Vegan Divinity Recipe!

Yeah,   I know. It really doesn’t seem possible. But stick with me. It really is.

I haven’t had divinity in years.  (Though, to be fair, only a year of that is due to veganism. The rest of it can be chalked up to a severe lack of patience. If you’ve ever made – or tried to make – divinity, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I’d googled a bit trying to find a vegan version – and managed to find one. It didn’t look even close to normal divinity though, as the flax it had you sub for the egg whites didn’t fluff or get “stiff peaks.” And, with divinity was something we used to make  yearly – I’d rather go without than to have a subpar substitute.

Luckily for me – someone a lot braver than I am found a substitute.  Aquafaba.

I forget exactly who discovered it, but my Facebook news feed has exploded in the past few months with people obsessed with this new way to make meringues.  Instead of whipping egg whites to get the desired frothy, stiff peaks, people were using bean brine.  Or, really, the juice you normally pour out of the can of chickpeas.   It sounds bizarre, and you’d think you could taste it (sometimes apparently you can. All depends on brand!) but apparently it works! The logic behind it is that the starch from the beans gets into the liquid, and that’s what makes it stiff when you beat it.

Well. I’m sure it’s loads more scientific than that… but thats the gist.

After lots of drooling on Facebook, I found this group Vegan Meringues on Facebook. And oh my gracious. Aquafaba is amazing. Marshmallows, cakes, macarons, meringues, nougat, royal icing… and so much more. It’s amazing.  And extremely intimidating, but that’s another story.

Seeing people post their “before” pictures of the meringues made me think . They looked EXACTLY like what my mom’s divinity used to look like.   So I posted a few times, and people seemed to think it would work – to just sub 2 tbsp ish of brine for each egg white.

So, I decided to try it. And lo and behold – it worked!!

Here is the recipe, and a few pictures.   Though, I’m not a food blogger. And I’m for SURE not a photographer , so be forgiving. 🙂  (Full recipe at the end of the post)

First, you start beating the brine. 4 tablespoons isn’t very much, so it will seem awkward at first.  But it will fluff up soon!

This. . . . .takes . . . ages. . .

While doing this- start the sugar, water, corn syrup and salt on the stove. You want to stir it constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Then you don’t stir. (I worry, so I stirred every once in a while. My mom said you don’t need to though.)  You let it cook until it reaches hard ball stage on a candy thermometer.   Then, you’ll add it to the mixer.

Now you’re about ready to add the sugar mixture. Beat a bit more, just to be safe..

When the chickpea juice looks like this ^ you’re good to go. I personally beat it a little longer. Because I’ve had divinity flop on me before – so now I’m paranoid.

Then, you s-l-o-w-l-y add the hot syrup – and PLEASE BE CAREFUL . IT”S HOT – and the vanilla.

Then, you beat it some more.

And more.

And more.

Seriously. You will be SO SICK of beating this by the time you’re done.

You want to beat it until it holds its own shape. It will take forever.

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When it looks like the picture above- you’re done!

Then, you spoon it out onto a sheet, and let it sit up. 🙂

Ta da!!

I was a little worried it would taste bean-y- but nope! It tasted exactly like I remember!  Both my mom and brother loved them. They are both VERY wary of vegan food – and are candy elitists.

I won’t go into detail about how I reacted to being able to make egg fee divinity. But I will admit it involved lots of screeching, dancing, and words that shouldn’t be repeated in front of small children or mixed company. 🙂

This makes me SUPER happy – I imagine it would be great for families with egg allergies as well! I’m going to attempt to try peanut butter rolls next – I’ll be sure to report how that goes! If you guys try it- please, let me know how it goes!

Divinity/ Divinity Fudge

2 C Sugar

1 C Water

1/4 C Corn Syrup

1/8 tsp Salt

4 tbsp Chickpea Brine

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 C Chopped nuts (optional)

Heat sugar, water, corn syrup and salt in a pot, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking until it reaches hard ball stage on a candy thermometer .  While doing this – beat the chickpea broth with a hand/stand mixer until it starts to hold a shape. And then, if you’re like me, beat for just a little longer.  (Whisk attachment)

Slowly add the sugar mixture and vanilla into the foamy beaten brine, and beat until stiff peaks. It’s super important that you get stiff peaks that hold its own shape. Otherwise the divinity won’t set up, it’ll melt into yummy, sugary puddles. Add nuts, if using, the spoon out in dollops onto wax paper.  (Or, put into a pan, and cut into squares. )

Project Pixie Dust’s First Giveaway!!

