Monday, July 23, 2012

Put Down that Bottle of Soy Sauce!

I caught you!  Did you know most soybeans are genetically modified and your soy sauce is most likely made from those beans?  Also, the soy sauce you're using might also contain a preservative called Sodium Benzoate which is suspected to have skin or sense organ toxicity hazards.

As a FANTASTIC alternative, use Bragg's Liquid Aminos!

Here is some info from their site:
Bragg Liquid Aminos is a Certified NON-GMO liquid protein concentrate, derived from healthy soybeans, that contains the following Essential and Non-essential Amino Acids in naturally occurring amounts:

16 Amino Acids
  • Alanine
  • Arginine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glycine
  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Threonine
  • Tyrosine
  • Valine
  • Lysine
Great on Salads & Dressings, Soups, Veggies, Rice & Beans, Tofu, Wok & Stir-frys, Tempeh, Casseroles, Potatoes, Meats, Poultry, Fish, Jerky, Popcorn, Gravies & Sauces, Macrobiotics.

Ingredients: Our Bragg Liquid Aminos are made from health-giving, NON-GMO soybeans and purified water. They are an excellent, healthy, gourmet replacement for Tamari and Soy Sauce. Not fermented or heated and Gluten-Free.
Bragg's has a small amount of naturally occurring sodium. No table salt is added. If less sodium is desired use a 6 oz. Bragg's spray bottle and dilute with 1/3 distilled water or to taste and then either add in or spray on food.
Health Benefits:
  • A source of delicious, nutritious, life-renewing protein.
  • Taste you'll love - Nutrition you need.
  • Great on salads, veggies, dressings, soups, rice, beans, Wok foods, tofu, gravies, jerky, poultry, fish, popcorn, meats, casseroles, potatoes, etc
  • Contains important healthy amino acids
Bragg Liquid Aminos contains:
  • no chemicals
  • no artificial coloring
  • no alcohol
  • no preservatives
  • no Gluten
  • Certified NON-GMO

Monday, July 16, 2012

Find Me on Etsy!

Guess what?!  I make homemade baby ring slings and you can find me on Etsy!

Click Here to Visit the Smiling Seamstress on Etsy

Here are three examples of slings I have made:

You will find a sling to be extremely useful! I put mine on each time I take the baby to the grocery store. It's quick and easy and I don't have to carry in her infant seat. It's also great in public; strangers are less likely to want to touch your baby because she is snuggled up to you. Finally, it creates less bulk. You won't always need your stroller because you can just put your baby in the sling. It folds nicely to fit in the diaper bag so it's always handy. I even use mine around the house when my baby is fussy and just wants to be close!

Look me up on Etsy and ask me about custom orders!  I would be happy to sew one for you in your favorite colors.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Homemade Baby Wipes

I don't think I have blogged about this before so I thought I would let you in on a secret.  Store bought baby wipes are for the birds!  :)  There is a cheaper and HEALTHIER way.

Here goes:
Use a quality paper towel like Brawny (I have also found that Walmart's Great Value brand is fantastic).  Cut the roll in half so you have 2 short rolls.
You will need a container with a lid that one of the rolls will fit into.
Simply put 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol in the bottom of the container.  Now, place one of the cut rolls in the container.  Let it soak for 30 mins then pull the cardboard out of the center.  Remove the wipes starting from the center of the roll. 

Why so much trouble?  Why not just buy baby wipes?

Here are the ingredients of a certain name brand wipes:
Paraffinum Liquidum
Propylene Glycol
Oleyl Erucata
Glyceryl Oleate
Hydrogenated Castor Oil
PEG-75 Lanolin
Cetylpyridinium Chloride

