Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bread Pudding (Large Batch) with Sarah's Cinnamon Syrup

Well, I kept stashing away stale bread, bread duds (my husband doesn't like the breadmaker bread),  a few hotdog buns and some breakfast bread with dried fruit my Mom gave me and some burnt toast in the freezer.

While searching through the freezers to see what was actually in there, I found I had a half dozen different bags of bread stashed away! Meijer, our local grocery store is finally carrying their own line of organic bread, among other things, but it is not taking off as well as it should and I forget to check the date in the store... so a loaf usually only lasts a couple days before it doesn't taste fresh anymore. Even a couple days before the date. Which, is fine, I'd hate to think they filled it with tons of preservatives anyway. So, in the freezer these quarter loaves go.

Today I pulled them all out, chopped them up into bite sized pieces and found I had 30 cups worth! So, I did some searches online. I wanted one with lots of fruit and eggs and little sugar. Honey, molasses fine. I found this one:
and this one:
and some others, and then kinda did my own thing. Of course. :)

So, I had a dozen eggs I needed to use up, put that in a bowl with almost 2 cups of organic milk, 2 cups of organic coffee, 2 cups of plain organic yogurt, 1/2 cup of molasses, 1/2 cup honey, 1/3 cup of raw, organic cane sugar, 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, about 1 Tablespoon each (give or take) of freshly ground cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. I grind them in my coffee grinder. I don't know how fresh the nutmeg was because I was able to press down on it with my knife and split it apart to get it in my grinder. 1 heaping spoonful of ground ginger. I would have used fresh, but wanted to use up my store bought stuff. :) 4 black peppercorns, and 4 cloves freshly ground.

1 also got the zest from 3 smaller grapefruits since I didn't have any oranges. I used about a teaspoon of almond extract since my homemade vanilla is still infusing. :)

I ran everything (but the bread) through my blender and poured it out evenly over the bread crumbs which I put into 4 separate casserole dishes. I then blended about 4 cups of fruit in my blender, an apple, 3 stalks of rhubarb, 3 grapefruits. I then poured about a cup over each casserole dish. I then sprinkled some raisins into each dish. I mixed everything thoroughly with a spoon.

I baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes wrapped with aluminum foil and then took the foil off and let it go for another ten minutes or so til somewhat crisp.

Tried some with maple syrup - okay. Tried some with my niece Sarah's Cinnamon Syrup - awesome!!!

Sarah's Cinnamon Syrup (Simple syrup with cinnamon): 

  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of raw cane sugar
  • 5 cinnamon sticks, ground
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer approximately 30 min­utes. Stirring occasionally to keep from burning. Keep stirring. Sarah: "It takes forever Auntie Katie". You're doing good Sarah, keep stirring. :)  Let cool. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Couscous Red Curry but not quite - so good! Vegetarian.

Well, I finally broke down and bought some CousCous - Whole Wheat at Trader Joe's, 16oz for $1.99 I believe. I've never made anything with it before and this was great!! :) So, what to do with it??

We had a phenomenal Guam Curry meal at an impromptu meal with our new friends at and decided I had to try to duplicate it. It didn't happen this time, but we still loved it!

First I prepared the couscous immediately regretting it as it only took 5 minutes to mix equal parts water and couscous and boil... I did squash a garlic clove and put it in there too.

I chopped and sauteed an onion in EVOO for a few minutes, added 8 cloves of minced garlic and a small chunk of minced ginger and minced tumeric.  I then sliced up some carrots and celery and threw that in. I added most of this to the couscous in the other pot. I left some in, added some more EVOO and sauteed 3 banana peppers and 2 Jalepeno peppers, then put those in the couscous pot and stirred it all up.

I then put some butter in the pan and sauteed some mini portabella mushrooms. Put that in the couscous.

Poured about a cup of organic milk into the frying pan. I would have used coconut milk if I had it, or put coconut in if I had it, but I didn't. So I splashed some coconut oil in the couscous. Didn't notice the coconut flavour tho... I ran a few chili de arbol peppers through my coffee grinder. This is how I make my chili powder. Put that in the milk. I also ran some cumin seed through the coffee grinder, about a tablespoon or so. Probably a little more than that actually. We use medicinal quantities of our herbs and spices in case you didn't notice! :)

So, I slowly stirred the spices through the milk and added a bit of cottage cheese to see if it would thicken it up. It didn't, but we were also very hungry, so I didn't wait for it to melt either... I added 2 tablespoons of organic ketchup. One of these days I'll can tomato paste and have the ability to grab that off the shelf. Yesterday was not that day though! :) I added a 1/4 tsp of white pepper. I probably should have added more ginger and garlic, but I didn't.  I didn't add cilantro either as I just chopped it up and put it in just before I served it. I also didn't use shrimp paste, fish sauce or soy sauce, or lime juice. I was going to use soy sauce, but I forgot. Just as well as we're trying to stay away from soy. I did add some lemon zest though. We definitely missed not having Lemongrass!!!

So, I mixed everything together, and added some cilantro and feta cheese on top - incredible! The jalepenos were kinda hot for my taste, but my husband gladly ate them for me.

Inexpensive, good and healthy! He said I definitely need to make this again. :)


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zucchini Casserole, with a kick! :) Then modified the next day. 2 meals in one! :)

Well, I finally harvested my first bunch of zucchinis the other day - 3 green, 6 yellow, or so. Yeah!! Fruits of our labour and $$ invested in topsoil and pots, etc. :) So worth it!!!!!

