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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teach me Tuesdays: Onion Garlic & Ginger Poultices

All weekend I have been using onion,garlic, and ginger poultices on the children,
PIC From this site

  1. Applying a light coating of EVOO on backs, chests, and feet. to protect delicate preschooler/toddler skin. 
  2. I sliced an onion, smashed up 3 cloves of fresh garlic, and grated 3 T fresh ginger 
  3. Placed in pan with a little water.
  4. Saute on low until veg starts to steam and very warm--do NOT over-cook, only open up juices and enzymes, really heating up a light simmer.
  5. Then I placed the mixture in a thin cotton cloth (old dipes not ever used as dipes, the old fashioned kind you had to fold into a prefold shape)
  6. Wrapping like a burrito.
I placed on back for up to 10-15 min as long as Kissi-cat let me, checking skin every 2min garlic can cause burns. I placed other poultices on chest and foot I placed a qt size freezer bag over to hold in place. Mini-moose wouldn't allow me longer than 2 min of application.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Menu Mondays: #2 Carry In Meal for a Shut-In

My church is so awesome and the community of believers that attend really care & cares for each other; even  my family has been blessed the last few years by the meal ministry.  When I heard of a family what was in need of a carry in meal I was glad for the chance to give back.

I just heard about the carry-in meal sign up via the web through this site called Take Them a Meal, it is a really cool site- 
  • basically a virtual sign up spread sheet 
  • that allows people to sign up to bring a meal to a family/person in need, 
  • list their contact info, 
  • meals they are bringing 
  • and date they choose to bring a meal. 
I have tried to organize meals for families before and this would have been soo much easier.

You just set up the page with
  • a brief description of family's dietary needs, 
  • tastes, 
  • address and phone number 
  • a link so others can sign up online.
I love that I can see what others are bringing so as a meal bringer I know if the family has all ready had pot roast and mashed potatoes once that week and the person in charge doesn't have to keep all that info at hand. I also think it makes meal bringers more responsible for what they sign up for, that used to drive to me nuts when people would act like I was responsible to remember what time THEY signed up for- GRRRRR....anyways that is one of my many  issues...let's move on to the meal I choose.

The family I made a meal for is a family of 8 with teenage boys, so I chose a Mexican night.
 It is all ways a hit with my kids and after speaking with the mother it sounds like I made the right decision. 
Here is what I made:

* Crock Pot Mexican Chicken
 {4Lbs split chicken breasts, chicken stalk, kosher salt, pepper, 1 Cup pepperoncini pepper brine and 5 peppers,  3 T adobo seasoning, Cilantro}
* Mexican Ground Beef
 {2 1/2 Lbs ground beef/turkey breast blend, adobo seasoning, cilantro, green onions, kosher salt, pepper, chopped onions, minced garlic
* Fiesta Rice
 {cooked rice, chicken stalk, chopped onion, minced garlic, lime juice, cilantro, black beans, corn, adobo seasoning, kosher salt, pepper, chopped tomatoes}
* Refried Black Beans
 {black beans, bacon drippings, chopped onions, ground chipotle peppers, kosher salt and pepper}
* Homemade Salsa
 {Canned diced tomatoes, chopped onions, lime juice, cilantro, adobo seasoning, kosher salt, pepper, canned tomatoes with green chilies}
* Guacamole
 {Avocado, lime juice, cilantro, adobo seasoning, kosher salt, pepper, chopped tomatoes}
* Torillas
 {Vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate cookie crumb crust, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, mini reese's peanut butter cups, whipped cream}

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

RECIPE WED #4: Tartar Sauce

 I Just LOVE tartar sauce, sometimes I will just mix Mayonaise juice from a dill pickle jar, one chopped finely, dried dill & Parsley with minced garlic, Kosher salt, fresh cracker pepper, zest of half lemon, juice of half of lemon & a smidgen of sugar. Let that sit for in fridge for a few hours before using. No real recipe just throw in this and that and eye ball it adjust to taste.

Picture is from this site

I found this recipe and tweaked it to fit my tastes. It's pretty good kinda tastes like McD's tartar sauce if you like their Filet O' Fish sandwiches. Love the idea of the capers, and half and half, will have to check this out soon!

Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup Mayonnaise
 1/4 cup  DILL  relish 
2 teaspoons dried, minced onion 
2 teaspoons half & half  
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes  & Dill
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice concentrate 
10-12 capers (small), minced 
1/8 teaspoon sugar
Combine in a small jar, mix very well and refrigerate in an air-tight container until needed. 
Make this tartar sauce well in advance. (the flavors need to "meld")

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Back in March we were desieged with all kinds of sickeness, both kids had earaches left and right.

After my daughter woke up screaming one morning I went to the Medicine Cabinet in my pantry and to grab my EVOO,  then I remembered I had made garlic infused EVOO and had it in my fridge, 24 oz to be exact... 
pic from this site
I heated up a mug of water then placed a smaller cup inside w/a small amount of garlic infused EVOO, when it got to a nice temp I tested it on the inner part of my wrist. 

Using a dropper I placed 1-2 drops it in my daughter's ear and did a lymphatic drainage massage 
  • within 5 minutes she was calm and wanted to sit up on my lap, 
  • within 10 min she was asking for some water to drink...
  • within 20 she was up and playing with her dollies...

