Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 96: Asian Cabbage Salad

My husband loves cabbage. He eats it in the mornin, eats it in the evening, eats it at supper time....is that a song? Anyway, he loves cabbage (I think he's part Irish) That's why I'm making an Asian salad. :) I love the crunch of this salad and the flavor is fantastic. I'm sure you've had this before and I bet you even have most of the ingredients in your cupboard at this very moment! Who doesn't have ramen noodle and cabbage in their house at all times?

Asian Cabbage Salad

1 pkg ramen noodles
1/4 c sesame oil
2 tb soy sauce
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1 tb water
1 head cabbage shredded
2 carrots finely shredded
1/4 c sesame seeds
1/2 c sliced almonds
broccoli with stems shredded

This is a great way to use up broccoli stems that are a little to woody to go in other dishes. Smash up the un cooked ramen noodles. Mix the seasoning pkg, oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and water. Pour over the cabbage, carrots, sesame seeds, almonds, and broccoli stems and ramen noodles. Toss well. and serve cold. If you are not going to eat it all that day I would suggest adding the ramen noodles when you are going to eat because they will go soggy.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 95: Celery Salad

I know I've talked about our favorite restaurant Benjas before. It truly is sublime! When we went for our anniversary Matthew and I were feeling adventurous and ventures away from our usual Masaman Curry and Pad Thai....well, we still got that but we also tried the seaweed salad. OH MY! The crunch, the flavor, the infusion of nutrition with each bite. I went back the next day and had it for lunch. Since our anniversary 4 months ago I've been craving it regularly. I HIGHLY recommend you find some and try it! But what does that have to do with celery?....Hold your horses, I'm getting there. About the same time we started signing up for "bountiful baskets"
How everyone in the world knew about this but me I have no idea but even my non vegetable eating brother was aware of the option. So we signed up and while I truly admit that it is a good value don't let people exaggerations miss lead you. I have spoken to several people about them and they go on about how much produce there is and how you couldn't eat it all there is always so much and people even split the basket because there is so much. yada yada ya....All I can say is that either Matthew and I are produce pigs or these people need to eat more fruits and vegetables! But it still is an extremely good value for your money. If there is one in your area I recommend you check it out. Plus co-ops are great! So, to make a long story even longer, in our bountiful basket one week we got 2 stalks of celery. One stalk is easy to go through but two got me thinking. I found this recipe on line and It was so yummy we went through one whole stock that night. And going back to the yummy seaweed salad, it tastes quite a bit like it and solved the whole craving problem. What do you think? Do they taste similar or are my taste buds just whacked out?




Simple Celery Salad


1 bunch celery
sesame oil


toasted sesame seeds


salt


chili powder or flakes




Slice the celery thin on an angle, toss with sea salt. Place in a strainer and put strainer in a bowl and let drain for at least 1 hour in the fridge. Rinse extra salt from celery. Toss with sesame oil, sesame seeds and chili powder. Serve chilled.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 94: Relief Society Chicken Salad


All growing up my mom made this chicken Salad but this is how she made it -
9 bags shell macaroni
10 lbs red apples
10 lbs red grapes
1 gallon mayo
1 gallon coleslaw dressing....
ya get the picture. My mom seems to only be able to cook for a crowed. But since we all LOVED her cooking we didn't seem to mind. In fact we only complained if there weren't left overs! My mom made this for many a Relief Society luncheon and soon after we saw mock recipies all over the place. Some made them with maccaroni instead of shell noodles (shell works best because it holds the sauce.) Some put cabbage in it....I don't think I want to think about that. But non made them as scrumptious as MY moms! So here is my FAVORITE chicken salad recipe - minus the chicken of coarse.

Pasta Fruit Salad
1 bag shell pasta cooked
1 can chuncked pinapple
3 red apples cubbed
1 lb red grapes
2 c celery diced
1 can chopped water chesnuts

Drain the pinapple and coat the apples so they don't go brown and save the juice. Mix everything together and chill.

Sauce
2 c vegan-aise
1 drops ginger essential oils or chopped candied ginger
onion salt to taste
apple cider vinegar to taste (about 1 1/2 tb)
agave or other sweetener to taste
left over pinapple juice

Mix everything together and let chill. This is great to make a day ahead so all the flavors can meld. Serve with mandrin oranges and cashews on top. Welcome to heaven!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 93: Vegan - aise

While I don't recommend this recipe as a meal unto itself, I do find it helpful in making a lot of meals! I LOVE veganaise but dang its expensive! This whips up in a jiffy and is much more affordable. It also makes a great salad dressing.




Vegan-aise

½ cup of rice milk, plain and preferably unsweetened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of canola oil
2 tb of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of agave
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
zest from 1/8 of an organic lemon
1 teaspoon of mustard
1/2 c cashews



Blend everything in the food processor but the oil. Gradually add the oil at a slow trickle while blending. Once all the oil is incorporated blend for a few more minutes till it starts to thicken a bit then pour into a container ( I use a squeezable ketchup container) and put in the fridge. Let sit over night and it will thicken. I find I can only make one batch at a time or it doesn't thicken properly. Have fun with this! Try add ins such as herbs or seasoning salt.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 92: Bow Tie Rattatouile Pasta

Many of you have read my post on rattatouille or " rat patootie" as it is lovingly called at our house. Well, here is a delicious remake to use up those left overs. You know I can't stand to see things go to waste and as the old saying goes, "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." This is a divine way to "make it do." We had some left over rattatouille in the frideg but no one was in the mood so I made this and everyone agreed that it hit the spot.

1 bag bow tie pasta
left over rattatouile
2-3 spoonfuls pesto
vegan parmesian cheese
Evoo

Cook and drain the pasta. In the same pot add the rattatouile and pesto to the pasta with a dash of EVOO to loosen it up. Gently meld everything being careful to not mush the pasta. Heat through and serve topped with parmesian cheese.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summer Scrumptiousnessess

It's been great to be back in the land of plenty, all though it has been a bit odd too. We stopped over in Hawaii for a few days and one of our first stops was a real grocery store. We walked in and immediately felt overwhelmed and shocked. We looked at each other and knew we would just grab a few basics and just get out of there. We're getting a little better. I can even handle walmart....though I can't say the same for Matthew. We miss the simplicity and the inventiveness that comes from going without.

