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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

O is for Ouch Relief

O is for Old post about Ouch Relief!
(yes this is a recycled post from long ago - how green of me!)
Sometimes my back hurts, a lot. This is what I have used to help with pain relief:

Needed - 1 old sock (or you can make these for Christmas gifts, in that case 1 new sock)

Cheap white rice

Fill sock with rice, tie the end. Stick in microwave for a minute or so - till warm.

Apply to sore spot.

You can use this over and over and over again.

Additional Filler Options

  • Wheat
  • Feed corn
  • Buckwheat hulls
  • Barley
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans
  • Flax seed
  • Cherry pits
You can also add the following to the above for a soothing fragrant heating pad: Spices, herbs, essential oils.
  • Ideas: lavender, rose petals, ground cloves, nutmeg, ginger, rosemary, cinnamon, peppermint oil, crushed mint
  • If using: Mix herbs, spices and essential oil with choice heating pad filler (such as rice) and let sit in a sealed container for a few days (occasionally stirring). This will help set and distribute the fragrance a bit.

Filler Suggestion For Headache Soothers

Rice (or other grain listed above) and a mix of:
  • Dried lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Betony
  • Rose petals
  • Cloves
  • Rosemary 
Linked to Alphabe-Thursdays where all the kids play nice!  You will love checking out this meme!
Also linked to Works for Me Wednesday and Frugal Fridays.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lentil Soup or "Shorabat Addas"

Lentil Soup or "Shorabat Addas"
(Or as my kids call it " Mush Soup")
This is a delicious gluten free, vegan soup that also meets my very allergic son's criteria.

2 cups Red Lentils
8 cups of water or broth of your choice or a combo (original calls for 2 bouillon cubes so be sure and have some real broth here for flavor)
1/2 tsp of cumin (I use more)
1/2 tsp tumeric or paprika (I used both)
1 large onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic minced
2 TBS EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
salt and pepper
juice of one lemon

Wash lentils. Add to broth and bring to a boil, cover for a half hour stirring occasionally. When lentils are tender, add dry spices and bullion to the pot. Saute onions and garlic in evoo, when golden brown, add to soup. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add lemon juice to pot, stir. You can garnish with parsley and paprika. Serve with lemon wedges on the side. Serves 6-8.

Linked to Life as Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap: Beans and Lentils

Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday
Hey What's For Dinner Mom's Just Another Meatless Monday 
Christy @ Fudge Ripples Tuesday Night Supper Club

This is an old post from back in the day - you know, before I took a picture of every single thing I make. It isn't pretty to look at but it is yummy to eat!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

N is for Nutrition

Jenny Matlock

Nutrition is one of those topics that to me seems like everyone and no one is an expert. I am certainly not an expert. But it is my hobby. I read about it, blog about it and attempt to feed my family nutritiously.

The problem lies in the fact that no one seems to agree on what is healthy and nutritious. Is fat good or evil? Should we be eating nutrasweet? (NO!)  Agave? White sugar? Butter or margarine? Vegan? Vegetarian? Omnivore? What is the deal with saturated fats? Food pyramid? Low Carb? No Carb? Should we supplement with vitamins? Organic, what's the deal about organic? What is Real Food anyhow? Have you ever heard of a locavore? Should I be one?

And so you see my dilemma, as I peruse the internet, read books and talk to friends I get many many different takes.

I have done a lot of thinking and praying on what is right and good to feed myself and my family. I decided to go with the Real Food path. I just have to believe, and there is plenty of scientific proof to back this up, that as long as most of the food I put in my mouth is as close to nature as possible that it is the way I should eat.

I have come up with a couple rules, or rather guidelines that I am attempting  to follow most of the time. I copied them from Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat.

Rule Number 1: Eat only the natural, whole, and unmodified foods humankind has been eating for thousands of years.
Rule Number 2: Eat only those natural, whole, and unmodified foods which have been raised, processed, and prepared by the methods humankind has used for thousands of years.

Practically what does that mean?  Michael Pollan, author of several books including In Defense of Food, an Eater's Manifesto puts it this way:  Eat real food, not too much of it, and more plants than meat. Or, put another way, get off the modern western diet, with its abundance of processed food, refined grains and sugars, and its sore lack of vegetables, whole grains and fruit. 

How this plays out in our family is that I get up almost every morning and feed my kids eggs and bacon or homemade pancakes or waffles or french toast or an egg bake. I use coconut oil and bacon grease to fry those yummy treats.  I buy organic milk (would love to get raw but not possible, it's illegal in my state) and get our eggs from a man I know who raises chickens. (My coop is almost finished and our chicks come Saturday!!) I buy my beef from a friend who raises the cows in his back yard. I have learned to make dinner rolls and tortillas and homemade taco seasoning.  I make rice pudding and top my cakes with a homemade ganache and real whipping cream. The chicken I cook came from my friend, and my pork from a local farmer. I buy way more fresh fruits and vegetables and have cut way back on my canned food. My childrens' after school treats are usually an apple or orange or celery with pb or something healthy.

