Autumn Simmer Pot of Awesomeness!

 

Well hey there October. What’s up with the 80 degree weather? Mother Nature having hot flashes?

I’m cranky. I’m irritable. I’m having irrational thoughts about how to kick mother nature’s butt because of my late starting autumn! What do you do in these situations? Well personally, I crank the a/c and throw on a blanket and watch nostalgic halloween kiddie cartoons. But that’s totally another post. 

In the end my rational brain won. I didn’t crank the a/c and crawl under a blanket. But I figured that even though it can’t feel like autumn, it doesn’t mean it can’t SMELL like autumn. I got the brainy idea when Evelyn asked for a pre-bedtime orange. I was about the toss the peels into the compost when it struck me. Simmer pot! They’re super easy and I already had everything I needed.

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1 orange peel

1 cinnamon stick (or a dash of ground cinnamon)

1/4 tsp allspice

Lots of people also use cloves and anise and a bunch of other spices. But this is what I had so this is what I did.

I just threw it all in my small sauce pan with about a cup of water and put the heat on low. Done. Started to smell really good in under 15 minutes.
simmer pot 2

Its also cheaper than a candle and it can last for days. Just add more water as needed. I’ve used them for up to three days. It doesn’t put any chemicals in the air either. I’m a little chemical sensitive so this is great for me.

FRANCIS

my month. . . . .in pics.

In a really good mood today. I think its the grapefruit carrot juice i’ve been making in the morning. Or maybe its because I’ve been listening to Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder on a loop for the last hour. I can’t help it. I love that song.

I’ve been through so much in the last month. It’s hard to describe. But I DID take a bunch of pictures. This has been my last 30ish days. What a rollercoaster! . . . . .


Evelyn started pre school. She was very excited.

Evelyn started pre school. She was very excited.


The juicer and bread maker came in a HUGE box. So we had to make it into a spaceship!

The juicer and bread maker came in a HUGE box. So we had to make it into a spaceship!


All bloated and puffy and lookin' like Rocky after my eye surgery.

All bloated and puffy and lookin’ like Rocky after my eye surgery.


Been trying lots of new juice recipes. Suprisingly, the purple one was my least favorite. But I loved the orange one. Grapefruit carrot!

Been trying lots of new juice recipes. Suprisingly, the purple one was my least favorite. But I loved the orange one. Grapefruit carrot!


I got Dany for my birthday in June. My co-worker, who is WONDERFUL, brought me Drogo. Ah. They love eachother.

I got Dany for my birthday in June. My co-worker, who is WONDERFUL, brought me Drogo. Ah. They love eachother.


Go home tree. You're drunk. (Yep, that's our drunk tree)

Go home tree. You’re drunk. (Yep, that’s our drunk tree)


Mike and Evelyn horsing around at the hotel during our "catastrophic staycation!"

Mike and Evelyn horsing around at the hotel during our “catastrophic staycation!”


Dug out everything notebook and binder and jounral I could find in search of a short story I clearly remember writing at some point in the last 5 years. (I found it!)

Dug out everything notebook and binder and jounral I could find in search of a short story I clearly remember writing at some point in the last 5 years. (I found it!)


I even found an old drawing I did a bajillion years ago. (aka 2002)

I even found an old drawing I did a bajillion years ago. (aka 2002)

I’m sorta scared at what might happen next month. Fingers firmly crossed.

FRANCIS

MY NEW FAVORITE VEGGIE STOCK RECIPE

I can feel it. . . . . autumn is coming. Sure, it’s going to be in the 80’s again this week, but I can feel it. For some reason autumn doesn’t seem to happen in September anymore, so i’ve really had to learn to work on my patience. I just have to try really hard not to think about my kid jumping into leaf piles or mom’s pumpkin patch or halloween or hot apple cider or the smell of the breeze. oh geeze. I gotta stop.