So, I made zucchini casserole. I only used one big pot, when I normally would have used 2 or 3, but didn't feel like washing a zillion things - heat wave WEEK here in the midwest. Today it will reach 100 degrees if it hasn't already. I am sitting 6 inches from the A/C. Too hot to blog! but none the less, want to get my about monthly post in. :)

First I sauteed some onion and garlic in the bottom of the pan. I opted out of including ginger which is habit, I usually saute the 3 together. Anyway, when the onions were translucent, I added the garlic. Then I poured in a few pints of my homemade canned salsa yumminess. :) Ingredients: tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalepeno, cilantro and lots of vinegar. Yeah, the canning monsters online scared me into it in case my tomatoes weren't acidic enough. Thus we only use it for cooking now - it's too vinegary to eat as salsa dip. :( But tastes great in stews, soups, casseroles, etc.!

Started chopping up the zucchinis and throwing them in the mix. Added some sea salt and ground pepper, and cumin. Then I added my own chili powder - homemade from grinding up chilis in my coffee grinder. Yeah, we don't drink much coffee anymore - although I'm sure it would just add to yummy flavour. :)

Let that simmer for an hour or so. If I had planned better I would have done it in the morning and thrown it all in the slow cooker! One of these days...

I then chopped up some fresh oregano, marjoram and basil from my garden in pots outside and threw it in there. I wish I hadn't killed my cilantro because that would have gone in there too. Did you know that cilantro is a natural metals detoxifier? I recently read that somewhere. Another reason to pour on the cilantro - stems and all! :) But, not this time. :( Although, I did put cilantro in my salsa when I made it! Marjoram aids in congestion, sinus, etc. Yes, I use all my herbs in medicinal quantities - ie a whole bulb of garlic and way too much onion.

Your body eventually gets used to these quantities and you don't go around smelling like a garlic onion catastrophe. Or so I'm told. :) Life is short, go for it!

It tasted soooooo good!!! My dear husband was all mmmmmm through the whole meal! He ate more of that then the chicken off the bbq. :)

The next nite I sauteed some enoki mushrooms and shrimp in butter. Added a bit more sea salt and ground pepper and threw it in the mix. A whole new meal!!!

Next time, we'll maybe make it with some turkey sausage or something. Or maybe the real deal. Yummy!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sangria with Raspberry Green Tea!!!!

I made Sangria for the first time recently, and it turned out awesome! I used the iced tea I already had in the fridge which was made with Raspberry Green Tea.

I took two cups of the Tea and mixed 3/4 cup of Raw Organic Cane Sugar in it and simmered it on the stove just until the sugar melted. Otherwise, you can boil 2 cups of water with 3/4 cups of sugar, then steep the tea, but I didn't want to wait for it to cool down and wanted to use the tea that had been nicely infusing for a few days so it was at optimum quality.

I then added slices of a whole orange, lemon and lime and simmered them in the pot also for a few minutes, then turned it off and let them sit, with the cover on for about 5 minutes. Waited a bit for things to cool, then put the mixture in one of my glass iced tea jugs with a bottle of Charles Shaw (2 buck Chuck) Cabernet Sauvignon and 2 shots of vodka and let that cool in the fridge for a few hours.

I added some lime juice ice cubes to the mix as well. I created these cubes by chopping whole limes, including the rinds and blending them in my awesome Blendtec Mixer with a bit of water. It made a great juice concentrate for Margaritas, and the rest I poured into ice cube trays for future use.

You can add some sparkly to the mixture, like tonic water or other carbonated water, Sprite, Ginger Ale, etc. but I did not. If you do add this, wait until you are ready to serve it or it will lose its bubbly content. :)

Serve and enjoy!

Warning, do not operate heavy machinery if you eat all that fruit in one sitting the next day that has been soaking in the alcohol! :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

So I made Rhubarb Jalepeno Ginger Relish, or Chutney, or something. :)

I started out making pickled ginger, Japanese style, called Gari in Japanese; but I didn't have Rice Vinegar. Undaunted, I proceeded with a combination of plain white vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Here is the recipe I used:
Pickled ginger is usually served with sushi and is called gari. Try to eat gari between different kinds of sushi. It helps to clean your mouth and enhance the flavors. It's best to use fresh young ginger (shin shoga) to make pickled ginger.
  • 2 lb fresh young ginger (shin shoga)
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 3 cups rice vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
Wash young ginger root and rub off skin. Slice the ginger thinly and salt them. Leave salted ginger slices in a bowl for about one hour. Dry the ginger slices with paper towels and put them in a sterilized, heat-resistant container/jar. Mix rice vinegar and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot mixture of vinegar and sugar over the ginger slices. Cool them. Pickled ginger changes its color to light pink. (*If you are using old ginger, it might not turn pink naturally.) Cover the jar and store it in the refrigerator.

I put all the ingredients in about a 32oz pickle jar, smushing (yes, smushing) everything down with a wooden spoon so that the liquid comes over the top of everything, then shmushed 2 jalepeno peppers in there as best I could. 

I covered it with a cloth and wrapped a rubber band around it and let it ferment on top of the fridge overnight in a glass pickle jar, then covered it with the pickle jar lid and put it in the fridge. I don't know to much about fermentation, so I decided I'd wait and do a dedicated fermenting project instead. 

