Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Easy Breakfast Hash

Once more, a salty breakfast. I really am on a roll with making new ways to eat salt in the morning. This time it's a Breakfast Hash (at least that's what I'm calling it).

I added some bacon grease to give it a meaty flavor without having to use any. The egg adds protein though, and I almost always have a glass of raw milk with it, and it makes enough to actually keep you full until lunch so I'm in love. Feel free to throw more veggies in, I like it the way it is, but I usually have raw broccoli or raw green beans or something on the side to make up for that.

Easy Breakfast Hash
serves 1

1 medium potato, shredded with skin on
1/4 onion, diced
2 T coconut oil
1 T bacon grease (saved from grass-fed bacon please!)
1 egg (the first time I made this I had a local duck egg left over and it was fantasticcccc)
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I like cheddar)
salt and pepper to taste

First, dice your onion. I like to dice a whole onion at a time and freeze it so it's ready for moments like these. Throw about 1/4 of the onion into a pan with coconut oil and bacon grease, cook until they are translucent.

While the onions cook, shred your potato using a cheese grater or if you have a food processor that should work too. Once the onions are ready, dump your potato pile on top of them and give it a good stir. I like to salt it at this time (my husband hates pepper so I never use it, but it would be reeeeeallyyy good here).

Let it cook on a medium high heat until the bottom of the potato heap starts to brown. Stir it again and let it brown some more. You're not looking for perfect crispyness, but you don't want everything mushy either. At this point I crack my egg into a glass and scramble it. If you like sunnyside up eggs, make them separately and place on top of potato mixture. I don't, so I pour the scrambled egg over my potato and onions and stir for just over a minute letting it cook through.

It should smell great right now. I dump it out onto a plate, grate some cheese over it, and garnish with cilantro if you'd like (I like it on everything), and enjoy! I think this is my new favorite!

This blog post was featured at Frugally Sustainable

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wild Orange Salt Soap

I have a new soap up in my Etsy store, it's my Wild Orange Salt Soap. I am very excited about it! I've been wanting to make a salt soap for a long time, and now that I have, I really love it! I read several posts on the subject before attempting it, but can't the find the one that helped me the most so I can't link to it (I know, the equivalent of Internet Backstabbing, sorry!).

Anyway, I used coconut oil as the main oil, which I don't usually like because I find it a bit drying, but the salt destroys lather so I needed to use an oil that lathers well. I also added shea butter and an ounce of sweet almond oil and as always I used coconut milk as my liquid, so it still turned out really nice. The Wild Orange Essential Oil  I used makes it smell sweet, invigorating, and like summer. I think it's my new favorite essential oil!

The thing I like about this bar soap, is that the bar itself got really hard, more like a store bought soap, and it doesn't exfoliate in a scratchy way. You don't really notice it at all, but when you rinse off and get out of the shower your skin feels much smoother!

So go ahead and buy a bar and bring a bit of the beach home with you!

If you make your own soap and are interested in trying a salt soap, feel free to comment and ask for help! Or buy a bar to see how you like it before wasting ingredients :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Crispy Oniony Potatoes

I don't know about you, but when I wake up in the morning, not only am I starving, but I want a full dinner-like meal. And I need it to be covered in salt. I pretty much wake up in the morning and am temporarily that salt creature from Star Trek. (This is what my childhood thrived on... oh the quality acting)

That is pretty much how I feel when I stumble out of bed at 5am, except no one is going to laser me to death when I feel the need to add a full teaspoon of salt to my breakfast (don't judge!). All of these recipes that I see for soaked oatmeal and muffins and the like sound fantastic, but I know that I'll wake up the next morning, skip my soaked oats and eat some cold leftovers from the night before.

So this is one of my favorite salty breakfasts. It is fast, easy, cheap, and all real food. My husband loves this as well!

Crispy Oniony Potatoes
serves 1

1 medium potato (please read here about why potatoes are one of the most important veggies to buy organic!)
1/4 medium onion, diced
1 t fresh rosemary or 1/2 t dried
2 T coconut oil
1 T grass-fed butter (I make my own, but Kerrygold is a good brand carried by most stores.)
Salt to taste (I'm not gonna say how much that is for me...)

