Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Boo's Biscuits







3 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 cup Quaker oats
1 cup milk
1/2 cup hot water
2 beef or chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 cup meat drippings


Dissolve bouillon cubes in hot water. Add milk and drippings and beat. In a separate bowl, mix flour and oatmeal. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well. Press onto an ungreased cookie sheet and cut into shapes desired. Bake at 300 for 1 hour. Turn off heat and leave in the oven to harden. Refrigerate after baking.

Bowser's Biscuits







1 pkg. dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups flour
2 cups warm chicken or beef broth
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup margarine or butter
2 cups cracked wheat
1/4 cup honey
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 Egg; Beaten


In small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. In large bowl combine broth, powdered milk, margarine, honey, egg. Add yeast/water and mix well. Stir in flour, cornmeal, wheat germ and cracked wheat. Mix well. Add whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Knead in the final amounts of flour by hand and continue kneading for 4-5 minutes until dough is not sticky. Pat or roll dough to 1/2" thickness and cut into bone shapes. Place on a greased cookie sheet, cover lightly and let set for 20 minutes. Bake in a 350F. oven for 45 minutes. Turn off heat and leave in oven several hours or over night. Makes approximately 3 1/2 pounds.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Detoxifying Salt Soak Formula







This marvelous soak relaxes muscles, draws toxins from the body, and contains a natural sedative to help your nervous system relax and unwind. It is also a natural emollient and exfoliant–and it reduces swelling. All this in one simple formula!

You may want to keep some of this magic mixture on hand. Try it here:

INGREDIENTS

1 cup sea salt
2 cups baking soda
1 cup Epsom salts
1 to 2 tablespoons pure vegetable glycerin per bath (available from your local health food store)
4 to 6 drops essential oil per bath (lavender, sandalwood, or ylang ylang would be nice choices)

1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, stirring to blend. Add 1/4 cup to your bath while the tub fills.
2. Add the glycerin to the bath to prevent drying (feel free to use less if your skin is oily, or more if your skin is dry) and the drops of essential oil.
3. The dry mixture will keep indefinitely in a glass jar with a screw lid.
Makes 4 cups (enough for 16 baths).

Salt of the Earth Body Scrub







How wonderful to connect with the Earth all over your skin with this sea salt scrub that is also an itch scratcher par none. Using just the pure gifts of nature, this ultra-invigorating blend is perfect to use in the morning as a wake-me-up as it enlivens all the senses!

Recommended for all skin types except for those with acne (use with care on sensitive and environmentally damaged skin).

INGREDIENTS

2 cups sea salt (preferably finely ground, but regular granular will do)
¾ cup extra-virgin olive base oil or base oil of choice
40-60 drops peppermint, spearmint, grapefruit, geranium, or rosemary (chemotype verbenon) essential oil

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sea salt and the base oil. Using a whisk, stir to blend. Add the essential oil drop by drop, blending after each addition.

Spoon into a storage container with a tight-fitting lid.

No refrigeration is required, but for maximum freshness and fragrance, please use within six months.

Monday, November 28, 2011

10 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals







When I posted 10 Breakfast Cereals to Avoid I seemed to have suffered a sugar flashback; and the 1970s-swank, Henry Mancini jingle for Pink Panther Flakes has been stuck in my head ever since. The fuchsia frosted flakes were painfully pink and shamefully sweet, and thankfully, haven’t been seen for several decades–but what an enduring testament to marketing for kids and the girl-pleasing power of pink sugar! Today’s sock-it-to-you-with-the-sweet cereals aren’t much better, as evidenced by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity’s report on cereal nutrition–but at least some healthier options do exist.

Reading the report’s list of most nutritious cereals, I didn’t expect to find products made by the same companies responsible for some of the shady cereals which ranked as most egregious, but sure enough, there they were. Which goes to show that some of these companies are indeed making healthier options, they’re just not pushing them as diligently. Cereal companies spend more money than any other packaged food category in marketing their products to children ($229 million in 2006), which is why we may be more familiar with Post Fruity Pebbles, one of the worst offenders, than Post Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Wheat ‘n Bran, one of the best cereal choices.

Although within each brand there is a wide range, Kashi ranks as the best brand overall in terms of ingredients, according to the report. If you don’t see a cereal you eat in this list (number 1 being the healthiest), you can check the Rudd Center’s database.

10. Nature’s Path: Synergy 8 Whole Grains
Nutritional Score: 78
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 13%
Fiber Content: 17%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

9. Kashi: Shredded Wheat – Autumn Wheat
Nutritional Score: 78
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 13%
Fiber Content: 11%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

8. General Mills: Fiber One – Original (bran)
Nutritional Score: 78
Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 0%
Fiber Content: 47%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 350

7. Uncle Sam: Uncle Sam
Nutritional Score: 78
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 2%
Fiber Content: 18%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 245
6. Kellogg: Mini-Wheats – Unfrosted/Bite Size
Nutritional Score: 82
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 2%
Fiber Content: 10%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 17

5. Post: Shredded Wheat – Spoon Size Wheat ‘n Bran
Nutritional Score: 82
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 2%
Fiber Content: 14%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

4. Kashi: Puffs – 7 Whole Grains Puffs
Nutritional Score: 82
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 0%
Fiber Content: 5%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

3. Barbara’s Bakery: Shredded WheatNutritional Score: 82
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 0%
Fiber Content: 12%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

2. Post: Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Original
Nutritional Score: 82
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 0%
Fiber Content: 12%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

1. Post: Shredded Wheat Original
Nutritional Score: 82
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 0%
Fiber Content: 13%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

Decking the Halls Creeps Up Early







I ducked into the Apple store at a local mall last weekend to get my iPhone fixed. Lining the mall, the trees were trimmed, the holiday tunes were humming and credit cards were working overtime. This was just a few days after Halloween. I was having a hard time conjuring up warm holiday spirit feelings like the ones elicited by the photo above. In fact, I channeled Scrooge to anyone who would listen…like the poor people that had just come in to check their email because they were still out of power from a freak snowstorm.

