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Archive for November, 2012

This delicious salad is easy to "fix" and even easier on the palette!

This delicious salad is easy to “fix” and even easier on the palette!

It’s Thursday somewhere… ūüėČ This recipe was a great hit this Thanksgiving; I’m sure it would work well for Christmas too!¬† It is simple, inexpensive, and DELICIOUS!

If you enjoyed this Recipe thuRsday’s post, please share using one of the many options below.¬† Thanks!

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You’ve won this wonderful all-natural cleaning and personal care package!

CONGRATULATIONS STAR SCOT! You’ve won the NaturOli Soap Nuts Intro Starter Package Giveaway. Star had 30 entries, more than any other contestant. Star: make sure to send me your mailing address (I have already sent you a confirmation email that you can reply to) so I can pass that info on to NaturOli. Thanks to everyone who participated! I hope I can bring another giveaway soon.

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These apples had already turned brown…then pineapple juice removed the oxidization!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!¬† I apologize for the hiatus in posts; I have a bunch of recipes to post this Thursday, research on whole grains for an upcoming Transformation Tuesdays post… and I am getting over a Sinus Migraine thanks to the ever-changing barometric conditions…gotta love Michigan weather…

To break the no-writing streak, I decided to share what would usually be the subject of a Mama-Mondays post.¬† The subject was an accidental discovery; I hope I’m the first to mention it and receive some major culinary kudos!

In the past I’ve used freshly-squeezed lemon-juice to keep sliced apples from turning brown; they still turn brown albeit much more slowly.¬† When my kids have snack-duty for school I usually slice organic apples (apples are #1 on the Environmental Work Group’s 2012 Dirty Dozen list) and roll them in diluted lemon juice.¬† On one such occasion I ran out of lemons and reached in the ‘fridge for what I did have…leftover fresh pineapple juice from my pineapple oatmeal recipe.¬† The results were amazing!¬† Leftover apples came back home, after a full day at school, completely white.

This Thanksgiving I forgot to roll the apples for my Apple-Pecan salad in any juice at all.¬† They turned light brown in thirty minutes.¬† Not wanting my apples to brown further, I rolled them in pineapple juice and watched in amazement as THE “BROWN” CAME OFF.¬† The pineapple juice turned a tan color and the apples turned white.¬† I showed the slices off to my husband (who had sliced them) and stepdaughter!¬† They were impressed ūüôā¬† I’m guessing the enzymes in the pineapple juice help to break up the oxidized apple enzymes while the pH of the juice denatured the remaining enzymes so they could no longer be oxidized?¬† (Any chemistry buffs out there?)

To summarize, here are the benefits of using pineapple juice on apple slices:

  • Diluted fresh pineapple juice completely prevents browning.¬† Completely.
  • Apple slices taste better with a hint of sweet pineapple than with a sour hint of lemon.
  • [DRUMROLL PLEASE] Pineapple juice REMOVES browning AFTER it has occurred.

HOW TO MAKE FRESH PINEAPPLE JUICE:

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut off outer skin of pineapple
  2. Chop pineapple “meat” into small wedges and process in a blender or food processor
  3. Scoop pineapple puree into a glass jar or bowl and allow the pulp to rise to the top (if you don’t have time for this, skip to step 5 by dumping the puree into the coffee filter),
  4. Remove pulp to eat in lieu of apple sauce or to flavor oatmeal; store pulp in a glass salsa/sauce jar.
  5. Filter remaining juice through a coffee filter placed on a sieve or colander into a glass measuring jar or small bowl.
  6. Dilute juice with filtered water 1:1 and store in your ‘fridge to use as needed to keep apples white or soak grains.
  7. Storage option: freeze diluted juice in ice cube trays and empty cubes into a freezer bag or mason jar.¬† If you don’t use pineapple juice very often, this option means that you don’t have to worry about it spoiling in your ‘fridge and you’ll always have some handy!

Make sure to give fresh pineapple juice a try.¬† And since you’ll already have pureed pineapple handy, why not skip the cereal box and make some healthy, energy-boosting pineapple oatmeal instead?

If you enjoyed this…um, cooking tip post…please share using one of the many features below.¬† Thanks!

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Read on to see how Jesus’ hope will preserve your life!

As my pastor says, “we’re rounding third and coming home”!¬† Here is our second-to-last MIQVEH verse:

O Lord, the hope (MIQVEH) of Israel,
    all who turn away from you will be disgraced.
They will be buried in the dust of the earth,
    for they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living water.

Jeremiah 17:13 New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation.

I last discussed this verse in my first MIQVEH post, One Hope.¬† Today I want to focus on one word: living.¬† Jeremiah, in the middle of a national drought, describes God as a fountain of living water.¬† Jesus described Himself as living water in a time of spiritual drought.¬† What’s the deal with “living”?¬† Why bring it up?¬† If God exists at all, then He must be alive… but what is meant by “living water”?