Melt coconut oil and butter in skillet over high heat and let it get nice and hot for a minute or two. If it's not hot enough then the potatoes won't fry, they'll just soak up the oil. Then throw your potatoes and salt in. If you are using dried rosemary, add it now. If you're using fresh, wait until you add the onions. Let them cook for approximately 5 minutes without stirring (agony!) and once they look golden brown and crunchy give them a good stir and flip any potatoes that land back on their already-fried-side. Let them cook again without stirring but they'll probably brown faster so go ahead and get your plates out, wash some dishes, etc. Just stay close and keep an eye on them. Before you stir again, add the diced onion and rosemary. If you add them too soon they'll burn so you really want to add them near the end. Cook until the onions are tender and scoop out onto a plate. Even though you probably want to devour them immediately, wait a minute or two otherwise the hot inside of the potato will destroy your mouth. Then, enjoy!

This blog post was entered in Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Oil Cleansing: The Good, The Bad, and My Skin

Most of my life, I have suffered from acne. I have had oily, large pored, discolored skin with tons of scars. Without makeup on, you can see the war zone that my face has been.

I wish I could go back in time, take my younger self by the hand, and show her the way. I'd tell her to ditch the harsh cleansers. I'd tell her to wash her face EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and to NEVER apply new makeup over day-old makeup (facepalm). I'd tell her to stop using benzyl peroxide, to always moisturize, and to clean up her eating. I'd tell her to stop touching her face with her filthy, bacteria laden hands.

I'm not crazy enough to believe this time travel would change my skin completely (genetically, I am predisposed to bad skin) but I'd love to have started better habits before scarring my face as badly as I have. I know a million posts have been done about the Oil Cleansing Method by now, but I just wanted to post a realistic review of it from a convert.

(after 8 months of OCM and zero makeup on...ignore the dirt smudge on my nose please)

I love OCM. I LOVE OCM. I have been doing it for approximately 8 months now. Is my skin magically clear? Have my scars faded drastically? Have I forgone makeup because of my glowing facade? No. None of the above. Some people have that relation with OCM and that's great and I'm kinda jealous, but it's just not me.

But, what I can say about why I love OCM is that...

I feel like I finally understand my skin. I have learned what it wants and needs and rejects. I am more in tune with my body after oil cleansing.

I enjoy washing my face. I have never washed my face regularly. For me, I'd put it off until my mascara was too cakey to apply a fresh coat or I needed a shower. I hated it and I hated looking at and touching my drab, mountainous skin. But now, I actually look forward to washing my face every night. It's a moment I take for myself almost every evening to breath and be in touch with my body.

My skin feels fabulous. Seriously, my skin feels awesome. I have to resist the urge to touch my face all day long.

My oilyness is under control. I will always have skin prone to oil, but I have realized that my skin needed more moisture so it was over producing. Now, I rub good oils in daily and don't feel my makeup sliding off my face mere hours after putting it on.

I need to exfoliate less. I have unnaturally fast cell turnover on my face, that mixed with my oily face, meant a good scrub down every time I washed my face. While I still exfoliate more than the average person (3-5 times a week), I don't get flaky anymore.

And yes, I do have less breakouts. My skin has cleared up by about 40% though I do feel as though I get more blackheads (something I hadn't struggled with too badly before OCM). But my skin tone seems more even and my breakouts are fewer.

So there you have it, my take on OCM. The reasons why I love it, even though it doesn't make me have skin like I had when I was nine. And, as a treat, the recipe I use to daily cleanse my face.

If your skin is oily and acne prone, I would highly recommend trying this recipe! I use basically the popular 1:3 ratio recipe. Once I switched to using organic oils only, and even more so once I switched to this recipe, I felt like I was finally loving OCM. I do this every night since I wear makeup, but others might not need to. 

I start with 2 parts Castor Oil because it's a good "cleaning" oil

Then I add 1 part Tamanu Oil (Tamanu oil is a thick oil that smells strongly of walnuts and is basically God's gift to earth. Read about it at mountain rose herbs or click my Women's Cure- all Soap listing to the left to learn more) In the picture below do you see that dark shadow sitting on the castor oil? That my friends, is tamanu oil.

10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil to fight bacteria and acne

10 drops Lavender Essential Oil to fight inflammation and redness

Give it a good mix (the Tamanu Oil doesn't mingle well and will take a few shakes) and learn to love your skin!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dried Herbs from My Own Little Garden

In preparation for the cooler months, I decided to harvest a bit of the mint that I had been growing all summer. I cut off some of the longer vine-y pieces that were starting to climb out of the pot, tied them together with some string, and attached them to a cooling rack for about four days.

