Thursday, September 30, 2010

laundry detergent + A NEW BABY BOY :)

I know this is a cooking blog but I came across this recipe for homemade, "green" laundry detergent and I just had to try it.
Did you know that laundry detergents at the store run somewhere around $0.60+ per load?
This one?
About $0.02 per load.

Can't beat that :)

Well, okay.
I can beat that.

The cutest thing on this earth just made his appearance in our lives.
The cost for that?
= 28 hours of hard labor + a few extra pounds of "cravings" + one loving and Godly husband that made it home just in time from his deployment to witness the birth of his first son.


Laundry Detergent
Makes 2 1/2ish gallons
4 cups water, boiling
2 cups grated soap (I used organic soap...about one large bar plus one travel sized bar)
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda (not baking soda)
2 gallons water

Bring your water to a boil, add grated soap (I used my food processor to make this easier), and reduce to low until melted.  *This might take a bit of time depending on what soap you use.  It took me about 15 minutes to get it completely melted*
Pour into a large 5 gallon bucket.  Add borax and washing soda and stir until dissolved.  Add the water and stir.  Pour into an old laundry detergent container and use 1/4 cup for a load.  Shake well before using because the detergent might gel.

*And sorry for the terrible pictures.  I used organic soap...but it was brown.  Makes for some ugly detergent.*

Use on itty bitty baby clothes and big, strong Marine cammis :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

italian antipasti salad

I know I've been doing a ton of salads lately but we are so close to the end of summer (yes, it's still hot in the South so it's still summer for us) that I'm trying to fit them all in!

This is one of those recipe that you don't really need a recipe for.
So, we'll go step by step and you can modify as you see fit!

Italian Antipasti Salad ever many you need it to serve!

Fill up your salad bowl with any kind of greens you like:

Add sliced Italian ham:

Add some Italian salami:

Some Swiss cheese (or provolone):

Sharp cheddar:

Quartered baby artichokes:

Tomatoes and black olives:

Sliced hard boiled eggs:

And finish with some pepperocinis:

Enjoy with your favorite Italian vinaigrette! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

alyssa's first cookbook!

A couple months ago, a beautiful baby girl was born to one of my best friends.  My friend decided to make me the godmother to this precious little girl.  So, as my birthday gift to her, I decided to make her a cookbook! 
A kids' cookbook, similar to the ones that I had grown up with.  It was a feeble attempt but I think it came out really cute and sweet.  I hope she always enjoys it!

Love you, precious girl!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

wasabi avocado salad

In an effort to feed this little tyke some nutrients (as opposed to, ya know, eating that French toast all day long), I've been trying to incorporate new and interesting salads into my diet.  
While browsing my favorite cooking blogs/websites, I came across this beauty!  

Well, not really a beauty, per say, but give me anything with spice and avocadoes and I'm hooked!!!
Unfortunately, VYY's recipe didn't have nearly enough spice and heat to it so I modified it :)
I hope you enjoy!

Wasabi Avocado Salad
Serves 4-6.
Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum.
1 very ripe avocado, diced
2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons hummus, plain or garlic
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons wasabi paste
1/4 - 1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds 
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
3/4 -1 cup broccoli, chopped into small florets
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed and at least a little dry (you don't want them wet)
2 teaspoons wasabi paste 
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Greens of your choice for 4-6 people
2 carrots, cut into small matchsticks

Begin by processing the first six ingredients together in a food processor or blender.  Slowly add oil until emulsified and the dressing is smooth and refrigerate until ready to use.
Toast your almonds in a dry pan over medium heat, being careful not to burn them. Set aside.
In the same pan, add 1 tsp of oil and add broccoli. Saute over high heat until the broccoli is beginning to color in spots and is bright green, but still crisp. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and set aside.
Add the second teaspoon of oil to the same pan and add the chickpeas. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook the chickpeas until they are golden on all sides, using a spatula to loosen them as necessary, but don’t worry if they stick a little. Add the wasabi paste, sugar, and soy sauce and stir well. Cook for about 30 seconds, remove from pan and set aside.
In a large serving bowl, add your salad greens. Add the broccoli and most of the chickpeas, broccoli and carrots, reserving a few to garnish the top. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Plate the salad, and garnish the top with the remaining chickpeas, almonds and carrots. Crack fresh black pepper over the top. Serve immediately.
If you are serving the salad later, do not add the dressing until the last minute.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

french toast

Okay, so everyone knows that I have a sweet tooth, yes?  :)

