Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cheap and effective multipurpose cleaner

I've been needing to find a good and effective DIY cleaner for a while now but I couldn't find any recipes that weren't cost effective. So I made my own! Really the most expensive thing in this recipe is probably the vinegar.

What you'll need:
a clean gallon jug
3 or more oranges (and you can always add more over time)
1/2  gallon of vinegar
3 or 4 tsp of cinnamon (optional but gives your house a glorious scent!)
1/2 gallon of hot tap water (don't make it too hot, just straight from the tap is fine)

The process: 

Pour vinegar in jug
peel oranges and add ever single peel to the vinegar
close lid and give it a good shake or two
add cinnamon and hot water
close tightly and shake well
let sit at least 8 hours before using and shake well before each use.

To clean counters and mop floors:
pour about 1/4 -1/8 cup in a 1/2gal of hot water, use mop/sponge to mix before cleaning

To clean toilet:
Prior to using cleaner:
flush toilet
add 1/4 cup of baking soda+ 1 drop of dish soap to toilet bowl, lightly scrub into a paste and let sit 15-20 minutes
add 1/4 cup of cleaner to the mixture DO NOT FLUSH it will foam (that means it's working)
let sit 10 minutes, give a quick scrub and flush, toilet should sparkle like new!

As an ant repellent:  Did you know cinnamon is too strong for ants to handle? Vinegar has the same effects!
lightly dilute and spray on effected area, ants will avoid areas where the solution is present ( I suggest lining walls with it along the ground)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Quick and easy Kale Chips to-go

So I realize not everyone is blessed with a blender, or the time to make kale chips in the original recipes. Not only that, but when you're exhausted, looking at a well detailed recipe with a lot of ingredients may seem daunting. So after perfection and a bit of laziness has set in, I give you Quick and Easy Kale Chips:

  Quick and Easy Kale Chips:
There are only six things you need in this recipe:
1 bunch of curly kale, rinsed
Dried onion flakes, onion powder, salt, and nutritional yeast

and a oiled pan to bake them in

Preheat oven to 375° 
Tear up kale into pieces and lat on baking sheet
Time to eyeball it!
Sprinkle enough onion flakes & powder to lightly cover kale
a pinch of salt, evenly sprinkled over everything
and a light dusting of nutritional yeast
pop in oven and check at 15 minutes (mine took 20)

cool and enjoy!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Nom-worthy tofu scramble

On my days off I like to make breakfast for my family and friends, my go-to breakfast is tofu scramble because it's easy and yummy. I know some of you may be thinking "ewww I hate tofu, it's soooo gross!" Which is what I thought too, until I started cooking it. Chances are, if you've had a bad experience with tofu, the person cooking it either didn't know what they were doing or only knows how to cook it one way. My advice when exploring a unfamiliar territory with food is: use your nose and think outside of the box. Here's my tofu scramble recipe which is so good I've even gotten my friends to eat it and they love it!

What you'll need:
1/4  of a fresh onion
4 mushrooms*
some fresh baby spinach
Organic firm tofu
about 1 tsp Bullion (vegetable, beef, or chicken)**
about a tsp of cumin**
about a tsp of curry powder**
about a tsp of mustard powder**
about a tsp of light sodium soysauce or brags liquid aminos**
a dash of paprika
garlic powder***

* even if you don't like mushrooms, add them, I loathe mushrooms, but they complete this dish and trust me, you wont be able to taste them
** you may need more or less, this is more of a estimated guess because I always eyeball it
*** DO NOT add garlic salt or any other salt, the recipe makes it salty enough and the garlic salt may put it over the edge!

Heat a pan with olive oil on med-low heat
Finely chop onion, mushrooms, and spinach and add them to heated pan to brown

Open tofu and carefully press out excess water with a clean towel or paper towel

once pressed, and veggies are browned, crumble tofu into pan and turn on med heat

Add rest of ingredients and mix

Cook until bottom of tofu is slightly browned but still bouncy
Serve and enjoy!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Homemade natural body wash (easy and simple)

In this family of many allergies we ran into a problem of sorts: My son (allergic to all milk and egg products from any living creature) ran out of his very expensive organic vegan body wash. Times are tough for us right now and we couldn't really afford a $16 bottle of soap that only lasts maybe 3 weeks so I bought a bar of some organic vegan bar soap that was on sale for $2 at the natural food store (score!) and started researching how to stretch my $2 find. What I found was this article which explained a very simple way to turn an 8oz bar of soap into a whole gallon of body wash! Although the original post used a completely different type of bar soap, I thought I'd wing it and hope for the best. My soap was only 2.75oz but made up for it in the promise of organic, chemical-free cleanliness:

I followed these instructions at first (altering the ratios for my small bar)  but after 12+ hours my soap did not set, quick thinking and a hatred of being wasteful encouraged me to keep at it. "what can I add to thicken this up? You can thicken gravy with cornstarch or flour but those may irritate the skin....." I thought to myself, searching through my cupboards "Bingo!" My eyes had landed upon a box of instant oatmeal and I got to work. I ended up grinding the oatmeal into a fine powder with a old fashioned mortar and pestle and added 3 cups to my pot of watery soap, after bringing it back to a boil I put it on low heat until it started to thicken while occasionally stirring (just like gravy) After it was thick enough I stuck it in the fridge until it was completely cooled then transferred it to a couple spare bottles and voilá! I had one completely full bottle of natual, chemical free, moisturizing body wash that the whole family can use! I used this on my son for bath time tonight and not only did he get squeaky clean (and it has a thick lush lather) but his skin was so soft! Can't wait to use it on myself!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Keeley the Kale Monster (Cheezy Kale chip recipe)

My son has a new favorite snack: 
They are delicious, and my mouth waters just thinking about eating them, but the problem is the price. Let's face it, buying vegan stuff can be expensive and we're on a budget. So I sought out to find a recipe that would make three times as much product for the price of one tiny little bag. Oh man are there a lot of recipes out there! I sort of followed this one  but after going through my cupboards I realized I'd have to wing it. Kale was on sale, $0.39/ bunch,  (Must remember to grab more) sunflower seeds in bulk section were like $0.79/lb, bell pepper was $1, canned tomatoes $1.05, nutritional yeast (have 5lbs at home already), 

Cheezy kale chips :

1 bunch curly kale
1 cup sunflower seeds (soaked for a couple hours)
1/2 red bell pepper, deseeded
1/2 can of diced tomatoes
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast 
1 tbsp soy sauce or brags
1 tbsp curry powder
1 dash of cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt 
Garlic salt (optional) to sprinkle on top after mixing

  1. Preheat oven to 225°  (if using a dehydrator: Dehydrate at 115° until completely crispy)
  2. Strain sunflower seeds
  3. Tear kale into bite size chunks, omitting the large middle stems, rinse and blot dry, set aside.
  4. Combine sunflower seeds, bell peppers, tomatoes, lime juice, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, curry powder, and cumin in blender until pureed. 
  5. Pour mixture in a bowl, mix kale in until fully coated
  6. Lay kale on 2-3 large baking sheets & generously sprinkle garlic salt
  7. Bake until crispy but do not burn! Keep an eye on it ( mine baked for about 2 hours and 15 minutes)
  8. Enjoy!  
Despite the odd smell from the blended mixture, the flavor once baked is pretty darn delicious. I really need to invest in a dehydrator ( the first batch I made got a little too crispy but still tasted great) and I think next time I may try  fresh garlic but all in all, these things are addictive! And soooo affordable! Feel free to make adjustments, I used the ingredients I had on hand (which is why mine were so different from the original recipe)
Keeley the kale monster:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My take on domino taters

The other night I got into late-night snack mode and decided to look up yummy potato recipes. What I came across looked absolutely delightful! Crispy, buttery, "domino" potatoes. Of course I had to replicate, not only did they sound extremely easy, but they looked amazing. 
Original picture:

Yeah, made your mouth water too huh? My vegan take on it: replace butter with olive oil, add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, salt, and freshly slivered garlic. So they just went from being delicious looking and not so healthy to delicious looking and way more healthier. Sounds good right? I cut the potatoes with the big slicer thing on the side of a cheese grater, which worked great up until I sliced the knuckle off my thumb. (I was almost done too!) 
So because I wasn't using massive potatoes, I didn't really feel like making them square; plus I feel like it would've been a waste of good potato! The result was a slight disheveled look to my stack

I also cooked them slightly longer, I don't know, after 40 minutes, they didn't even look crispy (could've been from the conversion from butter to olive oil) so I kept them in for an hour exactly and they turned out looking pretty darn good! 
One thing I would've changed: pepper, they definitely could've benefit from a large dash of black pepper. End result:

All in all, fairly good recipe, don't think I'll do it again though. I'll stick to home made baked fries and curried hash for potato side dishes.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Delicious Cinnamon Rolls!!!!!!!

 As it cools off and the weather gets cold and crisp in the mornings, I thought a nice simple sweet spicy breakfast would be wonderful. Every sunday morning when I was little my mom would make home made cinnamon rolls, with just the right amount of spice and warmth to get you through the day. Now that we have to adjust recipes to fit our vegan style needs, I had to do some researching. Last night my craving for spicy, sweet, soft and mouthwatering cinnamon rolls consumed me and I stayed up until 2am searching for the right recipe (which needed to be easy and convenient) and I came across this one . This morning, bright and early, I woke up and went to work, if I had known where all of the baking supplies were, it would've taken maybe 20 minutes tops, instead it took a good hour. I did make a few adjustments, instead of using brown sugar I used dark agave, granulated sugar, and a hint of vanilla. and I made a caramel glaze for the tops with chopped almonds, agave, hemp milk, and powdered sugar and cooked it over medium heat until it bubbled and looked thick. All in all, I give this recipe a A++ the rolls were delicious, so good in fact, that my husband  spent five minutes grunting and groaning (if you were in a different room it would've sounded rather provocative) and the caramel glaze just topped it off! Best part is, you couldn't even slightly tell it was completely vegan (and I know because I used to be highly critical of vegan foods lol)