The significance of “living” is that it means “life-giving” as well as “eternal”.¬† God, our Source of Hope, is also the source of life that is not only immune to physical death but insuppressible by the decay around us.¬† Jesus said of this life:

I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep…My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

John 10:7, 10b New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation.

Rich and satisfying.¬† Does that describe your life?¬† It is interesting that Jesus spoke these words in the hearing of the Apostles, who later wrote them down for our benefit.¬† The Apostles were all persecuted for their faith and suffered for their belief in Jesus as “The Way”.¬† It is easy to think our lives are rich and satisfying when everything is going well, or reasonably well, but what about when tragedy or persecution hits?¬† Is your life rich and satisfying even in times of isolation or waiting?

Hope is all about waiting for what we don’t have yet.¬† How can we enjoy a rich and satisfying life when it is marked by the absence of what we are hoping for?¬† Waiting for healing, a baby, a relationship, justice, or attention can distract us even from the richest aspects of our lives.¬† The answer to all those deep-felt hopes is a LIVING Hope:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:3-5 English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

The “living hope” that is available to all of us–the inheritance God has planned for us–comes through the power of Jesus’ resurrection.¬† Did you know that the same power that rose Jesus from the dead on Easter Sunday can help to bring life to those who follow Him?¬† Not just eternal life, but authority to live this life, imperfect as it is, to the full.¬† The Hope that Jesus brings us helps us to keep trusting in His goodness, even while we are waiting for the things we are hoping for.

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

Philippians 3:10-11 New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation.

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
    while I am here in the land of the living.

Psalm 23:17 New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation.

Waiting for our hopes to be fulfilled by God’s mighty power is a form of suffering!¬† It’s while we are waiting that our selfish ambitions and limited plans die.¬† If you feel like you are dying while you are waiting, be encouraged!¬† If you are determined to know Christ and “suffer” for Him, you will experience His resurrection power as He brings His hope to life in you.

If you enjoyed this Faith Fridays post, please share it using one of the many options below.  Thanks!

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Make this your own “Christmas Classic”!

Want a healthy alternative to corn-syrup-laden hot chocolate and marshmallows?  Here are two, much HEALTHIER recipes sure to impress guests and leave an impression on twinkling-eyed children this holiday season!  My hot chocolate recipe takes about the same time as nuking four cups of instant hot chocolate; the honeymallows take more time in preparation but with their unique honey-flavor and foamy-goodness, the investment is definitely worth it!
If you enjoyed this week’s Recipe thuRsday post, please share using one of the many options below!¬† Thanks!

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Word-up Wednesdays are all about sharing a “word” from an external source that pertains to making right choices in Faith, Family, Food or Fun.¬† Today’s word-up is: Get your Word on!

The Bible is one of the best resources for advice on all four F’s and is a source of hope for many.¬† It isn’t a judgmental, hypocritical, ancient book!¬† It has erotic love poetry, vibrant history, emotional prophecy, comforting promises, principles for living a blessed life, and warnings about unseen dangers.¬† More importantly, it comes from the God Who gave us the capacity for Faith and Fun and Who blesses us with Food and Family.

Since Thanksgiving is coming up, why not get into the very book that instigated both the Pilgrim’s dinner at Plymouth Rock and the Thanksgiving proclamation by Abraham Lincoln?¬† You may discover that you have one more thing to be thankful for ūüôā

One of the pastors at my church (Jeremy Godwin) has written several how-tos that should make Bible-reading more interesting and “organic” (I love organic things, don’t you?).¬† I’ve put a couple of my own comments on his relatively short posts: I’d love to see some of yours there too.¬† Here are some direct links to Pastor Jeremy’s “Beyond Just Reading” series:

Beyond Just Reading: Round 1 (Slow Reading with Strange Questions)

Beyond Just Reading: Round 2 (Exhaust a Scripture)

Beyond Just Reading: Round 3 (Exhaust a Topic)

Beyond Just Reading: Round 4 (Bio of a Builder)

Beyond Just Reading: Round 5 (Fact Check a Preacher)

Helping of Hope.¬† Right choice: Get your “Word-on” in the way that suits your personality and learning style best: read the original Hope resource, the Bible!¬† (I hope you’ll follow Jeremy Godwin’s blog too: he has a lot of great stuff about relationships and communication too).¬† Bright future: a closer awareness of the One who wants the best for your Faith, Family, Food, and Fun.¬† His “Word” (the Bible) will show you how to receive blessings in each of those F’s as you draw closer to Him by spending time reading His Love Letter to YOU.

If you enjoyed this Word-up Wednesday post, please share using one of the many options below.  Thanks!

