Beef Short Ribs Made Simple

Posted on March 21, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Beef Short Ribs Made SimpleI found 2 packages of these beef short ribs in my mixed box from Dominion Valley Farm in the freezer.  I’ve never seen those in there before.  I’ve never cooked ribs before.  What to do with them?

I decided to thaw them in water for a few hours, dry with paper towels, sprinkle with worcestershire sauce, salt/pepper and rub with Penzey’s Roast Beef Seasoning.  Then I placed them in the crockpot with carrots, potatoes, and cippolini onions on high for 6 hours.

Wow.  Melt-in-your-mouth beefy goodness!  Biggest surprise?  Cippolini onions!  Another revelation – I’ll be making these as a vegetable all by themselves – they were so sweet and yummy!

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Learning to Eat Sardines

Posted on March 20, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , |

Sardine Lettuce WrapsDid you know that you can learn to eat new things if you want?  It’s a matter of practice and maybe a new and easy recipe.

I have bought cans of sardines in the past, opened them up, and lost courage.  Then they went to the dogs.  But I know that sardines are super healthy, full of good fish oils and with little or no mercury being that they are such small fish.  In addition, they are exactly where we want to be eating on the food chain for the health of the oceans.  But I just couldn’t do it until I discovered a super simple recipe by K.C.’s Kafe.

It’s just mashed sardines, finely chopped onion, and a little mayo.  I put mine in lettuce or cabbage leaf wraps to save calories and keep grains to a minimum.  Bill likes his on whole rye crackers.

Sardines on crackersI love this!  Now I’m wondering about the sardines in tomato or mustard sauces.  That doesn’t sound good, but I may try them.  I’ve already tinkered with this recipe, adding chopped dilly beans and diced red peppers.  It’s such an easy recipe!

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Blood Orange

Posted on March 12, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , |

Blood orange

I hope you’ve been eating a variety of citrus all winter long because this is the season they shine like the sun!  If not, go get some right now.  You can use the fresh burst of flavor and dose of vitamins.  But try to break out of the orange mold.  There are fabulous grapefruits, tangerines, mandarins, meyer lemons, and blood oranges too.  What’s a blood orange you say?  It often will have a red blush on the peel, but also may look just like an ordinary orange until you open it up and see the red-purple flesh.  It’s a shock the first time.  The flavor is too, as it has a distinct berry tinge to the orange taste.  Yes, they are pricey, but you deserve a treat.  You have almost made it through this horrible winter.  What better to spend your pennies on?!

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Replanting the Kale Babies

Posted on March 3, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Plants, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , |

Kale Babies 1I promised to explain what to do with the kale seedlings after they started to grow their second set of leaves (true leaves).  This takes a few weeks to get to after they come up initially.

You need a knife, some individual pots with soil in them, and water.  I also like to have everything on trays that are easy to clean the soil from, but some people use newspaper and then put it all in the compost afterward.

Kale Babies 2Gently use the knife to go under and around the plants and lift them out.  Then you might have to disentangle them a bit to get individuals.  You must not break the main stem.  If you do, discard that one and get a different one to plant in the individual pots.  Stick your finger or a dowel in to the soil to make a spot for the little plant.

Kale Babies 3Then drop the roots in deeply and gently firm up the soil around the plant with your fingers.  Water.  If after watering the soil has settled too much or has left holes, add some more loose soil on top.

Make a whole tray of them and put the tray in a bright window.  Once they get their own pots they really start to take off.  It’s fun to watch them strengthen and grow.  They will be tender little guys from growing so safely indoors, so you cannot put them directly outside.  The process of hardening off must happen first.  For at least a week before you plant them outdoors you will keep them in their pots in a shady spot outside during the day and then protected at night like in the garage or on the porch.  After a week or so they are ready for real outside conditions.  By May 31st, Wisconsin’s safe to plant outside date, you’ll have strong plants with a pot full of roots ready to go into the ground and start making you food!

Favorite things to do with kale?  1.  Wash, dry, slice super thin all the way through the tough center rib.  Slice super thin the other way to make tiny pieces.  Drizzle olive oil and seasoned rice vinegar and toss/press down into bowl.  Let marinate for 20 minutes minimum, then add other salad veggies and enjoy!

2.  Wash, chop coarsely and throw into whatever soup you are making.

3.  Wash and throw into blender with fruit smoothie ingredients – you won’t even know it’s in there!

4.  Enjoy the freedom from cancer, heart disease, and diabetes!  Truly!

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Plant Something to Get Through the Winter

Posted on February 19, 2014. Filed under: Health, Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Baby KaleWant to get over your low mood?  Stop somewhere today and pick up Kale seeds and a little dirt.  Dig some old food trays out of your recycling, poke holes in the bottom, fill with soil, put the seeds in and water.  Put it all on an old tray on a window sill.

