Apr 30, 2011

My Kitchen Sink

Here's what it looks like after the morning's farmers market run.

We're having a big 'ole salad for lunch: spinach, strawberries, onions, feta cheese & balsamic vinegrette. Yum.

And probably some of these:

which are hard boiled pastured eggs. Very unnaturally dyed. :)


share facebook tweet

Apr 27, 2011

Quick Party Snacks

Recently my husband invited over a group of guys to discuss a book (Wendell Berry's What Are People For?).  Last minute he asked me to put together some snacks.  So, I used what I had on hand:

raw cheddar cheese cubes
soaked almonds
popcorn popped in coconut oil (not pictured)

Linked with Kelly the Kitchen Kop for Real Food Wednesday.

share facebook tweet

Apr 25, 2011

Natural Household Cleaners

For those of you who know Melissa Hutsell, you know that she is one cleaning machine.  When she told me she was willing to write a post about natural cleaning products that she used, I was excited. - Julie

by Melissa Hutsell

Perhaps you are like me when it comes to learning something new…you’d be only to happy to learn if someone else would just make it simple and tell you EXACTLY what you need and how to do it.  That is what I am hoping to do for you in this blog as it pertains to making some of your own household cleaners.

Truth be told, if you did the little bit of digging on the internet that I did you’d be able to figure it all out too!  But, that’s the point!  You don’t want to take the time to dig…you just want someone to tell you how to do it!  So here goes…

First is the cast of SIMPLE, AFFORDABLE, NATURAL ingredients you need to make ALL of the following cleaners!  As you can see it is only 11 items and I would bet you have at least some of them already in your cabinet!  They can all be found at Drug Emporium - or some combination of Kroger, WalMart and Drug Emporium.

Now, a good blogger would tell you exactly what she paid for all this, do the price breakdown of all you will save if you make your own cleaners! But this girl would never get this blog written if I did that!  And, I PROMISE~ you WILL save money making your own cleaners and they WILL be safer than store-bought cleaners.  Initially, as with anything, you will have to make an investment but a little of each of these things goes a LONG way so jump in, make the investment and then sit back and count all the money you are saving in the long run!

Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic LivingI have used all of these cleaners with great success and I know you will be happy with them too!  If I got the recipe from the internet, I hyperlinked it for you.  The others are from Better Basics for the Home.  (I checked this out from the library.)
Furniture Polish:
¼ cup vinegar (or lemon juice-but lemon juice will not keep in your cupboard as long as vinegar)
Few drops of olive oil
Place in a spray bottle, shake! (Your family will tell you this smells bad but the vinegar cleans wood well and the smell dissipates quickly!)

Window Cleaner:
¼ cup vinegar
½ tsp. liquid castille soap (this little drop of soap makes this superior to just using vinegar alone!)
2 cups (distilled or filtered) water
Place in a sprayer and shake!  (This stuff is the BOMB!  Use newspaper instead of paper towels and you will be happy and thrifty!)

Automatic Dishwasher Detergent:
1 cup Borax
1 cup WASHING soda (not baking soda)
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup citric acid (if you have hard water)
Mix together in a jar.  Use a tablespoon or two for each load.  Fill your rinse compartment with vinegar.

(The citric acid helps prevent water spots and cloudy dishes.  It makes the mixture clump together so the site I got this from recommends adding 1 tsp of rice to the mix to absorb moisture.  They say it won’t hurt the dishwasher!)

Soft scrub/toilet cleaner:
1/2 cup BAKING soda
Enough liquid castille soap to make it thick (if you use tea tree oil castille soap it is naturally disinfecting)
I also add some water to the mix so that I can use my soap more sparingly.

Mix this all together to form a paste and it works well to scrub your toilets or tubs.

All Purpose Cleaner:
½ tsp.  WASHING soda
2 tsp. Borax
½ tsp. liquid castille soap (again, tea tree soap is naturally disinfecting)
2 cups HOT (distilled or filtered) water

Combine minerals and soap.  Add water.  Shake well each time you use it.

