Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just a thought

I need my wisdom teeth pulled out... Or cut out, rather *shudders*. So naturally, my whole face is hurting. It hurts to smile and talk, let alone to chew some food. So I got the bright idea to make a smoothie. Yeah, I know, I make a lot of them. But this time, I made it good. I thought, well since I add spinach to them, I'll try adding some other veggie (since I'm out of spinach). When I went to the farmer's market the other day, I bought some yellow zucchini. They are supposed to be sweeter than the green sister squash. So I shredded it up and mixed it in my smoothie! I couldn't taste it at all, and my smoothie was so good!

So out of all of that, for lunch, I got my fair share of veggies, fruit, calcium/protein (from yogurt and milk)...All I was missing were the grains. But that's okay, I had plenty of those at breakfast time. Now if only I could make a scrumptious something for supper.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Farmer's Market

The other day my friend Jennifer took me to the farmer's market here in town. I have never been to a farmer's market before, and let me just say, I'm in LOVE!!! They have all different kinds of vegetables there!! And then of course a few different types of melons (since summer is just about over, the other fruits aren't in season).

The veggies taste so good too!! I sliced open an eggplant, and it's even different inside. You can actually SEE the difference between organic veggies and non organic veggies. Now I know you can also taste the difference too. The taste is so much fresher!

So for ten dollars, I got a basket of tomatoes, a basket of zucchini, a basket of bell peppers, and a basket of eggplant! Most of them are actually already used up! They were so good! I'll post some yummy recipes for a few too:)

For fifteen dollars a few days later I got another basket of tomatoes, a basket of onions (a free melon), a basket of huge bell peppers, a basket of jalapenos, a basket of yellow zucchini, and a basket of yellow squash.

Some things you can do with zucchini:
Zucchini bread
Creamy garlic zucchini (recipe below)
Sauteed zucchini
Grilled zucchini
Bacon and zucchini quiche

Some things you can do with eggplant:
Eggplant parmesan (recipe below)
Beef and eggplant lasagna
Roasted eggplant and chickpea soup

Creamy Garlic Zucchini
What you need:
Zucchini (I used 2 for my family of 3 eaters)
Sour cream (I also thing it would taste great with cream cheese)
Garlic (Lots and lots of it for that yummy garlic flavor)

Grate the zucchini and put it in the pan with some butter and let it cook a little bit. Add in the garlic (you could try about 1 TBSP of the jarred minced or about 6 cloves), the sour cream (I just eyeball everything, but if you want to measure it out, try 2 TBSP to start out with), and spices. Mix it well in the pan and let it cook until the zucchini is nice and soft. It kind of tastes like mashed potatoes. It's so yummy! :)

Eggplant Parmesan
What you need:
1 big eggplant
Salt, pepper
Bread crumbs
1 egg
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Spaghetti noodles

Slice up the eggplant and dip it into the egg (beaten of course). Next dip it into the bread crumbs (this is called a dredge). Bake in a single layer on a cookie sheet at 350 for 10 mins, then flip to the next side for 10 mins. Meanwhile, cook up the sauce and noodles.

I honestly have no clue how much of everything I use. I never use a recipe for my spaghetti sauce. But add together the sauce, tomatoes, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper, tarragon, basil, onion, and garlic (add the sugar in last, and only a SMALL amount of this. The reason for the sugar is to cut down on the acid from the tomatoes). If you don't make your sauce this way, of course use your own recipe. I don't like using jarred sauce, but if you want to, that would be okay too.

Next layer in a baking dish (glass is preferred) noodles, eggplant, sauce, cheeses, noodles, eggplant, sauce, cheeses. And so forth until you don't have anymore ingredients. This is one of my family's favorite dishes, so I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do!

If you have more recipes you would like to add, please list them below in the comments. If you WANT some more, ask in the comments and I'll try to find some and make a post about that too!