Do you know what all that is?  I didn't think so.  I'll break it down for you according to my research.
Paraffinum Liquidum- mineral oil
Propylene Glycol- Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
Oleyl Erucata
Phenoxyethanol- According to a warning by the FDA of 2008 "Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that is primarily used in cosmetics and medications. It also can depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration in infants".
Glyceryl Oleate
Hydrogenated Castor Oil
Cetearth-20- Ceteareth-20 is the polyethylene glycol ether of cetearyl alcohol; may contain potentially toxic impurities such as 1,4-dioxane. Violation of industry recommendations - Restricted in cosmetics; use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Not safe for use on injured or damaged skin
Methylparaben- Methylparaben is in the paraben family of preservatives used by the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care product industries. Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors
PEG-75 Lanolin- This ingredient is a chemically-modified form of lanolin, a fat-like sebaceous secretion of sheep. (Limited information available)
Cetylpyridinium Chloride- It is an antiseptic that kills bacteria and other microorganisms.
Butylparaben- Butylparaben is in the paraben family of preservatives used by the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care product industries. Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.
Human endocrine disruptor - strong evidence
Human skin toxicant - strong evidence
One or more animal studies show effects at very low doses

Long story short....homemade baby wipes are cheaper AND healthier!  It's not hard.  So, get a roll of paper towels and a knife and get started!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hot Temps and a Cooooold Freezer

It's super hot here.  We're doing all we can to keep our plants alive....and our chickens alive.  However, this heat is good for something!  Defrosting your freezer!  If you've read the "In the Kitchen"tab, you know that we have a tiny frig/freezer combo.  It's not an auto defroster so the little freezer section froze to a solid ice block.  Since it's tiny, we just wheeled it to the front yard and let it sit in the heat with the door open.  Several hours and a few hammer poundings later...we had a defrosted freezer.
Now, here's the purpose of this post...  We had lots of ice hunks on the sidewalk and we thought, "What could we do with these that would be purposeful and not let them go to waste?"  So we put ice hunks in our flower pots and around trees & bushes.

No matter what you are doing, try to think of ways you can re purpose things...even ice!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Our Garden Tomatoes

Amazingly, in this heat and drought, we have be able to get a few tomatoes out of our garden.

We planted heirloom varieties so they won't get as big as some of the hybrids but they sure are tasty.  You can't buy anything like this from the grocery store!  They are deep red and juicy inside.

Mr. Right is faithful to water them about every other day.  Otherwise, they probably would have scorched by now. 

If you don't normally plant a garden, I would encourage you to plant just a few tomato plants next year.  Homegrown produce is priceless!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Using the Sun instead of Bleach

As you can imagine, cloth diapers get stained really fast.  Mr. Right saw my basket of clean cloth diapers one day and thought they looked terrible because they were so stained.  They were clean, they just didn't look like it.  He told me I should bleach them....well, I had bleached them.  Then I remembered being told (and reading) that the sun would bleach them and disinfect as well.  So that day, I hung a load of cloth diapers out to dry.  Within hours, they were dry and bright white!  It was like magic!

I couldn't believe it.  I never thought the sun would do such a good job.  From now on, if I need to whiten my whites I will hang them outside.  Plus, as a bonus, anything hung outside gets that nice outdoor smell! 

Keep this in mind...the more bleach you use in your washing, the more bleach that gets put in our water system.  The sun is free and non toxic so take advantage!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Baby Update!

She's here!  Georgiana arrived April 18th at 6:00 p.m.  She was 8lbs and 20 inches long. 
Labor was a loooong process but worth every minute! 

6 weeks old

We learned that it's very hard to eat natural while staying in a hospital.  We had to be there longer than expected due to a few minor complications so we were destined to eat hospital food.  Well, we certainly were picky about what we ate off the trays.  After eating/living the way we have for so long, it's amazing to see how the rest of society eats.  I would look at things on the tray and think, "People eat this?!  Don't they know it contains...." 

Sometimes I think maybe it would be better not to know all we do about food ingredients but then again...we are better off.  Now, we can live a healthy life and raise our baby girl with the knowledge we have.

P.S.  It's good to be back!  I missed you all while I was away on maternity leave. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gardening and Growing Onions

So far this year, we have been doing well with the vegetables we've already planted.  I usually don't feel very successful (and may still not if our tomato plants dry up with summer) but for now...things are looking up!  However, why is it that I am so good at growing onions under my sink and not so good at growing other vegetables outside in the sunshine???

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Baby Due Soon!

