Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween cookies that could frighten grown men!

Happy Halloween!!!
This morning I'm traveling to Olympia to see my niece run in a cross country meet. I was going to bring her some of my odd cookies but then I remembered it is Halloween! So I baked her some super scary cookies.

If you want to scare your family try these- if you are easily frightened maybe you should substitute 1/3 cup turbinado for the molasses!

1/3 cup grape seed oil -green if you can find it
1/3 cup turninado or brown sugar
1/3 cup black strap molasses- hauntingly black
1 egg
3/4 cup spelt or whole grain flour
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour- (you can also just use a full cup of flour if you don't have bean flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract -
(if you would rather add some spice, substitute 1/4 tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg for
the vanilla)
1/4 cup non fat dry milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup grated carrot- who likes veggies in their cookies???
1/2 cup raisins- makes a beautiful Halloween batter- orange and black
1 1/4 cup quick rolled oats

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Beat together oil, sugars and egg. If you used vanilla add it here.
Mix flours, baking, powder and soda, dry milk and salt. If you used cin and nut spices add here.
Mix together
Add carrots, raisins and oats- mix well
Drop rounded tsp full of cookie dough, two inches apart onto lightly oiled baking sheet
Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly brown on edges
Cool on rack

This recipe has been hauntingly altered for Halloween. the original recipe is from Jean Hewitt's the New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook. I added the green oil, garbanzo beans, black strap molasses, turbinado sugar, spelt flour, and swapped the spices for vanilla.

What better time to scare your family into eating healthy cookies then on Halloween? The scariest way would be to have them help you make the little eerie nuggets. When you break out the garbanzo bean flour and carrots, I think you will see their eye brighten right up!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A little sip of Chocolate

This morning as I write, I'm sipping a cup of hot chocolate with a little splash of pure orange extract. The combination of quality chocolate and the fragrance of an orange is heavenly. My hot chocolate is very basic. I heat up a cup of soy, rice, cow or almond milk. Once steaming hot, I add a heaping tablespoon of rich quality cocoa. From here I play, sometimes I feel like cinnamon, almond extract or just basic vanilla. Other days I experiment with peppermint, orange or pumpkin spice. My hot chocolate doesn't have any added sugar, although I usually use vanilla flavored milks. Some days I combine my hot chocolate with toast or a fresh orange. Dallas likes his with sugar and usually the old standard- marshmallows. Hot chocolate is very personal.

Even though I still drink hot chocolate in the summer, there is nothing like that first cup when the days start getting dark and cool. This morning it is raining outside-perfect.

You may be wondering, what in the world does hot chocolate have to do with the topic of being residue free? Taking time to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of life maybe the best way to live residue free.

On one of my book shelves lives a book about chocolate: Chocolate a Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light by Mort Rosenblum. Before drinking my first sip this morning I read a couple of pages.

A reflection from a chocolate master: Michel Chaudun. Page 174

"Chocolate has always brought me great pleasure, being a gourmet and a gourmand, I have always loved it... Chocolate is marvelous; it brings a smile to the lips, it makes eyes shine, and it flutters the eyelids... I think above all it is a drug, nicely seductive, which marks the sweet hours of our existence. Bitter as the pain it consoles, but sweeter than the love it inspires."

Wishing you and happy and healthy home,

Monday, October 19, 2009

Residue is a sneaky little fellow!

Residue is a sneaky little fellow. This morning as I unloaded our dishwasher I found dishwasher detergent specks on my dishes. The specks told me my dishwasher didn't rinse very well last night, but they also sparked this morning's blog.

There are 4 main ways for us become exposed to chemicals: ingestion, inhalation, absorption and injection.

What does this mean to me having soapy-clean dishes? I'm so glad you asked... it means everything! If I hadn't seen the residue left behind on my dishes, we most likely would have ingested the cleaner. I use non-toxic dishwasher detergent, which is good, but I still don't want to eat it. How would I have been feeling if I didn't use non-toxic dishwasher detergent???

In this case, the residue was visible, but what if it had dried clear? In food areas please use non-toxic cleaners. This includes dishwashing, dishwasher, and kitchen cleaners. Next,be aware of little residues that may just become lunch.

Oh yeah and while you are at it, don't open up your dishwasher and breath in the vapors- especially if you are not using a non-toxic cleaner.

