Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

2 eggs
1 cup organic peanut butter (Can make your own, add peanuts to food processor and blend until it is the consistency you like, chunky or creamy!)
4 tablespoons local honey
2 tablespoons organic Agave (or other sweetener)
4 cups granola - (2 cups organic oats, 3/4 cup raw almond chopped, or other nuts of choice, 1/4 cup organic  flax, 3/4 cup dried organic cranberries or raisins, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, this is our usual recipe for granola, you can add whatever you like, add sesame seeds, walnuts, wheat germ, bran, the possibilities are endless! I do not add sweetener to the granola for this recipe as there is some in the mix, the kids don't need too much either :)

Heat peanut butter, honey, Agave, and eggs on medium heat until bubbling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add granola. Stir until coated and line in a lightly greased pan and press to firm bars. Depending on what thickness you want the bars will depend on your pan you want to use. I use a 6x10 (I think!) size pan. Store bars in fridge or in freezer for lunch later on.

The kids love these bars!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chocolate Whipped Shortbread

1 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 Cup Confectioners sugar (I used organic cane sugar ground in a blender to get it fine)
1/3 Cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 Cup unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 F
Mix Flour and cocoa together, set aside
In stand mixer, whip butter and sugar about 1 minute, then start adding the dry mixture, scraping off the sides of the bowl.
Whip and whip and whip and whip, for about 10 minutes until it looks creamy, light and fluffy.
Once it's whipped spoon about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet, using a butter knife to get it off the spoon (It's pretty sticky!) spaced about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven temperature.
Let sit for a minute and move to cool on a wire rack.

Makes 12 cookies, for more double recipe.

Good luck trying to only eat one!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Organic Ketchup HFCS free

Tomato Ketchup
makes 4.5 pints. Use organic ingredients to avoid GMOs and pesticides


Step 1
·         7.5 lbs. ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (Heirloom are very good in this recipe!)
·         2 1/2 cup onion, diced
·         5 large garlic cloves, crushed
·         5 t black peppercorns
·         5 t mustard seeds
·         5 allspice berries
·         5 whole cloves
·         5 t celery seeds
·         two 1/2″ cinnamon sticks
·         1 tbsp. paprika
·         1 t cayenne pepper
·         3 fresh Bay leaves

Step 2
·         1 cup of Organic cane sugar
·         1 cup of apple cider vinegar
·         juice of two large lemons
·         1 tbsp sea salt

Simmer all ingredients in Step 1 in a large stock pot for about 90 minutes, until 1/3 of the juice has been evaporated, stirring often. Take off heat to cool. Once cooled enough remove bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and peppercorns, allspice and cloves. For easy removal make a small bag with cheesecloth tied up with the spices, and peppercorns inside. Once removed, put mixture into a blender or food processor and blend on high for 1 minute. Strain the blended mixture through a sieve into a sauce pan, getting as much liquid out as possible out of the pulp.

Turn the saucepan onto medium heat, and add the Step 2 ingredients, simmering for at least half an hour, depending on what consistency of ketchup you like. Once cooked, you can store in sterilized jars in the fridge for 3 weeks, or process in a canning bath for 10 minutes for long time storage.

For spicier ketchup, leave peppercorns, cloves and allspice in and blend with mixture. For extra spicy ketchup add extra peppercorns, or spicy chipotle, jalapeƱo peppers to the cooking process.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Black Bean Soup

1 can Black beans
1 can diced tomatoes or 2 cups chopped fresh
1 ½ cups cooked diced ham (or chick, beef, I used left over ham)
1 medium to large onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
Cumin powder
Cayenne or chili flakes (or fresh chilis, or jalepenos)
6-8 cups chicken, vegetable or beef stock (homemade)
Olive oil
Sour cream (optional)

In a pot brown onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add in half of the beans and mash (if you like your soups less chunky), add the rest of the beans, tomatoes, soup stock, herbs, peppers and meat. Bring to boil, once boiling turn down to a simmer that is gently boiling for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve hot with a dab of sour cream on top! So easy, and perfect for rainy days like today. Super filling. 

You can easily play around with this recipe, make it vegan, and try different vegetables, using whatever you have in the house. If you don't have black beans, kidney will work or any other kind of bean or lentil.

