Thursday, June 30, 2011

Carrot Pulp, Crackers and Flour

Yesterday, I told you how I make the carrot juice. I shared that I would let you know how I use the carrot (any vegetable for that matter) pulp. I figured this out a year or two ago. I went to a class for "Raw" foods and the woman said she used to throw away the pulp when she juiced but then she found out the fiber and pulp was almost of more value than the juice.

With that thought on my mind. I had lots of veggies at the end of the year and I couldn't dry, freeze or eat any more. I decided to juice them and freeze them into ice cubes and then take them out and let them melt into a glass and drink them that way. It worked out well and gave me "fresh" juice for months. However, I was left with lots of mixed veggie pulp. I wondered how they would taste as crackers. I mushed the pulp into patties and added spices. I then put them on the dehydrator for 24 hours and then stored them in Tupperware.

The crackers tasted fine but the texture was dry. I didn't like the texture so I saved them and when I make my rice in the rice cooker, I crumble the "crackers" up into small pieces and put them into the rice cooker as I cook the rice. It adds texture, color and nutrition to the rice.

Then, I had the idea to put the "crackers" into the coffee grinder and make carrot flour. It can be used to add color to homemade noodles or thrown into soups to thicken them. It can be used to add flavor to any sauce and dish and will add a nice orange color. If you have a Vitamix or another dry blender, you can make larger batches of veggie flour.

When I was making the carrot patties to dehydrate, I added some dried crushed red peppers to add more color and a bit of spice. The small bit of apple give sugar and the celery gives salt and the peppers give hot or spicy.

I am going to make some flax crackers this week and plan on adding a bit of the carrot flour to the mix. I will let you know how it goes. As you can tell from the past year of posts, I don't waste much.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Carrot Juice and Veggie Popsicles

I have a good friend that come through and visits me about once a month. He lives in another state and I am on the travel path for his job. He told me on one of his visits that where he lives, they sell carrots by the 25 lb bag for less than $10. I couldn't believe it but he said they have lots of horses in the area so they get the bag of seconds for cheap to feed to the horses.

I asked him if he would be willing to get me a bag on his way through next time. Last week, he brought me a 25 pound bag of carrots for $8. We roast carrots almost every Sunday. I haven't juiced them in the past because they are more than $1 a pound so it doesn't seem cost effective to juice them. I have juiced fresh grown carrots but don't get many of those either so this was a great blessing. Carrots and apples together are one of the best immune boosters naturally you can get from food.

The carrots were almost all great. I would say that one in 20 was odd shaped or split. These were the worst of it and not many at that. However, when you are going to juice them, it really doesn't matter what shape the carrot takes. I put the carrots in gallon Ziploc bags and gave some to my sister that lives near me.

I had some apples that were getting older and started to wrinkle so I thought they would be great juiced as well. I learned awhile ago that when I juice, I like to keep the pulpy stuff so I always wash and clean the veggies and fruit I juice so that the pulp is clean. I cored the apple as well before juicing them.

Celery has lots of natural salt so I added a few stalks of celery to each glass. The girls weren't thrilled about having to try it but they took it well. I actually enjoyed the flavor and thought that adding a dash of Cayenne pepper would give it a zing. Or, you could just throw in some fresh hot pepper.

Once the juice is made, I poured it into these little Popsicle makers you can buy at the dollar store. I really enjoyed the Popsicles but my girls weren't so excited about them because they said Popsicles aren't supposed to taste like vegetables. I have made several flavors of the Popsicles but I preferred the carrot/apple juice to the berry one I made because there was no pulp in the carrot juice one. The berry one had lots of texture.

I asked the girls if I added pineapple juice to the carrot juice pop if they would have liked it better and they thought that they would because it wouldn't taste so much like carrots. They like carrots but just not frozen is what they said.

This is what the pulp looked like and I will write about how I use that tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Princess Five Surprise

I arrived home late last evening from an out of town conference and was thrilled to have my youngest princess home earlier than expected from her month with her father.

We were all very happy to see her. I sent her with some projects to keep her busy. She has never been alone for long periods of time because she is the youngest so she had 8 hours a day alone while her dad was at work. She used her time well.