I'm 39 weeks pregnant!  When is baby Georgiana going to get here?!  We are sooo excited.  Good thing we already got the garden planted because she's due right in the middle of planting season.  :)

I have been working hard around here to get things ready.  I've been washing baby clothes, organizing the cloth diapers (and trying to figure out how to fold them), etc.  I have our hospital bag packed already and the snacks are in the car!

I think I can hear my belly ticking....  :)

Will this guy be jealous of his new baby sister???

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pretty Eggs

I really like how pretty brown eggs are and sometimes the girls make them extra special.  Like this one...

Our laying hens like to keep life interesting!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Growing Lettuce

I tried to grow lettuce last year but it didn't work out all that well.  This year, I started from seed just to see what would happen.  Check it out!

We have already harvested our first crop.  It tastes yummy!  A few nights ago, we had burgers with homegrown meat, homemade hamburger buns and our very own lettuce.  You just can't beat that!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Growing Beets

I planted some beet seeds in a pot several weeks ago.  I really don't like beets but I'm willing to tough it out because they're good for me.  They have actually grown really well!  I've had to protect them from a hard rain once because I knew they would get beat down but, other than that, they have been a pretty easy vegetable to grow.

I have never grown beets before.  I can't wait until they get big enough to pull up!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blueberry Bushes

We have had so much rain lately.  Our backyard looks more like a mud hole than a yard but that's ok.  It will eventually dry up and we'll be praying for rain in the summer.  Although I have to put on water boots if I want to hang clothes out to dry, some members of the backyard are reallllly enjoying the wet weather.  Like, the blueberry bushes, for example.

We have 3 bushes all in pots.  (We plan on moving and having land someday and we're taking these guys with us!)  They have grown sooo many leaves so fast because of this rain.  Before you know it, we'll be getting fresh blueberries!

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is get fresh blueberries right off the bush in the mornings when I take care of the chickens.  Ah...not too much longer!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grain Mill

I was talking with a friend of ours one day and mentioned that I wanted to get a manual grain mill.  Unfortunately, they are a couple hundred dollars new and I just wasn't willing to pay that.  Well...she called me the next day and found one in the Good Will store in her town for $10!!!  Can you believe that?!  The Lord is good! 

So, we're going to start grinding our own grains.  Here is our first effort today...
Yes sir!  That's stone ground whole wheat flour!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Egg Production is UP!

This is a beautiful sight...
We are getting tons of eggs now!  I think the chicken mower has been really good for the girls. 

Breakfast anyone?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Homemade "Clif" Bars

Mr. Right and I bought some Clif Bars the other day.  We were away from home and needed an emergency snack.  Well, those things aren't cheap!  So, I decided to come up with a homemade version.  Here it is:
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup peanuts
3/4 cup peanut butter
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup flax seeds

Process in food processor then press firmly into baking dish.  Refrigerate then cut into squares.

These are super good!  As you can tell, we started eating them before I could even get them cut into squares!

Monday, March 19, 2012

35 Weeks

Unbelievable.  I am now 35 weeks pregnant.  That means we'll be meeting our little girl soon!  We are so excited.  I can't believe my due date is just around the corner.  Here's something I've sure is harder to rake dirt into rows in the garden when you have a big belly!  :)

Soon, this picture frame I made....

will have a photo of her sweet face instead of an ultrasound photo. 

P.S. Pay no attention to the candy cane table cloth.  It's not Christmas...I just thought it was too cute to put away so soon!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chicken Mower

We like to be as resourceful as possible and when the grass/weeds/clover started getting tall in the backyard, we started brainstorming ways to use it to our advantage. 

As a result, Mr. Right came up with this...

He used PVC pipe, chicken wire and zip ties to create a chicken mower!  Most afternoons, he loads the girls up in the mower then drags it to a new spot in the yard that needs mowing.  They have done a great job at keeping our yard looking good!

This also means that they eat less chicken feed which makes keeping them even cheaper.  Whoo! 

The mower has a laying box mounted in the corner in case someone forgot to lay their egg that morning.  We also give them shade by clothes pinning a towel on top when they are in the sun.

