Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spring Cleaning err I mean Spring Crafting!

It's Spring cleaning time so that means time for CRAFTS!
  Why do I say this? Well when the weather starts to get warmer, I tend to go into craft mode. I want a clean house, clean mind and a clean body. 
  I know that this post maybe a little late with summer creeping around the corner but here in the high desert Spring comes a bit late.  We are in the process of preparing for a big move in the next couple of weeks so goodbye to late Spring/Summers!  I am so excited to be moving to a decent elevation.  Here in Bend, Oregon we are at 3623 ft.  With the dry weather and being at this elevation its hard to grow a decent garden let alone my body is hating every minute of it.  Soon enough Ashland Oregon will be our home for the next couple of years. 
  While cleaning and packing up a storm, I was still able to sneak in a few crafts.  First on the list is the BEST cleaner ever. Citrus Vinegar.  I swear it is the easiest thing to make. Citrus vinegar is a very effective cleaner.  I have been using vinegar for years to clean my kitchen and bathroom. I have no idea why I never thought of infusing it with lemon peel!  I usually just add some essential oils and borax to my vinegar and call it good. 
  The benefits of cleaning with vinegar are pretty much endless. Though from what I have read as well as experienced, vinegar is great for cleaning stains out of the carpet, cutting grease, ridding of nasty odors, its a great window cleaner, floor cleaner, shower cleaner and like I said the list could go on and on.  Now adding in the benefits of lemon peel is just freaking genius!  So now not only is this cleaner antibacterial, it is anti-fungal, natural rust remover and, acts as a natural bleach. Another plus is that the lemon peel mellows down the vinegar scent. 
 In order to make this amazing cleaner you will need these few items:
Sterilized 1/2 gallon Mason Jar with lid
12 Organic Lemons
Distilled White Vinegar

Juice all the lemons and save it for later use.  I poured mine in a pint size jar and froze. When freezing in glass always make sure you leave enough room for the liquid to grow.  This will prevent any cracking of the glass.

You can trim the peel off or just leave it how it is.  Stuff them in the jar and pour vinegar up to the top.  Seal the jar and label with the date.  Let the jar sit in a sunny spot or somewhere sunlight hits for up to two weeks.  When the two weeks have passed strain vinegar from the peels and store in a clean sterilized jar. 

  So far this solution has been used for everything in my bathroom, kitchen and even in my laundry.  I have also been experimenting using it on my hair as a natural conditioner/lightener.  I am currently infusing a bit of the solution with Chamomile, Mullein leaves, Rosemary and Marigold petals.  Since I do have light ashy blond hair this will help make it a bit brighter. 

  I hope you enjoy this as much as I have!  I have a few more crafts to share with you but for now this is where I will leave you. A little hint about the next craft.......not so skinny jeans to super sexy skinny jeans!  Happy cleaning and keep on crafting!

Monday, January 16, 2012


  Ghee has become my new favorite cooking oil.  It seriously is so easy to make so I would love to share with all of you how to make it!  Mmmmm ghee.
  Now you may be asking what is ghee?  Well in other terms its called clarified butter.  It is butter that has been heated to the point that the milk solids turn into a frothy form and then is carefully scooped out.  The end product is a clear, yellow oil.
   Ghee is a traditional oil used mainly in Indian cuisines.  I like it for not only Indian foods, but for frying eggs, sauteing veggies, baking and many, many other cooking methods.  I found that my favorite way to eat squash is to infuse the ghee with loads of garlic, then pouring it over the squash. 

  • 1 1/2lbs. or more of butter 
 First things first, have sterilized jars ready to use.  Now in a dutch oven pot, heat up your butter over medium heat.  The dutch oven will take just a bit to warm up but once its warm it will melt the butter fairly quick.  Now once the butter is melted, give it a couple of stirs.  This will be the only time you will be stirring the butter.  Let it come to a low boil.  Once the milk solids start to become frothy, scoop out the foam very carefully with a spoon.  Discard the milk solids. I like to save it for my dog. He loves that kind of stuff!

