Friday, December 30, 2011

Kiwi-Dew Juice

Makes approximately 2-3 cups juice. Very light and refreshing!

1 small honeydew, or half a large
2 kiwi
1 organic apple (green would be best, but any kind will work)

Run fruit through a juicer, minus the skin on kiwi and skin and seeds from honeydew. Pour, serve, and Enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Make your own butter

I get my cream by letting my raw milk sit and separate from the cream. Then I slowly pour it off the top. To start, you can culture your cream first, or not. Cultured butter does have an excellent taste. But, homemade butter, in my opinion, is great either way! There are many ideas out there on how to culture the cream. I've seen that you can just leave the cream at room temperature for about 12 hours. I've also seen you should stir in 1/3 of a cup of buttermilk or plain yogurt, and then let sit for 12 hours. For me, sometimes it's just easier to let the cream come to room temperature and then have at it. Either way, you want your cream at room temperature when you start.
Then pour cream into a food processor with a dough blade, or in a stand mixer with a dough hook. I like to add a tiny bit of salt, but you don't have to. Turn on. It's going to probably take 10-15 minutes but check it occasionally. Once there are hard chunks floating in the buttermilk, you're probably good. Taste it, does it taste like butter? I then take a fine strainer or cheesecloth, and pour off the liquid. Some people like to rinse the butter at this point. I've rinsed sometimes, and sometimes I don't. I think if you rinse it will last longer, in my experience. Scoop your butter into a covered container, glass or ceramic. You can serve immediately or refrigerate until needed. Serve with some fresh bread, you won't be disappointed!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Texas Cheeseburgers

The Texas Hot Restaurant in Wellsville, NY serves some amazing Texas Cheeseburgers (or Texas Hots if you're into hot dogs). It turns out they put pork in their sauce, which I'm not cool with. So after much researching, combining and playing with different "copy-cat" recipes, I came up with one that we feel is perfect! I do believe the "Texas" sauce is actually considered Greek, but whatever it is, it's so yummy!

Texas Sauce:
1/4 cup organic butter
1 cup chopped organic onions
1 lb organic ground beef
1 ts organic sugar
1/2 ts organic ground cloves
1/2 ts organic cayenne
1 ts organic chili powder
1 ts organic nutmeg
1 ts organic dry mustard
1 ts organic paprika
1 ts organic cinnamon
2 ts organic Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 ts good salt
1 ts organic ground pepper
2 cloves organic crushed garlic

Melt butter in a skillet. Saute onions and ground beef until beef is cooked. Carefully dump onions and beef into food processor and grind up (This isn't totally necessary but I like it much better "smooth" rather than chunky) Pour mixture back into pan. Add enough water to cover mixture and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and simmer on med low for atleast 45 minutes, longer would be better. Even better would be to throw the sauce together in the morning and then put it in the crock pot on low until dinnertime.

To make Texas Cheeseburgers: (You need burger patties, cheese, hot dog buns, yellow mustard, and diced onion)
Grill thin hamburger patties.Add cheese at the end to melt. Steam hot dog buns to warm. (Yes hot dog buns, this is how the restaurant serves them. But you can use hamburger buns if you wish) Slather buns with mustard. Place burger on bun. Pour 3-4 TB of Texas Sauce on top of burger. Sprinkle with diced yellow onions. Eat and enjoy!
Note that the pic above has the mustard on top, hubby thought it was prettier that way =)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sweet and Sour Veggies and Beans

This is a great vegetarian option to the traditional sweet and sour dishes. Though this would still be awesome with chicken if you wanted to.

2 heads organic brocolli
1 organic red pepper
2 cups diced pineapple
1 cup organic beans, pinto, black, or kidney
1 organic onion, sliced
2 cloves organic garlic, minced

1/4 to half a cup pineapple juice (Note: if using canned pineapple, which I don't recommend with bpa lined cans, you can use the juice from the can. You can run some pineapple through a juicer. Or use frozen pineapple and as it defrosts you will end up with enough juice. Or with fresh pineapple you can mash some with a potato masher and squeeze some juice out.)
1/4 cup organic brown sugar
2 TB organic cornstarch
1/4 ts organic ground ginger
1/4 cup organic vinegar (apple cider or white wine)
2 TB braggs liquid aminos, or organic soy sauce

In a bowl, combine pineapple juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, vinegar, and braggs or soy sauce. Set aside. In a skillet, saute in a little water or oil,
brocolli, red pepper, and onion until tender. Add minced garlic and saute for about a minute. Add beans and pineapple and cook until heated through. Pour in reserved sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 3-5 minutes until sauce is thickened.
Serve over brown rice.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Balsamic Vinaigrette with a touch of sweetness

According to my husband this balsamic vinaigrette is perfect! The kids love it too. It has that great vinaigrette taste with a slight hint of sweetness! Bet this will make you eat more salads!