After a couple days, I decided to have some with Dinner. Thing is, I didn't have the patience to slice the ginger "paper thin" as the Japanese do. Or a good enough knife I think. How do they get it that thin??? 
So, I took a bit of ginger which was almost twice as thick as a coin. Oooh! Peppery!! My Dad had some, and started coughing like crazy. He was done with the idea.
So, I put it back in the fridge. 

After my parents left, I started canning salsa with the 30 lbs of Tomatoes they brought for me from Florida, yeah! And decided maybe I should do something else with my Shin Shoga.  :)
So, I started looking up relish and chutney recipes. 

Decided to add 4 cloves of garlic, 5 whole cloves, a stick of cinnamon and an apple, not cored or seeded, but quartered. Dumped everything in my new Blendtec Blender - AWESOME by the way, saved me HOURS because I did not have to seed and core all those 30 lbs of tomatoes... I got it on QVC - 5 monthly payments of $90...
Blendtec Fine Livi...
Best Price $325.00
or Buy New $399.95

Anyway! I blended. Well, I had to divide the mixture because it wouldn't all fit in one blend, but that's okay. It was so good!! :)

I loved the taste of this new relish. Now I'm debating boiling it all and canning it because I have so much. Then, I think if I did that, it would become a chutney. Not sure. 
Ha ha, but you have to try this!! So spicy, sweet and delish!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Be Clinquant (KLING-kunt) Glittering with Gold and Silver: Purpose(FULL) Life

Be Clinquant (KLING-kunt) Glittering with Gold and Silver: Purpose(FULL) Life:

What is your purpose in life? What are you meant to do while you're here? Life is so short, it can be over in the blink of an eye. What do you contribute to the world around you? Who are you? Do you know? Who do others perceive you to be? What is driving you, day by day? Is it hum-drum, gotta get up, go to work, eat and sleep and do it all over again because you have bills to pay?

Is there purpose in what you do? Did you choose this life and what you do? Was there a conscious decision some time in your life, when you were a kid perhaps, where you said I want to be a .... fill in the blank. Are you doing that now? Are you fulfilling your lifelong dream of being or doing whatever you thought you were going to be when you were a kid?

Have your dreams changed? Or have you settled because you think you will never attain what lofty ideas you had as a kid? Are you okay with the changes in mindset and deed? Or do you secretly long to be what you've always wanted to be and keep stuffing that dream down because it's not realistic, you'll never achieve it.

What are you doing right now, from day to day? Are you enjoying it? Are you doing things that you like to do, or have to do, or both? What goes on your daily task list, and why? Did you put those lists there, or where they dictated to you by someone else?

What are the things that you're good at? What are you not so good at? Do you even really know? Do you have the chance each day to do things that you enjoy and are good at? Why or Why not?

There are no right or wrong answers here. Just looking for honest answers from you. You may not have the answers now. I urge you to consider these questions though and come up with some answers. They may change a day or two, month or two, year or two or more down the road. That's okay. Right now, lets focus on finding out where you're at today and where you want to go.

I will endeavour to help you along the way come up with answers to these questions and others, usually by asking you more questions. Please feel free to comment and ask questions and if this post is causing you to think, go ahead and click to subscribe to these posts via email.

CHOOSE each day to BE Clinquant!

Success to you!!

Katie Gonzalez

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Food Storage; is it necessary, is it the end of the world? Here's my take.

There are many blogs out there now touting the need to store food. Not just for a few months, or even a year, but some indicate the dire need, necessity, of storing food for 20, or 30 years or more! This quite frankly amazes me. If, God forbid, we needed food then that we've stored now, if the world is not able to provide it to us as it is now, what makes us think that we'll be around? Well, there have been multiple times in my life where I should have died, but I didn't (and my forehead is mis-shapen as a reminder), so I'll probably be around, but I shudder to think what that would look like, especially seeing that Tom Cruise movie, the Will Smith one, sorry, not much for remembering movie titles... granted the alien theme is totally far fetched, but what if something happened and changed the world as we know it? 
Okay, moving on to a lighter part of the discussion. I don't really believe anything like that will happen, but how do I know? I know that we are to live like Jesus could be coming back tomorrow, but I don't believe that's going to happen either. He will return no doubt, but I really don't think it will be in my life time. Obviously, I could be wrong on that take too, it's just that the Bible says, no one knows when this will happen, so I kinda take the Bible at it's word. 
So, why store food? First let me say, I believe this is a good idea. I don't know about 30 or 40 years worth, but if you have the means to do it and the storage space, go for it. I know where to go then if I'm not sufficiently prepared and it is necessary. :) Just don't do it out of fear. Don't do anything out of fear for that matter. 
Read Proverbs 31 - New Living Translation (I like the whole chapter , but have highlighted a few verses)
A Wife of Noble Character
 10 [b]Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
      She is more precious than rubies.
 11 Her husband can trust her,
      and she will greatly enrich his life.
 12 She brings him good, not harm,
      all the days of her life.
 13 She finds wool and flax
      and busily spins it.
 14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
      bringing her food from afar.

 15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
      and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
 16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
      with her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She is energetic and strong,
      a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
      her lamp burns late into the night.

 19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
      her fingers twisting fiber.
 20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
      and opens her arms to the needy.