So began my first steps towards using alternative practices to help me kids

Lymphatic Drainage massage in for earaches:
  1. First, have the person lay on his or her side with the aching ear facing upward.
  2. Next put the ear drops (garlic oil, onion juice, colloidal silver, etc.) in the ear. 
  3. Grasp the lower part of the ear and begin stretching and massaging it. This helps the remedy reach the eardrum and begins the process of lymphatic drainage.
  4. Finally, after a few minutes of massaging the ear, begin using a "milking" technique to increase lymphatic drainage in the neck and throat. 
  5.  Place your finger in the indentation just under the ear and behind the jawbone. 
  6. Gently stroke the neck downward from this point. 
  7. Gently massage the lymph nodes in the throat area, too. 
  8. You'll know what they are because you'll feel hardened, lumpy areas in the neck and throat. These movements will dramatically increase the flow of lymph moving away from the ear.
  9. If the first round of this procedure doesn't completely relieve the pain, be patient. Just keep repeating the same process once every hour or so.

Monday, July 23, 2012

MENU MONDAYS: 12 + Flavorful Freezer Meals in 60 min Sessions+Plans +Shopping Lists

I am not sure how much I will be able to handle after my extensive, major, abdominal surgery.
So I am planning to about as many meals in my freezer as I can:

  1. Afford
  2. Fit in the my freezer
  3. Physically & Mentally handling making*
~ One of those "little Interruptions"~!
*{ Note 6/11/2012: #3 is a new one for me, I never saw this as quite that taxing mentally or physically in the last 1,000 sessions or so I have done in the past 16 years!! Alas it has been 2 years since I have done a freezer session of this magnitude bc of health issues and time management issues [BTW , if you are thinking this- IT is NOT an exaggeration of sessions, it's actually quite modest. If you did a session a month for 16 years it would be 3,200 sessions] .

This post show cases how I typically plan my freezer meal sessions I: 

  • Brainstorm
  • List dishes my family really likes 
  • Recipes I haven't made in awhile
  • Recipes I have been wanting to try.
Sometimes budget constraints prevent me making all I want and planned on making because the main &/or important ingredients are NOT on sale at the time & simply too spendy to purchase in bulk otherwise.

Other times I plan on making something and the kids get sick, too many appointments that month & I just can't "swing it"... LIFE "happens"& these "interruptions" can change our best laid plans ... in that event I will freeze the protein in a 1-2 Lb increments and cook it later. 

There have been more times lately as I cover in another post, that all I do is: 
  • Buy proteins on sale in BULK!
  • Freeze in meal portions deciding later what I will do. 

This has worked for me lately quite well as I stock up dry goods constantly as they go sale, it is very easy to pull together a meal the night before or even in the morning with what I have on hand.

This has been a life changing concept for me, allowing more flexibility with my sessions has given me more freedom and keeps me from being so rigid & "Cranky" to my family when my plans do NOT go as I wanted them to.

This is 1/3 filled, still have about 75 more meals to go!
It is infinitely easier for me to make double or triple of a recipe, 
you get caught up in ingredients when you do too many recipes and it makes a better use of time for me to multiply the amounts of the recipes this way. 
I just mix it up and then divide the dishes and place into freezer container of choice or I open the freezer bags and dump ingredients as go.  

Freezer cooking this way allows me to  
crank  out 12 flavorful meals in less than 60 minutes time  
even if I am cooking portions of it before I freeze.

I also cook/assemble freezer sessions according to protein type to not only make it :
  • Safe so as to not cross contaminate meats, 
  • It makes it affordable [I only buy proteins on sale]  
  • "Doable" with 2 young kids needing constant attention- it breaks the sessions into mini sessions. (More here in this post)

List of terms used:
  • HEAT & EAT-{Heat meal in pan provided or dump into oven proof/stove top proof pan/skillet, reheat and eat}
  • SANe-{Some Assembly Needed, is partially cooked will need some finishing time in oven or stove top and might need various ingredients}
  • MEAL KITS- {Has all protein ingredients but at times might need cooked & might include starch, veggies, shredded cheeses &/or sauce in" kit"}
  • CROCK POT/MEAL KIT- {Thaw ingredients overnight and dump into crock pot and cook, might need to add starch but rest of ingredients are present in "kit"}
  • DUMP KIT- {Protein with marinade, all you do take protien dump in freezer bag size of choice & dump in marinade-FREEZE. Thaw in fridge overnight and grill, bake or crock pot cook} 
  • COLOR CODE SYSTEM- { I place same type dishes in same basket/crate [red meat in one, veggies in another and so no] and  I will also write the meals in specific colors so at a glance I can tell what kind of protein or dish type it is: 
Love the look of Luggage tags
RED= Red MeatBLUE= Poultry,  PURPLE = Pork, 
GREEN= vegetarian, YELLOW= Side Dishes,    
BLACK= Breakfasts,   BROWN= LunchORANGE=Desserts/Snacks
  • LUGGAGE TAGS- This is a new organizational element, TO ME anyway, I am going to use, I really like the way it looks and I will add this to my chest freezer and my fridge freezer.

~Ground Beef &/Or Ground Turkey Breast Mix:

Flash Frozen Salisbury Steak Patties

  1. Salisbury Steak Patties w/brown mushroom onion gravy (4 Meals)
  2. Romanian Grilled Minced Meat Rolls (MICI)
  3. Meatballs ( 3 Meals)
  4. Hamburgers (3 Meals 
  5. Taco Seasoned Ground Beef(4 meals)

Shopping List:
24 Lbs Ground Beef/turkey, Beef Bullion, Worcestershire sauce, 7 Onions, 14 cloves of Garlic, 2-3 boxes (6 Cups) Beef Stock, Gin, 6 eggs, Garlic and Onion Powder, Salt, Pepper, 24 oz Mushrooms, Bread Crumbs, Parsley, Parmesan Cheese
Grand Total: $60/15 meals=$4.00/$0.70/per serving+left overs!  Still have to add in starch and veggies but won't be over $9/meal by the time I add in those numbers for sure!! SO YAY!!

