Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

Tonight I am getting ready for Turkey Day by cleaning and baking. I started feeling a bit hungry and in an effort to start eating better I have become interested in making smoothies. I've had problems with dairy over the years (my mom just informed me I've been allergic to milk since I was a baby) so I picked up some vanilla rice milk and used it to make a peanut butter and banana smoothie tonight. It was sooo... yummy!!!

In a blender or food processor (and make sure to hold the lid down otherwise the force will kick it off and you will have a HUGE mess!!!!) mix:

1 Banana
1/2 c Rice Milk
1/8 c Peanut Butter (I just put in a heaping spoonful)
1 Tbs honey (I always use local honey, and put in a big squirt)
Ice (handful, optional)

Pour into a glass and enjoy!!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Versitile Rump Roast

So I slow cooked a rump roast today in a few cups of water and seasoned w/salt, pepper and garlic powder. When trying to decide how to serve it, I decided to shred it and simmer it in a pot with a couple cans of diced green chilies, a diced onion, some diced garlic cloves, and I seasoned it with oregano and cumin. It is so yummy!!! There is easily enough meat for 3 meals for my hubby and I, so tonight I made shredded beef burritos w/refried beans and Monterrey Jack cheese, tomorrow I'll make empanadas using pre-made pie crust and Monterrey Jack cheese, then for the 3rd day I'm thinking of adding a can or two of hominy and some beef broth for a yummy posole.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Honeysuckle Tea

It's getting to be that time of year again when everyone seems to be getting sick. Today my hubby and I both don't feel particularly well. My chest is starting to feel scratchy and I've had a sinus infection for a couple of weeks now, so today I decided to make my tea concoction that helps me feel better. I don't know if it helps me get better any sooner, but I do know it helps alleviate the symptoms I'm feeling enough that I can get stuff done. The effects generally last about 2 hours.

Per mug:
4-6oz (almost boiling) water
1 Tbs tea leaves*
20 drops liquid echinacea*
1 Tbs local honey

Steep the leaves for 2-3 minutes and extract, then add echinacea and honey, stir. Drink while hot.

*Tea leaves, any kind will do, but for bronchial irritation I use honeysuckle blossoms. Alton Brown advocates letting the leaves steep loose in the water and extract using a strainer. I find this leaves bit of leaves that I don't like to drink, so I line the strainer with a coffee filter. Today I was lazy and put the blossoms in the filter, twisted closed and clipped w/a clothes pin. If you're interested in getting honeysuckle blossoms I purchased mine at www.teacuppa.com.

*Liquid echinacea has a bit of a grassy taste, and I'm sure capsules are fine, but I prefer the liquid. I buy mine at www.naturessunshine.com.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Morning Glories

Here is a photo of the morning glories I started from seeds this year. Neighbors have been stopping by my house when they see us outside to ask me about them. There are hundreds every morning. It's an amazing site. There is nothing special I do to them. When they were young plants I did water them once a week with a seaweed fertilizer, but once summer hit I neglected them and they took off.

I've found that after the blossoms fall off each evening a pod forms, if left alone it will increase in size as the seeds develop and about a week later they can be harvested, set on the counter to dry where the pod will become like paper and the seeds can be extracted. The seeds will be large and white and in 24 hours will shrivel and turn brown. I keep the dried seeds in my fridge until I'm ready to start them in the spring (usually March in Texas) and plant after the last frost in April.

Laundry Detergent

**NOTE: Fels Naptha is another common bar laundry soap that is used to make a large batch of detergent. My local Walmart finally started carrying it, and I can honestly say don't bother. My first complaint regarding Fels Naptha is the perfume. The bar itself was overwhelming to me and triggered nausea, even after sitting several days on my kitchen counter. Once diluted into the batch of detergent, the fragrance died down, but apparently so did it's cleaning power. The loads of laundry I pull out of the dryer now still have lingering body odor. I have never had this problem with Zote which I have been using for 4 years now.  (Edited: 2/11/2011)


I thought I'd post my recipe for laundry soap. I can make it for less than $1 a batch and a batch will last me about a month if I do about one load of laundry a day.

