9.22.2016

Kiwi Zucchini Apple crusher

King loves the crushers from Trader Joe's. We get the apple/carrot and keep them on his shelf in the fridge so he can help himself to a healthy snack.

I thought I would try to make my own "crushers", which is really a puree, without the squeeze bags.  They make me nervous.

Anyway, this is really easy.

3 zucchini, cut off the ends, cut down the middle and slice.
2 large apples, peeled, cored and cut up.

Microwave these with 1/4 cup of water for 8 - 10 minutes.

Peel 3 Kiwi, slice them.

Add all of the ingredients (including any liquid from the apples & zucchini) to a food processor and blend.

I put these in 4 -1.25 cup plastic containers for his fridge shelf and freeze the rest in the same size individual containers and add them back to the fridge when needed.

Easy peezy! And yummy!

4.16.2016

DIY Powder Laundry Detergent *NO MORE LAUNDRY CRYSTALS*







I have been wanting to post a video on how I make Powder Laundry Detergent.  For me, it began as a budget saving step in our home - that quickly turned into a passion as I became acutely aware of the chemicals that all the products we use have in them.  If making these products myself, which is entirely rewarding, saves money and makes a difference in my families health, then there really isn't another choice for me. This laundry detergent recipe costs about $6 for everything and each load is approximately $0.04. Big savings!  I like powder detergent because you can make it in minutes, it lasts for many months (6 - 8), uses very little per load, is natural and I have had no issues except for black clothes, which is all I wear and "until they come up with a darker color I will stick with black".  You need to add the scoop of detergent with the water, let it agitate, then add your clothes, otherwise you might find spots from the borax on your Slayer T-shirt that you paid $40 for!  Other than that small imposition, I wouldn't go back to store bought .. Ever!  I have been making this detergent for about 3 years now.   I started with cloth diaper detergent and then began to make our own for the whole family.

This video is several months, or more, old and has already changed.  I no longer use laundry crystals but instead I use Essential Oils.  Another difference in recipes out there is I do not add Oxyclean to my detergent as some do.  If I did need to bleach whites I would just use regular, good old bleach separately.

NOTE: When adding a few full droppers (or 30 - 40 drops) of Essential Oils, mix that in well.  It may clump so use a fork if necessary.  Lavender, Orange, Lemon, Tea Tree Oil - all great!  You could also add the EO to the baking soda by measuring the baking soda out in a mixing container and add the EO and mix well removing clumps with a fork.

Other products I make that I will share in the future:
  • Mouthwash (amazing!)
  • Surface cleaner
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Dishwasher Glass cleaner = White Vinegar in compartment
  • Hand soap
  • Sugar Ant Eliminator
  • Swiffer bottle replacement cleaner
  • Hair conditioner
  • Mildew remover for the tub and/or shower
Now my mission is to begin to make more sundry and beauty products (hair shampoo and conditioner, face creams, toothpaste, etc.) using Essential Oils (EOs).  There is SO much out there and I am just scratching the surface.  Pinterest is invaluable not only for DIY but for homeschooling as well.

Lastly, I make my own dryer balls from wool which I felt. The wool dryer balls absorb a LOT of water and keeps your dryer time down significantly.   I will make a post on that soon too!  A little tip: You can use a wad of aluminum foil to remove static from your clothes in the dryer and eliminate dryer sheets.  Fabric softener is another post coming soon!

Here's the shopping list:
  • 1 box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (I always keep an extra on hand for other small quick needs)
  • 1 box 20 Mule Team Borax (this I, as well, keep an extra on hand)
  • 3 - 4 bars Fels Naptha or Zote*
  • 2 - 3 cups Baking Soda (giant bag from Costco)
  • Essential Oils (30 - 40 drops)
*Also, some people like a soap called Zote that you can find at international convenience stores around the neighborhood.  It is a strong pink scented soap.  I tried both but prefer Fels-Naptha, however, it might be worth trying both (one brand per batch) to see which you prefer.
Please feel free to leave a comment with any questions.  Enjoy!

