little beauties

You have a plate in your hand, balancing silverware somehow rolled up in a paper napkin, you are slowly shuffling forward. You are making small talk, sigh, with the people around you.  The line is either a potluck at church, a potluck during your quilting guild, or the dreaded work place potluck.

Now, to be honest, I am not a potluck loving girl (another blog post for another day).

ramen noodle saladHowever, besides the dishes that my friends offer, I  used to have some sort of weirdo magnetic pull towards the “Asian” salad.  I am not sure, if they have ever even heard of “Asian” salad in any Asian country.  I am not entirely sure what is “Asian” about it. Maybe the rice wine vinegar that I use in the dressing?  Everyone has their own take/version of this salad.  Yes, it uses those 19 cent noodles that we call Ramen.  Some of the recipes call for using the magic packet of seasonings, others say toss the packet of love.

Here is the honest truth, I used to SWOON over that salad.  Pretty much, all versions.  So yes, once a year or so I get a hankering and I make my own version that I can have.

Yes, I eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.  period.

That said.  Let’s talk.  Let’s talk about canned mandarin oranges.  YUM-OH.  I am not sure if it is the texture or the color, they are just little bits of nostalgia from my childhood. I think when my mother served a beige colored tuna casserole or home-made mac n cheese, she thought adding a cup of mandarin oranges to our plates would liven up the color palette.

I had to say buh-bye to the canned mandarin orange.  Yes, they pack those little beauties in sugar syrup.  Hey, maybe that is one of the glorious reasons I loved them so?

Anyhoo, enter Whole Foods market about 2 weeks ago.  I was not looking for them.  I am not on a quest or anything crazy like that.  I just happened to see a can of those beauties and out of curiosity I turned over the can and looked at the ingredients.

20150519_082341ANGELS SINGING!!!  typed on ingredient list:  “packed in pear juice”.

While, I am probably not going to buy a case.  I did a little jig in the store and bought two cans.

For under 1 dollar, I did a jig and picked up a can of those little beauties.

Yes, I served them with some vegetarian fried rice the other night.

Yes, they reminded me of the “olden days”.

Yes, I was smiling.

Yes, sometime in the next couple months, I will be making my version of Asian salad.

Happy Pot Luck dreams!

ps.  No, I was not paid for this “commercial”.  I am just so dang tootin happy to find something without sugar.

Bath sachets

I made 10 of these today.  Can you tell, I am filling up my gift giving supply?  I like to have a few baskets of goodies to “shop” from. Last week was the Fancy Fizzies today, little bath sachets.  They are little bags filled to the brim with all sorts of pure goodness.  Oh, and I made a couple for myself as well.

20150514_125137“Several minutes before getting into the tub, swish one of these little beauties around in the hot bath water to scent it and the bathroom with heavenly fragrance.  Afterward, hang the bag from the faucet until next time.  Each sachet is good for several baths.”20150514_134219

I learned how to make these little lovelies from a book that was given to me back in the 80’s. (still has the birthday card taped in the back.)   Sometimes, you receive a gift and use it over and over and over and over.  It is a well-loved book.  I have learned so much from its pages.

for each muslin bag (30 cents http://www.zenith.com) you need: 20150514_123135

1 ounce of rolled oats

1/2 ounce dried lemon peel

1/2 ounce dried orange peel

4 bay leaves

2 heaping Tablespoons of dried lavender

2 heaping Tablespoons of dried Rosemary

The recipe calls for dried rose petals.  Oppsie, I forgot those this time.

20150514_124415Divide the ingredients among the bags.  Draw the string closed, tie in a knot, add a charming tag and you are ready to give as a gift.

The aroma is divine.  It washes over you as you are filling them.  The encouragement to take a lovely bath envelopes you in a sort of magical tug. Somehow, filling the sachets makes me happy.  I know exactly what is going in them.  I want to make a thoughtful gift using high quality ingredients to give to my family and friends.

It is a super easy and lovely gift to make.  You can most certainly dehydrate the peels yourself.  Of course you can grow and dry your own lavender and rosemary.  However, if you can’t, just stop by a shop with bulk foods.  Enough rosemary for 10 bags came to 41 cents.  So this project can be reasonably priced as well as lovely.