Taco Seasoned Ground Beef-Used Mixture of Wild Tree Seasoning & MYO
  1. Shepherd's Pie
  2. Cheeseburger Spaghetti
  3. Spaghetti Pie
  4. Mexican Macaroni
Shopping List:
15 LBs ground beef/turkey (1& 1/2 Lb each meal), 5 LBS Yukon Gold potatoes, 24 oz Tomato Puree, 32 Oz Salsa or diced tomatoes w/chilies and onions, 3 sticks butter, 4-5 jars Ragu Double Cheddar Sauce, 3 Lbs Macaroni, 6 Envelopes Taco Seasoning, 3 Lbs Spaghetti, 2 Lbs Frozen Corn, 8- oz frozen French Green Beans, [8 oz puree of peas and carrots for shepherd's pie- kids & I won't eat the peas or carrots cooked], 1 box Beef Stock, 3 cans Cream of Onion Soup, Dill Pickle Relish, 6 C Monterrey Jack Cheese, 24-oz mushrooms, 3/4 C Half & half, Worcestershire sauce, Dijion Mustard, dried parsley, 2 Lbs Ricotta Cheese, 3 Eggs, Parmesan Cheese, Italian Seasoning, Brown Sugar, baking Soda,

III. CROCK POT KITS: Roasts/Steaks/Cubes-
*6/21/2012 Note: I don't think I will get to this part of my plan as my time is getting near I and I need to focus on other projects b4 the surgery. Beef prices are not co-operating with me! So I will leave this intact and perhaps use this meal plan when roasts are cheaper!
  1. Mexican Beef
  2. Chili Con Carne
  3. Teriyaki Beef
  4. Creamy Pot Roast 
  5. Crock Pot Gyros
  6. Super Simple Slow Cooker Steak Pizzaiola 
Shopping List:
36LBs Top/Bottom Round Roast, 60 oz can diced tomatoes w/green chilies, 12 onions, 1 C Pepperoncini Peppers brine, 11 Cups Beef Stock, 3 Cans Black Beans, 96 oz Tomato Puree, 3-cans Mexican beans, Chili Powder, Chipotle Powder, Smoked paprika, 4 C Pineapple Juice, Soy Sauce, Mustard Powder, Ginger, 4 bulbs Garlic, 2 Cups oil, black pepper, 6 cans cream of mushroom soup, Beef Bullion, 3 T fresh Lemon Juice, 3/4 C EVOO, Dried Oregano, cumin, 64 oz tomato puree, Parmesan cheese, Italian herb mixture, 24 oz Mushrooms,  Kosher salt, pepper,
~ Chicken:
 I. Crock Pot Meal Kits
{ALL MEALS 3X'S EACH Will Need 18 Gallon sized ZIPLOCK Freezer Bags}
  1. Orange Chicken
  2. Chicken Paprikash
  3. Chicken Swarma
  4. Greek Chicken
  5. Chicken Tacos
  6. Brown Sugar Chicken

 II. "Heat & Eat" & "SANe MEALS"-
{Will Need 3 8X8 Foil pans with lids and 12 gallon sized ZIPLOCK Freezer bags}
  1. Chicken Enchiladas {H&E}
  2. Chicken Piccata {H&E}
  3. Chicken Scalapini {H&E}
  4. Chicken Scampi {H& E}
Shopping List:
{KEEP IN MIND THIS LIST IS A COMBINED LIST OF ALL CHICKEN DISHES, CROCK POT KITS AND HEAT AND EAT, & SANe MEALS. I did have some ingredients in my pantry and fridge so I didn't list those, if you are following this meal plan you will want to check each recipe, double check the shopping list with the ingredients listed  and triple what is needed where you find a missing item}
3 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup, 3 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chilies, 3 bunches green onions, chopped,divided, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 9 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded,divided, 3 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste, 56 Lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 2 liter 7-Up, 9 onion, apricot apricot preserves, Catalina dressing, 3-onion soup mix, 3Lb lemon, 4 boxes chix stock, 6- 8 oz  mushrooms, 12 C Panko style bread crumbs, capers, white wine, dried parsley, balsamic vinegar, 3 red onions, 3 bulbs fresh garlic, butter, dried Oregano, cumin-- non food items: large 2"x4" mailing labels, wax sandwich wrappers, large gallon and qt size freezer bags, 3 small foil rectangle containers with lids, sharpies in red, black, green, and blue.
Grand Total for chicken meals: $180.00 for 39 meals that will feed 4-6 ppl with left overs= $5.00/meal or $0.77person

Update: as of now: 6/10/12 { Didn't get to these 9 meals [WAS GOING TO MAKE 3 MEALS OF EACH RECIPE]-but did add on 3 different vegetarian meals I wasn't planning on}

Would need to purchase 12 more Lbs of FRESH LARGE boneless skinless Chicken Breasts*, 8 oz Cream Cheese, 12 oz Sundried Tomatoes in EVOO, 3- 14 oz frozen spinach, 6 C Chix stock, 3 Onions, 24 oz Mushrooms.
*Chicken Breasts I bought were very cheap, and they were filled with broth solution so once thawed they ended up being 1/4 less of the size and I ran out of chicken. Will ONLY used FRESH Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts! So needless to say I will have to purchase more to make these dishes though I did buy enough!!
SO AS OF NOW Grand Total IS: $180 for 33 meals that will feed 4-6 w/left overs= $5.50 or $0.92/person

