Quips and Quotes
"We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue." John Piper

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Funny "Father and Son Moments"

Take time to laugh by watching these funny homemade videos. They were produced by a father and son team (Greg Reed and his son Jonathan) from the church that I attend. In fact, the Reed family watched our dog, Sophie, while we were in Hawaii. (Thanks again, Reeds!) We gave them a CD of Hawaiian music upon returning. You can hear that music in at least several of the videos. It looks to me like Greg and Jonathan had way too much fun working on this project.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Freezing Chicken Pieces

For today's tip, I thought I'd elaborate a little more concerning the chicken post I wrote several weeks ago.

If you would like to freeze the chicken that you cut up (refer to this post), there are two ways you can do it so that the pieces remain separate in bags in the freezer.

The easiest way to freeze chicken pieces is to lay them out on a large flat baking pan, making sure that the pieces do not touch. Cover the pieces with plastic wrap and set in the freezer so that tray is flat and chicken does not travel to the side or off of the tray.
Once the chicken is frozen, remove from tray, place in gallon-size bags and return to the freezer.

If you are like me, you do not have the freezer space to do this, thus the second method. Place each individual piece of chicken in a sandwich-size baggie and then in a gallon-size bag and freeze. The pieces will lift out easily.


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Some of My Favorite Products

Anne commented...
I am making a "Cookbook" for myself of all your Healthy Home Hygiene Recipes and in doing so, realized that you haven't posted the recipe for hand soap or dish soap. I'd like to start using Dr. Bronner's but the directions are sooo... small (and a bit confusing) that I find myself going cross-eyed! I remember you mentioning that you use it, so could you give us some direction? Riding my cleaning closet of toxins...

Thank you once again, Anne, for your interest. And what a great idea to have all the Healthy Home Hygiene recipes in one notebook!

The reason I haven't given a recipe for hand soap or dish soap is because I don't make either one of them. As far as liquid dish washing soap is concerned, I really like ULTRA Concentrated DAWN Plus Bleach Alternative.

The bleach alternative is natural enzymes. The soap itself is biodegradable surfactants and is clear (without any coloring agents). I like this soap well enough that I've never considered developing a recipe of my own.

Though I believe that it is relatively safe, if anyone knows differently, I would sure appreciate a comment with your information.

As far as Dr. Bronner's is concerned, you can dilute the liquid soap - 1/3 water to 2/3 Dr. Bronner's. I keep this soap in pump bottles at the kitchen and bathroom sinks for hand washing.

In the shower we use Dr. Bronner's bar soap (as seen above). It lathers much better and seems to last longer, making it a more frugal choice.
Hope this has been helpful, Anne, etc.


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Monday, November 17, 2008

Tidy Tip Tuesday - A Method Born from a Mistake

This tip is a result of something I did by mistake:

Last night when I was putting food away from dinner, I couldn't find the lid to the sour cream (never low-fat, by the way). I looked and looked, but no lid. So I gave up and went to put something else in the refrigerator. When I opened the frig, there was the lid to the sour cream, on the shelf where it had been taken from. I had removed the lid and set it back in the frig without realizing it.

Then I thought, "Hum...leaving the lid in the frig in the place where the product came from might make things a bit easier and tidier. I would know where the lid is and not have to look for it, plus, it would not be cluttering up the countertop (sometimes there are lids to 3 or 4 food containers out at a time). So that is what I will do from now on. Simple, huh?

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Soft & Scrumptious Whole Wheat Pancakes

This recipe is from Nourishing Traditions Cookbook with a few of my own variations:

Basic Whole Wheat Pancakes
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups plain whole milk yogurt, cultured buttermilk or kefir
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon real sea salt or Redmond Real Salt
1/2 teaspoon stevia extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda (without aluminum)
butter or coconut oil for griddle

Directions: The day before: Stir yogurt, buttermilk, or kefir into flour; cover bowl and "soak" for 12 - 24 hours in a warm place. In the morning, stir in eggs, salt, stevia, butter and baking soda. Batter will begin to increase in volume as soon as baking soda is added. Batter will also be thicker than other whole grain or white flour batters, but if it seems too thick to ladle, add a little milk to thin. Cook on a hot, oiled or buttered cast-iron griddle or skillet (for best results). Since these pancakes cook slower than other recipes, be careful not to burn. Serve with melted butter and pure organic maple syrup, or with fresh fruit sweetened with stevia, honey or maple syrup, topped with whipped cream. Makes 8-10 four-inch pancakes.

