Seasonal Produce: February

  • radishes
  • carrots
  • tangerines
  • turnips
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • grapefruit
  • leeks
  • oranges
  • pears
  • parsnips
  • sweet potatoes
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • kale
  • collard greens
  • beets
  • chard
  • winter squash
  • potatoes
  • shallots
  • onion
  • garlic
  • lemon
  • lime
  • avocado
  • spinach
  • rhubarb

Did I forget anything?

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Would You Feed Your Pet Nothing But Potato Chips?

The other day the pavlovinator left us a little gift.  No, not in her litter box, and not that kind of gift.  She left us a cute little heart shape in the little bit of food she had left in her bowl.DSCN7914

This got me thinking that I should do a post about the type of cat food we feed her.  Most commercial cat foods are junk.  Just like potato chips.  In fact, pretty much any cat food you can buy at the grocery store is full of grain, chemicals, and fillers.  Not meat and vegetables like cats naturally eat.

We do use the brand Blue Buffalo to feed our cat, but other than that I have no affiliation with the company.  That being said, they do have a great article about reading pet food labels (cat and dog).

Among the main points are to look at the ingredient list of any pet food you are considering feeding to your fur baby.  If you see chicken by-product meal, poultry by-product meal, corn, or any chemicals then you should put the bag back and find something better.  Something better should include real meat, whole grains, and vegetables and fruits.

I haven’t done much research into feeding pets a raw diet because frankly, we can barely afford to buy organic meat for us to eat occasionally, much less feed a cat daily.  Also, I don’t really have the time or desire to prepare cat food ever day.  But it is another healthy option for the fur babies.

Basically, no matter what you decide to do, at least do your research.  If you love your pets like family, then treat their food with the same respect you treat the rest of your family’s food.  Read labels, research ingredients, learn industry lingo.

What do you feed your pets?

Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches

The main things I craved while I was pregnant with the minion were fruit and breakfast sandwiches.  The fruit was easy, but the breakfast sandwiches made me feel guilty every time we stopped at a fast food restaurant.  So I started making my own.  Recently I decided I should try to freeze them so on rushed mornings, I can still have a yummy breakfast.  The first time I made them, I tried to do the eggs in a pan, the way I normally cook fried eggs.  But these needed to be sandwich shaped, so the second time, I baked them.

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Breakfast Sandwiches for Freezing

12 eggs

12 English muffins

12 slices of cheese (Swiss works well, cheddar gets really greasy)

12 pieces of ham/bacon/sausage if desired

Crack eggs into a 9×13 pan and scramble.  Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes.  Let cool at least a little bit.  Cut up eggs into 12 rectangles.  Assemble sandwiches with one rectangle of eggs, one slice of cheese, and meat if desired.  Wrap in wax paper and store sandwiches in the plastic bags the English muffins came in.  Freeze.

To reheat, take one sandwich out of bag, no need to unwrap, microwave for 4 minutes at 50% power.  Let sit for about a minute and enjoy!

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You can add a lot of things to the eggs, I’ve done paprika so far, but I have the idea to do about anything that you can put in an omelet, mushrooms, tomatoes, parsley, avocado, hot peppers.    Also after you’ve cooked it, you can add fresh veggies.  I’m thinking tomatoes and sprouts.  What would you add to yours?

Freezing Root Veg Crock-Pot Mixtures

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A while back, I picked up a ton of root vegetables and chopped them up.  I mixed them together and froze them in crock-pot sized increments.  Pretty straight forward set up.  Then I just add seasoning when I cook it.  I’ve done cranberry juice, rice vinegar, cream of mushroom soup, along with various herbs and seasonings.  Cranberry juice is amazing with sweet potatoes.  We’ve also added a ghost pepper once.  It make everything surprisingly spicy even though we didn’t eat the actual pepper.

Just put the veggies in the crock-pot, pour in your liquid of choice, add seasonings and then add water until everything is covered.  Put it on low for 8 or so hours.  You can also add in a bag of dried beans, just don’t use kidney beans, they require more prep.  This is a really laid back ‘recipe’, you just kind of throw stuff together.

