Tres Leches Cake

Delicious for any occasion

Homemade Watercolors

For homeschoolers, or just fun at home

DIY Toothpaste

Great for good health, and a happy pocketbook

Vegetarian Meals for the Whole Family

Even picky kids will love these meat-less dishes

Sewing Projects and Tips

Even more tutorials to come soon

Friday, January 21, 2011

Quick Tip: Cleaning With Citrus

Have you ever had fruit sitting in the bowl...too gone for anyone to want to eat- but not yet rotting so you can't throw it out? Here's something you can do to use up lemons & grapefruits that are slightly past their prime.

Cut your fruit in half- dip the cut side in some salt...and scub-a-dub your tub and shower walls clean! Easy peasy! Dip in more salt as needed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Weight Loss Wednesday: 2 and a Recipe

Whew, 2 more down! A total of 10 lost these past few weeks. Slow & steady...niiiice & slow....
Trying to eat small snack-meals throughout the day, rather than just not eating b/c I'm not hungry enough to eat a meal- supposedly it will keep you metabolism going. Keeping the fridge stocked with ready-to-eat munchies, pre-cut all my veggies, stocked up on yogurt for a calcium kick. I also keep hummus handy, and been trying to eat 1-3 apples a day. Fiber is my friend!
I did great better with the water this week- THANKS LADIES! <3 I kept extra water around me at all times. Glub glub glub!

I also wanted to share a "healthy"/"dieting" recipe with you guys today. Hummus. Hummus is a great & fiber-filled alternative to other more fattening & nutrient-less dips. The chickpeas in it provide plenty of fiber & vitamins, garlic has great health benefits, and the olive oil contains heart healthy monounsaturated fats. BUT- the price of tahini- a sesame paste that is used in humus is astrofreakinnomical. Many people substitute peanut butter for the tahini to save on cost. Well I think hummus that tastes like peanuts tastes like horsepucky, and my youngest is allergic to peanuts- & she's my little snacking buddy. So, I experimented with a variety of pantry items to get a better-tasting-cheap hummus. Enjoy.

Better Tasting Cheapy Hummus: (peanut-free)

In your food-processor, pulse until mashed:
  • 1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans or the equivalent of home-cooked (about 2 cups.)
  • about 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 hefty pinches of salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
Add & pulse until combined:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (you will add more later as needed...)
  • about 2 Tablespoons of sunflower seed spread (sometimes called sunflower seed butter- you can usually find it with the other nut butters or in a healthfood store...)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon sesame oil (found with the Asian foods, or in a healthfood store.)

While running on low, drizzle olive oil through the chute until the proper/preferred consistency is reached. (Click pics to make bigger/see texture...)

A serving of hummus is about 1/4 cup. I store mine in 1/2 cup containers in the fridge because there is usually always people who want to share it. =-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meatless Monday: Chickpea Coconut Curry

First of all, let me just say sorry so late in the evening... serious DRAMALLAMAS causing commotion at my house today. =-)

Next, let me just say- chickpeas are awesome. Plus their alias is fun to say. GARBANZO BEANS! Seriously, how fun is that!?

Ok, either begin with a can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, or have your own cooked up from dried, about 2 cups.

You'll also want to medium-dice 2 potatoes and get them par-boiling while you sweat up the rest of the ingredients.

In 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, get going an onion (roughly chopped) 2 carrots (roughly chopped) and 2-5 cloves of garlic (minced.)

If your potatoes are half-done, drain them and add to the pot. Add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and stir. Adding the turmeric now makes the potatoes all pretty!

Add 1 can of coconut milk. (I like to use "lite".) Also add your chickpeas. Simmer on low until everything is soft, happy, and harmonious. You may add a spoonful of water as needed if it starts getting too thick or burning before soft.

ETA- Serve with rice! =-)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

How to Mix Pizza Crust in a Food Processor

Mixing doughs in a food processor can be a great time-saver, if you know the correct order to add the ingredients.(The amount for the recipe that I use will be in parentheses.)

