Saturday, April 28, 2012

100th post: A look back over the missing months!

Yay! This is my 100th blog post! I took a long break from the blog in October... so here's everything to get you caught up to now-ish in pictures!

It was very busy!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Orange Cleanser

I love you using homemade cleaning products!

It makes me feel comfortable with My Girl helping me cleanup around the house. I can't imagine letting her run spray the clorox disinfectant spray and then wipe it off. I don't want her touching that stuff. Its poison. I don't even want that stuff in my house. I usually use white vinegar watered down with a little water. It surely doesn't look or smell like juice. Vinegar is clear and smells like vinegar... I don't think a lot of kids want to drink vinegar with its smell. 

(NOTE: vinegar is still an acid so don't chug a bottle of it or allow your children to.) 

But these modern store bought cleaners look like juice or koolaid. They also smell like it! 

I keep my cleaning supplies locked up and out of my kid's reach, just so everyone is clear on that. But if I don't even want them spraying or around it while I am cleaning, then I probably should find something else. Also vinegar is super cheap. I am super dedicated to saving money! It also is a more green solution to cleaning your house.

But the same of watered down vinegar can wear on you. Its not the clean bleachy smell we were raised to think of as clean. I found an amazing way to tone down the smell of the vinegar and boost the cleaning power of it. Thank you, Pinterest (what did I do before you?) and the idea comes from The Fountain Avenue Kitchen.

Yes, that's an old pickle jar with orange peels chilling in some vinegar. Its so easy! You probably eat oranges and throw (maybe compost) the peels away. Now just chuck them in a jar and pour the vinegar over them. I used a little the other day and just added more vinegar to replace it. It has a nice vinegar citrus smell. If you don't eat oranges, try lemon peels, grapefruit peels, lime peels, I don't see why any citrus rind wouldn't work! Make sure you fill the jar up with the rind. My pickle jar needed about 4 medium sized oranges to fill up. 

Right now, I am working on making a Pre-K homeschool binder for our roadtrip across America this summer. So when I finish I will certainly post it!

Happy cleaning!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Winner, Winner, Eggplant Dinner!

This month was the Scriptfrenzy Challenge. The challenge is simple 30 days and 100 pages. It is put on each year by the Office of Letters and Lights. They are the same amazing people who put on Camp Nanowrimo and Nanowrimo in November. I am a big fan of writing. I used to write tons of stories when I was younger! Then somewhere along the way I got busy and distracted. But I finally decided to make writing a focus in my life again starting with Scriptfrenzy. Though, there is no way I'll let anyone read this screenplay of mine, I really enjoyed the challenge and being able to write freely. I challenged myself and succeeded. It may be a little more difficult in July and August to write 2 novels of 50,000 words each but I will remain committed. This has given me a new confidence in writing. I actually started working on my first kindle book and have a writing buddy, who is starting her first book! If you ever had any interest in writing at all, I strongly recommend you take the time and challenge yourself to write a 50,000 word novel in a month- its free!!!

Well, now we get to the eggplant dinner. I made Eggplant Parmesan last night for dinner. I was talking to my favorite cousin in the whole wide world and told her what I was making for dinner. She told me that I was so lucky that I could get away with that. After some thought, yes, yes, I am. I love eggplant. I have 3 plants in my garden that survived off season and are churning out yummy eggplants with purple plump skin! I would be absolutely heart broken if my Girl and Jorg wouldn't eat them.

This recipe is a little different then the traditional one. I have a rugrat getting into cat food, papers, everything!, and a 3 year old that needs my attention seemingly all the time, especially if I pay attention to her brother. I can't spend all night in the kitchen cutting, breading, frying, draining... etc. I have officially classified that as too much work for me. I used an amazing recipe that I found on the perfect PINTEREST!!! Its where I get most of my dinner ideas! I can't even link it right now because I'll get sucked into the sharing and astounding ideas everyone has!

Instead of breading and frying the eggplant, you mix it with olive oil and sea salt and roast it. Then you assemble it as you normally would and top it off with breadcrumbs for that nice crunch! I wish I had pictures of all this and my sweet cousin even asked me to take a picture for her... unfortunately, I was so hungry and we ate it all as soon as it was done!!! The only picture I managed to take was the roasted eggplant, which is delicious in its own right. Here's the link to the recipe: Eggplant parmesan casserole for two and if you feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen try this recipe, Eggplant Involtini, instead!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Garlic Confit

I am one of those people who doesn't usually salt things. People all have their own salty or not preferences. I would rather they salt their own food rather than me over salt it, as has been the case many times. You can have too much salt... but what about Garlic? After months of diligent and studious research, I found the answer.

