Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Curried Carrot Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1 rib celery
4 Tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
3 cloves garlic
4 tsp curry pwdr or curry paste
1 tsp garam masala
6 cups vegetable stock
6 large carrots (cut into chunks)
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
1 lemon (juiced)
salt & cilantro

Add onion, celery, garlic & grated ginger to a soup pot with heated olive oil. Cook on medium heat until the onions are softened. Add the curry & garam masala and cook for a few minutes.
Stir in the stock and carrots and cook until carrots are soft. Bring to a boil, add coconut milk. Heat through and remove from heat. Add lemon juice & salt.
Blend soup well until smooth. Serve and enjoy!!! It freezes well too(-:

Even my carnivorous man loves this for lunch.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cloth Diapers


Some of you are well past the diaper stage with your kids and / or grandkids but for those of you who are in the midst of it I need to tell you about our amazing experience with cloth diapers.
My husband was initially apprehensive about trying them but now he can't imagine not doing cloth diapers. We started with a service in town which was AMAZING (you put out your dirty diapers each Monday and they pick them up and drop off a sanitized new bag for the week) - amazing! We've now just switched over to buying our own cloth and doing our own washing and I must say it is FAR easier than we ever thought. For those of you who are trying to save money this seems a 'no brainer' to me. Plus being that we are quite environmentally conscious we feel this is the best way to go. Anyhow, for anyone interested in either the service and / or buying your own supplies I HIGHLY recommend Kelly at http://www.tidytushees.ca/store/catalog/ She delivers within the Kelowna area and for those outside of Kelowna she ships and ONLY charges the actual shipping cost. She's a work at home mom (WAHM) so I love to support her! I can't rave enough about her.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Splish Splash... Safe Baby Bath Toys


Our little girl just turned one and absolutely loves her bath so I thought it would be fun to add some toys to the tub. Unfortunately SO many of the tub toys out there (duckies, etc) contain PVC and / or Phthalates and / or BPA so... I did a little research and was thrilled to find that there are many products that are deemed 'safe' by the greenies (-: and don't cost a fortune.

http://www.squidoo.com/saferbathtoys

I just went to our local Toys R Us and found the Sassy Count 'N Spell letter & numbers as well as the Double Duckies and they were not expensive. There are plenty more out there and this site has lists for safe teething toys and others too.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The 'Dirty Dozen'

With 'organic' being the buzz word these days it's challenging to know which things to splurge for and which ones to not bother with.

I've found this link really helpful...
http://www.foodnews.org/pdf/EWG_pesticide.pdf

You can go there and print off a wallet sized guide for the 'dirty dozen' (12 produce items MOST highly sprayed with pesticides and chemicals). It also tells you which ones not to bother with (unless you really want to).

So bananas, broccoli, avacados and onions are among those that are 'best' (don't bother buying organic). But the 'dirtiest'... peaches, apples, peppers, celery, lettuce, spinach, potatoes and on. You can go online for the full report but thought this might be helpful for you. Also, this site is funded by donations so there is no industry funding which means it is pretty 'grass roots' and not being encouraged to 'fudge' any numbers by any food / grower industry associations.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Salmon with Cucumber Dill Sauce

This is another family favourite. Healthy and delish!

1 salmon fillet (size depends on how big you are cooking for)

Mix in a small glass bowl and cover in fridge for at least 1 hour...
2 shallots, diced
10 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp fresh dill, snipped
3 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp olive oil

Bake or BBQ for about 30 minutes at around 350.

CUCUMBER DILL SAUCE...
1/4-1/2 cucumber
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 cups plain yogurt
1 tsp lemon juice
pepper to taste
3 green onions, finely chopped (white part only)
2 tsp dill, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)

Chop cucumber finely and toss with salt and let sit 15 minutes in a sieve.
Stir it into 1.5 cups of plain yogurt and 1 tsp lemon juice. Salt & Pepper to taste. Stir in onion an dill.

ENJOY! It's awesome with rice (basmati or wild are our favourites).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Roast Sticky Chicken (Crock Pot)

4 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion pwdr
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder /or 1 whole clove minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 large roasting chicken
potatoes

Rub the spice mix into the skin of the chicken. Arrange potatoes around the chicken and bake on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours. This is VERY moist and will be 'falling off the bone tender'. ENJOY - it's my husband's favourite(-: For those of us who don't eat meat this is a great spice mix for tofu or eggs too(-:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nan Knows Best

Our great-grandma is turning 90 next month and is a wealth of knowledge. I was talking to her about what kind of cleaners she used growing up. Talk about cheap!