Granite cleaner:
¼ cup alcohol
Few drops of liquid castille soap
Mix in a quart size spray bottle and fill the rest of the way with WATER.  Shake well.  (I got this from a site that said this is a safe way to clean granite.  NEVER use acid cleaners on your granite.)

Homemade Laundry Detergent:
I am not going to write this one out since Kelli does such a good job on her site and her site is where I got my recipe from!  Just click on the link for the steps to make this affordable and effective laundry detergent.  You can also look here for a recipe for dry detergent if you don’t need liquid.  This recipe is VERY safe for your front load machines as it is low suds.

Organic Liquid Hand Soap:
Again, I got this one from Kelli and I LOVE IT!  So click on the link to make your own hand soap.

This post is part of Monday Mania with The Healthy Home Economist.

share facebook tweet

Apr 24, 2011

TWO New Farmers Markets

There are two new farmers markets in town.

1.  There's a new online farmer’s market for UAMS (started Apr 15) and Blue Cross Blue Shield (starts April 29) employees.  The orders are placed online and will be delivered to the buyer’s office building.

The online market is open for ordering from 12:00 noon on Fridays until 2:00pm Mondays. The growers will drop off at the UAMS cafeteria on Wednesday mornings.

Questions?  Contact Diane Rose::  info AT farm2work DOT com 501-412-9493

Please spread the word to those who work at UAMS or BCBS.

2.  Hillcrest Farmers Market will open in two weeks at Pulaski Heights Baptist Church - Saturday, May 7th from 7am to noon.

The market will operate on Saturdays from May through September, in front of the church at 2200 Kavanaugh Blvd in  Little Rock.

If you'd like to sell something there, please contact Carolyn Staley:: cstaley AT phbclr DOT com


share facebook tweet

Apr 21, 2011

Preserving Food

Eating locally was one of my new year's resolutions.  This is a doable goal in May through September.  However, the pickin's get a little slim about January.  One remedy to eating locally year round is to preserve food when it is in season.

Brainstorming a bit, here are some ways to preserve food:
fancy airlock is optional.
(let me know ways I've omitted.)

1. freeze
2. dehydrate
3. can
4. lacto-ferment

Of the four options above, I feel mostly confident about three of the ways.  I want to learn to can tomatoes this summer.

Believe it or not, the most intimidating sounding option, lacto-fermenting, is rather easy.  It tastes super yummy and is very good for you!  When lacto-fermenting food, the nutritional value actually increases - unlike canning or freezing.  Lacto-fermenting doesn't require fancy equipment (just extra refrigerator space.)

Last weekend at the farmers market, I gathered most everything needed to make kimchi.  I followed Lisa's recipe here.

For the first time I used chinese cabbage instead of the standard head of cabbage.  After a quick google search, I discovered that chinese cabbage does not have to be pounded.  Rather, soak it in a brine solution.  That was easy!

In the picture to the right, you will see that I didn't use much of the green part of the cabbage.  I'm going to make more this weekend and use more greens.  One recipe I found online said Koreans also use mustard greens in their kimchi.

I'm taking baby steps towards preserving food this year with hopes of a full table of local foods in January.  One of the recipes I want to try is this one for lacto-fermenting rainbow chard stems.


share facebook tweet

Arkansas Strawberries!

'Tis the season! STRAWBERRIES are here!  Make sure to grab some this weekend at the farmers market.  Or make a quick run to Cabot to Holland Bottom Farm.

share facebook tweet

Apr 20, 2011

Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter Meeting: Shopping for Real Food

Join local members of the Weston A. Price Foundation for a discussion on buying Real Food.

Tuesday, May 3rd from 6:30-8:00pm

Terry Library in West Little Rock

We will explain how to participate in local food markets, as well as discuss money saving ways to purchase food items that are not raised locally.

You do not have to be a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation to join us.

There is no charge for the meeting. Everyone is welcome to come prepared to share some of their own Real Food shopping tips!

share facebook tweet

Apr 14, 2011

Argenta Farmers Market THIS Saturday!

The farmers market in North Little Rock will open THIS Saturday, April 16 at 7am until noon.