 I. Vegetarian/Beans: 
{Want to make 12-18 patties each for several lunches or quick vegetarian suppers & 24 qt sized ZIPLOCK freezer bags}

Zucchini Patties
  1. Falafel (12 patties)
  2. Zucchini Patties-(12 Patties)
  3. Quinoa Black Bean Burgers-(15 Burgers)
  4. Refried Black Beans and Cheese Enchiladas (X2)
Quinoa & Black Bean Burgers
Shopping List:
4-5 Cans Chick Peas, 3 Cans Black Beans, 3 Zucchini, 3 Yellow Summer Squash, Carrots, 8 Eggs, Bread Crumbs, Parsley, Onions, 16 oz-Mushrooms, 1-Lb Quinoa, Garlic, Cumin, Fresh Cracked Pepper corns, Panko Bread Crumbs, EVOO
Grand Total: $14 for 11 meals= $1.27 or $0.03/serving!!

 I. Pork: 
{Will make 3 of each pork recipe and need 24 gallon sized freezer bags, ZIPLOCK BRAND!] 
  1. Carnitas
  2. Buttermilk & Mushroom Smothered Pork Chops
  3. Balsamic Tenderloins
  4. Barb-B-Q Pork
Shopping List:
24 Lbs Pork whatever is on sale, 24 oz Buttermilk, 3 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup, 48 oz Mushrooms, 3/4 White Wine 3/4 C Balsamic Vinegar, Dry rub for Pork{Brown Sugar, Cumin, Chili Powder, Chipotle Powder,  Kosher Salt, fresh cracked black Pepper,white pepper, Garlic & Onion Powder, Smoked Paprika, dry Mustard], 3 T butter, 6 T soy sauce, Check Freezer bags, need 24 ZIPLOCK gallon sized for this session
GRAND TOTAL: $58 for  12 meals =  $4.83/meal for 4-6 ppl with left overs for next day's lunch or meal or $0.81/person  {Most ingredients I had on hand and pork sirloin roasts & boneless sirloin chops both were on sale for $1.99/Lb, $48 was the pork, $10 was spent on pantry items I didn't have}

I. Fish:
Not doing any ahead, just having frozen fish fillets in freezer with meals in mind to cook later.

I. Lunches: 
  • Taco Cups
  • Mini Pizza
  • Ham & Cheese Hot Pockets
  • Meat Ball Sub Pockets
  • Calazones/Pizza Pockets
  • 2 loaves P.nut butter & Jelly sandwiches
Shopping List:
1/2 Lb Gr Beef, 2 envelopes of Taco seasoning, 1 LB Chip-Chopped Ham, 4 C Shredded Sharp Cheddar, Mini Meatballs, 10 oz Spaghetti Sauce, 16oz sliced Pepperoni, 4 C Mozzarella, 1LB Bologna, Mayo, Mustard, 1-pint Peanut Butter, 8 oz Jelly, 2 loaves of bread, 16 oz Ricotta, 1/3 C Prosciutto, Parmesan Cheese, eggs, Spinach, 1 Onion, 3 loaves of frozen bread dough, 1 Lb Frozen Spinach

I. Breakfasts:
  1. Breakfast Tortillas{30 Tortillas}
  2. Breakfast English Muffins{12 Sausage, Egg, & Cheddar Cheese w/Dijion Mustard Sauce}
  3. Breakfast Mini Cup{in biscuits {20 Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Mini Cups- 4 were snacked on by the boys as I made them}
Shopping List:
3 Pkg- 10" Tortillas, 3 dozen Eggs, 3 Lb Sausage, 1 LB O'Brian Potatoes, 3 C Shredded, Cheddar Cheese,  2 Pkg English Muffins or 2 loaves English Muffin Bread, Lg pre-formed Sausage patties, Spinach, Shredded Swiss cheese, 1 Lb Bacon
*"Mini Quiches{In Biscuits or crust-less}"-This was on my "list" but don't think I will get to it.
GRAND TOTAL $14.40/MEAL SERVING 1/PERSON = $0.23/breakfast sandwich!!
*I had a lot of grocery times left over from previous session so didn't need to purchase as much plus I got 10 tortillas//$0.79, English Muffins for $0.85 for 6...Cheaper and easier than hand making-right now I am can't do as much homemade as I would like, I hate that but I needed to make decisions for my sanity.

I. Desserts:
1.) Slice and bake Cookies {Tip: For perfectly round cookies, shape the dough into logs, wrap in plastic, and insert into empty paper towel tubes. Going to try this tip!}
       * Oatmeal
       * Chocolate Chip
       * Peanut Butter
2.) Peanut Butter No Bakes

Shopping List:
Flour, brown sugar, 1 dozen eggs, Rolled oats, Sugar, Vanilla, 2-24 Oz Peanut butter, 1 box Butter, Milk, Milk Chocolate Chips, Baking Soda and Powder, Butter Flavored Crisco

Personal Note: 6/21/2012: 
Phewww! This is taking much longer than I thought I am just exhausted trying to get all of these meals prepped, packaged and NEATLY stored. I detest looking into a haphazard freezer then you can't find what just just spent hours loving preparing, that is sooo FRUSTRATING to find it months later all freezer burned and inedible all because you didn't organize the freezer contents! 

So I don't know if I will be able to accomplish all that I planned on, I will cross of what I didn't get to and give you an accurate list when I eventually post this. (OR I might just let you know what I did get to and leave the shopping list and meal plans intact if someone what to use those meal ideas it will still be easier to read.)

Linked to Menu Mondays

Saturday, July 21, 2012


With all the homemade cleaning, beauty and laundry aids I have been trying one of the last formulas 
FOR ME to experiment with has been fabric softener. 