Crockpot Chicken Chili

Lately I've been on the crockpot kick. Since this week has been a bit on the stressful side, it's so much easier to throw some stuff in the crockpot and then forget about it. Last night was no different. So in my findings of various recipes, I stumbled upon this chicken chili recipe. But we didn't have everything the recipe called for, so I changed it up a bit. I hope you enjoy!

What you need:

Chicken breasts (I used boneless skinless and cut it up into pieces)
Red kidney beans
Black beans
Tomato sauce
Chili powder
Green chilis
Ceyanna pepper
Adobo (a Hispanic seasoning. I know it's not natural, but it tastes super good)

I just eyeballed everything and threw it all together in the crockpot. Of course you can add other things or take some things out. It's totally up to you!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hidden Veggies:)

Ever wonder what is the best way to get all the vegetables you need in a day? I do, all the time. While Ava and I LOVE veggies (and fruits), Rob doesn't eat them nearly as much as we do. So I thought of some ways to add more to your diet.

I stumbled across something called "green smoothies," packed with....drum roll please.... SPINACH!!! Sounds gross doesn't it? Rob thinks so. In fact, he refused to try any fruit smoothie I made that had it in there....Until I didn't tell him there was spinach. :) Clever. Turns out, you CAN'T taste spinach mixed with all the fruits and what not! Got me thinking, can you add other veggies to main course dishes? The answer is, OF COURSE!!

Try adding shredded zucchini to spaghetti sauce. The zucchini takes on the flavor or whatever it's mixed with. (You can also bake it into banana bread, or even just the bread part without the bananas:) )

Try adding purred carrots to mac and cheese! (For my recipe from scratch, see below)

And then of course add spinach to smoothies:) I packed in enough spinach in my smoothie today to get me ALMOST a whole serving! Oh, and for the smoothies, I like to make them with honey flavored Greek yogurt:)

So pretty much, you can add veggies to all kinds of dishes. Try experimenting with different veggies in different dishes. It's great for those picky eaters, and also if you just need a boost of veggies with your meal! Enjoy!

My made from scratch Mac and cheese-

What you need:
Shredded Cheese
(I eyeball everything)

Make a rue (melt the butter over medium heat, mix in flour to make like a paste). When that is finished, as it shouldn't take long, slowly add the milk while stirring. The goal is to not have any clumps. I would add a little, stir, and wait a minute or so to see how thick it is. Then add more milk if you need to. Add the cheese and salt, stir and serve! If you're adding in purred veggies, do so at the time you add the cheese. Enjoy!

Natural anti-itch

The temperatures are getting cooler here (and when I say cooler, I mean mid 80s to low 90s, crazy, I know). That means it's perfect temperature for mosquitoes... Oh how I loath those things. Fascinating how they work though...Anyway, that's not my point. The point is, those suckers itch! Like crazy! So I though, we don't have any anti itch cream here. So what can we use to keep the itch away? I looked up some stuff. Baking soda was number one! Shocking I know, since it's used for only EVERYTHING!

Here's my list (most of us already have the majority of these things already!):

Home Remedies from the Cupboard-

BAKING SODA. Baking soda battles itches of all kinds. For widespread or hard-to-reach itches, soak in a baking soda bath. Add 1 cup baking soda to a tub of warm water. Soak for 30 to 60 minutes and air dry. Localized itches can be treated with a baking soda paste. Mix 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Apply to the itch, but do not use if the skin is broken.

OATMEAL. Add 1 to 2 cups finely ground oatmeal to a warm bath (not hot or you might have breakfast for the next month in your tub) to ease your itches.

Home Remedies from the Refrigerator-
LEMON. Many American folk remedy recipes call for using a lemon to treat itchy skin -- and rightly so. The aromatic substances in a lemon contain anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce itching. If nothing else, you'll smell good. Squeeze undiluted lemon juice on itchy skin and allow to dry.

