Sunday
Oct312010

Free Pantry Labels

So one day I actually had some spare time to spend organizing my pantry. I went a step beyond purging and re-stocking and made some labels to slap onto my jarred bulk goods. I thought they were pretty nifty and cute enough to share. In this downloadable zipped file is everything you need to create your own:

  • MS Word Template
  • PDF Instructions
  • Baby Bowser Font & Terms of Use (courtesy of Kevin & Amanda)

Happy organizing!

If you like this freebie and want to share it on your site, here is a badge you can use.

Saturday
Oct232010

Stevia Usage

If you've ever wondered how much stevia to use in place of sugar, here is a great reference for you. You can convert sugar measurements to stevia and stevia to sugar. In my recipes I use SweetLeaf Concentrate Liquids exclusively so refer to the far right column. If you use another brand of stevia I cannot guarantee that this conversion chart will produce the same results.

I do not get paid to endorse SweetLeaf® Stevia products. I just love them!

Copyright © 2010 Wisdom Natural Brands™

Wednesday
Aug182010

For When You're Outta Bob's

Readers have written asking what Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour can be substituted with. Here is the mixture I suggest. Give Saturday Pancakes a try and let me know what you think!

Make Your Own Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour

3/4 cup GARBANZO FLOUR
1/2 cup POTATO STARCH
1/4 cup TAPIOCA STARCH
1/4 cup SORGHUM FLOUR
1/4 cup FAVA BEAN FLOUR

Combine well and store in air-tight container (preferably in refrigerator).

Monday
Jun072010

Smoothie Kit

When we were on the Anti-Candida Diet, we tried to drink a smoothie at each meal. Washing and slicing produce three times a day became quite cumbersome. Finally, I got smart. I began rinsing and slicing enough fruit and veggies for 2-3 days worth of smoothies. The packaging I bought organic baby spinach in made great storage containers. Now, having smoothie makings ready and on-hand makes my life easier and encourages me to drink more of these nutritionally dense concoctions.

Monday
May242010

Beet Water for Food Coloring

There are a couple of things I have been doing with beet water that just tickles me pink! What is beet water? It is the, often overlooked, liquid that's left in the pot after steaming beets! The first time I used it was to color icing. Just a tablespoon of beet water and I had a lovely pink topping for cookies! Try it. Then one day I was making Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce and thought I'd try to intensify the color and added a couple tablespoons of frozen beet water and, wow, what a brillant sauce it made. There really isn't much flavor to the water so it shouldn't affect the overall flavor of whatever it is you add it to. Let me know if you come up with any other ways to use this fabulous, all-natural food coloring.

I've found that the easiest way to store and use beet water is to pour the cooled liquid into a small zip lock bag and freeze. When you need it, take it out of the freezer, give the bag a couple of gentle whacks, and use the broken off chunks.

Monday
May172010

How to Make Almond Flour

Elana of Elana's Pantry has some incredible recipes in her Almond Flour Cookbook. If you haven't tried them, make a batch of Elana's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Out of this world! I think Elana put Honeyville Food Products on the map when recommending their almond flour in her cookbook. It is a superb flour, nice and light. Because it's a mail-order product, I stock up and buy 5 pounds at a time ($30 plus shipping). The only problem is that if I run out halfway through a recipe I can't just run to the store and pick up another bag (and Bob's Red Mill almond flour/meal is NOT a good substitute). And that's what happened the other day. So, I called mom.

My mother, recipe tester, and biggest fan suggested I make some almond flour in my coffee grinder. Hmmmmm. So I gave it a try and the result was wonderful! See for yourself below. Had I used blanched almonds, my homemade flour would have looked exactly like Honeyville's.

A side-by-side comparison of Honeyville almond flour and almond flour made using a coffee grinder.So, I went on to make Elana's yummy, gluten-free Snickerdoodles (below). One batch was made with the homemade flour and one with Honeyville's. Again, no difference in taste or texture—just a slight difference in color because the raw almonds I used were not blanched. The trade-off for leaving the skins on? More nutrition in the form of flavonoids.

Homemade vs. Honeyville Almond Flour | Same taste and texture!Now, if you do a lot of baking with almond flour, it's probably convenient to keep a bag of Honeyville's on hand. However, if you only use it occasionally and in small amounts (1-2 cups at a time), then give making your own a try.

