Sausage and Peas Pasta

– johanna | January 29th, 2010

Filed under: BUDGET MEALS, RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Sides

Sausage and Peas with Pasta

This is a nice simple 30-minute dish. I was in the mood for something saucy using left over pasta, peas and some Italian sausage. I made a rue using butter, flour and milk but never used it. The sausage dish looked so yummy without it.

Serves 4
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound hot or Mild Italian Sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, thick slices
1 cup green peas
1 pound egg noodles or favorite pasta
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesean cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until desired doneness. Drain and toss with butter and cheese.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook sausage until browned and just about cooked through. Add onions, garlic and green pepper. Cook until just tender but not soggy; about 3 to 5 minutes. Add peas and cook until heated. Season with salt and pepper is desired.

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Superbowl Approaved Italian Sub

– johanna | January 27th, 2010

Filed under: RECIPES - Main Dish

Sandwiches are an economical way to fill up bellies. They do not require a lot of preparation and they appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. Click here for a history on the beloved sandwich. Otherwise watch the following video on how to make an awesome sub for Superbowl Sunday.

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Curried Turkey Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Walnuts

– johanna | January 25th, 2010

Filed under: RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Sides, RECIPES - Soup / Salad

Chicken Curry Salad

Curry is commonly eaten throughout Asia and the Middle East. The term curry refers to delicacies that are seasoned with black pepper, coriander, curry leaves, ginger, cumin, chili powder, mustard seeds, salt, lemongrass, ginger, five spice powder, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and other pungent spices and herbs. The spices are heated with oil when cooking to release the aromas.

Ready made curries such as the powder and paste found in the supermarkets are for convenience purposes. Dry curry powder is made up of ground spices and herbs and burns easily therefore it is not recommended when frying foods. The powdered form is commonly used when simmering soups, sauces and in salads. Curry paste on the other hand has a higher tolerance for heat and may be used in fried dishes. The intense flavor of curry paste is a result of the fresh herbs, spices, oil and liquid flavoring such as coconut juice.

The first time I tasted curry was my first year in college. A couple of my friends from Japan invited me over to their place for a Japanese feast. I watched, amazed, as they threw all sorts of spices together in the pot and let it simmer until the apartment smelled fragrant. The curry chicken we ate that day was absolutely divine. Curry is a treat I do not get very often since no one in the house shares my enthusiasm for cultural fare.

When I saw this recipe for curried turkey salad I immediately knew what I was going to make for lunch. I used left over roasted chicken and Greek yogurt instead of Mayo in the dressing. I wanted to slip into my jammies and if I owned a pair of bunny slippers I would put those on too. Then with my bowl of Curried Turkey Salad I would casually make my way to my bedroom, climb into bed and watch an hour of Pride and Prejudice (the A&E version). (Well, I would have if I had a TV in my room.)

Source: PinchMySalt.com
4 cups cooked and chopped turkey
1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup chopped celery, optional
1/3 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts*
Curry Dressing (recipe below)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well.  Serve on your favorite bread as a sandwich or on a bed of greens as a salad.  Serves four to six.

Dressing:
1/2 cup thick yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons curry powder**
1 tablespoon honey
generous pinch of salt
fresh ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients until well combined.

Recipe Notes:
*To toast walnuts, spread a handful of walnuts on a baking sheet. Toast in a preheated 350 degree oven for about five minutes or until they are fragrant. Don’t leave them in too long! Allow to cool slightly before chopping and adding to salad.
**If you prefer less spice in your salad, start with one tablespoon of curry powder then taste dressing and add more if desired.

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Ham Stir-Fried Rice with Peas

– johanna | January 22nd, 2010

Filed under: BUDGET MEALS, RECIPES - Sides

My mom’s ham fried rice was one of my favorite dishes. I routinely requested it for my birthday dinner. In my home growing up we ate it as a main dish. Today we serve ham fried rice in smaller portions along side fish, shrimp or teriyaki chicken.

1 cup rice, brown, Jasmine or cooked wheat berries
2 cups broth or water
1 tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups cooked ham, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
4 scallions (green onions), chopped
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
Salt and Pepper

Add rice and broth to a pot; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 20 minutes until tender and set.