It seems the holiday season encroaches earlier and earlier each year. No wonder this time of year has been dubbed, the Holiday Creep – the commercial phenomenon created by retailers that accelerates the start of the holiday shopping season.

Yes, it’s that time again. If you’ve ventured into the stores lately, you’d better watch out and you’d better not pout. But not all stores sign on early. A while back, Apartment Therapy posted a notice from Nordstrom Department Store that read:





Nordstrom’s is obviously not the norm. They even have an eco-friendly policy and a great shoe department.

According to the National Retail Federation, nearly 40 percent of Americans plan to start their holiday shopping before Halloween, and nearly 40 percent start in November. So, not only does the holiday creep wreck havoc on our waistlines, it’s invading the spirit by prancing in before the turkey.

Instead of the holiday creep with its ceramic Santas and faux-pine trees, right about now couldn’t we just gear up for a season of peace? I could really get behind this. I might even break my retail diet, hit a few local stores, and throw up a peaceful decoration or two. It’s much more dazzling, and so much less creepy, don’t you think?

Is the early arrival of holiday hoopla in some stores an attempt to cash in over a longer period of time to make up for lagging sales? If that’s the case, should consumers follow suit by jumping on the bandwagon and decking the halls earlier? When does Rudolph start ringing the sleigh bells in your nest?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sweet Potato Pie







Ingredients
  • 1 (1 pound) sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Directions

  1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.
  2. Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pumpkin Gingerbread




Ingredients
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove.
  3. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bone Bonazas







1/2 lb. ground beef, uncooked
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup mashed black beans
1/3 cup cottage cheese
1 tsp. soy sauce




Combine ground meat and chicken broth in a bowl. Add the black beans and cottage cheese. Add soy sauce. Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly. Mold the mixture into bone shapes and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Let cool.

Birthday Cake for Pups







1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup corn oil
1 jar baby food, meat, beef, strained
4 eggs
2 strips beef jerky -- (2 to 3)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour an 8x5x3 inch loaf pan. Cream butter until smooth. Add corn oil, baby food, and eggs. Mix until smooth.


Mix dry ingredients into beef mixture until batter is smooth. Crumble beef jerky and fold into batter. Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes. cool on wire rack 15 minutes. Ice with plain yogurt or cottage cheese.

Store uneaten cake in refrigerator.

Homemade Cinnamon Drops for Dogs




1 large apple
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/8 cup whole wheat flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 ° F (180 ° C).


Core, slice and mince the apple (use a food processor if you have one). In a large bowl, combine the minced apple bits, honey, water, cinnamon, and oatmeal. Gradually blend in the wheat flour, adding enough to form a stiff dough.

In a small bowl, add 1/8 cup wheat flour. Spoon the dough by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches (5cm) apart. Using the bottom of a glass dipped in the wheat flour (to prevent sticking), flatten each spoonful of dough into a circle. Adjust the size of the drops based on how big a treat you like to feed your dog.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and flip each cookie to brown evenly on both sides. Reduce oven temperature to 325 ° F (180 °C). Return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool overnight.

Makes about 3 dozen crunchy cookies, depending on how big you make them.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Repair Hair with Olive Oil







INGREDIENTS (enough for 1 or 2 treatments, depending on the length and thickness of your hair)

½ cup olive oil
5 drops frankincense essential oil (others may be substituted, if you wish)
1 plastic bag that can fit over your hair

1. Pour olive oil into a jar with a lid, then add essential oil. Put lid on jar and shake well to disperse the essential oil. Let sit for 24 hours in a cool, dark place. Shake again before use.

2. Rinse hair with warm water. Warm 1 tablespoon of oil treatment in the palms of your hands. Using your fingertips (not nails), gently massage the oil into the scalp in a circular motion. Repeat until the entire scalp has been massaged. Rub the ends of your hair with the remaining oil.

3. Place a plastic bag over your hair, secure by tying or with a hair clip or clothespin, and allow the oil to remain for at least a half-hour.

4. Rinse well, then shampoo as usual.

Honey Face Massage







Personally, I’d like to order a whole body honey massage–but in a pinch an invigorating honey face mask will do just fine. Honey is a great humectant and deeply hydrates the skin, coupled with a gentle massage leaves skin deeply soft with a lovely glow. Many people report an added boost of pleasure from honey’s sweet smell and the warm sticky feel of rubbing it on the skin.

This treatment is appropriate for all skin types; and work especially well for dry, dehydrated, sunburned, windburned, or mature skin. You’ll need 2 teaspoons of raw honey–and remember that honey will get runny when it warms up to your body temperature, so plan accordingly.

Apply honey in a thin layer on your face and neck. Lay down or recline and rest. After letting honey to sit for 15 minutes, pat your skin with your fingertips for about 5 minutes. Rinse using a warm, damp washcloth.

Epson Salt Peppermint Foot Scrub







This lively scrub might make you want to play footsie. Soaking your feet first in warm saltwater not only feels heavenly, it also softens tough skin for maximum benefits.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Epsom salt
1/3 cup almond oil or olive oil
1 tablespoon castile soap
6 drops pure essential oil of peppermint

Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Soak your feet first if desired, using 3 quarts of hot water directly from the faucet or warmed on the stove top to a comfortable temperature. Pour the water into a basin and mix in 1/4 cup table salt or Epson Salts. Soak those lovely feet for a good 15 minutes. Then, scrub your dear feet with the mixture because you work so hard. Rinse them off and rest.

Soothing Bath Vinegar




Apple cider vinegar is great for the skin-it restores pH levels and relieves dryness and itchiness.  The combination of fragrances in this bath vinegar will revive you and lift your spirit.

Ingredients:

4 cups apple cidar vinegar
4 cups distilled water
5 tablespoons fresh rosemary, crushed
4 drops clove essential oil
2 drops rosemary essential oil
1 drop cinnamon essential oil
1 drop lavender essential oil
1 drop allspice essential oil
1 drop neroli essential oil

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together; pour into a large bottle, and shake until the rosemary is thoroughly mixed.  Cork tightly and put aside for future use. 