Soak your troubles away. 

healing soup

As I type this, our home smells like Thanksgiving.  You know that aroma?  Warm, sage, onion, celery, poultry,herbs melding, simmering all together?  The kitchen window has a bit of condensation on it.  You know, just like Thanksgiving day?

Last summer, I bought an organic chicken (read that as no bad mojo or chemicals) and made some amazing healing chicken noodle soup for a friend’s son who was just out of surgery.  When his Mom thanked me, she said, it reminded them of and tasted like Thanksgiving.

I took that as a compliment.  Layers of flavors and herbs, all warm and good for you.

A different friend is about to have surgery, so here we go again.  This vegetarian girl, was on a mission to buy a chicken.

While you know this home as a place where we don’t eat meat, you just can’t refute the science/love/magic healing powers of a flavorful chicken noodle soup.

Millions of Jewish Bubbies or Zaydes can’t be wrong.  Millions of Greek Yaya’s can’t be mistaken.  Mormon nana’s, Christian Science Grandmothers are smarty pants, there is just no way, a bazillion Methodist Grandma’s could be off the mark on this topic.

Soup heals.

Homemade soup made with love and magic (and the marrow from the bones) and fresh picked herbs somehow all twisted together, heals the heart, body, soul and spirit.

In case you haven’t roasted a chicken lately……….don’t forget, it is pretty easy, peasy.

20150513_134418-1Buy an organic chicken.  I am sure your family, friends & you are worth the extra cost.  Clean & put into a roasting pan. Stuff with cut up onions, lemons and all the fresh herbs you can pack in there.  I adore fresh sage.  Okay, Himalayan salt & fresh pepper, lots of pepper.  Use butter or oil whatever you prefer.  Slip some herbs under that skin.  Be generous.  Tie the whole enchilada (not a real enchilada, the chicken silly)  up with some kitchen twine.  Preheat your oven to 450* then slide that beauty into the heat.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Then turn your heat down to 350* and continue roasting for 20 minutes per pound, plus 15 minutes.  Use a meat thermometer to make sure it is done. 20150513_174057 (1) Let rest 15 minutes prior to cutting.

Last night we had Hippie Bowls with oodles of roasted veggies, kale, brown rice20150513_180247 and avocados, pepper, balsamic vinegar and a small amount of fresh roast chicken.  Really turned out lovely.

Baked Chimichangas, normally vegan, tonight a few pieces of shredded chicken in each. When you only buy chicken once or twice a year, you really plan the meals.  You make sure you are intentionally using every part you can.  Even the dog got in on the action. The fresh chicken heart and this morning some roasted chicken for her breakfast.

After supper, I cleaned off all the meat.  Shredded and put both the carcass and meat into the refrigerator.

Today, into a huge stock pot, I added lots of filtered water, more herbs, the ends of two celery bunches, all the roasted herbs, lemon wedges and onions and the carcass.  More fresh sage and some salt and pepper.

BTW, if you don’t add lemons to your roasting chicken, add a splash of apple cider vinegar to the stock pot.  The acid draws out the nutrients from the bones.

stockI know some of you are going to say, I can’t make stock.  I work. I am away from home all day long.  sad face. I have a solution.  Toss it all into your crock pot, fill with filtered water and turn it on.  Let it do its magic all day long, while you are out of the house.

You come home to that “Thanksgiving” smell and I guarantee you will want some chicken noodle soup.

In this together friends!  Here’s to healing and wellness.

May all our homes smell and feel like Thanksgiving.

Grateful, spirit lifting with a little magic tossed in.

the $50.00 lie

I lied.

I am not exactly sure why on earth I chose to lie.

But, I did.

Yep, a big fat juicy lie.

A WHOOPER.

For some reason, I lied and then I started to believe it.

Who was it who said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”   Oh that’s right, Adolf Hitler.

Geesh, not very good company.

