Friday, August 31, 2012

Freezing limes and ginger root

Who knew? you can freeze citrus fruits! I did not know this until I bought a bunch of limes. I got such a great deal, I got a little carried away. We used a bunch but there are still some left.

There are two different methods for freezing citrus fruits. Freeze them whole, or freeze the juice and rind.

The rind can be taken from the fruit and frozen in an a freezer bag.
The juice can be squeezed and poured into ice cube trays, frozen, then placed in freezer bags. It is recommended to measure the juice into 1 Tablespoon cubes for ease of use later on.

I chose to freeze the limes whole. Just pop them into a  ziptop style freezer bag and into the freezer they go. When you are ready to use them thaw a bit under running water, or thaw in the microwave for a few seconds on high.

As a side note:  The freezer changes the texture of the fruit, once frozen, it is only good for juicing or grating the rind. You can freeze lemons, limes, and oranges; then you will  have the juice or rind for your favorite dishes.

Ginger root, It is fabulous. Great in the winter for making tea when you are sick. When you are cooking asian dishes, it tastes so much better than the dried stuff. There is no comparison. I keep ginger in the freezer for just such uses.

Peel the root, the place in a resealable freezer bag. Keep in the freezer for up to a year.
When I need some grated ginger root, I pull it out of the freezer and grate off what I need. I make sure to put it right back in the freezer. Now you will always have "fresh" ginger when needed.

this post shared with penny pinching party

simple pleasures

Sometimes it is the simplest things that make us happy. Griddle toast is one of those things.  What is griddle toast? It is simply toast cooked the old fashioned way, before the advent of the toaster.

Griddle toast  also known as skillet toast  with fruit. It is one of my favorite breakfasts that we have while camping.
Griddle toast is sooooo easy and yummy.

To make griddle toast you will need

a griddle or a skillet

1. Heat the skillet or griddle over a medium high heat
2. Butter the bread on both sides
3. Place the bread  on the griddle
4. Cook about 2 minutes a side, until golden brown and toasty
watch the toast  closely so it does not burn.

It does take a bit more work than popping bread in the toaster, but the results are wonderful.  The butter is cooked into the bread, so you get a different flavor than just dry toast. Crisp and buttery yum. Try it as a weekend breakfast, or as an afternoon snack.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

confessions of an emotional eater

I am an emotional eater!  It runs in the family. It is ingrained in me, and it is not an easy thing to overcome.  I overcame it for a while when I was single. I had lost 90 pounds in a year and a half. I was looking good and feeling good too. Over the last seven and a half years I have put back on 80 of those 90 pounds.  At the time, I used music as my medium for feeling and experiencing emotions. I had learned to use music instead of food. Instead of eating sweet stuff when feeling happy, I would listen to happy music. Instead of eating high fat, salty food when depressed, I listened to music that reflected that emotion. When I was feeling bored, sometimes cruchy food  was the answer, Sometimes it was creamy foods. When I felt those urges to eat those foods not because I was hungry; but feeling emotions, I used music. I found that I could divert my emotions with music and the cravings for food would pass. It was working for me.I was happy and healthy. I was eating good foods, I was loving myself. Life was at a good place. I did well with this for a year and a half, until I found the love of my life, my husband.

I found that spending time cultivating a relationship with my husband became more important that developing a relationship with myself. I loved taking care of him. I enjoyed making  those comfort foods that I knew he would like. I was enjoying the love that I felt from him. It was a good relationship. I was feeding my spirit well, yet forgot to feed my body. I forgot my mantra which was I EAT TO FUEL MY BODY, NOT TO FEED MY EMOTIONS! We were only married a short while when we found out we were pregnant.

Being pregnant is not easy on a body. I experienced alot of  sickness. It got to a point that I would eat "whatever I could tolerate". After coming out of pregnancy and food tasted good again, I found myself eating everything and anything. About a year later, I found out I was pregnant with another. We ended up having two more children.  Having three babies in the first 4 years of marriage became emotionally and physically draining.

I turned to food again. I was feeling stress. Stress was not one of those emotions that I felt on a regular basis when single. Life was easy when single. Once marriage and kids set in I was feeling stress quite often. I did not have the skills to deal with that emotion. It was so natural to go back to emotional eating. Life was busy, Finding time to take a shower was about the only time I had for me. Figuring out what you are feeling and finding music to match is not a high priority when there are three little ones needing all your time and attention. Life became a blur, and my eating became out of control again.