Variation One:
Oatmeal Whole Wheat Pancakes
1 1/2 fresh whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking type)
2 cups plain whole milk yogurt, cultured buttermilk or kefir
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon real sea salt or Redmond Real Salt
1/2 teaspoon stevia extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda (without aluminum)
butter or coconut oil for griddle

Directions: Prepare as with the basic recipe above. However, add oatmeal in with the flour to soak. Continue on with basic recipe above.

Variation Two:
Banana Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 recipe for Basic or Oatmeal Whole Wheat Pancakes
2-3 ripe bananas

Directions: Make Basic or Oatmeal Pancakes as directed above. Immediately after ladling batter onto pan, place 3-5 slices of banana onto pancake. Flip pancakes as usual. Makes 8 - 10 four-inch pancakes.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Knife Sharpening Info

The tidy tip for today comes from my sister, Kathy. She responded to the video that was posted a few days ago, "How to Cut Up a Chicken" from the post entitled, "Let's Talk Chicken". Thanks, Kathy, for this important tip.

Hi Sharon,

I noticed that the lady in the "How to Cut Up a Chicken" video was sharpening her knife before beginning the cutting process and she did not clean the knife after sharpening it. I've read that after sharpening a knife, it should be rinsed before using it to cut anything. The sharpening process leaves the edge of the knife with miniscule metal fragments and those fragments, when not rinsed off, will end up in our food - whatever we immediately cut with knife (if it hasn't been cleaned). Professional knife sharpeners use mineral oil to wipe the blade just after sharpening becasue it helps to remove the metal fragments that are left after the sharpening process. This may be a tidy tip to pass along and also a health tip as well.


A closing note: My sister also tells me that there are some grocery stores that will sharpen your knives (one at a time) for no charge. Raley's is one of those stores. Does anyone know of any others that offer this service?

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Question About "Let's Talk Chicken"

Anne had a question about the "Let's Talk Chicken" post (see below). She left a comment asking where I buy whole chicken.

The answer:
I get whole chickens at either Whole Foods Market or Trader Joes. At Whole Foods, they are sold unpackaged out of the meat case. The butcher will cut them up it you like, though I do not like their odd way of doing this and almost always cut them up at home myself. I do not buy organic chicken. Rather, I get "Rocky Range" chickens at Whole Foods; specifically, I get the ones called Rocky Juniors, though they are not small, usually 5 pounds or heavier.

The other place I find whole chicken is at Trader Joes. Here they are pre-packaged, but run just about the same price. Trader Joes offers two kinds of whole chicken - one is called "natural" and the other, which is what I get, is called "free range".

Like I said in the "Let's Talk Chicken" post, I prefer buying about a 5-pound bird (there are only 2 of us). For a larger family you may want to buy a heavier chicken or two smaller ones (4 to 5 pounds) and treat them as one in preparation as the post below describes.

Happy shopping!


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Friday, November 7, 2008

Let's Talk Chicken!

Yesterday I posted a recipe for chicken. What I did not tell you is that I always (without exception) buy chicken whole. Why? Because:

1. It is much, much cheaper. I pay about $1.69 - $1.99 per pound for free-range chicken raised without hormones or antibiotics.

2. The less processed food is, the less possibility for food-borne illness.

3. With that purchase I get chicken breasts and dark meat also. From one chicken breast I get about 8-10 chicken cutlets for 6-10 servings (Parmesan Chicken, Chicken and Eggplant Alfredo, etc.) From the dark meat I get another meal that makes 6-8 servings.