Heat oil in a skillet or wok over medium to medium-high heat. Saute onion until translucent and tender. Add peas and 2 cups rice. Saute for 2 minutes. Add ham, mix. Make a well in the center; pour in egg. Let set 2 minutes then scramble. Toss the rice with the egg. Stir in the scallions, vinegar and soy sauce.

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Making Felted Beads Craft Session

– johanna | January 20th, 2010

Filed under: THE CRAFT CLOSET

Felted Beads

I learned the art of felting a couple of years ago with a friend. We drove up to Sonora to visit a little Waldorf supply shop and could have easily spent hundreds of dollars on the amazing creations displayed there.

Felting is one of the oldest forms of fabric making. There are two ways to felt. One is needle felting and the other is wet felting. You can make felted beads using the needle felting method but for today we are going to avoid piercing our fingers with sharp needles and instead burn them in hot water.

Felted beads are really fun to make and create a wonderful learning experience in the use of natural products. Felted beads can be easily jazzed up with the addition of beads and ribbon. If you want to be a little more creative after the balls have dried you can use the needle method to add flowers or other designs. Little kids love to rub them, and bounce them and pretend they are treasures.

Some people like to roll tuffs of the undyed wool into a ball then add the color. I prefer to get it done with no fuss and just use the colored roving.

Wool Roving

Supplies:
Merino Wool Roving
(wool that has been washed and combed but not yet spun into yarn. Can be found in a variety of colors on Etsy.com, some natural craft stores (such as a Waldorf supply store) or a sheep farm.)
Hot Water
Dish Soap

Tuff of Wool

Grab a tuff of wool.

Wet the roving

I use a pot of hot water (as hot as I can stand). Place the wool roving in soapy water.

Ready to felt

Gently pass the roving back and forth between the palms of your hands; wetting the ball frequently in the soapy water.

Felting beads

As the ball begins to form start to apply a little more pressure. Keep rolling, pressing and wetting until the ball is firm and hard.

Rinse the felt

Rinse under cold water.
Continuously rolling and pressing to get all the soap out.

For a simple tutorial watch the following video from Sara’s Textured Crafts. She really makes the process look easy.

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Chinese New Year – Year of the Tiger

– johanna | January 18th, 2010

Filed under: CREATING MEMORIES, THE BOOKSHELF, THE DISH ON PARENTING

china-year-of-the-tiger

Photo By: Yang Yi, in China Hejin, Shanxi Province

I am not superstitious; yet, I will admit I get a little nervous when salt is spilt. I do not believe in horoscopes; however, they really have my personality pegged. The Chinese baby gender calendar called the gender of each of my three children. The “Chinese Day Of” calendar that reveals the major personality trait based on the day you were born is surprisingly accurate as well. So don’t call me foolish when I realized that this year, 2010 is the year of the tiger. That is me. And I admit there was a second of hopefulness that this year would bring us some luck.

I started this year two weeks behind on everything. News Years Day had me sitting at my desk pondering if I should go ahead and mail out my Christmas cards. I didn’t. I hated starting the year in such disarray. But… it is a new year and I was not about to dwell on the negative. It was after all the first day of the year. Hey, I started the day off right. I ran that morning and we went out on a family outing and later that day I bravely took the kids on a bike ride. There was much to rejoice over. So I cleared my desk and began writing thank you cards. I am THE worst at remembering to write thank you cards. If I do write them I forget to mail them. I decided if I did not master anything else this year I am going to be the best at writing thank you notes.

I am pledging to forgo one larger New Years resolution in favor of smaller monthly goals that are more attainable for my ADD brain. For one month I am going to focus on one goal. If at the end of the month I am a complete failure I will not beat myself up and melt into a year long depression. I will arm myself to work even harder the following month on a new daunting task.

First up is laughter. This year I vow to laugh more. Yes, this was my New Year’s resolution last year and I think I did fairly well. Laughter, as the saying goes, is the best medicine. The tricky part is learning to laugh in the face of adversity. I think we could all use a lesson in putting our best face forward. The point is, I want to teach my kids that life is full of spills and falls and embarrassments and it is ok. If we want to find happiness we need to discover laughter first.

A good hearty laugh can:

  • Lighten our mood.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Boost our immune system.
  • Stimulate the brain.
  • Reduce anxiety, depression and aggression.
  • Produce endorphins that stop pain.
  • Is a great abdominal workout.
  • Increases our energy level.
  • Breaks down barriers.
  • Help us cope.