12.29.2015

Audrey's Coconut Flour Cake

This is such a great cake.  Easy and SO good.  I got the recipe from my lovely friend, Audrey, hence the name:)
Now I say easy but it took me 3 tries until I got it right.  My first mistake was melting the coconut oil in the microwave.  Big no-no.  Then I believe I rushed through the recipe.  You can't.  You must be patient and slow when adding the ingredients. So learn from my ooops and follow along and you too will make this sucker weekly! OK.  Maybe monthly :)

Recipe and notes:
1/3 Cup coconut oil
1/2 Cup cocoa powder (I use Trader Joes or Dutch from Tacoma Boys)
Mix these together in a small saucepan on low heat.  Stirring occasionally until lumps are gone.  Takes a couple of minutes.  Leave in saucepan and set aside.
In a mixer (or hand mixer):
6 eggs (beat on medium until mixed)
Add 1 Cup sugar (coconut sugar was good but organic sugar is what I use).  Mix.

Add to mixer:
1/4 tsp salt (recipe calls for 1/2 but I lowered to 1/4)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla (I love vanilla so I just pour Ha!)
Mix.
Slowly add the coconut oil and cocoa powder to the mixer.  Slowly or it will break.  Scrape the saucepan with a spatula and get all the powder/oil in the mix.
Now add 1/2 Cup coconut flour slowly while on medium.  I seriously take a lot of time adding that 1/2 cup of coconut flour.  Like, really a small bit at a time.  Then scrape sides of mixing bowl with a spatula and mix in any flour off of the sides.
Pour batter into an 8x8 pan with a small amount of coconut oil on the bottom.
Bake at 350° for 25 - 35 minutes. I have a hot oven and 25 minutes is perfect.  Just use a toothpick to check.
Once out of the oven it should have risen slightly.  The inside is somewhat gooey and fluffy.
Before long you'll be able to make this in your sleep.  Oh cake dreams.....

Batter ............. and done.

Thank you Audrey!  We love this cake!

11.24.2014

Kabocha Squash Soup

Pretty much exactly like I make Butternut Squash Soup.

Quartered the Kabocha Squash sprinkled with olive oil, S&P, turned over with skin up for 45 mins (depends on Squash size) at 350.  Turn over with flesh up to cool. 

Sautéed shallots until soft
Veggie (or chicken) broth, a box
Add Squash meat (easier to scoop then Butternut)
Curry to taste or whatever seasoning you prefer
1/2 cup of heavy cream if you have it on hand.

Boil for 30 minutes.
Let cool then either use a blender to blend or immersion blender (how I love you).

More Winter Soup!

11.14.2014

Our Fav Smoothie

So, so seriously good!
Easy for little helpers too!
1 banana
3 strawberries
1 handful of blueberries
1/2 cup of spinach
1 cup Greek yogurt
4 cubes of ice
1 cup 1% milk, or almond milk (vanilla, yum)
Push the Smoothie button.
Gone in 4 minutes

7.25.2014

Zucchini Cakes Are Always A Hit!


One of the best parts about working (mostly) from home is that it rarely feels like work. So much of the fun of weelicious for me is not only being close to my kids but that I can actually let them participate in helping me create some of the recipes...
I make these a lot especially during gardening season when we get TONS of Zucchini.  Our little one loves them and so do we!


Ingredients


  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, Panko makes them crunchy :)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra to sprinkle on top
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • olive oil 


Preparation


  1. Grate 2 medium zucchini and place in a towel and blot to remove excess liquid.
  2. Place the grated zucchini in a bowl along with the whisked eggs, garlic powder, breadcrumbs, parmesan and salt and combine.
  3. Heat 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
  4. Drop about 2 tbsp of batter into the skillet and flatten with the back of a spoon to form a cake. Cook for 2 to 5 minutes on each side until you get a brown crust on the edge.
  5. Continue making the remaining cakes and sprinkle with parmesan cheese on top.