To use, add 1 cup to a warm bath and swirl water.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Catching Stress Before It Catches You







We’re in an ever-accelerating “hurry up” culture, one in which human beings are required to make remarkable adaptations to increasingly technologically driven lifestyles and consumer-oriented pressures. This spiraling pace requires us to move so quickly that we tend to override and become desensitized to our bodily sensations and our feelings. In this anesthetized state we ironically require more stimulation- bigger, better, newer, louder, faster – just to grab and hold our attention. We become so saturated with excessive stimulation and cumulative tension that we may become numb to all but the most adrenaline producing experiences or else attempt to soothe the frayed nervous system with alcohol, drugs or ignore it with compulsive activity.

One of the unfortunate effects of being assimilated into such a system is that we become increasingly alienated from the awareness of physical sensations, so that it becomes difficult to notice the more subtle signs of stress and tension where they first manifest- in the body. When these subtle tensions are ignored, one of the more damaging cumulative effects is that the immune system is compromised. Resources typically available for the immune response are shunted into dealing with a consistently high level of activation present in the body. The potential for illness increases proportionate to the length of time these signs are ignored. It may take a physical breakdown or exhaustion to get us to slow down and allow the immune response to regenerate; sometimes this ignore-ance over a period of years can contribute to a major life-threatening illness.

So what can you do? One of the keys to managing stress is creating a lifestyle that will incorporate adequate exercise, rest, proper nutrition, a strong support system and active relaxation methods – things that are sometimes difficult to do in today’s world, yet so essential to maintain a quality of life. Developing these habits supports your immune system and can help you maintain a healthy balance with mind, body and spirit.

Yet an often-overlooked aspect of stress management is enhancing your body awareness. By paying closer attention to your body’s signals, especially areas of tightness and tension, you can learn to honor those signs that say “Slow down! Rest! Get a massage! Eat! Exercise!”etc., before your body reaches critical mass. By doing so you may be practicing “Distress Prevention” rather than simply stress management.

So I propose three simple steps to incorporate on a daily basis that will alert you to what’s happening in your body and give you a better sense of what you need to do in order to reduce tension. These are: Slow Down, Breathe and Tracking Your Body’s Messages.

Slow Down

Easier said than done! Not only can the increasingly fast pace of the world these days influence your own pace, but also you may be habitually driven to maintain a vigilance just to stay ahead or even keep up. Slowing down from time to time may even trigger some anxiety, primarily due to the discrepancy between your conditioned habits of haste and the novelty of a different rhythm.
Try the following exercise once each day for the next two weeks and see what happens: For three minutes each day, make all your physical movement – walking, reaching, grasping, sitting, etc. – at about 80% of their usual speed. The purpose is to help you attune to a different pace and rhythm, allowing you to pay attention to the more subtle nuances of your body. Be sure to breathe while doing this.

Breathe

Well . . .of course you breathe or you wouldn’t be reading this! Here, however, I’m proposing a more conscious type of breathing. Most of us tend to be shallow breathers, so the intent here is to not only breathing more consciously and conscientiously, but as another means to bring your attention to your body and the physical sensations.

There are several methods of conscious breath work. One of my favorites is as follows: For just 3-4 minutes twice a day, close your eyes, and first take three deep, comfortable breaths, holding on the inhale for a short count of three, and releasing completely on the exhale. Then resume a more regular pattern of breathing, perhaps a little deeper and a little slower than you might typically breath.
As you’re breathing, when inhale say silently to yourself, “I am…” and when you exhale, “…relaxed,” until you have created a pleasant rhythm with your breathing and this simple affirmation. Doing this over a period of time attunes you to this type of breathing, and you will likely find yourself breathing more fully in other situations.

Another simple one that you can do a couple of times during the day is to close your eyes and simply count your breaths as you breath deeper and slower. Count each from one to four then repeat until you have counted a total of 12-16 breaths. Do this for about three minutes twice a day, gradually increasing the length of time. It’s also a great one on those restless nights when sleep seems a distant possibility. Try either of these some time. They really do work!

Tracking Your Body’s Messages:

Go through the first two steps in sequence and as you breathe, notice areas of tension in your body. What else are you aware of as you tune into your physical sensations? When you put your attention on these sensations, it also facilitates your intuitive processes. Are you getting any messages?
If you feel like you’re body is tight and holding onto some tension, rather than focus on your entire body, choose one of those areas, such as the shoulders, chest, stomach, and simply place your gentle attention on that area. Continue your deeper breathing, and eventually that particular area will let go and you’ll find that area will relax. When your attention is drawn to another area of your body, focus there and breathe through whatever is occurring.

Practicing these simple steps on a regular basis will cultivate a greater confidence in dealing with stress of any kind and help support the best of who you are to come forward.

9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes







Not only are sweet potatoes readily available, inexpensive, and delicious, there are many other reasons to love these yummy vegetables. Here are 9:

1. They are high in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks.

2. They are a good source of vitamin C. While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essen­tial to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.

3. They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year. Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.

4. Sweet potatoes contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.

5. Sweet potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.

6. They are a source of potassium, one of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling, and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys.

7. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.

8. Their rich orange colour indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body. Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging. Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet.2 Another study of women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.

9. There are versatile. Try them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled. You can add them to soups and stews, or grill and place on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad. I enjoy grilling them with onions and red peppers for amazing sandwich or wrap ingredients. Puree them and add to smoothies and baked goods.

10 Unusual Ways To Use Olive Oil







Olive oil is a “healthy fat” and in moderation can help reduce your risk for all sorts of ailments, like heart disease and high blood pressure. We know that olive oil is healthy for our insides, but did you know it has all sorts of other uses for you, around the home, and even for pets?

Let’s take a look at some uses for olive oil beyond the kitchen, and I’d love to hear your unusual uses for olive oil in the comments!

1. Make your own sugar scrub

You can use olive oil to create a moisturizing, exfoliating sugar scrub that’s great for soothing dry winter skin. Just mix up sugar with enough olive oil to form a paste, add scent with your favorite essential oils,  and you’re ready to rock. Massage the sugar scrub into your skin in the shower or bath.