She took a hat loom with her (see Mad hatters part one and two with these links) and made many hats to donate to the Woman's Shelter. She also had time to read some books she wanted to finish.

She bought "Just Dance 2" for the Wii and memorized most of the dances which shows how often she worked out while gone. She brought the game home and today, we had some fun playing the game as a family.

It is quite the workout. I think I may need to figure out a workout plan using the game.

While at my out of town conference, I found lots of coins in my path. I went to clean my mothers apartment and while leaving the store where I bought cleaning supplies, I found a penny. While at the holistic health conference, I was thrilled by the last presenter I attended. I was discussing with my sister how I thought the information would be very helpful in my life when I looked down to see a penny. I stopped mid word and said to my sister, "Guess what I just found?" She laughed and said, "A penny?" I gave her that penny because I had so many of my own from the weekend. Here are the coins I found.

The last picture is the bottom of my "found coins vase" where I put all the coins I have found since starting this last year. I am getting quite the collection.

God keeps reminding me to trust him. I'm glad he gives me those reminders. Welcome home Princess number five!

Monday, June 27, 2011

What I Love About You Gifts....

A few years ago, I made
binders for my sisters family. In each of the binders, I wrote a note to each child and a note to my sister in her binder. Here is one of the actual notes for one of my nieces.

"My thought and memories about …..
I remember how excited we were to learn about a new cousin being born.
You have always been such a great example to your sisters and brothers.

I have been so impressed at how you take care of your siblings for your parents and how loving and patient you are with them.

I also have been amazed and how you help your mom with everything and I have never heard you use a harsh tone.

You are always happy and kind and I love seeing your smile.

I look forward to seeing your future blossom.

I love you and am glad you are a part of our family.

November 2009

For a thank you gift, my sister bought the frame pictured above and had my family sign it. She asked them to write a reply to the question, "What I love about ___ is?" The family wrote cute little notes as to why they love me. I thought that was very thoughtful of her but as she was limited on money at the time, she came up with a way to thank me which meant more than any gift money could buy.

A few years ago, she had me for Christmas in our family gift exchange. She lives out of state and couldn't be home for the holiday so she had all my siblings write me a "Top Ten Things I Love About ___ are:" and then she had each person give it to me when it was my turn to open my gift. I cried reading each personal message to me. I kept the letters in my journal.

I wanted to thank my sister and so I wrote this list for her:

"Top Ten Things I Love About You!
You always make others smile
You make each person feel special
You are always thinking of others before yourself
You are gracious
I know when you say you’ll do something, you will
What a wonderful Mother you are
How grateful you always are for even the smallest item
Your example of always following the Spirit
Your dedication to stand up for what is right
That you are my sister and my friend
Love, your big sister"

Another time, I had to have my friends and family write a letter for the special master during my divorce as references. What I received was an overwhelming gift. The letters I read told memories or stories of me that I forgot or situations where I made a difference in the person's life for good. I felt like I was at my own funeral. It seems that we only tell the good things about a person after they are dead.

I appreciated hearing what everyone had to say or thought of me so I thought they would perhaps enjoy the thoughts and feelings along with memories about themselves as much as I enjoyed mine.

With that thought, I decided to write each person who wrote a letter for me, I wrote them one back with as much detail as the one they wrote. It took me several weeks to get them all done and sent but I received so many thank you notes and calls for the letters.

I decided I wasn't going to avoid telling others how much they mean to me after that experience. Why do we wait until funerals to share how much we love and appreciate others. They aren't around to hear it at that point so it is wasted. We should learn to share it before they pass on.

My suggestion and goal for this week is to ponder on someone who has made a difference in your life and to write them a "Top Ten" or a "What I like about you..." letter.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Viva Las Vegas Part 4

As many times as I have visited Vegas in my life, I had never gone and taken a photo with the "Welcome to Vegas" sign. We thought we would do that before leaving. It was almost 100 degrees at night and the days hotter so leaving was a joy.

This last post is just some weird things I noticed about or in Vegas. The first one was so funny, we went to Cesar's Palace to eat and they have a huge statue of "David" which of course is naked. So, we thought we would get some funny photos. When people saw us doing these photos, they copied. It was funny.