I don't know if this is a result of the mower and all the grass the girls are eating but we did get 6 eggs today.  That means everyone laid one! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Collecting Rain Water

We went for our usual walk and happened upon this barrel on the side of the road.  It's a 55 gallon barrel that has been cut in half.  We asked the lady whose house it was in front of if we could have it and she said yes.  So, Mr. Right carried the thing about half a mile back to our house. 

A container this big would normally cost a lot of money so we were happy to get it for free! 

We decided to use it to collect rain water.  We collected a whole barrel full in one day!  We look forward to learning more about collecting rain water and hopefully watering our garden this way as much as possible.

We haven't watered anything with it yet because the ground is still so wet from the rain.  However, Ranger loves it and thinks it's so much better than the tap water we fill his bowl with.  Smart dog!

Friday, March 9, 2012


It's always nice to learn something new and if it's about gardening...I really like to learn something new!  I have wondered for a year why I can't grow cilantro.  First, I learned that I planted it at the wrong time.  Second, I learned that when the weather warms up above 80 degrees for several days, mature plants like greens and such think their growing time is over so they grow a seed stalk.

That's exactly what my cilantro does.  It's a cool season crop so it hasn't done well when I plant it in the summer.  It grows a little then sends up that seed stalk.  That's called bolting. 

So, just a reminder to do a little research before you start putting seeds in the ground! 

80 degrees is your enemy with cool season plants!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hanging Clothes out to Dry

I have decided that one of my favorite things to do is hang clothes out to dry.  Since the weather has been so nice, I decided it was time to string up the clothesline again. 

This is a great, natural, money saver.  Maybe my dryer has something wrong with it but when I timed it the other day, it took an hour for a load to dry.  An hour?!  What does that cost? 

I haven't used my dryer in days.  I wash clothes as soon as I get up then go hang them outside.  Usually by lunch, they are dry.  Of course, the more wind the better because it basically beats the wrinkles out of everything.  On calm days, the clothes just hang there and become stiff.  We don't mind though.  I just do a quick iron over our clothes and everything else stays stiff.  We call towels that were hung dry "exfoliating."  It sounds nicer than "stiff."  :)

I would encourage you to do this too.  Save the planet.  Plus, it's extremely fulfilling to hang your clothes out!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lasagna Gardening

Have you ever heard of Lasagna Gardening? 

Gardening in layers is like making lasagna!

This is a neat method of gardening that Mr. Right and I heard about a year ago but we didn't look too far into it.  Well, since I have been reading Vegetable Gardening for Dummies, I have learned more about it.  We are going to give it a try this year.  Here's what it's a no-till method of gardening.  Which means that you save money by not having to buy/borrow a tiller and gas for it PLUS it makes you "greener" because you aren't burning fossil fuels just to till.  Here is what the book says about it...
"It's like making lasagna.  The season before planting, lay down a 3-4 sheet thick layer of black and white newspaper over the garden area.  Water the paper to keep it in place.  Cover the newspaper with a 6-inch-thick layer of hay or straw.  Top that with a 1- to 2-inch-thick layer of compost.  By the next planting season, the layers will have killed the grass and most of the annual and perennial weeds in your garden."  from Vegetable Gardening for Dummies
 Pretty neat, huh?  We decided to try it this year because we just paid about $30 in manure for the garden today.  That's heartbreaking for frugal people like us.  With lasagna gardening, you enrich the soil by compost...not purchased manure.  I don't ever want to purchase manure again!

We're going to divide our garden plot up into four beds.  That way, we can lasagna garden the beds and not the whole garden.  There is no need for our pathways to have expensive manure spread on them.

I'll keep you posted on how that goes!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New York Times Veggie Burgers

15 oz of black or navy beans, drained
  (soak dry ones yourself to use)
1 can tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup parsley or cilantro
2 cups quick rolled oats
8 homemade wheat hamburger buns
Fresh veggie toppings and healthy condiments

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Process the first seven ingredients using a food processor.   

Remove contents into a large bowl, and stir in oats. 

Form into patties, place on sprayed baking sheet. 


 Bake for 8 minutes.  Turn oven up to broil and cook for 2 more minutes, until the tops are nicely browned.


 Toast the buns and pile on favorite toppings.

Variation:  Saute the burgers on medium heat in a sprayed cast iron or stainless steel skillet for 5 minutes on each side, until both sides are browned.

