Winter is coming…

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Winter is coming...

For the month of November, only, indulge in my Etsy shop by using the coupon code “FREESHIPPING” to get just that– free shipping!! Click this image of a really awesome, really warm, really pretty cowl that I knit and use your coupon code before time is up!!

BUY HOMEMADE!!

SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES!!

SUPPORT FAMILIES!!

Free Shipping Until the End of November!

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Free Shipping Until the End of November!

Come swing by my Etsy shop and get free shipping until the end of November, using the coupon code “FREESHIPPING”. Easy, right? I love to do custom orders, too, so don’t be afraid to ask for something you don’t see. You wish is my command!!

Gathering

Today I’ve started purchasing the items I will be using in my upcoming posts for homemade, natural cleaners and beauty products.  I am trying to stick to recipes that have similar ingredients making the start up cost a little less of a kick in the wallet and more sensical. 

Today before leaving the house I did pricing of some main items I saw pop up on Amazon(I have a gift card) and I made sure to bring that list to the store…  

I bought castile soap, liquid and bar form, which was cheaper than on amazon though not a huge difference.  I figure it is just a safer bet to by and personally transport my liquids as few of miles as possible because I have been disappointed by shipping that has resulted in less than stellar delivery and it is even more unsatisfactory when there is a liquid explosion inside of a box.  I opted for the lavender scented because I was, honestly, overwhelmed and I had an almost 3 year old with me and he was getting impatient with my walking up and down the aisles.

I also picked up 20 Mules Borax at the store, this one being a massive price difference.  I guess they were trying to look cute on amazon by saying free s&h and including it in the price, but the same size box on Amazon that was at Target was roughly 8 dollars more.  That is significant when you realize that I spent 3 dollars and change at Target.  Because of this, I have decided to put buying washing soda on hold.  I assume it will be the same deal where they multiply the total to cover shipping costs even though it is likely sitting on a grocery store shelf near my house and I hate paying to ship things that I can just remember to grab when I go to get groceries.

I did put in a small order on Amazon: three bars of Fels Naptha, oxygen bleach, a 4 ounce glass spray bottle, and magnesium flakes. 

I feel confident that I have most of the things that I will need headed here or within a few miles of my house.  I don’t have many essential oils but that isn’t something I will worry about now.  Also, I don’t have many glass containers but as I convert to my homemade items, I am hoping to weed out the plastic and try to get a piece at a time rather than rush in.  

Today I did make a foaming hand soap and I hope to have the photos up and a blog posted tomorrow!  Good night!

A Change of the House

So, after being obsessed with Pinterest for quite a while and having a visit from a friend who makes her own products, I have decided to start making my own, too.  I will be testing out many ideas for cleaning supplies for around the house and also working on hand soaps, mouth wash, etc.  I will also be making magnesium oil!  

I am also really interested in trying out homemade vanilla extract and my mom was telling me about some vodka she had at her house.  I am a total old lady so I keep a few beers in the fridge for when I am feeling nuts and decide to drink one (but mostly because I like to cook with beer).

One of the first steps I need to take is changing from plastic containers to glass.  I guess I could store some things in mason jars but I need to get the pumps, etc and a good idea of the size of containers.

 

I am really excited to start this all and to post my fun and findings on this blog!  Who knows, maybe one of your recipes will show up!

Another day, another Pinterest recipe…or 3.

Now that Christmas is creeping near, I like to act like it’s cold outside(even though it’s been about 80 here every day) and make yummy cozy warm food–and there seriously is nothing better than a beef stew.

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 I don’t know what I read or when I read it, but I was hellbent on having my stew over top of mashed potatoes so it was important for me to find a recipe that didn’t have potatoes in the stew itself and I was SO happy when I found a recipe for Irish Beef Stew over mashed potatoes.  It was perfect, since I didn’t have any celery and I didn’t have any wine(the bottle I had was pretty old and opened a couple of months ago and I think I was just using it for decoration at this point(giving my kitchen a little class).
I stuck pretty tightly to the recipe, since I’m always nervous about starting something new to me, since I’ve always used those packets from the grocery store where the spices are all mixed in and ready to go.  The only big difference is that I made the recipe in my crock pot, adding ingredients as I prepped them.
First, I browned my meat and got my (low sodium) beef broth ready, since it was bouillon.  I pretty much burnt my meat, because for some reason it just tastes better when it’s seared to hell.  Right before I took the meat off of the heat, I tossed in the diced garlic to release a little flavor, and then I tossed it all in the crock pot and poured the broth on top.  I cleaned out my cast iron pan, since the fond of the meat wasn’t really flavorful so much as burned to the bottom, toss in a little more oil and browned my onions while chopping up my carrots.  I tossed those in, threw in herbs, and then added two additional ice cubes of my own homemade chicken broth(it was from a perpetual broth that I cooked down and then froze) for a little extra flavor.  Lidded it and set it on low and let it cook all day.
Within an hour I was salivating and I kept lurking over the crock pot because I have no self control.  I was very proud of myself because I did hold out!!  I did, later on, add another cube of my broth with about a cup of water because I love the gravy and I wanted to make sure I had a ton for my taters.
My potatoes were also an awesome Pinterest find, branching out from the fact that I had a container of ricotta cheese that was still half full after my eggplant involtini and honestly, I don’t cook with ricotta often so I wanted to make sure I didn’t waste it.  The ricotta mashed potatoes were seriously easily to make and seriously delicious.  It was creamy and flavorful and absolutely great with the beef stew.  I didn’t make a single change to the recipe and I was pretty happy with my decision.
Let’s just say, the mister and I both had seconds and I totally had beef stew for breakfast the next day.  It was AMAZING.  I totally recommend these two recipes, together or apart, especially since you can easily adjust them to a particular low sodium diet that we work with here.  The beef broth is the only real sodium factor in the stew and you can find a low sodium broth at the store just as easily as a regular sodium one. If you make your own broth, you’re a cooking jedi and you already know that you can cut the salt way out and skip right to the flavor and make this recipe with almost no salt at all(and with a crock pot and a few bones and left over veggies pieces and some herbs you can make the best broth in your town with ease). The mashed taters, I only added a little sprinkle of salt on top for a little flavor and I used unsalted butter.
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BONUS ROUND!!!!!

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I’ve been discussing sprouting beans in a little facebook group I am in. Someone wanted to know some information, etc, so I decided to go ahead and start a Sprouting board on my pinterest. There are mostly links to how-to guides and nutritional facts.  Sadly I couldn’t find the one link I was looking for, where it broke down the nutritional increases day by day.
I did decide to go ahead and sprout some garbanzo beans I’ve had for a little while and make sprouted hummus.  From initial soaking to sprouting, my beans were in their jars for about 4 days.  I tried a different approach since I didn’t have cheese cloth on hand and I used coffee filters to top the jars.  They worked very well and maybe one day I will dish out the cash for the awesome lids that have screens in them but for now I can DIY it.
I did cook my beans for about 15-20 minutes before I made the recipe, you can try raw if you’d prefer, but I figured I’d try it this way and build up to raw.
The flavor was immense. It had a sweetness to it that I adored and I was eating it by the spoonful.  I think a big factor in your hummus is using an olive oil you enjoy.

Almond milk AND shower bombs…

I am obviously trying to distract myself from cleaning the house.

We’ve been giving everything a shake down, since the in-laws will be here in a few days. Mostly everything is clean but I’m just so tired of cleaning that I’ve decided to fill my day with random creations.  Hmmm…I do need to make some bread…

We can start with the shower bombs. SUPER freaking easy. I saw it on Pinterest, read some comments and went from there.

1 cup baking soda

1/3 cup water

mix these two into a paste and then put in cupcake liners, if you have the ones with aluminum on the outside, you don’t need a cupcake pan.  I used my pan with just the plain paper liners. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. When it’s done, let cool and then add a few drops of essential oils. I did a blend of eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree. I haven’t used one yet since I literally just did this but I am really excited to try it out. Especially now that allergies have invaded my face.

I’ve been drinking almond milk for a few months now. I’m totally grossed out by cow’s milk and what it may or may not contain. I seriously have trust issues with what I eat and knowing what is in it. Almond milk, has something I had never heard of it in, carrageenan. No thank you. Google it.

Seriously, what is easier than water and almonds to make almond milk?  If I could buy almonds in bulk, I think it would be much more worth it.

