Monday, August 8, 2011

Bye Bye Hair

This past Saturday I had my hair cut short.  The shortest I have ever had it cut.  Months ago I decided I wanted to grow out my hair to donate.  I did this once before in college.  What got me thinking about this again was the fact that I do not donated money to cancer research because they do embryonic stem cell research, which I do not believe in.  I wanted to do something to help those who suffer from cancer and thought of hair.  I found that there are two place to donate hair: (must have 10 inches of hair) and (must have 8 inches of hair).  I choose pantene because I had just enough to make 8 inches and not go any shorter.  When I donated in college I cut off more than a foot and choose locks of love.  I forgot to have a before picture taken so the first photo is from earlier in the year.  The second photo is my new hair style. 

Get Your Finger Out of Your Nose!

We go through ALOT of tissues in our house.  We all have seasonal allergies that seem to be year round.  And until last Dec when Jackson had his tonsils out he was sick more often than not.  Several weeks ago Jeffrey asked how do you make tissues?  I said I did not know, but we could find a book at the library.  Jeffrey said you need to look up a recipe so we can make them.  I told him we couldn't make tissues, but handkerchiefs were also used to blow your nose and we could make some.  A week goes by and one night I can not sleep.  So I get up and decide to make some hankies.  I found an old piece of cotton fabric and get started.  But after the sewing machine woke Jackson up at 1am I had to stop for the night.  Below is a picture of the first handkerchiefs I made.
These did not turn out as well as I expected.  Although the fabric is cotton and soft to the touch it is not soft to one's nose.  I looked online for some advice.  I found several other moms that had used flannel.  Great, I just happened to have an old flannel sheet set not being used.  My second set of hankies were much softer and very absorbent. 

Not only are we helping out the environment, but Jeffrey thinks it fun to wipe his buggers on the new hankies.  This makes me very happy as Jeffrey always has his finger in his nose.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Homemade mayo, ranch & more.

One way I have reduced our trash is making homemade seasonings, condiments and such.  I don't know if this is cost less or not-- I have not done the math, but it is good for the environment and you control what goes in your food.

Taco Seasoning

1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Mix all the ingredients above in a small bowl. Keep fresh in an air tight container for up to 6 months. Double or triple recipe as needed. To use: substitute 2 rounded Tablespoons for 1 packet of taco seasoning. **You can also kick up the heat a notch by adding in 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes!!**

Onion Soup Mix

2/3 cup dried, minced onion
3 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix all ingredients in a jar, then give the jar a good shake. I’d recommend shaking the jar to mix the ingredients well before each use.  Use 4 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix in a recipe in place of 1 packet of onion soup mix. Store this in a dry, cool place.

Buttermilk Ranch Salad Dressing

1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk ( I use regular milk & not as much.  I just pour and stir until it looks right.)
2 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dill weed

Whisk together & store in the refrigerator. Tip: If you stick a paring knife in the opening of the squeezie lid from store bought salad dressing bottle and pull straight up, the lid will come off and you can refill the bottle with your homemade dressing, then replace the lid.

***This is not Hidden Valley Ranch, but it is good.  Josh and the boys eat it up.

Mayonnaise in a blender

2 whole eggs
10 fl oz (285 ml) of vegetable or olive oil
1 tsp of white wine vinegar
1 tsp of dry English mustard powder
1 crushed clove of garlic
salt and pepper

1. Place the eggs into the blender or food processor, along with the mustard, garlic, salt and pepper and blend together.
2. Pour all of the oil into the blender in a steady stream whilst the machine is operating, so that it is immediately whisked into the egg yolk mixture.
3. Switch off the machine and taste the mayonnaise. Add the vinegar and any extra seasoning to taste and whisk together one last time.

***I use this mayo to make our ranch dressing.

Cream soups

2 cups milk (can use powdered milk as well)
2 heaping tsp. corn starch
chicken bullion to taste
some onion flakes and thyme

Whisk all together and heat on stove top until desired thickness. I usually leave a little runny as it will thicken as it bakes/absorbs into veggies/meats. You can also add cooked/pureed/diced veggies or meats to make it into Cream Of ____ Soup

***I have only made cream of mushroom soup and it was great!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Source: Leslie Sarna
(Yields about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of cheese)
1 gallon of whole milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup distilled white wine vinegar (or regular white vinegar will work!)
Pour the milk into a large stock pot and heat at medium low slowly so it doesn't burn.  Stir frequently. Heat the milk till it reaches 180 degrees.  Off heat and pour in the salt and vinegar. It will begin to curdle immediately.  Give it a gentle stir and cover. Let sit covered for 2 hours. When the time is up, place a strainer over a large bowl and line it with cheesecloth.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the solid pieces from the milk. Let drain for another two hours. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. *The leftover liquid is called whey, and can be used for a variety of purposes! A good use of it is as a substitute for any liquid in baking. Store in the fridge for up to 6 months.

***Yummy in lasagna


1 15-oz can of garbanzo beans (drained) [I bought dried beans and cooked them first]
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
3 minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp fresh chopped basil (or 1/2 tsp dried basil)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor; blend into a smooth past consistency. Add a small amount of water if it seems too thick. Spread onto bread or crackers. 1/3 cup of this hummus has 170 cal, and this recipe makes about a cup.

***This is so easy and so good.  You can put in whatever you have around.  No lemons use limes.  Change it up for your taste.
I have tried several ketchup recipes, but haven't found one a like enough to share.  My boys eat a lot of ketchup so I hope to find the right recipe soon.