A few months ago, I heard a term "Carb Coma" I thought what are they talking about? Then I looked back in my life. I realized that I  have spent most of my life in a carb coma.  I used to describe is as a "Fat full feeling". Feeling full and totally satisfied, and content in your tummy. Whole grains and vegetables do not evoke that feeling. They leave you with a different feeling. They do not put you in that place. Sometimes I feel like I need to have that high fat, high sugar treat, I want to be in that place that it puts me; that carb coma.  I learned to live outside that place. I had to be content in other areas of my life not just in my stomach. I did it for a year and a half. What happened?

Old habits die hard! I have spent all of my life except that year and a half in a carb coma. It is a comfortable place to be. I can hide my emotions under the pillow of white foods, white bread, pasta, rice, cookies, cakes, french fries chips, etc. It is so much easier to bury the emotions than to feel them and deal with them. I still struggle with wanting to live in that carb coma place. I sill crave that "fat full" comfortable feeling. It is where I have lived most of my life. I am learning to be content and not just in my tummy. I am wanting to teach my children to do the same. I see my son, I hear him saying "I am still hungy" when there is food on his plate. It is telling me that he does not feel that carb coma. He will say "I am not hungry for that food" He wants the high fat, high carb foods. I do not want him to follow along these same patterns. Changing my patterns will change him. I will be the example for him. I will break the family cycle!

 I am on a journey to deal with emotions. I am on a quest to conquer the emotional eater inside. It is alot easier now that I have growing children instead of babies. The kids are big enough that they do not have to have constant supervision. Although my three year old still needs alot. I have found that blogging replaced the music that used help bring my emotions into focus. It is working for me at the moment. I am begining to be content and full in all areas of my life. I am able to let it come from life experiences rather than from my tummy. I am feeling fulfilled from the outside in. I am feeling real nourishment, and real fulfilment.

I am learning to live a real full life. My weight still prevents me physically from doing alot that I want. but that is changing. My husband is glad to see the "old me" (the one that he married) back. The kids love having a present parent. I am not as depressed as I was a few months ago. Life is getting better. I am not walking about in the "carb coma fog". It is a process and a journey. Come along with me. Get out of the fog of a carb coma! Start living and loving!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

on butter and other real food

YES I EAT REAL BUTTER AND EGGS!  I couldn't belive it when my sister told me she is going to start eating real butter. She has been  anti-fat, anti-sugar etc. She went to a class on cooking with whole foods, and decided that real food is where it is at!  I was overjoyed! She is really trying to make a difference in her family. We can start sharing recipes and enjoying life together. I am glad she has seen the light. I am getting back to it. In the last few months I have really made some great strides with my own family. I am glad that those I love are getting it also.

I read a blog post a bit back where the author said something like this; take what they are telling you and do totally opposite. If they promote it as healthy, do not eat it. If they say it is bad for you, eat it anyways. About 90% of the time it will come back that it was not the total truth.  Nearly all of it is a marketing game. Most of what you hear out there comes from marketers who's main objective is to make the competition's product seem bad, so that their product will sound great!

I can't take it anymore. The product claims out there are so overwhelming. Everyone is screaming so loud to be heard over the other guys. From the grocery store, to the health food store, the Tv to the internet, there are so many voices out there. START LISTENING TO YOUR OWN BODY AND INNER VOICE. for me, I did really well when I was doing that. When I got married and had kids. I neglected me. I started eating whatever was closest, and quickest. Convinience and easiness got in my way and I lost focus. My health is telling me about it. NO MORE. My body tells me what I need. Real food, Naked food.  Whole grains, as themselves; not overprocessed cold cereal  made with whole grains plus alot of extra stuff. Real fruits and vegetables as themselves. Kale chips made with kale, oil and salt; not dried up, ground up, mashed up with a bunch of other ingredients fried into vegetable chips stuff.

It does take time and planning, but is well worth the efforts put into it.
keep a watch out for more  updates from the feild as we journal our way to health here at life less hurried.

I wrote an earlier post about making your own butter, and another couple post about real food and what it means in our world.  the links to those posts are below

butter making

get real food into everyday life

can we afford to eat healthy?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

fun in the kitchen


Making your own water color paints from your kitchen is Super easy

you will need

3 Tablespoons Baking soda
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup

food coloring

In a bowl mix all but the food coloring
divide the mix among little pots, soda pop lids, ice cube trays  whatever little thing you have to put it in.
We used an ice cube tray that makes sticks for water bottles.

Once divided, mix a few drops of food coloring in each portion of color

Can be used right away, but it is better to let the paints dry overnight.