Let me know what types of things you add for flavoring.

Seasonal Produce: January

  • cauliflower
  • kale
  • cabbage
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • oranges
  • grapefruit
  • lemons
  • lime
  • tangerine
  • carrot
  • parsnips
  • beets
  • turnips
  • potatoes
  • chestnuts
  • celery
  • butternut squash
  • cranberries
  • quince
  • pomegranate
  • pineapples
  • rhubarb
  • lychee
  • mango
  • mushrooms
  • lettuce
  • spinach
  • onions
  • garlic

Did I forget anything?

Vote over at Eat, Play, Love for Chopped Challenge 2014

I love the blog Eat, Play, Love and all the great food adventures the family gets into.  I was recently asked to provide food ideas for a dessert basket for their annual Chopped Challenge.  Check it out here and don’t forget to vote for my dessert basket of hot peppers, dark chocolate, pepitas, and eggs.

Pomegranate Ginger Ale

I mentioned before, when talking about the infused cranberry vodka, that I was also making pomegranate vodka.  Well, now it’s ready.  I used a small handful of the seeds in the same sized bottle as the cranberry.  I muddled them a bit (that’s the fancy bartender way of saying ‘mushed them up’).  They turned stark white and the vodka is a light pink.  I didn’t have a plan for what to mix it with when I made it, I just had a pomegranate and was excited about infusing vodka.

So when the vodka was ready to use, I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  The hero suggested some ginger ale we had and I thought that was perfect.  It was surprisingly good.  I mean I thought it would be good, but it was really good.  It has a really complex and full flavor.

This recipe makes 2 drinks.

Pomegranate Ginger Ale

2 shots pomegranate infused vodka

1 can ginger ale

ice

Mix one shot of pomegranate vodka and half of the can of ginger ale in a pint glass over ice.  Enjoy.

Borax-Free Homemade Laundry Powder

We stopped using commercial laundry detergent for most of our laundry a while ago.  We’ve been using just liquid castile soap for everything except cloth diapers.  While we haven’t had problems with this method, we haven’t been amazed by its results.  So I decided to make up some laundry powder and see how that works for us.  There are a lot of recipes out there that use borax, but I’m not convinced on the safety of borax, so this recipe doesn’t use it.

Laundry Powder

1 bar Dr. Bronners tea tree oil soap

1 cup washing soda

1/2 cup baking soda

1/2 cup citric acid

1/4 cup pickling salt

Grate the bar of soap and mix that with all other ingredients.  To use, put 1-2 Tbsp in washing machine.  You can supplement with white vinegar.  Store in glass jar or bucket depending on how much you make.  This recipe is safe for HE and front loading washing machines.

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I think it cleaned our cloth diapers even better than castile soap or Dapple laundry detergent.  It does take a bit more work to make this powder, but cleaner diapers might just be worth it.  It does clump pretty bad though.  This is due to moisture and you can make a desiccant, or moisture absorber, with a cloth bag of white clay.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any white clay.  I’ll get on that.

Homemade Chai Mix

I have had good chai and I have had bad chai.  But sometimes, the best chai is easy chai.

In the spirit of this, I made some instant chai mix.  Also, a bag of this makes a good gift.

Chai Mix

3 cups vanilla sugar
3 cups powdered milk
1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp cardamom

Mix everything together in a bowl.  At this point it will look grainy and not terribly appetizing.

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But through the magic of food processing, it becomes a lovely uniform powder.  You’ll probably have to do a few different batches in the food processor, unless you have a mondo one.  This recipe makes about 3 pint jars full of mix.  The jar of instant tea I bought had the perfect amount for making this recipe twice.

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To make a cup, mix hot water with 2 Tbsp of mix.  You can also cool it off and pour over ice.  It’s really good both ways.

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Fun fact: chai is the Hindi word for tea so saying chai tea is a little redundant.