While I can't say I'd go back just yet, I have to admit that I'm starting to miss the sunsets and the food, the people and the peace, the laid back life and the ocean.....yes! Especially the ocean. There is just something rejuvenating about the ocean that brings peace and joy just at the sight of it. Oh how I miss the ocean. The colors that come as the sun drowns and the exhilarating rush to watch a storm fight for dominance, as if the sky must prove it's just as deep and holds just as much mystery and power. What I would do to stand on the shore staring and imagining what's on the other side. Whether on this side of the pacific or the other, it, like it's root word suggests, offers a mysterious, empowering peace that I pray, no matter how far from it I may be, I may stir inside me and never let go dry.

But enough with the gushing emotional flood. What I need is some food....ya, I'm an emotional eater....what of it? Here are so great summer meals that are fresh and refreshing and if you spray yourself with salt water while you eat it then you'll be wet and salty....Enjoy!

Monday: Bow Tie Ratatouille Pasta
Tuesday: Veganaise
Wednesday:Relief Society Pasta Salad
Thursday: Celery Salad
Friday: Asian Cabbage Salad
Saturday: Crusted Portobello Mushrooms
Sunday: Nutella


Shopping List

bow tie pasta
ratatouille
pesto
vegan parmesian cheese
cashews
bread crumbs
portabella mushrooms
canola oil
almonds
shell pasta noodles
grapes
apples
pineapple
cabbage
carrots
sesame oil
1 bunch celery
vegan milk

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bonus: Bed Spray

I mentioned to my husband that I had a recipe for a bed spray. He looked at me with a mischievously seductive smile and said he'd like to try it.....so I let him :) He's now downstairs spraying the mattresses and airing them out :)....I don't think that's what he had in mind but I must say, I'm enjoying it.

You're probably wondering what bed spray has to do with beauty week. Well, I'll tell you. Since we became parents I've learned what a desperate part sleep has to play in being beautiful....well at least presentable. Since our son came there has been days of wearing baggy sweats, and baggy eyes all day. I actually day dream about sleeping long enough to have a dream. Having a welcoming bed with the soothing sent of eucalyptus to welcome you to your ever so brief slumber can be a welcoming invitation after a long day of child's play.

This is a great recipe to use on more then just mattresses. Use it on furniture, shoes, carpet....are you imagining yourself like that mom on the commercial that comes across her hubby's shoes and then with one spray she acts like she just had a spiritual experience, has seen the light and wants to leave it all behind and move to the abby and sing in the hills? Ya, this spray is just like that!

Bed Spray

2 c distilled water
10 drops grapefruit
10 drops lemon
10 drops tea tree
10 drops eucalyptus

shake before each use and spray liberally.

Day 91: Shampoo for Thick Hair

The other day I tried to make Shampoo for the first time and I must say I was quite pleased. The ingredients are rather simple and it was quite easy to make. But unfortunately my hair is protesting...again. My hair, like most others, is not what I would like it to be. The hair is always greener on someone else's head I suppose. But with the genes I got (my father is bald and my mom went gray at 20) I'm not complaining! I'm grateful for what I've got but it is quite "notty" if you know what I mean.

My husband, on the other hand has gorgeous hair! It's thick and dark and grows like a weed. Dang him! He's almost 40 and still looks like a teenager (and acts even younger). His hair responds quite well to this shampoo but it leaves mine heavy and unmanageable. If anyone out there has a recipe for thin hair I would LOVE it! Let me know how it works for you.

Shampoo For Thick Hair

1/4 c castil soap
1/2 c distilled water
2 tb aloe vera gel or juice
1/2 tb coconut oil
4 drops lemon essential oil

Pour all ingredients in a shower safe container and shake vigorously. I find this foams really well so you don't need to use a lot. Enjoy

Day 90: Refreshing Body Spray

In St. George it's what you might call....warm. Personally, I LOVE the heat. I grew up in California so it was kind of drilled into me. Then I moved to St. George, Hawaii, and Amerikan Samoa...are ya sensing a theme yet? Since I'm always cold I find the heat relieving. But in St. George even I can get hot. This body spray is not only refreshing, it helps minimize the oderus effects of a woman's natural glow....if ya know what I'm sayin'. It's great to carry around in your purse and give yourself a sprites to cool down and freshen up.

Body Spray

1 finger pump spray bottle
distilled water
essential oil of choice

You can get a cheap ( I mean that in every sense of the word) finger pump spray bottle at walmart for a buck. Fill it with distilled water and 5 drops of essential oil of your choice. I use grapefruit, which I love, and because it's know for being invigorating and offers a great pick me up!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 89: Sugar Waxing

In this blog I may get a bit graphic so brace yourself.
Here in Samoa you can not get hair removal products. After 6 months I started to look like Sasquatch and even my husband was suggesting having a mustache race to see who could grow the thickest mustache before we went home. When he couldn't look me in the eye any more I realized I had to do something. I found sugaring as my saving grace. I find that it doesn't hurt near as much as waxing and it is so much easier to work with since it just washes off with warm water. Since you probably have all the stuff you need at home its tuns cheaper too!

Sugaring mix

2 c white processed yucky sugar
1/2 c water
2 tb lemon juice

stir everything together in a sauce pan and simmer. Stir regularly till the sugar turns a dark amberish brown color. While it is still hot pour into a jar and let cool. Once it is cool you should be able to scoop it with your hands and roll into a ball. Dust the clean area you want to wax with baby powder. Apply the wax in the direction of hair. Using strips of fabric (I cut up an old sheet and it gave me a bunch that I use in different sizes for different areas - plus they rinse out easy and are re-usable!) apply the fabric and rub to heat up the wax. Then pull the skin tight and quickly rip the heck out of the area you are waxing in the opposite direction of hair growth. It's best to do this when no one else is home so no one will hear you scream. Allow screaming to come, it's natural, and the more natural the better. It's quite therapeutic. And may I point out that it is a guy pulling the wax off in the picture....pansy!