This is alot cheaper than buying paints already made. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

why I wash dishes by hand

 Doing dishes is so much more than a chore. For me it is a time to get to know my children, or in yesterday's case; my husband. There is something almost "magical" that happens when you are working together with someone. Kids, especially teens; start to open up and share what they are feeling. This is part of the reason why I choose to wash dishes by hand.

I do not wash all of the dishes by hand. I usually put the cups, plates, and silverware in the dishwasher. I love that it sanitizes them. The pots, pans, bowls, knives, stirring spoons, spatulas etc. I hand wash. I hate that these big items take up so much room, and I hate using so much energy and water, not to mention the cost of soap to run the dishwasher.
This system works for us, I started letting my little boy help me when he was just over a year and a half. He would stand on a chair and watch. It began as a way to keep tabs on him. If he was helping me, I knew he was not sitting on top of his new baby sister. He got to where he could help more and more. Now he is nearly seven and he can do most of it by himself. Yes, it takes extra time to wash the dishes rather than throw them all in the dishwasher and hit run. The time involved is an investment in us. It is teaching the kids the value of work. It is teaching them the value of family. It is teaching them to be independent. The list could go on and on. For us we will continue in the tradition because I know how important it is to our family.

 Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I have written several other posts about loving and teaching the children. Some of my favorite are linked below. Thanks for coming by, and come back soon.

5 love languages love them in a way they understand

blessing other lives with the kids in tow


when values are challenged

what is simple living

Saturday, August 18, 2012

peach dessert

It is peach season around these parts. My Grandmother would always bottle peaches. Then while the peaches were at the peak she would make her peach dessert. It was a creamy, peachy, grahm cracker delight.  She would only make it once a year when the peaches were on. It was a real treat worth waiting for. I miss her so much. I am grateful for her patience to teach me the art of canning and preserving. I hope that I can pass that on to my own children. Below is the link to an older post I have written about learning to cook with her.

Cooking with Grandma

Now on to the recipe

Peach Dessert

2 cups water
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1 small package peach  flavored Jello
4 cups sliced ripe peaches
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cube (4oz) margarine melted
1 8 ounce package cream cheese softened
1 8 ounce tub whipped topping thawed
1/2 cup powdered sugar

step 1. Bing the water, constarch and sugar to a boil
step 2. Stir the jello powder into the hot mix
step 3. Let this mix sit about an hour until cool
step 4. Stir in sliced peaches and chill well in the fridge
step 5 Mix the grahm cracker crumbs, melted margarine, and 6 Tablespoons powdered sugar
step 6. Press about half of the cracker mix in the bottom of a 9x13 pan
step 7. Blend the softened cream cheese, whip topping, and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy
step 8. Spread the chilled fruit mix over the grahm crust
step 9. Spread the cream cheese mix over the fruit
step 10. top with the remaining crumb mix

Chill for an additional 30 minutes or so before serving
 use within 24 hours  When left longer the peaches and crumbs get too soggy.

This is a great dish to bring to a late summer potluck meal

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Zucchini pound cake

This is such a wonderful recipe! It is a true winner!

This recipe is really good. It is one that I only make like once a year or so (when the zucchini is plentiful). Although it is made with Zucchini, it is still a sweet treat and should be treated as such.

To make zucchini pound cake you will need

1 cup grated zucchini tossed with 1 Tablespoon flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 Tablespoon finely grated orange peel
5 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites

Preheat the oven to 350
prepare a tube/bundt  pan by greasing and flouring it

1. Beat the butter  and sugar  in a large bowl until light and fluffy ( about 2 minutes)
2. Beat in the vanilla, orange peel,  and orange juice.
3. Beat in the eggs one at a time. mixing well between additions.
4. Stir in the zucchini
5. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form
6.Gently fold about 1/3 the flour and 1/2 the egg whites into the batter
7. repeat
8. Fold in the remaining flour
9. Spoon the mix into the prepared  pan
10. Bake in 350 oven for about an hour until firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
11. cool ten minutes
12. unmold 

Very important to let it cool 10 minutes before unmolding. Do not cool completly in the pan or it may not come out in one peice.

Oh how I wish my camera was working so that I could show you a picture of the finished product!  I suppose you will have to use your immagination, or make some yourself.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The best ever waffles! homemade with natural yeast

If you missed my first post about baking with a natural sweet yeast, click the link below.
baking with natural yeast

I have to admit baking with the natural yeast  really isn't as bad as I made it seem in that last post. I was just frustrated with learning how to make bread using a sponge method. I am really enjoying the flavors and textures. The bread is getting progressively better. We made a pizza and the whole family loved it. Our favorite is still the waffles. They come out with a nice nutty flavor, so crisp on the outside and nice and tender in the middle. YUM! 