 21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
      for everyone has warm[c] clothes.
 22 She makes her own bedspreads.
      She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
 23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
      where he sits with the other civic leaders.
 24 She makes belted linen garments
      and sashes to sell to the merchants.
 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
      and she laughs without fear of the future.
 26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
      and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
      and suffers nothing from laziness.

 28 Her children stand and bless her.
      Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
      but you surpass them all!”

 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
      but a woman who fears the L
ord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
      Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

She LAUGHS WITHOUT FEAR for the future. I like that part. Nothing concerns her.

Food and supply storage is something to be considering to be sure. In light of the events in Japan and with the cost of food rising exponentially (Trump said that due to inflation a loaf of bread could cost $25 soon – maybe just in gas to get it to you). Also crops are failing the world over, we do need to be wise stewards of our land, with what we’ve been given and be open to what may be coming.
I haven't discussed this much here, but the Genically Modified and Non-Organic stuff that’s passed off as food with respected labels such as Kraft, Uncle Ben’s, Campbells, etc. that fills the shelves at the grocery stores is terrible for us to be consuming. Also, canned food is no good for you with all those preservatives and God knows what in it, not to mention the BPA lined cans, which most of them are.
Here are a few helpful documentaries to consider:   (and then watch the sequel to it)
Again, my intent is not to scare, I simply hope for the best, but I am slowly attempting to  prepare for the worst.
Use wisdom, a lot of those storage sites are over the top and many use scare tactics to get you to buy their stuff, but there is, I believe a thread of truth to it and we need to be discerning in it.

We bought a deep freeze with our wedding money, and are growing our own food for the first time ever and are planning to buy a pressure canner, have a water bath, and stock pot, some canning supplies, still building the supplies, and plan to buy a dehydrator.

We are starting to stock up on grains, legumes, coconut and olive oils, hoping to freeze fruit to make whole fruit juices later, etc.  Our goal is three month rotational storage, then 6 months, then a year.

Think of Joseph in the Old Testament, or to put it in our current economy's perspective, my husband doesn't work as much in the winter, so if we had freshly canned and frozen produce in the winter, that we grew  and preserved ourselves in the summer and fall, we wouldn't have to worry about potential global crop failures (happening now), contamination, etc. or finding produce and paying out of season and organic pricing.

75 to 80% of our diet is produce. 10-15% is beans, legumes, the rest is meat, grains, fat and other stuff on occasion. We are not vegetarians, but find it's cheaper and we feel healthier if we only eat meat (usually seafood or poultry) 2 or 3 times per week, and then it's only a small amount. Well, my DH does consume a bit more meat than I do and he does have organic milk once a day in his smoothies, he's not so keen on my nut milk, but will drink it if there's nothing else for his smoothie. 
This way, if for some reason we are short on funds, we have an abundance of healthy food stored up to choose from. Being self-sustaining and healthy are our main goals for producing and preserving our own foods. Besides, buying the rest in bulk is much cheaper also. Since we have started buying in bulk and reducing the amount of meat we eat, we show no increase in our food budget, even though we now buy everything Organic, in fact, the more we use our bulk storage, the less our output is on money, but we are gradually increasing our supplies.
What do you think? 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Black Bean, and Green Split Pea Yellow soup! I got high ratings for this one! :)

So, this post is by request from William, we loved having you here this weekend! :)

I used my freezer scrap broth to make this - see how to do this on the previous post. It is yellow because of the amount of Organic Tumeric used.

I soaked the black beans overnight - 2 nites, then boiled them rapidly for hours and they weren't cooked! Then boiled them again rapidly for hours the next night and then they were almost cooked, so I just threw them in the crock pot with some green split peas.

I didn't really intend to make this a soup, I wanted it to be like an Indian Dal to put over rice, but because I put so much extra broth in it to cook the beans and peas in the crock pot, it turned into soup! :)

Probably a cup each of organic black (turtle) beans and organic green split peas. 

I put the crock pot on high to bring the broth up to a boil to cook the green peas and finish cooking the black beans. By the way, it's wise to simmer beans slowly - I have no idea why it took so long to cook these beans, especially after they were soaked for two nites! :)

Anyway, to the beans and peas I added 2 teaspoons of Organic Tumeric. I know, that's a lot of Tumeric, but according to the Culinary Herbalist, these are medicinal quantities. I also added some Steak Salt that I was trying to get rid of, that had pepper in it and God knows what which is why I was trying to use it up. I don't want to be cooking with things I don't know about! :) Yeah, I guess I could throw it away... but I won't!  It's almost gone now. To this I added about a teaspoon each of Curry and Ground Organic Cumin Seed (ground in my coffee grinder), later I will make my own curry when I run out of this commercial variety and then I sprinkled some pepper seeds into it. As I use up my dehydrated Chile de Ancho, Chile de Arbol, New Mexico and Guajillo peppers, I just pour the little pieces of pepper and seeds that fell to the bottom of the bag into a spice jar and sprinkle them liberally over just about everything I cook.

Also according to the Culinary Herbalist, you should always start out with sauteeing onions, garlic and ginger. So, I did that and all scraps went into my freezer scrap bag for the next broth. The Culinary Herbalist also says our daily intake of Garlic should be 3 cloves per person, so since I was making soup for four, I minced about 12 cloves of organic garlic in this saute. I also minced a piece of organic ginger the size of my thumb, two sliced up (julienne?) jalepeno peppers and half to 3/4 of a bright red organic onion. Bright greens, deep reds and purples - these are the colours I look for in my produce, get your phytonutrients!! :) To this saute I added about 4 chopped, unpeeled organic carrots and 4 chopped un-deveined (sorry Grandma) stalks of organic celery and sauteed them just for a minute.

