Category Archives: Food hacks

Easy Vegetarian Chili (no soy, no tomatoes)!

So my 7 year old decided a few months ago that she was going to be a vegetarian.  Have you ever driven up the 5 freeway (through central California).  Yeah.  If you have, you know what I’m talking about.  Thousands of poor cows just jammed into stalls and standing in what appears to be their own excrement.  And, of course, we eat that.  Lovely.  So yes, my little 7 year old absorbed that and decided – no more!

So I try to be accommodating.  It’s actually amazing how many kid foods are already vegetarian.  You’ve got Mac N’ Cheese, spaghetti, quesadillas, bean & cheese burritos, just to name a few.


I used to cook a lot with the Deceptively Delicious book.  It’s a great book.  You puree veggies in advance and then hide them in your food.  This works really good for us adults who really don’t like many veggies.  So I started doing this again because if I’m limiting her plate to vegetarian food, I want to make sure she is getting veggies with protein in it, even if she doesn’t tend to like those ones.

Now here’s the hard part.  If you don’t start your kids off as vegetarians, they’ve already got that, “Ew, what is that?” attitude toward a lot of them.  So most cook books really suck.  My kids won’t eat some veggies.  They don’t like “spicy” food, which is what a lot of vegetarian cookbooks do to cover their more flavorless recipes and by-the-way, I’m allergic to soy.  So no tofu as a filler over here. Ok, so now that we have all the challenges listed, I decided to go ahead and try to make chili.  This recipe is a combination from the Deceptively Delicious recipe and one from a vegaterian cookbook.  I think it turned out amazing and with a bit of playing around, it can be even better.  But, here it is in its infancy stage.  I honestly can’t wait to make it again.

Recipe

Olive oil

1 can red kidney beans

1 can white kidney beans

1 bell pepper, chopped finely (I used yellow)

1/4 white onion, chopped finely

1 butternut squash (or bag of prepared butternut squash)

1/4 cup cornmeal or flour

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

1 carton (26 ounce) of vegetable broth

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

3 medium carrots or carrot puree

Directions:

  1. Roast the butternut squash, or if purchase prepared, place in a skillet with a teaspoon over medium-high heat, cook squash until golden (about 10 minutes) along with the carrots.
  2. About 5 minutes into cooking the squash and carrots, add the bell pepper and another teaspoon of olive oil.
  3. About 8 minutes into cooking the squash and carrots, add the onion.  Set all 3 ingredients aside.
  4. In another skillet, pour the broth, add the seasonings, flaxseed, carrot puree (if that is the option you chose), and cornmeal.  Heat over medium-high heat until boiling.  Then reduce heat and simmer, covered 15-20 minutes.
  5. Add in beans and veggies from step 1 until heated through (just a few minutes).

Prep time is about 5 minutes.  Cooking time is about 35.  Serves about 6.

These figures are based on taking the easy way out of everything.  My carrots were pre-pureed, as recommended in the Deceptively Delicious book and my butternut squash was just the pre-packaged kind.  I’m sure this would have tasted even better if I’d rosted my own, but still, I was so happy with this one.  It was a little soupy, but considering my entire family hates tomatoes, I was not going to add tomato paste, like so many recipes call for.  A little soupy = more dipping bread!  So no complaints over here.

If you try this and tweak it, please share.  I’d love to hear the variations.  And, of course, you can always add ground meat as well.

 

Easy St. Patrick’s Day Recipes (and a few involved ones too)

img_8653One of the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is to enjoy related foods.  Shamrock sugar cookies to cabbage stew, there are a lot of options out there.  You can aim for green food and drink all day or traditional Irish fare.  I’m posting a lot of links to a lot of blogs with amazing recipes.  But first, a quick list of how to spend your day in the Irish spirit.

Breakfast

Tint your eggs, or pancakes green.  Green food dye or, if you are out of green, yellow and blue make green.  Just a drop or so.  If you are aiming for more Irish, make scones.  Those can be turned green too.

Snack

Green apple, kiwi, or those scones I mentioned, green colored popcorn.

Lunch/Dinner

Make a stew, bangers and mash (which can be turned greed), shepard’s pie, soda bread.

Dessert

Green colored cupcakes, cookies, green jello or green colored yogurt.