I'm so excited I can hardly wait!!  The weather should be gorgeous.  Grab a friend -or your family- and show the hard workin' farmers some support.

If you take your kids, give them some cash to buy whatever they want.  It could surprise you.  Last year I gave my son money and he bought a HUGE sprig of dill.  Why?  I don't know.  It looked pretty and smelled good.  He wanted it.  The frugal miser in me had to do something with it once we were home, so I used it in something for dinner.

Maybe you could let your pickiest eater to choose something that you would make for dinner.  If the child chooses it, he might be more inclined to eat it.  Or at least try it.  We give points for trying at my house.

Maybe you are the picky eater.  Maybe you should buy something you haven't eaten before, then scour the internet for a yummy recipe.

Maybe you're afraid of wanting to buy everything. (That's me.)  I've been known to take a set amount of cash.  When I'm out, I'm out.  I have to make choices based on cash available.  Works for me.

What can we expect on Saturday?
I emailed a few farmers and here's what I found out:

Kellogg Valley will have lettuce, broccoli, Swiss chard, heirloom bradywine tomato plants, herb plants, various other garden transplants.

Farm Girls will have a whole slew of pork cuts (bone-in & boneless chops, country, spare, & baby-back ribs, loin roasts, butt roasts, original, jalapeno, & hot sausage), heirloom tomato plants, scarlet globe and french breakfast radishes, Dino Kale, collards, duck eggs, and brown and rainbow chicken eggs.

Barnhill Orchards will have Sweet Potatoes, various green onions and a limited amount of strawberries.

North Pulaski Farm will have Green Towers Romaine Lettuce, Sylvesta Butterhead Lettuce, Purple Top Turnip Greens, Lacinto Dinasoar Kale, Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard, Champion Collards, Baby Impala Cabbage, White Icicle Radishes, Moss Curled Parsley, Bouquet Dill, Giant Winter Spinach and Monterey & Sweet Charlie Strawberries.

I tried to incorporate spring greens in this week's menu here.

The River Market will open in May.
Rumor has it that the market at Pulaski Academy will re-open.  Stay tuned for more details.

share facebook tweet

Apr 13, 2011

Easter Parties

All the high-fructose-corn-syrup and artificial colors of Easter causes my real-food lovin' self to scream.

This year my family is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt for our street and I decided to go against the flow when filling the eggs.

Yes, I bought some chocolate - but most of the eggs are filled with change or silly bandz.   The prizes I bought for the games are not candy.  When I returned from Target my son was very excited about the prizes (and the boy has a sweet tooth!)

I read in a magazine that one mom bought a 25 piece puzzle and put the pieces in eggs.  After the hunt the kids had another activity - to work the puzzle.

What else could I put in the eggs?

It's Real Food Wednesday. See what others have shared.


share facebook tweet

Apr 12, 2011

Youngblood Grassfed Hotdogs

We ate local hotdogs for lunch from Youngblood's Grassfed Farm. I bought them through ASN.

The taste was yummy, similar to store bought. Yet the texture was different. Not bad, just different. I take great comfort knowing I can pronounce all the ingredients: beef trim, pork trim, water, salt, spices.


share facebook tweet

Apr 11, 2011

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution is Back!

If you caught the first season of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, you know that Jamie is on a mission to change the way school children across America eat. I watched every episode last season and have been looking forward to season 2 which premiers tomorrow, Tuesday April 12 8/7c on ABC. Here’s a little information from Jamie’s “Food Revolution Team” about the upcoming series: For the past few months, Jamie has been working in Los Angeles making season two of his TV show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. What he wants to know is: “Why can’t we do better for our kids?”Jamie is still asking questions about the quality of school meals, and asks LA’s parents for support to challenge the LAUSD to do better. He cooks with LA teens and uses a science class to get them thinking about what’s in their food. They tell him they’re scared for their families – they’re sadly at risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease because of the processed food they’re eating. He also dips into the powerful world of fast food and industrial ingredients. We’ve got to work together to turn the Food Revolution into a movement powerful enough to challenge big organizations and change lives across America. Our kids need to grow up on a diet of fresh, wholesome food, knowing what they’re eating and where it comes from; otherwise they’re facing a very tough and unhealthy future. This season, Jamie's bringing the Food Revolution to Los Angeles - but to create lasting change, we need your help to bring it home. Jamie Oliver is passionate and entertaining. My whole family has enjoyed the show. Click here for a preview. Lisa

share facebook tweet

Apr 7, 2011

Linky Love

Something cleaner: homemade shampoo - with examples and explanations. (Thanks for the tip, Ellie.)