VINEGAR
Disinfecting cleaner (non-toxic) ... dilute vinegar with water. Use to clean and disinfect bathrooms, counters, kids toys, door handles, etc. We also use a 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water solution with essential oil drops to wash the floors.
Bleach alternative ... pour in 1/2 cup to your load ... it works to eliminate static too.
Fruit flies... put out a small shallow dish of vinegar to get rid of them.
Tag / sticker removal... to get rid of the residue left from sticky stickers or tags just use vinegar.
Insect bites... dab on vinegar to take the 'itch' out!
To de-clog a drain... pour in 1 cup of baking soda... then 1 cup of hot vinegar (I don't always heat it first) and then let it sit for 5-15 minutes (sometime I wait 30 minutes). They pour a kettle full of boiling water down. VOILA!
Glasses that are 'cloudy'.... rinse in vinegar.
Coffee Maker or kettle... use vinegar to de-scale

BAKING SODA
Fridge... leave a box in your fridge and freezer to absort odour.
Shoes, sports equipment... fill an old rag or towel with soda and leave to sit (or live in a sports bag that is stinky!)
Fire extinguisher... have a box handy in the kitchen. If you ever have flames from an electrical fire the baking soda will put it out.
Veggie cleaner...sprinkle soda in water and soak and rinse your veggies to clean them.
Heart burn... if you have heart burn just drink water with 1/2 tsp in 1/2 cup of water.
Laundry... add 1/2 cup to your load to eliminate odours.
Dishwasher... run a load through with soda to clean out the inside of your d/w.
Shower curtains... if they're stinky soak them in a sink of baking soda and water.
Deoderant... my friend uses soda as a deoderant. She just rubs it onto her arm pits.

There are PLENTY more uses but there are a few(-: And these two are pretty inexpensive and versatile. Non-toxic too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dishwashing Detergent


We are testing out a home-made dishwashing mix that is inexpensive and green. Feel free to try it and let me know what you think...

1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup table salt
1/4 cup citric acid
** essential oil is optional for scent (lemongrass is nice)

Mix and store in an empty jar. Use 2 Tbsp / load.

**note: be sure to fill your rinse dispenser with VINEGAR to help your dishes get clean and prevent them from clouding.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Edible Play Dough Recipes

One warning. These smell pretty good so the smell may entice your child to begin nibbling(:

PEANUT BUTTER PLAY DOUGH

Ingredients:
One 18-oz jar creamy peanut butter (or another nut butter)
6 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup non-fat dry milk

Directions: Mix ingredients together, using varying amounts of dry milk for desired consistencies.

Storage: When not using, MUST be stored in an airtight container.

SMOOTH PEANUT BUTTER PLAY DOUGH
Ingredients:
2 cups smooth peanut butter (or another nut butter)
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups dried milk
2/3 cups honey

Directions: Mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined. Storage: When not using, MUST be stored in an airtight container.

Baby Food Guide


A few of you have been asking me about baby food recipes. My recommendation to anyone with a baby is to purchase SUPER BABY FOOD by Ruth Yaron - it is a MUST and a very practical guide that helps you introduce foods age appropriately. She has done SO much research and has endless ideas and recipes for healthful, affordable food!!

www.superbabyfood.com

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cake-in-the-making


My parents were up for a birthday visit and I wanted to make a cake that we could all eat. So that meant a cake with no dairy, no sugar and heart healthy(: I modified a couple of recipes to make a tastey cake thought it wasn't as moist as I'd like so I'm suggesting to add in some banana and it''ll be tastey.

1 cup cashew pieces
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup honey
salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 tsp lemon juice
1-2 bananas
1 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder

Blend cashews and water until VERY smooth (make sure there is no grit left from the nuts).
Add honey, salt, vanilla, egg and lemon juice and blend again.
Combine dry ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.
Pour into an 8" square or round pan (I grease mine with coconut oil).
Bake for about 35 minutes at 350.
Remove and cool.

Chocolate FROSTING
1 cup dates
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup cocoa

Puree all ingredients in a food processor. Spread onto cake - it is DELICIOUS!! If there's leftovers you can use a spatulat to put it into a glass loaf pan and freeze it. Tastes like gelato!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cashew Cream Sauce Recipe

I have served this to several friends and family. It is delicious and most people just though it was a cream sauce and I didn't mention it was a CASHEW cream sauce(: This is heart healthy and the 'good' fat!