Drinks

Green Sprite, Midori Sour, Mint Julep.

appetite-1238323_1920Ok, so those were the quick and easy ideas.  Most of those are from packages or require minimal knowledge to make.  Now that the ideas are flowing, here are links to satisfy any goal for your St. Patrick’s Day, whether you are aiming for authentic fare, green food or shamrocks shaped items.

Breakfast

http://noshingwiththenolands.com/potato-pancakes-for-st-patricks-day/?utm_content=bufferf1ad1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Snack

17 Irish appetizers.

diyprojects.com

Lunch/Dinner

This site has 100 Irish recipes.

http://www.prudentpennypincher.com/100-irish-recipes-st-patricks-day/

Dessert

This site has over 50 green treats.

liluna.com

Drinks

This site has 12 St. Paddy Day drinks.

drinkedin.net

There are so many more but those were great sites that gave several options and got right to the point!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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5 Delicious Essential Oil Cookie Recipes

img_7941I am always looking for ways to use my essential oils in cooking.  They often are much better to use than herbs you buy in the store for several reasons.  Did you know that herbs expire after 1 year?  How long have your herbs been in your cabinet?  Especially those ones you don’t use very much.  Essential oils don’t expire.  So if you buy an oil, it will be good for several years to come.  So you can use those “herbs” at your leisure.  And in case you never thought of it, those herbs don’t claim to be organic or contentiously sourced.  DoTERRA is both.

As a doTERRA member, I get a subscription to Living magazine.  This magazine gives information on how oils are sourced, how to use oils for various purposes and recipes.  The Winter 2017 magazine shares a few cookie recipes using oils.  These oils are great because they can be used for other purposes so you are not just buying an herb to cook with.  You are buying a product that can be used in many ways.  And these recipes can be altered, using different or additional oils.

Please note that while you are welcome to use other essential oil brands in making these cookies, you really must know whether the brand and the oils are safe for internal consumption.  Please read your labels and ask questions if you don’t know what you are doing.  DoTERRA labels their oils so you know whether they are meant to be consumed.

All of the below recipes are conveniently baked in the same manner so I’ll post that first:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butters and sugars.

Add remaining wet ingredients.

In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients.

Combine all ingredients.

Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cut white sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp white vinegar

1 1/2 tsp natural red food coloring

1 drop cardamom essential oil

1 12/ cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder

1 tsp corn starch

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Snickerdoodles

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 drop cinnamon essential oil

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

Roll Cookie Balls in 2 tbsp. white sugar, 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

Gingersnaps

3/4 cup botter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup dark molasses

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1-3 drops ginger essential oil

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Roll cookie balls in 2 tbsp. white sugar, 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

Chocolate Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 drop peppermint essential oil

2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup cocoa powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 drop cardamom essential oil

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

If you have questions about essential oils or have your own recipes, leave a comment.  If you want to try oils, visit: http://www.mydoterra.com/Blackbourn.

 

 

 

4 Simple Steps to a Perfect Tea Party

Tea parties seem to be overwhelming to people.  How to make all the tea and the treats?  It needn’t be so complicated.  Sometimes it’s more a matter of how you do something than what you are doing.  So let’s get started!

Tea

If you want to make it super simple and you don’t care so much about the tea as the general atmosphere, then buy about 6 flavors of tea, in tea bags.  I would recommend a chamomile, a black or gray tea, a fruit tea, and a green tea and then a few options that strike your fancy.  I would recommend a brand like Tadin.

If you want “real” tea, then I would recommend you buy loose-leaf tea in about 6 flavors.  Again, I would recommend the same flavors as above.  For your variety options, loose-leaf can offer so many more options like chocolate!  I buy my loose-leaf tea at Chado’s in Pasadena.  If you are not from the L.A. area, then try one of these sites: http://www.letsdrinktea.com/buy-tea-online-shop-review/.

Sandwiches

When I host a tea, I make 3 sandwiches.  I copied these from a recipe book over 10 years ago so I wish I could credit the book but the photocopies do not have the book name, unfortunately.  But thank you book anyway.

Curried Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients

4 hard boiled eggs

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp Dijon style mustard

4 slices of whole wheat sandwich bread

4 slices of white sandwich bread

4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

springs of watercress or alfalfa sprouts

Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel and finely chop the hard boiled eggs.
  2. In a small bowl combine the eggs, mayo, curry powder and mustard.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the bread slices with butter.  Divide the egg salad among the white bread slices.  Spread evenly.  Press the whole wheat bread slices on top to form 4 sandwiches.
  4. Trim off the crusts.  Cut each sandwich into 3 fingers.  Garnish each sandwich with a small spring of watercress or sprouts.

