t2

Monday, December 31, 2012

Cucumber Agua Fresca with Lemon and Mint Recipe

PhotobucketSorry y'all, I had a more intense, deep, and thought out post planned for you today, but I had a rough day today, found out that a friend of mine just died out of the blue, and I really wasn't in the proper headspace to be writing that post, because when I write it, I want to write it well, and today I'm not capable of that...

So instead, I'll leave you with this terrific recipe for cucumber agua fresca, a refreshing drink made from cucumbers, lemon, and mint, and is the perfect thing to do with cucumbers that are past their prime, or accidentally got frozen.

I originally got this recipe from the awesome gluten free transcontinental cooking blog, GirlCooksWorld.com 2 summers ago, and made it a lot when I was visiting family. I was afraid at first that the combination of flavors would make less adventerous people think it was weird, but my mother in law fell in love with it so much that she asked me to give her the recipe.

I've since played around with the recipe, and came up with this version that is refined sugar free, but I've also  included instructions on how to make it as cheap as possible, just with regular sugar.

I make mine with both a juicer and a food processor, but you can use a high powered blender instead.

P.S. You might be wondering about the timing of this post. I mean, hello, New Years Eve??? This seems more like a post that would be good for the middle of the summer... But hey, its the middle of the summer in the southern hemisphere, and they can enjoy this nice refreshing drink... And it was a wonderful 60 degrees here today, so also good weather for a refreshing drink. But really, the biggest reason why this drink is on my mind is because I got lots of free wilted cucumbers lately, and together with lemons and mint I forage, I have been able to make this drink practically free lately. And I've been having it to start off my day, and its really awesome... Gives me quite the energy boost!
But if you're the type that prefers only hot drinks in the winter, just file away this recipe for when its warmer weather. Because seriously, this is one recipe you've gotta try out!

Cucumber Agua Fresca with Lemon and Mint Recipe

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Homemade Vegan Parmesan Cheese Recipe

PhotobucketI like cheese and cheesy flavorings, but being off dairy already for the past while, I often need to go without. I mean, yes, there are many recipes for vegan cheeses and vegan cheese sauces out there, but I get lazy sometimes, and sometimes want to add a bit of cheese flavor without all the extra work. This here is a vegan Parmesan cheese recipe that is very quick to make and can help add cheesy flavor instantaneously to a recipe, like I did to this vegan gluten free lasagna.
Not having eaten real cheese in a long time, I thought it tasted very parmesiany, but a dairy eater who tried it said it was good, but didn't taste like Parmesan to her. Ok, so it may not be perfect, but it definitely works in a pinch, and since cheese is very expensive here, and in many places, you may find that its cheaper to make and use this vegan Parmesan than to use the real deal.

Homemade Vegan Parmesan Cheese Recipe

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Homemade Pierogi Recipe, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Vegan Options

PhotobucketI grew up in a home where much of what we ate was homemade- there were a few things that we almost always had from a can, like cream of mushroom soup and pickles, a few things that we made from scratch that very few people make from scratch (maple syrup, sake, mead, beer, and miso come to mind), and for the most part, we just did a lot of standard from scratch cooking.
But there are some very few things that I remembered my mom or dad buying as frozen dinners, ready to eat after a drop of cooking, and pierogi were among them. (I keep wanting to say pierogies, but wikipedia informed me that pierogi is plural, so go figure.)

Pierogi are these delicious semi circles of dough filled with the most tasty filling- usually extra yummy mashed potatoes- and they were such a treat growing up! The biggest problem was that there were not enough of them in a package for us to all get our fill from, and they were expensive.

But despite having some Polish blood in me, I've never before made homemade pierogi, until today... And oh boy, I can't believe I waited this long! They were to die for! And I just made them by chance because I had some leftover dough after making some lasagna, which I made because I had leftovers from making homemade ravioli...

This recipe is easily adaptable- I made mine gluten free, dairy free, and egg free, but I've included many different varieties if you have no special dietary needs. As for filling, you can use leftover mashed potatoes, or if you want to use other fillings, apparently you can make sauerkraut pierogi, meat pierogi, or many other types, but I'll just stick with my potato pierogi.

So, how do make them?

How to Make Homemade Potato Pierogi- Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free Options

Monday, December 24, 2012

Trying out the GAPS Diet- Curried Carrots and Peas Recipe- SCD and Paleo Diet Legal, Vegan/Vegetarian, and Gluten Free

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I've discovered that despite being off gluten for a year and a half already, and despite being on a stricter and stricter diet, some of my gastro issues have come back...
On top of that, it appears that a few family members have a candida overload, so I've been looking into the idea of going on the GAPS diet, which is much stricter regimen than my family is on now, but not that different, because my family already uses lots of the foods recommended on the diet...
Why would I be willing to go on the GAPS diet and further limit what we can eat? Because the point of my limiting what I can eat is supposed to be healing, and what I'm doing now is more symptom managing, instead of getting down to the root cause- an unhealthy gut that is causing all the symptoms, which I've been trying to manage, with less and less success lately.
The GAPS diet is a strict healing diet, that, by the end of the diet (from six months to three years, depending on how bad your diet was previously), the gut is completely healed, and most people are able to go back to a regular, traditional foodies diet instead of a really strict, dairy free, egg free, gluten free, etc... diet like we're currently eating.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Making the Most of Your Christmas Dinner: An International, Yet Frugally Inspired Affair

With Christmas coming up, and big Christmas dinners being planned, it would be a shame for all the leftovers to go to waste, especially as these leftovers typically are made from expensive ingredients. Here's a guest post about how to reuse those leftovers, with an international twist. Hope you liked these ideas as much as I did.
Hint- even if you don't use some of these specific ingredients, the ideas can be translated and used for similar dishes made with things you do eat.

The iconic British Christmas meal would (metaphorically) feed the 5,000 on the big day alone. With its mounds of trimmings, and a beast of bird that weighs more than a baby, you could potentially be living off this one dinner for absolutely ages. Here are a few frugally inspired ideas, with an international flair, to ensure you effectively continue making meals with your Christmas dinner leftovers long after the main event.

The jewel of the table’s crown, the Christmas turkey, has the most versatile leftovers that can be used for absolutely all sorts. Typically the breast is long-gone by teatime on Christmas Day after an epic main course and then a round of sandwiches in the evening to make sure you’re doubly stuffed. The dark meat of the legs is incredibly flavoursome and succulent, perfect for casserole and curry, especially when kept on the bone. Turkey curry is a particular favourite, served on a bed of fluffy basmati rice with samosas and bhajis. What’s more, the whole body is recyclable. If you’ve not used the giblets for gravy, freeze them along with the carcass and use them to make your own stock for future dinners and soups.

Foraged Wild Sushi and Crispy Salmon Skins


PhotobucketI like free food, I like foraged food, and I like nice food. Lately, I've tried to combine all three, and have been inspired to make ultra frugal gourmet foods. You all probably know that I'm a big sushi fan, so when I heard of people making "foraged/wild sushi" I got inspired to do the same.
And then when I got some salmon skins for free (rescued) from the fish monger, I decided I'd make sushi also with foraged stuff and also with that salmon skin. Also for the cheapness, and also for the thrill of it. To be able to say "I did it".
And I certainly did.
Everything in my sushi and sauces, other than the rice and salt and honey in the rice was free, foraged or "rescued".
Even the "nori", "soy sauce", and "wasabi".

To start off, I'll tell you what I did with the salmon skin.

How to Move Your Big Items During a Move

This is a guest post by Nancy Evans, a freelance writer who enjoys writing about families and frugality.

 Moving is a huge deal no matter if it is across town or across the country. Whatever move you are making, there are a few ways to keep your items safe and secure while getting everything where it needs to go. There are lots of wonderful ways to move your items both large and small. Moving trucks, companies, friends and neighbors are all great assets to have when it comes to moving.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind on your next move:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Garden Envy, and a Potato Growing Experiment

I have garden envy. Or maybe farm envy. Or homesteading envy. Not exactly how sure I'd define that.
But back to that in a moment.

In our old apartment, back when we had a yard, we experimented growing potatoes. A potato, in fact, and we didn't follow instructions so well, didn't do everything we should have done, but from one little supermarket potato, we ended up with a lot of potatoes.
Which makes me know that growing potatoes is certainly doable for a novice gardener.

Especially since we don't eat gluten, and go through a lot of potatoes, I was wishing that maybe, maybe I'd be able to grow our own potatoes. But since we have no yard, is that even doable?

Well, I read that you can grow potatoes very well in an old garbage can. Or in a sack. But since I thought a sack would be messier, I decided to attempt to grow potatoes in a garbage can. So I dumpster dove a huge one..... only, without a car and without a yard, getting dirt or compost to fill that can proved very difficult, and eventually some people played with the garbage can, and sadly, it is no longer with us.
So I sort of gave hope for growing potatoes, at least this year.

And then my potatoes decided to sprout. And sprout. And sprout, until I had 5 potatoes sitting on my shelf, with stalks growing out of them, each a good three or four inches long. Taunting me. Begging me. Saying "Penny, just plant us already! You know you want to!"

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Hrmmm. If they're begging for it, I guess I'll just have to find a way to make it happen.


I called a neighbor of mine who gardens if I could buy a bag of compost off of them; they agreed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Homemade Diaper Rash Cream and Hand Lotion

PhotobucketImagine not needing to buy anything expensive from the pharmacy, and still be able to treat your baby's diaper rash. Imagine having a good, soothing hand cream to use on your dry, chapped hands. Imagine having a cream that would be good for faces, also as a moisturizer, but also helping to fight acne. Imagine having diaper rash cream and hand cream and a fae cream that as completely devoid of man made chemicals, parabens, and a 15+ ingredient list, most of which you vcan't pronounce and whose safety is questionable... Imagine those all in one. Imagine such a thing that didn't cost a small fortune...

Imagine no longer.
Here's a recipe.
5 ingredients.
5 safe ingredients.
5 effective ingredients.
5 ingredients with well documented, multifaceted healing properties.
5 ingredients whose name everyone can pronounce, some which can be bought in the grocery and/or health food store, and some can be found free everywhere.

Here is a cream/lotion/mixture that you can easily make at home that is good for diaper rashes, faces, and body lotion. Two caveats though- because it has very few ingredients and no chemicals, it needs to be kept in the refrigerator to prevent spoilage. Also because of the lack of chemicals, its texture is also a little different than the creams and lotions you're used to, but that's ok- once you're rubbing it in, it feels good anyhow.

Homemade Diaper Rash Cream and Hand Lotion Recipe

Hearth and Soul Blog Hop


Hearth & Soul Hop

Welcome back to yet another edition of the Hearth and Soul blog hop.
This is where you get the chance each week to share your favorite food related posts with the other visitors to the hop, and you get to check out theirs as well. The Hearth and Soul Hop is about food that not only nourishes our body, but also nourishes our souls.

Announcement-
Next week, on Christmas day, there will be no hop. Enjoy the Holiday and celebrate with your family.
The week after, the week of New Years Day, the hop will open early, on Monday the 31st at 4:00 am ET and leave it open through midnight on the third ET.

Here's a recap of some of the rules for participating:

Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome.
As much as many of us are interested in frugality and green/natural living, this is a food blog hop; there are many other blog hops where you can share those posts of yours. Please keep your non food related blog posts off the hop.

All the hosts at Hearth and Soul care very deeply about this blog hop, and make an group effort to be sure that every post is commented on. We also Pin and Tweet many of the entries. You don’t find this with every blog hop, and in exchange for our efforts, we respectfully request that you include a link in the actual blog post you are sharing back to one of the hosts, either by worded link or using our badge. It is not enough to link using a communal blog party page. People rarely click on these links and it is unlikely they will find the Hearth and Soul hop using these sort of pages.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Homemade Herbed Seafood Ravioli in Coconut Cream Sauce- Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free

PhotobucketI had a whole long preamble written for another ravioli post I've written up but not posted yet, but I'll have to save that for when the post finally gets up...
I'm short for time today, but just wanted to get this delicious recipe posted for you to enjoy. I made ravioli because I (now that I have my grain grinder and can make my own flours) am selling gluten free fresh pasta to people, and a friend ordered 16 sheets of fresh pasta, and a single batch only makes 14.... so I have to double my batch, and am left with a whole bunch of extra pasta to use for my family. So I decided to make it into ravioli, using the fish left over from my fish experimentation. I served it with an herbed coconut cream sauce, and it was totally terrific, but this fish pasta can also be served with a regular white sauce, tomato sauce, or any other sauce really.
You can make this recipe gluten free, dairy free, egg free easily, but depending on which pasta recipe and bread crumbs you use, it can have eggs or gluten, if you have no need to make the recipe specialized for a diet.
Any cooked fish should work for this recipe, provided it is deboned. I used some type of white fish (not exactly sure what kind), but all should do the trick.

Homemade Herbed Seafood Ravioli in Coconut Cream Sauce

Homemade Othello or Reversi Game

My son learned how to play Othello/Reversi at his Grandma's house. Every time he goes there, the two play together, and he's gotten pretty good at it. Up until now, it's been a special "Grandma's house only" game, but Lee has wanted his own game to play at home.
I contemplated buying a set for him, but upon further thought, decided against it. Why buy an expensive game (unfortunately all games are extremely overpriced where I live) when I can make it myself? Reversi is a pretty simple game- composed of just a grid and two toned game pieces- such an easy thing to make on my own.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Eating Fish Scraps and Fish Guts- A Kitchen Experiment

PhotobucketThis post wasn't what I'd originally intended to write on my blog today, but that'll have to wait for another day, because I just did some very frugal, slightly crazy, but very rewarding things today, both while out, and in my kitchen, and I wanted to write it up already to share with you.
I know, if you already read the title of the post, you know a good chunk of what I'm going to be sharing, (I write it that way to help Google searchers find me) but lets pretend that you didn't see that yet, so I can get into this post slowly but surely, so I don't scare you off before even reading it.

So, first off, as you probably already guessed, this post is not for squeamish people, or die hard vegans. (If you fit into that category, consider yourself warned. There are lots of pics in this post. ) Nor is it for stuck up food snobs who think that people who eat "low brow food" are "less than". Not that I'm worried that any of my usual readers are food snobs, but I just still had to have that disclaimer.

So, today, I went to town to buy some sardines to make my own homemade fish sauce. There are at least 10 fish mongers with stalls in the open air/farmer's market, and I wanted to do some price comparisons before I bought my sardines.
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These are the fish heads I found...
As I was nearly at the market, as I was passing by the market's dumpster, I saw workers wheeling their carts of garbage to the dumpster. In the cart was a styrofoam box, and in that box, I saw this huuuuuuuge fish head looking at me.
"Hey- why is this getting thrown out?" I wondered to myself. "Oh yea. Duh. People here don't eat fish heads. That's why." I asked permission, and "stole" the fish head- which turned out to be attached to a long skeleton and tail, as well as another fish head and skeleton, and another fish skeleton. All carp, I'm pretty sure. (If its not carp, I don't mind if someone corrects me and tells me what type of fish it is.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hearth and Soul Blog Hop


Hearth & Soul Hop

Welcome back to yet another edition of the Hearth and Soul blog hop.
This is where you get the chance each week to share your favorite food related posts with the other visitors to the hop, and you get to check out theirs as well. The Hearth and Soul Hop is about food that not only nourishes our body, but also nourishes our souls.


My Favorite Post From Last Week
TBA

Here's a recap of some of the rules for participating:

Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome.
As much as many of us are interested in frugality and green/natural living, this is a food blog hop; there are many other blog hops where you can share those posts of yours. Please keep your non food related blog posts off the hop.

All the hosts at Hearth and Soul care very deeply about this blog hop, and make an group effort to be sure that every post is commented on. We also Pin and Tweet many of the entries. You don’t find this with every blog hop, and in exchange for our efforts, we respectfully request that you include a link in the actual blog post you are sharing back to one of the hosts, either by worded link or using our badge. It is not enough to link using a communal blog party page. People rarely click on these links and it is unlikely they will find the Hearth and Soul hop using these sort of pages.

How to Prevent Making Common Costly Tax Mistakes

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Image credit- Arvind Balaraman
Do you find filing taxes as annoying as I do?

Most people don't enjoy paying taxes. Grudgingly, each year, they file taxes, wishing they'd be able to keep their money for themselves instead of sending it over to the government. And as much as people don't like to give their money to the government, most people make mistakes, and often repeatedly, that ends up costing them a lot financially.
Here's some common costly mistakes people make when filing taxes; hopefully, with this knowledge you can avoid making the same mistakes, and make sure you're not paying more money than necessary to the government.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Donuts Recipe, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan

PhotobucketYes, I know, I just posted a sugar free, gluten free, vegan donut recipe last week- do we really need another one... But I'll have to say- absolutely yes! These donuts are absolutely delicious, don't have either any eggs or any egg replacers like ground flax seed, so they're naturally vegan without trying too hard... And they get their sweetness from sweet potato, for the most part, so they end up being cheaper than other sugar free donuts...
I made these this week for a party, and got rave reviews... and when I posted about it on Facebook, friends were begging me for the recipe, so here it is.
I based it on this recipe from Nanette Raw, which was a good base, but was woefully lacking when it came to instructions.
I am absolutely sure that you can make this with wheat or whole wheat by replacing the brown rice flour, white rice flour, potato starch, mochiko, and xanthan gum with 2 1/4 cups wheat flour or whole wheat flour- if you try it out that way, let me know how it worked for you.

Sweet Potato Gluten Free Donuts

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pineapple Cake Recipe- Gluten Free, Vegan, with Refined Sugar Free Option

PhotobucketI'll be honest- baking is probably my least strong point in cooking. I'm usually the "a little bit of this, a little bit of that, taste it and add a little bit more of this and that" type of gal in cooking and salad making, and baking... it just seems so much more finite! No messing around with the ingredients after its already cooking- you make the recipe, stick it in the oven, and finito- no more changing things, even if you discovered that- oops- you forgot to add the salt. You ruined it? Too bad. Not much way to fix it, unfortunately...
On top of that, baking is such an exact science, needing to get all the ingredients to interact with each other properly so that the texture is exactly as it should be- not too dry, not too liquidy, not too crumbly, not too gummy... and of course, not too sweet, salty, sour, bitter, or baking soda-ey...
I've shared my story before of my worst baking mishap, of my bread (wheat) that was so hard to cut that our bread knife broke when my husband was trying to cut it. That was one of just many baking stories, which made me loathe to experiment with baking, especially bread making. And then I gradually gained more confidence, and even began baking my own bread without measuring, just throwing a bunch of ingredients together, until it seemed right- and my bread came out terrific!
And then I started going gluten free.
Which was a new learning process, all over again, because gluten free baking requires all sorts of ingredients that have all sorts of different properties than regular wheat flour. At first, I stuck strictly to recipes, when I was first learning the ropes, but gradually I became more confident, and started making substitutions and changes in recipes, turning gluten recipes gluten free, and changing gluten free recipes to suit the ingredients I had at home or to make them healthier.
But the one thing I was still scared to do was to make up a recipe completely from scratch. Because I needed to have something, some ratio of flour to sweetener to oil to work with, otherwise my food would flop...
So that's why most recipes on my site, especially gluten free, will tell you what I based the recipe on. Because I didn't make the recipes up from scratch.
Eventually I gained more confidence and started making cookies from scratch, because those are usually more forgiving... At worst, they'll crumble, or be soft when you wanted hard, but they won't really be bad... (Ok, other than that cookie recipe I tried one time that nearly broke my teeth...)
But not cakes. I mean, I tried cakes and had them crumble on me or be gooey messes...

Not yesterday, though.
Yesterday, I decided to be daring, decided to be bold. I decided to make a cake entirely from scratch. And make it gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free! And a type of cake I'd never made before- pineapple cake.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Baked Herbed Cucumber Recipe

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If you think the concept of cooked cucumbers sounds weird, don't worry, you're not the only one. I thought so too, at first, but then I learned that cucumbers are often eaten cooked around the globe! Julia Child even has a recipe for baked  cucumber, which is what I based this recipe on.

Cooking cucumbers in this method leaves you with cucumbers that have the texture of pickles- my kids like to call them "hot pickles".

The reason I like to make this recipe is because we don't go through raw cucumbers fast enough in my house, and I often get them free when they're almost wilting, so I often have limp and wilted cucumbers to work with. While gazpacho and Korean cucumber soup and marinated cucumbers are good things to do even with wilted cucumbers, in the winter I often prefer hot dishes, which is where baking the cucumbers comes in. Cooking cucumbers offers them a new lease at life; if they were one step away from spoiling when raw, they'll last at least another few days, perhaps longer, if cooked.

This recipe isn't an exact recipe, it's more a cooking suggestion; feel free to play around with the proportions of the cucumbers and other ingredients; it'll be good no matter what.

Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs Recipe- Gluten Free, Egg Free and Regular Options

PhotobucketGrowing up, I knew of three types of meatballs. Meatballs in tomato sauce, meatballs in a sweet and sour cranberry sauce, and meatballs in mushroom gravy. I think the first time I'd even heard of such a thing as Swedish meatballs was in a discussion about Ikea and the delicious meals they apparently serve in the cafe there.
So, I'll admit, I'm not a Swedish meatball expert. I've never tasted real Swedish meatballs made with sour cream, because by the time I'd discovered the meal known as Swedish meatballs, I was already gluten free and dairy free. So the first Swedish meatballs I ever tasted were ones I made myself, based on this recipe from Allergy Free Vintage Cookery. Immediately I was hooked. I like Swedish meatballs so much better than any other type of meatball I've eaten previously.

I like this recipe because:
It's completely allergy friendly. No gluten, no eggs, no nightshades, no dairy, no tree nuts, no peanuts, no fish, etc... But if you don't have any of those limitations, you can easily make it cheaper by using non allergy friendly alternatives.
It's delicious!
It's pretty cheap.

The biggest drawback about this recipe is that you need to have a whole bunch of different items ready made to make this recipe- gluten free breadcrumbs (the perfect thing to make from gluten free bread recipes that flop), sunflower milk, chicken broth, and homemade noodles.
Of course, if cost isn't an issue, you can buy those or similar alternatives ready made, but I am a cheapskate and make these all myself. And of course, if you don't have any allergy issues, you can just use homemade or store bought regular noodles, broth, milk, and breadcrumbs.

But, even with the steps involved in making everything from scratch, it's worth it! Because, as I said, it's the most delicious recipe for meatballs on the face of the planet.

I've included two varieties of meatballs below- one is stretched, one is not stretched. The stretched one uses more fillers, but still tastes very yummy, even if a tad less meaty. But if you like things meatier and aren't concerned about the cost, feel free to use the unstretched alternative.

This meal is best served over noodles or rice.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs Recipe

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Musings of a Bulk Buying Mom

Various thoughts flying through the mind of this bulk buying mama.

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Oh darn! The 50 pound sack of sunflower seeds is all finished up! I can't believe it's finally all finished up... We've had that one for a while, I thought it would last forever...
I use those sunflowers instead of nuts in so many recipes, in cakes, in cookies, but my favorite thing to do with them is to make sunflower milk- the best tasting and most versatile of all the cheap non dairy milks...
I really need more sunflower seeds...
The timing really is terrible!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Weekly Menu- in Retrospect

I am very disorganized. Part of my creativity is connected to that lack of organizational skills, I'm sure. But either way, I rarely remember what the day of the week is, which is why I make a "Menu Plan Monday" post on Tuesday...
And which is partially why I make a "weekly menu in retrospect", and not a weekly menu plan. The other reason being that I never know what food I'll have in my house at any given time, because sometimes I'm given something, and sometimes I forage stuff, and sometimes I go shopping unexpectedly... and I also don't know what I'll be in the mood to cook or have the energy to make.
So instead, you get my menu in retrospect- what I made each day in the past week, and why.

I generally cook one main meal each day, but on the rare occasions that I cooked two, I differentiated what was lunch and what was supper.

Wednesday
Lunch- Peasant soup made from leftover tomato dip, chicken broth, chicken necks, black eyed peas, mallow, and wild mustard
Supper- Stuffed peppers filled with grated potatoes, leftover chicken, preserved foraged lemons, cumin, turmeric, and tomatoes.

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Hearth and Soul Blog Hop


Hearth & Soul Hop

Welcome back to yet another edition of the Hearth and Soul blog hop.
This is where you get the chance each week to share your favorite food related posts with the other visitors to the hop, and you get to check out theirs as well. The Hearth and Soul Hop is about food that not only nourishes our body, but also nourishes our souls.


My Favorite Post From Last Week
http://willingcook.com/recipe-pumpkin-roll-free-of-gluten-dairy-soy-egg/
http://mysisterspantry.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/sweet-sour-lentils/
http://mysisterspantry.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/a-better-veggie-burger/

Here's a recap of some of the rules for participating:

Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome.
As much as many of us are interested in frugality and green/natural living, this is a food blog hop; there are many other blog hops where you can share those posts of yours. Please keep your non food related blog posts off the hop.

All the hosts at Hearth and Soul care very deeply about this blog hop, and make an group effort to be sure that every post is commented on. We also Pin and Tweet many of the entries. You don’t find this with every blog hop, and in exchange for our efforts, we respectfully request that you include a link in the actual blog post you are sharing back to one of the hosts, either by worded link or using our badge. It is not enough to link using a communal blog party page. People rarely click on these links and it is unlikely they will find the Hearth and Soul hop using these sort of pages.

Beat The Winter Blues With Heater Hire

This is a guest post about an alternative heating option. It's something that makes me want to look into if this option is available here, as the reasons seem pretty convincing. I can think of another reason why heater hire might be useful- it allows you to try out different heating types and seeing how you like something and how it affects your utilities bills before you invest a lot of money into your own heater.

As the soft golden sun cushions the morning mist and gently illuminates the myriad of colours that now decorate the trees, you’ll find yourself lost in the romance of an autumn dawn. But as beautiful as autumn is, and as fun as it is to kick those crunchy leaves and collect fallen conkers, it sure is cold.

The bad weather
If you live in the UK, you’ll know that this year hasn’t seen the best of the British summer (in fact, it was one of the worst in living memory!) but as the thermometer reports falling numbers every day, you’ll be yearning for the days that you could leave the house without a thick coat and for the days where you could sit indoors, at home or at work, without having to use a heater.

Why hire heaters
But it’s time to face the facts – it’s cold, and it’s only going to get colder. If you’re reading this right now and shivering away, that might not be the best news. There is some good news though, you can best the winter blues and blow away the cold with affordable heater hire.

So why not buy a heater? 
Well, you could buy a heater, but then when the spring and summer months finally come around, you’ll have to find somewhere to store the heater. As well as storage, there is maintenance. If you haul that old heater out of the cupboard once a year, who’s to say that it will still be in full working order.

Safety comes first
In recent weeks, a fire raged through a home in Canada with flames that reached more than ten metres high (about 30 feet). According to the report by CBC, “the fire destroyed several sheds, a gazebo and a boat.” The home was also damaged, but fortunately nobody was home at the time so nobody was injured. Fire officials said the cause of the fire was a faulty heater.

Maintenance is king
When you are dealing with heaters, safety is of paramount importance. The devices have to get super-hot to heat a room and if they are not properly maintained, they can be a fire hazard. If you are hiring your heaters rather than purchasing them, you will have a guarantee that they will be fully maintained and checked before they are delivered to you.

Perhaps the best thing about heater hire is the range of heaters available and the expertise within your grasp. Rather than going to your local department store and selecting from the small range on offer, a hire company should have a large selection of the latest models for you to choose from to fit all sizes and requirements.

So whether you’re at home or at work when you admire that autumn scene, sit back and warm your hands and look forward to even more beauty in the winter time.

See my disclaimer.

Homemade Gluten Free Donuts Recipe- Egg Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free Options

PhotobucketDo you like donuts? I know I certainly do, as do my kids, and most people I know. The thing is- living a gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and attempting to be refined sugar free lifestyle, I knew delicious donuts were impossible. Just a dream. And then I discovered this recipe on LivingWithout.com, via a post on FrugalFarmWife.com. It was labeled "best ever gluten free donuts", but knowing how these "best ever" claims are, I didn't really trust that it truly would be good, because, as any gluten free or otherwise special diet following people know, there are lots of terrible recipes out there that claim to be just as good as, but definitely don't do the job.

Well, since it had a recommendation on FrugalFarmWife.com, even after her tweaks, I decided to give it my best shot, trying to make it dairy free and egg free. It came out amazingly, so I tried making it with healthier sweeteners and it worked just as well! I want to try making it with only potato starch, no tapioca starch, but I haven't done that yet...
So I've got a few options for you here when making your donuts- all of them are gluten free and dairy free (but I'm sure you could take this recipe, and replace the flour with 3 1/4 cups wheat flour or whole wheat flour if you don't need it to be gluten free- if you try it out that way, let me know!), but you have the option of making it egg free and/or sugar free as well if you want.
The texture of this donut isn't 100% like that of a yeasty wheat donut, nor is it exactly an Entemann's style cake donut, but its good. My kids pronounced it "just like the donuts from the store, and perfect", but I'm not sure that's true, but it certainly is a satisfying alternative.
What I especially like about this recipe is that even when it's not fresh out of the oven, it's still got a good texture. Unfortunately I can't tell you how this recipe fares past the 48 hour mark, because all the donuts have been polished off well before that point.
You can make this recipe into either ring donuts, or you can make this recipe into jelly donuts, but I prefer how the ring donuts come out.
Oh- and one last thing- if you were saying "I'd love to make donuts, but I don't have any special equipment like a donut pan" like I was saying until recently, that's fine- you don't really need any special ingredients, though a candy thermometer does help.

Homemade Vegan Donuts Recipe

Monday, December 3, 2012

Parcel Delivery Services- Do They Save Money?

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This is a guest post that has gotten me thinking. Because lots of things are cheaper for me to buy in the US, I've considered buying them there then shipping it over here, but the shipping costs dissuaded me. I didn't realize that there was the option of a parcel delivery service that might even be a cheaper option to have overseas deliveries.

Need a cheap international delivery that does not cut corners? No problem.

We’ve come a long way since the fastest method of delivering a parcel over long distances was a man on a horse. Not all that long ago, though, your best (and perhaps only) option for sending something overseas would have been using a traditional mail service, a service specifically designed for carrying letters and small parcels. Today, a quick search online will present you with a near limitless list of cheap courier services for almost any type of package to all corners of the globe.

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