Wait.

Does that mean I’m a genuine blogger now?  Except for that little fact that I seem to forget I even have a blog somedays…..     Scary stuff, let me tell you. 🙂

Anyway, I’m really excited about this so, I won’t mince my words.

As you all know, I volunteer in my free time, for the Hydrocephalus Association.  Recently, (and if you’ve been keeping up with the Bear drama, bless you) I’ve finally gotten started assembling these teddy bears with shunts, called Boozle Bears.   I absolutely love them, they’re fantastic for explaining to little kids what hydrocephalus is, and how it’s treated.

Only thing, they’re a touch expensive.  (Granted, once you try to make one of them, you QUICKLY understand why. Not to mention, they have a real shunt inside of them!)

boozle

Look! All finished, stuffed, shunted and smiling. 🙂 You’d never guess he was such a nightmare to assemble… 😉

So, I got the brilliant idea to give my Boozle Bear away! I mean, I know perfectly well how my shunt works, why not give it to a family who needs it?

Expanding on the idea- we’re taking him to Disney with us, and taking pictures of him with all the characters.  Then, we’ll make up a photo album/autograph book for him, and we’ll give that away with him as well. 🙂

I’m beyond excited for it. I mean, I was already excited about taking the trip to Walt Disney World – who wouldn’t be?  But now, I know the little bear is going to be a fabulous conversation starter, and I’m going to have multiple chances to discuss the condition with people, and hopefully spread a little awareness while I’m at it.

Then, we come home, and I get to share the memories and the pixie dust with someone who may really need it. How cool is that?

So, if you would, do me a favor?   If you know anyone, or have anyone following you on social media who has hydrocephalus, or has a child with it, could you please share this giveaway?  I have it linked on Project Pixie Dust’s Facebook page , here. It doesn’t cost anything to enter, so if you know someone who needs something like this, please – let them know!

In the comments, let me know what you think of this bear, would you? Personally, I think he’s great, but I’m a touch biased… 🙂

Apparently, WordPress doesn’t want me blogging this morning…

I had a blog post typed out … but WordPress decided that it wanted to eat it.

That, makes me sad.  But, is fitting to what I wanted to blog about, I guess…

The long and short of it was, and is, that I’m playing with a new plant based diet. (Yes, I still like meat. And will probably still eat it sometimes at home, and definitely out. This is just an experiment. And, unless I can get ahold of Pacific Foods Barista grade soymilk… I’ll still be having dairy in my lattes… ) 


We bought the Happy Herbivore Cookbook by Lindsay Nixon… it looks AMAZING.

Matt and I are making my Mom dinner from it tonight… we’ll see how that one goes.  It’s a belated mother’s day present. 🙂  Trying to get mom to eat this way once in a while – it would help with her diabetes – believe it or not!

Anyway. Gotta run and get to work. More later!

I really did have a lot to talk about this morning, WordPress. Hydrocephalus stuff, new hair color, etc…..  You aren’t making me happy…

Anyway. I’ll leave you with some … new things we bought at Whole Foods last night. For dinner tonight.

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Lots of new things in this picture…. hmm.

To be fair, the soy milk isn’t new. But this is for cooking things. THAT. is a new concept.  The sprouted wheat tortillas from Ezekiel 4:9 will be interesting. As will the vegan cream cheese. And… the tofu that I’m going to have to sneak in so Mom doesn’t see…

We also picked up veggie broth bouillon cubes, whole wheat flour… and nutritional yeast.

I expect I’ll post pictures of how this ends up going, and other things we try.

Which is good. It’ll keep me in the habit of keeping this thing updated, yes? 😉

Hydrocephalus Awareness Month

September is Hydrocephalus Awareness month .

If you follow me on FB or Twitter, you probably know that already .

You might even be wondering why the month is almost over…. And I haven’t mentioned it at all on here .

