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3.31.2011

What is for dinner?


"What is for dinner mom?"  I hate that, because most of the time I don't know myself.  So here is a little trick I worked up for my sanity.
You will have to purchase only one thing, or spin this idea off and make do with what you have.
First you will need a pack of magnet printing paper, I got mine at Staples a number of years ago and had one sheet left just for this project.

Next type up your favorite dinner, breakfast and lunch foods spelled out separately.  Print out your sheet and cut each word into a strip then you can put them on your refrigerator and arrange them in groups.

I used to print out a weekly meal plan but ended up borrowing from so many days by the end of the week I didn't know what to make anymore. This keeps up with the real time of my crazy life.  You could even use this for a grocery list! You could also arrange them on a tin tray on the wall if you don't have room on your frig. So I thought I would share that little idea that zapped into my head on the way home from the grocery store.  I am sure God was helping me out here!

3.30.2011

Carob Coconut Muffins

This recipe is adapted from http://www.thespunkycoconut.com/2010/10/light-airy-chocolate-chip-muffins.html  I added a few ingredients and took some away.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup almond milk
1 cup almond butter
3 Tablespoons coconut oil (liquified)
2 Tablespoons honey
3 eggs
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspooon vanilla cream liquid stevia
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum
2 Tablespoons toasted carob powder
 Set oven to 325*
Blend all the wet ingredients first then add the dry to the mix.  Spoon into your greased or lined muffin tin.  Bake for 15-18 minutes.

This is information for all you diabetics out there, or for people watching their carbs.
There are 183g of carbs total, if you make 14 muffins each muffin will be about 13g each.

These muffins are more like cupcakes if you ask me! If you put some frosting on top it would pass as a cupcake.

3.29.2011

Clean With Vinegar

I don't know if you are like me and you second guess your cleaning product "is it safe or not?" I have found a way to clean that is natural and CHEEP .  It is so safe you can even DRINK IT!  You may even have this miracle produce in the house right now! VINEGAR!
Lavender, lemon, mint vinegar
Disinfectant usually smells like.....well....disinfectant.  You can change the smell of this vinegar by simply infusing some flowers or herbs in it.  This works best in a glass jar, I use a large canning jar.  Fill the jar with any scented petals like: rose petals, lavender flowers, mint, lemon peel, or lemon flower. Make sure everything isn't sprayed with weed killer or any other substance.

Fill the jar with white vinegar and screw the lid down tight.  Put the jar into a sunny window or outside in the sun for a week then filter the vinegar through a colander or coffee filter and your all done.


The storage container makes it perfect!
 Now your vinegar smells better and looks pretty too.  Play around with different herb combinations.  You can also take a different route and just add some essential oil to the vinegar. The color of the flower will tint the vinegar.
Here is a great website for vinegar usage if you didn't already know about the powerful cleaning properties  http://www.vinegartips.com/scripts/pageViewSec.asp?id=7 
I have even used the vinegar on my face as an astringent, and in my bath to soften my skin.  Clean your hair with a herbal vinegar rinse too!

3.28.2011

Raw Veggie Biscuits

 Fresh raw ingredients.

This is what Robb calls the "goulash" stage.

An ice-cream scoop makes perfect portion sizes.


My husband Robb calls this "Vegetable Goulash" my kids look at me like I am kidding when I ask them to try one of these creations. By trial and error I bring you the Raw Veggie Biscuits. they are tolerable, BECAUSE THEY ARE SOOOOO GOOD FOR YOU!  It is survival food.  You can dip them in salsa or eat them plain.  Top them with some lunch meat and lettuce, if Robb can eat them ANYONE can. 

INGREDIENTS:
*1 whole onion
*5 stalks of celery
*3 large carrots
*1 bunch of cilantro
*5 cloves garlic
*1 cup soaked almonds (soak for 1 day)
*2 cups soaked flax seeds (soak for 1 day)
*5 small sweet peppers or 1 large bell pepper
*2 stalks of broccoli
*2 teaspoons cumin
*1 teaspoon salt
*2 teaspoons cillie powder
*2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
You have to prepare a little, soak the nuts for 1 day then get to work. Simply puree everything in a blender and dehydrate for a day. Play around with the ingredients, be brave, if you don't have something on hand try something else.

Natural Cosmetics

Yes you can make your own facial creams.  Every ingredient is EDDIBLE so it would seem they would be safe since your skin is your biggest organ and you can absorb things into your body from your skin.  These aren't super glamorous and some are messy, but give it a try.  Give up convenience in a jar and take a little time to make some natural beauty aids, your skin will thank you. 

SIIMPLE FACIALS

BANANA-
peel and mash, spread the mixture over your face and lay down for 20 minutes.  This is great for dry skin, the oils and vitamins in banana can't be beat.

STRAWBERRY- mash fresh or thawed berries and smooth the mixture over your face.  Lay down for 10 minutes and think about how the strawberry is cleaning out your pores and tightening your skin.  Add some plain yogurt or sour cream to the mix for a creamier paste.

HONEY- simply pat the honey on your face, this is a great mask if you don't have time to lay down.  Honey and lemon juice is a great facial toner and bleaches out age spots and freckles.  Leave this on for only 5 minuets.

