Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TOS Review: Nutrition 101

If you know me or have read my blog for very long, you know that I am very into healthy eating and living.  Over the past 10 years, I have tried to move my family towards eating whole foods, eliminating refined sugar and cooking from scratch.   I also make all of my own cleaning products and many of my health and beauty products, including soap and shampoo bars.  To read more, click here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Beauty of Spring in the Desert

 My husband has been working diligently on the yard and getting all the greenery "tamed" (trimmed, watered, etc.)  And this is one of the prettiest times of the year when so many things are blooming, so I thought I would share.

The archway is covered in a vine they call cat's claw and it has beautiful yellow flowers all over it right now.

This is the bloom on a plant that just appeared and has huge leaves (almost like elephant's ear).  We don't know what it is, but it sure is large and interesting!

Here are a few pics of our roses - we have yet to prune them and get them all in shape, but they bloomed nonetheless and are beautiful.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Simple Stockpile - Week of April 13 - 19, 2011

This week there are a couple of good deals to do some stocking up.  

Sprouts has brown rice in bulk for only $0.69/lb!!  That is certainly a "stock-up" price - I think I will buy 20 lbs. (I have buckets to store it in).

Over at Basha's, there are a few good deals.  First, they have round steak on sale for $1.97/lb.  This would be  good price to buy some for the freezer.  There are so many good recipes you can make with round steak.  It is very versatile if you marinate or slow cook it so that it is tender.  On Saturday ONLY, they will also have Ground Chuck on sale for $1.99/lb.  I bought 10 lbs. last week at Albertsons - same price - but think I will buy another 10 lbs. for the freezer this week, too.  On Monday ONLY, Basha's has Food Club pasta for $0.50 per pkg/box, including whole grain.  Also, for those into sports/exercise, they have Powerade on sale for $0.50 each for 32 oz. size when you buy 15 of them.

At Fry's, they have a dozen eggs on sale for $0.99, but you might get an even better deal next week right before Easter.  Also, they have Steamfresh frozen veggies on sale for $1 and there is a coupon in SmartSource 3/20 paper that will make these even cheaper.

Well, that's all that I came up with for my stockpile.  If you come across any other great deals, please share!

Make Your Own Peanut Butter

My tip today is to make your own peanut butter. It will save you money AND be much healthier since you control the sweetener. Here is how I make mine:
2 cups of roasted, salted peanuts (you can use raw, roast them yourself in the oven and use unsalted, add your own salt to taste, if you prefer)
Olive oil (not sure exact measurement - till texture I like)
1 Tablespoon of honey

Put the peanuts in your food processor with the blade attachment. Begin processing and drizzle oil in until the peanuts start to look like peanut butter. I would estimate about 1/4 cup maximum. The more oil, the thinner the peanut butter (however, it does firm up some in the refrigerator, which is where you need to store this). Then add honey and continue processing until you get the consistency that you like. It is not possible to get anything but slightly crunchy (smooth style is not possible:-) doing it this way, but it is VERY yummy and NO SUGAR!!

I would post a photo, but the peanut butter is all gone right now and I have to make some more today!! We all LOVE it!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Simply Homemade: Yogurt in a Crock Pot

I first posted this several years ago and wanted to share the recipe again because this homemade yogurt is SO wonderful!  I have since bought a yogurt maker at a yard sale for $3 and it makes the yogurt in little cups.  Almost the exact same process, just in the small cups and the yogurt maker heats it at a very low heat for exactly the amount of time needed.  But for you who don't have a yogurt maker, here is a really simple and wonderful way to make homemade yogurt!

Well, I finally did it!! I made yogurt in a crockpot. I have been wanting to do this ever since I first read about it on a blog (can't remember whose, so if it was yours, please remind me so I can give you credit!!) It is SO yummy and inexpensive and wholesome! I am very excited at how simple it was and that it worked on the FIRST try:-) and is nice and thick and creamy!

Here is what I did:
I put 2 quarts of milk into my crockpot (you can do 1 quart, but I wanted to make alot) and heated it on low setting for three (3) hours (the directions I read said this time was very important). Then I turned the crockpot off and let it sit for 2 hours (you can leave it set for longer, but it was midnight and I didn't want to stay up any later). Then I put about 1 cup of natural plain yogurt (from the store or from a previous batch) into a jar and added an equal amount of the warm milk. I mixed this very well, then began adding it, a little at a time, to the crockpot milk, stirring well after each addition. When it was all mixed together, I wrapped my crockpot in a big towel and left sit overnight. This morning when I opened it and checked it, it was nice and thick. I chilled it in the fridge for a couple hours and then had it with homemade granola cereal and blackberry jam for breakfast. YUMMMMMMY!!!

Sorry for the bad photo - don't know what happened and I only took one (it was very early this morning:-).