For your sweet tooth: How to make your own (unrefined) powdered sugar. When making it, you can be sure that there isn't GMO corn starch added.

Pour on the maple syrup - it's good for you.  Researchers have identified compounds in maple syrup with similar anti-inflammatory or anti-oxidant properties as blueberries, green tea and other "superfoods."

Mark your calendar: Saturday, April 23 is Arkansas Earth Day - free, family friendly festival in the Northshore Park on the Arkansas River.

Can food allergies be reversed?  Take this on-line class to learn how.

ADHD:  It's the food, stupid.

Food packaging disrupting hormones and making us sick.

share facebook tweet

Apr 3, 2011

Baby's First Foods: What She Is (& Isn't) Eating

My in-laws were in town this weekend (to help us move) and they took us out to dinner.  Because I'm a self-proclaimed food-Nazi, not only do I make my own baby food, I take it with me wherever we go.

My father-in-law took the picture below.  I admit, it looks really funny - the bowl is as big as her head!
"What's in that bowl?" the server asked.

A sweet combination of mashed bananas, sweet potatoes and whole fat plain yogurt.  Baby is almost 11 months and those three things have been the main stay of her solid-food eating life.  When my son was her age, he ate a wide variety of foods (because I had more time in my day, I guess!) 

She didn't finish the bowl at the restaurant but polished it off at lunch the next day.

Several mothers, who are trying to live on a real food diet, have asked, "What is your baby eating?"

Out of convenience, her diet is that as stated above: bananas, sweet potatoes, and yogurt.  About once a week I mash a pastured egg yolk in the mix.  If I have chicken broth on hand it will go in the bowl for trace minerals.  Her very first food was coconut cream, from a can of coconut milk.  When she was about 10 months old, I gave her soaked oatmeal.

But seriously, the girl eats three things: bananas, sweet potatoes and yogurt.

What about variety?
Because we are nursing, the vast majority of her nutrients come from the Creator's perfect blend - on tap and always the perfect temperature.  Additionally, my husband said this week, after changing a diaper, "I have scientific evidence that she did not digest those beans from dinner last night."

I've not done the internet research to see how well a baby digests table food, but I can say from experience that not much is digested.

Because bananas and sweet potatoes are sweet, aren't you afraid of her developing a sweet tooth?
Maybe, but not really.  She will eat plain yogurt right off the spoon.  

The height of our food battle (with my 6.5 year old son) came when he was 2 and 3 years old.  And we still battle - but he's getting better.  Today he said, "I'm going to try this to see if I like it yet."  He still didn't like what ever he was trying but I was glad that he was trying.

What she's not eating:
The Baby Marketers will lead mothers to believe that their products are best for baby's first foods, but I disagree.  They are looking to line their pockets - not nourish children. On my food journey, I am trying to steer clear of anything in a package.  Especially for Baby I am trying to give her only real foods.

I've said before that I try to adhere to the 80/20 rule, where 80% of the time I do what I can and realizing I can't the other 20%.  The list below is what I don't want going into her body.

- Cheerios or other puffed cereals.  They are bad. Bad. BAD
- orange fish crackers (or any other crackers)
- empty calories from fruit juice
- boxed rice cereal
- jarred baby food (mostly because I can make it for a fraction of the cost.)

Now, if I could only control what other people give my baby.  (Child care situations are the worst!)

Other recommended reading:
The Right Way to Feed Babies (Healthy Home Economist)

share facebook tweet


Related Posts with Thumbnails