Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yummy & Refreshing!

When I was growing up, it seemed carrot/raisin salad was EVERYWHERE.  And I hated it.  It had this creamy white sauce that just ruined the veggie taste.  However, I'm pleased to announce that I found a version that I love in a cookbook I found at a thrift store the other day. 

6 carrots shredded finely
1 C of crushed pineapple, in its own juice (do NOT drain!)
2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 C raisins

Mix concentrate into pineapple (this might take a minute since it's frozen, let it sit out just a second).  Mix that into carrots and raisins.  Chill for one hour.  Viola!!!
From Set-Point Diet book, a book on whole foods cooking for health.

Laundry List

It's been awhile since I've been in my rhythm.  So many things I used to do are finally starting to be done again.  Like making laundry soap.  It's not hard, I just didn't do it while we were moving (why, I don't know.  I could have whipped up a batch in the time it took me to realize I was almost out and run to the store...silly me.)  However, today was a very productive day.  The laundry soap set up perfectly, two loads were washed with it (insert sigh of awesome contentedness here), and dried, and they smell wonderfully clean.  I have many different recipes that I like, and I've found them on various websites and blogs over time.  And many of those sites will tell you how great it is that you're washing your clothes for a penny a load over the price of commercial detergents.  Some will tell you how much better it is for the environment (much less packaging for many more loads). 

But my favorite thing?  The ingredients are not things that can only be used to wash clothes.  If I stock a bunch of laundry detergent, pre-made, by whatever brand, that is what I can use it for.  It is already mixed up, has optical brighteners and fragrances, and I wouldn't use it to wash my floor (unless I wanted to rinse and rinse forever, and still go flying across it if ever my feet were wet).  However, the three (yes THREE) ingredients in the simple soap I make can be used for other things.  And when you are looking to stock your shelves with emergency things, as well as practical ones, having things on hand that serve multiple purposes makes more sense.

1) Fels-Naptha Soap: 

2)  Washing Soda (NOT the same thing as baking soda).  Annie has a great list...so I'm not going to copy her.

3) Borax
  • Making homemade Gak (do you remember this stuff from childhood?!?  My kids love it when I make it)
  • A list of 25 uses

Monday, July 18, 2011

Clay--in My Tummy?

WARNING:  Toddler potty talk below!

Actually, in my little one's tummy.  Our 3 year old has suffered with constipation from dairy since she was born (she would even get constipated if I drank it and nursed her).  However, she has no other symptoms of an allergy or intolerance, and thrives when given good yogurt, wonderful milk from Grandpa's farm, and the cheeses from the place Grandpa's milk goes to after it's pasteurized. I was very happy to find that we lived near a pure clay source here in UT.  I took a class on how to use clay medicinally, and have learned a lot. 

One exciting thing I've learned is that if I put a small amount in a gallon of water (about a 1/2 C), stir it up well and let it settle (about 4 hours), we can give that water (off the top) to Payge--mixed in her juices, milk, or just to drink--and she is fine.  It's a very small dose compared to using other methods, and much less intrusive than using the horrible glycerin suppositories.  Also, from talking to others, there have been great successes of people using a small amount of that water and mixing it with formula when their infants are having a hard time with formula. 

When you mix the clay with water and let it settle in that way, you are actually infusing the water with all the pure minerals from the clay and letting the sediment float away.  Those minerals create strength and balance in the intestines.  It doesn't happen in the first day, but after a few (it took Payge 4 days to become regular), the digestive system feels like the problem wasn't even there.  I really can't describe the joy I felt when my daughter came running downstairs and exclaimed, "Mommy!  My poo was nice to me today!"  That's a big deal for a three year old who was afraid to use the potty before because it 'might hurt'. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

White Liquid Gold

I realize that many people refer to breastmilk with the term liquid gold, and after having many a difficulty in nursing, I know why.  However, at this point in our lives, we are loving another sort of milk--the raw cow's milk from Stephen's parent's dairy.  We live about 1.5 hours from them, and in a car with A/C, we can transport a gallon or two home when we get to visit them (AND they are nice enough to bring some along when they visit us....muahahaha!).  It's something my dear husband grew up on, and has missed in our many travels.  Yet, despite his excitement over getting to bring some home the first time, he has teased me somewhat for my methods of transportation:  


I saw nothing wrong with keeping it safe.  So far, we still have the room, at least until #4 arrives.  Because then, right where this built in toddler seat is, will be a cute little bucket seat for baby.  Of undetermined color at the moment, given the stubbornness of said child.  Until then, I'll keep my gallon safe.  Unless, of course, I decide to bring more than one home (gallon, that is, not baby), then I'll have to lock the cooler in place somewhere...hmmmmm.

We Found the Camera!!

Whew.  Do you know how hard I prayed to find that camera?  And I cleaned out the car, too...and while I was at it I scrubbed the interior.  I'm not sure we'll let the kids back in.  ;)

However, I promised a photo of the beds I built for the girls, so here ya go!

AND THEN...do you see those two beat-up stands in the middle of the room?  My plans are to screw a board across the top (with them spaced the way they are), nail on some decorative molding, paint it antique white--to match the beds, and voila!  A vanity.  I found a beautiful mirror to hang right above it at the thrift store for $3, and when I get the whole thing done, I'll take another photo.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Simple Dinner

I'm still not sure how to go about my meal planning.  It seems as though the bloggy world uses Monday as the day to get things rolling, but Wednesday is the day we pick up our vegetable basket from the CSA, so it doesn't make sense to me to plan meals when I don't know what my ingredients will be until 2 days later.  That said, meal planning still has to happen, even if it's a rough draft.

Today's meal was so super simple, and my children adored it (because what child doesn't love hot pink sauce on their veggies?).  No, I didn't use food coloring in dinner (gross!!  I save that for very special occasions and play-dough).  We had a simple meal from the cookbook More With Less by Doris Longacre
First, decide what greens you want to use.  I did a mix of beet greens and swiss chard. (hence the hot-pink!)
Saute a bit of fresh garlic & 1/2 and onion in about 3 tbsp. of butter.  Add about 2 quarts worth of diced/chopped greens (meaning dice it up and measure using a 2 qt. casserole dish).  Add a little water to help the greens steam.

In a measuring cup mix together 1 egg, 1 cup of milk and 1 tbsp flour.
Once the greens are cooked, pour the above mixture over the greens.  Stir and simmer just until thickened (don't stop stirring!  It doesn't take long at all!). Salt & pepper to taste.

It's very filling, and yummy.  On the side we had rye bread, smeared with butter, and topped with radish slices.  Don't knock it til you try it!  I learned the idea in The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum