Thursday, September 16, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Beads of Hope Africa is a fair trade cooperative that teaches and compensates women living in the refugee camps of war-torn Uganda for making beads out of recycled paper. The beads are sold in North America and money from the sales is put back into the Ugandan community by way of educational scholarships for children living in orphanages. Way cool.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
1 Cup dry Quinoa, rinsed
1/2 tsp. ground Cumin
Nobody picks me peaches and pears.
Nobody offers me candy and Cokes,
Nobody listens and laughs at my jokes.
Nobody helps when I get in a fight,
Nobody does all my homework at night.
Nobody misses me,
Nobody thinks I'm a wonderful guy.
So if you ask me who's my best friend, in a whiz,
I'll stand up and tell you that Nobody is.
But yesterday night I got quite a scare,
I woke up and Nobody just wasn't there.
I called out and reached out for Nobody's hand,
In the darkness where Nobody usually stands.
Then I poked through the house, in each cranny and nook,
But I found somebody each place that I looked.
I've searched til I'm tired, and now with the dawn,
There's no doubt about it-
Thursday, May 27, 2010
- 1 Cup Couscous, dry
- 1 2/3 Cups Water
- 1 tsp. Vegetable Bouillon
- 2-3 Cups Fresh or Frozen Vegetables
- Tofutti Sour Cream
Combine as many different vegetables as you like (I usually use corn, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and green beans) and steam or microwave until thoroughly heated/soft.
When the couscous is done, add the vegetables. Stir in Tofutti sour cream to taste.
The creaminess of this dish reminds me of stroganoff - so yummy! And it's an easy way to get in a variety of veggies :)
*Pics to come...
Saturday, May 22, 2010
"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."
—South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R), arguing that government food assistance to lower-income residents, including food stamps or free school lunches, encourages a culture of dependence, Jan 24. 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
My six year old has been requesting pancakes/waffles for dinner for two days in a row, so tonight I begrudingly agreed to make them. Unable to bring myself to look at the bland, heavy whole wheat mix that I usually use, I looked through my recipe books and online in search of a winner. The original recipe (which is very close to the one I'm posting below) can be found at allrecipes.com - one of my favorite sites.
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil1/4 Cup Applesauce, unsweetened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/4 Cup Wheat Germ
1/2 Cup Flaxseeds, whole or ground
4 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbs. Turbinado Sugar (or sweetener of choice)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Wisk the wet ingredients (egg substitutes, milk, oil, applesauce, and vanilla) together in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients and blend together just until mixed.
Using a pastry brush, apply a thin coat of coconut oil to a hot waffle iron. Pour batter into hot waffle iron (about 1/3 Cup per waffle).
These were great with pure maple syrup (they really didn't need much) or fruit sweetened jelly.
*Sorry the pictures aren't the greatest - I wasn't originally planning to blog about them, but they ended up being SO yummy that I had to share!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I ended up making all of my cakes from scratch using expensive vegan recipe's or, on occassion, I bought eggs from a local farm (which I didn't feel the greatest about). Since I wasn't neccessarily catering to vegan clients, I couldn't increase my prices to cover the extra costs and still compete with other cake decorators. *Sigh*
But NOW (ha, ha, ha!) I have found something that while being totally unhealthy, is inexpensive, vegan, and oh, so yummy!
- Using a cake mix that doesn't have eggs, milk products, or lard in it (such as Duncan Hines, Cherrybrook Kitchens, or Dr. Oetker Organics), omit the eggs and water and add 12 ounces of lemon-lime diet soda instead. Bake as usual.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Valerie, a fellow blogger who I like more than anyone I've never met before, generously presented me with this blog award and instructions to share 7 things about myself. Thank you, Valerie! Like Valerie's daughter said on her blog, the seven things don't necessarily have to be interesting (even though Valerie's were) so here we go:
1. I adore daffodils. I am amazed at how the sight of a daffodil transports me to the best place in my childhood, every time.
2. I love animals - even bugs, yet I have a pervasive and totally irrational fear that I will be eaten by a shark one day :/
3. I cry harder at movies and commercials than I ever cry about real life - embarrassing, hiccuping, gulping sobs. I have had to forfeit my $8 seat at the movies more than once.
4. I think I'm hilarious. I'm not sure how many people share that opinion, but I crack myself up all the time :D
5. I find it extraordinarily frustrating that I will never learn all there is to learn
6. My older sister is quite possibly the coolest person I know
7. Sometimes I have dreams that I can breath under water and they are so convincing that it takes several minutes of self-questioning after I wake up in order for me to believe that I really can't and shouldn't try :)
I plan to pass this award on to Morgan for her blog Ordinary? Why, Nothing is Ordinary. You can't be around Morgan without having a greater appreciation for life and I enjoy her blog.
Thanks again, Valerie!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
The supplies you will need for making bar soap include:
- Food or postal scale
- Candy thermometer
- Pot (for oil/soap mixture)
- Heat resistant glass jar or pot (for lye/water solution)
- Soap mold (storebought or ANY kind of non-metalic container)
- Rubber scraper or wooden spoons (I used a wooden paint stirrer that I got for free at the hardware store)
- Safety goggles, gloves, and other desired (apron, surgical mask, etc.)
- 6 ounces sodium hydroxide lye crystals
- 12.5 ounces cold water
*Slowly add the lye crystals to the cold water (NEVER the other way around). Set it aside in a safe place away from kids and animals and allow it to cool to a temperature of 100-120 degree's F.