I haven't been so thrilled with all formulas I have tried and seen online, this formula I found on Hidden Treasures Blog & I have really liked. Her basic formula I have only tweaked the amount of E.O. (Essential Oil), I added more than original formula called for :
  • To get a more fragrance and fresh aroma on the laundry bc Vinegar tends to negate all aromas
  • I LOVE the slight sent of the laundry THE EO BLEND BRINGS!
  • I USE the same EO blend for ALL my scented body products: body oil, body powder, deodorant, scented solid parfume, lotion, and body spray. 
  • You could do the same, customize EO BLEND FOR your clothes to match your signature EO Blend!
The E.O is a nice addition bc nearly ALL E.O have a natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, &  anti-microbial quality, albeit different properties and strengths, STILL VERY good to have with kids!!
Pic from this site

Homemade Fabric Softener
 8 cups white vinegar
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 cup baking soda
Essentials oils of your choice (like lavender, lemon, orange...)

  1. In a big bucket (this will be fizzy) mix vinegar and water. 
  2. Slowly add baking soda; stirring constantly. 
  3. Use a funnel to pour this mixture into a gallon size container. 
  4. Allow for natural gasses to dissipate from the vinegar and baking soda combination- I have let this sit overnight before adding the EO.
  5. Add 1-2 ML of Essential Oil of choice -{about 25-50 drops & I chose Patchouli & Lavender w/a smidgen of Sandalwood} [I wanted a STRONG scented softener, so I added more than the original formula (1/3 tsp- what is that anyways??) ]
  6. Pour into a LABELED gallon container

Add about a half a cup to a whole cup to the fabric softener dispenser depending on the size and content of your load. I use the softener ball and add enough to fill ball 3/4 full.

Adding Essential oil to the fabric softener will help kill 
bacteria, mold, and viruses, 
so added bonus to the softening benefits of vinegar and backing soda!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

RECIPE WED #3: Amazing Fluffy Faux Butter Milk Pancakes

I don't know about your kids, but mine could eat pancakes (or as my 4 year old has called them since 2 years of age "Panytakes") morning, noon, and night! As a matter of fact when we go to our favorite restaurant the waitresses know my kids as "The Pancake Kids", b/c they will get 3 orders each (that is 9 pancakes) and they will eat nearly every single pancake!!
I have tackled many complicated dishes like Bouillabaisse,
Braciole, Beef Wellington, Greek Stuffed Chicken...all those dishes have multiple and involved steps and I haven't shied away from them and yet.....

 When it comes to pancakes I always think:

"Ughh, too many steps! 
I don't feel like standing there and flipping pancakes while the family eats them up 
before I get a chance to even eat one!"

In response to that I came up with some ideas to help remedy those situations + one  phenomenal pancake recipe! 

First the recipe I came up:  My kids LOVE fluffy pancakes, so I knew I had to come with a buttermilk recipe with some baking powder and soda to achieve that fluffy texture. 

This makes a recipe makes a TON! 

Like 48 regular sized smallish pancakes or 18-20 rather large lumber jack sized ones! 

I made all lumberjack sized pancakes- of the batch 1/2 Blueberry Vanilla

Amazing Fluffy Faux Butter Milk Pancakes

  • 5- 1/4 C of buttermilk-- Or-- 
  • 4-1/2 cups milk & 3/4 cup white vinegar or 1/2 C fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 egg
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO)- as needed
  • OPTIONAL: 1-2T Vanilla Extract (or extract of choice) - depending on taste
  • OPTIONAL: Fresh blue berries, cranberries, chocolate or other flavored chips, banana slices...-whatever your tastes bud cry out for!! :-)
These blueberry Lumberjack sized  pancakes are nearly ready to turn
  1. If you do not have butter milk -combine milk with vinegar (or lemon juice) in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
  2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Whisk eggs, vanilla, and butter into "soured" milk. (I use a HUGE 6 QT storage container)
  4. Pour the sifted flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir with large wooden paddle until lumps are gone.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and drop tablespoon or so of EVCO . 
  6. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter or I use a ladle to pour onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. 
  7. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side. 

 ON to my remedies to standing there flipping 'cakes while the family devours what I have just made and eating alone surrounded by a pile of dirty dishes. 

I made about  25 pancakes, I made them so large kids ate 1 each and hubby ate 2 with the rest of pancakes and batter I:
  • Packaged the pancakes up in wax paper sheets and placed in a freezer storage bag and LABELED with date and contents!! 
  •  Remaining batter I poured into a clean upcycled ketchup bottle & placed in the refrigerator to have on moments notice.
  • This will allow me to have the convenience of a "shake and pour" item yet with a more frugal and fresher option. 
  • Just squeeze desired amount on to a prepared griddle or skillet 
  • I will use this batter by week's end, probably tomorrow. 
  • With fresh eggs in the batter I wouldn't keep batter longer than 1 week!

Having freshly made frozen pancakes 
WITHOUT preservatives from the freezer ready to eat is so much healthier then consuming store bought, a huge time saver, and cheaper than eating out. 

If I want to make them fresh 
I can just shake, then squeeze from my bottle,& whip out a small batch for the kids in the morning even if it is just one
and not feel like a short order cook!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TEACH ME TUESDAYS: Food for thought...

My family eats so many oranges and uses limes and lemons in our water, so much that I often feel guilty throwing away all these peels. I will take my microplane and zest the limes and lemons for cooking in the freezer but that is about it, I don't really know what to do with oranges. Until.....I came across some bloggs lately, and all I am hearing about is dried citrus peel uses, and ground citrus uses so I was so inspired I made some this morning...