Zote bar laundry soap (large bar)
Washing soda

First I grate the entire bar of zote into a large pot and add 6 cups of water. I heat over high heat until boiling, then reduce heat and cook over medium until soap has dissolved, this takes about 10-15 minutes. Do not leave the heat on high or else the soap will suds rapidly and boil over the pot and make a huge mess!!!

After the soap is dissolved, I add 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup Borax and cook until dissolved.

In a 5 gallon bucket I add 2 gallons of hot tap water then add soap mixture, cover and let set for 24 hours until gelled.

I use about 1 cup of soap for a large load. For stains I keep a bar of Zote handy and rub it directly into the stain then wash. I have found this homemade detergent is ever bit as good as Tide or All, and my husband works in the oil fields and his clothes become very nasty. I also recommend adding a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle to help cut down on lint and freshen the clothes. The vinegar smell does not linger once the clothes are dried.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fingerless Gloves

I finally made a pair of fingerless gloves. The pattern I bought from etsy.com by ansleybleu just didn't make sense to me, so I decided to try something easier. These work up so quick I plan on making more for other people. My fingers have been so cold this season so far, I'm so excited to have finished these. They are a simple k2p2 worked in the round using Lion Brand Wool in Cocoa.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Duke Puppy

I was playing around with the manual settings on my little digital camera and thought the early morning light on this cloudy day shining in on Duke was beautiful, so I attempted to catch it.

Mrs. Reynold's Shawl

I finally finished!!! The only difference is I didn't add fringe, I'm so short I think if I did it would drag the ground. If you're interested in where I found the pattern or to make your own, check out this link for Maggie the Spy, http://maggiethespy.wordpress.com/2008/05/06/mrs-reynolds-shawl/#comment-51. I have to add that it drapes beautifully.

For anyone who doesn't know the significance of this shawl, it is a replica of the shawl worn in the Firefly Episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" worn by Saffron and played by Christina Hendricks.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Ok, so it's been a while since I last posted an entry. I'd like to say that I've been interested in country living since I grew up in small town Oklahoma in the 80's and spent my days reading books about pioneer life. I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder and Bess Streeter Aldrich. For the first five years my husband and I were together we lived in suburban Fort Worth. I kept talking about how much I wanted to live in the country. He thought I was crazy. In 2001 he was laid off due to the dotcom bust and we managed to hang on to our home for another year and a half. It was then that a coworker of Tony's mentioned he lived out in the country and there was a very inexpensive house for sale not far from them. So we looked into it and on my 25th birthday we signed the contract to rent the house until the sale completed just over 2 months later.

For three years I commuted 75 miles each way to my bank job while my husband started a career as a truck driver. Between the cost of insurance and gas we decided that I should quit and stay home. I've been home for over two years now and it's been a long adjustment. The first year I stayed depressed. The second year I taught myself how to crochet, garden and cook. Now in my third year I've taught myself how to knit, develop my cooking skills, and search for ways to simplify. For example, when I run out of something or need something I first try to consider if there is an alternative to me buying it. I started with cleaning products. I make my own laundry detergent and all purpose cleaners. I've dabbled with dishwasher detergent but haven't found a recipe I'm happy with yet. Now I'm working on food. If there is something I can make myself I try that option first. As I learn sewing I also plan to make our own quilts, clothes, etc. I'm currently using crochet and knitting to make things like bags, blankets, shawls, hats, scarves and toys.

I'm taking baby steps towards living a semi-self-sufficient lifestyle. In a perfect world we would be completely self-sufficient and living off the land, but it's not realistic at the moment. I do have to say that working towards being self-sufficient brings a feeling of purpose that I've been searching for. It's a great way to move away from the consumption lifestyle we've been living and appreciate the fruits of our labor.

Oh, if you are interested in learning more about homesteading here are some links I enjoy:
Mother Earth News
The Family Homestead
Choosing Voluntary Simplicity

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A giddy kind of day...