Home Remedies from the Spice Rack

CLOVES AND JUNIPER BERRIES. The American Indians of the Paiute, Shoshone, and Cherokee tribes knew how to stop an itch in its tracks. They used what nature provided, namely juniper berries. (No need to run out in the wilderness to gather berries. They are available in some grocery stores.) These berries contain anti-inflammatory, volatile substances. When combined with cloves, which contain eugenol to numb nerve endings, the result is no more itch. To make a salve of both spices, melt 3 ounces of unsalted butter in a saucepan. In a separate pan, melt a lump of beeswax -- about the amount of 2 tablespoons. When the beeswax has melted, combine with butter and stir well. Add 5 tablespoons ground juniper berries and 3 teaspoons ground cloves to the mixture and stir. Allow to cool and apply to itchy skin. Note: It is best to grind the spices at home because the volatile substances are preserved better in whole berries and cloves.

BASIL. Splash your skin with refreshing basil tea. Like cloves basil contains amounts of eugenol, a topical anesthetic. Place 1/2 ounce dried basil leaves in a 1-pint jar of boiling water. Keep it covered to prevent the escape of the aromatic eugenol from the tea. Allow to cool. Dip a clean cloth into the tea and apply to itchy skin as often as necessary.

MINT. If you're saving that basil for spaghetti sauce, try a mint tea rinse instead. Chinese folk medicine values mint as a treatment for itchy skin and hives. Mint contains significant amounts of menthol, which has anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties when applied topically. In general, mint also contains high amounts of the anti-inflammatory rosmarinic acid, which is readily absorbed into the skin. To make a mint tea rinse, place 1 ounce dried mint leaves in 1 pint boiling water. Cover and allow to cool. Strain, dip a clean cloth in the tea, and apply to the itchy area when necessary.

THYME. If you're saving that mint for a glass of lemonade, there is one more spice on the rack that makes a good anti-itch rinse: thyme. This fragrant herb contains large amounts of the volatile constituent thymol, which has anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties. In other words, it numbs that darn itch while reducing inflammation caused by all your scratching. To make a thyme rinse, place 1/2 ounce dried thyme leaves in a 1-pint jar of boiling water. Cover and allow to cool. Strain and dip a clean cloth into the tea, then apply to affected areas. Note: In Chinese folk medicine, dandelion root, easily plucked from most yards, is added to this rinse. If in season, place 1 ounce dried dandelion root and 1/2 ounce dried thyme leaves into 1 quart boiling water and proceed as directed.

Home Remedies from the Windowsill-

ALOE VERA. Aloe vera is a must for burns, but how about itches? The same constituents that reduce blistering and inflammation in burns also work to reduce itching. Snap off a leaf, slice it down the middle, and rub the gel only on the itch.

*NOTE* The site where I got this information can be found at:

Since finding this site, I have made the baking soda paste for mine and my daughter's mosquito bites, and within, I'd say, a minute if that, the itch was gone! She's back to bouncing around and not having to worry about that darn itch! However, I did notice that the baking soda paste might be just a BIT on the messy side. A small price to pay for some wonderful itch relief :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Homemade dishwasher detergent

We're almost out of dishwasher detergent. I thought there HAS to be a recipe somewhere for this! I mean, there's several different laundry detergent recipes, so, why not! Right? Right!

I found this from tipnut, a wonderful website that has so many different recipes for all sorts of things, how to do many things yourself, how to make things. Really cool. ANYWAY. I'm pretty sure I just used the last bit of our detergent this afternoon, so I'm just going to wash out that jug really really good and put the mixture in that. I have all the ingredients for it from having them for my laundry soaps.

What you need:
1 part baking soda
1 part borax
1 part water
(optional) 1 drop of lemon or orange essence oil per cup of detergent

Mix all together really well. Store in a sealable jug. Use 2-3 TBSP per each load. If you notice that your dishes get cloudy do to hard water, etc, add a bit of vinegar to the rinse compartment on you dishwasher (I have looked in ours, and I have absolutely no clue where this is located).