To make natural yeast waffles

It begins with growing out a starter with 3/4 cup warm water and 1 cup whole wheat flour. The night before I want waffles I feed the starter by adding another 3/4 cup warm water and 1 cup flour and let that sit and grow overnight. In the morning, making waffles is a snap.

Preheat the waffle iron. While it is heating make the batter.

I take the whole mass of starter and scoop it into a bowl.
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons oil or melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda

stir it all together with a wooden spoon until smooth. (The starter tends to be a bit stringy, and it takes a bit of patience to get it all stired together). When it is all mixed and starting to bubble, pour into the  hot waffle iron and cook.  It makes about 6 waffles. These are some of the best waffles I have ever tasted!  We eat them with buttermilk syrup.  A link to the buttermilk syrup recipe is below.

buttermilk syrup link

Take your residue from the begining starter and create a new one, by adding 3/4 cup warm water and 1 cup flour.

Here is a link to Caleb Warnock's blog where he talks about the value of natural yeast, and the health benefits of using such. You can also get your own start from him, so that you can create your own healthy homemade waffles.
Caleb Warnock blog history of natural yeast

Friday, August 10, 2012

blow dryer tag

The other day as I was blowdrying my hair, the kids and I got in a game of blowdryer tag. It was an impromptu game. The kids would try to sneak into the bathroom, and I would try and hit them with warm air from my blowdryer. It was a fun way to pass the time as I got ready for the day. They were trying to be so sneaky. Little did they know I could see their shadows, so I knew when they were sneaking in.  These are the little moments that make up the tapestry of our lives. I hope that we are building a beautiful work of art filled with moments like these. So many of the memories we make happen spur of the moment like this.

 What kind of memories have you made lately?  Have you missed an opportunity to make a fun memory?

preserving the tomato relish

A few years ago when I inherited a garden full of green tomatoes I found this recipe.

It is a great way to use up a crop of green tomatoes late in the fall when frost happens before they have time to get ripe. 

To make green tomato relish you will need

24 large green tomatoes
3 red bell peppers halved and seeded
2 green bell peppers halved and seeded
12 large onions peeled
3 Tablespoons celery seed
3 Tablespoons mustard seed
1 Tablespoon salt
5 cups white sugar
2 cups cider vinegar

In a grinder or food processor corsely grind the tomatoes, bell peppers and onion. (I had to do in batches because my food processor is small.)

Pour this mixture into a colander lined with cheesecloth and let drain for 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Pour the drained mix into a non aluminum stock pot with the remaining ingredients

Bring the mix to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes stiring frequently

Pack into sterilized jars.Cut down the jar to release any air pockets and fill in any spaces Fill to the top leaving no headroom.

Screw on  lids.

Process in a hotwater bath for 30 minutes. I live at a very high altitude so I increased the processing time to 40 minutes.

Yeilds approx 12 pints relish

Monday, August 6, 2012

my new adventures with a natural sweet yeast

I have recently started baking with a natural yeast.  It has been a real interesting experience. I went to chef school and learned the art of bread baking. How much different could this be? Alot! There has been a real learning curve to it.

I thought that I would turn out beautiful breads like the one pictured above. I found out that so much of what I learned at school, I had to throw out. We learned the art of commercial baking. We learned the art of baking with active dry yeast. A natural yeast is a whole different set of skills.

 My first try looked like this.........

all swollen and cracked along one side. It was pretty ugly, although it tasted pretty good.

The next loaves were free form and a bit better looking. the texture is still a bit heavy. (I wish that my camera was not broke so that I had pictures of them). What is going on, why can't I get this.   

It was after that experience that I discovered that they really recommend starting with pancakes and waffles until you get a hang of the yeast and it's properties.  I agree, We have started making waffles with the yeast and I will never ever go back to anything else. The waffles are soooooo goood! 

 The bread, well it is getting better. There is still a big learning curve to go through. There are not a lot of instructions on using natural sweet yeast. So much of it is done by feel, and much was handed down through the family. You learned by doing it. I am learning by internet. It is not like using dry yeast, yet that is where my training is. 