1/2 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup organic balsamic vinegar
1 ts organic ground mustard
2 cloves organic garlic, pressed, crushed, or diced
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 ts organic ground pepper
1/2 ts raw honey

Whisk or blend all ingredients together and store in a bottle or jar in the fridge.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is such a great fall dessert. And there's nothing better than a good homemade pie! This is really easy and SO good!

1 whole wheat organic pie crust
3 large organic eggs
2 cups cooked pumpkin, or one can organic pumpkin
1 1/2 cups organic sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup organic brown sugar
1 ts ground organic cinnamon
1 ts ground organic ginger
1/2 ts organic grated nutmeg
1/4 ts organic ground cloves
1/2 ts sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place crust in oven to warm on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients thoroughly.
Pour filling into crust and bake 45-55 minutes or until firm. (I like to jiggle it to see if it's liquidy or set in the middle). Let pie cool on a wire rack.

For a special bonus, top with homemade whipped cream.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl if using a hand mixer, pour in one cup of organic cream. Add about 1 TB organic sugar and a splash of vanilla. Mix until whipped cream consistency (5-10 minutes). Taste, and add more sugar and vanilla if you desire.

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Why buy canned cranberry sauce laden in BPA when you can make your own! It's so quick and easy, let it be a part of your next holiday gathering!

4 cups organic fresh cranberries
2 cups water
2 cups organic sugar (I actually prefer to use less, you could use 1 cup sugar, and substitute some orange juice for some of the water)

Place cranberries and water in a pot and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, cover the pot and reduce to medium. Cook until the cranberries have burst. Puree cranberries in a blender or food processor. Pour back into the pot and stir in sugar. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and let set for at least 30 minutes. Place in the refrigerator if you like your cranberry sauce cold.

Banana Crumb Mini Muffins

I like mini muffins because you can eat more than one and not feel too guilty about it. Plus they are perfect for kids! Try these super yummy banana muffins...and don't forget the crumb topping!

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, organic
1 ts baking soda
1 ts aluminum free baking powder
1/2 ts sea salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup organic milk
1/3 cup organic butter melted

Crumb topping:
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
4 TB organic white whole wheat flour
1/4 ts organic cinnamon
2 TB organic butter, soft

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line your mini muffin cups.
In a large bowl, mix together 1/1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, melted butter, and milk.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Spoon batter into muffin cups.

In a food processor (or in a small bowl with a fork) mix together crumb ingredients until mixture is crumby.
Sprinkle over muffins.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Herb Balsamic Tomatoes

Yummy, healthy, side dish. appetizer, or snack. My kids gobble these up!
Picture above is one tomato. I personally consider that one serving, but others may not. So I will write the recipe for one tomato/serving. Multiply as needed!

1 tomato, sliced
A couple fresh basil leaves, chopped
A couple fresh mint leaves, chopped
A couple fresh parsley leaves, chopped
A pinch of fresh dill
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
A drizzle of balsamic vinegar, organic
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, organic

Lay sliced tomatoes on a plate. Sprinkle with herbs, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with vinegar, and then oil. Enjoy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yorkshire Pudding

If you've never had Yorkshire Pudding, it's nothing like pudding. It's more of an airy fluffy muffin/biscuit. My grandmother used to make these. They were always my favorite part of the meal. She would make them with roast beef and gravy. Always a great meal to me! Very few ingredients, but oh SO tasty! Above is a double batch of the below recipe.

3/4 cup white unbleached flour, organic
1/2 ts salt.
1/2 cup organic milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup water
Approx. 1/2 stick melted butter, organic

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in milk. Stir. Beat in eggs and water. Beat the batter until large bubbles rise to the surface. If you wish, the batter can be refrigerated for an hour and beat again. Pour about 1/4
inch of hot melted butter into each space in a muffin tin. Heat the muffin tin in the oven until hot. Pour the batter in filling each space about half full. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 10-15 minutes longer, until puffed and golden brown. Serve with gravy. Yum!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lemonade Cleanse

