Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How To De-Bone a Chicken...My Way

I’m sure there are technical ways to do this but I just do it the way I like.  When I de-bone a chicken, my goal is to get all the meat off.  I don’t go for presentation points because I’m just going to chop it up and use it in a recipe anyway.  Now, if you were going to make fried chicken or something where you need whole pieces of uncooked chicken…then that’s a different story.  Check out this link on how to do that.

So here goes…  I start with a whole chicken that I have boiled. (I freeze the broth for later use.)   

I start by removing the breasts.  I usually just cut these off with a knife.  Then I use two forks to remove the rest of the meat from the bones leaving as little as possible behind.  
Breasts and white meat

 I don’t like dark meat so I separate that for Mr. Right (he likes it) and keep the white meat for me.  Be sure to remove all the skin, also.  It will peel off very easily.
Dark meat

It’s a simple process.  Leave nothing behind...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's a Girl!

We found out several days ago that we’re having a girl!!!  We are sooo excited.  Her name is Georgiana.  That’s pronounced Georgi-on-uh….not Georgi-anna.  There’s a difference.  Georgiana is an old English name that Mr. Right and I started liking well over a year ago.  We actually have a list of names we plan on using as we have/ adopt children and we’re excited to start with Georgiana!  

Now, the countdown continues to April when we can hold her….  Until then, I’ll continue to snack on my celery and carrots with homemade ranch dip.  Yum-o


Friday, January 27, 2012

Homemade Self-Rising Flour

So, you have a recipe that calls for self-rising flour and you don't have any.  No worries!  Make your own.

Here's a 1 cup recipe:

1c whole wheat flour
1tsp baking powder (we buy aluminum free)
1/2 tsp salt (real salt)
1/4 tsp baking soda

Problem solved.  You're welcome.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dry Laundry Detergent

Back in October, I posted about making homemade liquid laundry detergent.  Well, for a small family, I've found that this recipe can go kind of sour after a year of having it.  I guess you could just make a smaller batch but I've grown to like a dry powder version.

I use the same recipe sans liquid:
1 Fels Naptha soap bar, grated
1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda)
½ cup Borax
Then, I use 1 tablespoon per load.  That's roughly 32 loads for maybe $2.  not bad, huh?!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Breakfast Menu

Something new I've discovered is I like to keep a breakfast menu.  I cook breakfast each morning for Mr. Right and myself so it makes the mornings go much smoother if I have a plan.  This way, I can have the table set and breakfast on the table by the time he makes it to the kitchen.  I even light a candle.  :)  Hey, he works hard all day and should get to start his mornings off right!  Plus, he's so handsome...I just can't resist.

Let's name these eggs "Tuesday", "Thursday" and "Friday" :)
Here is my menu:
Sunday: fruit, yogurt, homemade sausage biscuits
Monday: baked oatmeal (tasty and economical)
Tuesday: Omelet and homemade hashbrowns (or oven baked potatoes)
Wednesday: baked oatmeal
Thursday: pumpkin muffins (his fav), eggs
Friday: sweet potatoes (mashed or oven baked), eggs
Saturday: pancake day! and yogurt

I feel like sticking to a menu also helps keep things natural.  You won't need to grab something quick and unhealthy because you're out of ideas. 

Give it a try.  :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Frozen Burritos

I remember having frozen burritos in the freezer as a kid.  We'd pop one in the microwave for a quick snack.  Well, things are different now.  We don't buy frozen burritos and we don't own a microwave.  So, here's a better solution.  Make your own!

If you remember, a while back I posted about making homemade tortillas...here

Now I've discovered that instead of cooking the tortillas..
1.  roll them out into the usual circle
2. stuff them with some homemade spanish rice, cheese and beans
3. fold them up like a chimichanga
4. freeze!

When you get read to cook them, just pop them out of the freezer and into your oven.  Not cooking the tortillas first means you won't have dry, brittle burritos.

Note: To freeze, I lay them in a baking dish and put them in the deep freeze for a few hours.  Then, once they're good and cold, remove them, wrap individually in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag.  done.

Ready to go in the deep freeze for a while

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sour Dough Bread Update

Last Friday, we had another one of these...
(It's upside down)

Now, we've decided we're tired of sour dough bread for a while.  So, I put the starter in the frig to go dormant for a while.