Here are my excuses:  I was busy.  I was homeschooling two young boys.  I was volunteering.  I was involved in this and that.  We had a dog and house to tend to.  I was selling Discovery Toys.  We belonged to a home school group that met once a week.  We did a field trip every other week.  The boys attended a church program on Wednesdays.  Sunday was always church.  The boys had golf lessons.  The boys had tennis lessons.  The boys had 4-H.  the boys had t-ball.   Thursdays were library days.

Yes, library days.  Each boy was only allowed ten books a week from each library.  We went to two.  So that meant, 20 books per boy, per week.  Each had their own library book bag (that they sewed themselves as a home school math and sewing lesson, sure).  Each had a pocket in the book bag for their very own library card.

When our youngest was 4 years old, he was asked to do a PSA television commercial, encouraging other kids to sign up for a library card.  He did a really good job and was given a brand new book as payment.  corduroy the bear

We were trying to teach responsibility.  Treat all books with respect.  Never write in a borrowed book.  Always use a book marker, never dog ear the pages.  Always return books promptly and on time.  Never, ever loose your library card.

50billHere it comes:  I said, “to replace a lost library card, the library system charges a fee of $50.00″.  That is a LOT of lawn mowing to pay for a new library card.

They never, ever lost their cards.  In all the years of library trips, we only paid a fine once.

We moved state to state, to different country and back to the states again.  Each time, checking out the library system and getting books weekly.

We have lived here in this state for 20 years.  Even though we are empty nesters, we still visit the library on a weekly basis. While we have to pay way more fines then we ever did before, haha, we take very good care of the books we check out. Before the kindle days, we had been known to travel on vacation with our book and bring it back in a timely fashion in excellent condition.  We have never, ever lost our library cards.

Until this week.

One came up missing.  (oh, we have seriously looked and looked and looked)

side note:  We have been waiting in line to check out a certain book.  We have waited a few months.  If you don’t pick it up within 7 days it goes to the next person.   We were notified that it was now available for us to check out.  We wanted that book.

Well, we have gone 30 some years and never had to replace a library card.  I guess it was time to pay the piper.  We want to keep checking out books, weekly.  We both really, really wanted to read the book that finely came in.

We both decided that $50.00 was a fair price for all the books we check out.

Last night, Mr. Right, walked, not with his usual pep in his step, into our local library.  Explained the situation.  Got out his wallet to pay the $50.00.

The librarian said, here is your choice of pictures for your new card.  He chose Chamber’s Bay Golf course picture.

He said, what does it cost for the replacement?

She said, nothing.  Library & replacement cards are FREE. library card

What?

Um, I think I owe both our boys an apology.  I think as a busy mom, grasping at everything I could to teach responsibility and good behavior and respect……….I “may” have invented the fee of $50.00 to replace a library card.  I “may” have repeated it 2,000 times over the span of 30 plus years.

I am very sorry for lying.  Gee, I hope you haven’t been scared for life because of this.  If you want, I will gladly sew you each a new library book bag as restitution.

Okay, I think I have some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fabric in here somewhere…..

permission, yeah right

soupThe other night, a friend made a comment and it sort of stuck in my brain and swirled around.

Yes, this is how some of my blogs take flight.  They swirl and twirl and grow wings of their own and before I know it, I can’t create or accomplish anything else until I address the topic.

permission

Somehow, as life has marched on, we tend to forget that our lives belong to us.  

We are ALLOWED to take accountability for our actions.  

Oh yes we are!.  I don’t give a hoot what others say or think, I have to take full accountability for what goes into my body.

We were chatting about hospital stays.  I begged her, if she ever went into the hospital to please, please tell me.  I said, for the love of mike, do not eat one bite of that food.  I promise to cook for you and bring you food that will heal you not harm you. She said, “oh, they don’t allow you to bring in outside food”.  I said, I would get a bigger purse.  done.

Somewhere along the way, it has become easier for all of us to follow the rules.  We seem to need a permission slip to eat what we believe will heal our bodies and souls.  Parents are needing to defend what they are sending for their children to eat for lunch. Somewhere along the way, it became acceptable for a child to bring a “lunch-able”  and boxed sugar drink with no questions asked. However, if a parent sends in a vegan lunch, with homemade peanut butter and homemade crackers & a smoothie…..it is called into question.

