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Showing posts from June, 2011

Homemade Pita Chips

Last night, I made my own homemade pita chips for the first time.  As I was chewing my first bite of crispy heaven, I thought to myself, "Why have I never made these before?"  They were absolutely delicious!  They are so easy to make, I think I'll be making a batch every week now.

Homemade Pita Chips

Ingredients:

6 whole pita rounds
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Cut each pita round into 4 wedges, and separate the layers into individual wedges.  You will have 8 chips per pita round.  Arrange the pita chips in a single layer onto large baking sheets, with the rough side up.

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan, then add the olive oil, garlic powder, and sea salt.  Brush the butter mixture onto the pita wedges.  Bake pita wedges for approximately one hour, or until the chips are crispy and just starting to turn a golden color.

Serve with salsa, bean dip, or just eat them plain.  Th…

Homemade Calendula Salve

No herb is better suited for first-aid uses than the cheery, golden flowers of Calendula officinalis.


Calendula is easy to grow from seed and produces an abundant amount of flowers, which can be used in the kitchen, medicine cabinet, and for beauty products. 

One of my favorite preparations to make out of Calendula blooms is Calendula Salve.  This salve is wonderful for skin health, and can be used for dry skin, cuts, scrapes, burns, eczema, blisters, and rashes.  So plant some Calendula, and begin harvesting the flowers as soon as they start to bloom, cutting off a few inches of stem along with it.  Hang them in bunches to dry, and keep them in jars or paper bags.  Alternatively, if you cannot grow Calendula yourself, find someone locally who can supply it or order it online.

To make Calendula Salve, you will first need to make Calendula Infused Oil.  The oil is simple to make, and you can make extra for other uses besides the salve.  The infused oil is a nice moisturizer for the sk…

Homemade Furniture Polish I

If you've gotten into making your own cleaning products, like I have, you will want to try this super-easy recipe for furniture polish.  This is a great way to make your wooden furniture look clean and shiny, without the creepy chemicals being added.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice orvinegar

Combine ingredients in a small bowl.  Dip a small section of soft cloth (I like to use old, cut up t-shirts) into the oil mixture, and rub into wood, buffing until it has a nice shine. 

And that's all there is to it!  I hate cleaning, but using my own homemade products helps to make it a little more tolerable.

Bonus Recipe:  Furniture Polish II

Homemade Air Freshener

Making your own air freshener at home is easy and inexpensive.  This recipe will add a subtle, yet pleasant fragrance to your home:

2 Cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 drops lavender essential oil (or other EO of your choice)

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well.  Spray through-out your home.

Praiseworthy Pineapple Juice

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Pineapples are one of the world's favorite tropical fruits, coming in second only to bananas.  This sweet, juicy fruit is high in vitamin C, which is why it was carried by sailors in the days of old to protect them from scurvy.  Pineapples made it on the Environmental Working Group's "Clean 15" list, since they are relatively low in pesticide residue.  If you do not have access to organically grown produce, pineapples are a good alternative to many fruits that are high in pesticide residue, such as apples and strawberries.

Not only are pineapples a delicious food, but the juice of this fruit is a very useful commodity to have around the house.  When using pineapple juice, it is always best to use fresh, raw pineapple juice.  Canned or bottled juices have been pasteurized, and this heating renders one of pineapple's most useful components, bromelain, inactive.

To get the juice out of your fresh pineapple, you can use a blender or food processor, mor…

Black Bean Wraps

Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you...  Well, you know how it goes.

Despite all the silly poems out there about beans making you "musical," I went ahead and planted some in the garden this year (it helps that I found out adding a pinch of baking soda to the water when you soak them will alleviate some of your "musical" talent).  I have black beans and tongue-of-fire beans planted, and they are currently growing quite nicely.



Since I will have some fresh beans from the garden, I started searching for recipes to use them.  I found a site called Frugal Granola that had some really great recipes.  I found this recipe, that included not only black beans, but many other veggies and herbs that we have in our garden.

Black Bean Wraps

1 Cup cooked black beans
1 Cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 Cup fresh corn
1 cucumber, diced
1/4 Cup diced red onion
1/2 Cup diced bell peppers
1/4 Cup chopped herbs (fresh basil, cilantro, parsley, lemon basil, etc.)
2 Tabl…

Homemade Raspberry Iced Tea

"Iced tea is too pure and natural a creation not to have been invented as soon as tea, ice, and hot weather crossed paths." -John Egerton

Mr. Egerton had it right; no hot, sticky, summer day would be complete without a tall glass of iced tea.  Iced tea ranks right up there with lemonade as one of the best thirst-quenching summer drinks.  But besides being deliciously satisfying, tea (especially green tea) is very high in antioxidants, which help your cells to regenerate and repair.  And since tea is relatively low in caffeine, it won't dehydrate you like sodas, iced coffee, or alcoholic beverages.

The tea recipe that I am going to share with you today is a favorite of ours, and my husband requests it every summer.  I prefer to use green tea since it provides more health benefits, but any kind of tea could be substituted.


Raspberry Iced Tea


Ingredients:


4 Quarts water
1 1/2 Cups sugar or 1 Cup honey
12 ounces (3 Cups) raspberries
16 (1.8 g) green tea bags or 2/3 Cup loose …

Fermented Dandelion Soda

It is Spring!  And it is likely that your yard is harboring an abundance of those cheery, little weeds known as dandelions (Taraxacum officinale).  Rather than let this prolific plant go to waste every year, I attempt to utilize them in some way.  I have dried and preserved the roots and leaves for medicinal uses, and eaten the fresh greens as a food source.

This year, however, I thought I would try my hand at making a special treat using the flowers:  Dandelion Soda.  I started with a recipe I had found in a book years ago, called Dandelion Fizz.  Problem was, it wasn't really all that fizzy.  Still a good tasting drink, but it needed some work.  This year, I worked on modifying the recipe, and I came up with a good tasting drink that fizzes just like soda.





Dandelion Soda

2 Cups tightly packed dandelion flowers (gathered from a pesticide/herbicide free area)
4 Cups boiling water

2 Cups sugar
or
1 1/3 Cups honey

2 lemons, juiced (save the rinds!)

1.  Rinse the dandelion flowers wel…