Sunday, October 31, 2010

My DayBook For October 31st, 2010

Outside my window...the leaves are just about gone now.  Temperatures really dropped today and I just know the white stuff is right around the corner. 

I'm thinking... that I really should be heading to bed soon.

I'm thankful for... Kit Kat's (it's Halloween okay, we all splurge now and then..right?)

From the kitchen... I'll be baking something yummy with some butternut squash I have to use up tomorrow.

I'm wearing... grey yoga's and a blue ls tee...and cute socks with coffee cup's on them!

I am creating... some wonderful Christmas gifts.  SHHH, it's a secret.

I'm reading... sewing blogs...constantly!

I am hoping... that I get the push I need to move on a few ideas I've got running thru my head.

Around the house... It's a complete mess.  I NEED A CRAFT ROOM!

One of my favorite things... taking naps, like today with the kids in my bed watching Halloween movies!

I am hearing... the sports news...can't reach the remote!

A few plans for the rest of the week... cleaning and de-cluttering & baking tomorrow, shopping and massage on Tues. (i will be so sad when my gift certificate is gone), Girl Scouts meeting.

Spaghetti Sofie & Officer Joe!  (and George the pumpkin!)
Picture thought... see picture...Happy Halloween!

Special thanks to Peggy, at The Simple Woman's Daybook, for hosting today's Daybook!  Pay a visit to her blog to read more Daybooks or join in and start your own!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Salad Bar!

Tomorrow's lunch....

Salad anyone??

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Roasted Squash Seeds

Here is a great snack that my kids, and John and I, enjoy. They are really simple to prepare with only a few ingredients. You can use any seeds from squash or pumpkins.

Separate seeds from pulp. Place in a colander and rinse any remaining pulp off. Lay onto a paper towel or clean dishcloth and pat to dry. I usually leave them sitting out for a while until I get to them a while later. Then I know they are plenty dry enough to roast.

Place dry seeds in a bowl, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. You only need enough to coat, don't overdo it, you can always add more if you need it. Too much will make them greasy.

Sprinkle with your favorite seasonings. I usually use sea salt, organic garlic powder, and organic onion powder. Crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper is great too! Play around with different flavors. If you've collected enough seeds you can make a few different types to appeal to your snackers!

"Slow and low" is always best when roasting seeds. Preheat oven to 275* and roast on a baking pan for about 40 minutes or until nicely browned.

Spaghetti Squash Bake

Ok, now THIS was amazing! I apologize for not having a photo of the actual meal, but all of my batteries were dead and I just could not wait to post this recipe!

Believe it or not this was my first time ever trying spaghetti squash! It will definitely not be my last! It was so delicious, and of course, being Italian, I just love me some pasta. I don't care how it's prepared, as long as it's pasta I can eat it everyday! This is a wonderful, healthier, alternative for baked ziti or lasagna without sacrificing the taste or texture.

Some nutrition facts can be found here.

I promise to post a picture next time I make this!

1 spaghetti squash
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons of chopped garlic
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 Tablespoons fresh basil
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
1 Cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 Cup Parmesan cheese, shredded (reserve some for topping)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
black pepper

First, you have to bake your squash. I did this early in the morning so I didn't have to bother with it later on. Here is the method I use... Cut squash in half from stem to bottom. Scoop out seeds and pulp. (Reserve them for roasting later!) Grease baking sheet with olive oil, place skin side up onto pan, add a half inch of water. Bake in a preheated oven at 325* for about 40 minutes or until you can poke the skin with a fork easily. Remove from oven, cool.

Once cool to the touch, remove spaghetti like strands from skin with a fork. Place in a lasagna dish greased lightly with olive oil. Add all of the other ingredients, mix well. Top with additional Parmesan cheese. Bake in preheated over at 350* for 30-45 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

South of France Spa Naturals Free Sample Kit

If you visit the South of France Spa Naturals site you can request a free Spa Naturals sample kit! Here is what your kit will contain:

-- 1.25 oz. Orange Ginger Facial Cleanser Bar

-- .25 oz. Citrus Mint Facial Scrub

-- .25 oz. Cucumber Aloe Facial Moisturizer

This looks like another great freebie! Hope it arrives soon!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Salmon Patties

I am so glad I decided to make my salmon fillets into these delicious patties tonight! They were so easy and SO tasty! The hubby loves crab cakes, so I've been wanting to make a salmon version.

Salmon is so good for you. Full of Omega-3's and much more! Here is a brief summary of the health benefits of this awesome fish.