While in the hospital,  I politely said no thank you to a Salisbury meat product with instant mashed potatoes and gravy made with chemicals, and a small piece of cake.  I said no thank you to cereal and french fries.  I said no thank you to pudding and jello and fruit cups.

I did say yes to homemade soup and fresh fruit, that Mr. Right brought from home.    No it is not “allowed”. However, I am worth more than following the rules. 

My friend is certainly worth more than processed cereal or a slice of processed white bread or jello with sugar and chemicals.

Unfortunately, recently, one of our sons was in the hospital.  The food was certainly not for good health and healing.

I can say with some authority, I was not able to eat any of the food offered to me in the last couple hospital stays.  Every single thing I put into my mouth is aimed at healing not harming me.  So that means, I choose not to eat MSG or sugar or dairy or meat products or anything processed and on and on the list goes.

Of course, I rarely want to have a discussion about this.  The discussion quickly turns into a HOT topic and someones feelings get hurt.  Food is so personal.  If it is not a sacred topic, one of the parties ends up feeling like they are being judged. However, if you ever want to have/share/participate in an informed discussion, you know where to find me.

Not many folks believe as fervently as I do, that food can heal the body.  I am still working on healing and spending every soup 2bit of extra energy on doing just that.  I hardly ever spend time, trying to convince others to think this way.  Yes, it breaks my heart when I hear the poor choices some children are given.

I try to combat that with sharing a recipe or two with someone I know will give it a try.

My life depends on it.  My friends’ life depends on me not following the rules.

Today, while you are feeling fit as a fiddle, make a plan.  Ask someone close to you, if they would bring in a thermos of homemade soup if you should ever have to be admitted to a hospital.

I am now old enough and wise enough to write in bright red lipstick across the bathroom mirror

“HONOR YOUR OWN LIFE”

flirty fancy fizzies

20150508_115702We have all spent oodles of money in lotions & potions shops with shelves covering walls and wooden counters laden with lush bath bombs, slabs of colors and scents.  Baskets overflowing with glitter infused chunks of girlie potions catch our eyes.  Dried herbs and bits of flowers are sticking out of rectangles and squares and glitter is somehow “magically” pressed into the secret potions. Sparkles dance in the light and remind us of sprinkles on the tops of lush cupcakes and confections.  Just being in the shop our senses are overwhelmed.  We all come with a fist full of dollars ready to trade & be enveloped in colors and scents and the feeling of glitz and glamour.   We all end up buying two or three to satiate the craving to buy something beautiful with the hope of a luxurious bath to come.  Sometimes, we don’t remember to buy for ourselves, instead we purchase two flower shapes with sparkles & glitter frosting the petals, with the thought of giving to a friend whose spirit needs lifting.

In real life, when you choose to give up chemicals, in the world of girlie products, that means you no longer can buy or bathe in lotions and potions that are harmful to your skin and well-being.   While you can find a treat here or there, most contain harmful chemicals that are on the “glamour don’t” list.

We can still have great music and spotless spa like bathrooms to indulge our spirits.  We can find amazing beeswax candles to set the mood.  Where do we find flirty fancy fizzies that make us feel all girlie and sweet?

We make them, silly!

Healthy girls can have Flirty Fancy Fizzies with sparkles and scents and dried bits of flower petals. Oh yes we can!  We can make as many as we want and then some.  We can stack a cake plate to overflowing with colors and scents.  We can fill big chunky glass jars with snowballs glistening with glitter and crystals. We can tie two or three with wide satin purple ribbons, much too long for their clear crinkle bags.  We can have stacks and stacks ready to give away and share.

Just because you choose not to use harsh chemicals to bathe in, doesn’t mean you must have plain, boring, dull baths.

Let’s put on our gloves (yes please, buy a pair of latex gloves that you will keep just for this craft project).  Speaking as a girl who tried to make these once without the gloves…..who knew we each had teeny tiny cuts or booboos on our hands that once citric acid was dusted over created a situation that was not pleasant?  OUCHIE.  BUY the gloves.  Seriously.