I could take the easy way out, say I haven’t been on the laptop much– and blogging from my phone is a pain.

I could say I’ve been playing on Tumblr, and have just forgotten. 

I could point out all the other wonderful blogs about this month, and say that there’s nothing I could possibly add .

The list of excuses goes on. And in reality, they’re all half truths.

But…..that’s not all.

Things about this month just make me mad.

And since you’re reading my blog… I’m afraid you’ll have to indulge me.

First, why is one month any different from the others?
Yes .. having an awareness month is good for getting the getting the general public involved. But all of us who have it, or are deeply affected by it…. We should have this mentality all the time! We should always want to raise awareness.

Second, people are fickle.
On Twitter , people were all over RTing facts, trying to trend #hydrocephalus. Facts were also all over FB.
I mentioned on Twitter about contacting governments. Actually doing something to tell them we need more funding.
I got some RTs. A few people said that it was a waste of time to do so. Two people said they contacted their reps.
..
Really? Are we the same people preaching on Twitter & FB about needing more awareness?
What is that worth, if we don’t do anything to make a difference ourselves ?

Who are we to get angry that the world doesn’t care about our condition, if we don’t care ourselves?!

It seems like such a no brainer. But simply complaining about the lack of a cure , won’t change it.
We can’t will a cure into being.
We can’t wish for more research funding, & expect to get it.
We can’t keep hoping someone else will come along, & fight OUR battle for us. 

There are several hydrocephalus organizations around. National AND local. Find one, get involved.
Contact your government. Your law makers. Explain why we need funding.

Here is an event happening Friday. If you can, attend. Anyone from HA or the PHF can give you more information.

We–you and I– need to step up, and make a change. If for nothing else, so no one else has to go through what we do.

Me vs 3D… Looks like round 1 is a draw…

So. If this isn’t your first time reading this… you know we tested out our new 3D glasses, player & 3D TV Wednesday night.

But… before I tell you how that went, let me introduce to you the cast of characters.

Pictured: The newly found bane of my existence...These, are our 3D glasses.  They’re supposedly good for anyone, I guess the guy who started this whole 3D tv thing, had a grandpa who was a war vet with 1 eye. So the experience was designed so he could be able to see it.  Now, whether that’s true, or just a story my husband told me so I wouldn’t lose hope and break all the shiny new electronics, I don’t know. But I think I’m choosing to believe it for now…

They aren’t battery powered, but instead, have cords that they plug in and charge. Matt says on a full charge, they last for about 4 hours.  Which, from my limited 3D experiences, I get headaches. So I really doubt I’d be watching 3D content for over that amount of time… so, cool!  Matt plugged the glasses into the TV to charge, while we watched a Kevin Smith DVD .

Now, the new BluRay player- by Oppo.

There was a picture here. But it was HUGE. Go here. http://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-bdp-93/images/BDP-93-refl-hr.jpg 

Not sure what the model name is…. but I do know it came packed in a fancy travel case. All the parts (cords, remotes, etc) were in these sleek looking black boxes… I was impressed — and I’m not a tech-y girl.

But. It’s expensive. Apparently does everything under the sun (expect being region free. But it’s close! And — oh. wait, there’s a kit that makes it region free. Never mind. It does everything. Wonder if there’s a kit to teach it to make espresso…)

So, I’m not picturing it. It’s by oppo. And apparently is the “it” Blu Ray player on forums such as Blu Ray.com, and etc.


This, is the Disney castle logo from Tron Legacy. LOVE this. Really. It’s amazing. Can we say, WDW virtual reality attraction idea? The line could be an interactive queue of the street up to Flynn’s arcade, the waiting lines could weave through the arcade, you could play the games to keep busy, then finally go behind Tron, go downstairs and do the attraction/ride/whatever.  It’s perfect.

Disney, I’m waiting.  And I’ll expect my royalty check, as well. Thanks. 

It’s late. But not overly. 9 something. Too late to watch the whole movie…. but I’m antsy. I don’t want to wait till tomorrow… I just want to try and see something. One of those things that  I have zero patience left, it’s 2 AM Christmas morning, I just HAVE to know what I have. It can’t wait till tomorrow…. (when, of course it CAN wait, but I’m not having it…)

Matt starts up the player… Reluctantly gives me the glasses, explaining very plainly that they can’t rub against my own glasses– it’ll scratch, and it won’t work.