Serve with a side of garlic toast, or cheesy bread!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Apples can be used for so many things, after doing a bit of research, since I have sooo many apples to deal with I’ve found a bunch of neat things to do with them! First, we had a whole bunch to make cider with. Then I had some more, so have been drying slices, then had so many peels that I didn’t know what to do with them, and found out that you can also dry those until they can be ground into a powder and used in things like oatmeal, or granola as extra flavor (plus that is where a lot of the fiber is!) or use the powder in things like potpourri, and other things you might scent. You can boil the skins and cores of the apples to make jelly, or syrup (we are going to try apple syrup! Yummm). You can freeze apples, or even just the skins and use those in your smoothies as an extra boost too! You can turn extra apples into sauce, or even apple butter!

My aunt lent me this AWESOME kitchen gadget for peeling and coring apples, I’ll put a link to it at the bottom of this post. It’s amazing, I was able to peel  4 trays worth of apples in just a few minutes, and didn’t take a chunk out of my thumb this time ;)

Dehydrated Apples: Core and remove skins, if you don’t like the “brown” you can spray with lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar (I used that last time, and they are good!) Place on dehydrator 6-8 hours until dry but still pliable.

I ran out of space on the dehydrator so placed the skins on a tray in the oven on the lowest setting for a few hours, checking every hour on their progress.  

We use dried apples in granola bars for kids lunches, you can dehydrate other fruit and make a mix, add some nuts, pretzels, and enjoy a healthy snack, or add to oatmeal. Make an apple chutney for a pork dish, oh the possibilities are endless! 

Tip for drying fruit** Place in a Ziploc bag. If it steams up right after you remove from the dehydrator, they still have too much moisture in them and could mold. Place back onto the trays checking each hour. Would be such a shame to have dried a whole batch only to come back to it next week and it’s moldy L

Peels can be boiled to make hot toddies, or simply to perfume the room without the chemicals of synthetic deodorizers. Add a pinch of cinnamon for a holiday smell. 

This is the link to this awesome tool, it can also be used to peel potatoes and make curly fries! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cheesy Pepperoni Sticks

This recipe was easy peezy! Use this breadsticks recipe to make the dough for around the pepperoni sticks. Instead of making the rolls first, make the dough and let rise until double in a bowl, about half an hour. Roll out to about 1/4 inch, and try to roll into a rectangle on a floured surface. Grate some cheese for your cheesy sticks into a dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and start to get your dough ready! Place your pepperoni stick onto the dough and slice the dough big enough that you can wrap the pepperoni in it like a blanket. Before rolling add some cheese on the inside and roll and pinch the edges so it's closed up tight. Place on a greased sheet and continue until your tray is full. Use some more cheese and put on top of the rolls. Bake for about 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and the rolls are nicely browned.

Pepperoni sticks (we sliced into 3's and made smaller sticks for snacks and lunches)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Nutty Coconut Chocolate bars

Warning!!!!!!! These are REALLY good! I would not eat a lot of them though, as they are high in fat. But it's dark chocolate so it's good for you, and nuts are also good for you... so, just kidding. I would eat a lot of them. Who can resist chocolate?!?

To start melt 2 cups of dark chocolate in a double boiler, we just put a smaller pot into a bigger pot filled with boiling water. If you're careful you can melt straight on the burner on very, very low. Be careful not to scorch it!!! The water method works best so you don't have to worry about burning the precious chocolate!

While the chocolate is melting put parchment paper onto a cookie sheet or baking pan. I use a glass one that my grandma gave me, it works great (also our lasagna pan ;) Sprinkle 1-2 cups of nuts onto the parchment paper, how ever many you like! I also added coconut, and mixed it up. When the chocolate is melted pour it over the nuts and try to cover the lot of them. Set in fridge to cool until the chocolate is hard. You can then take it off the parchment and break into smaller pieces or my hubby used a big knife and sliced it into squares. These are super easy, and taste really good! Would be great as gifts, or for a party, orrrr just eat it all yourself. No one really needs to know you made it, do they? :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mattress Deodorizer

Homemade Toothpaste

I've seen on the internets a few recipes for this, we made it plain and simple! You can add stevia as a sweetener if you don't like the plain minty taste. We are getting used to no sweetness though, it just takes a few days. We ran out of the homemade stuff so I had to use some of the "regular" stuff in a tube and it tasted so weird and gross!

