Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ruby Red Tea- AKA Koolaide for the kids (and me)

What you'll need:
Gallon Pitcher

7 bags of Passion Tea (Hibiscus) from Tazo
3 bags of Rose Hip Tea from Alvita (extremely high in Vitamin C) 
1.5 cups of Sugar (Turbando, Raw, Organic, Whatever)
1/2 cup of Agave Nectar

(Makes enough for 1 gallon)

Bring a small kettle (or pan) of water to a boil. Take off the heat and  pour over the tea bags. Let steep for 10 minutes while you go clean up a mess, find cups, or other random thing you get called away to do. When your timer dings, or you remember to actually go back into the kitchen, take out the tea bags and add your sweetener. Stir well. Add enough water and ice to make one gallon and enjoy! :)

hibiscus and rose hip tea

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Orange Vinegar

Vinegar is commonly infused with spices or her...Image via Wikipedia
I picked up a resealable bucket for free from one of the Amish shops I visit. It contained black ground pepper and still smells very strongly from it.

What I am doing is making an orange vinegar with it. I put the peels from an orange into the bucket, and have covered it with vinegar. I add new peels every time i peel and re cover the bucket with the sealed lid.

I can use this vinegar in a variety of ways. I can use it for an interesting kick to my recipes that require vinegar. I can use half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle as an effective surface cleaner. I can use an even more diluted vinegar mix as an acid rinse for my hair (dandruff fighting) and as a soap scum remover for the bath.

Cost? About 60 cents for the vinegar.

Replaces or enhances: Gourmet Balsamic Vinegar, Dandruff Shampoo, Hard Surface Cleaner, Fabric Softener, Water softener.

Reduces Plastic Packaging, and gas wasted on distribution of other products :)

Homemade Soda Pop

A bowl of raw (unrefined, unbleached) sugar, b...Image via Wikipedia
Yummy, and High Fructose Corn Syrup freeeeeee!

1. 2 parts Sugar ( I use 2 cups of raw sugar)
2. 1 part Water (I use 1 cup)
3. Club Soda
4. Flavoring (I use sassafras concentrate for the root beer replacing the water with it or a couple tbsps of vanilla extract for cream soda. You can find other flavorings at the store or you can use ginger in the syrup, the possibilities are endless)

5 minutes
Serving Size:
2 liters if you use 1 cup water and 2 cups of sugar


1. Clean your prep area! FFS what, were you born in a barn? Don't answer that. Do you have a funnel? A container to keep your syrup in? Do you have a pan? A measuring thingy?A spoon? Do you have flavoring? Good, let's go.

1. Put your water into the pan and boil it.
2. Add flavoring
3. Put your sugar in and boil one minute longer
4. Take off heat and let cool for a few minutes
5. Pour into a clean container and store in the fridge (you can keep it there for a week or two, remember no preservatives means it has a shelf life)
6. Use 4 Tbsp per 8 ounces of club soda
7. voila! Homemade soda!

Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup of warm water (like a baby bottle warm)
Pour into the Breadmachine or in a large freaking bowl
1 tbsp of sugar
Then sprinkle
2 tbsp of yeast over the top

Let this sit for about 5 minutes
When it starts to get all foamy and smelling slightly (this is called a bloom)
½ cup of oil (I use coconut)
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
1-1/2 cups warm milk (I use reconstituted powdered)
and 3 cups of flour (I use half whole wheat and half All purpose)

Turn on the bread machine or mixer and let work for about a minute (or use a spoon mixing 50 time clockwise and 50 times counter clock wise)

It should be stringy at this point. That means you have started to activate the gluten.
Add another 3 to 4 cups of flour and mix until the dough forms a good ball, coming away from the sides of the bowl. (It's okay to add a bit more)

Now if you are kneading by hand you want to turn it out on a lightly floured surface and let 'rest' for about 10 minutes. Then start kneading for 5-10 minutes. The more you knead, the better the crumb. If it is still in the bread machine, don't worry about it. Let it rise for at least an hour in a warm place (I leave mine in the bread machine) until it doubles. Then punch it down. Wait until it doubles again and then divide it in half (don't punch it down) Let it rest for about 10 minutes.