4. I also get the carcass which I use for stock. The stock will easily make up one very large pot of soup or one average pot of soup and two or three bases for other recipes, such as sauce for Chicken Divan.

5. All in all, I can get anywhere from 4-7 meals out of one chicken (depending on leftovers). I also get sauces that would cost me big bucks to buy. And the store bought sauces are not at all made from real food (so they are not healthy) and do not taste nearly as good. On average I pay about $10 for a five pound chicken. That's pretty cheap eating but the meals made from a whole chicken are meals you would find only in an upscale restaurant, dishes such as Chicken Divan, Chicken Parmesan, chicken curries, stir frys, and delicious soups, even main dish salads, etc.

It makes so much more sense to buy the whole chicken! The problem is that so many women nowadays do not know what to do with a whole chicken, nor do they know how to cut up a whole chicken and the best procedures to get the most money out of a whole chicken.

So I looked on YouTube and found lots of good demos on how to cut up a chicken, how to make stock, how to make chicken cutlets from a chicken breast, etc.

Some Helpful Videos

The following video is the way I've always cut up my chickens. My mom taught me this when I was still at home and learning how to cook. (Don't pay too much attention to this lady's sanitizing method at the end of the video, however. Instead, wash the cutting board with hot soapy water, dry it then spray it with straight hydrogen peroxide followed by a spray of straight white vinegar. It is more effective but not at all caustic):
How to Cut Up a Chicken

I really like this way too and want to try it because the chicken breast, when cut this way, comes out boneless:
How to Fabricate a Chicken

Here is another video about how to prepare chicken cutlets. I do it like this, but use a mallet (I will have to try my knuckles though). And I also cut the flattened cutlets in half, to be about the size of the palm of my hand. The chicken goes further this way. Chicken cutlets cook really fast. Use them in the recipe I posted yesterday (Chicken and Eggplant Alfredo) and in Chicken Parmesan, etc. Preparing Chicken Cutlets
Here is a video about making chicken stock, although I cook it much longer and start out a little differently, so read my comments below after you watch the video: How to Make Chicken Stock

Comments on making stock:
1. I do not trim off the fat. It goes into the pot as well, along with the bones and any skin removed from the breast or other parts. After the stock has chilled I do remove the fat. But I keep it as it is a very good fat to use in cooking. Keep it covered in the refrigerator.

2. Put only the chicken and water in the stockpot to begin with. Cover the chicken with water and then add 2 more inches of water. I also add chicken feet - about 4 for a large stockpot, as they add wonderful gelatin to the stock. Pour 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar into water and let this set with the lid on for an hour at room temperature. The vinegar draws the minerals out of the bones.

3. Turn on the burner and bring to a boil (still without the veggies and herbs). Remove any scum as it forms. After removing the scum, add veggies and herbs, though sometimes I do not add anything as I really like the taste of stock without anything else added. Try experimenting to see how you like it.

4. Cook for several hours, then remove any meat from the bones. The meat gets dry if you leave it to cook any longer than several hours.
5. Continue to cook the stock much longer than suggested - up to 24 hours as this draws all the good minerals, glucosamine, collagen, gelatin, etc. out of the carcass.

6. Did you notice that when the chef in the video was removing the fat from the chilled stock, that the stock was liquid? A really good stock gels (like jello) when it is chilled. That's a result of cooking it longer and with the chicken feet (I find them frozen at Whole Foods Market).


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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chicken and Eggplant Alfredo - Yum!

One taste of this dish and the tummy sighs, "Ah, comfort food" (yes, even with eggplant). If you are not a fan of eggplant, do not - I repeat - do not let that stop you from trying this wonderful recipe. One of my friends was here for dinner when I served this luscious dish. She commented that she did not like eggplant, but she willingly tried what I had made and couldn't stop raving about how good it was, including the eggplant. I hope your taste buds rejoice as well!