Day 88: Toothbrush Soak

On my mission we had regular demonstration on health by my favorite Sister Crockett. On one occasion she started chucking pieces of white bread into the audience to demonstrate that it would take a loaf and a half of white bread to equal the nutrition of one piece of wheat bread. On another occasion she told us that our tooth brushes were a breading ground for millions of germs and bacteria and so we were commanded to boil our toothbrushes on a regular basis.

Wanting to be the obedient missionary, I went right home and started the water boiling.....and then I forgot about it. I went about getting ready for bed and when I went to go and brush my teeth I realized where my toothbrush.....or should I say former toothbrush was. It was now a glob of goo all over the pan and would not come off.

To save you the trouble of scrubbing a pan for hours or ultimately buying a new pan like I did, here is a safer, time saving alternative.

Toothbrush Soak
In a cup that you can relegate to the bathroom pour :

1/4 c hydrogen peroxide
4 drops peppermint essential oil

Place your toothbrush in the mix when not in use. The hydrogen peroxide will keep the brush clean and the peppermint will kill germs and leave your brush minty fresh. Replace the mixture once a week. Obviously you'll get a lot more benefit if the bristles are facing down.

Day 87: Detox Body Scrub

I've never really been a "girly girl." I'm not exactly a tom boy either but I've never really been into the whole make up, high heels, shopping and jewelry stuff. With that said, sometimes even I go for a little luxury. In Samoa you need a little reminder ever once in a while that you are in fact of the female gender. For Christmas I gave my friends a packet of this body scrub.....the only problem was I forgot to tell them not to eat it. They must have thought I was a terrible cook. I'm sure they thought this polongie was weirder then ever!


Body Scrub

1 container epson salt
1 cup baking soda
30 drops lavender essential oil


Mix everything together in a big disposable pan. You may not want to mix this in a plastic bowl because the essential oil my remain. Scrub all over with this scrub and leave on for a minute. You'll start to tingle as the epson salt kills bacteria on your skin. After you wash off your skin will be super soft and silky....even, dare I say, feminine.

Day 86: Face Wash

Have you ever tried to pronounce some of the ingredients in your food? Unfortunately today it is near impossible to pronounce what your eating, let alone what you put on your body. The last time I went to buy a face wash I thought I would read what was in it first. Big mistake. I left with no face wash and on a mission to find a more natural product. After stopping at three different health food stores I still couldn't pronounce what was in this stuff. Ok, perhaps the fault is mine because I can't read at a bio med professor level but should you really have to just to wash your face? I decided I would make my own and now I have a recipe that I LOVE! I can actually feel it tingle when I put it on which I never felt with my other wash. I am gentle exfoliated every day and my complexion has cleared up better then with my other wash. I love it! and it only has 4 ingredients and cost about nothing cents per bottle. Life is good! and being the generous soul that I am, I thought I would share it with ya'll.

FACE WASH
1/2 c baking soda
5 tb filtered water
4 drops lemon essential oil
4 drops lavender essential oil

I mix this all together in a squeeze bottle that I can keep in the shower. I like it as a runny paste but you may like it at a different consistency. Gently message into your face and then rinse off. I have oily skin and this has really evened me out. Lemon essential oil is great for cleaning and killing bacteria and stuff on your face and lavender is known for healing the skin. Between the two my skin comes out just right but you may want to experiment a bit for your own skin type. While our son doesn't use this face wash, he still has a gorgeous complexion!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 85: Toothpaste


All through our marriage my husband has been looking for the perfect toothpaste. You would think that by the age of 32 he would have found it by now. I can't tell you how many different kinds of toothpaste we have tried. I even broke down and bought the real expensive stuff to please the man but to no avail. Finally, when we moved to Amerikan Samoa we were unable to get any sort of toothpaste that met his standard.
Matthew, as many know, is quite the naturalist. I'm sure he would use a twig and a pine cone as a toothbrush if I let him. He says that all the toothpastes on the market are too sweet, thus loaded with sugar, thus not good for our teeth. I thought he was crazy until I made our own. Now I can't stand store toothpaste. They really are so sweet! While this toothpaste does take a little getting use to, it definitely shows how much sugar is in toothpaste.


Toothpaste

1 glass bottle or plastic tube
1/2 c baking soda
2 tb hydrogen peroxide
or 15 drops food grade hydrogen peroxide
8-10 drops peppermint essential oil
enough water to make a paste

Mix everything together in your container. At walmart they have a plastic squeeze bottle in the travel section that works great!

Jessica, Is that you?

Talofa! We are back from Samoa! It's good to be back. We have been back for a little over a month....which is why I also haven't written. It's been crazy being back with family and friends. We haven't seen them in 2 years so we've had a lot of catching up to do. Since we've been back I've kind of noticed that I've let myself go a bit since we've been in Samoa. A pound here, a little hairy there....nothing that can't be taken care of with a girls day and a session of hot yoga. This weeks recipes are for the women out there that want to take care of themselves but don't want the junk that comes with beauty products. My mother always said, "there's a price you pay for beauty" but I'm not prepared to pay that much. I think there is a difference between being prissy and being comely (I've never liked that word...it sounds to close to homely which is totally different! Lets call is clekesy...clean, kept, and classy) You don't have to spend hours getting ready and wear layers of make up to look nice. These recipes will achieve just that....you'll be so clekesy!

Monday: Toothpaste
Tuesday: Face wash
Wednesday:Detox body scrub
Thursday: Toothbrush soak
Friday: Sugar wax
Saturday: Refreshing body spray
Sunday: Shampoo for Thick Hair
Bonus: Bed Spray

Shopping List

baking soda
essential oils
distilled water
sugar
Epsom salt
hydrogen peroxide
castile soap
coconut oil
vitamin e oil
1 lemon

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 84: Febreze

Do you remember when febreze first came out and you thought it was the best thing since like ever! and you went to the store and smelled all of them picking out which one was your favorite till you had a head ache and then spraying down your entire house with the new miracle cure for stinkynesses? ok...maybe that was just me. I remember being in love with febreze and then finally reading the label....monochemicalsorbate, fenzolchemicalflorum, biochemicalexplotionide....blah blah blah. Not what I want my family breathing in....no matter how good it smells. I knew there had to be a better alternative and here it is.