I have read many great things about doing a lemonade cleanse. This can heal so many illnesses and underlying problems. Not to mention it's a great reducing diet. With all the diet fads out there, if more people just tried this lemonade cleanse, they would save a ton of money that they wouldn't have to spend on diet books, pills, diet food, etc. It is a cleanse consisting of drinking a lemonade mixture of fresh lemon (or lime) juice, pure maple syrup, cayenne, and water. You drink this 6-12 times a day, on the lower end if you want to reduce. This combination gives you all the minerals and enzymes to keep you going. It's said that people feel great on this cleanse. As with any cleanse, the first three days are the hardest. Once past those days, it's possible to do long term (10 days, two weeks, 20 days, 30 even 45 days).
Recipe: Juice of half a lemon, 2 tb pure maple syrup, 1/8 ts cayenne, 10 ounces of water.
You are also supposed to drink a laxative tea before bed and do a salt water flush first thing in the morning. A salt water flush consists of putting 2 ts of good salt in a quart of water and drinking.
So here I go!

Day 1
It's the afternoon of day 1 and I'm super excited to start this cleanse! I'm shooting for 10 days. I'm really eager to see if I can keep it up that long. After my last 3 day juice fast I felt really well and like I could go on longer. So I'm optimistic that this will go really well.

Day 3
I'm feeling good and amazingly have no desire for food. I'm making food for the family and it's not bothering me at all. I have plenty of energy and I'm not hungry. Very grateful for that!

Day 5
Today is the first day I felt any hunger. So I had an extra lemonade drink and felt better. I didn't really feel hungry until evening time. Still have good energy even though I haven't "eaten" in 5 days! I walk on the treadmill everyday for 20-30 minutes. I have done the salt water flush 3 out of the last 5 days, not really enjoying that, not sure if I will continue with it.

Day 7
Wow, I have gone a week! I'm starting to really look forward to eating again and for this to be over but I'm not miserable. The last couple days I have felt hungry in the evening. With an extra lemonade drink I feel better.

Day 10
I cannot believe I made it to day 10!!!! Today is the last day and I really have no desire to continue it but I'm very happy I made it this far. I really would like to get back to eating, only because I really want to taste something different. I'm rather bored of the lemonade drink. But I'm still feeling really well. I did the salt water flush a few more times but not everyday.

2 days post cleanse
I have been eating all raw food for the last two days. Seriously I take like two bites and I'm full. If I try to eat more than that my stomach feels like exploding. It's so weird. I make a big glass of carrot juice and can barely get through half of it.

7 days post cleanse
I feel really good after doing this cleanse. My body feels really healthy. I still can't eat a regular portion of food. So smaller portions. I thought I should just have smaller portions throughout the day but even hours after eating I'm still full. I'm guessing eventually I'll be able to eat normal portions again.

10 days post cleanse
I'm starting to "try" to eat normal portions but can't always finish. Just making sure I get plenty of raw veggies.

Final thoughts
I feel like I accomplished something big. With that said though, I'm not sure if I would do this cleanse again in the future. Maybe it's too soon to decide that. I do feel like my body is functioning really well, so that's a plus. I really got bored of it near the end though. A 3-5 day regular juice fast is probably more up my ally. It felt like this cleanse was never going to end. But then when it did end, it felt great that I got through it. I don't recommend anyone does this as their first cleanse, unless you have a serious health issue you are trying to heal and time is of the essence. I'm glad I did a 3 day juice fast the week before this. I believe that made it so I didn't have any bad detoxing in the beginning, which is always nice. All and all, I'm very glad I did it, maybe I'll do another in a year or so.... =)

*Consulting a natural or holistic health care practitioner prior to starting this cleanse is highly recommended.

Juice fast final thoughts

Ha, sorry about that, totally missed coming back and posting day 3! Day 3 went fine. Finished up the fast feeling like I could keep going. With Thanksgiving approaching quickly, it just wasn't possible to continue. I was glad to feel well though. Day 4 I eased back into eating. I had juice for breakfast because hubby was still on day 3. I had a smoothie mid morning. I had veggie juice again for lunch. Then a salad midafternoon. Boy that salad filled me up after fasting for 3 days. I didn't feel hungry again the rest of the day. I had another small salad before bed. All and all it was a great fast. I felt well through most of it. I feel confident now to do a longer fast!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Juice Fast Day 2

