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.