Ok, ok, ok! Got it!  Let’s go! 

LOVE the intro. Love the music. Great movie.

Then, I panic.

Out of one eye, there’s a green bar across the screen. But, not on the other.

No, nononono!! This is supposed to work. 

Mid panic- Matt, I could tell, was starting to get frustrated. Apparently, in the manual, it says something about that meaning the glasses were connected, but not turned on?  Whatever. I was mid-unhappiness. He had to explain it a few times.

So we finally get the glasses on. Ta Da!

Movie starts. It’s pretty, and I guess I can kinda tell it looks a little more…. depthy? (Hell. I don’t exactly know what depthy is though. For all I know, what I see could look like a Picasso picture compared to you folks with binocular vision….)

We get to a few scenes… where, I admit. I expect something to pop out. I’m talking to the TV… kinda bouncy, and losing my patience.

Finally, we get to the grid battle.

The key “pop” point of the movie, according to our Googling research.

The guys start throwing the discs around…. annnnd…..

Nothing. Not a pop.

I’m not a happy person at this point. I mean, if anything’s going to pop- this would be it.

Matt tries to reassure me that this is normal, it’s depthy, which is really all the new 3D is…. not the gimmicky pops.

By this time, I feel like the kid who got coal or socks for Christmas. I don’t think there was any rational thought left. I was frustrated. Disappointed. And at the point where I think I stated flat out that the TV was a waste of money if THAT was all the 3D was.  I know I was yelling. Very not happy that Matt was pointing out that yes, this 3D apparently, I could see.

I countered with a very mature “No. No, I cannot. Something is popping. And I can’t see it. Therefore, I don’t care if I’m not seeing the wavy lines. I’m not seeing what I was meant to be seeing. I’m not seeing it. ”  Or some variation. Pretty loudly.

He again, repeats that this is one of the first 3D Blurays. Well, he repeats it a little louder, and more forcefully. Not quite as calmly as earlier. Probably has something to do the fact that his wife is ranting and raving….. but hey. What do I know….

He finally, (I assume) gets fed up with me, and we decide that he’s just going to watch the scene, and see if anything pops.

I wait… Pins and needles. Somewhere pretty conscious of the fact that I think I’m acting like a brat. Or a bitch. Not sure which. But I really don’t care to much. What’s the term? Hysteria? (PMS….) 

Matt semi-narrates how the scene is going. It’s more depthy. Again with that damn depth. How do I know if I’m seeing depth?! 

Scene ends, Matt calmly explains that nothing really popped. Had more depth, and certain parts did something odd, but nothing popped.

No gimmicky 3D. Nothing that is a red flag, flashing neon signal to me that yes, yes I can see this type of 3D.

Just. Depth.

About this point, I decide that the whole night has been a waste of time. The TV is stupid. The glasses are dumb. This whole depthy-3D is a waste of money. WHY pay that much for depth????? 

Of course, I can’t figure that out, because I don’t exactly know what depth looks like. I mean, I can kinda tell something is different. But I can’t figure out how to describe it, necessarily. I don’t like that feeling. I like to be sure of things.

I’m not too terribly proud of this.. but I went from being all bitchy, to completely emotional, and just started crying.

And I mean, full force, get me a gallon of ice cream, and a few boxes of kleenex kind of tears. To top it all off, the whole 3D glasses thing had given me a killer headache. 😦

I was definitely not a happy camper. I didn’t want to hear Matt talk about the depth, or tell me again that this was one of the first ones of its kind…. or that there are other movies with the gimmicky type of 3D that we can get..etc, etc.

 I just want to see the stuff that everyone else does. I don’t really care how, or why. I want to see something concrete, that would show me that yes, yes I can see this. Not a “Well…. it looks like that COULD be depth…. but…. I don’t know what depth looks like to begin with… so….. lets just say that I saw it!!” I just don’t have a baseline for comparison. So I don’t know what I’m doing. Or seeing .  I’m having a hard time even explaining it here… apologies for that.