 Some of the recipes and ideas are from: Crunchy Betty Blogg  

I took the citrus we have been eating over the past 7 days: Key Limes, Cara Cara oranges, Milano Oranges,  Blood Red Oranges, Navel Oranges, Lemons, Cuties...we all eat one citrus or use them in our water so we accumulate quite a bit in several days. Here is a portion of the citrus peels, cut into small pieces and partially dried. I ended up drying in oven bc some started to mold apparently my house has quite a bit of moisture.  I placed it in a cold oven, no heat so the essential oils would still be intact. I then took the peels and ground up in a "bullet" type blender/processor. The smell was amazing as it ground. I think we had about 7 or 8 peels and it    made about 4 oz of ground goodness.

So now what, u ask? I have 4 oz of peeling goodness and we eat about 3 lbs of citrus.  Make your scrub according to Crunchy Betty's site:
  • 3 Tbsp dried, powdered Citrus peels
  • 3 Tbsp borax
  • 5 Tbsp baking soda
Combine everything in a shaker (like an old parmesan container) and shake well to combine it all. Use liberally wherever scouring is required. Be sure to rinse the scrub off well with a clean, wet sponge.

I used a upcycled garlic powder/dried herb container, I didn't add the citrus powder to the above recipe, will use as needed until I use up a herb container I have in mind to use. Below is the handmade labeled Citrus powder scrub a the half gallon of homemade fabric softener I made this weekend.

 Hmm, what else... ???  ( Keep in mind if you will be using citrus peel for any edible applications, and especially if you will be extracting the flavor with alcohol, it is best to source organic, sustainably grown fruit if you possibly can. In general, the peel of most conventionally-farmed fruits contains the largest concentration of pesticides, fungicides or other chemicals used in treating the fruit. Since citrus peels are not typically eaten in the US, data on pesticide load tends to concentrates on the flesh of the fruit, and is likely an unreliable indicator of pesticide load present in the peel.)
  • Citrus salt from 101 Cookbooks
  • Citrus sugar from Baking Bites
  • Orange butter from Gilt Taste
  • Meyer lemon olive oil from Buff Chickpea
  • Lemon olive oil from
  • Lemon lavender vinegar from a new bloom
  • Dehyrated citrus slices from Well Preserved, dried peel or zest  from
  • Candied grapefruit peel from Hitchhiking to Heaven and Martha Stewart
  • Candied lemon peel from The Luna Cafe
  • Homemade lemon extract (and thyme lemonade!) from Infinite Feast
  • Add orange peels to brown sugar to keep it soft
  • Add dried peels to tea (via Chiot’s Run)  and/or use in your own tea mixes to enjoy or gift
  • Freeze citrus peels, or quartered or halved whole fruit, then use later to flavor roasted chicken or braised meats (via What Julia Ate)
  • Dry citrus rib rub from Hudson Valley Food Network
  •  Add it to coffee grinds as it brews, or add to tea ball make a version of Earl Grey
  • Add to facial masks
  • Add peels to vinegar and allow to infuse for about 4-6 weeks to make vinegar cleanser/could also make vinaigrette for salads
  • Add it to the dishwasher now and then to clean it up and make the dishes sparkle, leaves a nice orange scent too
  • Thinking of adding ground citrus peel to cracked ground pepper like a citrus pepper chicken, doesn't that sound awesome with a little honey and kosher salt perhaps some crushed garlic for a marinde and then grill the chicken? 
  • Mix it with with Epson salt for a bath-time soak
  • Make a bath bomb with the citrus powder, essential oil,
  • Use the dried citrus peels as a kitchen deodorizer  (b4 you grind them, could even use this b4 you dry them) in a small saucepan- fill with 1-2" of water, add citrus peel, a cinnamon stick, and a few cloves. Heat over medium-low for a lovely citrusy kick.
  • After you dry the peels add cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns, and star annise for homemade potpourri even a hint of vanilla bean.
  • Add with sugar or fine ground sea salt and neutral or light oil to make a scrub (1 part ground peel and sugar to 2 parts oil) would be an awesome body scrub.
  • Thinking of adding to a toothpaste recipe along with myrrh gum powder, clove essential oil baking soda, extra virgin coconut oil and raw honey. 
  • Also thinking of making a mouthwash w/nearly same ingredients and adding peroxide and tea tree essential oil.
  • Could add to cold processed soaps
  • Make Orange cookies and icing
  • Add dried peels to vacuum cleaner bags
  • Adding it to baking soda and sprinkling on the carpet...wonder if it would leave a sticky residue?
  • Add to sugar to make a citrus sugar, hmmmm, interesting....
  • Add to plain cake batter to make a citrus cake, yummmmy!
  • Add to bread to make a citrus spring tasting bread
  • Add to butter to make a marmalade butter, press into a candy mold like a daffodil, wouldn't that be sweet?
  • Infuse Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Make a dry citrus rub
  • Infuse Liquor, think Lemoncello, Lemonpeel vodka, grapefruit tequila...
  • Perk up homemade mustard with citrus zest: see habanero lime chipotle or winter lager mustards
  • Make citrus pectin, using the peels from 2 or 3 grapefruits. Based on Julia’s recipe, but slightly modified:toss peels, unchopped, in a medium saucepan, covered them with filtered water, and brought to a boil. I let it simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, then removed from the heat and let it sit, covered, overnight. The next day strain out the peel and froze the pectin in 1-cup portions. It’s fairly bitter in taste, and would not do for all types of preserves, but for anything that needs a bit of a flavor edge, not to mention a pectin boost, this is perfect.
  • Microwave lemon peels, in a small bowl of water, in high for 1 minute, to deodorize the microwave
  • A wealth of limoncello recipes from Punk Domestics
  • Meyer limoncello from Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking
  • Pompelmocello from Hedonia (who tells me it was also incredible made with yuzu zest)
  • Grapefruit & juniper bitters from Autumn Makes & Does
  • Buddah’s Hand (citron) vodka from White on Rice Couple
  • Lemon peel vodka from taylor takes a taste
  • Cranberry-orange vodka from the Food Network
  • Grapefruit tequila from Fine Cooking
  • Vin de pamplemousse from Local Kitchen
  • Citrus pectin from What Julia Ate
  • Add slivered citrus zest to most any jam or preserve for a little texture & zing: try apple jelly with lemon & lavender (using lemon peels instead of whole lemon slices), sour cherry bam! punched up with lemon zest, orange zest in a cranberry chutney, or lime zest added to blackberry or raspberry jam
  • Add chopped candied citrus peel to jams or preserves for another layer of texture and flavor
  • Dry citrus peels, then crumble for use in a sachet or potpourri
  • Orange peels as kindling/fire starter from Apartment Therapy
  • Homemade orange oil extract for cleaning from Two at the Farm
  • Add homemade orange oil/extract to perfume homemade hand cream
  • Add citrus zest to homemade body scrub: see avocado & citrus sea salt scrub (use finely grated citrus zest in place of essential oils), or Meyer lemon sea salt scrub from Hitchhiking to Heaven
  • Spread orange peels throughout the garden or household plants to keep cats away; I’ve seen the same tip as a mixture of ground orange peel and coffee
  • Freeze citrus peels throughout the season, then grind and use to dress vegetable beds to keep squash bugs (and other critters!) away (via Maggie’s Farm)
  • Ground orange peel, lemon peel and lemon juice are all effective ant deterrents
  • Toss orange peels down the garbage disposal, or keep a few at the bottom of your trash barrel, to freshen
  • Microwave lemon peels, in a small bowl of water, in high for 1 minute, to deodorize the microwave
  • Add citrus peels to a dishwasher run to deodorize the dishwasher (I’m going to try wedging some into the silverware tray under a small Weck jar)
  • Design your own biodegradable kitchenware (!), via David Lebovitz
  •  freeze peels, and sometimes they are not sliced but a half of the fruit. I use those, straight from the freezer and use either for a brine for meats, or stuffed in the cavity of a chicken (or turkey) that I intend to roast. 
  • Citrus Peel candy , neat idea, will definitely try this one...  A lot of info gathered from Local Kitchen Blogg, "what to do with citrus peels" post and many more ideas and links...