Learn to Laugh by:

  • Being silly with the kids.
  • Being adorable with the significant other.
  • Hanging out with people who are genuinely happy. Laughter is contagious.
  • Quit trying to act so grown up. (Who made the rule that grownups have to be stiff?)
  • Find a reason to celebrate.
  • Abandon the negativity.

Laughter, of course, won’t make our problems go away, but it can help us get through them gracefully. How do we pick our way through the briar patch? We slow down. We take the time to enjoy a cup of laughter.

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Cinnamon Apple Tortillas

– johanna | January 15th, 2010

Filed under: RECIPES - Treats

apple-tortillas

One day as my friend Kate and I were walking she told me about her mother-n-law’s crispy corn taco shells and how delicious they are. I inquired further. Just fry them in a little oil. That is all. Sounds easy enough. So I tried it using flour tortillas. My first thought was these would taste great with a little cinnamon and sugar, sort of, like a fry bread from the fair. Not as doughy but still yummy. Sprinkle with some pecans or walnuts for an additional treat.

Tortillas
1/4 inch Oil
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

Apple Filling:
Makes 6 servings
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp butter
2 apples, cored, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup water

In a sauce pan over medium heat, add all the apple filling ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until apples are tender about 5-10 minutes depending on how crisp the apples are.

crispy-tacos-2

Meanwhile, combine the 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar.

Heat the oil in a skillet until it shimmers and a piece of tortilla sizzles. Carefully place a tortilla in the hot oil. Once the tortilla starts to turn golden flip it over. It does not take that long little less than a minute. Remove the tortilla from the pan. Immediately dust with cinnamon sugar mixture and a spoon full of apples.  Fold the tortilla up and devour.

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Gumbo

– johanna | January 13th, 2010

Filed under: RECIPES - Soup / Salad

Gumbo

Many years ago I lived in a very small town near Louisiana for a spell. The eastern boarder towns of Texas were heavily influenced by Cajun cuisine. While there I experienced squirrel soup (I will spare you any further details). I learned all about how to shoot a squirrel and became an honorary “Coon Ass”; a ritual that involves sucking the head of a crawfish. Despite the strange customs I loved it there. The people were amazing. Everyone I met was friendly and eager to call me family.

Of all the dishes Louisiana is known for Gumbo is the most popular. Gumbo is a soup traditionally served over rice. Everyone’s Grandma has their own version but typically gumbo is usually made with pork, poultry and seafood and thickened using a rue or okra. In this recipe for Gumbo we break a cardinal rule that disapproves the use of both okra and a thickener. Die-hards believe that you can only use one or the other. In this case the recipe calls for flour and okra.

My sister Michelle sent this recipe to me and I am glad she did. I have been searching for a simple tasty gumbo recipe that would be easy for beginners  or those new to gumbo. More experienced cooks can also use this recipe to expound on.

Source: Adapted from the Weight Watchers Cookbook
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 pound of hot or mild Italian pork sausage
1 onion chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons of flour
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles or Cajun stewed tomatoes
2 to 3 cups chicken broth
3/4 pound of skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into 1- inch pieces
1 to 2 teaspoons Cajun or seafood seasoning
1/2 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
1 (10-oz) package sliced okra
2 cups frozen or fresh corn
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or teaspoon dried
2 cups cooked white or brown rice

Cook sausage in a large pot over medium to medium-high heat until brown; about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the onion and green pepper; cooking until softened about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the flour; cook 1 minute longer.

Pour in the tomatoes and broth; bring to a boil.

Add the chicken and Cajun seasoning; return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until chicken is cooked through about 5 min.

Add the shrimp, okra, corn and thyme; return to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; cover and cook about 5 minutes longer until shrimp are pink. Serve over rice.

Variations:
–  In place of the Italian sausage use spicy chicken sausage, 1 (2-inch) piece kielbasa sliced, or spicy breakfast sausage.
– Additional vegetables: 1 celery stalk, 6 scallions, 1 squash and/or zucchini sliced.
– Additional spices: 1 garlic clove minced, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.

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The Many Uses Of Vinegar

– johanna | January 11th, 2010

Filed under: KITCHEN SCIENCE, THE BOOKSHELF, THE GARDEN

Uses of vinegar

Photo by Greener Loudoun

Vinegar came into existence, by mere chance, more than 10,000 years ago when a cask of wine had over-reached its expiration date. Centuries later in 1964, Scientist Louis Pasteur, discovered that it was the fermentation of natural sugars into alcohol followed by a secondary fermentation that resulted in the product vinegar.

