whisk or a fork.
  4. Pour the sauce marinade over the vegetables in the bowl.  Use a large spoon to coat the vegetables in the yummy marinade. 
  5. Pour the coated vegetables onto your prepared pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees, flip them/stir them and then bake for another 20-25 minutes until slightly crispy and smelling amazing.  This second baking time is crucial. 
  6. Remove from the oven and enjoy! 
  7. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.  
  8. Leftovers are delicious too!  Enjoy! 

Happy Healthy and Delicious Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Veggies eating! 

  

Monday, April 10, 2017

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs aka The BEST Way to Cook Eggs

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs. The absolute best and easiest way to cook eggs.  5 minutes cooking time.  Easy, Quick, fast, and simple.  gluten free, healthy snack, simple, perfect, flawless, Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

Have you been on the fence about spending the $100 on an Instant Pot.  However, the ease with the way the shells come off, and the fact that it takes only 5 minutes to cook is reason enough to get an electric pressure cooker.

Cooking eggs with an Instant Pot is absolutely amazing.  Cooking eggs with an Instant Pot is so easy, so simple, so what you need.  


Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs. The absolute best and easiest way to cook eggs.  5 minutes cooking time.  Easy, Quick, fast, and simple.  gluten free, healthy snack, simple, perfect, flawless, Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

If you cook/hard boil eggs for a healthy snack, or if you just cook eggs once a year for Easter cooking it in an IP is the way to go.  Cooking 12 eggs perfectly, and having their shells come off easily, simply, and smoothly is the reason I sold my husband on why we needed yet another cooking appliance.

Sure, I love cooking applesauce in minutes, and I love how tender pork chops are (recipe coming soon), but hard cooked eggs... amazing! 

Instant Pot Hard Boiled/Cooked Eggs
Recipe: Alohamora
Active Time: 3 minutes
Inactive Time: 15 minutes
Servings: up to 12 eggs/1 dozen

Ingredients: 
1 c. water
12 eggs, at most

Directions: 

  1. Place 1 cup of water in the bottom of your Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker.  
  2. Place the pot rack, that came with the Instant Pot, in the bottom.  A picture of the rack is shown above.
  3. Lay as many eggs as you want on top of the rack.  I was able to create a tight fit with 12 eggs. 
  4. Seal your pressure cooker, and set your Instant Pot to Manual for 5 minutes on High Pressure.  
  5. Once it reaches pressure and cooks for 5 minutes, let it naturally release for 5 minutes.  That means just let the pressure cooker cool on its own without touching anything for 5 minutes.  
  6. After a 5 minute natural release do a quick release and then use tongs to remove the eggs and place them in a bowl of cool water for 5 minutes to stop the eggs from cooking.  If you let the eggs naturally release longer than 5 minutes, or if you don't place them in cold water the eggs will keep cooking and that is when you will get the green edging around the yolk.
  7. Simply and easily remove the shells and enjoy.  
  8. I love a simple deviled egg recipe, but this healthier version is delicious as well. Tho, egg salad is always amazing as well.  
  9. Store cooked eggs in the refrigerator.  I prefer to keep the eggs in the shell cooked until ready to use or eat.  


Happy The Absolute Best Way to Cook Eggs Ever cooking and egg shell pealing! 


Don't the eggs look beautiful cooling after a quick cook in the Instant Pot. 


Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs. The absolute best and easiest way to cook eggs.  5 minutes cooking time.  Easy, Quick, fast, and simple.  gluten free, healthy snack, simple, perfect, flawless, Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 7, 2017

Amazingly Soft Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Amazingly Soft Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies.  GF cookies you may not be able to tell the difference. GF cookies some think are better than regular cookies. GF cookies that are Amazingly Delicious and Amazingly Gluten Free. Dessert. Yummy, Easy to Make, Secret to delicious Gluten Free Cookies. http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

Today, I'm giving you the secret to amazing gluten free cookies.

If you have tried baking gluten free then you probably know about the funky gritty texture gluten free cookies can have.  However, there is a simple and easy solution to the oh so frustrating gluten free texture problem.  