I put half of it in a bowl in my fridge for refridgerator rolls, but for cinnamon rolls:

Put half of the dough on a non stick jelly roll pan. Put saran wrap over the dough and then roll it flat. You can stick it in the dough in the fridge if you want at this point to make it easier to roll.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Now mix up the spread for the inside

1 cup sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup softened Margarine

Spread it evenly over the rolled out dough. At this point I keep my fingers buttered to make it easier to roll up the dough. Starting from the wide side of the pan roll up the dough. Going slowly and smoothly, roll it all up until it is on the other side. Now you can cut it into 12-16 rolls either with a sharp knife or some kitchen string (tying each piece off) Put the individual rolls on a baking pan.

Put the baking pan in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown

While it is baking- mix up the icing:

2 cups of powdered sugar (in halves)
tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup of "I can't believe you bought this at ALDI" butter spread or softened butter stuff
4 tbsp of softened cream cheese.

Gather your ingredients, nuke the butter and cream cheese if you forgot to put them out to soften earlier. Medium sized bowl and a fork (which is what I used) or whisk thingymabob.

Put 1 cup of powdered sugar in the bowl.Add the butter and vanilla. Mix constantly. When it is all incorporated, add the cream cheese. When that is all mixed in add the last bit of sugar a bit at a time until you reach the consistency you want. I like it thick so I add the whole cup of powdered sugar.

At this point the rolls should be done. Take them out and put the icing on them immediately.

Try to let them cool and then gobble them up! 

Mockie's Blueberry Cordial- First attempt Shared Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 9:49am

1 Qt Mason Jar
2 cups of blueberries
1 cup of sugar
650 ml of Everclear or Vodka (The Everclear is going to be MUCH stronger than the vodka. You have been warned)

In a wide mouth 1 quart mason jar I layered sugar and blueberries.
I stuck these in the microwave on 30 power for 1.5 minutes, screwing the cap on shaking every 30 seconds.

After that I poured the Everclear until it reached the lip of the jar. I sealed and now I am putting it away for two weeks. At that point I will do a taste test and add a tbsp of honey for complexity, and bottle it. If it doesn't taste ready, I will continue this until 2 months is up.

Here is the yummy concoction already showing it's pretty blue color!
Blueberry Cordial

And in it's resting place next to the honey that will be added later.

E's Planet Kakeo

E says he discovered a new planet and it just came into his brain.

It is a rainbow planet and it's name is Kakeo. It has it's own moon, and atmosphere and people and houses. It has parks. You can land on it. It has lava deep in the ground that is called magma. It has volcanoes and geysers and water. It is bigger than Jupiter.  It has animals and trees and bushes, and bridges and rocks. He says it is a lower planet with rainbow colors.He says there are two suns, because the Planet Kakeo does not have a dark side.

My clever imaginative boy. :)

Presents for the our household Originally Shared Friday, January 15, 2010 at 11:56pm

The carbon footprint as it is understood by pe...Image via Wikipedia
We are doing a life makeover.

This is too much for us. Our 3 young children are so overwhelmed by toys that they do not take care of what they have. And it isn't just the children. M2 and I are so overwhelmed by all that gimme gimmes that we have too much stuff as well.

Some tips on buying for the kids:
Is it plastic?
If it is, then please pass it over. We don't want to increase our children's carbon footprint by plastic toys that they will forget about the minute it hits the floor.
Does it make electronic noise?
If it does, then please pass it over. We like for our children to engage in imagination play.
Is it a doll?
Then I ask, is it one that V will treasure for the rest of her life? She has many dolls already, and doesn't need any more. She has Barbies, and babies, and my little Pony figurines. She has so many that she can't keep track of them all.
Is it a car?
Then I ask, is one that will never be found again on this earth? E doesn't need any more hot wheels. Edoesn't need any more remote control cars. Again, we are trying to cut out plastic from our lives.
Check where the item was made.
Was it made in China? Then chances are there are unacceptable levels of lead and other bad things floating on it. It was more than likely made for slave wages and is not doing any thing more for the earth.

What do the kids need?
The kids need organic fabric clothes. Well, and even then "need" is a very strong word. But if you want to give them a gift, the gift of warm clothes or cool clothes is always appreciated.
If you would like to give us gifts in the form of donations to charitable organizations, that would be appreciated too! http://thirstrelief.org/ http://www.newlifeevangelisticcenter.org/ http://www.redcross.org/

I am not trying to be some picky ninny here. I am trying to get a handle on this consumerism that is basically stealing time from us. We have to spend so much time picking up things, that we don't have time to spend enjoying each other's company.