All you need:
Equal parts of baking soda and Coconut Oil
Peppermint essential oil for flavour
Stevia (if you want it sweetened)
Glycerin if you choose (We omitted the glycerin for health reasons, but feel free to use)

Mash all ingredients together in a jar, and use as needed.

We originally made this with Vanilla flavour, but it wasn't very good. Kind of tasted like salty cake batter. The peppermint is MUCH better! You can play around with flavours and find what you enjoy the most! Easy, inexpensive, and our teeth feel dentist clean all the time!

Coconut Oil is a natural pain reliever also. Any sore spots along your gum lines will hopefully be reduced as mine have. There were two spots that couldn't even be touched and it has made such a difference that I'm not afraid to eat cold things anymore!

If you are looking for Coconut Oil, here is a link through Amazon. It's amazing stuff, and you can use it for may other ailments. Just copy and paste in your browser to get more info. Good luck and shiny smiles!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Garlic Breadsticks

Fall is on the way, make these at home in minutes and enjoy with soups or stews! Yum!

1 cup warm water
2 1/2 yeast
3 Tbls brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 oil (I used olive)
Herbs of choice (I used peppered oregano)
3 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in water in large bowl until frothy, add sugar and salt and dissolve. Add oil and herbs, stir. Add flour to bowl and mix, then knead into a large ball. Roll out on floured surface into a rectangle approximately 10x12 inches. Cut strips about 3/4 inch wide and give a quick roll. Place on lightly greased baking sheet to rise for 30 minutes then bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Brush lightly with butter and sprinkle with garlic powder.

Cooking times may vary due to different elevations, so check around the 10 minute mark if your baking usually cooks faster!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Frozen Strawberry Yogurt Pops

It's now September 1, and with that comes berries, berries and more berries! It's still warm enough out that popsicles can be enjoyed, and I have wanted to try something new. Just finished making these, and they taste divine!!

They are super easy as well, and probably cost less than buying them pre made at the store.

First I added water to the popsicle mold to see how much I needed to make (we are missing one of the pokers ;) which was 2 cups.

Sliced strawberries - pureed (made up to 3/4 cup line)
Topped up to the 2 cup line with Vanilla yogurt, mixed it all up and added to the molds.
Freeze for 6-8 hours, until they are frozen through. Rinse the bottoms with hot water to remove easily from the molds once they are done. I'm guessing almost any berries would be good like this, next going to try blueberries!

*We usually get one of the big boxes of Organic Yogurt and it lasts quite a while. It's cheaper that way and can be used for breakfasts and in other treat meals. If you purchase the plain you can use it for dips as well!

Blueberry Syrup (Fresh)

1 cup Organic fresh blueberries
1/4 cup cold water
2 tsp corn starch
Sugar to taste

Add blueberries, cold water and corn starch to pot and simmer on medium low heat until liquid starts to bubble. It will thicken up as it warms up. Add sugar to taste. Add over top French toast, waffles or pancakes! If you like it chunky leave as is, if you like smoother syrup squish the berries with a fork or potato masher. If you like it really smooth you can run it through a blender or use a hand blender. Takes about 5-10 minutes from start to finish.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back to school!

As we head into another school year, figuring out what to make for lunches seems to be a great idea at the beginning of the year, only to turn into a daunting part after a few weeks once the kids get bored of the same old things. Here are some tips to keep them eating their lunches instead of going in the garbage! As the year goes on, hopefully the kids can help me to find new and exciting lunch ideas. 

Keep them involved in some choices. What types of veggies or fruit do they want this week? Do they want cheese, deli meats, or tuna sandwiches? Give them choices, we, as adults get bored with the same old cheese sandwich day in and day out. Try different veggies in their sandwiches, cheeses, sandwich meats and dressings. And of course a treat is nice sometimes! We make a lot at home so that we can control the amount of sugar and which ingredients are in their food. Obviously this isn’t for everyone, so read labels.