I threw the sauteed mix into the crock pot and chopped up an organic zucchini and threw that in there. Let it simmer until it was time to eat. Yummy!!! We're almost all organic, still using up some conventional stuff, but we're getting there!

So, this is not a standard recipe where I list all the ingredients first, but listed them throughout the steps so I wouldn't forget what I did. I hope this style reads okay because I do prefer the traditional style recipe myself!

I think you will LOVE this soup! It should feed about 6 or 8. There were 3 of us eating friday and the guys each had two bowls, I could only eat one as it was so filling due to the spiciness.

We have one quart mason jar leftover which we will eat tonite for dinner along with some leftovers from our unplanned Cinco de Mayo party this weekend (on Triente de Avril), yum!!! Fun fun fun!!!

Freezer scrap bag for stock/broth, and a new vegetarian life, smaller footprint

So, we started composting, but we are also keeping ALL fruits and veggie scraps, and left over bones, shrimp shells and the like in our repurposed produce bags, sandwich bags, etc. Plan to get away from storing food in plastic soon, (leaches chemicals) but one thing at a time. :)

Every night as I cut up vegetables for dinner, it seems if I don't start with a crock pot around lunchtime, I start in the evening with onions, ginger and garlic - sauteed. I never used to peel the ginger, but I do now, and those skins go in our scrap bag. The garlic and onion paper as well as the ends, also go into that scrap bag. Any soft spots, bruises, brown spots, anything I woudn't want to eat for any reason, go into that bag. Then it's simply, thrown in the freezer.

The dog gets the carrot ends, unless there's significant greens, but he lays claim to carrots. And of late, kale. Go figure. He's becoming a vegetarian too I guess. We've gone down to eating meat only 2 or 3 times per week and everything else is made from scratch.

Beans have always been a staple side, pinto beans, and rice. We've been trying to go to brown rice, but last fall we were gifted with a 50lb bag of white rice and then this spring with a 20lb bag. We keep giving much of it away, but still have lots to eat and can't justify buying brown rice til this is gone. So, we keep giving more away, and yet, I think the rice is still reproducing in that cupboard. So, we are blessed.

Beans and rice and vegetables are now what usually fills up our plate, and if we do have meat, we have a much smaller portion. The other stuff takes up more space on our plate. It's a good thing. Our goal is 80% produce and the rest can be whatever. I find we're probably closer to 60%, but it's a start. :)

So, start throwing your produce scraps in the freezer - don't forget your citrus rinds, apple cores, pineapple scraps, anything goes!

We then just fill up our crock pot with the produce scraps once a week or so and fill it with water, let it come to a boil, then simmer anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. Add some sea salt and whatever spices out of the cupboard that need to be used up and yummo!! Sea salt is the least processed...

I use this broth for making rice, soaking or cooking beans, peas, lentils, etc. I use it in the blender to provide liquid for salsas, at the bottom of the roaster when cooking a roast and of course as a starter for soup, we love soup in this house!! And I love that nothing goes to waste!!

We have even reduced how much trash we throw out. Most of it is either compost or freezer/broth scraps, and the last bit of plastic that we're trying to get rid of. I've been repurposing as much plastic as I can for seed starters, etc. but sometimes I get overwhelmed with stockpiling it and have to purge, but we are doing much more to reduce our footprint. Instead of one kitchen bag a week for the two of us, we only have about one grocery bag of trash in a little bin that fits under the sink - outta sight!!! I hate tripping over the trash in the kitchen!!

I am buying everything in glass jars now, but we are even starting to make our own condiments, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, mayo, salad dressings, this way we know we are eating 100% WHOLE food, organic, less processed, etc.

Loving our new life of just being aware! :)

Le Chaim, to life!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Indian Chai Tea sooooo yummy!!! and good for you!

Here's the simple recipe:

2 cups water

2 cinnamon sticks

16 cardamum pods

24 black peppercorns

12 whole cloves

4 slices of fresh ginger

bring to boil, simmer for 20-30 minutes. 

Add 1tsp black tea 2 cups (sprouted almond) milk 

bring to just boil, remove from heat, 

strain and serve with a bit of honey!!! 

I used green tea. I think I may add some vanilla
next time. 

aids digestion, blood sugar, pain reliever, increases mental clarity and alertness, helps with arthritis and stiff, crackly joints, enhances immune system, and tastes awesome!! :)

go to for more info! :) 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New, Safe, Homemade Cleaning Solution - Vinegar, Borax and Tea Tree Oil

I  have been experimenting with natural cleaning products of late as more and more people have been blogging about them. I love the Borax and Washing soda for my laundry but I don't think I like it as much for general household cleaning as I like using vinegar, Borax and Tea Tree Oil. :)
I used about 1/4c Vinegar, 2 Tblsp Borax and 40 drops of Tea Tree Oil.
I put some HOT water in a bowl, dissolved the Borax as best I could and then poured this into the spray bottle, added the Vinegar and Tea Tree Oil, then filled it with water. Shook well.
It worked great!
I used it on my stove top - I actually took it apart and sprayed it in places I normally don't clean because they're hidden and walked away for less than a minute, when I came back and wiped, EVERYTHING came up. No effort on my part at all, it just wiped away!
The stuff that had been there forever that Bleach, Soft Scrub, other stuff, and no amount of elbow grease could get rid of, this mixture cleaned it right up. That's probably why I never went under there, I was so frustrated I couldn't clean it before! :)
Now, I don't know if it was that it was Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, the Borax, the combination, or if just regular vinegar would have done it, but whatever it was, it worked and I am so happy! :)