Febreze

1 c white vinegar
1 c distilled water
20 drops essential oil of your choice -

I like citronella but then again, I have a bit of a bug problem so this kills two bugs with one stone. It also covers the vinegar smell really well. I also LOVE grapefruit! The main purpose of the oils is to cover the vinegar smell so experiment and have fun with it. Let me know what works for you! I would love to hear your concoctions.

Mix everything together in a spray bottle. Shake well at each use.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 83: Dishwasher Detergent

If you've read my post about dish soap you know that I know that dish soap and dish Washer soap are two completely different things. But, that still left me with the dilemma of what to put in the dishwasher. If you think about it, your washing your dishes with chemicals that leave a residue and then you eat off them. Ya, I don't think so! Here is a recipe that will clean those dishes, nix the residue and the water spots and you don't have to worry about the bubble fiasco....but I do recommend it if you're looking for some good clean fun!

Dishwasher Detergent
1 c borax
1 c baking soda
10 drops lemon
10 drops grapefruit
2 c white vinegar

In a container mix the borax, baking soda, and essential oils. In a pour bottle put the vinegar. In the pre-wash section of your machine put the powder mix and in the other place with the lid put the vinegar. The vinegar gets rid of the residue and water spots and rinses away all the junk. You may also want to run the dish washer once in a while with just the vinegar to make sure it's clean. I just heard a report that 94% of dishwashers that were examined in a study had mold. Vinegar will help a lot with that. Or hand washing can help with that too. I remember one week as a kid when our dishwasher broke. That was one of the most bonding experiences of my young life for my family. The family that works together... works!

Day 82: All Purpose Cleaner

When I was growing up my parents had COMPLETELY different ideas about "clean." We called them a "mom clean" and a "dad clean." Mom clean meant tidy things up, put the quilt in the oven, make it look clean for company and let the party begin. My Father on the other hand used a white glove. Whatever we were cleaning had to shine like the top of his shinny head. Now that I'm the "adult" I find that I'm a good mix of the two. We keep things tidy and when called for we deep clean like you wouldn't believe. I don't stress about mess but I don't put up with it either. With all this cleaning I hate to use any chemicals that linger in the house. No matter how much you rinse and wash it away it always leaves a residue. Here is a great recipe for an all purpose cleaner that cuts the stress and the mess and you'll even pass the dad clean without breaking a sweat!

All Purpose Cleaner
1 tb borax
1/4 c white vinegar
2 c distilled water
10 drops lemon
10 drops tea tree
10 drops lavender

Mix all these and put in a convenient spray bottle.

Day 81 : Carpet Cleaner

Matthew and I are really excited to be home and be with our family! We have missed them a lot! We have especially missed all of our nieces and nephews! Matthew is such a kid himself that all the children naturally gravitate to him. In Samoa the kids in the village would come around regularly asking if Matthew could come and play. It's no different now that we're home. The kids all love Matthew!

I have recently learned a recipe - don't worry, it's not rocket science - put matthew together with a bunch of little kids and some ruff housing and you have a perfect mess :) But when you see those adorable faces (Matthew included) how can you deny them the fun. So, instead of making Matthew act his age I'm making carpet cleaner.


Carpet Cleaner
1 tb dish soap
1/4 c vinegar
2 c distilled water
3 drops each of lemon, lavender, and tea tree essential oils
1 cup soda water

Mix everything but the soda water together in a bottle. Then add the soda water and put the lid on tight. To use on carpets just shake and apply.

Day 80: Bathroom cleaner

I'm going to take a minute and brag about my AMAZING hubby! Before we got married we discussed household chores. I mentioned how I loath cleaning bathrooms (what woman doesn't?) and he joyfully chimed in that he didn't mind them and then proclaimed that in our home whenever the bathroom needed to be cleaned he would be the one to do it! Did I get a catch or what?

And he wasn't just blowing smoke! We have been married 5 years and every week... or so he has faithfully cleaned the bathrooms. I love this man!

Matthew is also the one that LOVES homemade-organic-non toxicie stuff so this recipe is for him. He's even more willing to clean when I tell him it's a homemade cleaner. No wonder he had a halo when I met him.

Homemade Bathroom Cleaner
1 tb borax
2 c hot distilled water
4 tb white vinegar
10 drops each of lavender
eucalyptus
tea tree
lemon

Both Lavender and Lemon essential oils have disinfectant properties. They kill all sorts of yuckyness and they are super concentrated...like that old commercial "just a spoonful cleans a sink full!"

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 79: Dish Soap


As a kid my parents were unbelievable, I should have had them committed! They actually made us do chores! Can you believe it? I know in today's society this sounds appalling and on the verge of child abuse but back in my day (man I sound old when I say that) we actually had to do our chores every day. I can't believe what my parents put us through.

One time I was on kitchen duty...ya, the whole kitchen! I needed to start the dish washer but we were out of detergent so I thought liquid dish soap was just as good.....WRONGO! I realized it was not the same thing as I watched a wave of bubbles creep across the dining room floor and into the family room. Mom and Dad were not happy (though my siblings quite enjoyed it) and I was stuck on dish duty " till I could learn to do it right"....really, it's their fault for running out of the right kind of soap. But I must say that I was glad to kill two birds with one stone by cleaning the dishes and the floor at once.

Now, I must insert this disclaimer. This soap is NOT meant to be used in your dish washer. This is liquid dish soap. That said, if you happen to be looking for a night of good clean fun, I say go for it!

Dish Soap
2 c soap flakes or 2 bars shredded ivory soap
1 c baking soda
1 gallon of warm water
1/2 c lemon juice or white vinegar
A few drops of essential oils for scent, if desired

Day 78: Laundry Soap

I learned to do the laundry at a very young age....of coarse I didn't do the laundry per say, but I knew how to do it. I'm sure we went through laundry detergent like it was water. There was always that mound of laundry waiting by the machine. I used to hear stories from my grandma about laundry day at her house growing up. This is when they did it all by hand on a rock in the river or something like that.