You will need a pair of gloves (think dollar store), citric acid, baking soda, essential oils, dried herbs or flowers, sprinkles and cosmetic glitter, Witch Hazel (sprayer bottle) and molds to make your creation (soap, candy or even small muffin tins)  or remember no mold needed when you make the “snowball” shape.

Before I go any further, I have a favorite supply store where I buy all sorts of goodies to make these beauties.  http://www.zenithsupplies.com/ They are located in Seattle and also have an excellent online ordering service.

20150507_114956If you are using a mold (remember a mold can be your cupcake pan already in your 20150507_120922kitchen), now is the time to sprinkle in some fancy.  Fancy sprinkles, edible glitter or crystals, dried herbs or flowers.  Sprinkle in before you fill the mold.  This will be the top of your flirty fancy fizzie.  Use your imagination, go big, go FANCY and be creative.  Have fun.  No wrong way to do this.

Mix 1 part citric acid and 2 1/4 parts baking soda.  Add a few drops of essential oil.  Add a few drops of food dye if desired. This is where I usually add 1 teaspoon of cosmetic glitter.  Oh, I love that stuff.  swoon.

Now, with gloves on, spray 20-30 spritz of Witch Hazel.  Mix with hands.  Repeat 3 or 4 more times, 20-30 spritz each time. Mix again with hands.   When mixture starts to stick together, pack firmly into molds.  Use your muscles!  Let set 5-10 minutes.  Remove from molds and let dry on a rack for 24 hours.  20150508_113548

20150508_115702Add a little tag to your creations if you are giving them as gifts.

 One flirty fancy fizzie per bath of pure goodness!

This week I made a couple different “flavors”.20150508_115709

I got sassy with Lemon  and Mint essential oils and I used gold glitter and little bits of fresh mint and I added a touch of soft yellow.

Cranberry and  Mint essential oils danced with pink heart sprinkles and crystals and glitter.

Lemon and Mint again, this time with cupcake sprinkles and dots of goodness.

Then I used some lavender essential oil and I made lavender with bits of dried lavender (that I grew) and added a touch of sugar crystals to the top.

A friend asked if I would share this recipe and teach her how to make these beauties.

20150508_115717In this together Miss Jessica, here’s to our health and wellness!

May all your baths be candle lit, music filled and dreamy.

We are so worth it.

wafflewiches for one

I do enjoy a good fluffy waffle.

Thanks to Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free waffle mix base, Mr. Right swirls the recipe to his liking and TA-DA……..perfect waffles every time.

If you have a bunch of people in your home (read that as hungry, hungry teenagers) you most likely double the recipe for a morning breakfast.

However, if you are like Mr. Right and I, we each eat 1 or 1 1/2 one waffles.

The dreaded left over Empty Nest batter issue!  This is a HUGE issue.  Why just yesterday I ran across an article about left over batter and how to get more vegetables into our diets.  This is big news!  

Usually, the lucky dog gets the one left over half. Now, what to do with all that left over batter?  The idea of so much left over batter almost stops you from making the whole batch to begin with.  Nobody wants to waste that much batter.

20150503_083315Once breakfast is over & before you put that waffle iron away,  grate a small zucchini, a carrot & a half of onion right into the left over batter.  Add salt and pepper & Italian seasoning mix.  You can even add a 1/2 cup shredded good quality European Cheddar cheese. Sometimes, I go hog-wild and put in a shake of poppy seeds!  I mix it well and continue making waffles.

This time, they come out all filled with savory goodness.  I use up all the remaining batter.

Let cool. 20150503_093433

Then wrap in wax paper and stack them all in a container in the freezer.

Today, around 3:30 when I am supposed to have a snack. Aren’t we are all suppose to have a snack in the afternoon?   I get out my green juice and pop a wafflewich into the toaster. I choose a jaunty straw for my juice as I wait for the toaster to create some magic.

20150503_093126Hello my toasty, savory, warm vegetable smelling beauty!   The savory scent of seasoning and the little tiny pieces of toasted & melted cheese grab you and start your mouth-watering before you even take a bite.

Here’s to our good health!

What’s your savory snack look like today?