Begin by pouring in your warm water. (1 cup)

Add your honey, or sugar depending on recipe, and salt. (2Tablespoons honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt) & run on low for about 5-15 seconds depending on the motor of your processor.

Add your yeast. (2 Tablespoons) Blend for another 10 second or so until dissolved.

Add 1 cup of your flour. (my recipe uses 3 1/2 c TOTAL) and blend for 10-20 second until thoroughly combined.

Add your (olive) oil, (1/4 cup of olive oil in mine), and process for about 10 more seconds until no more oil can be seen.

Add the rest of your flour. (The other 2 1/2 cups if using mine) Pulse until the dough just comes together in a ball. DO NOT over-process, your machine cannot handle kneading dough this thick. I don't care what the box says, I don't care if it came with a DOUGH BLADE. It is a BIG-FAT-LIAR. I promise. Your machine will hate you.

Knead your dough, with your hands...for about a minute or two, it will be stretchy, soft and smooth. Put your dough ball into a lightly greased bowl (olive oil) to rise for 45 minutes, covered with greased plastic wrap. (non-stick spray)

Dough hiney...45 minute rise

In about 45 minutes your dough will be about doubled in size, punch it down- then let rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours more. I usually make two batches. (One at a time...)

Dough abuse...
Ready to go 1 1/2 hours later

Two-year-olds make beautiful pizzas!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weight Loss Wednesday: Arrg.

Soooo... this morning was my first time weighing in since Ol' Aunt Flo paid her visit. I was expecting BAD. I nibbled on a Hershey bar throughout the week, and expected horrible news. I did however stay away from the chips. But- I had to listen to hubby whine about not having any chips. Yeah- I didn't trust my willpower this month, so I didn't even buy any!

The damage was a bit surprising...I gained...but only 1 pound. THANK GOODNESS! I have a feeling it had a lot to do with water consumption though as well... I totally sucked at didn't get enough water this week. Way lazy on my part, couldn't bother getting up & refiling my bottle as often as I should have. BUT- I know this now, so I can plan for it next month & have a crap-ton of bottles filled & ready for me.

My goals for this week:
  • No more not drinking water B.S.
  • Work more movement in...rigorous housecleaning isn't gonna cut it for much longer.
  • Plan ahead. I can see what's messing me up- I need to fix it now.

Real quick before I go...I just wanted to say a quick thanks. I was kinda "arrrg" before because I was so mad at myself for closing up a many-years-old blog that had hundreds of hits daily because of some dumbass person. Now- I am beyond happy for the FOLLOWERS I have now. The comments, love & camaraderie we have now is TONS better than "hits". Both here & Facebook. I appreciate you guys so much! Yep- to the point of being annoyingly CORNY in a weight loss post... <3

Friday, January 7, 2011

Homemade Convenience: Make Your Own Cornbread Mix

Convenience foods are a great modern marvel for busy moms. A great convenience with a price to match. With barely a bit more time in the beginning of the month, you can make a batch of 4 dinners worth of cornbread mix to last you the month (if you use it once-a-week) or so.

My mix is like a lot of recipes all over the internet- I mean really, the proportions of the same ingredients is what makes it cornbread, right? But, I mix mine a bit differently to get the texture I like.

Begin by shifting together 4 C of flour, 1 TBS of salt, (woah, sounds like a lot until you remember it's for 4 pans!) and 1/4 C of baking powder.

Mix in 1 C of sugar.

Then, cut or "rub in" 1 C of shortening. You can use a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers. I prefer to use my fingers because you want this mixture to get MUCH finer than biscuits or such... more like sand texture than pea-sized bits of shortening.
Click photo so see larger & see texture

Now, THOROUGHLY mix in 4 C of cornmeal. Now it looks kinda like yellow Moon Sand. Too bad it doesn't behave like it though...that'd be a spiffy money-saving recipe! 

You can keep the mix in an airtight container in the fridge, or separate your batch into four portions. (2 1/2 C each.) I like to use quart-sized bags.
There's 3 because the 4th is in a bowl getting made. Yum.

To use, take 2 1/2 C mix (or your portion), and mix with one egg and 1 1/4 C milk.

Bake at 425 until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tofu Thursdays: Tof'jitas!