In Western Samoa they do their laundry in a 5 gallon bucket at the local village pool/"laundry mat." Once they get to Amerikan Samoa and find out about the washing machines it's bye bye bucket!

I find it's best to make a big batch of this. To take it to the laundromat we put it in gallon jugs but if you have a left over bucket, that will work great too.

Laundry Soap
2 bars ivory soap pulverized or 2 c soap flakes
2 cups baking soda
2 cups borax
6 cups hot water

In your bucket add the ivory, soda, and borax. Boil the water and pour over powder stirring well. Let sit till cooled. Use 1/2 cup of soap per load.

Week 12: no billy, don't eat that

Many may disagree with me, but I think one of the worst movies ever made was "the christmas story"....of course, that's why I watch it every Christmas. My family really can't stand that show but yet we quote it all the time. One of the lines that comes up often is the one when he goes blind and the parents ask what it was..."soap poisoning" every kid hopes for that moment as their sitting there sucking on a bar of ivory. At our house we didn't use bars, we had liquid soap which sticks a lot longer! To this day when I get a whiff of lemon joy I start to wretch and eating a mango is a traumatic experience. Do mangoes taste like soap to anyone else?

This week I hope to put an end to the threat of "soap poisoning" to kids everywhere and to the nastiness that our parents put us through and that I'm sure my children will experience. This weeks recipes are only edible by naughty children. And since it's spring and time for a little spring cleaning, I thought this a perfect time to break out the homemade cleaning supplies recipes.

What does this have to do with being vegan. Well, my friend, being vegan isn't just about what you put in your mouth but whats in your life. A lot of cleaning products out there are not vegan, meaning they use animal fats or other ingredients that come from animals. All these recipes are vegan, effective, and best of all, cheep! You can make these for pennies with no worry of toxic yucky nastiness in your home. There is something comforting knowing that you can eat your cleaning supplies.

Week 12
Monday : Laundry Soap
Tuesday: Dish Soap
Wednesday: Bathroom Cleaner
Thursday : Carpet Cleaner
Friday: All Purpose Cleaner
Saturday: Dishwasher Detergent
Sunday: Homemade Fabreeze

Shopping List
baking soda - lots and lots of baking soda
peppermint essential oil (food grade)
lemon or orange essential oil
hydrogen peroxide
liquid castle soap
or
4 bars ivory soap
or
soap flakes
epson salts
borax

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 77: Vegan Chick Fillet


I'm not really a fan of Chick-fil-a, for obvious reasons. But I always thought their advertising was kind of cute. I could kind of relate. Now I eat, and spell like a cow. For all my critics out there lets just let that one go.

Chicken was the first thing to go when I started going vegetarian. After killing a chicken there is no going back! But with all the blood and guts aside, chicken is a very tasty meat....minus the whole meat part. This recipe makes a great breaded chicken patty that any herbivore would be happy to eat.

Vegan Chik -fil-A

1 c cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 c cooked rice
1/2 c bread crumbs
2 vegan chicken or vegetable bullion cubes
1 clove garlic
2 tb soy sauce
1 pinch sage
1 pinch paprika
2 heaping tb vital wheat gluten
1/4 c oats

In your lovable food processor process the garbanzo beans, rice, and oats. You may need to add just enough water to make it creamy. Now in bowl mix the rest of the ingredients, adding the vital wheat gluten last. Knead into a dough. Roll out and cut into squres. cook in oil till golden on both sides.

Day 76: Roasted Eggplant Sandwich

This sandwich is so elegant and filling, just the picture of it will make you drool.....which is not elegant but with these sandwiches I completely understand.

Eggplant Sandwiches
1 large eggplant
1 tomato
fresh basil
hummus
crusty rolls
vegan feta cheese
EVOO

Peel your eggplant and cut it in rounds 1/4 of an inch thick. Drizzle with olive oil and put under your broiler till tender. Be sure to turn it once and keep an eye on it so it won't burn. While that's cooking smear your roll with hummus. Once the eggplant is finished, place on your roll, cover with feta and place it under the broiler for just a minute to heat the cheese. Now drizzle with EVOO and top with fresh basil and tomato.

Day 75: Cucumber Sandwiches

I loved these sandwiches as a kid. My grandmother was a master at making them. My grandmother, in my eyes the master chef, would actually toast a piece of bread and cut one piece of bread in half creating two full size pieces. We all thought that this was just another product of her being raised during the depression and she was just being frugal. Actually, grandma was just introducing us to high society.

"As the thinness of the bread is a point of pride in the kitchen, a dense-textured white Pullman loaf is cut with a wide-bladed knife, which guides the cut; daylight should pass through the resulting fine pores." - Wikipidia

Grandma can cut a piece of bread thinner than anyone...ya, I'm puttin out a challenge. Think you can cut it thinner? It is quite the art and takes quite a bit of practice. I can cut it in half but I'm still not as good as grandma. Another key point is the thinness of the cucumber. You can't have thin bread and thick cucumber...that defeats the purpose.

So raise your little fingers, dab the corners of your mouth and hoover up a dozen or so of these delectable morsels.

Traditional Cucumber Sandwiches

1 loaf of sliced bread toasted
1 cucumber sliced thin
veganaise
seasoning blend like spike or oneara

The key is to slice the piece of toast in half right when it comes out of the toaster. Be careful, its hot! Place your hand on top of the toast so you can feel as you cut through it. Now cover one half with veganaise, sliced cucumber, and sprinkle with seasoning. Now "put the top back on" as grandma would say and slice on the diagonal....it has to be on the diagonal or it won't taste right!

Day 74: BLATO's

My absolute favorite sandwich has got to be the BLT! Actually, my favorite is the BLTAO or the BLATO sandwich (pronounced blahh toe). That's bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato, and onion. Does anything come closer to perfection? I submit that it does not.