I did this over Christmas too and it didn't kill the starter so I hope it doesn't this time!  I just couldn't bring myself to travel the state with my jar of sour dough bread starter...

You can read all about my sour dough bread adventures here:
Making Sour Dough Bread

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bulk Food from Country Life

Eating natural is something I enjoy.  Something I don't enjoy, however, is grocery shopping (plus, some of these things can't be purchased at the super market).  So, in case you are interested, here is a list of things we order in bulk from Country Life Natural Foods.

Garlic, Powder, Domestic  17oz
Peanut Butter, Smooth, NS  35#
Whole Wheat Flour, Prairie Gold, CCF (white) 10#
Tortilla Chips (non GMO) Yellow OG, Whole Grain  16oz
Real Salt 
Cornmeal (non GMO) yellow, OG (whole grain w/ germ) 25#
Navy Beans, OG 25#... will last you a long time
Peas, green split 25#
Sunflower seeds (raw) 5#
Peanuts, Spanish, RNS 25#
Raisins, black flame, large 30#
Rumford Baking Powder (Aluminum free) 5#
Coconut oil 50#... lasts us one year
Yeast, SAF- Instant Red (Baking) 1#
Oats, Regular Rolled 25#...lasts us a year and a half
Pineapple dices, low sugar, IMP 5#

I think that’s it.  The things in bold are what I would consider “must haves” and would suggest getting them to start with. 

We mix peanuts, raisins, (dried pineapple when we order it), and sunflower seeds and eat as a healthy snack.  This is something we always have a jar of in the car for road trips.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

Here is an awesome Beef Stroganoff recipe I adapted from Better Homes and Gardens...

1lb ground home-grown, grass fed beef
8oz organic, plain yogurt
2T whole wheat flour
1/2c water
1/2c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups hot cooked wheat noodles or brown rice

Cook ground beef and onion in skillet. 

In a small mixing bowl stir together yogurt and flour.  Stir in water.

Add yogurt mixture to meat along with garlic and salt to taste.

Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.

Serve over noodles or rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Beef...it's what's for dinner...

Friday, January 13, 2012

25 Weeks Pregnant

What?!  Already?!  I can't believe 25 weeks have gone by already.  I can tell the baby gets bigger all the time because the movements get more intense!

Just six more days until we find out whether it's a boy or a girl!  That will be an exciting day.  Until then, feel free to make donations to the blog so we can buy cloth diapers.  Just kidding.  Sort of.  :)

With the baby in mind, I have been more and more diligent about what I eat.  I want to make sure the baby is getting all the good vitamins and nutrients it needs.  However, whether you're pregnant or not, you need to be thinking about your own body this way.  What do you fuel yourself with?  Consider this deeply.  Your health depends on it.  Sure, you feel fine today but what about when you're elderly?  Will you have wished you made better choices?

Check out some of the good posts on this blog to get you started.
You'll find these Crispy Potatoes under the "Cooking" Section

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Homemade Non-Stick Spray

Have you read the ingredients lately on the non-stick cooking spray you use?  It's not good.  Trust me.  Here's a healthy, easy, homemade option.

In a spray bottle (you can buy empty ones at the store) combine 1c water with 2T olive oil.  Shake well and spray it on!

Wasn't that easy?  Cheap too!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hens Eating Berries

So, our neighbor does not keep her bushes trimmed back AT ALL.  Therefore, Mr. Right had to go outback and try to recapture part of our backyard again.  That's when he noticed that one of the bushes was loaded with some sort of wild berries.  Then the light bulb in our heads went off....  The hens would love this!  He tossed all the branches in their pen and they went crazy over them!  Berries, leaves...the whole kit and kaboodle.

The moral of the story is this...if you don't keep your yard from growing into our yard then we will use your bushes to feed our hens. 

Part of the guilty party.
Now, we have eggs with extra vitamins.  :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Homemade Baking Powder

So, you ran out of baking powder?  No prob, Bob!  Here's a homemade recipe...

1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Whammo!  You've got some baking powder.

So, carry on.  Finish baking whatever you started without having to run to the store.

P.S. washing soda isn't a good substitute!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Why We Use Coconut Oil

We gave up vegetable oil years ago then started using olive oil.  I learned that olive oil isn't good for frying (a person has to have some fried potatoes every now and then!), the oils we were using came from GM sources, most oils are not natural and also contain trans-fat (unlike naturally occurring coconut oil).  So, we switched.