2. Moisturize your hands and feet

To give those dry hands and feet some extra TLC this winter, massage a small amount of olive oil into your skin after you take a bath or shower. Put on socks and gloves afterward to help that moisture absorb into your skin. You’ll notice results almost immediately!

3. Oiling your hair

Oiling your hair is a practice that’s been around for centuries. While some tutorials call for coconut oil to oil your hair, olive oil works just as well. Just put a few drops of olive oil onto your hands, massage into your scalp, then brush or comb to distribute the oil evenly. Let it sit for about an hour, then wash the excess oil away with your favorite non-toxic shampoo.


4. Hairball prevention for cats

Even your cats can benefit from olive oil! Depending on your cat’s size, feed her 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of olive oil to help prevent hairballs. The olive oil will help their coats look shinier, too!

5. Unsticking a zipper

Ever gone to take off your boots, only to discover that the zipper is stuck? Free yourself by dabbing a bit of olive oil onto the zipper’s teeth to help it slide along smoothly. Remember: a little oil goes a long way.

6. Makeup remover

Store bought makeup removers and cold creams are often loaded with toxic mystery ingredients. You can skip the polysyllabic guessing game with olive oil instead. Use a warm, damp wash cloth or a cotton ball with a couple of drops of olive oil to remove makeup and moisturize your face at the same time.


7. Soothe a sunburn

You don’t want to put oil onto your skin the day that you notice a burn, but start moisturizing with olive oil a day or two later to help prevent peeling and heal your damaged skin.

8. Treat a dry scalp

Forget the Head and Shoulders, which is full of mystery ingredients! Massage a small amount of olive oil into your scalp to moisturize and fight those flakes.

9. Revitalize wood furniture

Whip up a mixture that’s 2 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon juice. Put a small amount of oil on a soft cloth, and wipe down your wood furniture. It will keep the wood from drying out and help hide small nicks and scratches.

10. Wash your face

Washing your face with oil may sound counter-intuitive, but many green beauty gurus swear by the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Grandma's Apple Pie




Ingredients
  •  2  9 inch unbaked crust pie
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add white sugar, brown sugar and water; bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
  3. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes.

One Bowl Fudge




Ingredients:

2 packages semi sweet baking chocolate ( 8 squares each)
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts or toasted coconut (optional)

Instructions:

Microwave chocolate and milk in large bowl on high 2 to 3 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after each minute.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Add vanilla and nuts; mix well.  Spread into foil lined 8 in square pan.

Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Cut into 1 inch squares.

Makes about 2 pounds

Steak Provencal




Ingredients:

4 sirloin, tenderloin or ribeye steaks
5 tablespoons margarine
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 to 2 tablespoons rinsed and chopped large capers
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:

Grill or broil steaks to desired doneness.

Meanwhile, in a 10 inch skillet, melt the margargine and cook garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds.  Add tomatoes, capers, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until tomatoes are cooked and mixture is saucy.  Stir in parsley. Serve over hot steaks.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken




Ingredients:

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 8oz obttle catalina salad dressing
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
10 oz jar apricot preserves

Instructions:

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker.  Pour remaining ingredients on top of chicken.  No need to mix.  Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Chocolate Passion Bowl




Ingredients:

3 cups cold milk
2 packages (small size) chocolate flavor instant pudding and pie filling
1 8 oz tub frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
1 9 inch square baked brownie, cooled, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 jar maraschino cherries, drained

Instructions:


Pour milk into large bowl.  Add dry pudding mixes.  Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended.  Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping.

Place half of the brownie cubes in a 2 quart serving bowl, top with half each of the pudding mixture, cherries and the remaining whipped topping.  Repeat all layers.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Blueberry Sour Cream Cake




Ingredients:

1 stick butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar, divided
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups sour cream
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 9 inch springform pan.

Beat together butter and 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy.  Blend in egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.  Add to butter mixture, mxing until well blended.  Spread in prepared pan; cover with blueberries.

Combine 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, sour cream, egg yolks, carnamom and lemon peel; pour over blueberries.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until set.  Cool 10 minutes.  Loosen cake from rim of pan.  Cool completely before removing rim of pan.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wilted Spinach Mandarin Salad




Ingredients:

1 tablespoon oil
1/2 pound fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
1 cup bean sprouts
1 11 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons orange juice


Instruction:

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Place spinach, bean sprouts and mandarin oranges in the pan.  Cook and stir 1 or 2 minutes just until spinach wilts.  Transfer to serving dish.  Heat soy sauce, and orange juice in the pan; pour over spinach and toss gently to coat.

Swedish Meatballs




Ingredients:

Meatballs:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons dry instant nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Gravy:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cup beef broth
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
10 cups dry noodles, cooked and drained

Instructions:

For Meatballs:

Prehead oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix all meatball ingredients lightly but thoroughly in medium bowl.  Shape into 2 inch balls, Place in jelly roll pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until no longer pink.  Drain; reserve fat drippings.  Keep meatballs warm.

For Gravy:

Combine 1/2 cup fat drippings from meatballs, adding vegetable oil to make 1/2 cup, and flour in large saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, sitrring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.  Boil for 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir in broth, evaporated milk, dill and pepper.  Cook stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens slightly.  Add meatballs to sauce, stir.  Serve over noodles.

Spaghetti Bake




Ingredients:

1 pound link sausage
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 4 oz can sliped mushrooms, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
6 ozs spaghetti, cooked according to package directions and drained
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cut sausage links into bite size pieces.  Cook in medium skillet over medium heat until browned, stirring occasionally.  Drain off any drippings; set aside.  combine tomato sauce, tomato paste, mushrooms, salt, basil and oregano in large bowl.  Add spaghetti and reserved sausage; mix well.  Spoon into lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish; sprinkle with cheeses.  Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through.  Garnish with fresh basil and tomato slices, if desired.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Applesauce




Ingredients:
  • 2 small red apples
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 pinches of cinnamon
Utensils:
  • knife (you'll need help from your adult assistant)
  • blender or food processor
  • measuring spoons
  • serving bowls
Directions:
  1. Peel the apples and cut them into small pieces. Throw out the core.
  2. Put the apple pieces and lemon juice into the blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture is very smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture into two small bowls and stir in the sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Enjoy your awesome applesauce!