Simply measure out a cup of almonds, put it in a bowl and add a few cups of water. In the morning, strain your almonds, place them in a blender or processor with 3 cups of water and let’er rip.  Once it’s done, pour the almond and water into a strainer lined with cheesecloth to get all of the almond meal you created out.

I let it sit for about 10 minutes, then I grabbed the cheesecloth from the top and twisted it closed, pressing the liquid out and into the bowl. Keep twisting to increase the pressure or get bored doing it and hold the top closed while you squeeze the crap out of the meal.

Once I was all done, I poured the almond milk into the container and the meal into a mason jar. The almond milk does have some separation, but just giving it a shake will fix that. No lazy bones in the kitchen!!

This yielded about 2 3/4 cups of almond milk. I don’t drink a ton so that is a fine amount for my personal use. I put a smidge in my morning coffee and it was SO amazing. I also put a bit of the almond meal in my oatmeal and I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed it!! Yay for almonds. This is good for about 4 days and make sure your container has a tight seal because you will need to mix it.

/Almond dance

Making Breakfast Bars HEALTHY!!

So, I’ve never been a breakfast bar person. I actually used to hate breakfast all together. Mr McDorkins, though, is a breakfast bar junkie. He is an addict and he needs help.  Help, because when you turn one of those scrumptiously decorated labels around, you realize that 1 bar can have 30% of your daily sodium and a massive chunk of sugar!! It’s gross.

I’ve been making snack bars for him lately, especially since the cost of these unhealthy bars are about as stupid as the people who decided labeling something that obviously isn’t good for you as healthy.

First, I made a homemade twist on Larabars. Neither of us have ever, actually, had a Larabar so I don’t know if I can actually compare what made to the real thing. Super simple….

Homemade Larabars

1/4 c dried cherries

1/4 c dried dates

1/2 c cashews

1/4 tsp cinnamon

First thing I do is measure out the dates and toss them in a bowl and cover with water. This softens them and removes the flour/sugar/whatever they put on them to keep them from sticking. I rinse a few times over the course of 5 or so minutes. Once that is done, I put the dates in the processor with the cherries and cinnamon. Pulse until a paste. Scoop into a bowl. Pop the nuts into the processor and pulse until they are chopped, too large and they fall apart a lot easier. Toss those into the bowl, mix and then split in half. I use a piece of plastic wrap for each one, I kind of spoon the mix on and I try to fold the plastic wrap over the bars and shape them while they are wrapped so that I don’t make a massive mess.

They go straight into the fridge and usually are eaten within the next day by Mr McDorkin. I think in the time since I’ve started to make them, I’ve had half of one bar.  Once they start to warm up they become a bit more crumbly but if you have them cold, they keep shape perfectly.

Today, I decided to try something a little different and in a larger batch, rather than 2 at a time. I found this recipe(http://www.food.com/recipe/oatmeal-breakfast-bars-45034) and I put a slightly more crunchy spin on it.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

2 C uncooked rolled oats(a base, I had to increase this by about a cup to get the right consistency)

3/4 C oats and 1/4 C sliced almonds

1/2 C dates(or whatever dried fruit you have around)

1/2 C dried cherries(or whatever dried fruit you have around)

1 C apple juice

1/4 C turbinado sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C coconut oil

1/4 C chia seeds

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine the 3/4 c oats and 1/4 c almond slices in the food process and process until a fine/flour consistency. Once you get the right consistency, pour into a large bowl. Soak your dates like the recipe above if they are dry and place in the processor with whatever fruit you choose. Pulse a few times to just chop the fruit into smaller pieces. Scoop out and into the large bowl. Add all of the other ingredients. I mixed by hand to combine and mixed and mixed and mixed, adding more oats as needed to get a firmer consistency. You want to be able to shape the dough.

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before mixing

Place your mixture into a pan and flatten out so that it reaches the edges. Pop it straight into the over for about 35 minutes. Once you pull your pan out, cut your bars. I used a pizza cutter and then cleaned up the ends with a butter knife. Let cool completely before removing. Eat. Makes about 12 bars, depending on how you cut them.

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these smell SO good baking!! 

 OF COURSE, you can take these recipes and put your spin on them. Use YOUR favorite fruits to make them, not mine. I think the best part of recipes if that you can always personalize them and make them your own!! That’s the fun of it, right?

Cooking is art, have fun and create.