My recipe made 10 nice size patties. We only ate 5 so we have plenty left for topping salads! I even have a recipe for Salmon & Corn Chowder that they would be delightful in! Maybe if I have all of the ingredients, I will whip some of that up tomorrow! Ummm, I can smell it now!

4 nice size salmon fillets (approx. 1lb.)
2 eggs
bread crumbs (enough to make your mixture stick together, I used about 1 cup)
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp. parsley

Flake salmon with a fork in your mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients, mix thoroughly.
Drizzle olive oil in your frying pan and turn to medium heat. Once oil is ready, start forming your patties and dropping them into your pan. Fry about 5 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Remove from pan onto a paper towel lined plate to drain off excess oil. Then enjoy!

*Sorry for the terrible photo quality here! I snapped my picture right when I got them out of the pan and had to hurry to get the rest out before they burned!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mom's Best Naturals Coupon

You can visit the Mom's Best Naturals site to sign-up and download a coupon for $.75 off of one of their cereal/oat products!

There is a store locator page on their site to find the nearest store carrying their products. If you are in the Scranton, PA area, Redner's Market stocks them.

Purple Cow Pops

My kids thought these pops were such a treat! They were so easy to make and from start to clean-up took only about 5 minutes!

To be honest, I did not measure anything for these. I just eyeballed to what I thought would fill my ice cube tray.

Start with some plain homemade yogurt, then add your favorite flavor of frozen 100% fruit juice concentrate. Enough to flavor. I'm sure pureed fruit or 100% fruit juice would work fine also, this is just what I had on hand to use! I used 100% grape which did have one other ingredient of citric acid, which I didn't realize when I bought it, and I can't bear to throw away food, so I came to terms with the tiny bit of citric acid and used it! Next time, I'll be sure to check! I have a mango to use up so I may just puree that to use!

Stir and pour into ice cube trays, then insert popsicle sticks! I got my sticks for a few cents at the craft store with a coupon!
Freeze and enjoy your kids smiling faces while they gobble them up!

$.75 off Stonyfield Organic Frozen Yogurt or Ice Cream

Click here to sign up for Stonyfield Farms newsletters and you can print a coupon for $.75 off of any one pint of their organic frozen yogurt or ice cream!

They have tons of flavors to choose from like, Cookies and Cream, Gotta Have Java, After Dark Chocolate and many more! All made from organic ingredients.

Since I opted for the food processor instead of buying the ice cream maker bowl for my Kitchenaid mixer, I will be buying this for sure!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My DayBook For May 12th. 2010

Photo thought for the day...

Sorry for the poor quality photo! It was thru the screen of the window and one of the kids took it! Our morning visitors to the bird feeder...mamma turkey who has young ones near the creek by the driveway and a squirrel!

Outside my window... It's a rainy day here today. I love the rain, but honestly this is getting to be a bit much now! Where is the sunshine and warmth? Well at least I didn't have to use my ice scraper this morning on the van to take the kids to the bus like the past few days!

I am thinking... that I'm so grateful that Joe's EEG test results came back and all was normal. Now just waiting on the bloodwork to come back.

I am hoping... that we can get this garden planted soon! The way the weather has been, we haven't been able to get it in. It's getting late!

I am thankful for... cleaning my house yesterday and Monday and now have the rest of the week to focus on other things!

From the kitchen... this morning I made some kale cubes for using in smoothies and soups!

I am wearing... hoodie and yoga pants.

I am creating... sourdough bread tomorrow!

I am going... on a much needed day out with a wonderful friend on Friday. Cannot wait!

I am reading... about cheesemaking, my next experiement!

I am hearing... the baby birds in the nest under out porch roof! They sound so absolutely sweet!

Around the house...IT"S CLEAN, isn't that enough!

One of my favorite things... listening to the sound of the rain.

A few plans for the rest of the week... I am "planning" on TRYING to start going to bed earlier. I know I need more sleep, but when I get that quiet time at night I all of a sudden get this second wind! But I definitely pay for it in the morning!

Special thanks to Peggy at The Simple Womans Daybook for hosting!

Soaked Whole Wheat Tortillas

Our whole family loves tortillas for wraps, quesadillas, enchiladas, etc. I've been buying 100% whole wheat ones from the store and not only are they pricey, but very dry and tear way too easily when rolling or folding.

Of course I had to just try making some of my own! I found a few different recipes online and took a little from each one and cam up with this recipe that turned out fantastic! Soft and didn't tear upon rolling them up for a sandwich wrap!

