Monthly Archives: June 2012

how to freeze berries beautifully

Recently, a fellow vendor at farmers market gave me a tip for freezing berries that will change my life.  She told me that if you pre-freeze them on a cookie sheet, they freeze as whole berries and do not get smashed together in the bag or container.  I do not know how I had never heard this before!  I headed home after market excited to try this new trick with my excess of freshly picked berries.  After doing a little research and picking up a few other tips, I went for it and am very pleased with the results.

Here is the process:


First, aquire beautiful berries.  This go-around was raspberries for me.  I recommend checking out your local farmers market!

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Next, wash the berries.  It works great to place the berries in a strainer or colander of some sort.  Then, submerge that into a bowl of water and gently swirl the berries around.

* Using the colander/strainer helps to both keep the berries from getting blasted with water and allows dirt, etc. to drain into the bowl below.

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Let the berries drain and dry for a little while either in the colander/strainer or by laying them out on some paper towel.

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Now arrange the berries onto a baking sheet and stick it in your freezer.  I left mine in overnight and it seemed about right.

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When you take the berries out of the freezer, they will be individually frozen and easy to transfer to a bag or container.

*If you are using a bag, use a freezer bag.  I have tried get away with using the non-freezer type.  Not the same.

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Place the berries into a bag or container and seal well, being sure to force as much air out as possible.

*If you are using bags and are not lucky enough to have a vacuum sealing system (or are gifted with my inability to properly close bags), try placing a straw at one end of the sealing strip.  Squeeze as much air out as you can and then suck the rest out before you close the end of the sealing strip. 

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Don’t forget to mark your bag or container with the contents and date!  (easier to do this before you put the berries in a bag)

Place back in freezer to keep and enjoy later!

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homemade cucumber mask

If you know me, you know I have crazy sensitive skin.  (yay!)  If you don’t know me, you know that now too, I guess.  I sunburn in about a half a second, have a bazillion allergies and have been trying forever to find beauty products that I can use safely.   I don’t know why it took me so long to get in on the homemade beauty product scene, but I am there now.
Below is a recipe for an oatmeal cucumber face mask.  All of these ingredients have benefits for your skin.  Basically, I just threw it all in a blender and then put it on my face.  Simple.  It pretty much looks like cucumber oatmeal out of the blender.  (Okay, so it basically is cucumber oatmeal)  I was a bit apprehensive at first…thought it was going to slide off of my face and get all over my clothes.   Still, I was hopeful, so I put a headband on, put a towel on the floor and put the mask on.  I also set aside a couple cucumber slices for the eyes.  Let the healing begin!
About a minute into the experience, I thought, “I have cucumber oatmeal on my face.  What am I doing?”
Two minutes into the self-made spa moment, I realized the mask was not sliding off my face, but I was still feeling a little silly.
Then, somewhere around minute three, I felt the mask working.  It tightened and my skin felt tingly and cool in a refreshing sort of way.
I kept the mask on for about 20 minutes.  The last 17 minutes were spent trying to let my body re-teach me how to relax.  Seriously, when is the last time you actually cleared your mind and tried to relax your muscles intentionally?  It had been a while for me.  (sleeping doesn’t count)
After I washed the mask off, my skin felt and looked refreshed.  And, surprisingly to me, I felt refreshed.  Overall, this was a very positive experience and I will absolutely make this mask again.


Ingredients:
1/2  Cucumber, cut into chunks
1/4 cup Oatmeal
1 T. Raw Honey
1 t. Aloe*
1 t. Avocado Oil*

1.Combine ingredients in blender or food processor.
2. Spread mixture generously on face and neck.
3. Lie down and relax for at least 15 minutes.
4. Wash mask off with water.

*The aloe and avocado oil are optional and avocado could be used in place of the oil as well.

Enjoy!!

colorful cash envelopes

Last year, I finally decided to embrace a cash envelope system to help control my budget.  (something that has gained much popularity thanks to Dave Ramsay’s Total Money Makeover).  While browsing pinterest one day, I came across some fun handmade cash envelopes and was inspired.  (I can no longer find said pin)  So, before the start of the year, I made my own.  (My mom helped a lot…she is a much more skilled at sewing than I am)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a lot of fun making these and enjoy using them.

First, I chose the fabrics I wanted for the envelopes and for the purse/clutch/large envelope to hold them all.  All of these fabrics came out of my moms sewing closet and are fun because I had clothing made out of many of these as a kid.

After figuring the right size for the small envelopes, I got to marking and cutting.

Then, to add a little stiffness to them, we used some Pellon Wonder Under to line the fabric.

Finally, the fabric was sewn into envelope form (simply folded over and sewn on both short sides).

A small velcro piece was added to the inside to help protect the precious cash!

The large envelope/clutch was made last to ensure it was cut to the proper size to fit all the envelopes.  It was lined with with another fabric and a snap enclosure was attached.

I have not been using any sort of labeling system for my envelopes, but have seen that many do so with velcro fabric labels or cardstock insert style labels.  I simply assigned different fabrics to different spending categories and have come to know which is which. 🙂
My main categories are groceries, dining, transportation, entertainment, hobbies, personal care, home & office, gifts and clothing.

Once the budgeted cash is gone for the month, that’s it…it’s gone!  Currently, I roll over any left over cash to start off the next months normal budget.  Eventually, I plan to put the leftovers into savings each month.  I do, however, put all my left over coin change into my change jar, CJ.

Check out some more tips from Dave Ramsay on using the envelope system.

summer sweetness

find more of my pictures on daily perspective

oats (peanut butter banana oatmeal bars)

I’ve always enjoyed oatmeal and oatmeal raisin cookies.  I also enjoyed scooping up a huge bag of these whole grains yesterday for less than $2.00.  But even more than this, I thoroughly enjoyed taking the time learn some of the many health benefits to oats.

Three reasons oats are so good for you:
1. Fiber.  They contain a specific type called beta-glucan, which helps keep cholesterol low.  In fact, studies show that when a diet includes the amount of fiber found in one bowl of oatmeal, cholesterol is typically lowered 8%-23%!  This also means dramatically reduced risk for heart disease!
2. Manganese.  Oats have lots of it and it plays lots of healthy roles!  It helps our bodies metabolize  fats and carbohydrates, absorb calcium, maintain healthy blood sugar levels and promote normal nerve function. (just to name a few)
3. Iron.  Of course there are many other great food sources of iron, but there are also many people that are iron deficient and anemic.  It is estimated that around 30% of people do not get enough iron and that number is higher in kids and pregnant women.  Iron is important because our bodies need it to make the protein hemoglobin, which is used to carry oxygen in our blood cells around our body.  So, yeah, pretty important.

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA OATMEAL BARS

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups oats (original recipe calls for quick…I used old fashioned)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-2 large mashed banana
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

 

 

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°
2. Mix together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon.
3. Add in the vanilla extract, milk and egg.  Stir together.
4. Add the mashed banana and peanut butter. Combine all of the ingredients.
5. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 8 by 8 inch metal baking pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Cool Completely.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

These things are great!  They taste like some sort of wonderful lovechild of a peanut butter dipped banana, baked oatmeal, and banana bread.  And for how delicious they taste with no butter or oil, only a small amount of sugar and several healthy ingredients in the mix, it is hard to go wrong! I will definitely make these again.  (next time I will use the metal pan, though.  I used glass and had to bake them much longer)

Recipe source: Rumbly in my Tumbly

unbroken

I recently created a piece of art using  materials I found outdoors and a few things I had lying around.  It was both created with and inspired by brokenness.  To find out more about the inspiration and the process, visit the post on blartog.

i would love…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally found here

kale (green smoothie)

A couple years ago, I didn’t know much about kale and certainly didn’t eat much of it.  Today, I have come to appreciate its incredible nutritional value.
Three reasons to eat Kale:
1.  To fight cancer.  Kale is a superstar in the cancer fight for many reasons.   A major one is that it contains some of the most powerful antioxidants possible, carotenoinds and flavonoids.
2.  For your eyes.    Kale contains both high amounts of beta-carotene, which is beneficial to good vision and lutein, which aids in the prevention of macular degeneration.
3.  For your heart.  Thanks to a healthy dose of fiber, Kale is great for keeping blood pressure down and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Kale has plenty more health benefits, but the first time I tried it, I didn’t like it and I don’t tend to eat what I don’t like.  But then, one magical day at a farmers market, I tried some that had been cooked with garlic and olive oil.  Simple and surprisingly delicious.

In all honesty, I still don’t really like kale as a salad green, but here is another recipe that I love, is easy to make and is packed with health benefits:

GREEN SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:

2 cups raw Kale

1 Banana, frozen (or not)

1/3 cup Orange Juice

1/4 cup Milk

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (optional)

1 Tablespoon Flaxseed Meal (optional)

1 teaspoon Honey (optional…I add it to fight allergies)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Found the original recipe here  (thanks to pinterest)

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