The sprouts (which is what I use) and curry are what really make these sandwiches special.

Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwiches

This one is from memory so I don’t have specific amounts.  Sorry!

Ingredients

Loaf of white bread

Tub of whipped cream cheese

Cucumber

Instructions

  1. Spread generous amount of whipped cream cheese on to bread.  This is important.  Regular cream cheese is too solid and will tear your bread.  And too little cream cheese will have the same effect. 
  2. Cut crusts off bread.  Don’t do this first, it makes it harder to get the cream cheese on.
  3. Cut each sandwich into 4 triangles.
  4. Cut cucumber into thin slices.
  5. Place cucumber in slightly overlapping layers on the cream cheese.
  6. Place another piece of cut bread on top.

Rosemary Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients

3 cups cooked boneless chicken, cut into small cubes

1/2 cup mayo

1/3 cup chopped green onion

1 tsp minced fresh rosemary

1/2 cup chopped smoked almonds (optional)

Salt and pepper

8 slices of whole wheat sandwich bread

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp whole grain Dijon style mustard

fresh parsley springs for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a bowl mix together, the chicken, mayo, green onion and rosemary.  Add the chopped nuts.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate, small bowl, combine the butter with the mustard.  Mix well. Spread the bread slices with the mix.
  3. Cover half of the bread slices with chicken salad.  Press the other slices of bread on top.
  4. Trim off the crusts.  Cut each sandwich into 4 triangles.  Decorate with parsley.

Scones

You can’t have a tea without scones.

Cinnamon-Chocolate Scones

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks

1 stick of butter

1 1/4 cup milk

Extras:

Small jar honey

Honey dipper

Preserves

Jam spreader

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients.
  3. Cut butter into pieces and add to the dry mix, continually mixing it in until the mix is coarse and sandy.  You should still be able to see small lumps of butter.
  4. Add milk until almost combined.
  5. Add chocolate and mix just enough to distribute evenly.  Do not overmix.  It is OK to have some flour not mixed in.
  6. Place the dough on to a lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough 10 times to bring it together and smooth it out.
  7. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough 1 inch thick.  Using a biscuit cutter (or cookie cutter, small bowl, etc., if you just don’t have one), cut out pieces.
  8. Using a spatula, transfer to an ungreased sheet pan.  Knead the scraps together just until combined and then start over until all dough is used.
  9. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

 Decorations

There is so much you can do to decorate.  These food items can be the decorations.  And if you put out nice china, that also is a decoration.  If you are looking for a party gift to go with this theme, I would suggest a tea bag or satchel of tea and a tiny jar of honey.  You don’t have to spend a bunch of money to make a tea party special.  As long as the tea and treats are displayed nicely, you should be good to go!

Invites/Thank You’s

Red Stamp sends out lovely, individualized Thank You’s.  If you take pics at your party, send a pic of each guest as a Thank You with the Red Stamp “Thank You” on top.  People love them.  They have invites as well.

If you have suggestions for a great tea party, leave them below!

 

 

 

 

Quick tip: The secret Disney website

nightmare-before-christmas-playset-printable-photo-420x420-fs-img_0611

Looking for cool recipes?  Maybe you’re hosting a Disney party, a tea or just want to try something cute?  Or maybe you want craft ideas.  There is a whole section of the Disney website that is almost hidden.  You need to visit https://family.disney.com.

You can then go into crafts, activities, recipes or parties.  Personally, I love the recipes best.  But I’ve posted a few samples of each so you can see what’s there.  There really aren’t any archive folders, unfortunately.  You just have to scroll back through time or do a search by the character or show you want.  But there are so many neat ideas in there.  And many are very easy!

So I made this cake for my kids a few years ago.

ico_pre_fam_recipes_mic_all-ears-cake-photo-260-mb-0002
Disney birthday cake. Mickey mouse birthday cake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s super easy and can be found at: https://family.disney.com/recipe/disney-recipe-mickeys-all-ears-cake/

 

I also made this for my daughter’s class, for her birthday.

edible-eyeballs-craft-photo-420x420-clittlefield-146
Eyeballs. Alternative birthday treats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This grossed the kids out but they loved it.  And they were individual size so no need to cut things up or make a mess.  Recipe here: https://family.disney.com/recipe/edible-eyeballs/

 

Talk about super easy.  This is a great idea for a simple tea party.

tiny-teacakes-recipe-photo-420x420-cl-004
Tea party. Tea cakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiny Teacakes

 

This recipe is adorable and super easy as well.  Kids love this stuff.

octopus-cupcakes-halloween-recipe-photo-420x420-clittlefield-0042
Cool cupcakes. Octopus.

