The Best Part of Waking Up II

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Okay, so I switched to straight coffee for a while and hence haven’t posted the better creamer instructions – but I’ve  had one hell of a sweet tooth  lately and just needed a little something in the morning to curb it. Here is my favorite creamer that I modified from Deliciously Organic. This time around I made just a simple mocha version, but I’ve used this base to make other versions which I will include at the bottom of the post 🙂

All of the creamers I use follow the same base and only the additives change. All you are doing is whisking it all (except extracts) together in a pot until it is nice and steamy, removing it from the heat, and then adding in any extracts. Pour it through a cheese cloth lined fine sieve into your container of choice. Shake well before each use as it does tend to settle. Easy Peasy! Enjoy!

The Base:

All you need for mocha!

All you need for mocha!

2 c. Half and Half

2 Tbsp Syrup

For Flavors add the following to base –

Mocha:

2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

1 tsp Vanilla

French Vanilla:

2 tsp Vanilla

Pumpkin Spice: (strain this through your cheese cloth lined sieve really well so you don’t have a gooey lump of pumpkin at the bottom of your cup!)

2 Tbsp Syrup

4 Tbsp Pumpkin Puree

I think the fact that I hadn't had coffee yet caused most of those little spills under my creamer jar...

I think the fact that I hadn’t had coffee yet caused most of those little spills under my creamer jar…

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/8 tsp Ground Cloves

1/4 tsp Ginger

1/4 tsp Nutmeg

1 tsp Vanilla

Almond Mocha:

2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

1 tsp Almond Extract

Lettuce Never Buy This Again

Hooray for food you can grow from waste! I ran across a list somewhere, showing things you can grow from the “waste” of what you buy. (As soon as I relocate it I will link up to it here). And I was surprised to see that you can grow lettuce from  the stump you get off of your store bought leaf lettuces! Of course I just had to try it because if it’s free I’m all in! So, I chopped my stump off and grabbed an empty soup can, my used coffee grounds and of course the container of dirt I keep below the sink (you’d be surprised how often it comes in handy..) and set out to test this theory.
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I used a small screw driver and a hammer to pop some holes into the bottom of my can and then mixed a 1:3 of coffee grounds and dirt right in my can. I popped my stump in and covered it with dirt, gave it a little water and set it in a little dish on the window sill (so it wouldn’t pee all over the wood window frame of course).  I did all of this on the 15th (6 days ago). 

 

I took this picture yesterday. So, in just 5 days my little baby stump is already growing up! I can’t wait to eat its little head!

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The 74 Calorie Health(ier) Cookie

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I totally had to take two bites before taking the picture… the first one was all gooey choco-fied and you couldn’t see the dough texture 😉

Yes, you read that right.  I made a “healthy” 74 calorie cookie, and honestly, I think it’s pretty good! Of course, it does have a drawback – the texture is a lot softer than the real deal, and I think it’s more “bread-y” than my originals. However, after seeing a picture of myself taken recently, I really don’t care about texture all that much. If I can get my sweet fix without guilt and not have to buy bigger jeans, I can totally compromise with eating a softer cookie.

What You Need:img_0899

1/2 c. mashed banana – I just used 1 med/lg one and came in a tiny bit under 1/2 c.

1/4 c. sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp molasses

1/4 c. applesauce

1/2 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 c. chocolate chips – I use ghirardelli 60% cacao

 

Preheat oven to 375.

For the banana mashing, I just peeled my banana and plopped it in a bowl and went to town with the hand mixer. Once it was mostly mushed, I added in my sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp molasses.  Beat on low until mixed (just a couple seconds), add in apple sauce and mix again. Sift flours, baking soda and salt in and beat until well incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice. Toss in chocolate chips and remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla and mix again!

Finished dough.. I was a little nervous!

Finished dough.. I was a little nervous!

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheet – these will stick! (It also should be noted that this dough is not as thick as the traditional stuff.)  I got 24 out of this recipe. Bake for 10 -15 minutes, or until set and very light brown.

Fresh out of the oven!

Fresh out of the oven!

Cool and eat with absolutely no guilt and a happy little smirk.

Just so you can justify that smirk, here are the stats. Healthy cookie is in green.  Regular cookie is in red. Stats are for a single cookie (not a batch hahaha) 

Calories                                   74                       114

Fat  g.                                        3.2                       6.5

Saturated Fat g.                      1.8                      4

Cholesterol mg.                       0                       18.2

Sodium mg.                            72.1                 100.8

Carbohydrates  g.                 11.5                     13.5   (The numbers are close here, but remember the KIND of carbs you’re getting is important too)

Fiber  g.                                       1                           0.1

Sugar  g.                                      6.3                        9.1   (Again, be aware of where the sugar is from – there’s some good stuff in that fruit!)

Protein g.                                    1.2                        0.8

 

 

I found the nifty sub ideas at Picklee.  🙂

Stuck On You

My kids love glue. I think all kids do to be honest. We like painting with it, pasting with it and, on occasion, putting it on our hair and skin and adhering glitter, paper, or anything else we can get our little hands on  to ourselves, much to the dismay of mother’s bathtub drain. So, I found a way to make our own about a year and a half ago from Sustainableecho, and it works great on pretty much everything – including wood and knick knackery (if you don’t say anything to Dad, he’ll never know – so SHHH!!). Here’s how we do it!img_0781

1 c. Flour

1/3 c. Sugar

1 1/2 c. Water

1 tsp Vinegar

 

Stir flour and sugar together in saucepan. Whisk in 3/4 c. water until a thick paste forms. Whisk in last 3/4 c. water until smooth. Put on medium heat stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in vinegar once desired consistency is reached. I use a small wire sieve over my funnel when bottling to keep out any big chunks. If your mix is super chunky near the bottom, just take the back of a spoon and stir it through your sieve mushing it through.