CHEYENNE RIVER SIOUX TRIBE DISASTER Originally shared Monday, February 1, 2010 at 1:04pm

Map of South Dakota with Cheyenne River Indian...Image via Wikipedia

South Dakota is undergoing another winter disaster, the second year in a row. Reservations in the state have been locked down without utilities, water, and food since the 20th of December, when Cheyenne River Tribal Chairman Joe Brings Plenty declared disaster conditions. Last year, President Bush declared an emergency and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) was brought in to the reservations to provide relief. So far for this disaster, the president has not declared an emergency.
South Dakota governor Mike Rounds declared an emergency for the expected storm of February 3rd. Meanwhile, no state aid has been available. Water systems have been knocked out, which have affected reservation and small towns nearby, all over the northern part of the state.
Cheyenne River's northern neighbor, Standing Rock, which straddles South and North Dakota,has had disaster conditions prevailing as well, placing sick individuals, the very young and the very old at greater risk of dying. Some deaths have been reported.
To date the Navajo Nation has sent crews to right the several thousand downed utility poles on Cheyenne River, a reservation the size of the state of Connecticut, The Wal-Mart chain has sent food, water, and some other supplies. But more than this is needed. When the Christmas 2009 storm is coupled with the expected second freeze and snow to come next Wednesday, the magnitude of the disaster will be doubled many times over.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) is in midst of an emergency disaster that could potentially last for another 10 - 27 more days. They have been out of Power and Water since Thursday (Jan. 21st). They are in need of many supplies and volunteer efforts.

They relocated all the Dialysis Patients to Rapid City and Pine Ridge. They are staying in Hotels. Some of the Tribal Members have relocated to surrounding Cities and are staying in Hotels.

Wakpa Sica Reconciliation Place is collecting donations to send to CRST. If you would like to donate supplies, please drop them off at 709 West Fort Chouteau Road, Fort Pierre, (Along North Highway 1806 - where the Big Tipis are). Or call (605) 223-9099 or email: wakpasica@midconetwork.com.

If you would like to send a monetary donation to help the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Send Checks and Money Orders to:

State Bank of Eagle Butte
PO Box 10
Eagle Butte, SD 57625

Pay to the order of: CRST 2010 Disaster
Memo: Acct. # 103173

OR *****************************************

Wiring Instructions:

United Bankers Bank, Bloomington, Minnesota
ABA Routing Number: 091001322
State Bank of Eagle Butte # 2503373
Final Credit: "CRST 2010 Disaster"
Then reference sender.

Anpetu Waste Yuha Po!

We are too far spread across the globe. We can't even help our Native American Reservations. End the Foreign Occupations, and start helping people HERE. Haven't we done enough harm to the First People? We can at least help them. 

A Short History of Health Care Reform: (thanks Chaz) Originally Shared - Friday, April 2, 2010 at 7:56pm

O: Hey guys, I feel everyone should have health care. This will also make a really broken system that's more expensive than any national health service anywhere else in the first world more efficient.


O: ...

Do you have any suggestions about how to make this better?

GOP: Yeah, screw it all and privatize everything!

O: You know, that's not really possible, and your plan has nothing except political rhetoric, so that's not very useful...


O: Okay, Dems, let's do it.

Red State Democrats: Daddy, I can't. The mean kids at school will make fun of me. I just pissed myself!

O: /breaths in and out slowly

You volunteered for this job, you volunteered for this job...

Some time later....

O: Finally, we got a bill together.

Stupak: O NOES! ABORTION! /runs around with head on fire

O: THERE IS NOTHING IN THE BILL THAT FUNDS ABORTION WITH GOVERNMENT MONEY. IT'S UP TO THE INSURANCE COMPANIES! Okay, I just signed an executive order that said no abortion, are we cool?



Gang of 34: Daddy, will you change my diaper? I made a poopy...

Obama: /reaches for aspirin

So I made my own Beta Hydroxy Acid mask- Originally written Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 3:45pm\

Pouring of maturated honey in pots.Image via Wikipedia

I got the idea from Michelle Phan. I have used her recipe (using honey) but we are all out of regular honey and only have raw honey right now, so I improvised.

I added one packet of BC powder http://www.bcpowder.com/products_original.aspx to my http://www.aldifoods.com/us/html/product_range/2744_7520_ENU_HTML.htm Lacura Exfoliating Face Mask. I only left it on for 7 minutes instead of the usual 20 minutes and it left my skin very radiant. I also made a body mask using vegetable glycerin which can be found in pretty much any health food store.

Beta Hydroxy Acid does make your skin more photosensitive, so if you decide to do this instead of paying about 80 dollars for the same thing, be sure that you use something that has SPH in it afterward. It's awesome to slough away dead skin cells, reducing fine lines, and leaves your skin super glowy.