Here's how:

Fill your coffee grinder with raw almonds just as you would coffee beans (if you want pretty white almond flour, use blanched almonds). Grind until you have a nice, fluffy flour. Repeat until you have the amount your recipe calls for.

There were some chunks that did not get ground. I just picked them out. Then today, I found a gently used turn-handle flour sifter at Goodwill much like this one. It worked like a charm to sift out the larger bits of almond. I'd caution you to avoid the multiple screen style sifter like this one. I tried one and it was a big headache. Store any unused almond flour in an air-tight container in the fridge to keep it fresh.

So there you have it, the know-how to make almond flour. I think I'll head back to the kitchen now and try another of Elana's recipes!

NOTE:

1) I might suggest purchasing a separate coffee grinder for this task. I have not repeated it hundreds of times and don't think it would damage a grinder, but at the same time I don't want to be responsible for damage done to anyone's precious coffee grinder. :) Grind flour at your own risk.

2) If the grinder sounds like it is slowing down. Check to see if a nut is lodged under the blade or caught on a blade. Dislodge and off you go.

3) Grind JUST until you have a nice, light-colored flour (approx 10 seconds). If you grind too long, the flour will start to become oily, dense and slightly dark. At the nice, light-colored flour stage, I still have some un-ground nuts in the mix which I just pick or sift out.

Wednesday
May052010

Greener Dishwasher Detergent

This dishwasher detergent has worked quite well in our dishwasher. No yucky film and the dishes come out as clean as they would using the toxic detergents I used to use. This recipe does use some earth-friendly store bought detergent which I then "water down."

In a plastic container combine:

2 cups BORAX (Sam's Club or Costco)
2 cups BAKING SODA (Sam's Club or Costco)
2 cups SEVENTH GENERATION® DISHWASHER DETERGENT (Whole Foods)
4 packs generic Kool-Aid LEMONADE (about $0.17 a pack)
20-40 drops of ESSENTIAL OIL

Fill the main wash compartment with 2 tablespoons and the pre-wash with 1 tablespoon. I would love your feedback?

Wednesday
May052010

Non-Toxic All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

Like many, I've been experimenting with making my own non-toxic house cleaning products. My favorite all-purpose spray is a recipe that author and Green Guru, Sophie Uliano, and actress Julia Roberts came up with in Julia's kitchen (you can find it and more in Sophie's book Gorgeously Green). I love that you can scent it with any combination of essential oils. So that means everyday cleaning can become a therapeutic aroma therapy session. Is that a stretch?! This spray is suitable for acrylic, ceramic tile, wood, marble, and granite. I keep a bottle by the kitchen sink for quick counter clean-up.

Mix the following in a (recycled) 32-ounce spray bottle:

2 cups WATER
1⁄2 cup distilled WHITE VINEGAR
1 teaspoon pure liquid CASTILLE SOAP
3⁄4 cup HYDROGEN PEROXIDE (large bottles at Costco or Sam's Club)
20 drops TEA TREE OIL
20 drops of lavender or lemongrass ESSENTIAL OIL (or your own blend)

Blissful cleaning!

 

Monday
Apr262010

Reusing Cereal Bags

This tip was provided by a Cuisine at Home reader some time back. The little extra time it takes to tenderize a cut of meat with a mallet can make the end result so much better—especially in stir-fries. To alleviate bits off meat splashed across the kitchen. The Cuisine at Home reader (wish I knew her name so I could credit her) shared that she placed meat inside an empty cereal box bag and pounded away. It works beautifully! Plastic wrap is just too flimsy, whereas the cereal bags are tough enough for the job. Now, when we empty a cereal bag, I just tuck it away for future REUSE.

Monday
Mar292010

Frozen Mounds of Refried Beans

Our pantry is always stocked with a couple of cans of refried beans. Slap some between a couple of Food for Life brown rice tortillas, spray both sides with a little olive oil, brown in frying pan and you've got a zippity quick lunch for kids. The thing is, we RARELY use an entire can. I would end up putting the leftover beans in a Pyrex dish and then a science project weeks later in the back of the fridge (yuck). So the other day I experimented with freezing scoops of the refried beans and it worked great! I used a 2 tablespoon scooper, scooped mounds onto a plate and froze. Once frozen I tossed them into a storage container and, voila, no more waste. Now I take a few out in the morning and by noon they are thawed and ready to smoosh between two tortillas. Or for those who have not banished the microwave, you can thaw them that way. Pretty slick!