Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Little Something About Me

And first, a picture:

You say, "Oh! What is this?  I new icing?  A sweet dip?"  No!  It's homemade deodorant!

Okay, I've been using homemade deodorant for a little under a year.  I've only had to make it 3 or 4 times.  I think it's been three.  Anyway, it lasts forever, and it smells good, and I don't end up dried out like I did with store bought stuff.  I was skeptical at first, because it IS a little weird when you first think about making deodorant, but I'd suggest it to anyone now!  The only downer - and the reason I haven't been able to convert my husband - is that this is NOT an antiperspirant.  So, ready for a story?

It all started a couple weeks ago when I realized I was nearing the end of my tube of deodorant.  I thought about making some new stuff, then life happened.  I was lazy, hubby was sick, I had to fold laundry.... the list of excuses goes on and on.  Well, yesterday I used the last of my stick.  I had planned on making more last night, then I had a meeting.  Once I got home, I thought, "Hey, I don't stink that bad, I can wait to make more until tomorrow."  Fast forward to today.  All's well until about 11:30 when I become very aware of my self and the fact that I'm going sans deodorant.  I am SO glad I get out of the office an hour early today!  I am strong enough to admit that I smelled pretty badly.  Anyway, I got home and the very first thing I did was pull out my deodorant recipe and get to work.  I could NOT go another day like this.

The Recipe:

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup corn starch (or arrow root)
4 Tbsp coconut oil
10 - 15 drops of essential oil (optional)

Now, you can play with the ratio of soda and starch.  Some people are more sensitive to one, so they will up the other... as long as you have 1/2 cup when you're done, no worries.   Also, I've seen recipes that call for solid coconut oil and others that melt the coconut oil... it's personal preference. I think that melted or semi-melted makes it easier to mix, but neither way is wrong.

The Process:

Mix all ingredients until well blended.  You can store your deodorant in a tub of sorts - like a face cream tub... something that closes.  Or you can do what I do - put it in an old (store bought) deodorant tube.  Makes for much easier application, in my opinion.  Just twist the knob all the way to the bottom and fill it up with your mix.  If you melted your oil, or if the mix has gotten soft from all the handling, you may want to stick your deodorant in the 'fridge to harden up a bit.

And that's all there is to it.  Now you know I use homemade deodorant.  And you know how easy it is.  Don't let the cost of the coconut oil stop you.  You'll buy one jar and - if you're only using it for deodorant - will use it for maybe 8 - 10 (possibly more) deodorant re-fills.  Think of the cost of your store bought stuff - $4 or $5 each.  I think it pays for itself pretty quickly :)

Random picture of my cat:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy (Late) Valentine's Day!

Have I mentioned that I have an amazing husband?  While most girls were breaking their diets (or postponing diets) for Valentine's chocolates and trying to find a vase for the roses, my amazing husband took me out to Barnes and Nobles and let me get any 2 cook books I want!  Isn't he great!?  So, I got The Happy Herbivore


And I had to order Betty Goes Vegan

I am so excited about both of these books!  I've already made several recipes from The Happy Herbivore and loved them all - Hubby did too!  I'm looking forward to trying out the recipes in Betty Goes Vegan too :)

While we wait, I'll share a couple of my recipe trials with you.  For dinner tonight, I made the fettuccine alfredo - except I used bow ties:

This isn't the BEST picture, but I just remembered to snap it as I was headed to take dinner to my husband at work.  This was SO easy.  The longest part was literally cooking the pasta.  I do suggest eating kind of immediately, as it got a little crusty by the time I was able to eat (about 30 - 40 minutes later).  It still tasted amazing, but it didn't look as appealing.

On Saturday, I decided to try out the black bean brownies I've heard everyone raving about.  We decided to use the "Mexican Hot Chocolate" version of the recipe - just add a dash of cayenne. They are amazing!  Hubby and I were both leery, "Beans in brownies?  Who does that?!"  Well, we do now, let me tell you.  They are also great as  a base for an ice cream sundae :)

Try out these recipes and others found on the Happy Herbivore website, linked above!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Something Warm and Cold-Weather Ish

  So, if you don't live in Texas, you may not know that the weather is unusually cold and wet.  Today is the second time this winter that I've seen snow - which doesn't come often to this small town.  Sometimes, when it's cold and wet, you don't want to cook, or leave home.  But when your dear husband is stuck at work and wants something to eat, what do you do?  I asked Dear Hubby what he wanted for dinner, to which he responded, "Something warm and cold-weather ish."  My mind begins to race, trying to think of the perfect something to make.  Then it hits me.  Potato soup.  TA-DA!!