During the first trimester, I thought that I was going crazy!  I didn't crave any sweets.  And not only desserts, but I didn't even want pancakes or French toast or waffles on Saturday morning.  I don't even consider those sweets so I was shocked that I wasn't absolutely craving that for breakfast.


Well, heh heh.  I'm a week away from our little guy coming into this world and I am definitely back to normal :)

Let me show you one of my favorite Saturday morning breakfasts.  Not the prettiest or the most gourmet but man, are these the tastiest you'll ever eat!

French Toast
Serves 4.
4-8 slices of stale-ish bread, either homemade, French bread, sourdough, anything you like!
5 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Maple syrup

Whisk together the eggs and milk in a large pie pan.  Sprinkle in cinnamon and whisk to combine.

Heat a bit of butter in a large frying pan over medium-low heat.
Dip the bread into the egg mixture, on both sides, and saute in frying pan until golden on both sides.

You want it to be nice and crispy on both sides, but still nice and soft on the inside.

Top with a pat of butter and drizzle with maple syrup.  Enjoy!  (I know I will :) )

Thursday, September 16, 2010

black bean and corn salad

I know, I know. 
This sounds really blah.
But it's actually really really flavorful and has great texture!
Crunchy red bell peppers, creamy black beans, and sweet mango and corn.....mmmmm.
Tastes great at room temperature, cold or warm so this is another great dish to bring to a summer BBQ.
And look at those colors?  What's not to like?

Black Bean and Corn Salad
Serves 8, as a side dish.
Taken from GDL.
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or I made this again with cooked and cooled barley instead and it came out really well!)
1 red bell pepper, cleaned, de-seeded and diced
1 mango, peeled, seeded and diced
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large serving bowl, mix together the corn, black beans, garbanzo beans, bell pepper, and mango.

In a small bowl, combine the lime zest, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, basil, and cumin. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. 

Serve now or refrigerate for 1 hour, and toss again, before serving.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

GD cooking class - fresh pineapple + pineapple chili popsicles

Lots to learn today!!

We'll start by learning how to prep a fresh pineapple and then we'll turn that pineapple into a delicious, sweet treat with a little kick! 
And healthy too!  Only 65 calories a pop, this is a great way to enjoy your sweets and still fit into that bathing suit :)

Prepping a Pineapple
1 fresh pineapple, smelled at the base to see if it's sweet and ripe
Sharp, serrated knife

Begin by chopping off the top and bottom.

Stand the pineapple up and carefully slice off the hard, outer layer.

Slice into quarters.

Stand each quarter up and slice off hard core.

Slice each remaining quarter in half, lengthwise, and dice into large cubes.

Store in a tupperware in the fridge and use within 3-4 days.

Now, let's do something with that yummy fresh pineapple!

Pineapple Chili Popsicles
Makes 9.
1 fresh pineapple, cubed
3/4 cup pineapple juice
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
9 bathroom cups, wax-lined
9 popsicle sticks

In a food processor, add 3/4 of the cubed pineapple.

Add pineapple juice, lime juice, sugar, and chili powder.
Blend until smooth.

(I accidentally blended before adding the chili matters not!)

Chop the remaining quarter of pineapple cubes and fold into blended mixture.

Pour into the cubs and insert a popsicle stick.  (Or plastic spoon, if you find that you look in your craft closet and you are out of craft sticks :( )

Freeze until solid, peel off paper cup and enjoy!!

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