 

We did have a couple of cool days in the past couple of weeks so I decided to take advantage of it. Since we’ve been on this super veg kick i’ve had a major influx of peels and ends and pulp. My thrifty ingenuity kicked in.  We started a compost pile out in the backyard for the pulp. Hopefully, we’ll have some awesome soil for our garden we’re planning for the spring. I took all the ends and peeled and saved them up for a week. I just kept dumping them in my big kitchenaid bowl in my fridge. Amazingly, it only took a week to fill a 4.5 qt bowl. Go us! We’re getting really good at this vegetable thing.

This particular batch had. . . . .

CARROTS

CELERY

GREEN, RED, YELLOW, ORANGE PEPPERS

BEETS

3 BAY LEAVES

We opted not to add any salt or pepper or anything else. Wanted to just try a plain jane batch first.

 

veg stock<

We threw it all in the crockpot and let it cook on low overnight. The next morning, I strained it all out, and let it cool in the fridge while I was at work. But it smelled so good I drank it when I took my morning vitamins. It was SO good!

veg stock bowl

When I got home I froze it in 2 cup increments. I figured most chicken stocks at the store are about two cups, so it would be a good amount. Once frozen I vacuum sealed them in the food saver. I don’t know if veg stock can get all freezer burnt and gross. But because I froze them in two cup sizes they made nice little stackable bricks in the freezer.

I threw one into the crockpot the other day with a whole chicken and it came out amazing. And it was free. And it didn’t have tons of sodium and chemicals. 

I’m working on another batch this week. It has red cabbge and kohlrabi in it along with the carrots and celery and other stuff we eat all the time. Can’t wait to try this one. I love not being wasteful.

FRANCIS  

post surgery down time. . . . .

I survived my second eye surgery. It was far less traumatic than the first one. Whew! The only downside is that I have horrible double vision now. It’s damn near impossible to accomplish anything. Honestly, I really can’t even see what I’m typing. It’s all doubled and blurry, so please forgive any spelling errors. I quite literally couldn’t see them.

Since I can’t sit around watching the price is right, I started listening to documentaries on Netflix. I saw one called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  Thought it looked interesting and went for it. It was really life changing for me. Especially considering I had just had part of my eye sockets surgically removed because of an auto immune disease. 

I’ve been watching basically every documentary that Netflix has suggested since Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I really enjoyed Food Matters  and Hungry for a Change and Forks Over Knives. They really struck a chord with me.

I’ve been following a macronutrient diet all year. (It’s a diet where you balance your carbs, proteins and fats) Been spinning my wheels that whole time too. I’ve been a slave to nutrition facts. Adjusting my workout routine adding more strength training and running.  At one point I was working out two hours a day and eating 1200 calories. I tried upping my caloric intake as well when I couldn’t lose weight at the lower end. I had done everything I could. I had been living this way for months. The doctor swore the prednisone should have been out of my system , but I just couldn’t lose any weight. Not that it was a complete waste of time. I’m incredibly heart healthy right now.

Anyway, my year would make for a very long story. Fast forward…………………….

I decided I was going to do a juice cleanse. Mike, being the wonderful and loving boyfriend that he is bought me a really nice Breville Juice Fountain Elite. Been trying new recipes. Been working on removing meat from my diet. Been working on removing processed foods. Doing pretty  well on both counts. I haven’t gone completely juice yet. But I’m almost totally meat free. Even when Mike cooks a steak, I’ll only eat a couple of bites. And I’m totally off protein bars and shakes. Thank God for that, because those dumb things never tasted good anyway. I’ve stopped looking at nutrition facts. I only look at ingredients. The fewer the better.

I had two specialists and a nurse tell me that they basically didn’t know squat about nutrition. That just boggles my mind.  That why I’m starting to learn not to believe everything that I’m told by medical professionals.  So I’m opting to take on a micronutrient diet and screw all that carb counting.

I’m already feeling much better. I don’t know if I can cure myself. I think I can. I hope I can. I’m trying to enjoy my life and forget about the rat race. I made a really good veggie stock the other day. If I can get my stupid pictures to load then I’ll post it. And maybe if my eyeballs decide to work in unison again then I can get some much needed crafting in.