Unfortunately, my bacon experiments have not gone as planned. I found a recipe for eggplant bacon. I like eggplant, I like bacon, so I gave it a whirl. It turned out to be strips of charcoal with a slight hint of maple flavor. I then found a recipe for tofu bacon but if you remember chocolate week you'll know that I've had my tofu allotment for the decade. One recipe called for shredded coconut. Now coconut I have an abundance of but do you know how much work it takes to shred a coconut? Plus, I'm not really feelin the connection. So I checked out my fridge and found some egg roll wrappers and thus, the birth of brilliance.

Vegan Bacon

1/2 tsp liquid smoke
4 tb soy sauce or liquid aminos
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c maple syrup
1 pkg vegan egg roll wrappers

Cut your wrappers into strips making them 4-5 sheets thick. Mix all your ingredients together and marinate the strips for about 10-20 minutes. Now fry up in a fry pan till golden brown on each side. They should be crispy yet chewy.

Vegan BLATOs

lettuce
sliced tomato
veganaise
mustard
vegan bacon
avocado
red onion sliced
rolls

Do I really need to spell this one out? You know how it goes.

Day 73: Greek Pita Sandwich

Matthew and I love all things Greek -- the history, the food, breaking plates on the floor, hairy men dancing all night long to music straight from Mt. Olympus - It's great! This sandwich is one of those simple luxuries that as you eat it in front of a fan you can imagine sitting on a white and blue hillside soaking in the sun and breathing in fresh Mediterranean air. ahh...where's my sun bonnet?

Greek Pita Sandwiches

1 cucumber sliced
2 Roma tomatoes sliced
sliced olives
EVOO
sliced red onion
vegan feta cheese
1 pita per person
hummus

Smear the inside of your pita with hummus then layer your cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, onion and feta cheese. Drizzle with EVOO and serve.

Special: Vegan Feta Cheese

Matthew and I have this sandwich that we really love. It's a sweet, salty tangy refreshing sandwich that unfortunately calls for feta cheese. We loved feta because it was great on so many things. So here is the end to our feta-less life woes. Some of you may recognize this recipe from my vegan cheese post. It's pretty much the same just with a little twist to make it feta-ee.


Vegan Feta Cheese

1/4 c garbanzo beans
1/4 c cooked rice
1/4 c cashews
1/4 c oats
1 c water
1 tb red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1 clove garlic

You know the drill. Throw it all in the food processor till smooth then heat on the stove till creamy. Now, Pour the cheese into a loaf pan that is lined with plastic wrap. completely cover and place in the freezer over night. Then pull out of the freezer and let thaw in the fridge. The cheese should crumble or cube very nicely now and can be used as feta cheese.

Day 72: Fruit Salad Sandwich

Some may think that we have weird taste in food. That, we do not deny. We think this is a pretty awesome sandwich but we shared it with a friend and he said it was an "acquired taste." So you be the judge.

Fruity Salad Sandwich
1 full pita per person
1 apple
1 can pineapple drained
2 thingys of celery
2 stalks green onion
1/2 c sunflower seeds
1 avocado sliced
vegan feta cheese

In your handy dandy food processor pulse all of your fruit to make a compote. fill your pita and top with sunflower seeds, green onion, avocado, and feta cheese.

Day 71: Vegan Fillet o' Fish

Yes, even as a child I was a food geek. I remember when my family would eat out at mick-e-dees. While the rest of the family ordered the usual quarter pounder with cheese, I went for the fillet o' fish. When they called for the big mac, I went with a salad. What can I say, I have sophisticated tastes.

I've always liked fish. Even when I first went vegetarian I didn't go all the way because I couldn't let go of my fish sticks. Now that I've found this substitute I'm happy to wave good-bye to my finned friends. This is way easy and tastes pretty authentic too. Try it with some white sauce, crumbled potato chips, and green onion for a gourmet version or pack it as a lunch.

Vegan Fish Fillets

1/4 c oats
1 c bread crumbs (panko is best)
salt to taste
2 thingys of celery
1/2 red onion
2 russet potatoes raw
mustard
lemon juice
soy sauce
1 tb vital wheat gluten
1 pinch sage
1 pinch dill weed
1 tb veganaise
1/4 c cooked rice

In your magical food processor, quickly pulse your potatoes, celery and red onion. Now place in a sieve with a bowl under it and let sit for about an hour to let all the juice drain off. Or, to speed up the process you can wring it out in some cheese cloth. You must drain off the liquid or it will be too moist to stay together. Now put your oats, cooked rice, and all your dry ingredients (except the wheat gluten and bread crumbs) into the food processor and pulse. In a large bowl mix everything together, kneading it into a dough. Once it's a dough, roll it out between wax paper, cut into squares. cover with bread crumbs and fry in a pan with oil. These freeze really well! Serve on a bun with fresh tartar sauce.

Week 11: Sandwiches

Sometimes you just need something simple that you can throw together and go. Since spring has sprung it's now time for picnics and getting out in the fresh air. Matthew and I love this time of year. Even though it has been spring for us for the last 25 months, our bio clocks still let us know when it should be spring. We get itching to explore, have picnics, and go to the park for games and walks.

Last week we got that itching feeling and invited some friends to join us. One of Matthew's favorite games to bring people together for good banter is croquet. He even got in with some hard core guys in Laie that had their own hand made mallets.

We thought this would be the perfect occasion to purchase our own set. So, we went to the one store on the island that could possible have them and to our sarcastic surprise, they didn't even know what it was, let alone have one to buy. As we walked through the store downcast and tearful we passed by the sale rack that had plungers on sale. I would not be my grandmothers granddaughter if a lite did not spark and my imagination started to run wild.

We got a few looks as we put a half dozen plungers in our cart but we were too busy imagining all the fun that awaited us to pay them any heed. We gathered inflatable beach balls, metal wire and bottled water as we headed to the park for some good clean fun.



No park excursion would be complete without a picnic. These recipes will hopefully get you out of the house and out to the park to enjoy some enriching recreational activities.