*NOTE* DO NOT breath in the borax! It is dangerous to your lungs to breath in the powder. Also DO NOT touch it with your bare skin for prolonged periods of time; it will cause skin irritation.

We haven't made this yet to try it out, but I'm really excited to give it a try!! I prefer a liquid to a powder, but here is a powdered detergent.

What you need:
1 cup borax
1 cup of (your choice) baking or washing soda

*NOTE* Baking soda and washing soda are NOT the same thing! WASHING soda is used solely for cleaning purposes and laundry boosters. BAKING soda is used for personal use, cleaning purposes, AND cooking!

On a very sweet side not that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the detergent, my son. Rob is holding him (changed his diaper after him waking up), trying to get him to go back to sleep. He is sitting on the couch with him, and he was just twisting his head to look up at his daddy! It was the sweetest thing EVER! I hope everyone has a great evening!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Grocery shopping and a very long day *Recipes at the end*

My Dad-in-law and brother-in-law came into town today. They wanted to take us all out to dinner tonight. And while that wounds great, my diet would SO not appreciate that! I remember what happened last time Dad was here, I gain like 30 lbs in a week (or so it seemed) So I decided I'm going to cook!! I made sloppy joes from scratch! No stuff from a can here:) It tasted so good!

But we didn't have ANYTHING to eat here, so we went shopping. Of course since I needed the car, we all had to wake up at 5:30 this morning. And While V got a small nap in, Ava did not. Neither did I. Long day. But.....Before we started our day of shopping, I mopped and cleaned the kitchen, again. I know I said that I cleaned it just the other day, but it needed a good scrub down again. I threw a load of diapers in the wash, and put V down for a nap.

I took the kids (by myself while Dad and bro slept) to the natural store. We bought some grocery stuff and some snacks:) . It was pretty good! I also bought a pack of diapers, gPants! The package has two in it for 25 bucks. Not too shabby if you ask me! One is a darker blue, plain, and the other is a lighter blue with a cute pattern on it. I bought some spices, quinoa, broccoli, carrots, cereal, prenatal vitamins (since I'm nursing), some bean chips, and salsa. I'm sure I got a few more things, but off the top of my head, I really can't remember.

We came home, had some lunch and then we all went to walmart (aside from Rob since he was at work still). We got a crib mattress on sale! 38 bucks! I'm so happy about that!!! V is quickly outgrowing his bassinet:( *sad panda* Well we got yogurt, beans (still from a can because I still am having some problems knocking those out, but it WILL happen!!), milk, bread, beef, roast (for my Italian sandwiches I'm making tomorrow), kale (making kale crisp, so good), spinach, lettuce, chicken, sour cream, cottage cheese, some drink mixes (without tons of sugar. Alas, it's the only way I can really get Ava to actually drink enough water through out the day), vinegar, and of course some more that I can't think of off the top of my head.

All in all, NOT counting the mattress and the diapers, for the month we only spent 220! I think that's a good day right there. But by the time I was done shopping, it was time to pick up Rob from work. Well or so I thought. I get there and we wait for one whole stink in hour! Needless to say, very long day. But if you read below, I'll post my recipe for the sloppy joes I made, and also the kale crisp.

Sloppy joes:
Ground beef (I used a pound)
Tomato sauce (I used half a can)
Tomato paste (I eyeballed it)
Salt and papper
Half an onion
Green bell pepper
Just a bit of brown sugar (I think I put in close to 1/4 a cup, but I just eyeballed that too)
And last, a bit of soy sauce.

I cooked all of this together and let it marry in the pan and kind of reduce a little bit. Then I put it on top of some ciabatta bread. YUMMY!!

Kale crisp:
Kale rinsed and dried thoroughly
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 350 degree F. Rinse and dry your kale, and cut it to the desired size. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake it for about 15 mins. Be sure NOT to over bake it as it will become bitter. Nobody wants a bitter kale crisp. The finished snack is very healthy for you, and will taste somewhat like a potato chip. I really hope that you enjoy these two recipes!