    This makes a lot of patties.  Today I only used 1/2 a zucchini, one egg, and just eye-balled everything else.  That made 5 palm size patties.  Great for me and the kiddo for lunch :)

11.08.2013

Eat them veggies young man

Adding a tiny bit of coconut oil to veggies makes them super yummy.

He ate all his peas (gross), edamame (yum) and thinly sliced carrots with coconut oil. 

10.31.2013

Puree'ing again?

Who would have thought that I would be Puree'ing again at 2 yo? Not me! But he's darn good with the utensils and LOVES Trader Joes crushers, I thought I would just make our own.

1 peeled organic apple
Handful of chopped carrots

Steamed. Then cooled.

Add a handful of chopped Watermelon, tsp of cinnamon.

Blender/puree.

Let's see if he likes it as much as TJs crushers.

10.25.2013

Butternut Squash Soup -- So Easy -- So freakin' GOOD!



After it was all finished I literally stood in the kitchen and ate my bowl.
I wanted to eat it ALL but Rob will be home soon. Darn it.

Thank you Claire Robinson.



Ingredients

1 (3-pound) butternut squash
Extra-virgin olive oil, for roasting, plus 2 tablespoons
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 or 2 shallots, roughly chopped
1 quart low-sodium veggie stock (or chicken stock for the carnivors)
2 teaspoons curry powder (mild or spicy)
Creme fraiche















Directions


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Drizzle the open face side with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and put it, open face side down in a roasting pan or baking sheet. Roast until very soft, about 1 hour. Remove the squash from the oven, turn the halves over and let them stand until cool enough to handle. 



Scoop the squash from the shell into a bowl and discard the shell.  In a large saucepan or Dutch oven with a lid, heat the 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 6 minutes.  Add the squash, veggie stock, and curry powder and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the squash is broken down, about 20 minutes.  Be sure not to reduce too much!









Cool the squash mixture for about 5 minutes before adding it to a blender or use an emulsion blender. Blend the soup until smooth but should still be slightly thick. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and serve immediately.




I had mine with a dollop of creme fraiche. Wouldn't be the same without it!

8.17.2013

DIY dishwasher detergent - no Borax

Update:  I've been making this D/W detergent for a long time now and it does the job so I won't be going back to store brands! Ever!

Let's give this a try. I made it pretty quickly and just as we are almost out of our usual Kirkland liquid from Costco. I like the stuff but this is cheaper.  It's powder so I'm not giving it a whole lot of hope but we'll see....fingers crossed.
Small batch:
1 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing soda
1/2 cup kosher or sea salt (***I now use Sea Salt from Big Lots - $1 a box)
1/2 cup Baking soda
4 packets of crystal light lemon *(Update:  I now use Country Time from Big Lots.  Works better and Cheap! ) 1/2 Cup
1 teaspoon of whatever rice you have on hand.
Mix, shake, do a little dance.
I am using a snap-lid plastic container, the one that the lid snaps down on all 4 sides and has a vent in the lid.  I leave a scooper in the container.
Old: * You need citrus in the concoction. Top on the list is Lemi Shine (a dishwasher addictive) but I couldn't find it.  Food-grade citric acid also works or even unsweetened lemon kool-aid.  I opted for Crystal Light. Oh and Dishwasher Magic, while it's active ingredient is Citric Acid also has ingredients not consumable.  The stuff is to be used when the D/w is empty.
You can also use white vinegar right in the rinse agent dispenser instead of the blue stuff.
2 Tablespoons per load and you don't have to use the soap dispenser. You can simply add it to the inside of the door before closing.
p.s. Borax is rad for clothes but not for consumption so this is why I use this recipe.
p.s.s. It will start clumping so I have been adding a teaspoon of rice right into the mix which has helped a lot with clumping.

8.15.2013

Zucchini bread

Our garden yielded some MASS size zucchini so what better recipe to start with?  Zucchini Bread of course!