Tofu Fajitas, yum.
I'm just gonna jump right to how I make mine =-)

First, get your FIRM tofu draining...

Then,  in a quart-sized baggie mix together:
  • A palm-full of cumin
  • A 1/4 teaspoon (about...) of garlic powder
  • A 1/2 teaspoon (about...) of onion powder
  • As much chili-powder as your family likes

Then, mix in a couple glubs each of lemon juice & water. Glub is a VERY scientific measurement dude...

Next, cut your tofu into strips or cubes, depending on what you prefer. I like to cut it in strips, since I ALWAYS end up breaking it so much. By the time I bake it- it looks almost just like that pre-seasoned pre-cooked "chicken" strips you can buy in the frozen section. Have you read the ingredient list on those? =-/

Now add your strips/cubes to you awesome-smelling bag & let marinate AT LEAST 8 hours in the fridge. (I like to make it the night before I cook it.)

I've read lots of recipes that fry the tofu up, but I like to bake it because I am horrible at turning it & break it like crazy.
I begin by covering a rimmed sheet pan with foil & putting down a nice bit of olive oil. You could probably use any oil, but I like the flavor olive oil adds. Pre-heat your oven to 400.
Olive oil is so pretty...
Spread your marinated tofu out on the pan & drizzle a bit more oil...
While sauteing your veggies...

Bake until heated through & the excess seasonings start darkening on the pan...
Throw 'em together! Yum!
 [You can click the pics to see them bigger...if you want...]

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Weight Loss Wednesday?

 Sooooo....the super-cool, mega-sweet, kick-ass-mama, Kayla over at The Mama of Mojo has kicked us all in the booties. But, only because she kicked herself in the booty, and she loves us. Kayla is documenting her weight loss journey in her blog, and encouraging us all to do the same. I'm gonna SUCK IT UP & go for it too. Because I want to be awesome like Kayla Because I need some accountability. Part of my "getting it together" is getting my ass back to normal.

She's much more braver than me...I'm not quite sure yet if I want to share my weight. I will however let y'all know I have a LOT left to loose. Like 91...yes, ninety-one-O-M-F-Gosh-pounds. BUT...having started a few weeks ago...I am down 8. (Wooot.) AND... I am still down 32 from my heaviest a few years ago. [PPD, 80 lbs gained in 3 months, long, pity party, table for one...]

I have been moving my butt with the Wii, (holy doodles it's been cold & icy out!) and looking for other activities to get me through the winter. I re-joined SparkPeople, (I'll totally add you as a friend, just message me...) and I'm trying to start a goal/thoughts/journey/milestones sort of journal. I joined a mini-goal thread in a group on SparkPeople too. To loose 5 pounds this month. Slow & steady wins the race...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Toy!

Here's my new toy, eerr... gadget, that I'll be trying out & "reporting" on.
The washer...not the cat

I read a boat-load of great things about it before I purchased, & bad things about the much-higher-priced name-almost-stealing "Wonder Washer"...basically, the "Wonder Washer" is said to be crap.
The two younger kids & I popped it into the bathtub to try it out AS SOON as Mr. UPS dropped it off. Well, handed it to me as I opened the door when I heard his truck. No, I wasn't waiting for it all day...who said that!?
We just tossed in some RANDOM things from the hamper, so later I'll do a few much more thought-out loads to show a measurable amount of what this baby can do. It looks like we threw in about 3 socks, 2 washcloths, a cleaning cloth, a pair of men's boxer-briefs, a mommy-sized shirt, a little boy's pj top, a daddy-sized t-shirt, and a daddy-sized pair of slacks. Wow, I love hyphenated words.
Yep 3 socks, and none match
I also tried to take a picture of the water draining out...because it was so yucky it was cool. Can you tell I have boys?
You can't really tell though...

Oh yeah.... by-the-way...

Ps... I'm not replacing normal washers (Oh Dear Heavens I have 3 children!) But to help me with those hand-washing ones I do between laundrymat visits. ("Mom I ran out of socks" "Mom, G threw up on her sheets" & the kitchen rags! =-)