Let cool and craft!img_0783img_0784

Conquering Mt. Laundry

Absolutely everyone has to do laundry, and those of us with children know that either you’re doing it every day, or like me, you are faced with a mountain of it each and every weekend. With the price of laundry detergent being insane, and my having SOO much of it, I switched to homemade about a year ago, and I am never looking back. I love it! It’s gentle for tender little skin, and it works great! I found my inspiration at DIY Natural, where they break down the cost and savings in making your own, and have very minimally tweaked the recipe for my family. I do also use vinegar as my fabric softener, and it works fabulously – I had to quit using the commercial softeners when I started doing DH’s laundry as it has something in it that made his man flesh very very angry at me, so I was thrilled to find how well vinegar works without agitating him.

You will need: img_0845

1 bar of soap – I prefer Fels Naptha (0.97/bar), but have used Ivory and Dove before – any bar of soap will do.

2 gallon containers

1 1/2 c. Borax

1 1/2 c. Washing Soda

Large Pot that will hold 2 gallons OR 2 large pots that will hold a gallon each

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Start off by grating your soap into your pot (grate the whole

Soapy Water Stage

Soapy Water Stage

bar into one pot; even if you’re using two separate ones you’ll be cooking everything up in one). Add a gallon of water and heat over medium high heat stirring occasionally until all of the soap has dissolved. The finer you grate your soap, the faster you’ll get through this. You’ll have what resembles and is soapy water at this point. Stir in your Borax and Washing soda. I heat mine to a boil stirring almost constantly, I don’t think boiling is necessary, but you need to heat it long enough to make sure the Borax and Soda dissolve, otherwise you will have gritty detergent – I’ve had this experience and it works fine, but it does have a tendency to not rinse out as well if it’s gritty.

 

Once you have everything cooked down, (you’ll want to divide your detergent equally between your two pots if you need to use that method) add in your second gallon of water and stir it all together well. (Divide the water equally between your pots).  Once it’s all mixed, remove from the heat and let stand over night or at least for a couple of hours. The reason behind this being, that as you can see, the mix is going to solidify, and if you bottle it right away, you’re going to have a heck of a time shaking a gallon of solid gel and squeezing it out. img_0849Once set, I just run my hand mixer through it for a minute or two on medium speed and then bottle it.

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I use the recommended 1/2 c. per load in my high capacity for an extra large load.

* A note on bottles – I used to use milk jugs, but they are thinner, and since you will eventually have to give these guys a shake, I have switched over to the thicker vinegar jugs whose handles won’t crack when you shake them 🙂

A Healthy Nibble Rather Than Kibble

I ran out of dog food! And I really don’t feel like spending $30+ this week on some dry chunks. So, of course, I’m making my darling boy some home made food with absolutely no mystery ingredients. The rest of us are on real food only, why should he be any different?

Firstly, I have made my darling homemade food before, but this was tweeked a bit to take into account the fact that he tends to get a bit.. ahem.. chunky in the winter. His last vet visit put him at 10 pounds over his healthy weight, so this time around I worked on bulking up his food with a few more vegetables and a little bit of fruit to give him more fiber and help keep him fuller.  I think I may be switching to this completely in the winter months from here on out as I have yet to find a low calorie dog food that I think is worth a darn, and he absolutely loves this, so if it does indeed help him shed his lazy pounds it may become a staple in our household. I will happily let you all know if this food does the trick.

As far as ingredients go, my base has always been chicken, stock and carrots when making dog food in a pinch, but, since I did want to up this one, I used Can Dogs Eat.org   to double check my ingredients. What I ended up using was:img_0855

1 lb ground beef (I prefer using chicken for him, but it was freezer burned but not bad and I can’t throw away food..)

About 5 cups water

1 apple cored and chopped – make sure there are NO seeds if you are feeding your dog an apple

2 stalks celery

2 carrots peeled and chopped

1 med/lg potato peeled and chopped – always peel a potato if you’re giving it to your dog

2 c. brown rice – I use regular rice – NOT the minute stuff

1 c. frozen mixed vegetables – Make sure you check what is in the bag. Mine had carrots, peas, green beans and corn.

At the end I also threw in about 1/2 c. oatmeal just to absorb the excess liquid and thicken the pot.

 

img_0857 - CopyPut your water and beef into large pot (I just eyeballed my water) and bring to a boil while chopping up all of your other ingredients once chopped add all fresh produce into pot (leave out rice, frozen veg, and oatmeal). Bring it back up to a boil and add in rice. Bring to a boil again. Once boiling, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 40 minutes. Your rice will vanish. Leave it alone down there!

Once your 40 minutes is up, pop the top and give it a little stir to gauge your extra water. This is img_0858what I had going on –

I kept mine over the heat on low uncovered to reduce, but a very sad, starved pair of brown eyes motivated me to speed things along and throw in that 1/2 a cup or so of oatmeal to soak up what was left. Once my oatmeal sucked up all the extra liquid, I grabbed my hand mixer and just ran it through the pot a couple times to make sure there weren’t any big veggie chunks he could eat around.

 

And this is the resulting doggy chow!

I’m happy to say his bowl has never been cleaner, and he’s never been happier to be my little (76 lb) buddy.img_0859