Smiling Pineapple Salads



Ingredients


  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 cup cream-style cottage cheese
  • 1 8-1/4-ounce can pineapple slices, drained
  • Raisins, maraschino cherries, carrot, coconut, dried fruit, banana, chow mein noodles, and/or nuts

Directions

  1. Divide cottage cheese among 4 salad plates. Using the back of a spoon, spread cottage cheese to form 4-inch circles. Sprinkle with raisins.
  2. Place a pineapple slice atop each circle of cheese for the face. Choose from raisins, maraschino cherries, carrot, coconut, dried fruit, banana, chow mein noodles, and/or nuts to make the face. Makes 4 servings.

Blueberry Pancakes




Ingredients:
  • ¾ c. flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. margarine
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ c. milk
  • ½ c. blueberries, washed and drained
  • extra margarine for the pan
Utensils:
  • stove (you'll need help from your adult assistant)
  • large bowl
  • mixing spoon
  • saucepan
  • medium-size bowl
  • whisk
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • spatula
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set the bowl aside.
  2. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan.
  3. Crack the egg into a medium-size bowl, then add the milk and melted margarine.
  4. Whisk egg mixture until it is well mixed.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Whisk again until both mixtures are blended together.
  6. Put extra margarine in the saucepan and heat it on the stovetop on medium heat. It is hot enough when the margarine starts to bubble.
  7. Use a measuring cup or a small ladle to spoon the batter into the pan. Put some blueberries on top of each pancake.
  8. Cook your pancakes on medium heat until small bubbles appear on the top.
  9. Use a spatula to see when your pancakes are light brown on the bottom. When they are, flip them over with the spatula.
  10. Cook for another few minutes until the pancakes are light brown on the other side.
  11. Remove your pancakes and put them on plates to enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Barley Beef Biscuits for Dogs



/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic granules
4 tablespoons parsley 2 cups beef broth
2 cups barley flour
3-4 cups rye flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 ° F (180 ° C).


In a large bowl, combine olive oil (extra-virgin olive oil is more expensive, but lower grade olive oils are blended with other vegetable oils that may contain corn or soy), garlic and parsley. Heat the beef broth (it's best to make your own, canned or condensed broths have added salt, sugars, and preservatives) or water until steaming and add to the olive oil mixture . Stir in barley flour and let cool until lukewarm -- or cool enough to work with. Gradually blend in rye flour, adding enough to form a stiff dough.

Transfer to a floured (rye flour) surface and knead until smooth (about 3-5 minutes). Shape the dough into a ball, and roll to 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick. Use the cookie cutter of your choice (we prefer to make small bones) or cut into small squares. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1/4 inch (6 mm) apart. Gather up the scraps, roll out again, and cut additional biscuits.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn over. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. After you finish baking all batches of biscuits, turn off the oven, spread all the biscuits in one baking pan and set them in the oven to cool for a few hours or overnight. The extra time in the oven as it cools off helps make the treats crunchier.

Makes several dozen small treats that keep and freeze well.

Banana Biscotti for Dogs





5 cups flour
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups banana, pureed
2 teaspoons vanilla
water
Preheat oven to 325F. Place dry ingredients in large bowl. Make a well in the center. Blend egg, oil and banana together. Add into the dry ingredinets in well. start combining together. Add water, one teaspoon at a time as needed. Knead by hand on table until mixed thoroughly. Form into logs approximately 2" - 2 1/2" high. Flatten so that log iis 6" - 7" wide by 1" high. Place on non-stick baking sheets or lightly greased ones. Bake 30 - 40 minutes. Remove and cool for 10 minutes. Slice into 1/2" - 3/4" slices. Place on baking sheets and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Store in airtight container. 

Bad Breath Banishers for Dogs




2 cups brown rice flour
1 Tablespoon activated charcoal (find this at drugstores, not the briquets!)
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2/3 cup lowfat milk


Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly oil a cookie sheet. Combine flour and charcoal. Add all the other ingredients.Drop teaspoonfulls on oiled sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake 15-20 minutes. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lime Rub




While this treatment for dry scaps does require some discipline, the effects are quite worth it.

Ingredients:

1 lime
1 egg yolk
1 cup warm water

Instructions:

Each night for one week, rub a freshly cut slice of lime onto the scalp.  At the end of the week, beat the egg yolk in the water and wash the head.  Afterward rinse thoroughly, and repeat the whole process for another week, if necessary.

Rosebud Soap



The heavenly combination of flowers and spice makes this a very decadent bar of soap.

Ingredients:

3 ounces pur Castile soap
2 ounces white cured soap
1 tablespoon distilled water
3 drops red soap colorant
6 drops ginger essential oil
4 dops rose essential oil
3 drops cinnamon essential oil
2 drops rose geranium essential oil
2 rose shaped, 3 ounce soap molds

Directions:

In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering heat, melt the Castile soap, cured soap, and distilled water.  Add the colorant.  After the mixture has cooled a little, stir in the essential oils.  Pour into molds and let set until hardened.

Rose Bath Salts



The lovely combination of rose and verbena will turn your bathtub into a garden.

Ingredients:

8 drops rose essential oil
3 drops verbena leaf essential oil
1 cup baking soda
1 cup sea salt

Directions:

Mix the essential oils thoroughly.  Place the baking soda and sea salt into a bottle, cork and shake.  Uncork and pour enough of the esssential oil mixture over the salts to scantily cover them.  Discard remaining essential oil miture.  Keep closely corked until you wish to use.

To use: Dissolve 1/4 cup of salts in bath water.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Household Uses for Cayenne Pepper







The fiery bite of cayenne pepper can make food sing with flavor, but did you know that this dried spice also has many practical uses around the home, too?

