"We don't become southern, we're born that way."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mama Cloth?

I first heard about 'mama cloth' after I began cloth diapering my first child. But I didn't really begin to look into it until after I became pregnant with my second child. After reading about so many benefits for using cloth, I knew that I wanted a good stash for my postpartum time. I am so, so glad that I did it because it made things so much more comfortable. So much more comfortable in fact, that I hope to never use a disposable pad again! They were so much more soft and gentle, absorbed fantastically, and really weren't more 'obvious' than disposables. Not to mention that they are so easy to care for- just wash, dry, and reuse. I didn't use a wet pail, but just a Small Bummis Fabulous Wet Bag that I hung from the towel rack in my bathroom. And to be honest, that was a whole lot less conspicuous than an overflowing trash can of nasty, smelly, and bloody pads! (sorry for the specifics!) You can purchase them online at places like Etsy and eBay as well as the specialty sites like Glad Rags, etc. All of these pads are really nice, but they were just too expensive for us so I ended up sewing a ton of winged maxi style pads myself. I also found that preemie prefolds work fantastically for the heavy (or night) time. By the way, you could easily wear two at a time for those first few super heavy days postpartum. And I would like to add that after wearing cloth myself, I am glad to know that I used/use cloth on my babies. Wow, cloth is just SO MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE and natural. I most definitely would not want to wear disposable pads 24/7, so why would my baby (who has even more sensitive skin than I do) want to wear disposable diapers ALL OF THE TIME for like two years? Look into it, give it a try, I bet you will be so glad that you did. And of course, cloth isn't just for mamas and babies!
My cloth pad stash. Bring on the cotton!

My Souring Bar

Soaking brown rice, milk kefir, soaking oats, and soaking flour.
Here is what is 'souring' on my bar today! The book pictured is "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. My dear sweet friend Katie gave it to me for my Birthday- thanks Katie I LOVE IT!! If you have never read this book you really should, because it just may revolutionize how you think about food! It is the neatest cookbook because it is like a textbook as well. The food is grouped liked a typical cookbook, but it gives an overview of each food group. You know the nutritional values, how the food was prepared in the past and how to prepare it to get the most nutrition out of it- hence the recipes. One of the biggest emphasis of this book is soaking/souring- both the why and the how to. And of course why we should be eating whole, organic, and raw foods- as God made them by the way and not a bunch of synthetic junk! I'm not going to get on my soap-box right now though. It is just simply a fantastic book! And I just read a quote in it today from Laura Ingalls Wilder's "On the Shores of Silver Lake" where she and Ma (who is, by the way my historical role model- wow is she AWESOME!) are telling about how they sourdough their breads. How cool is that? Yes, just in case you are wondering, I am a bit of a pioneer history nut! So the bottom line is: take a look at this book for yourself. Oh, and get busy souring! (if you aren't already:)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Belated Birthday to My MIL

Happy Birthday Edie! Thanks for being so patient for your Birthday gift!! I hope you like it; I think you will. I just finished it today and I can't wait for you to see it in person.
Here is the inside with all of the pockets-8 total!

Monday, April 23, 2012

This Week's Menu

Monday: Spaghetti and Salad
Tuesday: Taco Salad
Wednesday: Chicken Fried Rice
Thursday: BBQ Chicken over Rice and Veggies (whatever I find at the Farmer's Market)
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Leftover Pizza
Sunday: Steak, Baked Potatoes, and Steamed Greenbeans
Mixed Green Salad with Chicken
Granola Bars

Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe

Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe

My husband loves caesar salad dressing- actually it is about the only kind of salad dressing he will eat! Since we are on this new road to living and eating as naturally as possible, I have decided to make a goal of learning how to make one condiment a month that we regularly eat. This was the obvious first choice since we eat salad for lunch every day. The really neat and unique thing, at least to my knowledge, is that it has probiotics in it! Check this out:
2 t. Lemon Juice
3 t. Worcestershire Sauce
2 T. Olive Oil
2 C. Mayonnaise
1 C. Yogurt or Milk Kefir (probiotics)
1-2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
1/2 t. Sea Salt
1 t. Black Pepper (we like alot, you may only want a 1/2 t.)
2/3 C. Parmesan Cheese, crumbled