1 cup raw cashews
3 cups water
2 Tbsp flour

flavour options...
onion powder, celery salt and / or salt, chicken style seasonsing

Place cashews into a blender. Add 1 cup of the water and blend until VERY smooth and creamy (no grit left AT ALL).

Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT remaining water and continue blending.

In a sauce pan bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add blended mixture while whisking constantly and bring to a second boi.

Remove from heat and serve hot over veggies or use as a sauce for scalloped potatoes or creamed noodles. For a plain white sauce omit the seasonings.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Granola Bar Recipe - YUM!

4 cups rolled oats
2 cup quick-oats
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
1/2 cup almonds
1 1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup almond milk
1/3 cup coconut (optional)
dried fruit (eg: dried apricots cut up or raisins or chocolate chips)

Process 4 cups of ROLLED OATS to make them into a flour-like texture.
In a large bowl combine powdered oats, quick oats, cinnamon, salt and almonds.
In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix. (Add dried fruit/mix ins if desired).
Use a spatula to pat into a baking dish (I grease mine with coconut oil).
Sprinkle coconut on top (if desired).

Cut into bars FIRST and then bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cool and then re-cut them. Enjoy! Yields about 24 bars.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Coconut Curry Stir Fry Recipe

1 onion
garlic
curry powder or paste
1 can coconut milk
fresh cut veggies --> suggestions:
carrots, sliced
celery, sliced
bok choy, sliced
kale, sliced
red pepper, cut
snow peas
bean sprouts
zucchini, sliced
(other options could include mini corn and mushrooms) -- use whatever you like and have!

Heat the coconut milk in a pan and add the curry (pud lid on for 2-3 minutes). Let the curry heat to release the flavour. Then add the onions & garlic and allow them to soften.

Add the vegetables starting with carrots as they take longest to cook. Cook until desired consistency is accomplished.

Serve on a bed of rice - we love basmati.

Protein options: you can add nuts, tofu or black beans/chick peas (or meat) to this. It is a family favourite - very tastey!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Smoothie Recipe

1/3 - 1/2 cup orange juice (depending how thick you like your smoothie)
1 frozen banana
1/2 - 1 cup frozen berries
1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
stevia or honey

In a blender place orange juice, frozen banana, berries, yogurt and sweetener. Blend until smooth and enjoy. This is our family favourite smoothie! We really don't measure so you can guesstimate the amounts and adjust them to your liking for consistency.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Coconut Milk 'Whipped Cream' Recipe

We have a number of family and friends that are unable to have dairy. This is such a quick, inexpensive and easy-to-have-on-hand recipe that we always have a few cans of this on hand.

1 can of GOLD* Rooster Brand Coconut Milk

Simply chill the can (we leave one in the fridge). When ready to prepare simply open the can and scrape all of the coconut fat and coconut milk into a bowl and beat on high speed until it is whipped. Add a bit of maple syrup or honey and/or vanilla if you like. That's it!

It's delicious and has a wonderful coconut flavour (very mild) too. We serve it with the oat waffles and berries and everyone loves it. Enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Oat Waffle Recipe


Oat Waffles

Dry Ingredients:

4 cups rolled oats

½ cup ground millet (or cornmeal)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla (optional)

½ cup almonds

5 cups water

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and place in fridge for a few hours (or overnight).

When ready to cook, pour 2 cups of batter at a time into the blender and blend until smooth.

Preheat waffle iron and bake until golden grown.

Freeze leftovers and pop them in the toaster to warm.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Yummy Muffin Recipe


1 cup whole spelt flour
1 cup barley flour (or use 1 cup white and 1 cup whole wheat flour in place
of spelt and barley if you prefer)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ripe bananas, peeled
3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
½ cup apple juice, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 zucchini, finely grated (about 1 ½ cups) --> I just blend the zucchini up in the blender separately
½ cup finely chopped or ground walnuts
½ cup raisins (optional, they add a touch of sweetness)

Preheat the oven to 375ยบ. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Combine flours, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda in a mixing
bowl.

Place the bananas, blackstrap molasses, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar
in a blender and blend until smooth. Mix the wet and dry ingredients
together, then fold in the zucchini, walnuts, and currants or raisins. Use a
bit more apple juice if needed to wet all the flour.

Divide mixture evenly into the 12 lined muffin cups, and bake for 20
minutes, or until the top springs back to the touch. Remove muffins from the
pan and cool on a wire rack.

