Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sausage and peppers brown-bag friendly

Here's another quick meal.

When I make mashed potatoes I pressure cook them and I make a lot and freeze some. Mashers freeze well. 

It's just a commercial store bought sausage cut up and tossed w frozen pepper strips and some chopped jalapeño. Mashers on the side. 
Heat it up at work for 1-2 mins. Enjoy. 

Healthy fast food: easy fajitas (brown bag friendly)

Please excuse my pic, the colors are drab, I took the pic in my breakroom at work, while I was eating it.

For a fast meal that's healthy, buy precooked organic frozen chicken strips and frozen organic pepper strips. 

I like hot meals at work and it's a fast easy meal to take along. Pack it the night before, with no real prep. It takes 5 mins to throw this together. 

Toss pepper strips and chicken strips, however much you want to make, into a glass or Pyrex type dish the night before. One serving or 10. 

Add a Tablespoon taco seasoning and a dribble of water. 
Place in fridge. In the morning grab it and stuff it in your lunch tote and at lunch, microwave about 1-2 mins.  
Don't forget to pack your wraps and fixins (lettuce, sour cream whatever ya like)  :) you can also eat this as is, or add rice. 

You can make your family a meal the same way, just put enough servings for everyone and heat a little longer.  

It's cheaper and healthier than buying a frozen prepared box meal. I know, I use the microwave for it but it's the only way to get a hot meal at work. Everyone oohs and ahhs over my meals in the break room. 

I pack my lunch EVERYDAY. I'm working on a section on my blog that will list easy fast lunches and snacks that you can take to work. 
Ps. You can do this w rotisserie chickens from SAMs too. 

Simple Soup (it's accidentally vegan)

This soup is accidentally vegan. It's a basic soup with no meat or animal products. Clean and simple. I'm not vegan, you won't miss the meat in this simple, light, clean meal.

Toss whatever veggies you have in your fridge together with some garbanzo beans and spices pour in some water and cook it in the pressure cooker for 5 minutes. 

Now you see why I call it simple soup. I've also referred to it as stone soup because I use whatever I have in my fridge right before I go to the grocery store and stocked up on fresh produce. 

This soup pictured has:

green pepper 
herbs and spices
I cover it with water and hit cook for five minutes and I have a great snacking soup or soup to take to work. 

In the summer I go easy on the herbs to keep it light, and in the winter I go heavy on the herbs because I feel they help keep me from getting  sick. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sleep deprived?

Are you sleep deprived?  So tired but the minute your head hits the pillow, your mind starts to race through every scenario from your day, worries start filling your head, anxiety sets in. You watch the clock, growing more anxious to get sleep, but not a wink of sleep.  Maybe you fall asleep easily but wake constantly?

I have some advice. There was a time I survived in 3-4 hours sleep every night. I was up, on Facebook at 3am chatting with my fellow insomniac friends. (This is a big no no) 

Then I started to do yoga. In my yoga journey, I took some teaching classes and learned the value of pranayama. Controlled breathing. This breathing not only helped me quit smoking, it taught me to sleep. 

In quitting smoking, I went through the breathing motions of how I breathed when I smoked, only, without the cigarette. It worked! (For more on quitting smoking, see my post in how I quit smoking). 

For learning to sleep better, I breathed as though I was asleep. Deep long breaths. I can put my head on the pillow and be asleep in 60 seconds. My husband is amazed at how soon after I hit the pillow, that I'm out like a light. 

Some other tips are, get off the internet an hour before you want to be asleep. Two is better. Don't perk at Facebook, check your texts messages. Shut the sound off!  My phone has an emergency setting. My spouse, kids and sisters are the only ones who can text or call me after 7 pm. All other calls and texts don't even light my phone. I'm on do not disturb. I'm not a doctor so there's no reason, outside of my family emergencies, that I need to be reachable after 7pm. 