Ursula’s Octopus Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turning more toward the crafts section of the site…

disney-family_incredibles-masks-728x485
Incredibles masks.

The Incredibles No-Sew Masks

Or maybe pencil decorations is more to your liking.

wtp-pook-looz-pencil-toppers-printables-420x420-fs-1209
Pencil decorations. Disney. Winnie the Pooh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Dress Up No. 2 Pencils

There are many crafts for all age groups.

nightmare-before-christmas-playset-printable-photo-420x420-fs-img_0611
Nightmare before Christmas. Paper dolls. Disney.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nightmare Before Christmas Playset

 

I highly recommend you take some time and play with the site.  Most people seem to use it for the parks and don’t even realize the other awesome stuff on there.  My kids love the different deserts and dinners I’ve made over the years with the help of that site.  When you find a favorite, share it!  I’d love to see it.  Enjoy!

Quick tip: The difference between lemon water and lemon essential oil in water

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#lemonwater, #lemonessentialoil, #doterra

I love lemon in my water.  More recently, I’ve noticed that when I drink lemon essential oil in my water, I feel more hydrated.  So I’ve been wondering what the difference is and if I could get the same results from lemon in my water as I do from the essential oil drop.  I know they don’t taste the same.  But what is the actual difference?  Well someone, somewhere must have been listening to me because in the doTERRA magazine, Living, they wrote about just that.  If you are able to get a copy, it’s the Fall 2016 volume.

So the first, and most obvious, difference is that lemon essential oil is a concentrated version of the fruit.  It would take a lot of lemon juice to match the potency of the essential oil.

But lemon juice and lemon essential oil are different in that the liquid is not from the same part of the plant.  Lemon juice is squeezed from the pulp of the lemon plant.  Lemon essential oil is made from the rind being cold-pressed.

Lemon essential oil has a higher concentration of limonene than lemon juice which is what can really help the consumer with digestion, respiration and internal cleansing.

Additionally, there is no citric acid in the oil so the lemon essential oil may be easier to ingest for those with sensitive stomachs.  So for those looking for assistance with internal cleansing their body, this may be a gentle way to go.

I know for me, when water alone is not hydrating me, or when I’ve had dehydrating drinks (such as alcohol), the lemon water makes me feel balanced and hydrated.

So how to use the oils?  First, you must have a brand that is safe for internal consumption.  It will state that on the label.  If it says for aromatic use only, don’t drink it!  The brand should obtain their plants from organic fields.  Read the labels!  You don’t want to drink chemicals.  Then, you would only want about 1 drop per tall glass – about 8oz.  Lemon oil comes out quickly, so until you really learn how to drop the oil out, you may get a few drops.  That’s OK.  You will get better at pouring them out.  But just prepare yourself a tall glass or even convert it into a pitcher, if need be.

The oil I use is doTERRA.  You can get it here:  http://www.mydoterra.com/blackbourn.  Or you can message me with questions.  The important thing is that if you are going to consume an oil, that you are safe about it!

 

 

 

 

How to Help Endangered Bees

bee-1575236_1920.jpgAccording to a recent article by CNN, 7 species of bees are now, officially, endangered.  This is serious.  But what does it mean and what can we do?  Below is just a quick bit about what is going on and what you can do.

The CNN article covers a little of the latest bee news and why it’s important.  http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/01/us/hawaii-bee-species-endangered/

Essentially, “Native pollinators (bees and such) in the US provide essential pollination services to agriculture which are valued at more than $9 billion annually”.  Meaning, if our native pollinators don’t exist, our government is going to be spending a lot of money trying to reproduce that same effect.

But why would they spend so much of our limited funds to recreate pollination?  “During pollination, insects, birds and bats transfer pollen between plants, which allows them to make seeds and reproduce.”  As in, without pollination, plants will not reproduce.  No new plants.  Or at least a severe reduction.  This means less food.  Not just for us, for wildlife too.  What will hummingbirds do if they have no food? There are many living beings that live off flower nectar or other plant parts that will become scarce when the planet is no longer being pollinated.  Our entire circle of life will be disrupted.