Day 2 has gone well. No serious detox symptoms. Though on a recommendation, I drank a laxative tea last night and did a salt water flush (2 ts salt in a quart of water) this morning...ick, never again. I remember doing a salt water flush many many years ago...apparently I didn't remember it well enough. But for the juice fast...going well. Having a little trouble looking at Thanksgiving recipes but atleast I  have something to look forward to =) I'm feeling pretty good. My mouth is a little fuzzy, but as bad as it was last time I fasted. That's a pretty standard thing, just annoying.
After the awful salt water flush this morning, I had a large glass of fresh vegetable juice (carrot, celery, kale, spinach). Then prepared a glass of lemon water to have a little later, and a glass of detox tea. At lunch another glass of veggie juice, same as above but with some chard. Before dinnertime, more lemon water and a cup of peppermint tea. Dinner veggie juice (same as above but with beets added). If you juice beets, don't be alarmed when you go to the bathroom #2 ;) Then some more lemon water. I also decided to try something new. I was craving something with a savory taste so I had some herb broth, straining the herbs off after steeping for awhile. Now, as I'm getting ready to head to bed, I'm sipping on a cup of chamomile tea.
All in all, a good day! Good night!

Juice fasting basics

If you read my previous post, I'm currently on my third juice fast of the year. Today is day 2. I'll update on day 2 later but wanted to give some other insight into juice fasting. Prior to this year, I had only done one other juice fast. For the last 8 years I've either been pregnant or nursing and didn't find it advisable to juice fast. Between my first and second kids I did my first ever juice fast. It went ok, but I detoxed a lot and felt icky. But I was still up and around taking care of a 1 year old. One thing I still remember vividly (it was 6 years ago) is how the smell and taste of cabbage juice made me want to vomit. To this day, I still feel the same way. It turned out that I was a few weeks pregnant with #2 when I did this juice fast, which I'm guessing had something to do with that. If I had known I was pregnant I never would have fasted, but it was too early to know.
So back to my three juice fasts this year. The first one I was very motivated to start. The first day was a bit rough. The second day wasn't too bad. And the third day I felt so good I organized and cleaned out our toy/school room. The second one this year went pretty much the same way. Except on day 1 I had unexpected guests and also had two extra kids I was watching that day. Both were last minute things that I couldn't help. So the first day was very tiring with no nap and the craziness. The other days went fairly well though. I had prepared meals ahead of time for the kids and hubby. So I wasn't driving myself too crazy with food right in my face. This fast isn't too bad on the detoxing. I'm thinking maybe it's because I've done two already this year. Or maybe my pre-juicing preparation was longer this time. Though it might be a combination of both. I've been colon cleansing and drinking detox tea for about a month now.

Benefits of fasting
Fasting regularly gives all your organs a rest. It's not just good during times of poor health. Fasting will help reverse the aging process and live a healthier life. Fasting will boost your immune system, release fat stored chemicals (pesticides, anti-biotics, other drugs), lowers your body toxicity, reduces cravings, reduces dependence, heal with greater speed, cleanse your liver, kidneys, and colon, purify your blood, help lose excess weight and water, flushes out toxins. A 3 day fast helps the body rid itself of toxins and cleanse the blood. A 5 day fast begins the process of healing and rebuilding the immune system. A 10 day fast can take care of many problems before they arise and help to fight off illness, including degenerative diseases. If you have diabetes, hypoglycemia, or another chronic health problem, any fast should be supervised by a health care professional. Those without chronic health problems should check with a health care provider before doing a fast longer than 3 days. Use your best judgment in those situations.

Preparing for a juice fast
If you prepare for your juice fast  you can lessen the detox effects and fast more comfortably. Colon cleansing is very important. The amount of time you colon cleanse is really going to depend on how soon you want to fast. I would recommend atleast two weeks though. A month or more would really do you more benefits. A good colon cleanse on it's own should take 3 months. If you've never done that, I recommend to each and everyone out there. Your colon health is so vitally important to every aspect of your body. Intestinal problems can cause problems throughout your entire body. Everybody should do a three month colon cleanse once a year. There are many ways to do it. Two that I highly recommend are: using psyllium husks and molasses, or purchasing Fiber Cleanse from Hallelujah Acres Fiber Cleanse is self explanatory in the directions that come with it. As for the psyllium husks and molasses, here's what to do: 4 times a day, morning, lunch, dinner, and before bed. In 8 oz of water mix in 1/2 ts molasses and 1-2 TB psyllium husks. Drink. (Start with 1 TB and after a week or 2, move up to 2 TB)

Another important preparation is to drink a detox tea. I like Traditional Medicinals Lemon Everyday Detox. Drink that 2-3 times a day before and during your fast.

If you don't already juice regularly, start. There are so many health benefits to juicing. Even if you can only juice three times a week, that's better than nothing, get to it!

Eat as much raw food as you can for two days before the fast. Go all raw if you can! That would be the best option and help with the detox effects.