  Keep scooping out the solids as they bubble up.  Once you have scooped out all that you can get, pour the oil over a bowl that has been covered with multiple layer of cheese cloth.  I personally did not do this step due the the fact that I did not have any cheese cloth on hand.  If you do not have any, no worries.  Pour your strained ghee or non strained ghee in your jars.  If you did not strain your ghee before hand, let the milk solids float to the top of the jar. Now with a clean sterile spoon, scoop out the remaining milk solids.  Close the lid and store in the refrigerator.  Ghee will last months if left in the fridge.  Happy cooking!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Three new recipes that are to die for!

  I have been busy, busy, busy, cooking up a storm in this house! Doing the 30 day Paleo challenge has been a lot of fun due to some delicious meals we have been creating.  First on the list, is well my personal favorite, bacon wrapped Elk.  Yup that's right.  Bacon. Wrapped. Elk.  I had scored some Elk back strap from a friend and I really hope she can get some more.  Let me tell that was so delicious I could eat Elk for the rest of my life.  I am drooling just thinking of it!

  Bacon wrapped Elk
  • 1 lb. of Elk back strap
  • 1 Tble Liquid Smoke
  • 1 Tble Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 lb. thick cut Bacon 
In a bowl combine liquid smoke, worcestershire sauce and black pepper.  Marinate Elk in sauce for 30 min.  My Elk was already cut for me but I do suggest slicing them into 2 inch wide pieces (1/4 inch thick).   Preheat oven to 350.  Precook bacon till the ends start to curl up or till the meat looks slightly cooked.  Once Elk is marinated wrap one or two slices in one piece of bacon.  Place the opening on bottom.  Bake for 20 minutes, then turn broiler on low.  Cook till bacon starts to brown. Flip and brown other side. Serve and Enjoy!

  My family and I have been on a bacon kick, as you are about to find out.  The next recipe is so good I want to make other versions of this.  Apple Bacon Stuffed Burgers.  I find that the apple, bacon filling didn't stay in the patty as well as I hoped it would but, nonetheless it was still very delicious. 

Apple Bacon stuffed Burgers
  • 1 lb. grass fed organic ground Beef
  • 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Tble dried Rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried Sage
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 Apple, cored and diced
  • 1/2 lb. thick cut organic Bacon
  In a bowl combine spices and the ground beef.  Set aside.
  Cut bacon into small pieces and cook in a pan till the edges curl.  At this time add the diced apples.
  Once apples and bacon are done, make an even amount of burger patties.  Stuff two patties with the apples and bacon.  Make sure to seal the edges closed (mine didn't work).  Cook patties till done to your preference.  Top with left over apple bacon mixture and a sliced avocado. 

   Last but certainly not least is my Chicken Curry.  Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of this meal.  I do have to say it was one of my best curry dishes I have put together so far.  Curry has been a challenge for me over the years. I l.o.v.e. curry! I have been trying to create an authentic tasting one but it still has not yet happened.  Someday I will achieve my goal!  For now I will just stick to what I know and experiment till it get it.  I really wanted to make a quick dish last night and I of course was craving curry (like always).   Looking in my cabinets and the refrigerator I saw that I did have the ingredients to make a yummy meal.  

Quick Chicken Curry
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Chicken breast, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Tble Coconut oil
  • 1 Yam, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh Ginger minced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped Mushrooms
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1vtsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp powdered Ginger
  • 1 tsp powdered Mustard Seed
  • 3 Tble Curry power
  • 1 Tble Turmeric powder
  • 1 Tble dried Cilantro flakes
  • 7 strokes of Nutmeg on grater
  • 1 cup Coconut milk (full fat)
  In a cast iron skillet heat up 1/2 of the coconut oil.  Add chicken and all spices.  Cook till done, place in bowl and set aside.
  I rinsed out my pan and added the remaining bit of coconut oil.  Cook yams till slightly tender and add in onion, garlic and ginger. Cook till onions are translucent and yams are soft.  Add chicken back in with mushrooms.  When the mushrooms have turned slightly darker add in the coconut milk.   Warm through and serve on a bed of spinach.
  I hope you all will enjoy these recipes.  I know my family and I have.  Happy cooking!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Years and Birthdays