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Its about that time: whether you are making vanilla essence or aftershave, it is going to take several weeks for the flavor or scent to properly work itself into your homemade Christmas gifts.  Make them now so that they can be used right away.  Here are four gifts sure to please this Christmas:

  • HOMEMADE AFTERSHAVE ($15).¬† I used this aftershave recipe from Passionate Homemaking (5 TBSP Organic Filtered Apple Cider Vinegar, 3 TBSP Dickinson’s Witch Hazel, 1 TBSP Vegetable Glycerin).¬† For a manly scent my husband and father loved, I added 5 drops of Lavender essential oil and 10 drops of Patchouli essential oil (it was a weaker craft-store brand…you may want to use a few drops less if you have a high quality oil).¬† The interesting things about the scent is that it really does change over time.¬† The recipe says to wait 3-4 days; at that time the aftershave smells great, but you can tell the scents apart.¬† After a couple months, the scents blend together and smell like something store-bought.¬† My husband wears the aftershave I made him every day; when the bottle gets down to 50%, he tops it up with unscented aftershave (same ratio as above 5 A.C.V.:3 W.H.:1 V.G.)¬† I think I made his present for $15, including the bottles.¬† It has lasted almost a whole year with 3 top-ups.¬† The scent has got a little weaker each time, but he isn’t a fan of strong-smelling colognes anyway.¬† If you want to make your gift very versatile (and a bit more expensive), you can create a homemade aftershave gift basket, providing a large, “refill” bottle of unscented aftershave, the scented aftershave, and the essential oil bottles you used.¬† That way the grateful man receiving your amazing and thoughtful gift can dilute or strengthen the scent to his hearts’ content!
    Check out my pins below:

  • LAVENDER BALM ($15).¬† I used this aftershave salve recipe from Passionate Homemaking (2 TBSP Coconut oil, 4 TBSP Shea Butter), except that instead of the recommended manly scents I used 5 drops of Lavender Essential oil and put it in a pretty glass container for a female family member with eczema. ¬†¬† Pure Shea Butter is difficult to find: I had to get it at my local health food store.
  • RASPBERRY, CHERRY, and CRANBERRY “WINE” VINEGAR ($2-$5 each).¬† This sounds so impressive, but if you have been saving your glass bottles and use scraps from frozen or fresh fruits, the only expense is the organic filtered apple cider vinegar.¬† The vinegars may be used to make vinaigrette.¬† So far I have used the leftover juice/seeds from frozen raspberries to make Raspberry Vinegar, a few chopped up Michigan cherries to make Cherry Vinegar, and cranberries that were too far gone to be used to make sauce–mildly fermented but not rotten–to make Cranberry “Wine” Vinegar.¬† There really isn’t a recipe: approximately 10% of the volume is the finely chopped up fruit, the rest is apple cider vinegar.¬† Store the tightly-sealed “fruit” vinegar bottle in a cool, dark place for at least a month so the fruit flavors will be infused into the vinegar.¬† The vinegar will preserve or pickle the fruit bits and keep them from spoiling.¬† You can make a vinaigrette gift basket by making my Sweet Basil Vinaigrette as well as a fruity vinegar and placing both bottles in a basket with a set of dried, organic herbs used in the recipe.
  • VANILLA AND SPEARMINT EXTRACTS ($10-$15 each).¬† The greatest cost to this is the alcohol.¬† Vodka is the most versatile medium for drawing out flavors because it can be used on anything (and is cheaper).¬† However, nothing beats the Bourbon flavor of¬† whiskey for a homemade Vanilla Extract.¬† To make a vanilla extract, use 4 vanilla beans per 8 oz. of alcohol; split the beans lengthwise using a sharp knife and scrape the seeds into the alcohol, then place the bean pods in the alcohol.¬† The larger the overall amount of vanilla beans/alcohol, the better, because it makes “re-flavoring” easier (I used a large olive oil bottle but you could easily add the beans straight to the alcohol container); When you have used half of the extract, top up with alcohol and shake.¬† Replace old vanilla beans once or twice a year.¬† For a spearmint extract(milder and sweeter than peppermint), use fresh spearmint leaves from the garden or your grocer: fill up a glass bottle with rinsed & touch-dry leaves, lightly packed, and pour vodka over them until the top leaves are completely immersed.¬† Extracts need to be stored away in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months (ideally), 6 weeks at a minimum.¬† Shaking extracts regularly during this waiting period will help to speed up the extraction process.

    I used old spice jars to make Mint Extract. This should taste yummy in hot chocolate or coffee, give a milder flavor to homemade toothpaste, and add a fresh “Christmassy” flavor to tapioca pudding when combined with a little nutmeg.

If you enjoyed this Mama Mondays post, please share using one of the many options below.  Thanks!

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