For 4 days I watched in anticipation and now on day 6 I have sturdy little baby Kale plants!  All they need is a little water until the 2nd leaves come in which will take a few weeks.  I’ll show you then what to do with them.  For right now I’m just enjoying the happiness in green!

I also planted basil but it takes forever to come up.  It’s great when it does, but I wouldn’t recommend only planting basil right now because it gets discouraging waiting for it.

Ginger MintAnother happy happy is my pot of ginger mint from last year’s garden.  I never got it planted so it languished in its container from the garden center all summer.  I brought it in and watched it die off, hoping it was just going dormant for a few months.  I was right!  Here they are sprouting anew!

The sleeping gardener in me is waking up.  I might make it through this winter after all!

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Homemade Toothpaste Made Simple

Posted on February 8, 2014. Filed under: Health, Just Fun | Tags: , , , , |


It’s been bugging me for awhile that natural toothpaste is so expensive.  I’ve been paying $5-8 per tube for quite awhile.  When I read the ingredients I see it is mostly baking soda – one of the cheapest things you can buy!  So, I did a little research and concocted my own mix.  I must say, I like it very much and it cost pennies to make!  Also I know and recognize each and every ingredient.  Here is what I did:

9 parts (I used a small coffee spoon) baking soda
1 1/2 parts vegetable glycerin
1 1/2 parts hydrogen peroxide
2 parts melted coconut oil
3 measures stevia powder (the measure is a tiny spoon in the container, probably equivalent to a packet of the powder)
10 drops cinnamon bark essential oil
30 drops peppermint essential oil
5 drops clove essential oil

Mix together in a little container into which you dip your toothbrush.

The first attempt did not include coconut oil or clove.  I noticed coconut oil was included in some recipes I found and when I added it in it definitely made the whole mix more creamy.  Also I have a little residual nerve pain from a recent filling so I added clove to dull that pain and add to the anti-bacterial power of this blend even though cinnamon is about as powerful as you can get in this regard.  Keep in mind that you want to use pure essential oils from reputable companies, probably not what you find on the shelf in the health food store, unfortunately.  I highly recommend Aromatics International because they chemically test every batch to assure no adulteration.  The mouth is a pretty sensitive place – all mucous membranes – I wouldn’t want to use anything suspect.  I find this mix leaves my teeth squeaky clean and my whole mouth feels fresh.  I actually like it better than the commercially produced stuff – probably because I’m biased!!

Disclaimer:  I am not an aromatherapist and I am only reporting here what I did and what has worked well for me.  I encourage you to do your own research on recipes and essential oils to use.  The Aromatics International website offers a wealth of information on use and safety of their oils.  Do not experiment without knowledge.  Consult a certified clinical aromatherapist if you have any concerns.

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Eating Raw Garlic

Posted on January 6, 2014. Filed under: Health | Tags: , , |

eating raw garlic

I watched a Youtube video about eating raw garlic to prevent and treat winter colds.  Bill got a cold so I started using my stash of homegrown garlic.  My Joseph Joseph garlic crusher has been getting a lot of use as a result.  Every day we’ve been peeling, crushing, and enjoying it in salsa with a few chips as advised in the video.  You have to do something to disguise it because it is some powerfully burning hot stuff!

The guy on the video says eating raw garlic will cut short any cold you pick up so this was going to be a good test.

What do you know!?  Bill’s cold never got very bad and it was gone in 2 days.  I never got it.  We have continued our daily raw garlic regimen.  I have noticed it gives me a warmth in my chest after I eat it.  Quite a nice feeling on these bitter cold Wisconsin days!

Have you ever eaten raw garlic?  If so, what is your favorite way to disguise it?

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Healthy Air Freshener + A Fix for the Girls

Posted on January 2, 2014. Filed under: Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Essential Oils 1Air “fresheners” enrage me – can you believe that?!  It’s because chemical manufacturers have hoodwinked the public into believing that saturating the very air we breathe with toxic chemicals is a good idea.  We’ve got everything from scented oils that get plugged in to an electrical device and gelled cones that dissolve to sprays given every natural-sounding name they can think of:  garden mist, lavender meadows, fe-breeze.  I maintain that when people are diagnosed with a variety of cancers no one ever asks what kind of chemicals have saturated their environment for decades:  the lawn chemicals, the laundry detergents, perfumes, shampoos, and yes, air “fresheners.”  No one looks at the cumulative effects of all this in our systems.

Well, I for one will have none of it!  Here is a healthy, fun, easy and cheap true air freshener for you:

1.  Put in 10-30 drops of essential oils of your choice (I recommend Aromatics International because they test each batch so they know it’s pure and  unadulterated.)  I used lavender and lime!  It smells refreshingly calming.

