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!