Then, I went into a very expensive shop asking about a beautiful coffee table and while in there, there was a roman statue that had the same "situation" already taken care of with a fig leaf. My sisters weren't in the shop so I took a photo of it and just as I did, a man and his wife came around the corner and the man said, "I caught you!" I laughed and explained about our photos of "David" and then went to speak to the shop attendant. I said, "I would take that if I could." speaking of another piece and the man came around just then and said, "I know what you would take home if you could." I blushed and figured explaining the real item I wanted wouldn't do much good.

Another funny was the sign in the woman's restroom. We figure they are under law to place the sign in the casino but not under law where they have to place the sign so it ended up in the restroom as to not really put anyone off drinking so the casino makes more money. Here it is in all its craziness. It warns that drinking during pregnancy can be a hazard.

Another funny was the footprints on the cross beams in the parking garage. Every beam had lots of foot prints and the best that we could figure is that they must have been laying flat before being put up so they are all full of footprints.

This next one isn't really funny but it is a statement. As you leave the parking garage to head into the casino, they have this sign next to the door. It says, "Lock you car, Take your keys, and Hide your valuables." There was a police officer on bike in the parking garage along with a police cruiser parked just inside the garage. We talked to the police officer who was friendly but thought that it is crazy that they need police on bikes in the garages. Doesn't say much for Vegas.
Any way I look at it, I am glad to be home but had a good time enjoying my mom and sisters company.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Viva Las Vegas Part 3

Like I said for the past few days. I had a great long weekend in Vegas with my sisters and mom. We were attending the Miss USA pageant. We helped behind the scenes and had some great times.

I got signatures from many of the past Miss USA's who were visiting for the 60th anniversary. There were 39 of the 60 there.

We attended lots of parties and got to take photos with the current state winners before the pageant. We attended the dress rehearsal and the actual pageant and when we arrived back at our room, my sister (she didn't want to go to the pageant so she went shopping instead) had a party waiting for us.

She bought glasses, scepters, fake campaign, shrimp, cheesecake, drinks and all the decorations. She had stars, streamers and confetti all over the room and on the door to our room. She decorated all the mirrors with mirror markers and was wearing the funniest outfit, makeup and jewels.

She bought roses and so we decided to go down to the red carpet and take some photos. We had such a wonderful time. We enjoyed the events while staying at "Planet Hollywood."

On the way home, we stopped at Cesar's Palace for their buffet. I way over ate on the wonderful crab claws and shrimp. The desserts were wonderful as well.

The funniest thing about the trip was that I almost had more fun driving there and home with my sisters than I did in Vegas. We laughed the whole time. I am so grateful that I have sisters to enjoy. My girls are the same way. When they get together, they laugh most of the time. I look forward to the day when I take my grown daughters on vacation get-away weekends!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Viva Las Vegas Part 2

So, as stupid as this sounds. It is 1:35 a.m. and you won't believe that I went to bed after writing yesterday's post and got up in the morning, sent my family on their way and climbed back into bed and answered a few phone calls and texts and slept until 5 p.m.

I got up and ran some errands and made dinner. I visited with my girls and we ate. I worked on some bills and then got online and did my emails and started to post and I am so tired that I have been falling asleep again. I have jet lag with no jet. I am so tired I will just post a few photos and will have to catch up tomorrow I hope.

Two of my girls went out of town for the day, one for a meeting for leadership weekend in the fall and the other working with an autistic boy. It was the perfect day to sleep as Princess number five is still with her dad and Princess number two is finishing up that last summer class for her Major and 2 minors.

I was in Vegas with my mom and three sisters for four days. Sorry about the lack of information the past two days but I am hoping I can catch back up with sleep to be able to function tomorrow.

Hope you are having a wonderful summer!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

This post will be very short. I was in Vegas for the past four days with my mother and four sisters. We thought we would arrive home early but ended up (as road trips often do) getting home much later. By the time I finished unloading and getting everyone settled and getting online to do this post, it is not almost 3 a.m.

I wanted to tell you about how blessed I am. I wrote a few weeks ago about how I was finding dimes most of the time instead of pennies. This weekend I found two quarters and the last three coins I have found have all been quarters.

I think giving gratitude for what I find helps me find more. It is funny to me to see how those who give gratitude get more but I know that when I give people something and they tell me "thanks" I want to give them more and often do.

I will write about my trip tomorrow but as for now, I am tired and have to get up early so check back to find out about our fun weekend.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hot Mushroom Salad Dressing

I went to my friend Wayne's house for dinner about 24 years ago and he served us something I had never had before. He served a green salad and made a hot salad dressing for the salad.

The dressing was so good that I never forgot how interesting it was to have a cool salad with a warm dressing. It took me about 13 years before I tried to copy his dressing. I guess I was worried it would ruin the salad.

This type of dressing is probably my favorite for a green salad. The things I put into the dressing are as follow:

beef, chicken, mushrooms, chopped or sliced onions, crushed garlic, crushed red pepper, olive oil and sometimes chopped up leafy dark greens such as collard or spinach to add color or you can add finely chopped green, red or yellow peppers to add color as well.

First, I heat a pan and add about 1 cup olive oil if I am using dehydrated items, 1/2 cup if it is meat and onions. I usually use frozen onions I bought in bulk, chopped and froze to make it easier to cook. I add about 1 large chopped onion and then throw in about 1 cup dried mushrooms. I used regular button mushrooms and portabello that I dried last year. I left some of the portabello slices quite large for texture.

Next, add the garlic and crushed red pepper. I like mine spicy so I add about 2-4 tablespoons of garlic and a teaspoon of crushed red pepper. put in the peppers or greens now. Stir it all together and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

If you let this simmer longer than that, it tends to toughen the mushrooms and make them almost like jerky. Not that that is bad. I actually like it like that. However, for a more tender mushroom, less is better.

While it is simmering, I get the greens ready for the salad. I like the organic spring mix or the herb mix. I like the unusual flavors the herb mix brings. I add croutons, bacon bits and Parmesan cheese to top it off.

This part is important. Only put the dressing on right before serving or the dressing will make the salad soggy. You will laugh when I tell you that I had company the night I made this and we were in a hurry to eat and we got everything ready and I forgot to take a picture with the dressing on the salad.

We had people coming and going for several house after we ate and most commented on how good the house smelled. My company enjoyed the food as I also did. Hopefully, you will also!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kale Chips Part 2

I hadn't make kale or collard green chips for some time so when the food bank had a case of washed, bagged and cut collard greens, I was thrilled.

I wasn't thrilled to find out however that I was almost out of raw cashews which are used to make the dressing for the kale chips. I improvised and added raw pecans, and sunflower seeds instead. Here is the improvised recipe:

The coating or dressing: Juice of two lemons and their zest. (2/3 of a cup when I poured it into my measuring cup. I have used Real lemon juice before if needed.)This time I used "Real" lemon juice and zested 1/4 a lemon as I like the lemon flavor.
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of cashews This time I used 1/3 each cashew, pecan, sunflower seed.
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 a large bunch of coriander (I didn't have fresh so I used a cup of dried which worked well and tasted fine.) This time I used about 3/4 cup dried parsley
2 cloves of garlic (I used chopped from a bottle)
Put all ingredients into a blender until it is a paste
texture. Put it over the greens and mix it in with your clean hands until all of the pieces are coated on both sides.

Place them on your dehydrator or teflex sheets in a single layer. You can use other greens. I have used cilantro and parsley. Any leafy vegetable will work. If you have used a green other than kale you might want to make sure that it's not lying completely flat on the teflex. It may stick. Depending on the dehydrator, it can take anywhere from 4 hours to 24 hours. I had three and one was great in about 5 hours, one in 10 hours and the other took 24 hours. It did have double the amount of trays however. I ate some of the kale with the coating as a salad and it was very good. Store in Tupperware of course!

I like the kale raw with the dressing almost better than the dried chips. I liked the thickness of this one over the other one (see link at top)and I liked that I put more zest in this one and it tastes more lemony. My sister asked me to post this so she could try it so I thought I would share it with you as well.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Service for the "Service Men" Part 2

This week in church, they announced that the community was going to be making quilts to support our local unit that was going over seas. They were asking for people to go cut, pin and sew the quilts.

I went over to the armory on the day indicated and was impressed to see people going in and out all day and that there were so many willing to help.

They are trying to make almost 500 of these quilts that roll up into a log so they can be used as a pillow or a blanket and it will fit in their packs as they roll quite small.

The fabric was donated and is the seconds from the company that makes the "camo" fabric for the military uniforms.

Women brought in their own machines and after a quick lesson in how they needed to be sewn, they were off.

I am impressed with the community and their support of the unit and impressed with the unit as this is the third time they are headed over to active duty.

I used to make "quillows" all the time. You sew a quilt and put a pocket on the bottom center where you can put your feet when you are using the blanket and then the quilt folds up into that pocket making a "pillow" the rest of the time. I haven't made one in years now but this is a similar idea just rolled rather than folded as rolled is more compact to carry.

Thanks "Service Men" for your contribution in the world.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Service for Service Men

I love that they are called "Service Men!" I think they are doing us a service. Our local guard unit is headed over seas for the third time. One of my best friends husbands went the first time and moved before the second and third. I don't know that he has ever been the same. I think "war" changes people.

I honor anyone that has served our country. I have a brother in the reserves. I think it takes a special person to be able to do what they do.

Last month, I took my sister to "Wingers" for her birthday. While we were sitting there, three couples arrived and one of the couples had a small infant. The men were wearing the standard military camos. We knew "who they were" (We didn't know them personally.) and where they were going as two of my daughters played at a concert honoring them.

I felt strongly impressed to pay for their meal. I told my sister what I was thinking and she said she wanted to help even though she probably has less than I do right now. I know she will be blessed for her service to the men and their families.

The unit was being shipped out in two days and they will be gone for over a year. I called over the waitress and asked for their bill. She had been on her way over to give them the check. They commented on how long it was taking to get their bill. My sister and I just smiled. The manager gave them a service discount which ended up being $15 which I appreciated.

I have done similar things when I felt impressed to do it but I had never done it for the military. They thanked us when they left and I told them that we thanked them and that we would do what we could to support their families while they were gone. I actually used the term, "We've got your back." however, I don't think that begins to measure up.

I read in "Time" magazine today that 5 US soldiers were killed in one attack. I think we just miss the news or they are tired of reporting it but it makes one think about these young fathers headed off for the third time in their small children's lives. What will the cost be to our future not having these men at home raising their children?

I hadn't intended on blogging about this at all but for some reason, this is what came up. I actually had the photos loading for a different act of "Service for the Service Men." but I will post about that tomorrow. I don't know why this came up today.

I may not have much money, but, I am not in a position to go to war, and, I am grateful there are people who are. I feel I can sacrifice a few movie rentals, snacks we like or other frivolous items in my life to provide a little happiness for those who are willing to put their lives on the line.

I am Grateful to the men and women who serve so I kept the receipt so that I could put it on my "Gratitude Frame" reminding me of the things for which I am grateful.

Thanks to the "Service" Men! I'll post tomorrow what I had planned on for today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Making a Quilt Kit For Princess Number Five

My Heavenly Father loves me! I have been looking for gifts for my youngest Princess's birthday which is in a few weeks. She will be turning 12 and I want to make it a big day for her. I am on a limited budget but still want to make it fun. She wanted to go to a 4-H camp and make a quilt but wasn't able to do it as the class was full.

Today while I was at a second hand store, I got a bag of fabric for $4. The amazing thing was that the majority of the fabric was cut into perfect squares and someone had started sewing the quilt. The fabric is expensive soft bobble fabric in the cutest colors as you can see. The colors match her room.

I laid out the squares in the pattern they had started and only had to cut three strips into squares to finish the top. The bottom was also cut to the exact size that the quilt ended up being.

In order for her to be able to follow the pattern and get the squares in order. I labeled each row with a row number and side that the square is located. I then picked up the row in the order which they will be sewn and labeled the whole row and keeping them together so she can follow the pattern.

I then stacked the rows in the order she will sew them. I even had a few squares left over that I think we will make into a little pillow.

I labeled the back and the extra squares also. I then put large elastics around the whole stack so that they would be together and not lose the order they are in as well as making it a nice stack to give her for her birthday. I now she will love the blanket. It is so soft and her colors and best of all it will give us time together teaching her how to sew.

I wasn't able to pick up sewing until I was 16 and living in New Zealand. I hope that she will be able to pick it up and enjoy that talent in her life. What a great find for the day! I will post when she gets it finished.