Vanishing of the Bees, a 2007 documentary, shows how beekeepers first noticed the decline of the bees, the collapse of colonies and what they think it’s from.

The questions we need to ask are: If 1/3 of our food source dries up, how will we eat?  If the bees are being poisoned from pesticides, why do we continue to support those foods?  Why doesn’t our government do more to stop this?  But what it really comes down to, is how important are the bees to you?  Personally, I am willing to pay more for organic food.  And not just because it’s better for me.  But it’s better for the planet.  It’s better for the animals around those crops.  It’s better for those field workers.  There is a way to support those people, animals and insects.  Buy organic.  Even if you buy less so it fits into your budget, even if you have to stop buying so much junk food; buy organic.

You can also help the bees by purchasing this shirt.  No, I am not affiliated with this company.  I’m just passing along a tip to help our world in whatever way possible.  Please note, these shirts are made with organic cotton.  Did you know that conventional cotton hurts bees (inadvertently)????  Know what you’re buying!  http://www.honeycolony.com/shop/bee-the-change-teeshirt/.

If you are aware of any bee-supporting legislation or other activities that need support, let us all know!  Share in the comments below!  And share this article.  The more people know, the better!

2 All Natural Cancer Treatment Supplements

apple-juice-1055331_1920Doctors act like chemotherapy is the only way to treat cancer.  Or worse, they sometimes advise that a patient cannot be treated.  But there are options.  These options can be instead of other treatment (if the patient chooses) or in addition to it.  I know of two options, although there may be more out there.  Both rely upon plants.  One is essential oils and the other is The Gerson Diet.  There is a lot of information on these options with respect to cancer.  There are hours and hours of Youtube videos and documentaries that can be watched on Netfix or TV.  I’m posting some shorter videos that cover the basics of how each theory works to give you an idea.  You can then do your own research.

Essential Oils

 

The theory on essential oils is that a concentrated version of a plant can provide the benefits of that plant to your cells.  Because the plant is so concentrated, the benefits are too.

A series on Youtube that has hours of information is The Truth About Cancer series.

Gerson Diet

Gerson has a book that is all you need to follow the diet.  But if you want to go the facility, it is in Mexico.  There are non-Gerson facilities in the U.S. (and probably elsewhere) that follow the same theory, but are just not part of the actual Gerson family.  I was originally introduced to The Gerson Diet via the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.  There are many other documentaries about this diet.  The basic theory is that if you overpower your body with nutrients via properly juiced fruits and vegetables, you can overpower the negative forces in your body.

Both of these methods support other health issues as well.  Any chronic condition can benefit from eating better and supporting your system.  The Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead documentary does talk about juicing helping with migraines and other health problems.

The key is to learn about these things before you need them.  Once your are diagnosed with a chronic condition, you probably won’t have much time or energy to figure this all out.  I have personally seen both of these methods help people.  If you have too or if you have any questions, please comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

 

For more info on oils, go to: https://www.mydoterra.com/blackbourn/#/.

For more info on the Gerson diet, go to: http://gerson.org/gerpress/.

 

Quick tip: 5 Easiest Dessert Recipes Ever!

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3 Ingredient Nutella Brownies

So the original link no longer exists for this recipe.  So I cannot give proper credit on this one.  But I LOVE this recipe.  It’s so easy.

1 cup Nutella

10 tbsp flour

2 eggs

Combine.  Bake.  350 degrees, about 10 minutes or so.  (I make them mini size so they don’t really bake as long as normal).

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe is thanks to http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/magical-peanut-butter-cookies-recipe.html.

1 egg

1 cup Peanut butter, creamy or crunchy

1 1/3 cups Baking sugar replacement

1 tsp Vanilla extract

Combine ingredients.  Bake for 10 minutes on 350 degrees.

4 Ingredient Lazy Cake Cookies

1 box yellow or white cake mix
2 eggs beaten
5 Tablespoons melted butter
2 Cups M&M’s or mini chocolate chips

Mix together, put in a greased 9×13 pan and bake at 350 for 20 min.

This recipe is thanks to http://www.imalazymom.com/recipes/lazy-cake-cookies/.  This was so easy.  It made a lot of dessert, very quickly and with minimal ingredients.

