Wednesday, March 27, 2013

DIY Simple Matzo Balls

I've had some amazing matzo ball soup and wanted to try my hand at making my own.
Last year I picked up a old book called The Art of Jewish Cooking by Jennie Grossinger. It's a very old book that's falling apart but it has amazing recipes in it. Here is one I found pretty simple to make.

Knaidlach (Passover)

2 eggs
4 tbsp melted chicken fat ( I used organic olive oil)
1/3 cup cold water
1 tsp salt
1 cup matzo meal (I used matzo crackers that I food processes to meal ) found at Trader Joes for $1.99 a box.

Beat eggs, fat, water and salt together. Stir in the matzo meal, adding just enough to make a stuff batter. Chill 1 hour.
Form into balls and cook for 30 minutes in boiling soup or salted water. Makes about 18.

I used a Tom Tom soup but you could use any simple broth you want. Fresher the ingredients the fresher the taste. Have fun with it!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Seasonal dreams

Today I was thinking.  I was trying to come up something to write about just as a Facebook status. After writing a paragraph I looked up and realized I had so much to say about this topic. And here I am. 

Years ago a family was encouraged to grow their own Victory Garden and have 2 chickens per person. It wasn't a choice it was the way you lived.  You grew your food and cooked your meals around what you were able to harvest. Your tomatoes didn't do well then you didn't have tomatoes. Green beans thrived then you had green beans in every meal. What you couldn't use up you would preserve anyway you could. 

Now days you can go to the store and buy anything you want.  These things are often expensive to make up the cost of having to fly in these foods for you to enjoy.  The ecological footprint on these foods would blow your mind. Honestly it's just not for me. 

I look forward to spring because its buying seeds, starting seeds and getting my soil ready. I have dreams about all  the wonderful stuff I get to grow. Summer I look forward to eating green beans and peas while tending my garden.  Fall I look forward to eating a ton of corn and filling my home with pumpkin and squash.  Winter I look forward to soups and hot apple cider.  To me it just wouldn't taste the same if it wasn't eaten when it was harvested.  When I think of hot cider I think of chilly days sitting by the fire with my hot cider.  Who wants hot cider in the summer? Just doesn't seem right! 

Now lets talk about money.  Anytime you buy something not in season just be prepared to pay the cost.  Tomatoes are not in season till the end of summer here in Oregon.  If you want some tomatoes right now it will cost you about $3-$4 a pound.  If you just wait till they are in season you will pay only $1 per pound. Even less if you grow your own!  You want to know how to save money buying groceries? Cook your meals around whats in season. Simple isn't it? No more cooking in a rut.  No more kids getting tired of eating the same old food all the time. Not sure how to cook it? Buy it and make yourself cook with it.  Life is too short not to have fun even with cooking!

This is just something I have always tried to do. It's just a little dream of mine. Having my daughters get excited about what were growing and eating is my goal.  From buying new variety of seeds to trying new produce.  They even want to try each new item raw. Now that is crazy talk!  It just seems that now days parents are having a hard time getting their kids to eat any produce. It saddens me to see this. Too much processed foods and not enough fresh food is a bad path to take. I was lucky enough to grow up eating out of a garden.  Watching all the women in my family can and preserve.  Watching my whole family helping each other with one goal in mind. To grow as much food as possible to feed us all. 

And you know what? 
I'm sure as heck going to do the same for my children. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Physical and Emotional Simple living

Simple-Adjective: Free from guile, vanity, ostentation or display.

Living-Adjective: Full of life and living.

As I sat watching a episode of Hoarders I started to realize something about myself. In the show they get to the root of their hoarding problem and most of the time its a personal experience that made them become hoarders.  Although I'm not a hoarder I do have attachments to things and tend to accumulate things from a certain era.  In my case its Fisher Price Toys from the 1960's & 1970's. 

You see I was raised by a single mother. My parents were never married and split when I was very young. Because of this I have no memories of them together. I do have memories of happy times which included putting Fisher Price school bus on my feet and trying to skate with them.  Setting up our Fisher Price home and making my people happy.  I have lovely memories of my Fisher Price toys. 

While watching hoarders my mind became clear and I realized my daughters have all the toys I had as a child.  Fisher Price school house, 2 houses, the barn, pull helicopter and even pull puppy. All from when I was a child.  Was I hanging onto memories of happier times? Was I hanging onto something I wanted but never had like happy married parents? Was this why I was attached to those toys? Am I holding onto negative memories or feeling towards my parents?  It's something I struggle with but I'm sure I'm not alone. 