Food for thought, huh?? What else am I throwing away that I could be using??

Saturday, July 14, 2012


There are many ways I strive to be frugal, organized, speedy & keep my meals flavorful during the week. 
One of them is of course writing a menu 
typically on Friday by then I have gotten all the sale ads from my usual "haunts" and
 in my area they are all varied most end during the week, 
only one grocery store I cherry pick deals at has there sales end on Sat~ 
so this day is very good for me to organize my meals around what is on sale that week.

I typically will keep certain items on hand in my regular pantry and when it's on sale I will buy bulk of like:
  • Pasta shapes (This I can't make them yet, I might try my hand at a few but for now I only make pasta noodles-once a month it is too costly, the eggs are the costly items)
  • Egg Noodles (for times I don't have the time or resources to make myself)
  • Chicken &Beef Stock (I usually have a couple quarts of stock in freezer, but I like to keep 3 boxes of GOOD stock in pantry in case I run out)
  • Cereal
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk (I KNOW, I KNOW!! but this keeps me from buying coffee at that expensive coffee cafe)
  • Annie's Homegrown Organic Bunnie Cheddar Cheese crackers
  • Annie's Homegrown Organic Bunnie Snack Mix
  • Annie's Homegrown Organic Cheese and shells
  • Annie's Homegrown  Organic Ravioli
  • Triscuits Woven Wheat Crackers
  • Veggie Chips
  • POP chips in sweet potato
  • Organic glass jarred fruit and fruit spreads
  • Tomato Puree
In Freezer/sometimes Fridge
  • Unbleached Flour
  • Eggs(fridge, will keep quite some time, do buy from a CSA but need more than budget allows)
  • Cheeses (Shredded or block)
  • Bagels (don't make these)
  • Bread Dough (I try to keep about 4 loaves of homemade bread in case we run out or something happens to supply) 
  • Almonds- slices and whole
  • Frozen Organic when can afford fruit and veggies- sometimes they are cheaper than buying fresh produce off season
  • Bulk Yeast
  • Baking supplies I don't often use like brown sugar, baking soda and cornstarch
  • Meats (Hopefully we can afford to buy a grass fed pastured side of beef this year, until then it's on my lists of items I will buy in bulk when it's on sale
  1.   Chicken (Half Boneless skinless breasts/half split breasts-but will get 4 whole chickens if the price is right and cook up for meat and stock), 
  2.   Roasts (I'll cut into strips, chunks or medallions),
  3.   Ground beef (will make meatballs, taco seasoned meat, Salisbury steak patties,  meat loaf, hamburger patties, the rest will be in one LB increments.) Typically I will triple any starter or meal I freezer- it is faster this way, all ready have ingredients and recipe in my head.
  4.   Pork center cut loin- We don't eat pork that much I am not a fan of the flavor typically I will make my mom's Hot Pepper Pork, BBQ Pulled Pork, Pork Fried Rice, Breaded and seasoned medallions)
  5.   Fish (Flounder, Maui Maui, Talapia, Orange Roughy, White Fish, a few Salmon)

Great way to organize freezer
Fortunately I do have a large chest freezer that holds up to 300Lbs of food, I have in the past packed up 390+ meals-some meal kits some&  heat'n'eat meals. I was very ambitious and had 6 months worth of 5day/week meals-breakfast, lunch, supper+ some snacks and some sides. As well as some yeast, frozen veggies, bulk yeast, almonds and that sort of thing...You get the idea it is HUGE.

