Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Veggie and Black Bean Salsa

My sister makes a black bean salsa that I often enjoy. I called and got her recipe but had so many other vegetable around from my garden and several generous neighbors that I started throwing all sorts of fun things in and WOW did it come out amazing! I needed to blog about it just so I could have the recipe. I shared it with the two neighbors that gave me veggies and a few others as it made a large Tupperware bowl full.

Vegetable and Black Bean Salsa or Salad

· 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
· 1/2 cup olive oil (I tried it with and without and didn't notice a difference)
· 1 clove garlic, minced (I used crushed garlic from WalMart)
· 1 teaspoon salt (Used Real Salt from Redmond, UT)
· 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (Depends on the btu's of the cayenne
, be careful and just add a dash and taste)
· 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
· 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels (I cut mine off the cob fresh)
· 1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced (used 2)
· 1 red bell pepper, chopped (actually used a hot pepper from my garden minced)
· 2 tomatoes, chopped (Used more for a salsa feel)
· 6 green onions, thinly sliced (used dehydrated chives and fresh onion)
· 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional but I used fresh in one batch and dried in another and both were good)
· Any garden vegetable cut into small pieces, I used summer squash, two types of cucumber, zucchini, and I think chopped olives would have been good in place of the olive oil.

1.Place lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cayenne pe
pper in a small jar. Cover with lid, and shake until ingredients are well mixed.
2.In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, avocado, bell pepper, tomatoes, green onions, other vegetables and cilantro.

Shake lime dressing, and pour it over the salad. Stir salad to coat vegetables and beans with dressing, and serve.

Serve with chips of any kind. Tomorrow, I will blog these wonderful homemade tortilla corn chips.

This was a wonderful way to enjoy fresh garden vegetable raw and enjoy the harvest as well as sharing with friends.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Life is (in) the Pits

I read the most interesting book about Laetrile. Laetrile is vitamin B-17. Almost the only place you can get both vitamin B-15 and B-17 in a natural form are from stone fruit pits, seeds or kernels. Plum, apricot, nectarine and peach seeds all have natural B vitamins in them which many Americans are depleted in because we don't eat the foods that help us get them. You can also get Laetrile from some sprouts but not many Americans sprout either. In part, that is why we have so much cancer among other things.

Two books I read on the subject are "The death of Cancer" by Dr. Harold W. Manner. And, the other is, "Laetrile Case Histories" by John A. Richardson, M.D. & Patricia Irving. The first is very lab oriented and the second is all case studies from the 70's or so in which laetrile worked on cancer patients.

I started eating apricot seeds a few years ago and found that it is easier to buy them than to collect them sometimes. I bought them in bulk so I have some for storage. I rotate them and have tried to eat them many ways but they are so bitter that I finally bought a coffee grinder and I place a few nuts in the grinder and once they are ground, I swallow the powder down with water. If you want the biggest bang, take them with a pancreatic enzyme to break it down making it easier to digest.

I also read an article that suggested eatting things you want to absorb with an avocado. When eating an avocado with a tomato, you absorb seven times the amount of lutein you would by eating the tomato alone.

So, I crack open my plum pits, take out the nut, let them dry, store them in a Ziploc bag in the fridge, and eat a few in the morning on an empty stomach with 2 pancreatic enzymes and half of an avocado and drink it down with water that has mineral drops from Marine Mineral in it.

I have felt a difference in my health since I started taking the apricot seeds. Some people talk about them having arsenic in them but it isn't a type that is absorbed and it is broken down into a harmless substance according to the reading I have done. I bought my apricot seeds from Apricot Power online. They have great information and offer several products including Pancreatic enzyme and the B-15 and B-17 vitamins in pill forms. I have taken those and found them to work well also.

I hope your life is the pitts as well!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dried Plums on the Dehydrator

We have such a wonderful plum tree. We dry plums every year and some friends said they wanted me to write more about dehydrating fruit.

We have figured out how many plums will fit on each dehydrator tray. If you cut them about twice as thick as a quarter.

Count how many plums fit on each tray and multiply by the number of trays you have. Only pick that much fruit to dry as the fresher the fruit, the better it is to cut and dry.

Wash the fruit. Slice it and place on a tray not overlapping but touching at the sides to fill the tray. Let it dry to your dryers specs flipping them half way through the dry time. I usually am able to combine two trays into one after they have dried overnight to let them finish drying so I can start a few more on the empty trays.

I listen to books on tape while I cut up the food. It keeps me entertained and makes the work go faster. I also listen to them while I cook dinner. I get through a few books a week in the fall when there are lots of things to dry.

Once the plums are dry, place them in a Tupperware container. Make sure to label them on the side or top with the date and item. I usually write where the fruit came from along side. If it is mine, I know it is pesticide free. If I get a box of fruit from the store, it most likely has pesticides. I try to give my kids the pesticide free fruit.

My youngest ate almost a whole tray of the half dried plums today telling me that it tastes just like fruit roll-ups. Dried plums are one of my personal favorites along with green plums and nectarines. Fresh pineapples is also WONDERFUL dried. I still don't understand why they put sugar on the pineapple they sell dried in the store as it is so sweet on its own.

Hope you enjoy your dried plums as much as we enjoy ours.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Handy" Back Pack

The kids head back to school this week. We had everything ready and my youngest wanted to use a bag instead of a backpack. Well, it didn't go well and she decided she wanted a backpack instead. So, we pulled out the packs we had and she looked at a few to see which would be best for her needs when I had an idea.

We had a pack that we took to Peru on our service mission that got some yellow paint on it while we painted houses. I asked her if she would like to paint the pack with her hands and decorate it with markers. She was all over that.

I got out our acrylic paints and put down our clear plastic painting table cloth. I put on her old paint shirt and away we went.

She picked white, purple and red for the colors she wanted to use. The red paint was a bit thin and didn't show up like I would have liked so we did several layers but she put thumb prints on the little coin case that came with it.

We used Sharpie poster-paints and Roseart metallics color sharp pens to write on the black pack so they would show up. She made peace signs, cool words and other symbols to decorate the pack. She said "My friends will think this is so cool." What a blessing we could find a way to use an old pack and make it fun for her and save me money buying a new one. She enjoyed her evening and I enjoyed seeing her so happy.

What other fun things can we paint? Perhaps a "Handy" pencil case? Here to any other "Handy" ideas!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Dot Com from Rick

Today, I got the most wonderful gift for my birthday. My youngest brother Rick gave me a dot com site for my birthday.

I was talking to his wife one day about my blog and how she could look up how I do pedicures on my blog. We got to talking about how I was using blogger but it made it hard for people to find or remember sometimes.

My brother jumped up and said he would help me see if "the secret is gratitude" was taken as a dot com. To my joy, it wasn't taken. He showed me about some different host websites and explained a few things but I was in a hurry and wanted to think about if I really wanted to invest more time and money into this blog.

I went home and thought about it during the last few busy weeks of summer. Today while I was in a board meeting for the local food bank, I got the most wonderful text. My brother bought me thesecretisgratitude.com and paid for a year of hosting for me for my upcoming birthday. I was really surprised and pleased at his thoughtfulness and generosity. The thing he didn't know was that I had decided that I wasn't going to put the money into the dot com and if Heavenly Father wanted the blog moved, it would be his doing.

When I told that to my brother today, he said it was weird that he was trying to log onto his account and couldn't get on but what showed up on the screen was something like, "The secret to having family join" or something that made him think that he needed to do this for me today. So as of today, I am a dot com owner!

Making my birthday wish for the next year before blowing out the candles..... What wonders will God bring into my life this year?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Baby Shower Game Power

We went to a baby shower last week and played a fun game. It was a matching concentration game. You print each word twice putting one on a blue card and one on a pink card. Place all the cards face down. Everyone gets a turn trying to match two cards. If they match two cards, they get the candy bar listed next to the matching word.

Drooling = Goobers
bundle of joy= almond joy
baby girl = baby ruth
baby boy = big hunk
epidural = life savers
diapers = raisennettes
hospital bill =- $100,000
contractions = whopppers
premature = runts
9 months = rocky road
nursing = milky way
conception = score

obstetrician = butterfinger
stomach = mounds
grandparents = hugs & kisses
unbilical cord= twizzler pull and peel
twins = twix
mom = mamba
dad = sugar daddy
baby’s name = w

The words match up with the name of the candy bar. There were enough bars that most people got something. It was really cute.

The second game they played was a game where they had everyone smell baby food and the person who guessed the most correctly won a prize. They had ten flavors and marked each bottle with a number. I just happened to win a lovely smelling candle in that game because the baby food smelled like my dried fruit and veggies which gave me an advantage.

The games were fun for all ages and made for a fun time for all!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Memory Lane Art Shows for Kids

Do you collect your kids school papers and art? Does it go into bins where it gets bent, never gets sorted and you really know it will never get hung on the wall but just have a hard time letting it go?

I heard someone suggest once that they video tape their kids while growing up in the same place in the house once a month on one video so that over the years, the kids grows in fast time with just little snippets. I thought that was a great idea.

From that idea, I started to have my kids talk about their school work and art projects on video once a week so that we could then throw the papers away (we actually use them to start fires in the winter) and not have to collect and store tons of papers.

Each child gets a turn to show one item and then once they have all had a turn, we go through again. We had them show awards, play instruments they were learning at school, sing songs they had learned for programs and play the piano or do a dance.

One night, I was looking for a snippet of one of these "art shows" for a class I was teaching. One of my older girls and I spent hours looking for one that would be appropriate for my class. We laughed so hard watching the videos that we were crying and we woke another daughter who was in the basement which was far from us.

It was so funny to see the girls pretending to be news anchors talking about their art. Or, one picking their nose. Another runs out after taking a shower with no close on. Still another burps or shares from the other end. :-) I never imagined when we were taking the time to video them how much fun we would have watching them later. It was so cute to have them describe the craft or how they made it in their high little voices.

Not only do we have the "art" on video but we have the emotion and situation of the time captured as well. It also saves on space for those who don't have lots of storage and best of all it gave my girls pride and ownership in getting to show off their work, craft or talent.

We did keep a few notable pieces of art that were framed or will be at some point but in general it is enough to have it on film without keeping the bulk. I did my last one yesterday with stuff they entered in the fair for which they won ribbons.

Here is to your "memory lane" art show!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Recycled Bag from Plastic Tablecloths

We went to a party at my brothers house and my sister-in-law showed me the cutest bag out of old plastic throw away table clothes. The white strips are just grocery sacks and the other colors are all from used party table clothes. Her dad makes these as gifts for his family. I was extremely impressed at the strength and brilliance of the bag along with the idea.

I have a bag made of grocery sacks I got a few years ago and when we were going to Peru to do our service mission, we took tons of plastic bag strips for the natives to make these plastic bags. I think it is a great idea and wonder how you could collect the table cloths.

My guess is around graduation time or the holidays there would be lots thrown out but to get the word out to collect them in order to have enough to make bags would be a challenge. However, if you sent a note around the elementary school, little children are great to want to recycle. I bet they would wash them and bring them in for recycling.

He sews the handles on all the way down weaving it through the purse or bag part as you can tell by the green strips woven through the handle part giving the handles more strength allowing you to carry more things in the bag weight wise. I thought this was a very fun thing and think I will try it next time I have a party with disposable table cloths.

What can you make using old table cloths?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mad Hatters of Service - part 2

My girls went to their dad's for three weeks. They don't have much to do while he is at work so I suggested that they take their hat looms and make some baby hats to donate to the hospital or woman shelter.

In two of the three weeks there, they made about 10 hats. Using time they would have used just to watch tv, they were able to use all the yarn they took with them and make some cute hats.

They finished them to the point that they either needed to be tied off and made into a beanie or have a pom pom made and finished up. I spent a few minutes this week finishing off the hat they did. I have some regular yarn they could use but they don't like that yarn as much and lose interest with the solid colors. So, I thought that we needed more cute yarn to keep them interested and give variety to the hats.

Heavenly Father is so amazing in our lives. If we think of something we want or need even without verbalizing it, we are blessed with it within days. I went to one of our favorite second hand stores and just coming out was a cart with skeins of fun yarn. They were all less than $1 a skein and now we have plenty of yarn for hats.

The girls each entered one of their cute hats into the county fair and both won ribbons for their work.

I am hoping they will have enough soon that we can donate them. They did give one to their newest cousin born last month. He looked so cute in his camo hat!

Thank you Lord for always providing just what we need when we need it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Flower Power - Hair Bows part 2

These fun bows were made from gift bows. They are in the colors of the schools they attend. They dress up crazy for "spirit" day and when I saw the bows, thought they would be perfect.

The bows I made out of flowers, I just glued onto the back of the flower using a hot glue gun. I cut a small piece of ribbon and glued it over the bottom of the clip which helped secure it onto the flower as sometimes hot glue when cold will peel off metal. The clips I used were pointed so would glide through the hair without catching, however, there are another type that make a "u" type shape that catch on the hair.

Someone gave my girls a bow with the ribbon starting on the inside of the bottom, rounded around the tip, over the bottom of the clip and up and over the clasp so that the clasp doesn't get caught in the hair. So, when I made the girls fun bow clips, I used this method which makes it easier to use.

Hot glue is the best. Any type of 1/4 inch ribbon will do to cover the clip. Clips come fairly cheap from a craft store or a beauty supply store. Flowers can be purchased at the dollar store, discount stores or craft stores. Sometimes you can get them from second hand stores or yard sales off wreaths, or arrangements.

Today, my youngest had a friend over and her friend was wearing a bow in her hair. They picked out three options for the "first day of school outfit" and two of the three had matching flowers attached to the hanger.

My sister took the mix and match flowers with Velcro camping for the cousins to make as an activity. They had so much fun creating and we even got my dad to wear some! Perhaps he will start a new trend!

Here is to adding "flower power" into your life!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Flowers Power - Hair bows part 1

Hair flowers have become popular again for about a year but over the past few months, they have gotten really big. Last Christmas I made my girls about several cousins 20 hair flowers each and we hang them on a ribbon for easy access and viewing.

My sister made some to sell. She did a fun thing. She put Velcro on the center, the middle flower and base so that you can interchange them. Instead of one bow, you can have unlimited matches and color themes.

Just take a silk flower or a ribbon, take off the stem and center and put a self sticking Velcro circle on the backside of whatever item you want for your center. Buttons, gems, ribbons or smaller flowers all work. Put the opposite sticky Velcro on the top of the center flower you choose. Then, if you want to change out the centers, they will all have the same side of the Velcro strips on them.

I made some fun one's for spirit day out of gift bows. I will blog tomorrow about how to attach the clips and ribbon to avoid tangles. My girls wear these all the time and they can dress up anything from a pair of jeans and a t-shirt to a church dress. They even make a boring pony tail dressy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rainbows of Color to Organize your Family

My brother has a system that I think is brilliant. Each child has a color they picked. No two kids can have the same color. Once they pick a color, it is their color for life. When they buy something for that child, it is always in that color.

They have a blanket throw for each child. They know exactly which child left the blanket down because it is their color. They each have a towel in their color. If it is on the floor, they don't have a towel and they know which child left it out. In my house, we all have white bath robes I made. For years when they were younger I would have to run around finding which child left the wet robe on the carpet. They don't have that problem.

They each have one plate, bowl and cup. If they use it, they wash it and put it right away. They then know if they don't, they will have to before the next meal. They have hooks on the wall next to the fridge where they each hang their mug so they don't have cups all over the counters and house. If they take it somewhere and leave it, they have to go find it before getting another drink.

They have cubbies made out of milk crates that they use for stuff that would be left on the floor or tables and for school homework type items.

They have used this system for years and when we go camping, we all know which items belong to his family because their camp chairs, hot dog roasters and even fishing poles are all in their rainbow of colors.

They've also bought carabiners in their colors to attach things and backpacks, fanny packs and water bottles over the years.

It is funny how even down to utensils for camping come in plastic colors. My kids are all getting older now but this is a fun way to give kids ownership and responsibility for their things.

If something doesn't come in their color, they bought the sticky labels that you click raised letter into plastic, in all their kids colors. They use their color label and put their name on items.

Fun idea! My youngest just told me that she is going to use this idea when she has kids.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch

I was at a women's meeting for my church a few months ago and someone made this recipe using Frito's and another made it using cereal. Over the past few months, I have made this with most anything in the cupboard. It has never gone uneaten.

I had some amaranth organic cereal that wasn't getting eaten. I had some whole wheat crackers that the kids didn't like. I have children that don't like nuts and I try to get them to eat them.

I used this recipe and put the crackers in in small chunks, mixed in marshmallows, almonds, pecans, cashews, several types of cereal, pretzels were a favorite and Frito's are still a must.

Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
1 bag Frito's or pretzels etc
Other toppings: nuts, cereal, marshmallows, chocolate, m & m’s etc

Bring brown sugar and corn syrup to a boil stirring until mixed well. Take off the heat and add peanut butter and mix well. Pour all the “mix in’s” onto a cookie sheet or in a bowl. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the “mix in’s” and mix well. I find using a spatula helps scrape the mixture off the bottom until it is really mixed, otherwise the caramel sticks to the bottom. If you add marshmallows or chocolate chips, they will melt if added at first. If you want them to hold thier shape, stir all the "mix in's" together and let the caramel cool for a few minutes and then stir in the meltable items. Spread on a cookie sheet and let cool. Pour into an airtight container to store.

I hate to say how much of this I have eaten in the past two months. We took it camping, to the lake, to the condo etc. My favorite is that it is only 5 minutes from start to finish and is so good.

If you or someone you love has a thing for peanut butter, this is for you!