Week 10
Monday: Fish Fillet Sandwich
Tuesday: Fruity Salad Sandwich
Wednesday: Greek Sandwich
Thursday: BLT's
Friday: Cucumber Sandwiches
Saturday: Eggplant Sandwich
Sunday: Vegan Chick Fillet

Shopping List
oats
breadcrumbs
celery
red onion
potatoes
garbanzo beans
1 apple
green onion
1 can pineapple
sunflower seeds
small white lima beans
pitas
wheat bread
cucumbers
veganaise
liquid smoke
soy sauce
vegan egg roll wrappers
eggplant

Day 70: Brown Gravy

Brown gravy can be a tricky thing for vegans. You want the flavor but not all the ingredients that bring the flavor. Kind of like having your mother come and stay with you. You love that she comes, watches the kids, cooks, and cleans, but kind of get annoyed at the stuff she brings with her. ya, gravy is like that. But, this gravy can fix all that.....not your mother issues, the flavor problem. This is super easy to whip up without all the hassle and won't leave you bloated and irritated....take that as you will.

Vegan Brown Gravy


basic white sauce
vegan beef or vegetable broth
mushrooms
dried parsley
kitchen bouquet
sage
salt
pepper
garlic powder
onion powder

Just how I like it, throw everything into your food processor and give it a whirl. You're probably wondering why there are no measurements. This time everything is according to taste so be sure to test it often. It also depends on how much basic white sauce you are using so trust your pallet on this one.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 69: Enchilada Sauce

So, Mexican food isn't that big here in Samoa. I don't know if it's the spicy flavors or if it's the whole bean thing but you can't really find Mexican food here. There was actually a Mexican restaurant that started in Leone which is the village down the road. We were very excited when we drove past and saw it. But the next time we drove by to check it out it was out of business.

So, with a lack of ready made ingredients I began to make my own. I found this great recipe for Enchilada Sauce and with a little tweaking with the ingredients that I had available it appeared at our table in this glorious form. So, as they say in those lame El Monte commercials...."lets eat"

Enchilada Sauce

1 tb oil
3 tb flour
2 bullion cubes crushed
1 tb garlic powder
1 tb onion powder
4 tb chili powder
2 tb dried cilantro
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can water

In a large sauce pan make a rue with the oil and flour. Add all the dry ingredients including the cilantro. Heat till very fragrant. Slowly add the tomatoes, stirring constantly to minimize lumps. Add water till it is the desired consistency.

Day 68: Nacho Cheese Sauce

I know I've mentioned this before but I thought it was the perfect time to revisit the Nacho Cheese Sauce.

Now is the time when people start to throw off their winter layers, emerge from hibernation and seek social interaction. Some find that as vegans this can be a problem. Most vegans find socializing with carnivores a bit of a downer. Just another time to have to defend myself for living healthy. With family especially, "I didn't raise you like this...blah blah blah blah blah."

This is why I love this dish. This is one of those vegan dishes that doesn't "taste vegan," whatever that means. Every vegan has their dish. I know you do it too. The one you take to a party as a self defense. The one that you don't tell anyone is vegan till they start to bug you and then you break it to them that they actually like vegan food because your dish was one of the first to disappear. I don't know why we do it -maybe it's just human nature to want to prove your right. Whatever it is, enjoy this as your proof that vegans are cool people too and that carnivores are what they eat....bully, meaty burger heads!

Nacho Cheese Party Dip Sauce Stuff

vegan cheese
1 jar canned salsa
chips

In a sauce pan heat your vegan cheese. You may need to add a bit of water. Now add your salsa. Mix till everything is incorporated. Serve with chips.

Day 67: Pesto

The other night I had some basil to use up so I googled basil and ran with it. This is what I got. I'm really shocked that I don't use pesto more. It is so incredibly yummy and so elegant that I guess I'm intimidated. Something that delicious has got to take a lot of time and effort....wrongo! I can't believe how incredibly easy this is. More and more I find that the most delicious foods can be described as "simple elegance." They are easy with not a lot of ingredients and require very little effort. No more $6 pesto from the store!

Pesto

1 handful basil
soaked nuts (most people use pine nuts but Matthew is allergic so I use soaked almonds unless I want to watch him scratch his tongue all night)
1 clove of garlic
salt
pepper
EVOO

In a blender begin to blend everything except the EVOO. Once everything is pureed slowly add in the EVOO till it's a creamy sauce.

I find that pesto goes great on EVERYTHING!

Day 66: Hollandaise Sauce

"As early as 1651, François Pierre La Varenne describes a sauce similar to Hollandaise sauce in his groundbreaking cookbook Le Cuisinier François: "avec du bon beurre frais, un peu de vinaigre, sel et muscade, et un jaune d’œuf pour lier la sauce" - wikipidia

According to my extensive knowledge of the french language what he is saying is, "with the good french brew, of the vinegar, and mustard, my little Jane devoured all the sauce."

Well what a review from little Jane! If you can get any kid to devour a sauce of vinegar and mustard I say props to the guy! After tasting this sauce I'm with Jane. This is the sauce on one of my favorite breakfasts - eggs benedict. I'm still perfecting the vegan'ised recipe but here is the sauce....Thank you Francois and little Jane!

Hollandaise Sauce

basic white sauce

1-2 tsp mustard

1-2 tsp white vinegar

1 pinch paprika

Blend everything together. This sauce should be a light yellow in color and have a mild tang to it. Try this over vegan sausage or steamed asparagus.

Day 65: Marinara Sauce

I know I've mentioned spaghetti with a red sauce many times in my blogging activities but it's a classic. While in Texas on my mission we met a family that had spaghetti every Wednesday night. I love that idea! Spaghetti is a no brain-er. Quick, easy, delish! Here is a super easy recipe for Marinara sauce, or red spaghetti sauce. It's basically just blend and heat. It's way yummy and you know what's in it instead of trying to pronounce all those ingredients on the back of the label. Plus you can make a bunch and freeze it at a price that is a lot less than buying pre-made sauce from the store. Plus, you can use this on a lot more than just spaghetti! Try it as the base for your next pizza or as a dip for bread sticks.

Marinara Sauce
1 can tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 tb dried parsley
1/2 tb Italian seasoning
1 pinch sage

Place everything in your trusty food processor and blend till smooth. When your pasta is finished throw the pasta and sauce together in the pan to coat with some olive oil. Top with an extra sprinkle of dried parsley and you'll look gourmet!