He finally got it drilled into my head that the night wasn’t a failure. As far as he was concerned, I could see it. Then he explained a bit about the LCD glasses, and repeated the war vet story… I’m still all sniffly, trying to convince my PMS-y, emotional, girl-y mind that he was right, and to be rational about this, and either way, it isn’t the end of the world. (Ha. I know, I know….rational? Me?  Believe it or not, it does happen.  )

Finally, it sinks in, though I’m still not thrilled with the nights events.

We did google it, though… and are now making plans to buy either Monsters Vs. Aliens, Tangled, or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Those are supposedly more poppy 3D, and less of the depthy 3D. I’ll let you know how that one goes….

Hopefully a LOT better than this did. But we’ll see.  I’ll make sure to have ice cream on hand though… just in case.

Excited, nervous, and everything in between.

First, some backstory.  Anyone who knows my husband and I… This won’t come as a surprise to you, feel free to skip this first part.

For everyone else, Matt is…. What’s the polite term? A technology geek. Elitist. Completist. Techno snob. All of the above….

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop at just the fancy music equipment. It extends to all other media as well. Blu Rays, players, CDs, you name it.

Not long ago, we invested in a 3D plasma tv. That was a story in itself. New technology. Repairs. Replacements. Technicians who had never seen one, and called their friends/coworkers to come see.

Then, we realized, we needed a 3D player to match, or the purchase was pointless.

So, we found one, and got it.

Got it significantly cheaper than we should have too, because of all the problems with the TV. AND, free glasses.

What? You say you haven’t heard me talk about these cool new glasses?

Well, my friend, I know.

It’s because we never got them.

I’d have to ask Matt to be sure, but I swear, its been 6 months!! 

Problem after problem came up… Calling them did no good. Matt may have talked to half their employees. No joke.

So finally…. The Blu Ray player started dying.

Cue Matt, king of internet research.

He found another, pricier one… With glasses.. and impeccable customer care.(hey. Once burned…)

Long story short… They came in. Finally, we can watch a 3D movie.

Well, I can watch one.

We only bought one set of glasses….

And by watch, I mean, I get to try to watch it…

Oh. Right. Have I mentioned I don’t have binocular vision?

I see from one eye at a time . Not great for depth perception.

Which… Explains marching band disasters, my lovely driving and parking skills, & my unending gracefulness.

Also… I’ve never seen a magic eye.

Finally asked my eye Dr about it, and why I never got to wear the cool 3D glasses at my check ups…& he laughed, and very sweetly explained that they wouldn’t work for me, because of my strabismus.

I was so mad. I had literally spent years in elementary school trying to see those. I was like that kid in Mallrats. I wish I was kidding….

So here I am. 25. Have dodged every opportunity I’ve ever had to see a 3D movie… Have long lasting issues with Magic Eye pictures.. and tonight, I’ll be watching Tron Legacy, on my very own, all 3D, Blu Ray setup.

And I’m terrified.

Firstly, if I can’t see it, we aren’t buying the second pair, because it’d be pointless, really.

Second, I’ve never seen 3D before. This slips my mind from time to time, & I have made the mistake of getting excited about the even slight possibility that I might be able to see it…

The concept of it is fascinating. Does it really look like it pops out of the screen? How is that even possible??

More along those lines, what if I can actually see it? Why that,and not normal 3D?

I dunno. I know I’m talking in circles, and probably looking too much into it.. but I’m not sure what to think about it at all! It’s quite a thought to know you can’t see 3D . Go so long not seeing it, avoiding the movies, and now, getting excited about watching a movie, and hoping you’ll be able to see it.

Anyway. I’ll stop now… But- I’ll be sure to post & let you know how it goes!

Blog: My Broken Cranium

Oh my goodness. I’ve blogged three times in the past three days…. No one have a heart attack or anything. 😉

 

A friend of mine, (well, a Twitter friend, at least) has started a blog about living with hydrocephalus and bi-polar disorder.  You should check it out. The first post is great, and she is a writer, so it’s a good chance that even if you aren’t particularly interested in hydrocephalus or bi-polar disorder, it could still be an engaging read.

My Broken Cranium