Place everything in the blender and blend until creamy. Store in a container in the fridge. This makes about as much as a standard bottle of salad dressing from the store. This will probably last us a week.
Coming soon: Homemade Croutons!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bean Dip- Cold Recipe

This is a great way to eat some raw veggies! Makes a great quick dinner.
1 portion of homemade 'refried' beans
1 cup of sour cream mixed with 1 1/2 T. of homemade taco seasoning (store bought has MSG's and other trash) Check out the Marathon Mom's site for the best recipe!
sliced black olives
diced tomatoes
diced bell-pepper
1 minced jalapeno
grated cheddar
shredded lettice
Get a 9X13 casserole. Spread beans evenly. Spread seasoned sour cream evenly over beans. Sprinkle veggies, then cheese, then lettuce. Serve with corn chips.
Here is how the veggies look.

Fat Free 'Refried' Beans Recipe

You can make as much of this as you want, divide it up and freeze it. A half pound of dry pintos makes about a grocery store can amount of refried beans. Soak desired amount beans for at least overnight. The next day cook them on the stove slowly with plenty of water. Drain out most of the water. (You might want to hold onto about half a cup to be sure that you get the desired consistency.) Use a potato masher and mash, mash, mash. Add salt to taste. That is it. You can add butter or olive oil for true refried beans. Make sure that you don't make them too dry because they do thicken up alot.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Super Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce

I made fried rice tonight and whipped this up to go over it real quick. As you can see, the math ratio for the ingredients is super simple. 1:1:2
2 T. Vinegar
2T. Honey or Sucanat or one of each
4 T. Maple Syrup
Combine well. Serve as desired.
Would say this would serve about 4.
(I adapted this from my mom's unmeasured recipe that we always made when I was growing up. We originally used brown sugar.)

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

This is a super quick, easy, and yummy way to drink your milk kefir.
I love this recipe. If you would like a pineapple banana smoothie, simply replace the strawberries with a 1/2 cup of pineapple. It is wonderful too. I love drinking milk kefir everyday because I think it is so important for my health. Bring on the probiotics!!

                                                     6 Ice Cubes
                                                     1 Banana
                                                     2-4 Strawberries
                                                     1 Cup Milk Kefir
                                                     And a blender:)

                                                       Blend the ice cubes and fruit together.
                                                                       Add in the kefir.
                                                         Enjoy your probiotic delight!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Natural Laundry Detergent Recipe

4 oz. of Kiss My Face Lavender Olive Oil Soap grated ($1.20) or Castille Bar-more expensive but works better
1 C. Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda ($0.50)
1/2 C. Borax ($0.21)

Total cost per batch: $1.91
This yields 10 gallons of detergent! Economical? I don't know about you, but I can't afford not to do this.
Here's how to do it:
Gather the above amount of ingredients. Then grate the bar of soap and place it into a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Heat the water on medium heat, stirring ALOT until soap is melted. Remove from heat.  (I have also had great success with using a bar of castile soap as well. I just prefer the olive oil because it is so hypoallergenic.) Put about 2 gallons of hot tap water into your 5 gallon bucket, add dry ingredients, stir, add in melted soap, stir. Top it off with more hot tap water and stir. Allow to set overnight. Choose your container of choice, fill it half with detergent, (be certain to stir it before removing the detergent as things will separate some) then top off with hot water and give it a good shake. Shake well before each use. Takes 1/4 -1/2 cup per load.
I have a top loader and I use 1/4 cup for normal clothing and 1/2 cup for towels and dirtier clothing.
NOTE TO CLOTH DIAPER USERS: This does wash cotton cloth diapers well. Just be aware that most of your major companies for covers and 'fancy' diapers will not honor their warranties if you use this because of the ingredient list. Thirsties Baby, for example will not honor it because of the borax and natural soap. So know your warranty requirements. For this reason, I do not wash my diapers in this. I use GroVia Tiny Bubbles with great success. I have no residue issues with using these two different detergents interchangeably in my washer.