2 large organic eggplants, sliced in 1/2-inch thick rounds
real sea salt or Redmond Real Salt (I really like this salt)
coconut or olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk (cream-top, non homogenized)
5 cups dry bread crumbs from sprouted wheat, or barley bread (Alvarado Street is good) or 3 to 4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 half breasts (from free-range chickens, free of hormones and antibiotics), skinned and boned, and cut into small 1/2 thick pieces (the size of your palm), then pounded to 1/4-inch thick
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
1 recipe Alfredo sauce (see below)

Directions: Lay out eggplant slices in a single layer on large dish and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let set for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make Alfredo sauce as directed below.

After eggplant has set for 30 minutes, rinse with water and dry. Heat several tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Blend eggs with milk together in a dish with a flat bottom dish (I like to use a loaf pan to egg mixture and another to hold the breadcrumbs or flour mixture). Mix breadcrumbs (or flour) with Parmesan cheese and place in another flat bottom dish. Dip eggplant slices first into breadcrumbs (or flour), then into egg and then into breadcrumbs again. Brown in batches, turning for even browning, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat process for all the eggplant and chicken. As eggplant and chicken get done, transfer to oven to keep warm.

Spoon a small amount of Alfredo sauce onto bottom of a 13x9 pan. Arrange eggplant in bottom of pan, then lay chicken on top, then shredded mozzarella. Top this with the remaining Alfredo sauce. Place in 225 degree oven and immediately increase the heat to 350 degrees. Continue baking for 20-30 minutes longer or until heated through and beginning to bubble. Makes 6-8 servings.

Alfredo Sauce:
1 stick butter
2 T. cream cheese (not low-fat)
1 pint heavy cream (organic)
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Directions: Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese. Using a wire whisk, incorporate cheese into butter. Add heavy cream and garlic and stir into butter mixture. Bring to a simmer and keep at a simmer for 15 -20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes about 3 1/2 cups of sauce.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Christian's Mandate After the Election

As we consider the implications of what yesterday's election will mean, for all who truly call upon the Name of the Lord, I, like the Apostle Paul:

First of all...urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim 2:1-5

This text makes it clear that the way Christians will be able to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity is through God's saving work among all classes of people - the great (kings and those in high positions) and the small (the working classes).

Living in godliness means that we seek His kingdom and righteousness here on this earth - that we support what God supports and stand against what He stands against. One of the things we must stand against is the daily slaughter of innocent lives. We are commanded to defend the innocent.

"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." Ps. 82:3-4

"Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy." Prov 31:8-9
We should be actively concerned (without making political issues an idol) that President-elect Obama has promised to make the signing the Freedom of Choice Act his first order of business in the White House. With a Democratic Congress, he will have no problem in overturning all of the advances made for the protection of the unborn and to somewhat limit abortion since 1973 (click here, then scroll down on the page to see the list of these successes that will be undone). He is even opposed to administering protection and nourishment to a child born alive during an abortion. It would be considered a crime to assist such a baby.

We should begin today to pray earnestly that God would have mercy upon our new leader - to turn his heart against this legalized slaughter of the "least" among us, and even more, that God will cause Him to be born again. It is God's desirous will for men and women to be saved. It is also His will for His people to be able to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity.

Since we have a promise in 1 John 5:14-15 that if we pray according to God's will (His desirous will is all we can know and that is the expressed thing we are commanded to pray for in the 1 Timothy text), we should have great confidence that He will answer.

"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that if He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked of Him. " (1 John 5:14-15)

Let us ask with confidence for our new President and other governmental leaders! In this we will be found faithful to the call to ask God that we might live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. This is how we should pray so that ultimately we may openly, (even in public) declare the glories of Christ, the only One who can right all wrongs and forever change the hearts of those who slaughter the innocent for personal convenience and forgive their sin as He has our own. All for Christ's honor and glory! (For more from John Piper in this regard, click here.)


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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Laundry Redeemed

The tip for today comes from a faithful reader:

Anne writes:

If you leave the laundry in the washer too long, and it gets that mildewy smell, you can remove it with vinegar! Just put 1/2 cup in the washer and rewash without soap. It works great! Not, ahem, that I've ever . . . Anne


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