Saturday, March 31, 2012

Must Try

So this post is not really about my "creations", but rather to tell you to try someone else's.  I've been telling everyone I see about the wonderful treats I've been making using the recipes on this blog: Chocolate Covered Katie

Oh my goodness, I've only made a couple of her recipes, but they have both been so good.  Her recipes taste like they would be fattening, but they're not.  They're actually very healthy.  My favorite is "Cinnamone Roll Pie".  It's like a coffee cake, but you use beans rather than flour.  It's soooo good (the recipe sounds weird, but trust me when I say you won't be disappointed.)  I even left off the icing, just to reduce the amount of sugar, and it was still heavenly.  Here's the link to the recipe:

So if you are looking for healthy snacks/treats, try her blog out.  I'm a fan!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lavender-Rosemary Lemonade

My mother-in-law is a great cook, and she makes the BEST lemon drops, as they are infused with rosemary.  This cocktail inspired my afternoon refreshment (don't worry, I wasn't drinking on the job).  I made a (alcohol-free) Lavender-Rosemary Lemonade, as I just planted said herbs yesterday and was blessed with lemons from a friend's tree. 

Step one: Put 2 or 3 sprigs of rosemary and/or lavender in a sauce pan, along with two cups of water and about half cup sugar (I used a combination of agave surup and raw sugar).  Simmer for awhile...I think I left it on the stove for about 1 hour.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Step two:  Juice about 4 or 5 lemons.  And combine this with your infused water (take the sprigs out at this point, too). 

Step three:  Add some ice and enjoy.  If you need it sweeter, add sugar.  If it's too strong, add a little water.  If you want a "fun drink", I'd suggest adding Vodka :)  or Gin :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I LOVE popcorn.  And it's great that I do, as air-popped popcorn is a yummy, preservative-free snack (or dinner when Tyson's gone).  Madeline is following the generational trend--Grandma, mom, daughter--and loves it, too.  Tonight, since Tyson was gone, Madeline and I had a little popcorn feast.  We started out with a savory popcorn and ended on a newly-created sweet note.  It was delicious, and we ate carrots to make it a more "balanced" meal.

First Course: Olive Oil and Salted Popcorn
I used my air-popper and popped a big bowl's worth.  While it was popping, I heated about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in the microwave for about 15 seconds.  I drizzled this over the popcorn, then sprinkled some sea salt on top, and stirred it around.  Delicious.

Second Course: Cinnamon-Sugar Popcorn
Then I was craving a little sweet something and thought cinnamon and sugar would be yummy on popcorn---it was!  Again, I used my air-popper and popped more kernels (I actually used the leftover kernels from the first batch, so as not to be wasteful).  While it was popping I mixed a little raw sugar with cinnamon and melted about 1 tablespoon butter.  I drizzled the butter, sprinkled the sugar and cinnamon, and stirred.  This was SO good.  I don't know why I've never tried this before!  It was reminiscent of kettle corn and so easy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homemade Deoderant

At first I thought this might make me a little too "hippie", using homemade deoderant, but manufactured ones are full of chemicals which cause yellow pit stains.  And since I live in AZ, I sweat a lot; needless to say, I want to avoid the pit stains, plus just the chemicals in general.

Here's the ingredients:

2-3 Tbsp Coconut Oil (I found this on Amazon; I'm sure Whole Foods and TJ's has it, too)
1/8 Cup Baking Soda
1/8 Cup Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch
***I doubled the recipe since I didn't have a 1/8 measuring cup!

Natures Way Coconut Oil-extra Virgin
Coconut Oil I ordered on Amazon.  $9.  Will go a long way.

Warm the coconut oil in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or just until it liquifies.  Then mix the soda and the cornstarch together and slowly add the coconut oil until it forms a thick paste. 

So I did this, and after it formed the paste it kinda solidified.  But then once you touch it, it softens up, and you can spread it on.  So I kinda spread it like lotion.  I'm sure you could make this in a push-up form and use it more like normal deoderant.  I've been storing mine in just a glass, jam jar. 

Now, you could add any essential oil drops to make it smell the way you want.  I happen to like the coconutty's not strong....but I really don't like scented deoderant in the first place. 

I've been "testing" this deoderant for about 2 weeks, and I think it works great---the same, if not better, than store bought.  It's not super hot yet, so time may tell, but I think I will be sticking with this.  Not only is it better for myself and the environment, but it's also cheaper. Win. Win. Win.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Thanksgiving" in March

Turnip Greens
Tukey Burgers

In cleaning out my pantry, I found a can of cranberry sauce leftover from Thanksgiving.  I thought I should probably use that, and then I remembered a "creation" I had made a while ago and hadn't re-created.  It's a cream cheese filled turkey burger topped with cranberry sauce.   I served this with roasted, diced sweet potatoes and garlic sauteed turnip greens (as my garden is over-flowing with them).  It was like Thanksgiving all over again----but much simpler!