* These are SO delicious if I do say so myself(:

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chemical-Free Hand Sanitizer

Mix together

1/4 cup witch hazel extract
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
1 tsp. vegetable glycerin
1 tbsp. lemon juice or organic apple cider vinegar
10 drops tea tree oil

Store in an airtight container. Simply squeeze a little onto your hands and rub in.

Snicker Snacks Recipe


Snicker Snacks


½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup sesame seeds

¼ cup honey

½ cup nut butter (I use almond butter)

½ cup cocoa



Coconut (optional) -- roll in coconut for a variation


In a food processor add 1 ingredient at a time and pulse until the mixture forms a large ball. Pinch off and roll into balls.

Oh my goodness – they are delicious! They really taste as good as Snickers Bars(:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Economical, Chemical-Free Laundry Soap


In my recent research over the past year or so for a laundry detergent I have been amazed at how economical these products are and how little you use. Just because it is 'green' and chemical-free (and dye free and fragrance free) doesn't mean you'll pay more. Added benefits?

bb= safe for baby clothes and cloth diapers
- = you use MUCH less than commercial brands
* = WAY better for your clothes, the environment, your skin
$ = cheaper than brands you buy at the store
scent = unscented (scents are usually chemically derived and actually build up on your clothes and combine to the chemical residue)

Here is the best I've found in a powdered form...
Wonder Wash (www.wonderwash.net) gets 80 loads per container and costs about $0.14 / load if you buy in bulk direct. You literally use 1 Tablespoon per load. There are no phosphates, dyes, perfumes, bleach, color, brighteners, whiteners, sulfates, chemicals, etc. Best on the market!
--> since my original post of this I have been to Superstore pricing out these other brands (including NO NAME) which are ALL more expensive than ordering Wonder Wash directly from their company. The only thing is that you had to buy a large quantity box... what I'm doing is ordering a bulk order and splitting it with 3 friends so we'll all pay $50 and have enough to last us about a year!!! Check the website for ordering info or you can order it locally in smaller quantities but it is much more expensive(:

For price point comparison...
Watkins Laundry Soap gets 80 loads per box and costs about $0.22 / load (great ingredients)
Malaleuca ($0.23 / load) -- looks pretty good for ingredients too
No Name Superstore $18+tax 150 loads ($0.14 / load) it's full of scents, fillers and other junk
Tide $24.40 90 loads ($0.31/ load)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (no sugar, no butter/marg)


Mish’s Cookies...
Okay so you might think they'd not taste good without the abundance of butter, margerine and sugar but they are amazing and filling too! When my husband loves them too I know they're good. And as for the chocolate chips... you've gotta live so those are a 'must' in my opinion.

In a blender place


1+ cup dates

2/3-1 cup boiling hot water

1 cup cashew pieces (much cheaper than whole ones)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp lemon juice

¾ tsp salt

Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. Puree until smooth.

In a large bowl combine

½ cup spelt / whole wheat flour

½ cup rolled oats

2 tsp baking powder

Pour pureed ingredients into the dry and stir to mix. Add desired ‘add ins’ (I use 1/2 bag of mini chocolate chocolate chips).

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. YUMMY!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Economical, Chemical-Free HAND SOAP



Purchase Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap (unscented or peppermint is nice) from any healthy food store (I pay $9.99 for 472 mL). Use 1 part liquid soap with 3 parts water in a sudsing soap pump. The pictures shown here are (LEFT) a glass one purchased from Winners / Home Sense for about $10 and a plastic one (kids bathroom) purchased from Whole Foods.

$ = minimal... I guesstimate about $1 per fill in your soap dispenser
scent = 'choose your own adventure' scent... add any essential oil
ingredients = water, organic coconut & organic olive oil, organic hemp oil, organic jojoba oil, citric acid, vitamin E.

* This is great soap for the entire family... from babies to adults. We use it as hand soap, body wash and baby soap/shampoo. A little goes a long way!

Groovy Granola Recipe


Groovy Granola

My friend Tracy shared this wonderful recipe with me some time ago. We adapted the recipe slightly and have been hooked on this granola ever since!

Dry Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats

2 cups rolled spelt

2 cups rolled kamut

6 Tbsp ground flax seed

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups hot water

¾ honey

1/2 cup grape seed oil

2 tsp vanilla

Preparation:

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.

In a glass measuring cup combine the wet ingredients.

Pour wet ingredients over the dry and stir to combine.

Bake in a large baking dish for 1 hour at 250 F stirring every 15 minutes or so.

Watch out – this disappears almost as quickly as you make it!