I wake up early EVERYDAY! I enjoy being up before most of the world. It's peaceful.  It's rare I'm awake at 9pm and I almost never make it to 10pm. I'm up at 4. Sometimes 3:30. Crazy, maybe, but it gives me time to reflect, and relax before I start my day. 

I look at Facebook in the morning, and the same people, who are on all night every night, are up complaining that they can't sleep. Of course, they are stimulated by Facebook. Yet that's where they spend their night.  Chatting with other insomniacs, keeping each other awake. 

There are safe natural supplements  that can get you started on a routine of sleeping at night  make sure you choose something that is not addictive and start with the lowest dose, on a night you don't have to wake early and rush out. 

My best advice, and it helped me, I hope it helps some of you...



*Eat right

*Don't eat two hours before bedtime, drink a glass of raw milk if you need something in your stomach (this helps me)

*stay off the internet, avoid calls and text messages (no peeking) 
At least one hour before you want to be asleep, shut down and read a book. 

*breathe as though you are sleeping. Watch someone sleep and mimick their long breaths. Lay still on your back in corpse pose, close your eyes and breathe. 

*wake early everyday. Your early may not be my early but pick a time and wake up every single day at that time. Even on weekends. 

If you must have background noise or tv running, put on something comforting and boring and turn it down very low (Your local weather channel, not the storm stories one lol) 

This may not help you immediately. Your body is in the routine of fighting sleep. You have to wean yourself back into a healthy nights sleep. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pumpkin soup in the vitamix

Easy Pumpkin Soup

Makes 7 cups, serves 4

Add the filling to vitamix: 

15 oz can pumpkin
2 large carrots
2 stalks celery
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 T fresh grated ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
2 c raw milk 
(Add milk to equal 7 cups after blending starts, you may need to tamper at first). 

Blend on high about 5-6 minutes. Will be steaming hot. 
Remove lid. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Jalapeño, roasted pepper, garlic grits

I have developed a new found love for savory grits. There in expensive and easy to make. Look for non-gmo quick cooking grits. NOT INSTANT. There is a difference. You want the quick cooking.

I start by putting 2T coconut oil in my cast iron Dutch oven on medium heat 
Throw diced jalapeño in, dice Gaelic and toss it in and either roast your pen peppers or rinse jarred type, chop and throw them in. 
After sweating them in the pan, pour 2 c milk, 6 c water and 4 t butter. Salt and pepper
Bring to a boil, and add 2 c quick cooking grits. Stirring so it doesn't burn being back to boil and boil about 5 mins. 
It will thicken as the grits soak up the liquid. Take off burner and let sit a few mins and it will thicken more. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Gimmick or good thing? Stone wave Cooker

I worked 10 hours today. I come home and made a wise crack to my teenagers about the fact that no one made dinner. Then I asked what they ate today.



 Not for lack of skill or food. My pantry is well stocked and my son is a culinary arts student in his third year. Just typical teenage boys awaiting mom to make something. They know I hate dishes in the sink when I come home so they just don't make any dishes. I know, I was a teenager, last century, literally. 

I ran out for Stromboli and stopped at cvs and they had this "as seen on tv" stonewave microwave cooker. I know what your thinking. Microwaved food sucks. I agree. I mainly use mine to reheat coffee or melt butter  But if my lazy boys will eat something homemade but conveniently easy,  (even in the evil "nuker") I'll give it a shot. 

The thing that caught my eye was the fact that it poaches eggs. I love poached eggs on spinach. 

There is a recipe book with it, and the foods are all whole foods. I don't need a lecture about the fact that the microwave is evil, I'm aware but our  food is organic and fresh, better than them making ramen, yuck! I can't stand the smell of it. 

Okay here is my review:

This banana dessert is delicious. I was able to also make it in a glass microwave dish with a glass lid with similar results. 

This too was very delicious and also could be made in just a glass microwavable dish with a glass lid. 

This seemed to do a little bit better than the glass microwave dish with the glass lid probably because the steam vent. 

One last thing.
 I cubed a sweet potato added  2 tablespoons of butter, some pecans, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon. I nuked it for 3 minutes let it rest a minute and it was a delicious dessert like side dish. Would be great with a  steak.   