The flour in this recipe is soaked. There are many benefits to soaking your grains before baking/cooking with them. Soaking grains is recommended in the book I am currently "studying", Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It states that "grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds are rich in enzyme inhibitors. Unless deactivated, these enzyme inhibitors can put great strain on the digestive system. Sprouting or soaking in warm acidic water, sour leavening, culturing and fermenting--which are all processes of traditional societies--deactivate enzyme inhibitors, thus making the nutrients in grains, nuts, and seeds more readily available."

I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this book. It is more than a cookbook, it is a primary tool in my kitchen!

Ok, back to the recipe! I doubled this recipe and it made me 24 soft tortillas. My electric griddle pan was wonderful for these as I was able to have 3-4 cooking at the same time while rolling out more at the table. A big time saver if you have one! If not you can just use a regular unoiled pan.

The night before:
1 Tbls gently melted coconut oil (or butter)
2 Tbls whey (or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice)

Pour both ingredients into a liquid measuring cup and top off to the 3/4 cup mark with water. Filtered is best...I personally just use our well water and have not ever had a problem. I wouldn't recommend using treated city water.

In a large bowl add 2 cups of whole wheat flour or spelt.
Stir in liquid into the flour until just mixed. Use your hands to squeeze the dough together until it's evenly moist. It will be a stiff ball of dough. Place in a bowl with a damp towel to cover. Let sit overnight 12-24 hours.

The next day:
Add 1/2 tsp of sea salt and knead until it's evenly throughout the dough. (about 2 minutes) Allow to sit covered with a towel for about 30 minutes to make rolling easier.

Divide dough with a steak knife into 4 pieces, then divide those into 3 pieces...hence, end up with 12 balls of dough. If you want larger tortillas, just cut less pieces at larger sizes.

Turn on your griddle on medium heat (about 300*-325*) or heat pan on stove top.

Flour your surface and your rolling pin, and roll out to desired thickness. Thinner the better! I found it easiest to roll out one at a time and place on my griddle pan, then while that one is cooking I rolled out my next one until I got a good rhythm down. When your tortilla starts to bubble up it's time to flip! They only take approximately 1 minute on each side.

Cool and store in ziploc bags in the refrigerator or freeze for later use!

There you go, fresh, healthy, no preservative, no additive tortillas!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

*FREE* Organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

New customers can create an account with Tropical Traditions and order a FREE 16oz. jar of Organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. Shipping is free when you select Ground Shipping!

Coconut Oil has become a staple in my kitchen lately! Here are some of the health benefits of coconut oil.

Be patient while waiting for their page to load. It most likely be swamped with traffic today due to this fabulous offer!

This offer ends at midnight on April 29th so hurry and sign up before it's too late!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My DayBook for April 27, 2010

Outside my window... it's been a crazy weather day today here...rain, sun, snow, sun, snow again, rain, sun, snow...enough said!

I am thinking... about Joseph's test he is having done on Thursday at the hospital. So much to ponder.

Photo thought to share... My little chicken whisperer! >>>>

I am thankful for... my friendship with Tori! She is a phenomenal mother and an inspiration to me!

From the kitchen... I can smell the glorious aroma of my fresh pot of coffee brewing!

I am wearing... t-shirt & yoga's

I am creating... a grocery list of all of the things I need for Sofie's party.

I am going... nowhere tomorrow except to take Joe to the doctor for his 5 year check-up after school. Then up to the farm to get some more milk.

I am reading... still reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

I am hoping... that our garden flourishes this year. I have a vision of beautiful, lush plants full of goodies!

I am hearing... the sound of the tractor running outside. Not too sure what he's up to!

Around the house... we are getting ready for Sofie's First Holy Communion party on Sunday. Cleaning, cooking, and of all weeks to start this...Painting! What were we thinking!

One of my favorite things... yard sales! I can't wait for the yard sales to start popping up all over!

A few plans for the rest of the week... practice & preparation for Sofie's Communion, off to the doctor with Joe on Wednesday, and hospital testing for Joe on Thursday.

Thanks to Peggy from the Simple Woman's Daybook for inviting us to join in!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day Freebies!

In celebration of Earth Day there are going to be some great freebies today! I'll post them as I come across them so be sure to check back often!

  • Win a free reusable shopping bag from Earthbound Farm Organic. Go to their Earthbound Farm Kitchen at 1pm Eastern Time to watch a quirky video and take a quiz to win a bag!

  • Free printable coupons from Seventh Generation, good for baby care items, cleaning products, feminine care, or laundry products!

  • Click here to print a coupon for $1.00 off any Cascadian Farm product.

  • Click here to print a coupon from Tribe Organic Hummus.