- 12 ounces Coconut Oil
- 12 ounces Olive Oil
- 9 ounces Canola or Soybean Oil
- 8 ounces Palm Oil
*Carefully weigh solid oils in a pot and stir/heat over stove just until melted. Add the carefully weighed liquid oils. Allow the oils to cool to 100 degree's F before adding lye solution.
Carefully add the lye solution to the oil mixture. The oils will turn cloudy right away. Stir until lye solution and oils are blended. Using short bursts (less than 1 minute at a time), use the stick blender to mix the soap until it reaches trace.
To see if the soap has reached trace, pull the stick blender straight out and watch for beads of the solution to drip back into the pot. If the beads are very slow to drip (or they don't drip at all), you've reached trace (I know it doesn't sound helpful now, but you will know it when you see it!). If you continue mixing beyond this point, the oils will start to separate from the soap mixture.Pour the soap into a mold (anything but metal or aluminum). For my soap, I pulled a greeting card box out of my recyling. Put the soap in a safe place away from children and animals and allow it to set. After 24 hours, pull the soap out and cut it (it is still very soft at this stage and it's easier to cut and there is less waste than if you wait the 3-4 weeks for the soap to finish curing). Put the soap back in a safe place and let it continue to cure for 3-4 weeks (I lined a non-aluminum baking sheet with waxed paper to finish curing my soap on).
What a great process, right?! After 3-4 weeks your soap is ready for use and you are slightly cooler than you were before you started this process ;)
*By the way, my soap has "character" because I had to rebatch it. Normally, you would get a creamy uniform color soap with this recipe.
SAFETY: While making soap and cleaning up your work area/supplies afterwards, you should ALWAYS wear gloves and goggles (I also wore a heavy apron and a surgical mask). Keep white vinegar handy - if your skin comes in contact with the lye or the soap solution, the vinegar will neutralize the reaction and prevent it from burning your skin. Do NOT reuse utensils and containers for food. Do not allow children or animals access to any of your soap making supplies or, when you are batching, your work area. Thoroughly clean your work area with white vinegar when you are done making soap. Always add the lye crystals to cold water - do NOT add the water to the lye crystals. It's not as horrible as it sounds - the lye just demands a little respect.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
In a very large bowl, combine:
8 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 1/2 Cups Wheat Germ
1 1/2 Cups Steel Cut Oats
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
1 Cup crushed Almonds
1 Cup crushed Cashews (or cashew pieces)
1 Cup crushed Walnuts or Pecans
*Set dry mixture aside.
In a small saucepan, combine:1 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 Cup unsulphured Molasses
1/4 Cup pure Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup brown rice syrup (non-vegans can substitute honey)
1/2 Cup Olive or Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Applesauce
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. Vanilla
*Bring mixture to a boil. Pour boiling mixture over dry mixture and mix well.
After mixing all of your ingredients, spread the granola mixture onto two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper, silicone liners, or tinfoil. Bake in the oven at 200 degree's F for 35-40 minutes.
If you're impatient or in a hurry, you can bake it at 325 degree's F for 15-20 minutes, but you really have to watch it closely; it may be fine one minute and totally burnt the next!
After the granola has cooled completely, store it in an airtight container; but it's too good to resist, so don't expect it to last long!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Today I took it out and cut it. The residual that I washed off of my hands lathered well and didn't melt my hands off, so I figure it must have worked :D Now that it's cut I'm going to let it finish curing (another three weeks) and see how it acts. If all else fails, I can still use it in my homemade laundry detergent recipe. I'm really excited that it's working out afterall!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
#1. Don't mess it up
While this step may seem obvious to many of you, I apparently missed the memo. I was so satisfied with myself for getting past my feelings of intimidation enough to try making bar soap today and I mentally congratulated myself several times as I put away the ingredients. Then I noticed that my bottle of olive oil looked full. Surprisingly full. I never added it to the soap that was curing on the top shelf of my closet. That's a big mistake - I'd advise against it.
#2. Safety, safety, safety!
I felt like a big nerd putting on my goggles, HUGE rubber gloves, heavy apron, and later, a surgical mask...until I splashed a few drops of lye in my face. No matter how over the top you think you look, WEAR APPROPRIATE SAFETY GEAR! And keep your safety gear on until everything is completely cleaned up and put away.
#3. Try, try again
The only thing I regret about my experience today was the $$ I lost out on by making such a big mistake and ruining my soap - luckily it was a half batch! It was really fun to watch the chemical processes of making soap and I learned a lot! I'm also glad to have gotten past the unknown - I will definitely try again (probably mid-April) and I feel like I have a much better idea of what to do and what to expect.
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
~ Thomas Alva Edison
Friday, March 19, 2010
Then I had a "duh" moment and realized I could use citric acid! I found it at my local health food store for $2.10/four ounce bag (1/2 Cup) - I dare say it works better than the commercial detergent I was using! I haven't broken down the total cost, but I'm pretty confident that it works out to be around around $5 for 100 loads (about $0.05 per load). I will post the actual breakdown and the price comparison to what I was paying for my generic commercial detergent later.
- 1 Cup Borax
- 1 Cup Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)
- 1/2 Cup Citric Acid
- 1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
Add one tablespoon to the detergent cup.
I put the detergent into an empty Vegenaise jar (like a mayonaise jar) but any plastic, glass, or cardboard container will do. I also keep a tablespoon measurer in there that I got as part of a set from the dollar store - that way I never have to search for a proper measuring spoon and I don't have to worry about reusing it for a food item. If you are unsure of what washing soda is or where to find it, please refer to my post about homemade laundry detergent here.