Some things I no longer buy include Diet Coke (my addiction for so many years), store cookies, margarine, vegetable oil, soy anything. But I do still buy frozen pizza and chicken nuggets and mac n' cheese among other convenient and familiar foods. My kids were older when I started down this path and so we are slowly trading the familiar with homemade. It is a battle. A path. We are baby stepping.

I truly believe that I never had a weight problem - I weighed 102lbs when I got married - until I started eating diet food. Diet drinks, low fat, Lean Cuisines, fake butter, chemical laden candy, it all helped to dig me into the hole I am in today. I don't know that I will ever be thin again but I truly believe that this is the way I am supposed to eat. Not afraid of REAL FOOD, food that humans have been eating for thousands of years. It is what works for our family. I am the only one with a weight problem. My children and husband are all very thin and very healthy.

If you are interested in learning more there are some great blogs and sites out there in cyberspace. I am linking you to Real Food Wednesday hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop, this is a great place to start.

I have loved this adventure, learning to cook from scratch and how to eek every bit of nutrition out of the foods I prepare. I know that it takes more time. I am blessed to be a stay at home mom - and cooking for my family is one of my responsibilities. Luckily I can call it my hobby also and this adds an element of joy to my cooking.

Please know that this is what we do as a family and I know that it is NOT the path for everyone. Just wanted to give you all perhaps some New information on Nutrition.

Dear Mrs. Matlock I hope you like my paper. All the other kids papers can be found here at Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.

I am also linking to Ann Kroekers Food on Fridays  and Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday.You can check out these memes for even more info.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Corral Those Condiments

This is not my fridge - but it could be!

We have so many condiments. I have at any one time 5 or 6 jars of jelly in my fridge. 3 mustards, 2 mayo's, 1 ketchup, 1 pickle relish, 2 jars of pickles and various steak sauces, soy sauces, oils etc. It is crazy in my fridge, my kids couldn't find anything. No matter how often I cleaned it out and arranged everything nicely they just couldn't find the Ketchup or the grape jelly. So what did they do? They opened another jar. Just to add to the chaos I now have 2 big ketchups and 3 grape jellies. So. very. annoying.

The other day I had the brilliant idea to corral the sandwich condiments - ketchup, mayo, mustard, relish in a plastic container. Then I put the jellies in another. Brilliant I say, now everyone can find what they need and they know where to put it back. I can grab the whole container and put it on the counter or table to make sandwiches. Best of all we don't loose any condiments to the far regions and food doesn't get wasted!

This Works for Me! Check out all the other great tips Here!

Earth Day Video, what is really important

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

M is for Mimi

This week's assignment is the letter M.
Jenny Matlock

I thought long and hard about the letter M but really there was no other choice for me.

My Mom's name is Marilyn and we call her Mimi. There is really nothing my Mom cannot do. At 69 she can still kick her leg up over her head - just for fun.

Mimi is the youngest of nine, born in the deep south to a very poor family. She grew up knowing what being poor meant. She met and married my father in 3 months - gasp, we still aren't sure it will last - it has only been 47 years. They are such a cute couple, still very much in love. Mimi has 9 children and 7 in-laws. The in-laws all fight to be her favorite. I know that my husband loves her as much as he loves his own mom and the same can be said of the others. She certainly doesn't live up to the "mean mother-in-law" image.

Mimi is grandmother to 39 and they all adore her. (and soon to be 4 great grandchildren).  She isn't your normal grandma, she loves her grandchildren but she isn't a doter or a gift buyer. She doesn't normally come to ball games or programs at school. BUT she dresses up on Halloween and is willing to be silly when the occasion is merited. Most Sundays some or all of her children and grandchildren stop by and hang out. There is just something comforting about being at Mimi's.

Mimi is elegant - classy - she always looks beautiful. You would never catch her at the store without makeup or her hair done. She is always the best dressed woman in the room. I wish I had more pictures of her but she really hates to have her picture taken.

Mimi can take a refrigerator apart, fix it, and put it back together. No one ever showed her how, she just can. She is an expert thrift store shopper. If you walked into her home you would honestly think you walked into a magazine page. But more than half of the stuff she has was thrifted. She isn't afraid to paint something, to change the function of an item. She taught herself to upholster furniture and to wire a chandelier. We tease her because she is always painting a room - in one 3 month period she changed her living room  six times until she liked how it looked. (huge huge room).