Throughout the time that vinegar has been known to man the substance has been distilled using ingredients such as molasses, dates, fruits, berries, melons, coconut, honey, beer, maple syrup, potatoes, beets, malt, grains and whey. Consequently, the flavors and varieties of vinegars available are just as vast and unique as the substances it is made from.

Since the first accidental discovery this inexpensive kitchen staple has been used in remarkable capacities. Recorded historical uses of vinegar began as far back as 5,000 BC.
-Babylonians used it as a preservative; flavoring the liquid with herbs and spices.
-Roman legionnaires consumed it as a beverage. In ancient Egypt, -Cleopatra used vinegar as a solvent dissolving pearls in it to win a wager that she could consume a fortune in a single meal.
-The Ancient Physician Hippocrates, discovered its medicinal qualities using it as a stringent and cough remedy.
-The Greeks used it for culinary purposes in pickling vegetables and meats.
-Hannibal, a great general, gained access across the Alps by heating a barrier of boulders and then doused them with vinegar. The boulders cracked and crumbled paving a path for his army to cross through.
-During the American Civil War, vinegar was used to treat scurvy.
-During World War I, vinegar was used to treat wounds.

Today we continue to enjoy the benefits of this ancient sour wine in cleaning, household projects, medicinal remedies, organic agriculture, and the culinary arts. The following tips use ordinary distilled white vinegar. This list is just a sample of the many uses of vinegar. For more fun facts and tips visit VinegarTips.com for 1001 Uses for White Distilled Vinegar.

uses-vinegar

Photo By: This Old House

CLEANING:

  • Make your own cleaning solution by combining 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup Ammonia, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 gallon hot water.
  • Use vinegar to clean hard water stains from tub/shower stalls. Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 cup fabric softener with 1 quart warm water. Spray glass shower door with furniture polish or lemon oil to prevent build up. For basic cleaning of tubs and sinks wipe with vinegar and then scrub with baking soda. Rinse clean with water.
  • Whiten Grout. Scrub grout with a stiff brush dipped in vinegar. For extra fighting power add baking soda to make a paste.
  • Remove mineral deposits from showerheads. Pour 1/2 cup of warm water into a resealable plastic bag. Drop in the showerhead, seal and let sit 1 hour. Rinse clean and wipe dry.
  • Make the toilet bowl sparkle. Drop 1 denture cleaner tablet into the toilet with 1 cup vinegar. Let sit 30 minutes. Scrub with baking soda.
  • Wipe glass doors and windows streak free. Mix 1/2 cup to 1 cup vinegar with 1/2 gallon of water. Pour into a spray bottle.
  • Wash no-wax floors. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to a 1/2 gallon warm water.
    Carpet stain removal. (for the removal of fresh non-oily carpet stains) mix 1 teaspoon liquid detergent and 1 teaspoon of vinegar in a pint of warm water. Apply solution to the stain with a soft brush or towel and rub gently. Rinse with a towel moistened with clean water; blot dry. Repeat until the stain is gone. Then dry quickly, using a fan or hair dryer.
  • Wipe out water rings on wood furniture by rubbing with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and olive oil. Rub with the grain and polish for the best results.
  • Sanitize the refrigerator. Wipe with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar. Remove odor by placing 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a glass and place it in the refrigerator for a few days.
  • Disinfect cutting boards; a nice alternative to using bleach. Wipe with full strength vinegar.
  • Shine stainless steel appliances and sinks. Apply vinegar with a soft cloth to remove streaks from stainless steel appliances. (Try in an inconspicuous place first) You can also use lemon oil.
  • Keep garbage disposals fresh and clean. Make vinegar cubes by filling an ice tray with a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar and enough water to fill the ice tray; freeze. Run the mixture through the disposal, and then flush it with cold water for a minute or so. The ice sharpens the blades while the vinegar disinfects.
  • Dishes and glasses. Pour 1 ½ cup to 2 cups vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher. Add soap and wash full cycle. Use this technique instead of bleach to fight off the flu.
  • Kill Germs in the Laundry. Add 1 tsp salt and 1/4 cup vinegar to wash.
  • Fabric Softener. Add 1/4-1/2 cup to fabric softener dispenser. Especially great on baby clothes and towels.
  • Deodorant stains. Rub with vinegar and wash as usual. For tough stains make a paste of vinegar and baking soda. Rub into stain. Leave garment in the sun. Wash as usual.
  • Wine stains. Remove wine stains from 100% cotton, cotton polyester and permanent press fabrics within 24 hours. Sponge vinegar directly onto the stain and gently rub away the spots. Then clean according to the directions on the manufacturer’s tag.
  • Keeping colors fast:
    To hold colors in fabrics, which tend to run, soak them for a few minutes in white distilled vinegar before washing.
    When color dyeing fabrics, add 1 cup of vinegar to the last rinse water to help set the color.
  • Cleaning Vintage Lace. Soak the lace in cold water, rinsing it several times. Next, hand-wash with Woolite. Remove stains with equal parts vinegar and hot water.
  • Unclog a steam iron. Pour equal amounts of vinegar and water into the iron’s water chamber. Turn to steam and leave the iron on for 5 minutes in an upright position. Then unplug and allow to cool. Any loose particles should come out when you empty the water.
    To remove the burn mark on the iron plate, heat equal parts vinegar and salt in a small pan. Rub the solution on the cooled iron surface.
  • Shine brass, copper and pewter. Dissolve 1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup of vinegar. Stir in flour to make a paste. Apply paste to the metals and let stand for about 15 minutes. Rinse with clean warm water and polish until dry.
    Mix olive oil and vinegar in a one-to-one ratio and polish with a soft cloth. Try in an inconspicuous place first.
  • Remove the blackened soot on fireplace glass doors. Wash fireplaces with a 50/50 ratio of water and vinegar to. Wipe dry with newspaper.
  • Clean Gold Jewelry. Submerge jewelry in one cup apple cider vinegar; let sit 15 minutes. Remove and dry with cloth.
  • Clean DVDs. Wipe smudged CDs and DVDs with vinegar. Dry completely before reinserting into player.