And its no. No, you cannot. And no one can tell me otherwise *sticks fingers in my ears* La la la la... I can't hear you and your anti-garlic nonsense! Garlic is the adult me's ketchup, sorta. Cause ketchup is still amazing. Hmm... Garlic ketchup? But that's not what this post is about. Its about a crazy love of garlic and fancy words that make things sound, um fancy, or fan-tacular!

Since I am going to be missing the Gilroy Garlic Festival again, I thought I would pay our friend, Allium (that means garlic), some homage by making GARLIC CONFIT. Now from my understanding, "confit" means "to cook in its own fast and then storing it in its own fat." I am sure garlic has fat but I don't think it will work for this so...

We are going to slow poach the garlic in Olive oil! BTW, if you are ever interested in learning more about Olive Oil, there is a very interesting, captivating, and informative book about it. Its called Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller (Kindle). No really this book is very good and will make you think twice about buying the inexpensive olive oil.

But back to confit-ting some garlic cloves!

   1. 12 heads of garlic
   2. Olive Oil

Nope that's it.

How to confit you some garlic, yo!

Remove the garlic cloves from the head. I don't know any tricks for this. There are probably some out there but I just kinda ripped and torn at the garlic until it was all cloves. It eventually hurt my hands after 12 heads.

Skinning the paper off the garlic. This I know several tricks to do. There's smashing it and pulling it off but that's not really gonna work here because we want the garlic in whole clove floating in the oil not smashed to bits. I have seen people rub the garlic on a silicon sheet and it pops off, could work. For this particular garlic project, I decided to use a quick drop in boiling water and then into the ice bath. This loosens the skin nicely. Then you slice off the root and...

...peel it off. 

Poaching the garlic. Now that they are peeled you put them in a thick bottomed pot and pour Olive Oil over them until its about 1/2" above your garlic. 

 Put your pot over medium heat until tiny bubbles pop up, even a few of them. Now reduce your heat to  low and let cook like this for 60 minutes. The oil should never reach 180 degrees.

Stir occasionally. While doing this you will see a ton of skins come off, no matter how well you cleaned them. Not the paper skin, the other garlic skin. Just skim them off with a sieve or a fork, no problem.

Take off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes. Now your garlic should be still in clove form, a pale golden color, and when you eat it it should melt like BUD-DAR! 

I canned about 3 pint jars of the garlic confit  and had about 750mL of garlic olive oil to pour back into the bottle it came in! 

SAFETY ALERT: Keep the garlic confit in the refrigerator. You should use your confit within a week or so and then discard. I have heard that you can keep it longer but its best to err on the side of caution. It never lasts long here anyway!

But what do you use garlic confit for? Well, my answer would be anything. Sweet, soft, and mellow garlic!
  1. Spaghetti sauce
  2. Garlic bread
  3. Garlic spread on crackers or bread
  4. Guacamole
  5. Anywhere you use garlic! And if you don't love and use garlic... I think we need to see other blogs. :( Its not you, its garlic.


Friday, April 20, 2012

We 3 Trees

I made this for my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin. These trees have been at this house as long as I can remember. They are a pillar of our childhood. I think we will all miss them.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Happy Roasted Seaweed Snack

The Sea's Gift. Totally. Roasted and Sea salted Nori. Its absolutely amazing! When My Girl was 2 or so we started giving her these as a snack. The nutritional benefits of Nori are amazing.

  • 30-50% of Nori is protein
  • Rich in Iron
  • Good source of nutritional Iodine for a happy thyroid
  • Vitamin B1, A, E, C, and something called niacin (which makes your cholesterol the good kind.)
  • Calcium, Zinc, Selenium, and Copper
  • Omega-3 fatty acids for a razor sharp brain and for smacking heart disease and stroke in the face!
All this good stuff and its high in fiber (which gets super important as you get older...) and low in calories (YAY!). Anyway, we gave her the nori snack and she loves it! She wants to eat 2-3 packs a day. My Girl loves them, Jorg loves them, I love them, and My Guy will probably love them! But for all its awesomeness. Its expensive! Each of these snack packs is .89 cents for .7 oz.