~Joe's Favorite Kale Chips

In this house we all love kale in soups, but I honestly have never had it prepared any other way. I bought a HUGE bunch of kale for $.99 at the market. Seriously, it was a HUGE bunch. I used it for some homemade Zuppa Toscana Soup (recipe to come soon) and still had tons left over. This is one super healthy food that is very affordable, and one bunch can be stretched a long way!

In my quest for healthier options for my family, I came across a recipe for Kale Chips. Admittedly, I was very skeptical that I could pull these off and get my kids, or husband, for that matter, to eat them. And LIKE them! But, I decided to give them a shot! And boy am I glad I did! We all love them. They taste surprisingly, just like a potato chip! What a wonderful, healthy alternative!
The health benefits of this super food are plentiful. Just to name a few, it's loaded with fiber, vitamin A, and it's a superb source of calcium!

So get your hand out of the greasy potato chip bag and give these a try! Their totally easy to make and don't take much time whatsoever!
What you'll need to make Kale Chips:
  • a bunch of kale (wash and spin or shake off water, you don't want wet kale)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt (to taste)

Preheat oven to *325 degrees.

Tear kale off of its stem into bite size pieces. Place onto a baking sheet and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt. I toss it all with my hands, makes it much easier to coat evenly and spread them into a single layer.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning at about 7 minutes to ensure even crispness. Crispness? Is that even a word? Well it is now!
They should come out crisp and lightly browned on the edges. Be careful, once they start to brown they WILL burn quickly!
Cool and enjoy!
I've stored whatever is left (which isn't much after Joe gets his hands on them) in a container at room temperature and they kept well for the short time they stuck around! So I'm not too sure how long they will keep for! I'm sure you won't have many left to worry about it though!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My DayBook

My Daybook for Today, April 20th, 2010

Outside my's dark outside, which means bedtime for the kiddos and quiet time for Momma!

I am thinking...well, wondering, why in the world I decided to start baking 3 loaves of bread at 8:30pm!
I am thankful for...everyone in the house is feeling better and can breathe again!

From the kitchen...dinner tonight was Scrambled Eggs w/Spinach and Turkey Sausage! YUMMO! Now, I have homemade bread baking away in the oven!

I am wearing...t-shirt & grey yoga pants

I am creating...hmm, well, first sourdough starter.

I am reading...Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. So far I love, love, love it.
I am van doesn't cost too much $$$ to get fixed at the garage!

I am hearing...Darla snoring, she is the cutest little Boston ever!

Around the much to do to prepare for Sofie's upcoming Communion party. Inside and outside! Better get a move on!

One of my favorite things...listening to my children playing on the swings, laughing and playing! The sweetest thing ever!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Girls night out with Sofie & some great girlfriends on Friday night, and watching Food Inc. tomorrow night on PBS!

Picture Thought... (see above) my beautiful little ones playing on the swings, one of my favorite sights and sounds is to see them smiling together!

Special thanks to Peggy, at The Simple Woman's Daybook, for hosting today's Daybook! Pay a visit to her blog to read more Daybooks or join in and start your own!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Upcoming Posts To Watch Out For!

Upcoming posts...

Soaked Whole Wheat Bread, Tori's Whole Wheat Healthy Banana Muffins, My Sourdough Starter, & Ideas to use up my abundance of eggs!

*FREE* Rayovac Batteries

Become a fan of Rayovac Batteries on Facebook and you can print a coupon for $1/1 pack of Rayovac batteries. Go to the Promotions tab on their fan site!

Most Walmart stores carry the 4-packs of AA's for $.97 and Target has 2-packs for $1, making them free with this coupon!

Make sure to hit your browser's back button while the coupon is printing so you can print a second coupon!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nutty Maple Granola

This is so tasty AND for an added bonus, the aroma from it fills the house with the most wonderful scent!
7 Cups oats
2/3 Cups melted coconut oil (you can use melted butter, but this is much healthier & tastier)
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 Cups REAL maple syrup (pure)
1/3 Cup almonds
1 Cup pecans
2 Cups walnuts
3 T. ground flax seeds

Mix all ingredients together. Stir until everything is coated with syrup. Spread onto a cookie sheet (be sure to use something with sides, not a flat sheet or stone, you'll thank me later when your stirring it!)

Bake in the oven at 325* degrees, stirring every 10 minutes, for a total of 40 minutes. All ovens will vary so if you notice it starting to brown quickly you'll want to keep close watch on it. It WILL burn in an instant!

Store in an airtight container or jar. This is my first time making this so I have no idea how this will keep. I'm sure it will be gone before it has the slightest chance of spoiling, it's that good!