*Recipe from Vibrant Life magazine.

They are a nice variation from a regular beef burger.  Give them a try!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Green Pea Guacamole

I was a little skeptical about this new recipe because I’m just not that crazy about green peas.  However, it turned out really good!  

Here it is…

2 cups frozen green peas
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon powdered garlic
¼ cup minced sweet onion
½ cup minced tomato
Cilantro to taste

Put peas under warm water until softened but still cold.  Drain well.

Place peas, lemon juice, garlic, and cilantro in a food processor and process until very smooth.  Transfer to a medium bowl.

Stir in onion and tomato.  Let stand for 10 minutes.

*The recipe says to serve within an hour or two to retain the color but mine looked just as good after being in the frig overnight and actually tasted better!

Serve with crackers, vegetables or chips.  It can also be used as a sandwich spread.

*Recipe from Vibrant Life magazine

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Health Magazine

When we ordered our latest bulk food order, we were given a copy of a magazine the company puts out.  I have read quite a bit of it and it’s very interesting.  Did you know the top two killers in the U.S. are heart disease and cancer?  Could this be due to the American diet?  I don’t see why not.  Most Americans eat a diet high in fat, preservatives, additives, hydrogenated oils, etc.  How much processed food is in your cabinet?  Heart disease and cancer are not diseases you get just because of age.  I believe, for the most part, they are diseases you get because of poor lifestyle choices.  You cannot expect your body to remain healthy when it is fed junk and never exercised. 

According to Dr. Esselstyn (a doctor and researcher featured in the film Forks Over Knives), 

“Cardiovasuclar disease is a benign, food-related illness that can be halted.  Cardiovascular disease is almost non-existent in China, Papua New Guinea, central Africa, and the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico.  These are largely plant-based cultures.”   

Now, I don’t believe your diet has to be completely plant based, however, most Americans don’t eat very many plants at all.  The sauce on your pizza should not be your only vegetable! 

“Eighty-five percent of common, chronic, killing diseases in Western civilization are diet-related,” Dr. Esselstyn says.  “The single most important thing is what goes through your lips.  That determines whether your disease progresses or regresses.  If everyone started eating to save their heart, we’d really empty out the hospitals.  This same approach doesn’t apply only to the heart.  It applies to other organs as well.”

This is my kind of magazine!  I am amazed at what people eat and consider it to be healthy.  Most of the time, they just don’t consider it at all.  They don’t think it’s a big deal to eat all that junk.  Changing your diet and lifestyle happens one step at the time.  You can’t do it all over night but you should try as hard as you can.  Make significant changes.  Follow the baby steps I have outlined to get you started. 

I’ll be honest.  The hardest part about it is the outside world.  People will look at you funny or even give you a hard time because you won’t eat everything at the potluck.  They may criticize you or call you weird.  We have been through it all…sadly.  Most of it came from people we are closest to.  Why is it that when you make a better choice for your life, like eating right, people get so worked up about it?  They are actually the “weird” ones because they choose to fuel their bodies with chemicals and nothingness then expect a doctor to fix it all later. 

No matter what, take the leap.  Do what is right and you will feel much better.  Your body will feel great and you will get tougher over time as your loved ones question you.  Stand strong and do it.

By the way, just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean it’s nasty.  We don’t eat lettuce and tree bark for supper.  (Just check out some of the recipes on this blog.)  In fact, we think our food is much tastier than traditional American food!  Maybe that’s because our taste buds are awake and not coated with additives and chemicals?!
Clean food is fulfilling

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Perfect Gift

Mr. Right always knows how to buy the perfect gifts.  Some husbands probably just buy their wife flowers or jewelry but Mr. Right can always hit the nail on the head.  The hard part for him is I’m not a typical wife…I guess.  Jewelry and expensive things do nothing for me. 