Okay, it doesn't sound like a lot for one pack. But I have become a cheapskate, in certain respects. I gots to saves the money, yo! Let's do the math: 
      Let's say one pack per teeth-bearing-family-member for a day, so 3 a day...

                                                                     3 x .89= 2.67/day
                                                                2.67 x 7= 18.69/week
                                                              18.69 x 4=  74.76/month

I could go on but nobody likes math... I mean look at the bad news it just gave me. 74.76 a month for a snack!!!??!? I can't do that I got a lien on my soul for the gasoline Jorg bought today. There has to be a better way to get my family the nutrition they need at the price I can afford! (I feel so "commercially" saying that but seriously, yo!)

Well, it took me longer than I would like to admit (about 2 years) to finally realize I could do it myself. I could buy Sushi Nori, cut it, toast it,salt it and BAM!!! And its really that simple. The packs of sushi nori can make about 60 nori snacks. It gets too complicated for me as far as math... I hate it too but I can tell you I save alot more money on the nori snacks and I have the satistfaction of hearing, "Oh I declare, this is the best Nori  Snack West of the Mississippi. I believe it gave me the vapors," to which a say "thank you, Colonel Sanders," Cause apparently, he eats over often. 

This takes about 5 minutes of prep and cooking (if your oven doesn't take 20 minutes to start warming up.)
It may serve more... but it serves the 3 of us just fine.

  1. Sheets of Seaweed
  2. 1 Tbs. of toasted sesame oil 
  3. 2 Tbs. Sea Salt (grind the coarse stuff up)
How  you make Nori Snacks!
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. On a cookie sheet lay out the sheets of seaweed. Lightly and ooooohhhh so gently brush them with the amazingly delicious toasted sesame oil on both sides. Be gentle.
  3. Sprinkle to your general likeness with sea salt.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes
  5. Take it out if it is dry, slightly crisp, and a little darker. 
  6. Let it cool and then cut the sheets into rectangles and enjoy!!!
In a short while, My Guy will be enjoying it. He just cut his first tooth!!! Congrats boy o!

Have a Happy Roasted Kim Nori Snack Day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Back... for REALs.

Reading my friend's blog made me miss my blog! Weird and Epic Adventures in my Kitchen... Its really good. Her blog with the Crazy biscotti lady is awesome. It made me want to bake biscotti... but I haven't yet cause I am out of my 14lb bag of flour. I am gonna have to make a big run to Costco for FLOUR, pistachios, and chocolate! I'll make biscotti for everyone for years. Totally inspired by my friend at Waeaimk! Thanks!

As I was saying, I miss blogging. There's a period of time, for me anyways, after you have a baby that there is just to much to do. Then there's trying to get in a new rhythm for the day. I finally did that. I made some positive changes in my life as well.

1. I lost all my baby weight from My Guy.
2. I have begun to learn the electric violin (a dream of mine).
3. We bought a new car cause our old one exploded to bits and pieces which we sold.
4. I became a vegetarian. Not out of a moral conviction. Part of me wanted to see if I could and also because heart disease, strokes, all those bad things run in my family and meat is a huge contributor. That and meat is packed with calories like mad. Planning on cutting out cheese but I am not there yet.
5. I have fallen in love with every recipe that the PIONEER WOMAN posts.
6. We walk everywhere that we can. We don't take the car if its in walking distance. I love walking to the store everyday for dinner supplies!
7. I wrote a screenplay for Scriptfrenzy. 30 day. 100 pages. April. I finished it in 14 days! Just another one of those just to see if I could things.
8. I reconnected with my Best friend soulmate. I missed her. We went to Disneyland to celebrate our reunion! That's us up there. I am wearing the cheshire mickey hat... my friend wears it a million times better... but its MINE!

New things but not life changes, sorta...

My Girl can write and draw. I have been homeschooling her with amazing results! That's a picture of the TARDIS, a time travelling machine, tardis stands for, Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. Its shaped like an old blue police box. We are Whovians!

My Guy is learning to walk. He stands and takes a step but then sits back down. He is such a happy guy and is about to get his 2 bottom teeth in.

We are going to be moving soon. Its exciting and was filled with a lot of anxiety but its a new adventure and I embrace it! I plan on doing a blog post once a week but it will probably a few times a week cause I have time now.

I also would love to share with you my most favorite food of the moment. And that's my precious pioneer woman's Lazy Chile Rellenos! I replace the milk with a can of coconut milk and cook it a little bit longer. Its amazing with corn tortillas just like she says OMG!

Missed you all and will post again soon.