  The 31st our family will not only be celebrating the coming of the new year but we have a special friend coming to town.  Yay another reason to bake!  It is our dear friends birthday and so we decided to make a last minute treat for the celebration.
  Every birthday all he asks for is a cheesecake.  Usually a Jell-O cheesecake.  Yeah I will NOT be making a Jell-O cheesecake. Personally I won't touch the stuff cause of how processed it is.  More than half of the ingredients you can't even make out what they are. Not to mention the flavor is not really a 'real' cheesecake flavor. It has been chemically simulated in lab. So why not stick to real ingredients?  I sure am!
  I was thinking of how to make this no-bake cheesecake last night and I came up with this cute idea.  I decided to use my heart shaped cookie cutter and make little stacks of cheesecake.  I figured it would be single serving size.
  With the new year coming around the corner I really don't want to start the new year off without my resolution.  Starting the 1st my family and I will be doing the 30 day Paleo challenge.  Easy peasy.  This is not my first time doing this.  We usually try to stick to a 'Primal' diet rather than 'Paleo'.  So its not going to be a huge change but starting the challenge with cheesecake in the house is not a very good way to go about it.  I know if its there I will eat it!  So single serving size cheesecake it is!

No-Bake Cheesecake Hearts

   Cheesecake filling
  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese (full fat) room temp
  • 1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup honey (i like Glory-Bee clover)
  • 1 1/2 pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1 tble honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs room temp

  Preheat oven to 350.   Place a large mixing bowl (for electric mixer) in the
  In a small bowl combine all crust ingredients. (I actually forgot to add in the eggs, so if you don't have any don't worry. it turns out fine.) Mix till the texture is crumbly.  On a foil lined baking sheet, set your cookie cutter down and fill with 2 scoops of the crust mix using a spoon.  Press mixture down filling all corners of the cookie cutter.  Carefully dab the sides as you lightly lift the cookie cutter.  This will make sure you don't brake the shape.  Place cut outs in the oven for 8 min or till golden brown.  Set aside to cool. Do not remove from cookie sheet till ready to use.

    Take the mixing bowl out of the freezer and whip the heavy cream.  When cream is almost the thickness you desire add in 1 tsp pure vanilla extract.  Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
    Switch the whisking blade to the beater blade on your machine.  Beat the cream cheese with honey and lemon juice till creamy and light.  Slowly add in the whipped cream and switch out the beater to the whisk once again.  Whisk till well blended and fluffy. 
  Using a wide thin spatula carefully scoop up the heart shaped crust on to a platter/plate.  Dollop some cheesecake filling on to the crust. Carefully spread the filling over the heart.  Place one more heart shaped crust on top of the filling and lightly spread on more filling. Scrape the excess filling off the sides.  Set aside and repeat with the rest.  Top with fresh fruit or fruit puree.
  I had some filling left over so i made two, 2 person serving size cups. Instead of using the crust I just crushed up some macadamia nuts and walnuts.
  This will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.  ENJOY!

The verdict:
  I have to say for only having a 1/4 cup of honey wow was that good! You may want to add more but I like my treats a little less sweet :)  I hope you all like it <3

Happy Baking in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's Christams!

  The season is here and it's time to bake! Yes! I have been waiting months to make this cake.  I love baking with every cell in my body but I try not to do it that often.  Baking remains for special occasions only.  So when I mention that I have been waiting months for this BELIEVE ME! 

  I found this scrumptious recipe at "The Food Lovers Primal Palate".  I love this blog and their recipes look amazing.  I really wanted to make a grain-free cake that was a real crowd pleaser and this cake was it!!!  Who could pass up a dark chocolate cake topped with nuts, dark chocolate ganache and then frosted with whipped cream?! Not only was this a hit with the adults the kids loved it too!  If my kid likes it then you know its good. 

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup melted pasture butter
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder (for dark chocolate flavor use 3/8 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
Chocolate Ganache:
  • 1 cup chopped dark chocolate ( use green&black 80% for best flavor)
  • 2 heaping spoon fulls of coconut oil
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 3/4 cup organic heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tble honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes

Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to bake at 350.
  2. In a large mixing bow, combine eggs, honey, pasture butter, and vanilla. Blend with a hand mixer until smooth.
  3. Add coconut flour, cacao powder, salt, and baking soda to the bowl, and continue to blend until batter is smooth.
  4. Grease a 8 inch or 9 inch round cake pan with coconut oil.
  5. Pour batter into the pan, and smooth the top with a spatula (this is a thick batter, so you will have to work with it slightly.)
  6. Bake chocolate cake for 30-35 minutes, and remove from oven to cool.
Chocolate Ganache
  1. Melt chocolate chips on low heat, stirring often.
  2. When chocolate is completely melted, add in the coconut oil, and stir until all is combined.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Once cake is cooled top with chopped nuts then pour melted chocolate over cake.
  5. Place cake in the refrigerator till chocolate has been set.
Whipped Cream Frosting
  1. Whip heavy cream in a kitchen mixer until stiff and fluffy, slowly adding in honey.
  2. Fold in the coconut flakes.
Final Cake Assembly
  1. Remove cake from fridge, and top with the whipped frosting.
  2. Garnish with a drizzle of left over chopped chocolate or ganache and flaked coconut.
  3. Keep refrigerated until served.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Herbal Mosquito Repellent

Living in Wisconsin in the summer you deal with lots, lots and lots of mosquitoes. I personally refuse to put DEET on mine or my child's skin. So I thought what herbal remedies can I use? I did my research online and talked to some people here at the school. This is what I came up with:

1. Oil - any unscented oil that will stay on the skin will help with mosquitoes biting. They hate hate and I repeat hate oil. I have used bear fat, olive oil and coconut oil. Personally I prefer coconut oil. I would also suggest using natural oil vs petroleum oils.

2. Essential Oils such as Tee Tree, Lavender, Citronella, Cedar wood, Clove, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Rosemary, Lemongrass and Rose Geranium are all great mosquito repellents.

3. Eat lots of garlic

4. Vitamin B-1, Thiamine Hydrochloride 100 mg. Some say that this is more of a placebo effect but hey who knows till you try it. I have also read that this is good for pets too.

5. Diluted Yarrow Tincture. It has been said that it works better than DEET. I'm real curious on trying that one.

My own personal method is using non scented soaps and slathering ourselves in Coconut Oil infused with a few drops of Tee Tree oil and Lavender oil. Not to mention its antifungal, an antiseptic, a pain reliever, and antiviral. Plus it smells delicious.

Here are a few recipes I found for Essential Oil Blends for repellent thanks to My suggestion is to make these blends and dilute them with water. Pour into a spray bottle and mist the mixture on your skin and rub it in. Apply as needed.

Recipe #1 – Simple and Spicy
A simple blend with the wonderful sweet and spicy notes of the clove oil.
5 parts Citronella
5 parts Lavender
5 parts Clove

Recipe #2- Bright and Energetic

Likewise a simple blend, but substituting the Peppermint for the Clove changes it into a bright, energetic and sweet blend.
5 parts Citronella
5 parts Lavender
5 parts Peppermint

Recipe #3 – Deep and Green

A more complex blend with mostly “green” scents including wonderfully dark and smoky cedar wood.
10 parts Citronella
10 parts Cedar wood
5 parts Eucalyptus
5 parts Rosemary

Recipe #4 – Sweet and Citrus

Just a little lemongrass added to the mix blends well with the citronella. The Rosemary and Cedar wood add complexity and a base note to the blend. (Note: The lemongrass has a fair amount of the same constituents as the citronella oil, so reduce the amount of citronella.)
5 parts Citronella
5 parts Lemongrass
5 parts Lavender
5 parts Rosemary
5 parts Cedar wood

Recipe #5 – Lightly Floral

Here just a little bit of Egyptian Rose Geranium brings out the floral qualities of the lavender and balances out the citronella.
5 parts Citronella
5 parts Lavender
5 parts Geranium
5 parts Rosemary

Remember that essential oils are strong so test them on your skin before applying in larger amounts. Play around for what works best for you. Hey you might even find an oil blend you really enjoy and it could replace some perfume!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Quick Cute Leg Warmers

Okay so I know it's summer and all but when I get up in the morning around 6 a.m. working outside your legs get a little cold wearing a skirt. Yeah I know just put on some jeans or something right? Well I'm a skirt girl, I would wear skirts everyday of the year if I can. So I remembered what one of my good friends in Portland would do. She would go to a thrift store buy a warm looking sweater (doesn't really have to be cute but something that's not a sweatshirt). Okay so once you get a sweater to your liking cut off the sleeves. If you want to make them nice and neat you can always hand sew the tops of the leg warmer. I personally don't but hey I really don't care. And Viola, new leg warmers!