During the juice fast  
During the juice fast you will abstain from all solid food. Start your day with a large glass of water. Continue to drink water throughout the day. A minimum of 80 oz, closer to 90 or 100 oz would be better to help flush your system and keep you hydrated as you detox.
Drink fresh juice 2-3 times a day. I do it three times a day at each regular meal time. Make sure you are getting a variety of vegetables. The only fruit you want to juice with vegetables is apples. You can juice other fruits just don't mix them with the veggies. Here's the veggies I like to get if available (all organic): carrots, celery, beets, kale, collards, spinach, apples, romaine, chard, parsley, mint. I've opted out of using cabbage anymore, just due to the reaction my body has to it, but it would be good for others that actually enjoy cabbage. It's really good for ulcers, cancer, and all colon problems.
Detox tea 2-3 times a day.
Lemon "tea" 2-3 times a day: Juice half a lemon into a cup and add warm water. For an added benefit, add a dash of cayenne.
Other herbal teas as needed. Peppermint is very cleansing. Chamomile will help to calm you for naps or bedtime.

Light exercise is highly encouraged and beneficial during a fast. Do not do anything too strenuous. Walking or riding a stationary bike a moderate speed are both good options. If you feel dizzy, stop immediately.

Shower regularly (not that it isn't a good idea on a normal day!!!). Many toxins are released through your skin. Shower once or twice a day to remove those toxins being excreted.

Make time to rest and pray!

After the fast
For two days after your fast you will want to slowly introduce solid foods back into your diet. Continue to juice and eat only raw fruits and vegetables. Introducing cooked foods to quickly can ruin the desired effects of the fast.

I hope some of you out there are ready to jump into a juice fast! Please let me know if you try it and how it goes. Come back and comment here!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Juice fast day 1

This is my third juice fast this year and I thought I would blog about it. Why not share my pain...haha. It's really not that bad. From past experience, the first day is usually the worst. By the third day I feel like I can go longer. I've done 3 day juice fasts only because of the hecticness around here. Hmm, spellcheck says hecticness isn't a word, weird...though it also said "spellcheck" wasn't a word either...hahah! Spellcheck must be two works, but I really enjoy it being one word....maybe I should add it to the dictionary ;) So I always do a three day juice fast because I like to fast when we don't have too much going on so I can rest and take a nap during the day. But considering I have to make meals for the family, it's hard to not want to eat by the end of it. The last two times I fasted, I prepared meals ahead of time for the kids and hubby. That way, all I had to do was throw something in the oven and I was done. It worked out great! Well...this time, I had scheduled to start the fast next weekend, so I'm not prepared. Hubby is off for this week so I thought it would be a better idea to start his vacation with the fast (he's doing it with me this time!!!) rather than end his vacation with it. So on a whim this morning I said we should start! So no food is prepared for the kids, but we can tag team it since he'll be home. One of us can juice and one of us can make food for the kids. They'll be happy with sandwiches or pasta for a couple days =) Hubby decided to start the fast tomorrow instead of today. I really want to have a raw day after I'm done with the fast and he doesn't care. So I'll be done fasting on Tuesday, I can have a raw day onf Wednesday, and then Thursday is Turkey day! We'll go easy for Turkey day though, small portions. I'm considering starting a Lemonade cleanse next week, for ten days, but I'm not totally committed to that, we'll see. I've always wanted to try it.
So anyway, as for day 1...would have been better if we didn't have a field trip with the kids planned. But I feel good considering I didn't get to rest or nap all day. No headache. I think that's the first time I've juice fasted and not had a headache on the first day. Started the day with a smoothie, before I had decided to juice fast. So I'll probably go atleast half way through Wednesday still fasting. Then had two servings of carrot juice, spaced out. We were heading out for the day so I took a big jar of detox tea and a big jar of peppermint tea with us, and water of course. I got a little hungry but not bad. When we got home I had too much work to do to whip out the juicer and juice my dinner so I had two glasses of lemon water  (half a juiced lemon, water, and cayenne). Now I'm ending my day with some laxative tea and I'll head to bed. Overall, not a bad first day. Wish we hadn't been gone all day and I could have juiced more but I still feel good. On to day 2....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mango Guacamole

A unique take on the standard guacamole. Try it with tortilla chips or just by the spoonful!

1 mango, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 green onion, chopped
Pinch of sea salt
2 ts evoo
1/2 cumin

Gently toss all ingredients together. That's it...super easy!

Mexican Chicken and Beans

You had me at "mexican" =) Quick, easy, and yummy!