Yesterday he gave me the gift of the year; the gift that tops all gifts.  Curious yet?  He gave me the book Vegetable Gardening for Dummies.  Now, my husband doesn’t think I’m a dummy but he knows how badly I’ve been wanting to learn about gardening.  We have planted a garden for two years in a row and we haven’t been as successful as I would like to have been.  I didn’t know what to do.  I have tried to look up tips online, talk with Grandpa and I have even printed out charts but still felt like I knew nothing.  Well, let me tell you, Vegetable Gardening for Dummies  is an excellent book.  I can’t hardly put it down.  It discusses how to plant, care for, and harvest your vegetables, how to plot your garden and prepare the soil, composting, combating pests with environmentally friendly methods, money saving tips, when to plant, variety types, watering…you name it.  I was THRILLED to get this book…to say the least. 

My goal this year is to grow enough tomatoes to can LOTS.  We have scaled down the garden this year so we can focus on just a couple crops.  One thing we did wrong as newbies was plant too much.  We planted the entire produce aisle and didn’t get very far.  My plan is to slowly get better over the years by mastering just a few things each year then adding something to the garden the following year.

We will start tilling next weekend.  Well, Mr. Right will start tilling next weekend.  I don’t think my 31 week pregnant belly should be running a tiller.  But, I can’t wait to get in the dirt!  

I want to do more of this over the summer...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Did You Know?

Did you know that organic plain yogurt can be used in the place of sour cream?  We put organic plain yogurt on tacos, baked potatoes, you name it!

I like this idea because there is less to buy at the store...I don't need to buy sour cream.  Anything that makes shopping faster makes me happy!  PLUS, I know we're getting something good because the yogurt is organic.  You don't get all those live, active cultures in sour cream!

If you haven't noticed, organic plain yogurt is pretty versatile.  For example, you can also make dip with it instead of sour cream.  Like this taco dip  or this ranch dip.

So, get with it!  Toss out that sour cream and buy yourself something good.

from here

Monday, February 20, 2012

Clean 15

After you review the Dirty Dozen, check out this list of the Clean 15.  These are vegetables and fruits that are the lowest in pesticides.  They are safe to buy non-organic.

Here they are...
  1. onions
  2. sweet long as it's not GMO
  3. pineapples
  4. avocado
  5. asparagus
  6. sweet peas
  7. mangoes
  8. eggplant
  9. cantaloupe- domestic
  10. kiwi
  11. cabbage
  12. watermelon
  13. sweet potatoes
  14. grapefruit
  15. mushrooms
Mmm...sweet potatoes

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dirty Dozen

Have you ever heard of the Dirty Dozen?  These are a dozen fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides.  These are items you should grow yourself, buy organic or don't by at all. 

The fruits and vegetables to beware of are:
apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, white potatoes, domestic blueberries, lettuce and kale/collard greens.

We once thought you could just wash these items thoroughly and that would take care of the problem.  However, we learned that is not true. 

So, all those apples we bought several months back.....
weren't organic. 

Live and learn.  Now I have told you so you can't say you didn't know!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

February Gardening

If you live in Arkansas, there are several things you can plant in February.  I know, it's kind of cold outside but you will be happy you planted something! 

Here's what you can plant:
Leaf lettuce
Mustard peas
Brussels sprouts
Irish Potatoes
Swiss Chard

So, if you have Spring Fever and you're tired of window farming, get out and plant something!

I think I'm going to start with leaf lettuce. A salad sounds so good!

My window farm

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Make something yummy for your Valentine like homemade cinnamon rolls or this yummy oat treat!

Have a lovely day!

Love, the Happy Homesteaders

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chinese Wonton

Here is the final phase of Operation Chinese Dinner.  Wonton!  I stole the idea from my Mayberry cookbook.  If you have ever watched the Andy Griffith show then you might know the Fun Girls.  This recipe was called Fun Girls Wonton, however, I changed it up...surprise, surprise. 

Here's the skinny.

You will need:
2 cups whole wheat flour that you have grown, harvested, and stone ground yourself.
Just kidding. 

We'll start over.  You will need:
2 cups whole wheat flour (white wheat works best)
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup lukewarm water (you might need to add a teaspoon or two)

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.  Make a well in the center and pour the water into the well.  With a wooden spoon stir until the dough forms a ball.  Add a couple teaspoons of water if it seems too dry.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead until stiff.  Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough stand for 30 minutes. 

While you're waiting...make the fried rice!