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup applesauce (or vegetable oil)
2 cups sugar (I used 1 cup of palm sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Directions:
1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

2. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Set aside.

3. Cream eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in mixer set on medium.  Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture slowly and mix well. Add zucchini and nuts on slow speed until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.

4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.


Gettin' started



































Yummy!!

8.06.2013

Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Now that King is about to be potty trained I find out how easy laundry supplies are to make.  Go figure.  Arm & Hammer Super Washing soda became a staple in our house when I read all the great things you can use it for from removing labels on jars (awesome, since I am a jar hoarder), musty smells from tubs and sinks, cleaning old pots and pans, and on and on.  So it was perfect when I discovered that it is one of the main ingredients in making your own laundry detergents.  Everything you need is right on the laundry detergent  aisle of the larger grocery stores.

 

For Cloth Diapers


Big batch:

Small batch (above image in jar with red 3):

  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1/2 cup of OxiClean Free or “Baby”
I make the small batches since I have one kiddo in diapers.

I use a funnel and cute jar and pour each item in one at a time.  I also add 12 drops of an essential oil in the jar on top (this batch was sweet orange oil) and mix it all together with a chopstick. I cook a lot with heavy duty chopsticks and have a bag of bamboo sticks that are great!  I usually shake the jar too. :)

1 - 2 Tablespoons per load depending on how badly soiled or size of load.

=======================================


Hope this helps!

5.27.2013

Talkin' Smoothies



I have not tried all of these but am collecting recipes to try.  King eats fruit like there's no tomorrow but veggies ... he's at that age ... or at least I keep telling myself that.  Smoothies can get those raw nutrients in him.  He seems to love the spinach smoothies.  Yaay for that!


Let's start with the fruities:

Mango

Cup of chopped ripe mange
1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt *
1/2 cup of ice

Honey for taste.

Raspberry and Nut

1/4 cup low-fat milk

3/4 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 banana
1 Tbl. Almond butter
1 Tbl. Blue Agave or Raw Agave

Spiced Pumpkin

1 cup of ice
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup pure pumpkin puree (TJs has it in a can and is organic)
pinch of ground nutmeg

Strawberry Flax


1 cup frozen strawberries
3/4 cup plan low-fat yogurt *
1/2 cup fresh OJ **
1 Tbl. honey

1 Tbl. flax seed meal (or ground flax seeds)

OK. Veggies

Spinach, grape and coconut

1 cup seedless grapes
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup ice
1/4 cup coconut milk

Carrot,  Pineapple and Banana

1/4 cup fresh chopped pineapple
1/2 cup ice
1/3 cup fresh OJ **
1/4 cup chopped carrots

1/2 banana

Kale, Apple

3/4 cup chopped kale (ribs and thick stems removed)
1/2 banana 

1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup ice
1 Tbl. lemon juice

Spinach, Mint, Strawberries and Cherry Juice

5 - 6 small strawberries
1 frozen banana
1 handful spinach
3-4 mint leaves
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup cherry juice
1/2 cup water
Handful of ice cubes


More Spinach!

1/2  banana

1/2 apple, chopped into thin, tiny pieces. (I left the skin on)
3 or 4 strawberries chopped into quarters
1/2 cup of spinach
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of greek yogurt
Splash of fruit juice
Ice cubes


* We use full fat plain yogurt as well.
** Frozen works too if its quality with no sugar added.
Let me know what you learn or think!!

Great links:http://www.baby.co.uk/life_and_home/top-10-smoothies-for-babies-and-toddlers/

http://www.mamaandbabylove.com/2011/02/07/toddler-smoothie-recipe/


5.26.2013

Never going to buy store Cesar Salad dressing again

So easy and seriously the best I've ever had.

1 chopped garlic clove
1 Tbl. Reduced fat Mayonnaise
2 Tbl. Dijon mustard
1/2 Tbl. Olive oil
Bunch of lemon juice squirts
S&P

Taste, taste, taste until you find what you like. Add, use less. You'll figure it out quick.
This should yield enough for two people.  It doesn't take much to coat  the Romaine Hearts.