All in all I'd say this is a useful  little contraption and I plan to buy a second one to have 2 around.  
 You can use the recipes from 250 BEST MEALS IN A MUG cookbook.  It holds the same amount and has a great outcome. 


Steel cut oats frozen in cupcake tins

Today I saw an idea for still cut oats. You can freeze them in muffin tins or cupcake tins pop them out put them into baggies to keep in the freezer and grab them to take to work.
They take about three minutes to heat up some frozen.  Or as I do, you can put them into a glassmicrowave dish the night before for reheating at work and they will be thawed and cook faster.  

I made them in the rice cooker, as I normally do. I added dried cranberries and a stream of honey used 19 ounces of water and one cup of Steel cut oats. 

This recipe filled 8 cupcake tin cups. I figure that's about for breakfasts. I put the 10 into the freezer and left it set up about three hours. Then I pop them out of the 10 and put them into a plastic baggie. Now when I am packing my breakfast I can grab one or two and throw it into a dish. 

I like to have a hot meal for breakfast at work occasionally. Especially in the winter time.  

I'll post some of my other brown bag fast food later this week.  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Jalapeño popper grilled cheese w bacon

While making bacon for BLT sandwiches I was browsing Pinterest and I came up with another lame excuse to blog. Lol. Hey, no one listens to meat home, so my blog and twitter are my vents. Just kidding.  They listen.
It's pretty basic, but simplicity is still delicious. 
I mixed 2 small chopped jalapeños with a half package of cream cheese.  (just stem removed, keep the seeds or you might as well use a non-spicy pepper)

Butter bread outsides, spread inside generously with cream cheese jalapeño mixture, using about half. Place bacon on top, then top slice of bread. 
Brown both sides in buttered cast iron skillet. 
Slice and eat. Simply delicious. 
You can sub goat cheese or any soft cheese for this. 

Here's my BLT wrap for my work lunch tomorrow. I love bacon. I smeared jalapeño cream cheese on my wrap too. 

Mascara review: Honeybee Gardens

A friend of mine did a review of a her new mascara and I wanted to boast about my favorite mascara. 

Honeybee Gardens. 

I'm not affiliated, I don't make any money from them, nor do I sell their products.  I just love this natural safe mascara. It stays on all day, comes off without harsh chemicals and doesn't get clumpy. It's just enough to bring out my eyelashes without looking dark, heavy and overly made up, as many guys, including mine, don't like heavy makeup. 

In the pics above,  I didn't even use an eyeliner to show you that you really only need one coat. 
I'm no photographer, I just used my iPhone cam to get a quick shot of my eyes as I get ready for work. 

It doesn't cost an arm and a leg like some high end products but it performs flawlessly, and you don't need 3-layers of different mascaras to achieve this look, like some of the new products I'm seeing out there. At the time I'm writing this article is only 11.99, which is the going rate for mascara a sold at places like target and a fraction of department store cosmetic, the majority of which are toxic. gives this a good rating. 

If you want to purchase this, they have a website that lists where it's available and of course you can buy it online. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Re-inventing kitchen gadgets

I have a few of these but one thing I dislike about them is, that handle. It needlessly takes up room in the cabinets. 
It's also not dishwasher safe. 

I've re-invented it. 
And even the dust cover still works in it.

And just for fun, let's multi-task a tool, shall we? 

Repurposed cassette cabinet

I got this baby at a yard sake for 4 dollars about 15 years ago. CDs cornered the market and the owner had no use for it. I did. For years I kept my extracts and food coloring bottles in it.
I decided to move then up to a basket in my baking cabinet and am now using it to organize my essential oils. 
I love this thing and who knows what I'll use it for next decade. This thing is solid wood and it's one of my awesome yard sale finds from the early 90s. 

PS. Extracts never go bad. I still have some old ones with metal lids. 

I've even re-used a few to hold extracts that came in plastic. I love the nostalgia.