Send mini trays of different things, a few grapes, watermelon, orange slices, broccoli and cucumbers with dip. The ideas are endless. You can find dishes for lunches that have separate sections and they can be quite handy. 

Try different breads, crackers, pita pockets, bagels or wraps. The flavours are pretty much endless these days from spinach, to cinnamon, or even cheese.  

Sometimes making a meal plan over the weekend works well for some families as the kids can be involved in the choosing process of what they like. This works well for our kids, one of them likes the same things most of the time, the other wants different things all the time. One week he’ll choose fruit salad, the next green salad with dressing.

Pre making veggie trays might help with picky kids, as you can say “You choose which you want to have” and they are more likely to eat the item they pick. This won’t work with all kids, but I’ve seen it work on a few ;)

If you send juice boxes, you can freeze them in advance and use them as mini ice packs. The kids love eating them frozen at lunch.

Remember to read labels, some of the pre packaged lunches look great to kids but don’t hold a lot of nutritional value. They need vitamins, and good whole foods with energy to keep their little brains going. 

Some schools have a "No Peanuts" rule. They will usually send a note home with your student if that is the case, but in case you are worried, you should contact your school or district to find out for sure. 

If you have any awesome lunch ideas, please post in the comment section! We will be sure to try new recipes out! 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Organic Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus tea is full of antioxidants which will rid your body of free radicals (oxy moron? YES) It can help lower the risk of getting heart disease, some cancers, and lower LDL cholesterol. Especially with people who have high blood pressure due to stress.
It aids in the process of weight loss, bladder function, and constipation. Helps digestion of starches and sugar from meals, and is a diuretic so will help eliminate excess water from your body. It may help in aid of type 2 diabetes, liver problems (especially in Eastern medicine) The tea is packed with vitamin C and can help to fight the symptoms of colds and flu and strengthens the immune system. It has powerful antioxidant properties and can help to remove bacteria from the system. It is useful for preventing and fighting infections.
People suffering from depression may also benefit from Hibiscus tea as it has a positive effect on the central nervous system.

Fresh Flower Tea
Pour 8oz of boiling water onto a hibiscus Calyx in a cup or teapot. (The calyx if the part of the flower that protects the bud, it is the green leaf shaped foliage which supports the petals, you can clip it at the base and add the whole flower)
Let tea steep for five to ten minutes, depending how strong you can stand. Remove flower with a spoon or pour over a tea strainer and throw out all parts of the flower before drinking (easily composted)
Dried Flower Tea
Spoon 2 tsp of dried hibiscus flowers into a teapot or tea ball, pour boiling water over. Steep tea for five to ten minutes, strain and pour into mug.
You can add stevia, agave, or honey if it is too bitter for you.

To purchase organic Hibiscus tea, please copy and paste the link below and amazon will direct you to where you can purchase. YUM! 


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumbercontains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid,Vitamin C, CalciumIron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up acucumberCucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumberslice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in thecucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
5 Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!
6.. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!
7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take aslice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take aslice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.
13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

~from news444.com

Solutions to clean veggies

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Popcorn chickpeas

These were really easy to make and an inexpensive salt free snack. I used 1 can of chickpeas (would like to grow these in our garden when we have the space!), a couple table spoons of olive oil enough to cover lightly, herbs from the garden, paprika, cayenne, ground black pepper and a pinch of brown sugar so they are spicy and a little sweet. Bake at 400 for about 45 minutes on parchment paper on a cookie sheet stirring occasionally. The oven smoked a little bit, you may need your fan on. These are high in protein and an addictive snack!

Watermelon Popsicles

Need a healthy snack for the kids over the hot summer? Watermelon juice or popsicles make a quick, cold treat that is easy to make. 

Use several cups of diced watermelon and throw it in a blender or juicer. If you blend it you can use cheese cloth if you don't like the fiber in it to drain the juice. Pour into popsicle holder, add sticks and freeze! You can add mint or basil for a different flavo

Watermelon is full of vitamins, potassium and antioxidants. It's low in calories, can help lower cholesterol, and contains Lycopene which can help to minimize risks of strokes and other ailments like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, colon cancer and asthma.