After they had been drying for a few days, I cut them off the cooling rack, and cut the string off that held the herbs together. 

I then proceeded to crumble the dried leaves off the stems, being careful to pick out any stems that fell in with the leaves. 

After I did this to all my dried mint, I ended up with about 3 Tablespoons of crushed, dried mint. I know it's a small harvest, but I've only had the plant for three months so I think she did pretty well!

I put it in a small jar to store it and plan on mixing some organic black tea leaves with it so I can have a homemade mint tea.

P.S. I also recently purchased some lavender and had a pretty advanced sprig compared to the rest, so I trimmed it off and dried it too. Still trying to decided what to do with this tiny herb...

This blog post featured on Frugally Sustainable!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Gardening

Today is one of my days off of work and the weather is simply glorious...

I am sad to see that summer is leaving me, but I do love the way the air isn't suffocating every living thing. The sky is breathing again and everything feels the release. 

I ran to the store this morning and picked up some broccoli, lettuce, and sweet peas to help my container garden grow. Though I'm considering putting these additions in the ground, if I can find our stupid shovel!

It's one of those beautiful days where you just want to enjoy the simple things in life. Like iced tea, open windows, and a clean kitchen (still working on that last one...)

I'd better run since I have to plant these beauties and load the dishwasher before I succumb to lounging in the backyard, sipping some more tea. 

This blog post featured on Frugally Sustainable

Monday, August 6, 2012

Christin + Lars: Wedding Cake

A very good friend of mine got married this weekend. We met less than a year ago at work, but a crappy job has bonded us like sisters. When she asked me to make her wedding cake, I was thrilled! She wanted it to be simple and rustic and, of course, delicious.

She decided on a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, and a raspberry filling.

I used my very favorite vanilla cake recipe, courtesy of iambaker (the recipe below is almost word for word hers, I don't claim it as my own!)

Basic Vanilla Cake

2 large eggs separated

1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour

2 tsps baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup room temperature butter

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Take out all needed ingredients and let them come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8in (I used 9in) pans.

Separate the eggs, placing the whites into a large bowl and the yolks into a smaller one.

Put sifted flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup of sugar (reserving the rest) and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Now add egg yolks, one at a time, until completely incorporated. Add vanilla extract until combined, about 30 seconds.

Starting with the flour, add 1/3 of the mixture and mix until incorporated. Now add 1/2 milk mixture, mix until combined. Add half the remaining flour, combine. Now add the rest of your milk and combine. Add remaining 1/3 of your flour mixture, and go ahead and mix until combined. This whole process should take less then 2 minutes, as you do not want to over beat the batter. I have done this before and trust me, it makes a yucky cake, so work fast!

In a separate clean bowl with clean whisk attachment, whip eggs whites until foamy then add the cream of tartar. (I did this on medium speed) Beat until soft peaks occur, and then gradually add in your remaining sugar. You will want stiff peaks, which took me about 3 minutes. Now, take your rubber spatula and fold your eggs whites into your cake batter. Make sure they are fully incorporated, but do not over stir the batter, as you do not want to eggs to deflate.

Put batter into prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Cakes are done when an inserted tooth pick comes out clean or with very few crumbs. At this point iambaker suggests placing the cakes directly into the freezer and leaving them there for at least an hour. This locks in moisture and also makes it easier to frost. I have had great success with this.

After this I whipped up some raspberry filling. I read several recipes and threw some things together so I can't really credit anyone with this recipe.

Raspberry Filling

3 C fresh, washed raspberries

1/2 C sugar

3 T cornstarch

juice from one lemon


Put all ingredients into a medium pan and bring to a boil. Stir and lower heat. Let simmer for about 2 minutes, or until mixture begins to thicken. Turn off heat and let cool to room temperature before using.

Then I whipped up my all-time-favorite buttercream frosting, and did a crumb coat. After I let that sit for about 20 minutes, I did the final frosting layer, minus some detailing that couldn't be done until it was on the cake platter.

Congratulations Christin and Lars! I am so happy for you two and excited to see you guys fall even more in love with each other. <3 <3 <3