Recipe: Approximate
1 dollop of the mask base
1 packet of the BC Powder :) 

Another Facial Mask to rejuvenate your skin! Originally Written Monday, June 7, 2010 at 2:16am

1/8 of a cup of honey
5 large strawberries
Gauze (optional)

I used frozen strawberries. I microwave defrosted them for 2 minutes, and then microwaved them for one minute.

In a small bowl, add the strawberries. Mush them with a potato masher or a fork until they are completely smooth. Next add the honey. Stir. Dip the Gauze in the mixture completely coating it and put it on your face (leaving room to breathe, of course) or just put it on your face using your fingers or a cotton ball.

Leave it on your face for 5-20 minutes, and rinse with warm water. If it starts to tingle too much (which might be the case in people with extra sensitive skin or bad acne) wash it off with warm, then cool water. Your skin will feel tightened and refreshed and silky smooth to the touch.

The reason it is an AWESOME face mask:
Strawberries are a huge source of Vitamin C!

"Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is extremely effective as an antioxidant, your natural defense against free radicals, which are unstable molecules that age the skin, resulting from environmental pollutants, smoking, or excess sun exposure. Vitamin C neutralizes volatile reactions caused by free radicals that damage skin.

Another big plus for vitamin C: it is a critical component for the production of collagen, an essential skin protein. If collagen is not produced, your skin will sag and appear dull. By increasing the production of collagen, vitamin C strengthens the structural support and resiliency of your skin. Collagen is equally critical for connective tissue in organs, bones, teeth — virtually everywhere in the body. Adding a healthy dose of vitamin C to your diet and using facial products that contain vitamin C can help you feel better, reduce wrinkles, and improve your overall skin quality."

Strawberries also contain:

Fatty Acids:

Amino Acids:
glycine 0


Honey is basically a super food with amazing skin healing properties! It is a antimicrobial agent and antioxidant and is incredibly moisturizing.

It's an awesome at home mask that costs tons less than going to the spa, it works better and is 100% natural. :)

Protein Pack for pre color conditioning and revitalizing facial mask. Originally written Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 10:30pm

StrawberryImage via Wikipedia
I am dyeing my hair tomorrow night for the wedding (woot! Brown roots be GONE!) and it's a bit dry on the ends so I decided to give it a protein pack! Into the cupboard (and fridge) I went and got out:

1/8 of a cup of honey
1 cup of strawberries
1 egg
2 Tbsp of Dry Powdered Milk

I mixed i all together and put it on my hair and covered it with a shower cap and a towel. I am going to leave this 20 minutes and then wash my hair as usual.

About 10 minutes into it I will be giving myself another facial- this time using a turmeric honey and strawberry mask.

1/4 tsp of turmeric
1/8 cup of honey and
1/2 cup of strawberries

I mashed it all together and then put it on my face *I don't have gauze this time* for 10-20 minutes. After I am done I will wash it as usual. :D

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chocolate Syrup of Win

Sugar and ChocolateImage by 427 via Flickr
1/2 cup of high fat (22-24%) Natural Cocoa powder
1 cup of water
2 cups of organic sugar
1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 tsp of natural vanilla extract

In a 2 quart saucepan whisk the water and cocoa together over medium heat until simmering, stirring constantly. Whisk in the 2 cups of sugar slowly until it is all dissolved. Bring mixture to a rolling boil on medium high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium low and boil for 3 minutes, still whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in salt and vanilla. Store in a sterilized mason jar or bottle in the refrigerator. It will seem thin at first, but will thicken as it cools. Use on anything you would regular chocolate syrup on . It makes AWESOME chocolate milk. :D

Important note: You can use regular sugar, regular cocoa, regular vanilla in this recipe. It will still taste sooo much better than anything you can buy at the market. This is just what I have on hand.

So, we moved.

We bought a house, moved to a new state, and left our cares behind. The last 8 months have been really... dare I say, interesting.

I haven't felt like putting my life out there for everyone to see on a blog, lately. I have been rather introspective and keeping my cards close to my heart.  So what did I do? I put it all out on Facebook, so everyone who I have ever known could see it. As someone close to me said, in a not so eloquent way, 'It's like having the whole world look up your a**hole'.

I still don't know what I am doing, but I am inspired to put up stuff on the blogs again. It might last for a while, or I might just throw in the towel after tonight. Who knows? I am flighty like that.