OATMEAL- this is a fun mask, after I make the kids oatmeal I swipe a finger full of oatmeal water or a small bit of oatmeal and dab it on my face.  Allow the oatmeal to dry on your face, then scrub it off.  You will feel very refreshed and have a smooth face all day!  Oatmeal is also great in the bath, simply tie 1/4 cup oatmeal in a washcloth and use it to scrub your skin (more on that later)

CARROTS- puree or grate a raw carrot.  You can add a mix of honey or yogurt to make the carrot stay on your face as you lay down for 10 minutes.  This is a great facial for blemished skin.  You can also cook a carrot (which releases more vitamin A) and spread this mash all over your face while it is still warm. 
Many of these concoctions are from a great book I have had over 13 years now
It is written by Myra Cameron and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo.  It is worth getting and can be purchased on ebay or amazon.  I will be putting up some more "Natural Cosmetics" when time allows me.  ENJOY!

3.25.2011

SPRING GARDEN


Here is my garden in spring. This is what I have growing: kale, swiss chard, broccoli, plain orange carrots, rainbow mix carrots, cilantro, lettuce, onions, spinach, sunflowers, grape vines, raspberry vines, boysenberry vines, a few apple trees, a few nectarine trees, an apricot tree and some blueberries ( I am holding my breath on the blueberries, they are hard to get started and to maintain.)  I am super excited about gardening, can you tell?  I am excited about the swiss chard and rainbow carrots, take a look.  Don't they look fun?
Here are some more inspiring ideas to get you in the mood for starting your garden.
wheat grass in a teacup

carrots grown in a flower pot

painted can garden
garden in your underwear
start a bathroom garden

The mobile garden
I would love to hear about your garden!  This is the year to start one if you have never done a garden before. 

3.24.2011

Crafy Kid Stuff

I figure that all the cool kid crafts use recycled materials, meaning they are FREE! Re-purposing something for a craft project just makes sense when kids are involved.  There is no waste and no extra money spent. You can find lots of craft supplies at thrift stores or yard sales.  Here is a fun idea we learned about in art class a few years ago.

Make your own chunky crayons (the pictures are from random websites, but the site below is worth a look)  http://onecharmingparty.com/2009/07/14/tuesday-tutorial-recycled-crayon-alphabet/


Melt crayon bits in the oven on LOW until they look smooth

Use an oven safe silicone mold!

Now with your newly made crayons you can do some cool stuff.  Find some texture and rub it on some ordinary computer paper. Look around texture is everywhere, the wall, the floor, the bottom of your shoe, a tree, leaves.....endless. This is a great rainy day activity.  It actually uses a lot of energy scrubbing those big crayons across the paper.

Now you can use water color and paint over the crayon rubbing and create a masterpiece!  Mount your child's (or your own) artwork on a nice heavy piece of black construction paper for the perfect finishing touch.


Apple Butter - NO SUGAR

This is a great recipe I got out of a RAW cookbook.  I love, love, love that it has NO SUGAR in it.  Just apples!  Things required for this recipe are: a dehydrator (or some organic non treated dehydrated fruit from a store) a blender and some water.
  First step is to measure out about 2 cups dehydrated fruit and cover with room temp. water to soak for 20 minutes. Second step pour this mixture into the blender and blend until smooth.  Third step put it into a jar.
Enjoy the fruit butter on a muffin or bread,  http://ranch-wife.blogspot.com/2011/03/pancake-muffins-still-best.html  

Peel and core apples (my friend gave me this AWESOME peeler)

dehydrate apples

 
soak the dehydrated apples for 20 minutes
blend until smooth































YUMMY

3.23.2011

iCe CReaM for BreAKfaSt

Yes, you can have ice-cream for breakfast, I feed it to my kids every other morning.  Thanks to my good friend April turning me on to the Vita Mix blender. You can use any frozen fruit for this recipe.



Ingredients:

*2 cups frozen fruit
*1/2 cup yogurt of choice (I use the non-dairy coconut yogurt)
First dump all ingredients into the blender.

Then blend until it is smooth.

Instructions:

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth and creamy.  I use the Vita Mix blender, let me know how your blender does on this recipe.  You can always add a little almond milk and a banana to make a smoothie if the ice cream is too hard to make. When all is said and done my kids each get a portion of ice cream that is only 10 - 15 carbs a serving!  You may wonder why am I so in to carb counting, well my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes this last Christmas and carbs have to be covered with insulin shots so, yeah I count them and re-count them and count them some more all throughout the day.
 You can make ahead some cut up frozen fruit in freezer bags. I like to carb count my portions then write it on the bag in a sharpie marker.  The more prep you do the less time everything takes. 

3.22.2011

Gardening - get started

Spring, I love spring.  Starting my bell pepper seeds in the windowsill, soft green grass all over just waiting for bare feet to run across it. I want to encourage all of you to start a garden this year.  It can be as simple as a large flower pot with herbs in it, or building a wood frame out of scrap wood and filling it with dirt and planting your "salsa" garden.  Who doesn't like salsa? Tomatoes, bell peppers, cilantro, some hot peppers, onions and garlic.  If you want to get stared in the garden department and don't know what to do, call me, email me.  I will get you started, gardens are a passion of mine.  It is VERY low cost when you think about how much fresh produce costs these days.  Lettuce can mature in about 3 weeks!  LET'S DO THIS. 

Here are some low cost ideas for getting you started:


You don't need fancy containers to start your seeds in, just use what you have around.




Make a lettuce garden in a large flower pot


Did you ever want to plant loads of sunflowers, well just buy some sunflower bird seed (not a mixed seed or you will have a terrible time with random weeds from the other seeds in the mix)








Make your own rock plant markers!



And I am going to leave you with this fun image proving that you can do just about anything with plants!