On a floured surface, roll the dough into a long strip 6 inches wide and less than 1/8 inch thick.

Ok, so, mine isn't perfect.  It's no fun being perfect anyway!
Cut into 3-inch squares.

I actually measured these.  They're pretty close to 3 inches.
Next, place a spoonful of fried rice in the center of each square.  Moisten the edges of the squares with beaten egg and press the opposite corners together to form a triangle.  Fry in hot coconut oil until golden brown.

Here are three of about 16 total:

The recipe said it makes 36 in the world did they get 36?!  I even measured my squares!  Who needs 36 wontons anyway?

Now, dip into some sweet and sour sauce and enjoy!

These reheat well in the oven so you can make them ahead if you need to.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chinese Fried Rice

Here is step two in your Chinese dinner.  After you make the sweet and sour sauce, make fried rice!  Caveat:  you will need 2-3 cups cooked, brown rice that has been chilled.
(I just learned the word "caveat."  Mr. Right will be impressed when he reads this but honestly....I don't even know how to pronounce it.  Are you impressed anyway?)

Moving on...

Fried rice is fun because you can put just about anything in it you like.  Here's how I cook mine:

brown 1/4lb home grown beef
1/4-1/2 cup chopped onions
one chopped sweet pepper
3 whole carrots, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (optional- actually, most things in this recipe are optional!)
several chopped pineapple rings...just for fun

Saute ingredients until tender.

Then, add the cooked, chilled, brown rice and stir around until heated through.

Finally, stir in some sweet and sour sauce to taste.  Don't forget to give it a little salt.

Viola!  Who needs to go out for Chinese?  Not you!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sweet and Sour Sauce

I really like Chinese food.  However, we don't ever go eat at Chinese Restaurants (or most restaurants for that matter) because there is rarely anything on their menu that is natural.  So yesterday I tried my hand at making Chinese food and it was a success!  Mr. Right greatly approved so we'll be having it more often!  Here's the first step: sweet and sour sauce.  What is Chinese food without it?

1/2 cup sucanat
4 teaspoons whole wheat flour
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (I forgot I had this ingredient so I used apple cider just as well)
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet pepper
1 tsp salt
2 teaspoons grated ginger root
1 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, minced

In a small sauce pan combine sucanat and flour.  Stir in water, vinegar, sweet pepper, salt, ginger root and garlic.  Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

Serve warm.  See your family be impressed.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups sauce.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Life Beyond Canned Soups

Several years ago, I removed all canned soups from our diet.  I'm talking about cream of chicken, celery, mushroom, tomato, etc.  Don't gasp.  You don't have to include a can of soup in EVERYTHING.  There is a whole, big world out there that doesn't involve these pesky, unhealthy cans.  Go explore it!

One thing I started doing is making my own cream of chicken.  Save the broth from the chicken you boiled, thicken it with flour then add some salt and onion powder to taste.

*Boiling a whole chicken is where the broth comes from.  Click here to learn how to de-bone one.*

It's as easy as....well...boiling a chicken!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning you buy from the store may contain MSG, anti-caking agents, etc. so the best thing to do is make your own.  It's super easy!  I just make the mix and keep it in a jar in the cabinet.  That way, I always have it on hand.

Mix includes:
1/2 cup parsley
1/3 cup minced onions or onion powder
1/4 cup chives (optional)
1/3 cup chili powder
1/4 cup cumin
2 teaspoons real salt

You can use this in meat mixtures for tacos or make a yummy taco dip!

To make taco dip:  combine 2 cups plain, organic yogurt with 2 tablespoons of the dip mix.  Then just whisk together and dip in some non-GMO corn chips!

Happy whisking!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Window Farming

Well, I have Spring Fever.  It’s so dreary outside but I would really like to start gardening!  Too bad it’s February!  So…I started window farming.  I had some old seeds from last year and I decided to see if they would grow.  We bought some potting soil and I planted them in plastic cups.  I planted tomatoes, cilantro, and lettuce.  If it all grows, maybe be can transplant it in the Spring!

If you garden, starting seeds early will save you a lot of money.  It's cheaper to buy seeds and start them now then it is to buy plants later.