Here are the top seven ways you can put cayenne to work around your home.

1. Protect your bird feeder: According to a plant regulatory officer from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, birds are immune to the sting of chili peppers, while we mammals are most certainly not. By adding a little cayenne to your bird feed, you can ensure the food goes to the birds, while bullying squirrels are kept at bay.

2. Get rid of ants: Ants are insidious creatures, exploiting any opening in your home to get at your food. Try cayenne pepper for a natural ant control solution.

3. Curb kitty’s curiosity: Cats are fiends for cables and cords. I have no idea why, but the mere sight of a power cord or a pair of headphones can set a cat to “kill mode.” If you’d like to cure a curious cat of its chewing habit, rub a raw, sliced hot pepper on your cords, or whip up a quick hot sauce by dissolving ground cayenne into some vinegar. Apply to dangling chords on a regular basis to protect them from kitty’s wrath.


4. Protect your garden: If rabbits and rodents are chewing through your garden at night, you can protect your plants with a simple mixture of cayenne and water. Fill a spray bottle with the mixture and keep your plants coated, sending Thumper to your neighbor’s yard in search of a free meal. Steve Graham of Ft. Collins, CO said on Hometalk.com,  “I sprinkled cayenne pepper and cut-up orange peelings in a planter that had become quite the litter box for neighborhood dogs and cats. It worked perfectly. You have to re-apply regularly, particularly during the warm season, when you are watering the flowers.”

5. Reduce joint pain: Capsaicin, the burn-inducing substance in hot peppers, is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, topical application of capsaicin can ease achy joints caused by arthritis.

6. Cure scaly skin: According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, capsaicin cream can help reduce itching and skin inflammation caused by psoriasis.

7. Lose weight: Although we don’t officially endorse it, quite a few celebrities have lost weight quickly for film rolls by subsisting on a diet of cayenne pepper “lemonade” and water. Some studies claim that cayenne works as an appetite suppressant. As with all herbal remedies, check first with your doctor or a reputable homeopath before using cayenne pepper remedies.

8 Beauty Tips with Strawberries







Have we ever picked a luscious crop of strawberry beauty tips for you! Those pretty little berries do more than just please our palates: they clear up acne and oiliness, make skin younger and smoother, whiten teeth, reduce under-eye puffiness, leave hair glossy and beautifully conditioned, and so much more!

Find out the secrets of strawberry, right here:

Quickest Strawberry Scrub Ever

Strawberry’s main skin-pleasing ingredient is alpha-hydroxy acid, a great little substance that helps us slough off dead skin cells so that new, youthful skin is revealed. Here’s a ridiculously easy way to get some of strawberry’s benefits in a New York minute: just cut a berry in half, rub it over your face, and let it sit there for a few minutes, then rinse. Instantly softer, smoother skin!

Sweet Strawberry and Cream Mask

This recipe is so delicious–with berries, cream, and honey–that you might be tempted to eat it instead of putting on your face, but give it a try. It will leave your skin so soft and beautiful: strawberries and cream mask.

Strawberry Foot Scrub

Feet can use a little help in summer, when sandals expose rough dead skin for all to see. This easy scrub helps slough it all away:

INGREDIENTS

8 strawberries
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons kosher salt
Mix ingredients into a paste, massage well into feet, then rinse and dry.

Puffy Eye Remedy

Just place a few strawberry slices under your eyes and relax for 10 minutes, then remove the slices and moisturize.

Berry Good Acne Remedy

Many of us older women are learning the hard way that you don’t have to be a teen to have acne! But whatever your age, if you get occasional blemishes, this formula is for you:

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon sour cream
Mash well to combine, then apply this mixture to your face and allow to stay for 10 minutes or so. Rinse thoroughly.

Strawberry Mask for Oily Skin

Mix equal parts fresh strawberries and plain unsweetened yogurt, mashing to combine. Apply to face, allowing to stay on for around 10 minutes, Rinse.

Strawberry Tooth-Whitener

Simply rub crushed fresh strawberry pulp directly on your teeth to clean and gently remove stains.

Strawberry Hair Conditioner

If you want glossy, silky hair, this one’s for you:

INGREDIENTS

8 fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Mash ingredients thoroughly and massage into damp hair. Cover with a shower cap and a warm towel. Allow to stay on hair for at least 10 minutes, then shampoo as usual.

50 ways to avoid food waste



“Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without” is a favorite adage in both frugal and green circles, and it is something I strive to live by. One of the best ways to “use it up” is to think differently about our food and ways to avoid wasting it. Lloyd wrote a great post a while back about the statistics for how much food we waste in the U.S., and the numbers are, frankly, appalling. On average, we waste 14 percent of our food purchases per year, and the average American family throws out over 600 dollars of fruit per year. Most of the food we waste is due to spoilage; we’re buying too much and using too little of it.

We’ve all had it happen: half the loaf of bread goes stale because no one wants to eat sandwiches today, and the grapes we bought as healthy snacks for the kids’ lunches languish in the crisper. With a little creativity, and an eye toward vanquishing waste in our lives, we can make use of more of our food before it goes to waste. Here are a few ideas for you.

Using Up Vegetables

1. Leftover mashed potatoes from dinner? Make them into patty shapes the next morning and cook them in butter for a pretty good “mock hash brown.”

2. Don’t toss those trimmed ends from onions, carrots, celery, or peppers. Store them in your freezer, and once you have a good amount saved up, add them to a large pot with a few cups of water and make homemade vegetable broth. This is also a great use for cabbage cores and corn cobs.

3. Don’t toss broccoli stalks. They can be peeled and sliced, then prepared just like broccoli florets.

4. If you have to dice part of an onion or pepper for a recipe, don’t waste the rest of it. Chop it up and store it in the freezer for the next time you need diced onion or peppers.

5. Roasted root vegetable leftovers can be turned into an easy, simple soup the next day. Add the veggies to a blender, along with enough broth or water to thin them enough to blend. Heat and enjoy.

6. If you’re preparing squash, don’t toss the seeds. Rinse and roast them in the oven, just like you would with pumpkin seeds. The taste is pretty much the same.

