Friday, February 19, 2010

Homemade Febreze

Homemade Febreze
8 drops lavendar oil
4 drops each bergamot & clove oil
2 drops oil of peppermint
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup distilled water

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well.  Spritz into the air four or five times in areas you feel need freshening, being careful to avoid your eyes when spraying.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Natural Foam Soap

Foam Soap
1/3 Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap
2/3 water

Foam dispenser

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

2 pints strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
8 ounces rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking power
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup nonfat buttermilk or make "sour milk" by mixing 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar with 1 cup milk

To prepare filling:  Combine strawberries, rhubarb, 1/2 cup sugar, tapioca (or cornstarch), 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ginger and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg in a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan and let stand for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

To prepare topping:  Stir together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in a large bowl.  Cut butter into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter, 2 forks or your fingers until crumbly.  Use a fork to stir in buttermilk just until combined.

Using a large spoon, drop the dough in 8 dollops over the filling.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.  Bake the cobbler until browned and bubbling 40 to 50 minutes.  (Cover with foil if the top is browning too quickly.)  Cool slightly on a wire rack.  Serve warm.

Makes 8 servings.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010



1 medium onion
2 cups fresh mushrooms
olive oil
5 cloves garlic
2 quarts marinara sauce, homemade or purchased
1/2 cup dry red wine, such as chianti
1 pound mild Italian sausage
2 tablespoons fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1 pound lasagna noodles
2 cups ricotta cheese, homemade or purchased
5 cups mozzarella

parmesan cheese

In large pot saute' onion and mushrooms in olive oil, when tender and onions are translucent add garlic and saute' for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally so garlic does not burn.  In another pan fry Italian sausage.  Add marinara sauce, wine, basil and cooked sausage to sauted onion mixture.  Let simmer on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.  Boil water and cook noodles until tender (yes, I prefer cooking the noodles first).

Put a little sauce in a 13 x 9 pan, then layer noodles, sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella, sprinkling each layer with a little parmesan cheese as well.  There should be enough noodles and ingredients for four layers.  Make sure you finish the top layer with mozzarella and parmesan cheese to give the lasagna a lightly toasted cheese look on top.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Homemade Ricotta

Ricotta is easier and quicker to make than you would think.  A simple and delicious ricotta can be made from whole milk.  It has a creamy mild flavor without the watery layer that store bought ricotta has.  It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Fresh Homemade Ricotta

1/2 gallon organic whole milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together in a large pot, heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  The curds will separate from the liquid.  When the milk gets to 185 degrees, turn off the heat and let it set for 10 minutes.  Line a colander with a muslin bag (I got mine from Reusable bags) or several layers of cheese cloth.  Ladle the curds carefully into the bag and drain for 30 to 60 minutes.  May be stored for up to one week.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Home Remedies

For years people have been treating various ailments with their own home remedies.  Some of the remedies proving rather interesting.
  • sore throat -  wrap a dirty sock, still warm from your foot, around your throat
  • nose bleed - have someone drop a cold door key down your back
  • freckles - wash with stump water
I like to think that my home remedies are a little more effective, at least they work for me if I begin treating myself at the first sign of illness.  That's how it usually is with home remedies, what works for one may not work for another and you have to catch it early.  It  saves a lot of money if I can prevent an infection and a trip to the doctor.

My Personal Remedies
  • sore throat - a tea made of lemon and honey, licorice root tea, gargling with salt water,  replacing or boiling my toothbrush afterward
  • stomach ache - chamomile tea, ginger tea, peppermint tea
  • common cold - homemade chicken noodle soup, rest, echinacea tea, orange juice, Sambucol elderberry extract
  • Urinary Tract Infection - cranberry juice
  • sinus infection - olive leaf herb, Sambucol elderberry extract
  • nose bleed caused by a dry nostril - olive oil rubbed inside the nostril
  • toothache - place tea tree oil on the sore tooth
  • yellow tinged teeth - baking soda toothpaste, brush with baking soda mixed with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste
  • athlete's foot - tea tree oil
  • yeast infection - tea tree oil
  • cuts - tea tree oil
  • burns - aloe

Friday, February 12, 2010

Beef and Snow Peas

Beef and Snow Peas
1 pound minute steak (tenderized)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
4 slices peeled fresh ginger or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
8 oz. snow peas, fresh or frozen

Slice steak into 1/4 inch strips.  Combine the next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add meat, turning to coat.  Cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes. 

Heat wok or skillet over medium-high heat.  Pour in oil and swirl to coat.  If using fresh ginger stirfry briefly, if using ground ginger add to steak mixture.  Then add steak and marinade to wok and stir-fry until meat is lightly browned and marinade is reduced.  Discard fresh ginger.  Add snow peas and stir-fry for a minute or two, just until they are heated through and tender yet keeping their bright green color.  Serve over rice.

I use brown rice: 2 cups of water, 1 cup of rice bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart whole tomatoes (or 28 oz. can, if store bought)
14 oz. chicken stock
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
salt & pepper

Saute' onion and celery in olive oil until translucent.  Add garlic and saute' for another minute or two, watch close garlic burns quickly.  Add tomatoes, crushing with spoon, then chicken stock and herbs.  Salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 20 minutes.  Finish soup by blending with a hand blender to the texture you prefer.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hearty Beef Stew

Beef Stew
1 pound stew meat
1 1/2 cups beef stock (I put this in if I have some leftover in the freezer)
4 or 5 medium to large red potatoes
1 quart whole tomatoes (or one can if store purchased)
2 or 3 celery stalks
5 carrots
1 cup cabbage
1 onion
1 cup corn
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the meat with a little salt and pepper, add the meat and the rest of the ingredients to a large crockpot and slow cook for the day.