The next time I make it I am just going to use regular vinegar, water, and squeeze citrus juice and put the rind in,  and Tea Tree Oil. I also read you only need a few tablespoons of vinegar. So, that is what I will do next. I'll likely eventually post about it! :)

Note: I wish I was more patient and diligent tho to see to it that the Borax was all dissolved as it can clog up the spray bottle... be sure the Borax has completely dissolved in the hot water before you pour it in the spray bottle! :)

Be blessed in your Spring Cleaning! :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Whole Wheat Molasses Bread

I finally found a whole wheat sandwich bread I can make, that cooks all the way through and tastes great!! I used 2 cups of white flour - just to get rid of it. Next time I intend to grind up some oatmeal and use 2 cups of that instead to stretch out my whole wheat flour.

Here is where I got the recipe:

Version 1 using 100% whole wheat flour
2 3/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 TBSP dry active yeast 
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses*
1 1/2 tsp. salt
8 - 8 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the oil, honey, molasses, salt and 5 cups of the flour until well combined. Allow to rest 20 minutes. Then, knead in enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is just barely not sticky, and knead for about 10 minutes. Put in a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with a towel to let it rise until double (about an hour). Turn on the oven to 375, punch down and form into two loaves and place into greased bread pans. Allow to rise for ONLY 10-11 minutes, then bake for 32-35 minutes. 

*If you are avoiding molasses or don't have any on hand, you can substitute an extra 1/4 cup of honey for the molasses. 

Version 2 using a mixture of whole wheat flour and all purpose flour
2 3/4 cup warm water
4 tsp. dry active yeast 
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses*
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups all purpose flour
6 – 6 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the oil, honey, molasses, salt and 5 cups of the flour until well combined. Allow to rest 20 minutes. Then, knead in enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is just barely not sticky, and knead for about 10 minutes. Put in a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with a towel to let it rise until double (about an hour). Turn on the oven to 375, punch down and form into two loaves and place into greased bread pans. Allow to rise for ONLY 9-10 minutes, then bake for 32-35 minutes.

*If you are avoiding molasses or don't have any on hand, you can substitute an extra 1/4 cup of honey for the molasses. 

Update on the homemade Dog Food

Noah still loves the stuff! I finally decided to reduce the recipe tho since the last one lasted a week and a half, I want him to eat fresher food than that! :)

So, here we are:

1 c oatmeal
1/4 c oat bran
2 eggs
2 c veggies (I used a frozen medley of sorts)
1/4 c flax seed
1 stalk of red kale or purple or whatever :)
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
I was going to use a 1/4 c of sunflower seeds again, but these ones were salted, so I didn't.

This time too I put everything thru the food processor since he doesn't chew, he's still (after 3 or 4 weeks) so excited about getting real food that he doesn't chew!

I made this on Sunday 3/6, will need to make some more today or tomorrow.

Still cheaper, healthier than anything you can buy in the store and Noah is so happy with it!!

Let me know how you like it if you try it! :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Homemade Almond Nut Milk - Simple, easy, inexpensive, healthy! :)

I've heard of people making nut milk before but I thought it would be a time consuming, tricky process that I couldn't be bothered with. Was I wrong! It was simple, it tastes great and it saves so much money! Next, I will use it to make yogurt in my crock pot. :) Another, easy, inexpensive, healthy treat! :) I'll post that recipe later.

Nut Milk:

Take a cup of your favourite nuts, soak them overnite.
Put those nuts in the blender with 4 and 1/2 cups of water (according to, “The soak water will contain the enzyme inhibitors which is very acidic to the body so make sure to rinse your nuts and seeds well.” ) and blend til smooth.

Run the nuts/milk combo thru a nut bag or cheesecloth into a container. I didn't have either so I used a coffee filter and a sieve, but got impatient with waiting so, dumped the filter and ran it thru the sieve.

I then returned the milk back to the blender, reserving the nuts to use in my latest dog food recipe, found on this site, and added to the blender 1tsp of vanilla and 2 tsp of agave syrup. Blended. Tastes great!!!

Will invest in a nut bag or cheesecloth though because it was kinda grainy at the bottom, but worth it! :) Going out to buy more nuts! :)

I would say this might have cost me a $1 to make. Awesome!

It worked great!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Update on Homemade Dog food - New Recipe!!! :)

So, the food I made last week that cost me about $2 to make lasted me a week. This was giving Noah about half a cup twice per day. He is a 12 pound dog. He loved it!!!

The first day I mixed 1/2 cup of the new food with 1/4 cup of his dry dog food, he ate it all. Later that evening I gave him another 1/4 cup of his dry food with the new food and he pulled the little bits of dry food out as he ate the new food. After some stern, "eat your foods" he ate it. He did get a little more than a cup a day the first few days as we used up his dry food.