This is great alone as a snack, cereal, or yogurt topping! It got an A+ from the kiddos too so that is just awesome!

You can use any combination/variety of nuts or seeds in this recipe. Even dried fruit or raw honey in place of some of the maple syrup. This is just what I had on hand to use! Next time I'll be adding some sunflower seeds to the mix and some of our delicious raw tupelo honey we bought in Lancaster this weekend!

Let me know what different tweaks you try so I can try them too!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Well On Our Way To Whole Foods

I've been meandering thru hundreds of articles, blogs, and news & health reports trying to educate myself as much as I can about ASD's (Autsium Spectrum Disorders) so I can do my best to help my son. I've learned such a wealth of information about how the foods we consume effect our health in such negative ways and have come to have a new appreciation for whole foods.

What are whole foods? Here's my quick explanation...any foods that are from nature, fresh, seasonal, and definitely unprocessed and unrefined. Foods as close to their natural state as possible.

This is when I decided it was time for me to make some major changes to my families eating habits. Although we didn't eat terrible, we definitely didn't eat many whole foods either!

My first food to conquer a healthier version of was yogurt. So, one of my kids favorite foods down, only about 1 million more to go!

After making the yogurt out of store bought milk, I started my research on raw milk. My hubby, for years, has wanted to get a dairy cow to add to our gaggle of animals. I've always been on the fence about it, mostly because I've never taken the time to actually sit down and actually learn the in's and outs of raw vs. pasteurized.

Well, guess which one won my vote?

Yep, raw.

Picked up my first gallon this evening. It's fresh, local, and WHOLE. Chock full of yummy goodness and nutrients that will NOT be found in pasturized milk.

Before you raise your nose to the fact that I will from now on be feeding my family raw milk, please take the time to educate yourself on the real truth about raw milk!

My newest homemade, and yes, whole food, is in the refrigerator draining as we speak! Cream cheese! And it's made right from my yogurt! I'll share more on that when it's finished! Pictures to come!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Making REAL Maple Syrup

The sap boiling away in the Evaporator

Our fresh supply of real maple syrup!

As a family, we make REAL homemade maple syrup at the end of each winter when the sap starts a runnin'! When we ran out at the end of this past November we were in a pinch and had to buy from the store. It was a huge reality check!

In one 12 ounce, store bought bottle (which by the way is only 2% REAL maple syrup) there were 35 grams of sugar, with the first ingrediant being High Fructose Corn Syrup. The next ingrediants...corn syrup, added water, maple syrup, cellulose gum, artificial flavoring, various preservatives, and added caramel color! Wow, isn't that a mouthful!?!?

Now I know not everyone has the supplies, nor the time or trees for that matter, to make your own real maple syrup. But all this being said, I cannot stress enough how much better for you the real stuff is! I strongly suggest finding a local producer of it to purchase from. It can even be used in recipes in place of sugar!

Thankfully, my hubby has the dedication to the farm and working hard to tap the trees, collect the sap, and spend hours boiling it down into delicious, natural, real maple syrup! This year we invited my sister-in-law and her family up to join us in the boiling! Our own "Sap Party" if you will! Time spent making memories, while producing something we can be proud of! (hubby did most of the work!)

Free Sample of Suave Professionals Shampoo

Sign up here for your free sample of Suave Professionals Shampoo from Target! I'm sure this will come with a pretty sweet coupon which will get you some free, or almost free shampoo at CVS soon! (details on CVSing to come!)

Monday, April 5, 2010

I Vow to Never Buy Store Bought Yogurt Again!

Have you ever actually looked, even glanced, at the back of a yogurt container? Here I thought I was making a great choice by feeding my kiddos yogurt as a snack just about once, even twice a day. One word...can you guess?

Sugar, sugar, and more sugar! Not to mention the preservatives and dyes also added in there! So I went on a mission to find a no-fail, healthy, yummy, homemade version. Luckily, I found one and just had to give it a go.
The end result...

Beautiful, creamy, fresh, homemade yogurt! With NO PRESERVATIVES & NO ADDITIVES! So much healthier and alot cheaper than store bought! All of this yogurt only cost me $1.70 to make!

You will find many processes to make homemade yogurt online. Anything from making it on the stove top, to in the oven, even in a picnic cooler! But, I highly recommend making it in a Crock Pot! It was unbelievably easy, with virtually no mess!

I used Sarah's Musings recipe in my Crock Pot and honestly, don't think I'll ever attempt any other method!

So far we've eaten it with granola, mashed banana, fresh blueberries, strawberries, even kiwi! It is wonderful in smoothies as well!

Give it a go, and let me know what you think!