Day 64: White Sauce/Alfredo

The other day I needed a white sauce for a new casserole I was concocting - recipe to follow - and Matthew got all excited when I started cooking the beans. Matthew always gets excited when I start cooking beans. He came into our kitchen, which is finished being remodeled by the way!!!, and with a smile on his face and a sparkle in his eye said, "ohh, are we having soup?"
"No" I replied
"oh, a bean salad"
"Nope"
"oh no, are you concocting?"
"yep"
His smile left the kitchen faster than he did. At dinner as he sat eyeing everything looking for his much anticipated beans they were no where to be found...so he thought. He ate his dinner and it was only after he had raved about the "fish" and white sauce that I told him where the beans were. Now he insists it be put on the list.
You may think that a sauce based on beans would be, well, beany but it's not. If fact you can't taste the beans at all and the consistency is so beautifully creamy you'd swear it was fat and flour based. So give this a whirl in place of your white sauce. It offers protein instead of fat and works up faster than any white sauce I've ever made, no whisking....and no lumps!

Basic White Sauce
1 c cooked small white lima beans
1 clove garlic
1 tb evoo
salt to taste

Place everything in your food processor and puree till creamy. Serve hot. This basic white sauce can be transformed into many different kinds of sauces eg: hollandaise, Alfredo, gravy etc....recipes to follow

Alfredo Sauce

Basic white sauce from above
vegetable broth
garlic powder
white vinegar

To make this an Alfredo sauce just add vegetable broth till it is the consistency you are looking for, then add garlic and vinegar to taste.

Week 10: Seven Sauces

This week I have been feeling a little saucy - no mother - that says saucy not sassy. I have found that the perfect sauce can make a meal. On Matthew's plate my sauces resemble more of a soup than a sauce, but I think that he's got the right idea. Sauces can bring life to a dry run down dish and work wonders for leftovers. In fact, that's its job - check this out to find out everything you did...and didn't want to know about sauces. Some would testify that this is why I use sauces so much. But, as in most French cooking, the sauce is usually where there is not only an abundance of flavor but an abundance of fat....in fact that fat is what gives it the flavor. Trying to make up for the loss of animal fat can be difficult in sauces but I hope this week you'll find that fat isn't the only way to get some flavor in your diet.

Week 11
Monday: Basic White Sauce / Alfredo
Tuesday: Marinara
Wednesday: Hollandaise Sauce
Thursday: Pesto
Friday: Nacho Cheese
Saturday: Enchilada Sauce
Sunday: Brown Gravy

Most of these are just a base sauce that you can do with what you will. Feel free to explore the possibilities.

Shopping List
small white lima beans
EVOO
garlic
basil
almonds
1 can tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
bullion
italian seasoning
dried parsley
Kitchen bouquet
vegan cheese
salsa

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 63: Sausage Egg.....Plant Breakfast Burritos

The other day I entered the kitchen with the expectation of experimenting on a new vegan shepherds pie recipe, which, come to think of it, I still haven't made. Hum, anyway, I started making my recipe for vegan meat but when I finished I realized I had made vegan sausage. I love serendipity! I'm not quite sure what I did different except that I purposely left out the BBQ sauce when I realized what was happening. This worked out perfect since I had been craving some morning star sausages but we can't get them on the island. I saved a little of the dough to make sausage crumbles that were fantastic on pizza that night and we made these breakfast burritos the next morning. I wish all my mistakes were this delicious

Vegan Sausages

1/2 c cooked lentils
1 c brown rice
1/2 c oats
2 tb soy sauce
2 tb oil
3 tb flour
2 tb vital wheat gluten
1 large pinch of salt
1 tsp pepper
1 dash nutmeg
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp garlic

In a large bowl mush the lentils and rice with a fork till there are none left whole. Now add everything else and kneed it into a dough. Cover with plastic wrap and roll out. Use a cup and cut into rounds. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake on 350 for about 35-45 minutes turning once. These freeze really well and are great on their own.

Breakfast Burritos

1 eggplant cubbed
green onion
1/2 c cooked garbanzo beans
vegan sausage
tortillas
veganiase
mustard
EVOO

In a sauce pan, cook the eggplant and green onions till soft. Add the garbanzo beans and mush everything with a fork. Smear the tortillas with veganaise and mustard then layer with the eggplant mixture and vegan sausages. Wrap like a burrito and eat like you've never eaten a burrito before.

Day 62: Hash

On North Shore Oahu there is a great restaurant called Hukilau Cafe. If you're visiting I highly recommend it, though if you're vegan there will be nothing on the menu that you can eat. You'll have to ask a local how to get there.....well, ask a couple of locals because they'll all give you different directions, but this is still the way to go since you will never find it on your own. The Hukilau Cafe is where I was first introduced to " the hash." Matthew and I shared a dish of this and didn't eat again till dinner. Matthew refers to such dishes as "gut-pluggers." This meaty dish is definitely not vegetarian and has been linked to many health concerns but what a way to go. This recipe is a healthier, non meaty version that tastes nothing like the original but is still divine nonetheless.

Vegan Hash
2-3 potatoes cubed
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1/2 head cabbage finely chopped
garlic powder
veganaise
salt

In a large sauce pan cook the potatoes in just enough water to make them soft. Once the potatoes are tender, add the onion, cabbage, garlic, and veganaise. Cook till the cabbage is wilted. Serve hot.

Day 61: French Toast

I'm sure, like most of you, when it comes to french toast there is quite the dilemma. You love the flavorful deliciousness that is french toast but have trouble guncking down the eggy stinky flemmyness of it. I'm with ya all the way. But this recipe is the solution to keeping all that flavor and eliminating all the yucky not goodness that comes with an egg based recipe.

Vegan French Toast

2 bananas pulverized
1 c "milk"
1 tsp cinnamon
several pieces of bread
2 tsp oil

In a blender pulvarize the bananas till they are the consistancy of egg. Now add the milk and cinnamon. Pulse to mix. Pour into a flat bottom bowl. Lightly coat both sides of the bread. Do not soak! Heat the oil in a pan and fry on both sides.