7. Celery leaves usually get tossed. There’s a lot of good flavor in them; chop them up and add them to meatloaf, soups, or stews.

8. Use up tomatoes before they go bad by drying them in the oven. You can then store them in olive oil in the refrigerator (if you plan on using them within a week) or in the freezer.

9. Canning is always a good option. If you’re doing tomatoes, you can use a boiling water bath. If you’re canning any other type of veggie, a pressure canner is necessary for food safety.

10. Before it goes bad, blanch it and toss it in the freezer. This works for peas, beans, corn, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and leafy greens like spinach and kale.

11. Too many zucchini? Make dark chocolate zucchini cake, zucchini bread or muffins. If you don’t want to eat the bread now, bake it and freeze it, then defrost when you’re ready to eat it.

12.Pickle it. Cucumbers are the first veggie most of us think of pickling, but in reality, just about any vegetable can be preserved through pickling.

Ideas for Cutting Down on Fruit Waste

13. Make smoothies with fruit before it goes bad. Berries, bananas, and melons are great candidates for this use-up idea.

14. Jam is really easy to make, and will keep for up to a year if you process the jars in a hot water bath. If you don’t do the water processing part, you can keep the jam in the refrigerator for a month, which is a lot longer than the fruits would have lasted.

15. Dry your fruit and store it in the freezer or in airtight containers.

16. Make fruit leather.

17. Make a big fruit salad or “fruit kebabs” for your kids. For some reason, they seem to eat more fruit if it’s in these “fancier” forms.

18. Use up the fall bounty of apples by making applesauce or apple butter.

19. Don’t throw out those watermelon rinds! Pickled watermelon rind is a pretty tasty treat.

20. Make a fruit crumble out of almost any fruit you have on hand. Assemble and bake it now, or leave it unbaked and store it in the freezer for a quick dessert.

Putting Extra Grains to Good Use

21. Make croutons out of day-old bread.

22. Turn day-old bread into homemade bread crumbs.

23. Freeze leftover bread. This way you’ll have day-old on hand whenever you need bread crumbs, or croutons rather than using fresh bread.

24. All of those little broken pieces of pasta in the bottom of the box? Collect them and mix with rice and veggies for a simple side dish.

25. A few tablespoons of leftover oatmeal isn’t enough for a meal, but it is great sprinkled on top of yogurt.

26. Add chopped bread to a soup. It will dissolve and thicken the soup.

27. Made too many pancakes for breakfast? Put them in the freezer, then toss in the toaster for a fast, tasty weekday breakfast. Ditto waffles.

28. If you make plain white or brown rice with dinner, use leftovers for breakfast the next morning by adding them to oatmeal. This provides extra fiber and allows you to use up that rice.

29. If you our your kids don’t like the bread crusts on your sandwiches, save these bits and pieces in the freezer to turn into bread crumbs later. Just throw the crusts into a food processor or coffee grinder to make them into crumbs. Season as you like.

30. If you have just a smidge of baby cereal left in the box, and it’s not enough for a full meal, add it to your babies pureed fruit. It adds bulk and fiber, and keeps baby full longer.

Make the Most of Meat

31. Don’t toss those chicken bones after you eat the chicken. Boil them to make chicken stock.

32. Ditto for bones from beef and pork.

33. The fat you trim from beef can be melted down and turned into suet for backyard birds.

34. Turn leftover bits of cooked chicken into chicken salad for sandwiches the next day.

35. Use leftover roast beef or pot roast in an easy vegetable beef soup the next day by adding veggies, water, and the cooking juices from the meat.

Use Dairy Before It Expires

36. If you’ve got a few chunks of different types of cheese sitting around after a party, make macaroni and cheese.

37. Eggs can be frozen. Break them, mix the yolks and whites together, and pour into an ice cube tray. Two frozen egg cubes is the equivalent of one large egg.

38. You can also freeze milk. Leave enough room in the container for expansion, and defrost in the refrigerator.

39. Use cream cheese in mashed potatoes or white sauces to give them thickness and tang.

40. Put Parmesan cheese into the food processor with day-old bread to make Parmesan bread crumbs. This is excellent as a coating for eggplant slices, pork, or chicken.

Herbs and How to Get the Most Out of Them

41. Chop herbs and add them to ice cube trays with just a little water. Drop whole cubes into the pan when a recipe calls for that type of herb.

42. You can also freeze herbs by placing them in plastic containers. Certain herbs, such as basil, will turn black, but the flavor will still be great.

43. Make pesto with extra basil or parsley.

44. Dry herbs by hanging them by their stems in a cool, dry location. Once they’re dry, remove them from the stems and store them in airtight containers.

Don’t Waste a Drop

45. Leftover coffee in the carafe? Freeze it in ice cube trays. Use the cubes for iced coffee or to cool down too-hot coffee without diluting it. You can do the same with leftover tea.

46. If there’s a splash or two of wine left in the bottle, use it to de-glaze pans to add flavor to whatever you’re cooking.

47. If you have pickle juice left in a jar, don’t pour it down the drain. Use it to make a fresh batch of refrigerator pickles, or add it to salad dressings (or dirty martinis).

48. You can also freeze broth or stock in ice cube trays, and use a cube or two whenever you make a pan sauce or gravy.

49. If there’s just a bit of honey left in the bottom of the jar, add a squeeze or two of lemon juice and swish it around. The lemon juice will loosen up the honey, and you have the perfect addition to a cup of tea.

Finally….

50. If you can’t think of any way to use that food in the kitchen, compost it. Everything except for meat and dairy will work in a compost pile, and at least your extra food can be used for something useful. Such as growing more food!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie



Ingredients:


4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 8oz tub whipped topping, thawed, divided
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 cup milk
1 15 oz can pumpkin
2 small boxes vanilla flavor instant pudding and pie filling
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions:

Mix cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk and the sugar in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended.  Gently stir in half of the whipped topping.  Spread into bottom of crust.