1 lb organic chicken thighs or breasts, diced
2 cups organic corn
1 cup organic black beans
1 ts oil for cooking
1 TB cumin
1 ts chili powder
1 ts garlic salt
1/2 cup water

Tortillas (fajita or burrito)
Sliced jalapeno
Organic sour cream

Cook diced chicken over medium in a skillet with the oil. When fully cooked, add the beans, corn, water and seasonings. Cook about 10 minutes until sauce thickens and flavors are mingled. Serve with or with a tortilla if you wish and top with sliced jalapenos, salsa, and a dollop of sour cream!

Kale Chips

Ok, seriously, these are MUCH better than they look! I tend to not be able to stop eating them. You could flavor these any way you want. Below is a basic yummy recipe. They crisp up nicely like chips!

1 bunch organic kale
Olive oil
Garlic Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove kale leaves from stem and rip or cut into bite size pieces. Toss with olive oil. Spread the leaves out on a parchment lined baking sheets or lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper over all the leaves. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy. Enjoy!

Quinoa Tabouli

Quinoa is so very good for you with 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of fat in a one cup serving. It is a gluten-free grain, so it's great for everyone. You can use it in place of rice on most recipes. Tabouli or Tabbouleh usually calls for bulgar wheat. This is a yummy side or main dish. Enjoy!
This is a variation of a recipe I saw at

1 cup organic quinoa
1 cup organic grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
A couple mint leaves, minced
3 cloves organic garlic, minced
 Half a cucumber, diced
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
Juice of one lemon
2 TB gluten-free tamari (or organic soy sauce, braggs liquid aminos)
2 TB olive oil
1 ts sea salt
pinch of cayenne

Place quinoa in a fine strainer and rinse. Rub the grains together.
Place quinoa in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, cool.
In a small bowl, mix together lemon, tamari, olive oil, salt, and cayenne.
Toss all ingredients together.
Let mixture sit for an hour for all the ingredients to mingle. Refrigerate until ready to serve and toss one more time. Enjoy!

Berry lemonade

So what if it's 30 degrees outside and this should be more of a summer drink....drink this and dream of summertime! Super yummy, and good for you too!

2 whole lemons, peeled
1 cup mixed organic berries, frozen or fresh
2 tb organic raw honey

Place all ingredients in the blender with enough water to cover them. Blend for a minute and enjoy! A nice vitamin packed drink!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Banana Bread Breakfast Smoothie

This is a great smoothie to start off your day or a mid-day power packed snack. The first thing my husband said about it was "It tastes like banana bread!" There originated the name! My kids slurped this down in minutes.

Makes 4 servings:

3 cups organic raw milk, or almond milk (coconut milk might be yummy too!)
2 frozen bananas
2 shakes organic cinamon
2 ts raw organic honey
1 avocado
1 cup organic granola, or "grainy" type cereal. (I used Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel 4:9 cereal)

Blend all ingredients for a minute. Enjoy!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vegetarian Nachos

Nachos are such a well rounded meal! So grab a tray of them and head to the living room for movie night with the kiddos! That's what we do! (You can even throw on some meat if you must for those meat eaters!)

1 bag organic tortilla chips (important to get organic since a huge percentage of corn is GMO)
2 cups shredded organic cheese, jack or cheddar
1 can sliced black olives
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 tomato chopped
1 organic onion chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
1 cup organic black or pinto beans (already cooked)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay chips on a parchment lined large baking sheet. Scatter all the ingredients except the cheese all over the chips.

Top with cheese. (I like putting the cheese on top of the toppings because it holds them to the chips)
Cook for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve sour cream and salsa on the side, Enjoy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Avocado and Banana Hair Mask

This hair mask is wonderful for dry hair. This will make your hair super soft! Repeat once a month or so. I suggest doing this at night, your hair will be a little oily immediately after. So doing it at night makes it so you can shampoo it in the morning before heading out for the day.

1/2 ripe banana
1/2 ripe avocado
1 tsp olive oil
a few drops of an essential oil you like (optional, but makes it smell nice)

Mash banana and avocado real smooth, a blender would do a great job. Stir in oils. Wash your hair and towel dry. Work hair mask all through your hair and then put a shower cap on. Leave mask on for atleast 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. I suggest putting a paper towel or wash cloth over the drain to catch the "chunks".

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Latte

Why pay for a high price and high calorie pumpkin coffee from a coffee shop when you can make one at home for a fraction of the cost and calories! Enjoy fall with this wonderful coffee!

1 cup of organic coffee
4 oz organic milk or cream
2 ts organic sugar, brown would add a nice taste
2 TB pureed organic pumpkin (canned is fine)
1/2 ts organic cinamon
Dash each of organic nutmeg, ginger, and ground cloves

Whisk all ingredients together. Top with a scoop of homemade whipped cream if you desire. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin facial mask

'Tis the season to get some pumpkin and rub it all over your face =) No really...pumpkin is full of antioxidants and exfoliating properties. So whip up this mask, spread it on your face, and sip a Pumpkin Pie Latte while you wait!

Pumpkin Mask
4 TB pureed organic pumpkin
1 egg
2 ts almond milk and 1 ts honey (for dry skin)
2 ts apple cider vinegar (for oily skin)

Whisk ingredients together until well blended. Cleanse your face. Steam if you have time. Spread mask evenly over your face. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Moisturize.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Quick Facial

This is the first entry for some great make-at-home beauty treatments! They are easy, and all natural ingredients! Here is a 3 step quick facial with some easy ingredients you probably already have!

1. Steam- Boil water and place into a large bowl. With a towel over your head, place your face 6 inches or so from the water. Hold there for 30 seconds. Take a break. Repeat. Take a break. Repeat. You will steam for a total of 3 times.

2. Exfoliate -  In a bowl, mix together fine cornmeal and a little water so it's paste like consistency. Scrub your face gently with the mixture and rinse thoroughly.

3. Moisturizing Mask - In a bowl, mix together one egg white and a tablespoon of plain yogurt. Spread all over your face, avoiding your eyes. Leave on for 5-10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, finishing with a splash of cold water to close pores.

That's it! So easy and your face will feel great!

Adventures with the Fuzzy Feather Heads-Part 1

This fall we ordered a new kind of chicken for our flock. We usually get Rhode Island Reds, Araucana's, Barred Rocks, Silver Laced Wyandottes, and Black Austrolorps. We've always wanted some of the chickens featured in the "Top Hat" Special. They are a mixture of different types of Polish chickens, and some others. All of them grow feathers straight out of the tops of their heads. Since it was so late in the season, we could not order just a few of one kind or another, we had to order 25 of the "Top Hat's" and get what we get. As soon as these little ones arrived at a day or so old, most already had a little cotton ball looking fuzz ball on top of their heads! They were so cute!

At 6 weeks old they are starting to get quite the personalities. Some are super friendly, some are extremely wild, all are still super cute, and rather funny looking. =)
This is my friend "Spits". She likes to come over to the waterer and spit water on us, every time we're in the coop!

 Stay tuned for more adventures with our Fuzzy Feather Heads!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Make your own vanilla extract

 Ok, this is so awesome! We go through a ton of vanilla in this house. Hubby likes to put it in his coffee, not to mention baking, etc. Here, a 4 oz bottle of organic vanilla extract costs about $8. I was chatting with a friend who told me she makes her own and it's super easy. I immediately ordered a bunch of organic vanilla beans, you only need 6, but I wanted extra. Order them here They have good prices. In my grocery store it costs $7 for TWO beans. Check out beanilla's prices, SO much better!
So here's what you need:

6 organic vanilla beans (See note at bottom, I added another bean later)
2 cups organic vodka (if you can find it, otherwise a mild tasting vodka)
1 clean jar with a tight fitting lid. I used a bottle with a cork because it's pretty =)
1 2 or 4 oz amber bottle (beanilla sells these too)

Take a sharp paring knife and slice your beans down the middle leaving an inch attached.

Place all beans into your jar.
Pour in the 2 cups of vodka.

Put the lid on and shake it.

Take your jar and place it in a dark cupboard. It will need to sit for 8 weeks. When you think about it, give it a good shake. After 8 weeks you can now pour some off into your amber bottle. This is what you will use daily. Leave the jar with the beans in the dark cupboard. NOW here's the great can keep topping off the jar with more vodka and this will last you for years! If you ever notice the color getting lighter, slice another bean and throw it in, give it a shake (It'll probably be a year before you need to add another bean). Isn't this great! So economical!

Commercial vanilla has a simple syrup added it to it, you can do this if you want but I didn't. If you're using it in baking you won't even notice a difference.

At one week

6 Weeks

10 Weeks (I added an extra bean at 8 weeks because it wasn't as dark as I wanted, and then let it go 2 more weeks)

Now you can pour off into your amber jars for daily use. Keep your large container in a dark cupboard. Add more vodka as needed.

Oh no!