  I was inspired by a Pampered Chef recipe: Loaded Baked Potato Chowder.  Sounds amazing, no?  Obviously, there were some changes to make it vegan.  First - no butter.  It's not needed.  Even a vegan sub.  I suppose it could make it richer, but I don't think it's necessary.  Second, use your favorite plant milk in-place of the dairy milk.  I used almond milk.  Make sure you have regular, unsweetened milk.... I can see the recipe going bad fast with vanilla flavored milk.  bleh.....  Thirdly, use vegan cream cheese sub.  I used Tofuttie garlic and herb.  Very yummy.  The bacon and cheese are totally optional to this recipe.  I can see that they add to it, but no need to add them if you don't want to.  Add all the veggies you like.  I just put sliced green onion in mine.  But you could do mushrooms, corn (would make it a corn chowder though, instead of potato soup.  Which is still good), spinach, onion, carrots - the list goes on and on.  And now, time for a picture.

  Okay, now to make the soup.  I used all my nifty Pampered Chef tools, but you could easily do this on the stove with fantastic results... it just would take longer.
  So, 3 large potatoes, sliced into quarters.  Put the potatoes and milk in your Deep Covered Baker (DCB) and microwave for 13 minutes.  The recipe on the PC website says to move the potatoes around a bit in the cooking time.  I didn't bother with that and it came out fine.  After the potatoes cook, remove the DCB from  the microwave and mash the potatoes with either the Mix n' Chop or Mix n' Chunk (pictured).  This takes, literally, all of 2 minutes - if that long!  Love these tools :)
While the potatoes were in the microwave, I cooked my bacon and green onions.  

I also mixed the milk and cream cheese in the Manual Food Processor.

  Once the potatoes are out of the microwave, you add your milk / cream cheese mix.  This looks super wet, but trust me, it thickens up pretty quick.  Just stir it all up a bit.  The recipe says to microwave again, but my potatoes were still hot enough to warm the milk up, so I didn't bother.  I also added my bacon and green onions here.

I obviously got some soup on my camera....
  Stir up all the goodness, and serve.  This soup will go fast.  Hope you made enough.  But even if you didn't, it's so quick to make, you could easily whip up more :)  Enjoy!!

  If you have any questions about the Pampered Chef products I've shown here, feel free to email me :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Soup. It's What's For Dinner

Happy Monday!  Man, I'm slacking again.  Last we were here, I promised to blog again on the next day.  Here we are... I think a week or 2 later.  Here's what you missed:

Photo from: Vegan Richa

I was in a rush to make lunch for Hubby, so I forgot to take pictures.  Sorry :(
While I am not a huge fan of buffalo, Hubby and I both enjoyed this.  I think we should have done more buffalo sauce in the cooking millet, and less on the sandwich.  But that's just my opinion. 

Now, for today.

Soup.  I've never been a huge fan, but in the past few weeks, I have been craving soup almost as much as my husband - which is a lot.  I am making soup every chance I get!  Tonight, Hubby isn't feeling well and requested soup for dinner, so off to the internet I go, in search of a delicious sounding recipe.  At last, I prevailed and found something that sounded good to Hubby AND to me.   

Enter quinoa and veggies, stage right.

These are not the exact veggies in the recipe found at Oh She Glows.  I had made some roasted veggies for the Super Bowl party at my In-Laws last night, and this is mostly what was left over.  A mix of squash, onion, eggplant, bell pepper, and mushrooms.  I had carrots in the 'fridge, so I cut up a couple of those also.  I could not find my garlic press (very sad, since I love my PC garlic press... ) so I didn't add any garlic here. 

Now, this is not the most appetizing picture in the world, but trust me, it smelled amazing.  I was missing diced tomatoes and spinach, so I didn't add them (obviously). Instead, I used broccoli.  Steamed broccoli, to be exact.  I didn't steam it all the way done, since I didn't want it to turn to mush in the soup.  At this point, I added some granulated garlic.  I did not use salt or pepper.  I avoid any added salt whenever possible.  I was also missing nutmeg - which I mostly only use at Christmas time with egg (now egg-less) nog.  I can see how it would have added to the flavor, but I don't think it turned out bad without it.  I let this simmer for about 15 minutes before I couldn't wait any longer.

I took Angela's advice and added some walnuts.  I think it gives the soup a well-rounded, robust taste.  This soup is seriously good.  See I couldn't even wait until I was done eating to tell you guys:


Now, I have a question.  For you guys that ARE actually reading this (thank you, by the way), what would you like to see?  I am willing to try most recipes... plant based, that is.  Let me know :)