Revive the blog

So I haven't been vlogging or blogging for months so I'll try to wrap up this story as fast as possible, two and a half years ago I gave birth to the most beautiful child I had ever laid eyes upon, golden hair, sky blue eyes, and a smile that could melt even the hardest of hearts. For the first two years of his life we lived with my husband's grandmother, taking care of her and her house. The oppression was overbearing, but we prevailed, sort of.... every time Keeley, my son, would go in for his check up, he was anemic, and not just a little, I'm talking hemoglobin levels of 6 and 7 even with him on iron supplements.  The doctors at the local clinic were horrible to us, assuming that because I was thin, I had been starving my child. Little did they even care to know that I was doing everything I could possibly think of to keep him healthy, I prevented any allergen exposure too soon, I made his own babyfood, I only bought organic, I breastfed for TWO YEARS,  I didn't eat anything questionable, NEVER smoked or drank, didn't even take medicine for headaches for fear that the chemicals and unpronounceable ingredients would pass through my milk. Once he was old enough to eat food, I would wake up early every morning and make him a feast, eggs and bacon, sausage, pancakes, english muffins, oatmeal and applesauce, bagels and cream cheese, I just couldn't bring myself to being one of those mothers who would feed their children cold, heartless cereal, day after day, no love or work put into it. (totally understandable for the working parent but for a stay at home mother? Hell no) At 10 months old, Keeley started gasping, the kind of gasps I do when I'm having an asthma attack. We fought with doctors for months trying to convince them that we knew something wasn't right, but because his gasps only happened in the mornings and at night they wrote it off as dust allergies and told us to get a bed cover ($200 down the drain). As he got older he was a happy little boy, a well fed little boy, but he just got more and more sick, once he hit 13 months he had stopped gaining weight completely, and was still constantly anemic, so anemic that when we held him, he would bruise. I started feeling like the worst mother ever, how was it that no matter how incredibly hard I tried, nothing would make him feel better? It just didn't make since. Then the rashes started, horrible deep red welts developed all over his body, usually starting on his face or tummy and spreading everywhere. Looking closely at the welts you could tell they were hives, very fine, shiny little raised bumps all over that made him scream if you touched them too hard. Over and over again we'd take him to the doctor, and every time we were summed up to be " paranoid" parents. Around 18 months, I begged them for an allergy test, thinking maybe he was possibly allergic to nuts or fruit. It took them 7 months to give us what we wanted. In late April, about 2 weeks after his second birthday, we finally got his allergy test done, 2 viles of blood is a whole lot for a 23lb two year old! It took another week for us to get the results and when we did, I broke down. The results showed that Keeley suffers from Type 1 Hypersensitivity, His allergy wasn't to nuts, dust, or even pollen, he is severely allergic to an antibody within himself which is the one in charge of fighting off his other allergies which include milk from all living creatures and eggs from all living creatures. Which means, the entirety of his life I had been poisoning him by trying to be a good mother, eggs, cheese, milk, butter, my own breast milk, it had been making him sick, from the moment he arrived. And it gets worse, I started researching, checking labels, almost everything has either milk or egg products, whole wheat bread, his favorite snack crackers, most soup bases, even lunch meat! As soon as we found out we told my husband's grandmother, who often enjoyed feeding him, instead of complying with our wishes to not feed our child something that could harm him, it seemed like she had decided he needed a little poison in his diet! I'd catch her trying to give him full glasses of milk, spoonfuls of butter, handfuls of cheese.....needless to say, we got out of that situation rather fast! We now reside on the coast, (we did move back home but the threat of being consumed by fire is not a very comforting thought.) feeding only vegan labeled foods to our son and making a lot more home made things, we do still eat meat (really only beef, turkey and chicken) occasionally but a lot of our day to day life is based on vegan snacks. Keeley is now two and a half and weighs a whopping 29lbs! His favorite food is tofu, and his favorite snacks are kale chips and nutritional yeast smothered popcorn, we only buy him hemp milk or soy (but we really try not to overload on soy so unless the store is out of hemp milk we stick with that) anyways, so now that you know a bit of what happened, Since we had to move so much, I can not afford to instagram my pictures anymore, right now my husband (who btw had to have emergency surgery immediately after we we kicked out of our house due to his appendix exploding) and I are sharing one single, very dumb phone which has an internet browser from the 90s I swear. So here I sit, reviving my blog in hopes that at least someone will find it even remotely intriguing.  More posts to come!