I had a bunch of storage tubs that needed to be cleaned, so they were taken outside to hose down. I leaned them against some bushes so they would dry. Well after a week or so of wind and rain I realized they would probably do better in the garage because they just were never going to dry outside. Not to mention they were being knocked around by the heavy winds, and it just looked cruddy with storage tubs all over our yard. So one by one I took them into the garage. I went to pick up one that was upside down on the ground, the wind had knocked it off the bush I assumed....and when I lifted it up a chicken ran out of it!!!! I screamed! We had "lost" a chicken a week before but assumed, like all the others, it had been eaten by a fox. The poor thing had been trapped in this storage tub for a week! She laid one egg and then probably went on to conserve her energy. Luckily with the rain, there were puddles of water under there to drink, and bugs in the ground to eat. If it weren't for that I probably would have found a dead chicken when I lifted that tub!

Naturally flavor your coffee

Store bought flavored creamers aren't the only option for a yummy coffee treat. Not to mention if you read the labels on those creamers you are getting way more than just flavored coffee. Some have partially hydrogenated oils, some have high fructose corn syrup, and all have a bunch of ingredients most people can't pronounce. I'm a strong believer that if you can't pronounce the ingredient, then you shouldn't be eating it. Most of these would be "too taste", so play with them and figure out what's the best for you. But these are good starting points.

Mocha Coffee
(Shot of espresso if you have it, but not necessary)
1-2 ts organic sugar ( Sucanat is the best option for sugar)
or 1/2 ts agave (Be careful with agave, a lot of them are synthetically made and terribly bad for you. Wholesome foods makes a good quality one.)
or 1 ts organic honey
1-2 ts organic cocoa powder
Organic milk or cream to taste, preferably raw

Vanilla Coffee
Same sweetener options as above (If you can get vanilla flavored agave, that's super yummy)
A splash of organic vanilla extract
Organic milk or cream to taste, preferably raw

Chocolate Mint Dream
Same sweetener options as above
1 ts organic cocoa powder
A splash of organic peppermint flavoring
Organic milk or cream to taste

Mint Dream
Same as Chocolate Mint Dream above, just omit the cocoa powder

Same sweeteners as above
Splash of organic almond extract
Organic milk or cream to taste

Caramel Delight
Sparingly use a sweetener, doesn't need as much as others
3 ts organic caramel syrup, or more to taste
Organic milk or cream to taste

Chocolate Covered Caramel
Same as Caramel Delight but add 2 ts cocoa powder

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to mince garlic - Video

I think my 2nd grade videographer did a great job! =)

Guacamole Egg Rolls

This is a variation of a recipe I saw at She has some great comfort food recipes, you should check it out.
These are fun! Serve them with a side of salsa. As for the egg roll wrappers, I found egg roll/spring roll wrappers in the frozen section but after reading the ingredients I put them back. I would have put them back just for the fact that bleached white flour was the first ingredient, but scroll down a little and there was propylene glycol (aka anti-freeze, ick). Then there was Sodium Benzoate, which is a pretty bad preservative. So I went over to the Japanese isle and they had some spring roll wrappers with something like 4 ingredients, none of which were a deal breaker, so I got those. The only hitch with those is they are hard and crispy. I had some in my house a few years ago that I could not figure out how to use. Everytime I tried to wrap anything they would snap. Now, if you know how to use these you're probably shaking your head at me right now. If you don't, you have to soak them in water for a few before you try to wrap anything. Boy did that make an amazing difference =) The first thing I ever successfully wrapped with them were bananas, chocolate, and almond butter...THAT was super yummy! Though I've learned since then to use more than one wrapper for each roll so they are less likely to tear while wrapping and cooking. This recipe will call for two wrappers for each roll, feel free to use more, honestly three might be better, adjust accordingly. A ton come in the package I got so I didn't even come close to using them all.  Here's a pic of the ones I got:

Ingredients: (Makes 8 egg rolls)
16 egg roll or spring roll wrappers (Please read the ingredient label!!!)
2 avocados, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 organic onion, chopped
Handful of cilantro, chopped
1/2 ts sea salt
1 organic egg, beaten
Coconut or olive oil for searing or deep frying (See instructions below)

In a large bowl, gently stir together avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro and salt.

Fill a plate with water and place 2 wrappers in the water to soak for a minute. Remove from water and place on a sheet of wax paper. Place a couple of scoops of avocado mixture down the middle.
Fold the bottom flap up a quarter to halfway up the mixture. Brush the beaten egg along all the edges.
Fold the top flap down, and roll up. Repeat with all rolls.
Now at this point, you could go ahead and deep fry them if you so desire. If you do, coconut oil would be the healthiest choice.
Or, you could heat a skillet with about 2 TB of coconut oil. Sear all sides of the roll, and place roll on a baking sheet. Repeat with all rolls. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, flipping half way through.