Turkey Burger Recipe:
1 lb. ground turkey
pinch of sage
pinch of salt and pepper
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. finely diced onion

4 T. cream cheese
cranberry sauce (canned, homemade, whatever you like)

Combine everything, minus the cream cheese and cranberry sauce.  Shape into four patties.  When you're forming the patties, leave a little "pocket", and put about one tablespoon of cream cheese in each patty.  Cover the pocket with the meat, so it's enclosed (if a little seeps out it's ok).  Cook the burgers on the grill or stove top griddle.....Mine took probably 8 mins. each side on a medium heat.  I then topped each burger with some cranberry sauce....I did no bun, but you could definitely serve this on a bun, and it'd be delicious!
***To make this even simpler, you could simply put the cream cheese on top of the burger right before it's done cooking, rather than creating the pocket.

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Way to Start the Day

So for the past couple months Tyson, Mads, and I have been snacking on what I call "Energy Balls" (Tyson, the pre-teen apparently, laughs at the name every time).  I will post the recipe in a bit because they are so good.  I had an idea where I could turn it into breakfast.  Here's what I did:

1.  Prep plain oatmeal (instant, microwave, stovetop, whatever), as much as you want.
2.  Add a dollop of peanut butter.
3.  Add a little coconut.
4.  Add some cranberries.
5.  Drizzle with agave syrup or honey.

This is really yummy. And healthy.  And energizing.  I will be eating this on my running days!

Green Clean "Recipes"

All-Purpose Cleaner:
Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water.  Store in spray bottle.

Glass Cleaner:
1 c. rubbing alcohol
1 c. water
1 T. vinegar
Store in spray bottle

Carpet Freshener:
Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to baking soda.  Sprinkle on carpets, and let rest for a couple minutes.  Then vacuum.

Dishwasher Detergent:
1 c. baking soda
1 c. Borax
Store in sealed container.  Use a couple tablespoons, and use vinegar as "jet dry" to help prevent residue.

Dish Soap:
2 cups of Castile soap
1 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar
1/2 cup of warm water
Pour all ingredients into a cleaned out old dish soap bottle and shake until well combined. Give it another good shake before each use. The lemon juice or vinegar helps cut through the grease on your dishes.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Citrus Fruit Dip

For the ladies coming over tonight I'm hosting with Fiesta-inspired snacks, including guacamole, mango salsa, layered bean dip, and coronas :)  I wanted a sweet treat, and I love making a "Margarita" Fruit dip.  The Easy (for non-phx people, that's my fave store Fresh and Easy) doesn't sell limeade, so that was out.  But I "created" a new dip.  Here's the recipe:

-8 oz. cream cheese softened (or I used neufchatel this time)
-a tub of cool whip, thawed (would work with homemade whip cream, too)
-2 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate, thawed

Combine all the ingredients, and then top with a little orange zest if you have it on hand.  To make the original "Margarita" Dip, it's the exact same except you subsitute limeade concentrate for the OJ concentrate. 

Tonight I'm serving the dip with some lemon pound cake, grapes, and honey-wheat pretzels (I personally like the sweet and salty combo).  In the past I've done strawberries, bananas, and mango.  Just use what you have on hand or is in season.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Yogurt Drops

Saw this on Pinterest (where else!) and decided to give it a try yesterday.  You know those popular "yogurt drops" you find in the store; well half of them are filled with crap and the other half, which are actually good, are kinda spendy.  But, you can easily make your own.  Buy some yogurt (whatever brand you like to feed your self or child) and spoon some into a ziploc baggie.  Cut off the tip of the baggie so you can "squeeze" out the yogurt.  I lined a pan with parchment paper, and then squeezed out little drops.  I probably did about 30 with half a cup of yogurt.  Stick it in the freezer for 1 hour, and voila, homemade yogurt drops.  They're really good cold because they taste like frozen yogurt.  I'm storing mine in the freezer as Madeline liked them that way, too.  Seriously, this took all of 5 minutes to do, minus the freezing time.  Try it!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Furniture Polish

On Friday I'm hosting an "event" in which I'm going to show some friends how to make their own cleaning products.  I planned the event about a month ago, and in the meantime, I've been "testing" the products.  All of them work great, although I do plan to tweak the liquid dish soap recipe a little.  One product I hadn't tried yet, but just tried yesterday, was home-made furniture polish.  You just need three things: a spray bottle, some olive oil, and some lemon juice.  Since we live in AZ, lemons are all over the place right now, and Tyson brought some home from work.  So I just squeezed one medium size lemon to get 1/4 cup, and then I added 1/2 cup olive oil.  Ta-da.  I was so impressed with the shine factor.  This is my favorite "cleaner" I've made so far.  You can make as little or as much as you want.  I started with a little just to see how it works.  As long as you keep the proper ratio-1 part lemon juice to 2 parts olive oil- it'll be perfect.