Mimi came and stayed with me at the Ronald McDonald House when my baby Luke was in the hospital. She was there for a month. I know what a sacrifice this was - and I will always be eternally grateful. She did the same when her great grandson was also in the hospital staying days at a time with my niece. She was there when both babies died. Not an easy thing to do but she was a rock we could count on.  She has lost a child, a grandchild, a great grandchild, 7 brothers and sisters, 9 in-laws, and many nieces and nephews (I think 10). She is no stranger to suffering.

There are so many lessons I have learned from my mom, it is my prayer that I will grow up to be like her one day.
Please go check all the other students in Mrs. Matlock's class for other Marvey-lous essays.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

L is for Library

Jenny Matlock

Aguilar F. C. L., East Broadwa... Digital ID: 100746. New York Public Library

Library: a place in which all sorts of amazing are waiting to be borrowed.

“In looking back at the etymology of the word ‘library,’ I noticed that one of the roots ‘library’ traces back to is ‘liber,’ Latin for ‘book.’ Having been a student of Latin, I recognized that ‘liber’ also means ‘free,’ as in ‘liberty’ or ‘liberation’…based on this alternative definition, I suggest that we reinscribe ‘library’ as a site for the exploration of freedom.”     quoted from an unknown source found on the internet
I believe that books can do just that, propel us toward freedom. When absorbed in a book you can be transported to another place and time. You can learn about other peoples, other lands. You can become an expert on a subject. A book can change your life, how you view the world. ie The Holy Bible or  In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan or a biography of some influential person.

When I am lonely or fidgety or bored I love to read. I have been that way since childhood.

As a child my favorite place to go was to the library. You were allowed to check out 8 books, so I used my eight and my sister's eight every week. My goal was to read every book in the children's section of our library. I never made it but I did read a lot of great books I wouldn't have chosen otherwise.

Libraries are great sources for so many things now. I know that you could (and many do) homeschool your children strictly from material you borrow from the library. We used it extensively when we homeschooled.

Besides books, you can often find:

* DVDs* and Blu-Ray DVDs
* videos*
* video games* for Gamecube, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Playstation II, Playstation III, PSP, Wii, X Box, and X Box 360   (my kids get games all the time)
* CDs
* audiobooks
* scores
* software
* art slides

My library system has a world class geneology section, an Art Gallery, meeting rooms, TV station(not real sure how it works though) they offer classes on computers and other interesting things.

It is one of my favorite places to "run away to". My kids and I can spend hours at the main library in town.

At the library I can find books on all sorts of subjects and people:
  • Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln
  • CS Lewis - The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Madeline L'Engle,  A Wrinkle in Time
  • Louisa May Alcott -my all time favorite author - Little Women, Little Men
  • Lynxes (I think that is the plural of lynx - I could look it up AT THE LIBRARY!
  • Litter - there are literally 100's of books about recycling
  • Lasagna - how to cook it, how to garden the lasagna way
ALL  FOR FREE!!! AND I LOVE FREE!! (not yelling just excited)

So if you don't already have a library card please go get one and use it liberally!

I am participating in Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. All the other students have lovely posts - go check out the Linky to read their assignments.

Anti-High Fructose Corn Syrup Ad

A humorous look at a serious subject.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cereal Liners and Bread Bags Repurposed

In an effort to feed my children better healthier foods I have been making them eggs or french toast most mornings before school. But some days I just don't feel good, have had a rough night and they are left to fend for themselves. Their go to breakfast is cereal. I buy about a box every week or so. But this post isn't about that really. It is about the LINING of the cereal box and crackers sleeves.

The lining you ask, what in the world would we do with the lining?? Well first of all I use up the crunchies at the bottom of the box . Then I open the bag along the seam and fold it flat and put it in my drawer with all my baggies. It then waits to be used.
  • I cover dough that is rising.
  • I wrap a sandwich in it.
  • I cover bowls in the fridge that I would've used seran wrap on. If you slip a rubber band around the bowl it stays tight.
I also save all bags that come into my kitchen. You know, bread bags, bagel bags, hamburger and hotdog buns and the like. It is always a good idea to shake the crumbs out first before storing them in the same drawer as the cereal liners. How do I use them?
  • I wrap anything that would normally take a ziploc baggie that isn't liquid. Like opened cheese or chips for a lunch.
  • I will slide a small bowl inside them to keep the food fresh in the fridge - for example a meatloaf I put together in the morning and am going to cook tonight. Or a bowl of cut up fruit. (You can use the rubber band trick here also.)
  • I will rip them open so they are flat to lay over a  breakfast casserole that is thawing in the fridge.
  • Leftover sandwiches or meat from dinner that isn't wet.
  • When I fry bacon I use one crunched up to clean out the pan, like you would use a paper towel. 
  • I use them in a double bagging system for the freezer. 
  • When I travel by car I put my shampoo and conditioner in the bags to help protect from a leak I also put my brush in one so it doesn't get all over my clothes. I put my shoes in a bag too to protect the clothes. 
  • I keep one in my purse for all sorts of things, an impromptu rain hat (you can't be vain for this one) , to put leftovers in, to corral trash in my car. 
  • My favorite way is (after turning inside out so the the writing is on the inside) I stick my hand in one and then smash up my meatloaf. This keeps my hand clean and when I am done I just pull my hand out and turn it right side out at the same time and then pitch. Ta Dah! No nasty raw meat mixture!
I am always attempting to get as much plastic out of our kitchen but for now this Works for Me!
    The idea is to cut back on my usage of baggies and seran wrap and aluminum foil and to use these things one more time before they go in the trash.