FRANCIS

Applesauce

Outside my back door and beyond the garage is an old apple tree. I don’t know what type or really anything about it. The last two years we’ve had a good crop. I know absolutely nothing about harvesting but wee do pick them from time to time and let the kids eat some. I finally got up the nerve to try one, it was the most bitter thing I’ve ever eaten. It is still a little early.

I’ve been saying every year that I am going to make my own applesauce. The store bought is outrageous with all the chemicals, or the price if I buy organic. So I decided to take it upon myself to teach myself how to make some and have it be a little bit healthier.The thought was too make a batch big enough to fill a jar for afternoon snack times. I thought it through again and then thought I should probably figure out the cooking process before making in bulk.

I started with eight apples then decided I better scale it back just for testing. They were good sized apples so it ended up making a decent amount. First step was to peel four apples, I like fuji or pink ladies.

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I chopped and cooked with a three quarters cup water and a quarter cup off sugar. I added a teaspoon of cinnamon.

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Stir and coat the apples before covering and cooking on low for 10 to 15 minutes. Then uncover and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Once completed cooking I mashed with a potato masher. I liked it just a tiny bit chunky but it could be pureed as well.

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ONE BAD BANANA. . . . .

I love bananas! I really only like them when they’re just barely ripe. My boyfriend, on the other hand, likes them when they are almost brown. I always eat the first few and Mike always eats the last few. Our four-year-old is far less picky. But from time to time a banana will get more brown than anyone will touch.
banana frown
ingredients
1 BAD BANANA
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 egg white
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder (don’t forget to shake the can!)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (less if you don’t love cinnamon as much as we do)
Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
ingredient mix
Mash up your banana in a bowl with a fork or potato masher. Add the egg white. You can add the whole egg if you aren’t good at separating. It just makes a slightly more dense muffin. Mix some more. Then add all the dry ingredients. DO NOT forget to shake your baking powder. The ingredients settle. If you aren’t getting fluffy muffins this might be why.
in the pan
Now put them in your muffin cups. Try not to eat too much batter. I got four muffins and I only took two fairly largish bites of batter. I LOVE BATTER!
finished muffin
Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remember, this part is totally random. Baking times depend on your oven and your baking pan. Give it less time and check it with a tooth pick. Add a couple of minutes. Tweak it to work for your oven. People forget that part.
This is an excellent recipe for neglectful boyfriends. They’ll be in the kitchen within two seconds of smelling this. Good Luck!

juicin’

red juice

HI EVERBODY!

I had surgery last week. It sucked. I hurt a lot. And my left eye looks like one of those puffy eyed gold fish. I could show a picture, but it’s gross, so I won’t.

The doctor totally reduced my pain meds, so life sucks. I weaseled out of making supper at least. Unfortunately, my well intentioned boyfriend made mini chili cheese dogs. He cut up slices of hot dog, put them each on a tostitos scoop chip and topped off with chili and cheese. Oh, my kitchen smelled awful. I decided to go juice something for supper instead. I did the Dr Oz 3 day juice fast a few weeks ago and I really liked it, so I thought, “I got this juice thang!” I grabbed some fruits and veg out of the fridge and went for it.

 

 

My Magic Bullet is awesome, but it doesn’t juice well. Everything ends up as mostly a puree, but I’ve learned to muscle it down pretty well. I put in
a cucumber
6 big green leaves (maybe mustard greens. not sure what they were, but I tossed them in anyway!)
1/2 cup pineapple
1 small golden delicious apple
1 beet (made it so pretty and red)
1 tbsp. flax seed

It wasn’t terrible. Maybe I should have done a whole cup of pineapple and maybe some ice. But as I chunked it all down two things ran through my head………….
“This is so much healthier than hospital food. *cough**cough*”
“beets really do just taste like dirt.”
Any juice recipes would be greatly appreciated. . . . . .

ONE A HAPPY NOTE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I think I’ve mastered my “one bad banana” bread recipe. Well, Mike annihilated the four muffins it made anyway. So I’m assuming they tasted ok. If my Percocet kicks in soon then I should be able to type without my eyeball jumping out and murdering me.

FRANCIS