My sourdough experience is limited. This yeast is similar to sourdough, yet different. I am finding that some of the information about sourdough breads do apply here, but not all. So many of the sourdough recipes use active dry yeast along with the starter. It seems that the sourdough starter is for the flavor, not to raise the bread. In the case of a sweet yeast, you use the yeast start to both flavor and to make the bread rise.

You can get your own start by sending an email to  You can read about natural yeast at his blog   He has just written a book all about baking with natural yeast. It has just come out. Maybe I need to buy it and learn a bit more.   

I will have to post later about how we made the delicious waffles. be on the lookout for that in the next week or so.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Green tomato parmesan

We went out to work in the garden today. The kids were busy looking at the vegetables and picking a few peas while I weeded. I turned around to see a pile of nice green tomatoes that my two girls had lovingly picked for me. I was feeling furious. I calmed my nerves and gently talked with the girls about it. Afterall, they were only trying to help. This is life with kids ages 6,4,and 3. I  want to encourage them to be good helpers and to learn the lessons of growing a garden. I thanked them for helping and encouraged them to let the tomatoes grow. I told them that we could pick the tomatoes when they turned red. Now they are all excited to see when they will turn red.

What to do with a pile of green tomatoes? I already have shelves lined with Green tomato relish and Green salsa. I will have to share the relish recipe sometime. It is really good. Now onto what we have at hand. The pile is not that big in fact it is only about 10 tomatoes. just perfect for a big pan of Green tomato parmesan.

"What is green tomato parmesan?" It is a layered lasagnae type dish, similar to Eggplant parmesan.  It is simply made by layering fried green tomato slices with a marinara sauce along with parmesan and Mozerella cheeses.

Green tomato parmesan

You will need:

Large green tomatoes
seasoned bread crumbs
oil for frying
salt and pepper
Spaghetti/Marinara sauce.You can make your own or use canned.
Parmesan cheese
Mozerella cheese

Slice green tomatoes into 1/2 inch rounds
pat the tomatos dry
season lightly with salt and pepper
dip tomato into flour, then beaten egg, and finally into seasoned bread crumbs
pan fry the tomatoes in hot oil about 1/2 inch deep.
Set aside to drain on papertowels

Pour a thin layer of Spaghetti/marinara sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish
place a layer of tomatoes across the bottom. Top with more sauce and cheese.
keep layering tomato, sauce and cheeses to fill the casserole dish.
Bake in a hot 400 oven until nice and bubbly hot.  Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

I wish my camera was working so that I could show you a picture! 

This is the best slip and slide ever!!

We have fun at our house!  Alot of it is created on the spot. A few weeks ago when we saw the neighbor boys setting up a slip n slide, my son asked if we could set up our own. We went to the garage and found a peice of plastic sheeting. We layed it out on the grass putting it over the best slope we could find. Turn on the garden hose, and there you have it; "the best slip and slide ever".  

I grew up with "the waterslide" We had freinds with a great big grassy hill in the backyard. They bought a super jumbo roll of plastic sheeting about 5 feet wide and 20 feet long, and put it on the hill. Every summer we spent many a hour climbing and sliding down the hill. It was fun. It was a race to see who could make it to the end of the plastic. The plastic would bunch and puddle. Sliding through the puddles was a real joy. This was real summer fun.

We moved away when I was a young teen. Once in our new town I had a freind invite me over to slip n slide. "What's slip and slide?" I ask. "Oh it is  this water thing. You put it on your lawn, and slide on it." You can imagine my shock when she pulled out this tiny peice of plastic from a box. It was red and about a foot and a half wide and five feet long. It looked so small compared to what I grew up with, maybe it is because I am a teenager now, and I am so big now. She slid so easily across it, all smiles. I followed suit, getting a good running start, I promplty slid across it, off the end, and into the grass. I stopped about six feet later, complete with grassburn across my entire body.  It was not nearly wide enough, or long enough for a teenager. I did learn that a running start is not needed when riding a short "from the box" slip and slide. When you make your own (depending on the size) a running start can be helpful.

Back to the start. We set up our slide; and soon, those same neighbor boys were down to our house to see what was going on. They abandoned their slip n slide to come to our house with the "best slip and slide ever"

To make your own slip and slide/waterslide you will need :

1 hot summer day

A large roll of plastic sheeting. You will need something thick at least 3 mil. thick.
Ours was  3 mils thick and about 3 foot by 12 foot.  Whatever is affordable in your price range will do.

1 plot of grass.

A Garden hose

1 sprayer or sprinkler for the end of the hose (oprional)

A bunch of people to slide.

Add some nice summer drinks or popsicles and you have yourself a real summer  party on the spot.