I'm just feeling fantabulous today. I had fun girly shows to watch on TiVo, the weather is perfect, I can open my windows and enjoy the fresh breeze, I have a great crochet project I'm working on that is coming along beautifully. I also found a great quote that really inspires me:

It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer. -Albert Einstein

I adore Einstein. He really inspires me.

I hope you have a fantabulous day as well. Send me some love and tell me how your day is going.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Decluttering and Stress

I have so much sewing I want to do and I really want to practice using my sewing machine, but I don't have a comfortable place to use it. Tonight I've been trying to declutter the room designated as our office but all of my husband's computer stuff is in there and I don't know what he wants to keep and what is fair game to toss. Tonight is his night off so I call him in to help me, he picks up 4 items, throws them away, looks at a couple of boxes, asks me if they are trash or not and when I tell him they are full of his stuff and he needs to decide, he puts them down and goes back to the bedroom to play Spore which he bought tonight. I'll wait a few more hours or maybe until tomorrow night and if he doesn't help me by Thursday night when he goes back to work then everything is fair game. I'm so tired of having so much stuff and no organization to it. I don't even want to post photos of how bad that room looks.

Once we get everything cleaned out then I have dreams of painting it chocolate and lavender until I change my mind next week...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Owl has a face!

Here's the finished owl. Isn't he just stinkin' adorable?! I'm going to give him to my brother that lives in NYC as a birthday gift. He collects owls and has them on display in his office at work. I'll be so tickled the next time I go visit and get to see him sitting on the shelf.

Amigurumi Owl

Jaz likes to pose:

This is the body of an Amigurumi owl from crochetme.com. I just need to add some features now. I'll do that after my next trip to the store.
Pattern: http://crochetme.com/patterns/crochet-owl-talons

The Adventures of Rabbit and Rhino!

I think the photos speak for themselves:

The Ashlind Bunny!!!

Here is the front and back of a bunny pattern I just created. I made the bunny for a friend who is pregnant and after trying other patterns I wasn't happy with and couldn't fine one I liked I decided to try my hand at making my own! I'm going to start practicing Amigurumi since it's worked in the round and will eliminate the seam in the back, but I think he turned out great! I still need to put a nose on him but I don't have any yarn in a light pink so I'll need to run to the store tomorrow for that. So what do you think???

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Leila the Rhino

Here is the finished Leila the Rhino I made for a friend who is preggers. I bought the pattern from www.roxycraft.com. I think the Rhino is male and totally cute!!! Next I'll try to make a bunny I'll be creating from my own imagination. Hopefully it'll go well!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Skull Illusion Scarf!!!

I did it! I finally finished the Skull Illusion Scarf for Amber. I'm really excited about how it turned out. Link for the pattern: http://ysolda.com//wordpress/skull-illusion-knit-scarf/

Monday, August 18, 2008

Betty Headband

Here is a headband I made for my MIL Betty. She requested something absorbent that she can wear under her riding helmet (she rides horses). This is done in a seed stitch (cast on 16), size 5 needles, with a cotton/elastic blend yarn, 20 inches in length. The yarn is Fixation by Cascade Yarns, color # 5104, 98.3% cotton, 1.7% elastic. Hmmm... I'm thinking it looks like terry cloth and it feels like it too!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Seed Stitch Head Scarf

Here is a skinny head scarf I knit in the seed stitch. I cast on 10 stitches; row 1: k1, p1; row 2: p1, k1. Repeat rows 1 and 2 until desired length. I personally made mine 45 inches so I can tie it underneath. I used Naturally Caron Spa in Berry Frappe and size 5 needles.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Head Scarf

I love head scarves and I recently bought a bamboo blend yarn on my latest trip to Austin and really wanted to find a use for it. I used Naturally Caron Spa yarn in Berry Frappe. Here's the link for the pattern: http://www.crochetme.com/June_July_2005/patt_headscarf.htm