For the Cesar I just add crotons and parm.  Yummy.

5.16.2013

Sneaky Cheesy Broccoli Muffins

Mwahaha. Cheesy? What? Broccoli? Oops. :-)

Here you go:

Steam about 3 cups of broccoli for 6-7 minutes. I used 1/2 a head. Florets only. No stems.

When cooked add to a medium bowl and slightly chop them up. Add a tsp. of olive oil, s&p. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl mix the following:

4 whole eggs
1 cup egg whites
1/4 shredded cheese
1/4 Parmesan or Romano (something awesome)
S&P

Spray a muffin tin. Add the broccoli mix to the bottom of 9 tins. Spoon or laddle the egg mixture over the broccoli and fill about 3/4 of the way. Top with a bit of shredded cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Awesome for breakfast or snack!

5.03.2013

PB Balls! Protein snack / 4 Ingredients

For Alice with love.
We keep these in the fridge pretty much at all times. Easy, filling and yummy.
1 cup dry nonfat milk
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup Peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
Mix together by hand then palm roll into meatball size. Cover with seran wrap and refrigerate. VoilĂ !
Yields about 20.
Here's a tip: If you use organic PB that is refrigerated, set it out to soften before mixing.

4.21.2013

Palm sugar

I am really digging using Palm Sugar.  You can use it in place of brown sugar for baking.  Look it up. Tons of great properties.

I bought a hard block of it for around $1.25 (the cheapest in block) then broke it up with a chef's knife and pulsed it in the food processor.  Love the stuff!

4.15.2013

Sssssshhhh Rosemary Bread

The yeast bubbled like champagne and the rosemary from containers on the deck are just right.  Now on to rise!

4.14.2013

Cheese ravioli & Cherry tomatoes

When you just want a fast, tasty meal this one hits the mark.

I usually always have ready to go ravioli in the freezer or fridge purposely for those nights I don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. You can make your own and freeze them or pickup packaged from the market.

Tonight I used four cheese jumbo ravioli: Ricotta, Asiago, Parmesan and Romano we picked up from Trader Joes.


Boil the ravioli in salted water as usual.

While that is happening add about 2 Tbl. of olive oil to a large skillet.  When warm add chopped shallots until soft.

Then add a 1/2 pint of halfed cherry tomatoes and about a cup of dry white wine. Let everything simmer until the wine has reduced and the cherry tomatoes are soft. Add the strained ravioli,  salt and pepper to taste and herbs.

Top with Parmesan. Done!

4.11.2013

Homemade granola bars

Rob and I LOVE granola bars and I wanted to make them using what I had in the pantry.



I took two recipes and combined them to make these awesome bars.

Here is what you need for the main part of the bar:
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cups flax seed
  • 1/4 cup sesame seed
  • 1 cup chopped almonds or sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.  I used sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pure honey
  • 4 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or palm sugar)
  • 1 cup dried fruit
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.Combine the rolled oats, flax
seeds, sesame seed, coconut and almonds. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or silicone sheet.

Toast for about 15-30 minutes until golden. Be sure to stir occasionally so it doesn't burn.




















In a small pan warm (or melt) the coconut oil then pour into bowl with the vanilla, honey, coconut oil and brown (or palm) sugar.


















In a bowl, combine sea salt, cinnamon, and dried cranberries.

When the oat mixture is finished toasting, add everything together and mix by hand.

Line a 9" x 13" baking pan with waxed paper. Spread the mixture in the baking pan and press to create a smooth surface.

Now you need to make part 2 of the bars!

You will need:
  • 1 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 cup coconut oil 
  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
Heat coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Once it melts add the remaining ingredients.  Pour this over the granola.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.

When you take it out of the refrigerator it will look like this:


Now flip it over and see that all the chocolate layer is on the bottom!

Cut into 2 or 3 inch squares.  Wrap them individually in wax paper and store in the fridge.
They are yummy!! One bar is so filling and full of energy!