Pour 1 cup milk into large bowl.  Add pumpkin, dry pudding mixes and spices.  Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended.  Mixture will be thick.  spread over cream cheese layer.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until set.  Top with remaining whipped topping just before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Crockpot Pork Chops and Stuffing




Spray a 3-5 quart crockpot with cooking spray.

Lay 1 1/2 pounds of pork chops in a single layer.

Thinly slice a medium sized onion and layer it evenly on top of the chops.

Evenly sprinkle one box of boxed stuffing after the onions.

Mix together a 10 1/2 oz can of cream of celery soup and a 1/3 cup of water and pour over the stuffing.

Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Bacon Water Chestnut Wraps



Ingredients:

1 pound sliced bacon
2 8 oz cans whole water chestnuts, drained
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chili sauce

Instructions:

Cut bacon strips in half.  In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until almost crisp; drain.  Wrap each bacon piece around a water chestnut and secure with a toothpick.  Place in an ungreased 13x9 inch baking dish.

Combine the brown sugar, mayonnaise and chili sauce; pour over water chestnuts.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spicy Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs




Ingredients:

6 ounces lean ground turkey
3/4 cup finely ground walnuts
1/4 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons egg substitute
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
nonstick cooking spray
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 14 1/2 cans each diced, peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
12 oz spaghetti
grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

To make meatballs:

In large bowl combine turkey, walnuts, bread crumbs, egg substitute, basil, 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Mix thoroughly and shape into 12 meatballs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Coat large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium heat.  Add meatballs; brown lightly on all sides.  Add onion and garlic and continue to cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste and italian seasoning; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover pan and simmer about 20 minutes.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired. 

Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling water until done.  Drain well in colander; transfer to serving bowl and top with tomato sauce and meatballs.  Garnish with chopped walnuts and parmesan cheese.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vegetarian Lasagna




Ingredients:

8 oz lasagna noodles
1 14 1/2 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
1 12 oz can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
dash black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 small zucchini, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
parsley for garnish

Instructions:

Cook lasagna according to package directions; drain.

Place tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, oregano, basil and black pepper in medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer, uncovered, 6 to 10 minutes.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook and stir onion and garlic until onion is golden.  Add zucchini, carrot, bell pepper and mushrooms.  Cook and stir 5 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Stir vegetables into tomato mixture; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low' simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.  Combine mozzarella, cottage and parmesan cheeses in large bowl; blend well.

Spoon about 1 cup sauce in bottom of 12x8 inch baking pan.  Place a layer of noodles over sauce, then half the cheese mixture and half the remaining sauce.  Repeat layers of noodles, cheese mixture and sauce.

Bake 30 to 45 minutes or until bubbly.  Let stand 10 minutes. Garnish.

Variation: Other vegetables may be added or substituted for the ones listed above.

Blueberry Banana Oat Bread




Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups biscuit mix
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup mashed very ripe banana ( 2 medium)
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) blueberries

Instructions:

Heat over to 350 degress F.  Grease bottom only of loaf pan with shortening.

Stir biscuit mix, sugar, oats, bananas, milk and eggs in large bowl until moistened; beat vigorously 30 seconds.  Gently stir in blueberries.  Pour into pan.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes.  Loosen loaf from sides of pan; remove from pan and place top side up on wire rack.  Cool completely, about 2 hours before slicing.  1 loaf ( 24 slices)

Glazed Raisin Cinnamon Biscuits




Ingredients:

2 1/2 cup biscuit mix
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla Glaze ( below)

Vanilla Glaze

2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon warm water
1/4 cup vanilla

Beat all ingredients with a spoon until smooth.

Instructions for Biscuits:

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.  Stir all ingredients except Vanilla Glaze just until soft dough forms.

Place dough on surface generously dusted with biscuit mix; gently roll in biscuit mix to coat.  Shape into ball; knead 10 times.  Roll 1/2 inch thick.  Cut with biscuit cutter dipped in biscuit mix.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.  While biscuits are baking, make Vanilla Glaze.  Spread glaze over warm biscuits. 12 to 15 biscuits.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easy Quesadilla Pie




Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 can chopped green chiles, drained
1 can (4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
2 cups shredded colby-monterey jack cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup biscuit mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Instructions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray pie plate with cooking spray.  Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.  Cook onion in butter, stirring occasionally, until tender; remove from heat.  Stir in tomato, chiles, olives, 1 cup of the cheese, the cumin and salt.  Spread in pie plate.

Stir biscuit mix, milk and eggs until blended.  Pour over vegetable mixture.

Bake uncovered 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.  Bake 3 to 5 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. 6 servings.

Orchestrate An Appetizer Party with Ease




Hosting an appetizer buffet with no set seating can be easy on the host.  But to make it more manageable for guests to mingle while munching, make notes of these key tips:


Thank about guests who might have trouble standing for any length of time.  Arrange a few groupings of two to three chairs where several people can sit and converse.

Position extra end tables throughout the house so guests are able to set down their beverages.

When planning the menu, look for recipes with make ahead aspects to prevent last minute fuss.  Have a varienty of tastes, textures and colors to please your guests palates.

Choose a selection of snacks that an be picked up and eaten without a plate, such as cubes sausage and cheese, skewered meatballs, fruit kabobs and cut up vegetables.  Avoid foods that require a lot of cutting.

Set out bowls of nuts and snack mixes in other rooms.  Make extra napkins readily available.

Offer guests small, sturdy plates that are easy to handle.  Consider making simple to carry bundles of cutlery and napkins.

Think about the traffic flow and place plates, napkins and utensils on the buffet table near the doorway where folks will walk into the room.  Make sure guests can reach all of the serving platters on the table.

To discourage lingering and congestion around the buffet, remove chairs and other tables from the room.  Set up the beverage station in a different area.

People are more inclined to eat something when the know exactly what it is.  So consider labeling the appetizers on your buffet table with place cards.

It's tempting to hide trash receptacles for a party, but all of the used plates, napkins, utensils and toothpicks from an appetizer buffet can look a little unsightly when they start piling up.  So make wastebaskets visible in various rooms.

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