There are many benefits to using coconut oil.  For example, coconut oil is naturally occurring unlike some of the oils sold that have been factory created into a nasty, oily, rancid substance.  Not to mention, most of them are manufactured from genetically modified plants (corn, soy, canola) which gives them a terrible start anyway.  You should know now that anything naturally created is better for you than a manufactured food product.

 Not all fat is bad.  Actually, natural saturated fat is good for you!  I've read before about all the "low fat" fad diets that went around in the 90s and how obesity actually rose during this time.  Aside from the fact that natural fat is good for you, "low fat" frozen dinners contain all kinds of unnatural nastiness.  But that's a rant for another day.

Back in the 1930s, Dr. Weston Price found South Pacific Islanders whose diets were high in coconut to be healthy and trim, despite high dietary fat, and heart disease was virtually non-existent. Similarly, in 1981, researchers studying two Polynesian communities for whom coconut was the primary caloric energy source found them to have excellent cardiovascular health and fitness.  (emphasis mine)
 *If you have never researched Dr. Weston Price's studies, you should.  He did a mass amount of research in people groups and basically discovered that Americans have it all wrong.  Here is his Wise Traditions website.

There are many health benefits to coconut oil.  For example:
• Improving your heart health.(3)
• Boosting your thyroid. (4)
• Increasing your metabolism.
• Promoting a lean body and weight loss if needed.
• Supporting your immune system. (5)
...Coconut oil is incredibly good for your heart. The truth is this: it is unsaturated fats that are primarily involved in heart disease and too much sugar and processed foods, not the naturally occurring saturated fats, as you have been led to believe. 
Coconut oil also has a high smoke point which means you can use it to fry those potatoes without smoking up the house and saturating your food in an oil that has been heated to an unhealthy, unnatural degree.

We have also found another use for coconut oil....lotion!  We don't use any store bought lotions because of the ingredients and coconut oil is sooo much better anyway.  In fact, I have read that some studies show coconut oil to have some anti-aging qualities and that's never a bad thing...

We pay roughly $82 for 50 pounds of pure coconut oil.  We buy it in a big, metal bucket.  It lasts us a full year and takes care of all our cooking and lotion needs.  It is solid at room temperature so it's easy to scoop some out of the bucket and melt it in your skillet for cooking.  I've also found that it substitutes nicely for Crisco in pie crusts!

You don't have to buy 50 pounds but we have found it to be most economical this way.  It also comes in varying qualities.  We don't buy the super expensive stuff because ours is still pure coconut oil.  As a result, it does not have a coconut flavor so you don't have to worry about everything tasting like coconut.

When you consider everything discussed here, coconut oil is the best option.  No other oil is ever worth considering.  Most other oils are unnatural and unhealthy.  They also contribute to bad health and weight gain.

All quotes referenced from here. (great article)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cloth Diapers

You might have guessed it....  When the baby gets here, we'll be cloth diapering.  I just can't stand the thought of buying all those disposables then filling the land fill with them.  eh.

 Cloth diapers aren't what they used to be.  Now, they are very absorbent, easy to use diapers.  We registered for ours at cottonbabies.com.  There are so many kinds and colors to choose from!  I got so excited registering for them.  Now, just a few (ok, a bunch) more weeks till we have a sweet baby to put in them.

I feel good knowing we'll be saving money and plastic!  Plus, in case the world ever runs out of plastic....we'll still have diapers.  ;)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sore Throat Remedy

A Hawaiian trail guide once gave me the recipe for his grandmother's sore throat remedy.  seriously.

If you're like us, you got a head cold for Christmas which can sometimes lead to a sore, scratchy throat.  So, here's the advice from the wise, Hawaiian grandmother...
Make a tea using honey, lemon, and ginger root.

You can get fresh ginger root at the grocery store.  It's in the produce aisle near the lettuce and other greens.

 Peel and slice some of the ginger root and simmer in water for about 10 minutes.  Then add honey and fresh squeezed lemon juice.  (Buy fresh lemons because...well...they're just lemons.  no added ingredients)
This recipe has no exact measurements so you'll just have to think like a Hawaiian.  Tweek it to your tastes.
The trail guide told me to gargle some and drink some.  Boy, it works wonders on a sore throat!