We live a simple life, live in a simple home and have simple decor.  My brain works much better when I don't have clutter. That includes clutter in my personal life.  I don't handle stress well so when it enters my life I choose to let it go and move on.  I have lost some good friends and loving family members because of this. A hard thing to do but was needed.  But in order for me to live I have to let these toxic things go in my life.  I let go of countless brands, products and foods because of the stress they do to my body. So how is this any different? It's not.

From now on I choose life.  I choose living a simple life.  I choose happiness.  First thing to go is all those Fisher Price Toys that I'm attached to but my daughters are not.  I will instead fill my life with things that are important to me. My husband. My children.  My family. Last but not least mother earth. Because in the end she is who takes care of me and washes my stress away. 

So do you live a simple life? 
Have you taken the clutter out of your life physically and emotionally?
What did you let go even though you have attachments to them?

If your looking to declutter the physical, mental and emotional part of your life? Check my friend out at Liberated Spaces.  

Also my friend at Green Philly Blog has a great review of the book You Can Buy Happiness (& It's Cheap) written by Tammy Strobel.  A book on my list to read ASAP. 

Or get a little Feng Shui tips from Nature Moms Blog.

Jen and Joey Go Green took the 2011 challenge of getting rid of 2011 things in a year. What a cool challenge! Get inspired!

This post is dedicated to my mom and dad. My mom is the hardest working, most selfless and inspiring person I know. You are who I have to thank for making me the person I am today.  And to my (step) dad may he rest in peace. You can into my heart when I needed it. Didn't even blink an eye.  So thankful to have known you and let me into your life. You are truly what the definition of dad means. I love you two both. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dairy Free Diary

My husband and I decided as a family to go dairy free.  He wanted to just for a healthier diet. I on the other hand wanted to see if it would help with our allergies.  My daughters and I suffer from many allergies from eczema to seasonal allergies.  There's nothing worst than watching your child break out in red spots and not knowing why. For the last 5 years we have been getting rid of all toxins in our life and honestly it has helped out tremendously.  But its not enough. 

I teetered with the idea a few times but never actually went through with it. Everything changed when we saw the 2010 documentary called "Fat sick & Nearly Dead. It's about two men whose bodies have been trashed by steroids, obesity and illness, document their rigorous healing path in a bid to regain their health.  Joe Cross was such a inspiration that even my husband wanted to give it a whirl.

It started off with buying a juicer. Then it turned into lets cut dairy out completely. My brain didn't comprehend this at all.  What? No sour cream? No cream cheese? WTF!!!!! Yes that is what my brain was telling me.  How will I survive this? 

I sat down with my daughters and explained to them that I will no longer be purchasing any dairy products but as they ran out I would replace them with a dairy alliterative if it was possible.  2 out of 4 girls were okay with this. So as time went by they started to go through all the dairy and I replaced them with healthy options. Cheese was the last to go because I had a bit in the freezer still.  So far so good.

Here is a run down of the pro's so far:

There are lots of dairy free options!
Most the time we don't even miss the dairy or look for the alternative. 
I feel very healthy mentally & physically.
I have lost 4 pounds.
My allergies are not so intense.
My energy has gone up. 
We eat healthier because I cook from scratch & don't eat processed foods.
Good Karma Flax vanilla mlk is our kids favorite.
So Delicious Coconut products rock!
Coconut milk creamer is the only option that taste like dairy creamer. Hands down! 
I'm able to find dairy free products at Grocery Outlet.


We don't eat soy and soy is in just about every dairy free item. 
Old habits get in the way.
Dairy is in just about everything so read labels!
Sometimes you just have to stop eating your favorite food because there is no tasty alternative. 
I miss my sour cream.
I miss my cream cheese.
Did I mention I miss my sour cream?

So far I only had one set back. After one week my eczema on my hands went away completely. I was so stoked! Until I went to a baby shower and they had lots of food.  Lots of dairy ridden food. Three days later my hands were dry, rough and raw again. My gosh it was painful.  Only thing different I had was the dairy that prior weekend. Lesson learned! Its been 2 weeks and my hands are finally back to normal. Damn you dairy! 

Stay tuned for more dairy free diary and enjoy our journey to a dairy free lifestyle.
Good thing I'm not alone! There are others going dairy free and loving it.  The Healthful mama shares her journey as well here