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Crunchy House Cleaning Products

Biokleen Dishwasher Detergent- Works super, (I have city water) but I found that if you use too much it will leave residue. So I use 2 teaspoons for each wash instead of the 1-2 tablespoons. I find that since less is more in this case, it is extremely economical. It cost about $7 for a can that will last me at least 3 months washing one load a day. That is cheaper than 'the bad stuff''!
Biokleen All Purpose Cleaner- Works great for cutting grease int he kitchen and is very economical. One bottle for about $4 will make 8 gallons of cleaner. And it smells fantastic since it is citrus based.
Vinegar Spray- Super cheap cleaner as well. I use this on the floors, to clean the refrigerator, the bathrooms, the counters, pretty much everywhere. Mix it in a 1:1 ratio in a spray bottle.
Baking Soda- Super cheap, I get the biggest box at the grocery store. I use this to clean the toilets. I also use this in combination with the vinegar solution for great foaming action when I clean the rest of the bathroom and my stainless steel kitchen sink. Actually I was highly impressed at how well the two cleaned my kitchen sink!
Floor Cleaner- I use a little squirt of Dr. Wood's Lavender Castile Soap with a little vinegar. Smells fantastic. I was just using vinegar, but I missed the nice smell of lavender so I decided to add the castile and am so pleased with the outcome. (I have hardwood floors and tile.) Extremely inexpensive.
Biokleen Bac Out- It is fantastic for cleaning, ahem, throw-up out of the carpet and actually getting rid of the odor. When my two year old got a stomach virus this stuff cleaned it out like a charm. No stain and no odor- and we all know how awful throw-up smells! I was in awe.
Dr. Wood's Lavender Shea Castile Soap- Hand soap, works fine and seems quite gentle.
Seventh Generation Lavender Floral and Mint  Dish Soap- works very well to cut the grease and clean. Is not harsh on your skin either.
Rubbing Alcohol- Glass cleaner. Just put it in a spray bottle and it works surprising well. Much better than the ammonia based blue stuff and once again, super inexpensive! Be forewarned, it dries much quicker than what you may be used too, so you might want to try spraying a section at a time instead of the entire area.
(I purchased all products from vitacost.com, except for my vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and baking soda.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Perfect Fruit and Nut Granola

4 C. rolled oats
1 stick butter
1/2 C. honey
1 C. Raisins
3/4 C. raw sliced almonds
1/4 C. raw sunflower seeds
3/4 C. raw walnuts
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325. Melt butter and honey in a saucepan on low/medium heat.
 Combine all of the dry ingredients EXCEPT the raisins. Add in the liquid, stir until evenly moist. Spread out on 2 greased cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir and bake for 5 more minutes or until golden brown. Add in the raisins and let cool. I love this over homemade yogurt with a little honey drizzled over the top. It is great with milk as a cold cereal too.

Lemonade with Stevia

1 C. lemon juice
1 dropper of Stevia Extract
Place into a 2 quart pitcher and fill the rest of the way with water. Stir. Enjoy.

Blender Salsa

2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes drained
1/8 t. black pepper
1/4 t. salt
pinch of garlic powder
2 t. dry cilantro (or 2 T. fresh)
1 t. lime juice
1 jalapeno
1/2 sweet onion quartered

Put it all into the blender and blend. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to allow the flavors to blend together.

Crockpot Yogurt Recipe

Pour a 1/2 - whole gallon whole milk into crockpot on high heat for approximately 2-3 hours-until it reaches 180 degrees.
Turn off and allow to cool for approximately 3 hours-until it reaches 120 degrees.
Take out 2 cups and add in 1/2-1 cup of your cultures to it, then pour back into crockpot, mix well,  cover, wrap with a towel and let sit for 6-8 hours.
Refrigerate for 12 hours. You may strain out some whey if you would like a thicker consistency yogurt. Remember to save a cup of yogurt for your next batch.