However that is the freezer I solely use for bulk cooking and supplies and it is located in my garage. In my house I use the freezer attached to my fridge as a pantry, I save a ton of time and money plus up the entity when it comes to flavor just by saving a few things people might throw away.

  • Citrus peels I have a post on uses for this, you would BE AMAZED at what you could do with some citrus peels
  • Wax wrapping on butter sticks- use to grease pans, works great and saves loads of money, no more spray filled with chemicals
  • Veggies from dinner that no one has ate- I keep a baggie of left over cooked veggies from various meals and typically after a month's time I have enough to make either veggie soup & or veggie stock, or I will make some mashed potatoes, throw in the veggies along with thickened broth and any left over meats I have and call it cowboy pie
  • Soup starters, similar to veggies in bag but these are celery, onion, crushed & minced garlic gloves, and carrots I have fine diced for most of my soup I will freeze for soup starter. These are typically veggies that tend to go bad in the fridge and in the past my most frequent offenders for spoilage, as I am not a fan of the taste but will use in a few recipes and they sit in fridge until I throw them out. So my clever solution, finely dice and I have soup starter, just add some EVOO or butter to pan saute and add rest of soup ingredients.
  • Smoothie packets, I will take fruit that is about to go bad and chop into freezer baggies, gr8 for smoothies just add some yogurt and Kale's Yeast flakes and some pureed veggies
  • Pureed veggies and fruit, I will take some fruit on it's last day of fresh any except oranges and puree for smoothies or veggies mainly spinach, carrots, beets, celery and fresh parsley and puree if about to go bad and puree them for smoothies as well, or add to applesauce or yogurt or to make veggie stock
  • Roasted Beef Bone & Chicken skin and bone stock- I will keep the bones from ribs, roasts, steaks and place in freezer baggie until full and use to make healthy & flavorful stock, same with chicken skin and bones from previous meals
  • Fat scooped from Chicken stock- I can't stand all that fat, so I will skim a lot of it and render it with an onion and use if for soups- this is what Matzo ball soup starter is and it is quite spendy in the stores
  • Fat scraped off of bone broth, use as tallow in place of butter, virgin coconut or olive oil.
  • Bacon and sausage drippings, I NEVER let these go to waste a few teaspoons of well placed bacon or sausage drippings can bring so much flavor to a dish though this will raise more than a few eyebrows lets face it a few calories for some flavor and the kids will eat it, I will pick my battles. I will use sausage drippings for a twice a year treat of sausage gravy, this is a sometimes food, but a nice treat
  • Ginger Root, grates easier when frozen and will last months in freezer.
  • I keep the expensive Parmigiano Regginao and Peccerino Ramono as well as Asiago in the freezer bags wrapped in paper towel to keep the ice crystals from forming (One of my bestie's Sicilian mom's tips), not anything out of the ordinary to keep cheese in freezer but what most ppl throw out is the ...
  • Rind of the Parmigiano Regginao or Peccarino Romano to add flavor to soups, this an amazing tip for me anyway, I never knew to do this until I heard about this tip somewhere. I used to throw the rinds away, all that flavor went in the trash...NOW I save it for when I make Italian Wedding soup makes it taste amazing. I might even use my rind I have in freezer now for my pasta sauce...
  • Veggie Cooking water
    • Escarole & peeled chopped celery cooking liquid- when I make Italian wedding soup I cook the escarole with celery to make a little tender b4 adding to soup. I save the reserved water I don't use in the soup for later uses, love it in any clear broth, gives it a depth of flavor
    • Potato water- when I boil potatoes for mashed potatoes I will save the water for the liquid replacement in making baked goods like bread, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, biscuits, add to soups, pierogie dough for extra flavor or texture,  clear starch you can use as soon as cools for a very green & frugal clothes starch, a sour dough starter, some ppl even use the water for a tightening mask for mature sagging skin. Most of the time I will use a small amount with the mashed potatoes after I have dried them so they don't get sticky and over starchy, then add a small amount of cooking liquid along with heated up whole milk that I have added some whey to make it like a buttermilk, YUM!!  The rest I will LABEL so I don't forget what it is & freeze to use as I mentioned above~ More Ideas here and this recipe site called that has great recipes that call either for the potatoes and water and or the peelings
    • Ice cubes & qt sized freezer bags of Veggie Broth: how to make here this recipe is pretty much what I do(made from fresh veggies on their last days-this way I don't waste our valuable produce and get lasting taste), use for soups (like lentil and beans, minestrone) for risotto, or any dish to add a depth of flavor. Cubes are great for that 1 oz splash of flavor.
Anyway, this is a look at my Freezer Pantry, it is so nice to have on hand items that either cost money if I were buy at store or an ingredient that really packs a flavor punch to a meal. Basically the items I have in my freezer pantry are free, bc I have paid for whatever the first use of this item was, but now they are being re-purposed if it were and it is free to us now!!

What items do you keep in your freezer pantry that is a re-puprosoing ingredient 
something most ppl will throw away that brings as flavor punch to your meals?