Hope you have a good 28th day of Autumn!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A 3 year journey changed my life

It's 6:08 on Friday night. Most of my day was spent on the computer or phone. By the end of my work day I was tired and stiff. My husband called on his way home asked if I was taking the dogs for a run. I mumbled something about 6 out of 7 days a week was plenty and I thought I would take the night off. Dallas due to his 19 years of wisdom, as my husband, suggested I should take the dogs for thier walk. Oh, did I mention it is pouring rain outside???

We, me and the dogs, just got back from a wet, refreshing and fast run in the rain. It was amazing! I feel like a new person. Years ago I was having some trying times with my health. One day I told my sister I was going to walk/run at least 15 minutes everyday for a year.

I ended up doing this daily routine for over 3 years never missing a day. Occasionally, I would have to hop out of bed and walk in place for 15 minutes because I forgot, but most days I went outside.

I ran/walked in the rain, the dark, the cold, the windy, the sunny, the heat, if I was sick, tired or lazy- it didn't matter I did it everday.

During this 3 year plus time I not only regained my health but I found how important it was to my health, happiness and awareness of the seasons. It was the most valuable 3 years of my life- it was life altering. Somedays, I just walked, some I ran, some I did both. I only had to do it for 15 minutes, most days I did more. Being outside, in the fresh air, does something beneficial to you, you just can't measure.

Tonight, I remembered some of those lessons, plus the feeling of freedom and pure joy from running wildly in the pouring rain.

The residue of my computer and office work is long gone, I feel great and both dogs are very happy this evening!

Happy running,

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Accumulation of residue goes wild!!

Residue come in many different forms. In cleaning, most times residue can be tracked down to cleaning products, soil and hard water deposits. In life, residue is a little more creative. Today I started the day with a backed up shower drain. This was not on my to-do list. As I was playing around trying to coax the water back down where it belongs I had a little time to think about residue.

Apparently residue not only sticks to your shower walls but your skin, oils, hair, shampoos, hard water deposits, soaps, body and face washes also accumulate in your shower drains. As write this of course it makes perfect since but until my drain backed up this morning, I'll be honest, I hadn't given the residues in my drain much thought.

Residue is one of those little topics we just don't think about until it backs up and spills all over us. Today, as I was running around I realized stress is a form of residue. If let stand and not flushed, rinsed or dried off, stress builds up in our bodies just like the muck in my shower drain.

Before your drain backs up, consider rinsing out the stress in your body. You don't want to wait until your drain spills black sludge all over your day.

May you have happy and healthy homes,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lasagna Gardening takes root

Years ago I had a neighbor, Dianna, who recommended I try lasagna gardening. She thought this type of gardening and I would be a perfect match. I didn't start lasagna gardening then but its seed was firmly planted.

What is lasagna gardening? I'll let Patricia Lanza explain it in her own words. ( Patricia is the author of Lasagna Gardening)

"Lasagna Gardening is a nontraditional, organic, layering method you can use to create better soil while keeping your gardens neat and attractive. ... Based on a commonsense approach and readily available natural ingredients, lasagna gardening is an easy, time-saving way to install and maintain any kind of garden without removing the sod, digging or tilling. Close planting and generous mulching greatly reduce the time needed for watering and weeding. And because of the healthy growing environment, lasagna gardens are plagued with fewer garden pests."

For me lasagna gardening is an intriguing idea filled will possibilities. To the west of my house, we have a patch of land. It has maybe 1-2 inches of top soil, below that a nice bed of rocks. This is not the ideal setting for a garden. The area does have some good points -sunshine and close proximity to the water spicket. This horrible soil is where I'm experimenting with my first lasagna bed. If I can grow a garden here you can grow one any where!

The idea of using waste from my home and yard and creating healthy soil is as old as dirt. This is what lasagna gardening does. Gathering up organic waste and using it as the foundation on which to rebuild soil. Layering newspaper, leaves, grass, compost, peat moss, chopped plants, straw, hay, manure, sawdust, seaweed, wood ashes, coffee grounds and stone dust to create a sheet composting system. Fantastic!

This is residue free gardening at its best. Building healthy Eco-systems and minimizing waste!

My experiment starts this fall. This month I'll be collecting matterial and building my beds. Our home is a buzz with excitment!!!

Happy and healthy homes,