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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Gluten-Free Cornbread

2 cups cornmeal

1 cup rice flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

2 cups milk

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Mix all the dry ingredients.  Form a hollow to cradle the two eggs.  Crack the two eggs into the hollow and add two cups milk to hollow.  Whip the eggs into the milk with a fork or whisk.  Slowly add the sides of your hollow into the mix.  Your batter should NOT be a thick paste.  The consistency you are looking for is the same as a cake mix from a box before you pour it into the pan.  Coat the inside of a cast iron skillet with oil and pour the batter in.  Pop it into the oven and bake until golden brown.  The time will vary by location, but roughly ????? minutes.

*You can test to make sure the inside is done, by inserting a butter knife or toothpick.  If it come out clean, it is done.

I’ll update the time and add a picture next time I make it.

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Posted by on November 23, 2014 in Recipes

 

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Continued Cilantro Chatter

If you read the earlier post about putting the wilted cilantro in water, you know that I found that it survives better in the frig when you put the stems in water.  To add to that post is this new info: Cut the brown withered stems before placing them in water.

Also, if you want to start cilantro in your window, according to the internet you can put them in water on the windowsill and they will develop roots.

We shall see, as I bought cilantro to make salsa tonight and I’m going to give it a try. (No, I won’t give you my salsa recipe.  It isn’t perfected, yet.)

What am I out? $.30?

I’d like to point out to those of you who haven’t thought about it, that I’m actually saving a lot of money by growing my own herbs in the window.  Sure it isn’t much at this point, but it adds up really quickly, especially if you’re buying the fresh herbs instead of the dried ones.  For me, that money goes for any number of things, but if you don’t have anything to spend a little extra money on, far be it for me to tell you how to save a buck.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2014 in In the Garden

 

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Death by Boobs!

I’m not getting any younger, but I almost didn’t get any older.  As I have aged (like many other people), my younger stupidity has caught up with me in the form of aches and pains; creaks and strange gravelly grinding noises.  To stave off the worst of some of these, I have tried running, jogging(the only thing worse than running), walking, tai chi, yoga, swimming, weight lifting, and a million other things that are guaranteed to help you feel young again.

What a load of garden compost!

I don’t know anyone that feels younger for having done any of these things.  I have, however, found that I do creak and ache less if I swim regularly and maintain a certain flexibility with yoga and tai chi, which is what brought me to the place of writing this post.

It all started with Pinterest.  I’ve been having some work related aches and pains in my back and decided I’d try their handy-dandy yoga back stretch for neck and back pain.  See link Yoga

Do NOT do this if you are well endowed!  My boobs almost smothered me!  Luckily, I had sense enough to realize I was endangering my own life and stop before I passed out.

All that being said, it did lead to me finding a better way to store my yoga mat.  It had been lurking in the bottom of my closet, but today I had a lightbulb go off and thought about all the unused space in the TOP of my foyer coat closet.  Sure enough one nail later I was in business, except for the “it wouldn’t stay on the nail” part.  Once again, Pinterest came to mind.  This time in a good way.  I’d seen where people have used those cheap plastic shower curtain rings for hanging scarves and belts and such, so…

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Here it is hung on the door so you can better see how I have it attached.  The picture for the unused space isn’t as good, but you get the idea.

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Posted by on November 22, 2014 in Fitness

 

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Wishy Washing

One of the ways I’ve reined in our spending is soap making.

Have you recorded how much you spend on what and how frequently? $4 per bar, $10-20 for laundry detergent, 88 cents for the cheapest hand wash dish soap and another $4 for the dishwasher detergent. I hate to bean count, but at some point I have to treat my family to wise business practices. When something that literally goes down the drain rings up $300 of the grocery budget every year I have to take notice. That’s a month’s worth of groceries!

I started out in January 2013 with Super Laundry Sauce (blender method). Then DG found Rural Spin’s Green Tea Blender Soap and we’re turning out bath bars. And we found recipes we want to try for dishwasher detergent, too.

But once I’ve been at something for a few rounds I invariably start tinkering. Really, it’s all a part of learning, and I hope that you’ll do some creative learning and tell us about it. That’s how complex evolution and higher thinking continue. Evolve or die.

I looked at making my own powdered laundry detergent but found that aside from weight, pre-packaging and spill clean up there aren’t many advantages. Quite the opposite, in fact.
But then again, Super Laundry Sauce isn’t perfect either. It can be messy, doesn’t dissolve and leaves smears on DG’s uniforms; the process is mildly inefficient and while sweltering through summer insomnia I discovered that the chemistry behind it is flawed (sorry, no links)- more on that once I’ve finished my trial runs.

And just so you’re aware, it looks like a meth lab or explosives if you don’t keep your storage cabinet, containers and loose chemicals well labeled and cleaned. Hit up google, it’s entertaining and educative. Various chemicals and some weird stuff in old peanut containers with a crust around the lid. Yeah. Too bad I can’t turn this into an amusing continuing ed opportunity for the local fire department any more.

