Thursday, June 24, 2010

How the Rebelution is like Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I learned many things in my years attending La Leche League meetings. Most importantly, of course, I learned how to keep breastfeeding and why it matters. I learned that it's biologically normal to sleep with your baby, and I learned you can keep your bathroom counter reasonably clean if you swipe it down with toilet paper saturated with rubbing alcohol every other day. But perhaps one of the most life changing things I learned was the phrase repeated at the beginning of every meeting..."Take what you can use, and leave the rest".
This is a concept that came into play for me as I started reading the book "Do Hard Things" by Alex and Brett Harris. Anyone in the homeschooling community who happens to be Christian probably have some passing familiarity with the Harrises. Alex and Brett's parents, Gregg and Sono, have long been eloquent advocates of Christian homeschooling. Their older brother Josh is best known for championing the cause of "Biblical" courtship over dating. Although I am far, far left of the Harris family I respect that they speak their beliefs with conviction, even if I disagree with most of them. Although I want to see my kids do big things for God by serving people, and I'm proud to say they do that already, I am coming from a much different place than the authors. I won't touch on that except to that liberal will find more areas to disagree than to agree with the authors. Anyhow, by now you probably want to know how I think a couple of conservatives compare to the Buffster, right? An atheist created show full of demons and lacking the modesty and purity they espouse?
"Do hard Things" speaks much the same message that I love in BtVS. The book has a great message that, it happens, will appeal mostly to a select group of people, the very conservative. However, the idea that teenagers should not waste their youth waiting for the time when they have to be responsible adults but to grab life by the horns, believe their skills can be useful NOW, and to do big hard things is one all teenagers should hear, regardless of what their beliefs about religion are.
A lot, I realised earlier today, like Buffy. Buffy and her friends are teenagers, but they do big hard things every episode, saving their town (and sometimes the world) from the forces of evil at all levels, from the individual vamp to the threatening apocalypse. They have a wise mentor, sometimes more, who advises them but when push comes to shove, it's the youth doing it. The Harrises advocate collaboration; Buffy is a stronger better Slayer because she has her friends on her side. Buffy and the Scoobys fight evil when they have to give up the "normal" life other teenagers are having, when it means holding themselves to a different standard, when it means putting their lives on the lines, when they face ridicule. All values I want my kids to embody, and who wouldn't?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Dairy Free, Soy Free Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

I made this recently for my best friend Cheryl's birthday. When made as directed it is free of dairy, soy, corn and gluten. Unlike may such frozen deserts you won't feel like you're eating it "instead of" ice cream- even my dairy loving husband said it didn't taste like a substitute and that I may have spoiled him for store ice cream.

Whisk together in a medium saucepan:
1 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk (I use chakoah)
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk (I used SoDelicious Plain)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
dash salt

Bring to simmer.

In a 2 cup or larger glass measure, whisk together two large, cold eggs, preferably free range. Slowly , in a very thin stream, pour in about 1/3 the coconut milk mixture while whisking continually.
In a large bowl, combine:
8 oz semi sweet baking chocolate ( the higher the percentage , the better!)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup powdered sugar
*2 TBL solid fat (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

*this could be butter, if you do not need to be 100% dairy free, Earth Balance, if you can handle soy (omit the dash salt if you use EB), or, if you want to keep both those out, the solid coconut cream sold in brick. Cocoa butter should work too. Or you could omit it for a less "truffly" dessert.

Pour the custard through a strainer into the bowl ( this will collect and bits of egg that got cooked). Allow the heat to melt the chocolate, them whisk together thoroughly. Cool, then freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

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