It's a perfect food, can give you energy, and contains mostly water, which on hot days will help keep the kids hydrated (or yourself ;) with out all the sugar in pre packaged ice snacks.

If you want to get really fancy, add a shot of vodka to your watermelon juice to relax on your deck (not for kids hehe!!)

It's soooooo good! Enjoy

Lavender Sugar Scrub

Lavender Sugar Scrub

1 part lavender oil
2 parts lavender sugar (made the same way as vanilla sugar)

Mix ingredients together until a paste forms. You can add more of each ingredient to get the consistency you like. In the shower use the scrub on dry elbows, knees and feet or all over to exfoliate. Rinse and wash as usual. The oil will make your skin super soft!

Gluten free potato pizzas

Vegetarian mini pizzas on potato slices instead of dough.

Slice potato about 2 mm
Add pesto for sauce (basil, olive oil, garlic, nut or seeds if you like. We didn't add seeds today)
Diced tomato
Chopped jalapeno
Spinach leaves
S&p to taste (we added only pepper)
You could add endless amounts of ingredients!

Spread pesto or sauce on sliced potato, add toppings, bake at 350 for 15-25 mins depending on how many toppings. Until potato slices are soft. Gluten free, vegetarian.

How to make Almond Milk

Funnies from the 'net

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Vanilla sugar with a hint of Lavender

2 cups sugar
3-4 vanilla beans, sliced and cut up

And beans and sugar into a container with a tight lid. Shake each day, the more you shake the more the beans will come loose. I left it for about a month in the container, then just ran it through the grinder to grind the rest of the beans up. Use in coffee, or make into sugar scrub. Add a few pieces of lavender mmm they go well together! Yummy :) putting it through the grinder will make it more powdery like berry sugar. You can also make other scented sugars this way with things like citrus.

Lavender Infused Oil

2-3 cups lavender 
4 cups olive, or almond oil
Pot of hot water

Put bruised lavender flowers in the jar, and pour the oil over it to cover. (may be more or less than above) place the jar in the water in the pot and heat up to hot but not boiling. Let sit in bath for about 6 hours. Turn off heat and let the jar cool. Strain lavender out of the oil with cheese cloth.

You can use this for cooking or skin product!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chickpea Chili and Homemade garlic toast (baked garlic bulbs)

Well, I've had my surgery and it's been a week and a half. I'm getting extremely bored but still pretty tender so have been finding short, easy things to do. I can't stay out of the kitchen, so what I can do is attempt to make one pot dishes of delicious food for the family! It's still pretty cold here, so why not make some chili! 
You can add any type of meat you want if you just can't do without it. 

You will need:
1 can chickpeas
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn niblets
1 can diced tomatoes (I used the accents type for this dish)
chili (I used those yummy chipolte chilis again, but only half a can, full can is too spicy for the kids)
Spices to taste - salt, pepper, organic spice mix
teaspoon olive oil
Optional: cooked hamburger, chicken or turkey

Warm up oil in frying pan, add garlic and brown
add can of chickpeas, mash slightly with a fork (this gives it the meaty texture)
add can of kidney beans and corn, simmer for a few minutes while you chop up the chilis
add chili and tomatoes, and your spices
simmer on medium low heat stirring occasionally to blend all the flavours

If you like tomato paste you can add that as an extra thickener, I like mine a little bit juicy though. We serve with garlic bread 

To make Roasted garlic: slice top of whole garlic bulb so that the tips are showing, pour on a little olive oil, pinch of salt, pinch of black pepper and bake in the oven wrapped in tin foil at 350 for about an hour, cool, then squish out the garlic into a bowl. Use on bread or add to any of your dishes. To make garlic butter mix it in a dish together until well blended. If you have a lot of bulbs to use up you can store in the freezer until you need the roasted garlic again. Don't leave wrapped in foil! 

Garlic Toast

Nice cut off bread, we have Cobs which we like getting our bread from. They have a flax type which is really good. You can use any you like, and can get french loaves for fairly cheap at your local bakery

Roasted garlic butter
Dill to taste

Butter your bread with the garlic butter, sprinkle on dill and bake in the oven until butter is melted and toast is golden at 350

Serve with a nice side salad of baby greens and you've got yourself a vitamin packed meal!