When I perfected this Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe my husband told me he liked them better than my regular flour chocolate chip cookies.  I'm not sure what to think of his compliment, but I do know he likes them.  I also know my dad loves these cookies, and my mom was crushed when the batch I made them was out.  

These Chocolate Chip Cookies are amazing.  They are Amazingly Soft and Amazingly Gluten Free.  These cookies are banging, and have helped me be strictly gluten free for 3 months now (per doctor orders thanks to my Hashimotos). 

You need this recipe, and you need the Trick to Amazing Gluten Free Cookies.  The key to the texture dilemma is resting the dough for 30 minutes before baking.   


Amazingly Soft Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe: Alohamora
Active Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 3 dozen medium scoop  or 2 dozen large scoop

Ingredients: 
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1 box (3.5 oz) vanilla pudding, dry
2 eggs, large
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 c. gluten free flour w/ xanthum gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 (11 oz) bag milk chocolate chips
1 XL milk Hershey bar, chopped

Directions: 

  1. In a large bowl or a stand mixer cream the butter and sugars together until they are light and fluffy. 
  2. Add the pudding mix and mix until just combined.  Make sure the pudding is gluten free; I haven't seen gluten in any pudding mixes I've checked, but they sneak it in so many things these days. 
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla one at a time and mix until just combined. 
  4. Now, it's time to add the dry ingredients.  I find a good 1-1 Gluten Free all purpose flour with xanthum gum is ideal and works well for almost all of my.  I have used with success Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 and Cup4Cup.  When adding the flour to the measuring cup make sure you spoon the flour into the cup and then use a knife to even it off. Add the flour and baking soda in the order listed and mix until just combined.
  5. Finally, add the chocolate chips and the chopped up chocolate bar.  Trust me, you need both.  The flavor and the texture of the two are a perfect addition.
  6. Set your timer for 30 minutes and let your dough rest. To avoid the funky texture you can get with gf cookies let your dough rest.   
  7. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a baking mat.  The parchment paper/baking mat are not necessary but they help with the cooking texture.  
  8. Use a medium cookie scoop or a spoon to get approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of cookie dough and place the balls on your prepared pans.  
  9. Bake the cookies at 325 degrees for 9-12 minutes for either the medium or the large cookies until they are a light golden color.
  10. Enjoy! 
  11. Store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter. 

Happy Amazingly Soft Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie eating!


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Touch-and-Feel Colors gets 4.5 stars {concept book, board book}

Touch-and-Feel Colors by Jonathan Litton earns 4.5 out of 5 stars in my honest book review.  This board book is perfect for babies through preschoolers. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/ Cover and inside book

Cute simple contrasting colored pictures with various textures to touch on each page and a hint of rhyming text is a perfect read with a baby or toddler on your lap.

Touch-and-Feel Colors by Jonathan Litton is a simple concept book, with short and simple rhyming text, and bold colorful contrasting illustrations.  This book is well geared towards it's target audience, aka babies and toddlers.

Touch-and-Feel Colors by Jonathan Litton earns 4.5 out of 5 stars in my honest book review.  This board book is perfect for babies through preschoolers. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

4.5 out of 5 stars is what this book earned.  I really did like how well done this baby board book was.  Great pictures, simple but sometimes too subtle textures, and for the most part great writing.  I only say for the most part b/c there is one line that is a bit awkward with the rhyming.

Even with my slight critique, I highly suggest this book for any one with babies to preschoolers in their home.  The babies will love the contrasting colors, the toddlers will love the textures, and the preschoolers will love the rhyming text.

Touch-and-Feel Colors by Jonathan Litton earns 4.5 out of 5 stars in my honest book review.  This board book is perfect for babies through preschoolers. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

Definitely go check out this fun book, or buy it.  It's less than $10 on Amazon.   

Happy Color Concept Board Book Reading! 


Touch and Feel Colors by Jonathan Litton
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Best For: 0 - 4 year olds, babies to preschoolers
Worth a Check Out: Yes!
Buy It or Not: Buy
Read Aloud: Small group setting or possibly large setting as well.
Lesson Ideas: Colors, rhyming



I received this book from Myrick Marketing in exchange for my review and honest opinion.  All of my thoughts, opinions, and words are my own.