That didn't work so well the next day. So, I just didn't give him any new food til he ate the old food. He was so happy when all the dry food was gone, so was I because I wasn't going to force it down his throat and I really wanted him to consume both at the same time because his tummy doesn't handle it too well. Larger dogs don't seem to have this issue so much, at least in my experience.

In any case, the transition was fine! So, I made a new recipe today and of course, Noah loves it! I am not worried so much about transition because the basic ingredients are the same. Oatmeal, eggs and turnip greens. I just changed from carrot to lima beans (because that's what I had). And added a bit of almond meal, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chicken, and switched up the spices a bit.

So here is the recipe (probably cost me about $2 also):

3c cooked oatmeal (not quick oats)
2 eggs scrambled in 1/2 tsp EVOO
1 c frozen lima beans (steamed)
2 c chicken soup broth
1/4 c carrots (from the soup)
1/4 c celery (from the soup)
1/4 c chicken (from the soup)
1 c almond pulp (left over from making almond milk - will add recipe here, turned out great!)
1 c oat bran
1/2 c flax seed (ground in coffee grinder or food processor)
1/2 c sunflower seed (ground in coffee grinder or food processor)
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp oregano

I put everything but the oatmeal in the blender or food processor because Noah apparently doesn't chew. He had to chew dry food, but anyway... I suspect this is because he's so excited about getting people food that he just wolfs it down, or he's afraid that it will get taken away in short order is what usually happens if people food falls within his reach.  I'm hoping this will change soon once he gets used to the idea because I think it's good for him to actually chew stuff!

So, will let you know how this week goes! Still a little nervous about all this as I'm not a dietitian, or a veterinarian, but I do understand about healthy eating and have researched a lot and combined that with intuition and just plain common sense.

Let me know your experiences and how you like it!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

All purpose household cleaner - SAFE, Non-toxic

Buy a spray bottle and mark the ingredients on the bottle as you go so you know how much to use next time without looking up this recipe!

2 c HOT water
1/2 tsp Borax
1/2 tsp Washing Soda

Mix well to dissolve crystals then add 2 tblsp White Vinegar
When water cools; Add 20 drops of peppermint essential oil for scent if desired.
Add 20 drops of tea tree essential oil as a disinfectant.

Read below (searched to find something to support tea tree oil):

I just now found this site - looks great!

Tea Tree oil is one of the most popular of the essential oils.  It is one of the strongest natural antiseptics, commonly referred to as the "Universal Antiseptic." This quality makes it one of the most worthwhile ingredients in homemade cleaning recipes.  Tea Tree oil is also well tolerated having no known allergic reactions.

The time has come for us to reject the chemical-laden, air-polluting, health destroying, hazardous, commercial household cleaning products.  There is something wrong when big corporations are using, "Trade Secrets," which means they are free to put harmful chemicals in the products that we use everyday in our homes.  Manufacturers are not required to list them on the label.  There are some companies that provide us with many excellent eco-friendly, nontoxic-cleaning products, but it is more economical and satisfying to make our own.  You may notice that once you start using natural, safe cleaning products, you will not want to go back to using chemicals.  The change is so pleasant to our bodies physiologically, and so soothing emotionally that we can't go back to harsh chemicals.

Clinical studies have documented the value of Tea Tree oil, which date back to the original work conducted in 1923 by Dr. A. R. Penfold, an Australian government chemist.  He found that Tea Tree leaves contained an essential oil, which showed antiseptic and bacterial properties 13 times stronger than carbolic acid, the accepted standard of the time.  In 1930, Mr. E. M. Humphrey published an article entitled "A New Australian Germicide." He identified that Tea Tree oil's disinfectant action on the typhoid bacilli was sixty times greater than that of ordinary hand soap.  So important was Tea Tree in the 1940's that it was standard issue in first aid kits for army and navy personnel.

Tea Tree oil turns out to be one of the most useful of all essential oils, especially as an antiseptic. The antiseptic, germicidal, antifungal, antibacterial immune-boosting qualities of Tea Tree oil make it applicable to a wide range of health conditions. In addition, the antiseptic benefits of the oil allow its use as a natural cleaner and disinfectant within the household environment.

Tea tree oil has many uses for housekeeping. You can prove to yourself how well it works to kill mold and mildew with this simple test: Put 2 teaspoons of Australian tea tree oil in a spray bottle with two cups of water.  Spray the mixture on something musty. Let the smell dissipate (it will take a few days). The smell of mold and must will be gone, too, never to return as long as the source of moisture has been

You can make your own cleaning supplies with antibacterial properties that nature provides.  You'll feel a whole lot brighter and energetic after a few hours with essential oils than you will after breathing the fumes of toxic chemicals.

Happy Cleaning! :) 

Homemade SAFE dishwasher soap

1c borax
1c washing soda

Use vinegar in rinse if you have hard water

Pour borax and soda into mason jar, cover, shake, store.

Use 2tsp per load! :)

Keep in mind this costs only pennies to make! 20 Mule Team Borax comes in a 76oz box at $3.12 at Meijer in Michigan and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda was $2.79 for 55 oz at Meijer. Both were in the laundry detergent aisle.

I understand you can also get them at Hardware stores or have them shipped to you via links herein.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Don't throw out your used tea bags!!!

I woke up this morning thinking I should use my used tea as soil for my new in house gardening project. I have and will be taking on many projects this year and hope to blog about my experiences in all of them to save you time and hassle and to just keep track of what's going on.