But the goal is making it better, right?
First I threw a measure of SLS in an old jar with a cup of water and shaking. And hey, it was an improvement over plain paste. It’s just a little messy and time consuming, especially when BG only needs 2 seconds to sneak down stairs and set the water heater to self destruct.

Next up, diluting it via counter top blenders and stick blenders. OK, except for the time and noise – the Basement Troll works nights, and frankly I’m too lazy to spend half an hour every week on something so mindless.

Enter Home Depot. Or as I hate to call it, the Tim Taylor Method.
DG, in her infinite and varied wisdom, pointed out that Gnome Depot has 5 gallon buckets, lids and drywall mixers – paint stirrers on steroids.

A quickly drilled hole in the lid and a drill chuck adapter for the mixer and I was set. OK, I lied. I tried 2 gallon buckets – messy and not enough output. And I already had a 5 gallon with a hole from my failed hand washer project.
Oh, and use a siphon because pouring is messy and means dealing with a fourth of a jug of foam.

I tried my neighbours discarded laundry detergent dispenser/container for storage, but it was tough to clean out and I had to shake it every time. If you haven’t read elsewhere, home made liquid laundry soap separates. I’m working on a cure, but in the mean time I use a 1 qt peanut container, marked per load. For the bulk I just use a well rinsed gallon milk jug.

Now I can muck up a month’s worth of laundry soap in 5 minutes.
Stay tuned for the sciency stuff and hopefully a video to come.
-Cappy

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in A Penny Saved

 

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Lil’ Sprouts!

Baby, it’s cold outside!

But inside the house, my garden is growing happily in the kitchen window and in the living room window as well.  A couple of weeks ago, I filled cardboard egg crates with soil.  Then, I added seeds and a handful of hope.

Today when i checked them…

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Large Leaf Basil

I have lil’ sprouts!  I told a couple of friends at work about this venture and got looks of amazement.  They all acted like I was doing something amazing, which on the one hand I am and on the other it’s the most natural thing in the world.  There are so many people who limit themselves with things like “I could never” and “I’m not that talented”.  For that reason, they become bitter and unhappy as the people around them test themselves and expand their horizons.  Don’t be one of those people; instead try something new!

Not all of my seeds have sprouted yet, but I have high hopes and if they do, I’ll add lemon balm, lemongrass, tarragon, savory, a new type of basil, and thyme to my indoor herb garden.

(On a side note, all the lil’ sprouts that I don’t keep will be going to new homes with my coworkers who are hopeful that I’ll also share my homemade red sauce recipe!)

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in In the Garden

 

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Introducing the Recipes Category!

About the time I turned six years old, I started packing on the pounds despite the fact that my activity and food consumption hadn’t really changed. My parents did nothing except tell me I was just eating too much. This was followed by everyone telling me that I was fat, ugly, etc.

Long story short, I kept gaining and thought they were right. Then my sister who had done exactly the same thing, was diagnosed with a thyroid problem. I started reading up on thyroid and realized that I had most of the symptoms. Problem was that when I got my numbers run, they were normal.

I started self-treating the symptoms with l-tyrosine and iodine. I lost sixty pounds and got pregnant. (Thyroid can make you sterile. My ex and I had tried for years to have a kid.) During my pregnancy, I gained all the weight back plus some.

This year, I found a book that told me about a disease called Hashimoto’s Disease. Basically, a food intolerance causes your body to freak out and start attacking your thyroid, slowly destroying it over time, which causes thyroid symptoms.

The book also suggested going gluten-free as a way to control the disease. Cappy and I decided to give it a try. For a week, we cut most of the gluten from out diet. That one week sold both of us on the benefits. We saw a reduction in joint pain, food consumption, and most importantly for both of us… Our low blood sugar issues went down significantly.

I’m telling you all of this, so that you will understand that all of the recipes that are coming up are gluten-free and as organic as we can afford to make them. They will also be as homemade as possible because homemade is cheaper, most of the time. The other thing that will be here are “cheats” or “hacks” for convenience foods, i.e. Those things we eat when we don’t have time to “really” cook. (Hey, we’re human too! There are times when our schedules are crazy too.)

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As a side note, if my story sounds familiar and you would like the name of the book, simply send me a shout and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2014 in Recipes

 

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Pitifully Wilted

So I was just cleaning out the refrigerator when I came across this pitiful bunch of store-bought cilantro.  I started to throw it away and then stopped myself.  I saw on some website or another that you can stand greens up in a pitcher with a little water in the bottom and they will stay fresh a lot longer in the frig.  Hmmm….  Would the same trick save this little bunch of herbs?  There’s only one way to find out.  So I lopped off the ends and stuck them in the jar with a little water.  I’ll update this post when I have results.

imageIf a picture is worth a thousand words, here you go!  Twenty-four hours later, my poor wilted cilantro isn’t great, but it is a lot better, which bodes well for the next bunch that I buy.  That is if I can’t get it to regrow like a recent article I read suggests.

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Posted by on November 15, 2014 in In the Garden

 

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