2.  Fill with water.  Stick in reeds and then turn over.  Turn them once a day.  Add more oils when needed, every few days.

Tips:  If you choose a container with a tight opening it will keep the oils in longer.  Use reeds you buy online (called replacement reeds) or at local garden centers.  Or any bamboo rods you have around will work too.  Change the oils for different moods or goals.  When my husband came down with a cold I added eucalyptus to battle those bugs!

Essential Oils 2Secondly today I have a little fix I’ve discovered for sore breasts.  Here’s what Aromatics International says about Rose essential oil:

Rose absolute – Rose damascena

Rose is known for many therapeutic effects such as hormone balancing during menopause, cooling for hot flashes (use the mist), calming, cleansing, and purifying the reproductive system. It can also be emotionally uplifting and tonic for the nervous system.

Sounds good to me and my girls!  This stuff is the priciest of all the oils, but really, I could spend much more on toxic perfumes, so I figure I’m worth it.  I used an empty 2 oz. bottle in which I put melted coconut oil and 4 drops of the rose.  That lovely little blue ceramic pot there I brought back from Paris, it’s La Fermière yogurt which you must have everyday if you get to Paris!  Anyway, it makes a nice little container to place my mixture in and fill with hot water just to melt that coconut oil again each day.  Then just pour a little out into the palm of your hand and rub all over.  It makes you feel so much better and it makes you smell good for a whole day without anything toxic to your system.  It has, thusfar in this perimenopause journey, been the most successful treatment for everything!  If you try it I’d be very interested to know how you like it.

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Don’t Be a Loser Failure in 2014

Posted on December 31, 2013. Filed under: Exercise, Health, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , |

No one wants to talk about resolutions this year.  I think it’s because many people have made them and promptly broken them.  People who work out at clubs can tell you that for 3-4 weeks beginning in January the places are jammed, but then, thankfully, all the newbies go back to their normal inactive lives.

The brink of a new year makes us think about ways to improve our lives.  We imagine a leaner, healthier, more creative, happier new year.  We make goals and begin to follow through on them.  And then we just forget about it until next year.  Why?  Don’t we really want to have that life that we envision for ourselves?  Then why don’t we do it?

I’ll tell you:  all these resolutions are actually activities.  Activities take time.  You cannot just do more without giving up something that presently takes your time.  So, every resolution has to have a positive and a negative; that is, they have to say what you will do more and what you will do less!  Let’s try it out…

In 2014, I resolve to exercise for at least 30 minutes 3x per week AND shop for great deals at TJMaxx not more than 1x per month.

I do think it is unrealistic that you’ll give up entirely something useless that you do enjoy, but you get the idea.  I think the resolution has to have 2 parts and then you probably have to hold yourself accountable with a chart that lives in the car.  Record the date you went to the store for that month so you don’t forget.  Also make a written record of your workouts.  It does reinforce that you are being successful.

Kettle bells

Can you see the cobwebs on my kettlebells? Maybe you can guess what my resolution is about this year?

I also think that when people make too many resolutions they are dooming themselves to failure.  You are not going to quit smoking, lose weight, start exercising, learn to cook healthy, stop yelling at your kids, and clean the house more all at once!  I suggest picking 1 that you’d really like to conquer.  That will be a huge accomplishment when you really incorporate it into your life for good.  Pick the one that you’ve been wanting for the most time.  Once you get that one under control you will have started a snowball to attempt the others one at a time.

I’d be interested to know how your resolutions work out this year, especially if you use any of my suggestions!  Peace and prosperity, health and longevity, love and learning for all in 2014!

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Secret Weapon Banlangen!

Posted on December 20, 2013. Filed under: Health | Tags: , , , , , |

Ban Lan Gen

Who has time to be sick?  Who has the will to spend 5-10 days moping around with drippy, yet stuffed-up nose, body aching, can’t sleep but dead on your feet, head banging.  No thank you!

But how to avoid it?  Well, 3 times this past week I pulled out my secret weapon.  My acupuncturist, Angela Parker – Towering Pines Acupuncture, sold me this package of Banlangen which is a small box of little boxes wherein you find small brown sugar cubes to drop into hot water.  The tea tastes good and I have found that getting one into me within 1 hour of feeling a few symptoms knocks it right out of the system!  I have quite a stockpile of these little boxes – never want to be without it!!

Isn’t it great when you find something that works, is cheap, and isn’t full of nasty pharmaceuticals?  I avoid most food products made in China, but I’ll tell you, when it comes to natural medicines, I like to see Product of China on the label because those people know what they are doing!

Much thanks to Angela Parker!

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