I thought, okay, this must be a grand revelation, but as with all my great ideas, when I look them up on line, I wasn't the first one to come up with it or some variation of it, so I'll share some other great ideas I cam across and share some of my other uses.

I haven't read about anyone else using tea as the soil itself, but I have read about people using it as fertilizer either with or without the bag. Makes sense. I still wonder if I can use it as soil alone. I did buy some Jiffy Organic Seed Starting Mix ($2 for 4 qt bag at Walmart in Michigan) and Jiffy Pots 3 ($1.50 for 14 at Walmart) that can go right into the ground at the right time but have yet to put that together. Maybe today, or tomorrow. You're supposed to wait for the right timing of year, but I'm going to try to keep some of them indoors year round, and I don't always follow the rules anyway, things usually work out! :) I will let you know how this works! Note: I wouldn't use coffee grounds as coffee is generally regarded as poison by those who study herbs and many nutritionists.

You may like to try some of my other tea bag uses such as using for a sponge either before or after the dishes go into or come out of the dishwasher to get some of the gunk out of the dishes. My dishwasher sometimes will leave deposits on the glasses. It actually works really well! Just make sure you squeeze your tea bag out really well and be sure it has an opportunity to dry well so it doesn't house any bacteria! You may want to rinse with hot water before you put your dishes into the cupboard. :)

I have also made tea body scrub for use in the shower, and at the sinks. I add some sugar or salt and some EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) until it gets to the right consistency. I buy it in bulk because I use it so much for homemade beauty products. Just make sure it's 100% Olive Oil, no chemicals or additives.

I have also made this scrub with coffee grounds. It's great for sloughing off dead skin, especially at this time of year! Leaves my hands and feet, and the rest of my skin as needed, very smooth and soft.

I also used the old teabags (about 20 of them) to make my second batch of homemade shampoo! I am very much into eliminating as many chemicals as possible from my life and going "no poo" has been one of the greatest things I've done! My hair is cleaner, softer, thicker, more manageable with less product, it's great! I'm about 3 weeks into it... The best part, the cost is very negligible! I'd say it maybe cost me a quarter at most to fill up 3 shampoo bottles and a 40oz ketchup bottle. That's over 4 months worth of shampoo!!! I used the following teas:
Chamomile (softens, smooths and stimulates growth)
Peppermint (stimulates scalp, removes excess oils, may also aid as a build up remover),
Green Tea, (gets rid of dandruff, psoriasis, prevents hair loss, stimulates growth, conditions, strengthens, adds Vit C, E, and panthenol. It is also a good anti-oxident, probably helps having it on your hands...)

I also used:
1/4 cup Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar (Cloudy, organic brand), (Conditions, cleanses - no soap needed!, kills germs, relieves dandruff, gets rid of build up itchy scalp, helps prevent hair loss, aids in PH Balance, makes hair shinier, smoother and softer, kills lice) BUY IN BULK - I USE IT ALL THE TIME!!

1 tblsp minced ginger (increases scalp circulation)
20 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract  (aids in dandruff, dermatitis, eczema and lice)
40 drops Peppermint EO (Essential Oil) (Scent, See oither peppermint benefits above - tea)
2 Cinnamon Sticks, broken up (aids in growth, prevents hair loss)
1 tblsp honey (shine, luster, moisturizes and aids in managability)
1 tamarind pod - (scalp, skin benefits, antioxidants)

(benefits found doing research, you may want to do your own! :) )

I brewed the used tea bags, as well as 2 each of new ones, and let them steep overnight creating an infusion, (they steeped about 16 -18 hours - the longer the better) An infusion is steeping herbs for at least a half hour. I took the tea bags out, saving them for my soil project :) and then began to mix the rest of the ingredients together. I poured into old shampoo bottles and added some pieces of ginger, tamarind and cinnamon to each bottle. The extras I put in the fridge, I'll probably give them away. If you want one let me know! :)

A few things about homemade shampoo, it doesn't lather as the store bought chemical laden 'poos do, and it is much more watery, not as thick. It takes a bit of getting used too. :) Some people use baking soda in their homemade shampoos, just be sure to open the bottle away from you as the contents will be under pressure and you don't want to take an eye out! (my first recipe I used baking soda) :)

My first recipe I made with 2 day old leftover coffee and a bunch more other stuff then you see above. Less is more! I still think it would be wise to reduce the list of ingredients. Next time! :) I do things backwards. I should have started with only a couple ingredients then added to it. Oh well, this is me! :)

Note: Honey, tamarind and chamomile are also used to colour hair (which makes me wonder about "GREEN" tea...) So, just be aware of that. Honey, tamarind and chamomile won't change my colour much. I have strawberry blonde colour hair which ranges in colour from reds, to blondes to browns, so I'm not concerned about these ingredients. A little curious about the greens tho! I didn't find any warnings about it in a specific search tho...

As promised, some of the other tea bag uses from a quick search:
removing stain from wood! do a search, I found it! This one excites me! :)
Cleaning countertops
prevents puffiness by placing over the eyes, after soaking in freezing cold water
make iced tea by freezing them and dropping them in your water like ice cubes!
apply to razor burns
place in cold water, use to stop bleeding and pain from a lost tooth
aids with sunburn pain

Any other uses you can think of, let me know! :)

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