5 Ingredient Fudge Bites

These are thanks to: http://practicalpaleo.blogspot.com/2011/06/primal-fudge.html.  These are not quite so dense as fudge, which I appreciate.  But very rich.  So good!

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup high quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup smooth almond butter (I prefer peanut butter)
1/4 cup raw honey or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melt coconut oil.  Blend all ingredients.  Pour into paper-lined muffin tin cups or silicon muffin cups and fill half-inch full.  Makes 10.   Freeze for 10 minutes.  When firm, remove.  Store in the refrigerator.

7 Ingredient Eggless Cookie Dough

This is a picky recipe.  The first time I made it, it didn’t go well.  The second time was great.  So be careful!  This is so great for when you crave cookie dough but don’t have all the ingredients (and also don’t want to eat raw egg).

This recipe is thanks to http://baskersfunfoods.blogspot.com/2009/05/cookie-dough-for-preggies.html.
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
Pinch salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix together the brown sugar and butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla and milk. Mix in the flour, salt, and chocolate chips until well blended. Chill in the refrigerator to harden the consistency.

Regardless of your need for peanut butter, chocolate or something in the middle and regardless of your lack of ingredients, you should be able to whip something up that is yummy and easy in no time flat!

 

 

Life hack: 3 Random Ways to Save Water (you never would have thought of)


In California, we are in a long term drought.  And even when we get out of our drought (which we do from time to time), it’s always a good idea to conserve water.  I’m not going to discuss shutting off water when brushing teeth, taking shorter showers and that kind of stuff.  You’ve heard it before.  These are just some random ideas to save you some extra money and save water too.

Reuse the remaining water in your glass

So you have a glass of water that you don’t finish.  Whatever causes you to have a little extra water in a glass that you will not drink, start a collection of “undrinkable” water.  Maybe your dog’s water is gross, add that in too.  When you have a glass-full or perhaps a tupperware-full, use it to water potted plants.  While this may sound so minor,considering I rarely need to water my plants with “new” water, it overall, saves me tons for money over the year and gallons of water. 

Reuse bath water

I reuse bath water to water my plants.

The first step here is to use as little water in the first place.  If the bath is for a baby, putting the kid in the sink or in a “baby tub” that fits inside your own bath tub will save lots of water and be much safer for your kid as the kid will fit in it better than an adult size tub. Also, depending on the baby tub, you may be able to simply pick it up and carry it outside to the plants.

Most of the time, little kids don’t get that dirty and I either don’t use soap on them or use biodegradable shampoo and soap.

If the bath is for an adult, such as myself, I again try to use all biodegradable soaps and try to monitor just how much water I really need in the tub.  For a full bath, I fill up large pots with the bath water and just take them outside to water the plants.

The task can be tedious, but when water bills skyrocket (which they do in Southern California), my plants appreciate the extra watering and I appreciate the ability to water them for free.  Just make sure you aren’t using toxic chemicals (found in most bath products) to water your garden!

Don’t scrub your dirty dishes

One way in which people waste a lot of water is in trying to scrub dirty dishes.  There is no need to scrub dirty dishes (and certainly no need to run water over them while cleaning them).  If you have a pile of dishes, some with caked on food, just put the hard to clean dishes in the sink.  Turn your faucet (while off) so that it is pointed over those dishes.  Take your other dishes (those that you need to simply rinse or those that you must hand wash-such as china), and clean those over the difficult to clean dishes.  As you use water for those hand-wash only dishes, the excess water will fall on to the dishes with the caked on food.  That food will soften as the water hits.  But you will not be using any water specifically for that purpose.  

Most of the time, by the time I have rinsed a few dishes, I can easily wipe off the previously difficult-to-remove food.  Then I put the next difficult dish under the next few dishes I’m rinsing and repeat.

An alternative to this, especially if you have many difficult to clean dishes, is to let a little water be poured on to each difficult dish and then put them aside.  If you come back in a few minutes (sometimes 1 minute, sometimes 10) you can usually wipe off the food without a fight.  Again, this avoids the need for pouring lots of water on the dishes while you scrub.  It also avoids the annoying task of scrubbing. 

The key is to not waste water specifically trying to scrub food off dishes.  You will just waste water, waste time scrubbing and waste money, when using one of the above ideas would save you all three.

If I get a chance to pile up some dishes, I’ll create a video to demonstrate.