uses-vinegar

Photo By: This Old House

HOUSEHOLD:

  • Non-poisonous ant solution. Dab a cotton ball with vinegar. Swab areas the ants trail. Heat a pot of vinegar then pour over ant hills.
  • Fruit fly deterrent. Place a bowl filled with 1/2 quart water, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons. apple cider vinegar and a couple drops dish soap.
  • Banish stickiness. Remove stickers and price tags from glass, wood and plastic. Dab vinegar on stubborn stickers; scrap surface clean.
  • Clean paint brushes by soaking them 30 minutes in hot vinegar. Wash in hot soapy water, cleaning off paint.
  • Rust Remover. Soak rusted tools in vinegar for a few days. Rinse with water.

GARDENING:

  • Increase soil acidity: In hard water areas, add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of tap water. Great for rhododendrons, gardenias or azaleas.
  • Keep flowers fresh longer. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons vinegar with 1-quart water. Trim stems and change water every five days.
  • Grass and weed control. To kill grass on sidewalks and driveways, pour full strength vinegar on it.
    For weeds, spray full strength vinegar on tops of weeds. Reapply on any new growth until plants have starved.
  • Plant food. Mix vinegar and water in a ratio of one part vinegar to 8 parts water. Mix a separate solution of 1 part sugar to 8 parts water. Combine the vinegar and sugar mixtures.

article-apple-cider-vinegar

Photo By: AppleCiderVinegarWeightloss.com

CULINARY:

  • For burnt on food, submerge the area in vinegar and soak overnight. Clean with hot soapy water.
  • To control weight swap out creamy salad dressings for a sprinkle of vinegar. Use flavors such as Champagne, Balsamic, Red Wine and seasoned.
  • Flavor soups and stews using a tablespoon of your favorite vinegar.
  • Meat tenderizer. Combine 1/2 cup of your favorite vinegar to 1 cup of bouillon or 1/4 cup oil. Rub into meat; let sit two hours.
  • For sweeter more tender fish soak fish in vinegar and water before cooking. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to water when poaching fish to keep it from crumbling.
  • Add a little vinegar to the water when poaching or boiling eggs. It helps to keep the whites together.
  • Prevent oxidation of potatoes. Peeled potatoes left sitting begin to oxidize and turn dark. Add a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar or cider vinegar to the pot of water.
  • Fruit and vegetable wash. Freshen and wash vegetables by adding 2 tablespoons vinegar to 1 pint water; wash, then rinse thoroughly.
  • Before frying doughnuts, add 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar to hot oil to prevent doughnuts soaking up extra grease. Use caution when adding the vinegar to the hot oil.