    What do you do that is a little bit strange to be frugal and crunchy? 

    Submitted to 11th Heaven's Homemaker Monday
    We are That Family's Works for Me Wednesday Greatest Tips Edition

    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    K is for Kitchen

    Hello fellow classmates!

    Today K is for Kitchen and Earthy Krunchiness

    I have put together a list of K's in my Kitchen and on my Komputer that I just love and can't live without!

    • Kelly the Kitchen Kop has one of the most amazing and informative blogs on the internet when it comes to Healthy Cooking, Traditional Food, Vibrant Health – Busting "Politically Correct" Health & Nutrition Information I can't say enough good things about Kelly and her quest to find out the truth. She has a weekly carnival called Real Food Wednesday - I think that I followed a link from there to AlphabeThursday. Kelly talks about making Kefir Pop and Kimchi (see below for kimchi's own bullet point).

    • Katie at Kitchen Stewardship has another wonderful blog. She is a young Mom is sharing with us not only her findings on healthy eating and living but also sharing how it affects her spiritual life about loving God and serving her family. Her Martha and Mary moments are my favorite. Katie also talks about Kefir Water - what is it and do you really want to drink it? YES! 

    • Kombucha   — the fizzy, mildy sweet and tart, health drink that works wonders detoxifying our bodies.  From Food Renegade's site. She used this yummy drink to beat a Dr. Pepper habit!

    • Kiwi - a super fruit that is so unbelievably sweet and yummy. It even comes in its own bowl. Is that how you eat them??? Cut a small bit from the top and then eat with a spoon. Some weird people (excuse me if this is you) eat the whole thing skin and all, they rub off the furries.

    • Ketchup - how could we live without ketchup, we put it on our fries, cheese toasties, hot dogs, hamburgers, dip our chicken, pork chops in it. It is practically its own food group. Have you ever considered making your ownKetchup???

    • Key limes as in key lime pie - oh the glorious yumminess of key lime pie. Here is a super easy recipe.

    • Kale - I cook kale in water until wilted then I blend it and put it in ice cube trays and freeze. I then pop out the cubes and put in bags in the freezer. I add kale cubes to tons of things - soups, spaghetti sauce, smoothies (I promise no one will know) cakes, meatloaf - really anything that is a mix of a bunch of things. Try it - it is great way to get this super food in. I also do this with spinach and squashes of all types.

    • Kittens - hey how'd kittens get in the kitchen? Check out this adorable vlog post in which Chief Pik (the kitten) prepares pumpkin for freezing.  Really well done and adorable.

    • Kaysers - hey that is us! Krazy Kooky Keen and Kind! I love my Kids!!!!!

    • Kangaroo -Yep in this internet age we live in you can order Kangaroo from here and cook it up. They suggest med/rare. I am not sure I want to eat Kanga or Roo but with Joe's allergies I am not opposed to trying it someday. The distance it travels (imported from Australia) doesn't seem like a very green way to get meat so I guess I will wait until it is grown in America.

    • Kimchi - Korea's national side dish! It is a fermented cabbage dish full of lovely enzymes. I have only had it a couple of times but it really ups the nutritional content and deliciousness of lots of different meals. It is definately SPICY!! Love that Kimchi dot com!

    • sauerKraut - last but certainly not least is humble sauerKraut. But it can be pretty and economical to make I found a recipe for Spicy Pink and Purple SauerKraut at the blog Healthfoodlover that I am going to attempt, it is just so pretty!!!
    Blessed Easter to all those who celebrate the Resurrection of Christ the King!

    Please go check out all the other essays at Jenny Matlock's Alphebe-Thursdays - lots of Krazy Kool Keen ones!

    Jenny Matlock

    I am also posting this to another great carnival Food on Fridays by Ann Kroeker. Lots of great food links.