cleaning-table with vinegar

Photo By: Planet Green

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS:

  • Remove fruit or berry stains from your hands by cleaning them with vinegar.
  • To keep pets free of fleas and ticks mix 1teaspoon vinegar to each quart of drinking water. This solution is for a forty pound animal, Always get the approval of your pets doctor before trying natural home remedies.
  • Smelly dog odor. Rinse the dog with fresh water. Saturate the dogs coat with a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and 2 gallons water. Do not rinse. Dry completely.
  • Potty Accidents for both people and animals. Sprinkle area with vinegar. Wait a few minutes and sponge from the center outward. Blot up with a dry cloth. Repeat if necessary. (Test carpet in an inconspicuous place before trying)
  • Frosted windows:
    For those rare winter mornings when there is frost on the car, wipe the windows the night before with a solution of one part water to three parts white distilled vinegar. They won’t frost over.
  • Freshen lunch boxes by dampening a piece of bread with vinegar and enclose in the lunch box overnight.
  • Freshen the kitchen. Odors can linger after cooking meats or with oil. Simmer an equal mix of water and vinegar until smell dissolves.

foot with pedicure

MEDICAL:

  • Clean Calcium Deposits and Sanitize Humidifiers. Heat 1 ¾ vinegar. Pour vinegar into reservoir and replace cap. Let sit for 1 hour. Remove vinegar. Reservoir should be clean and calcium free. Contact manufacturer before cleaning with this method or review manufacturer’s directions.
  • Soothe a bee or jellyfish sting. Douse with vinegar to soothe irritation and relieve itching. (You can also use tobacco. Make a paste with tobacco from a cigar and water. Tape in place over hole.)
    Relieve sunburn. Lightly rub white distilled or cider vinegar on area. Reapply as needed.
  • For other types of burns, apply ice-cold vinegar right away to prevent blisters.
  • Relieve dry and itchy skin such as Psoriasis. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to your bath water. (A compress of seaweed works well too) For dry scalp, after shampooing, rinse with a solution of 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.
  • Stop Itching. Apply a paste of vinegar and cornstarch. Keep on until itch disappears.
  • Toenail fungus. Soak toes in a solution of vinegar and water, using 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, 15 minutes per day.
  • Soften callused cracked Feet. Combine 1 cup vinegar to 2 gallons warm water. Soak feet for 45 minutes then use a pumice stone or file to remove dead skin from heels and callused areas of feet.
  • Wart Remover. Mix warm water with 1 cup vinegar. Soak area for 20 minutes everyday until wart disappears.
  • Soothe a sore throat. There are several ways to do this. Put a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass of water; gargle, then swallow. Mix 1 cup hot water, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon vinegar, gargle then drink. (Mix 1/2 tsp salt to 2 cups water, add 1 tablespoon peroxide. Heat in the microwave until warm. Gargle, do not drink.)
  • Treat sinus infections and chest colds. Add 1/4 cup or more vinegar to a vaporizer. Add water as needed per unit instructions.
  • Chest congestion. Inhale a vapor mist from a steaming pot containing water and several spoonfuls of vinegar.
  • Calm a queasy stomach. If you can stomach the smell and taste try downing some apple cider vinegar in water, with a little honey.

easter_eggs-midiman

Photo By: My Little Cottage in the Making

FUN KIDS STUFF:

  • Coloring Easter eggs. Mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar with each 1/2 cup hot water; add food coloring.
  • Naked eggs. Magically remove the shell of an egg. This project takes two days to complete.
    Place eggs in a container so the eggs are not touching. Add enough vinegar to cover the eggs. Cover the container, put in the refrigerator and let sit for 24 hours. Use a slotted spoon to carefully scoop out the eggs. Dump out the vinegar. Put the eggs back in the container and cover with fresh vinegar. Leave the eggs in the refrigerator for another 24 hours. Scoop the eggs out again and rinse carefully. Throw away any eggs with broken membranes. Now you should have egg without a shell.
  • Volcano. Make the cone of the volcano by mixing 6 cups flour, 2 cups salt, 4 tablespoons cooking oil and 2 cups of water. Mix until smooth and firm. Stand a soda bottle in a baking pan and mold the dough around it into a volcano shape. Do not cover the hole or drop dough into it. Fill the bottle most of the way with warm water and a few drops of red food coloring. Add 6 drops of detergent to the bottle contents. Add 2 tablespoons baking soda to the liquid. Slowly pour vinegar into the bottle.
  • Berry ink pens. 1/2 cup ripe berries, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and feather.
    Fit a strainer over a bowl. Place berries in strainer. Using the back of a wooden spoon, crush the berries against the strainer. Keep pressing until most of the juice has been strained out and only pulp remains. Add the salt and vinegar to the berry juice. If the berry ink is too thick, add a tablespoon of water. Store in a baby food jar sealed tightly. Cut the tip of the feather at an angle. Cut a slit in the tip. Dip the tip into the berry ink; dap on paper towel. Repeat as needed.
  • Magic Potion. Pour 2 tablespoons vinegar into a shallow bowl or cup set on a baking sheet. Add 1 tablespoon baking soda.
    Hot Air Balloon. Pour 4 tablespoons vinegar into a bottle. Pour 2 tablespoons baking soda into a balloon that isn’t blown up (make a siphon out of cone of paper). Without tipping the baking soda into the vinegar, put the balloon over the top of the container. Use your hand or a rubber band to hold the seal. Jiggle the balloon so the baking soda is dumped in.

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Cowboy Cornmeal Omelets

– johanna | January 8th, 2010

Filed under: RECIPES - Breads, RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Main Dish

Cornbread Omelets

In this post we begin with a recipe for an omelet made from a cornbread batter as opposed to eggs. I could not find white cornmeal mix in our local grocery store. Instead I used plain yellow cornmeal in place of the mix. Not completely satisfied I decided to try a few more variations. I found a lovely recipe for cornmeal cakes on Cow Girl Chef and learned how to make my own chorizo.

If you cannot find cornmeal mix then use the recipe below for cornmeal cakes.

Cornbread Omelets:
Source: Southern Living September 2009

3/4 pound Chorizo sausage, castings removes (about 3 links), or see recipe below
6 tbsp butter, divided
3 green onions, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced
1 cup self-rising white cornmeal mix (such as Martha White)
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Sauté chorizo in an 8-inch nonstick omelet pan or skillet with sloped sides 7 to 10 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet, and drain on paper towels. Wipe skillet clean.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet, and sauté green onions, bell pepper, and jalapeño peppers over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl; stir in chorizo. Wipe skillet clean.

Whisk together cornmeal mix, buttermilk, milk, all-purpose flour, and 1 large egg.

Coat skillet with cooking spray; melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium-high heat, rotating pan to coat bottom evenly. Pour about 1/3 cup cornmeal mixture into skillet. Tilt pan so uncooked portion flows around to coat bottom of pan, cooking until almost set, bubbles form, and edges are dry (about 1 1/2 minutes). Gently flip with a spatula.

Sprinkle 1 side of omelet with about 1/2 cup onion mixture and about 3 tablespoons cheese. Fold omelet in half; cook 30 seconds or until cheese is melted. Transfer to a serving plate; keep warm. Repeat procedure 4 times with remaining butter, cornmeal mixture, onion mixture, and cheese. Serve immediately.

Makes 5 servings

Cow Girl Chef Cornmeal Batter Cakes:
1 cup cultured buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup white cornmeal
2/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter or bacon fat

Pour the buttermilk into a bowl and stir in the baking soda. Whisk in the egg, and gradually whisk in the cornmeal, then the salt and fat and 1/4 cup water.

Cowgirl Homemade Chorizo:
If you have your butcher grind your pork, ask him to include some fat, and to grind it coarsely for a nicer texture. You can use any type of paprika although the Spanish variety has a wonderful smokey flavor that adds depth to the chorizo. To watch a video on how to make chorizo follow this link.

2 pounds ground pork
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp Spanish paprika
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano, stems removed
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp sea salt

Mix everything together in a big bowl with your hands. (Taste for seasonings by making a small patty and cooking it in the skillet.) Form into patties and cook  over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through.

Freeze for 1-2 months or refrigerate for 1-2 days, or simply freeze the uncooked chorizo for 1-2 months, and thaw and cook when ready to use.

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