Friday, October 29, 2010

Chili and Chili Pies

We have made it a tradition to have Chili for Halloween (except for the one year I burned it when my sister was here and I think we ordered pizza).  This year I am debating on whether or not to do it because of the move and if I do which day to do it on.

Since Halloween is on Sunday this year our church will be holding their trunk-or-treat on Saturday night.  We will also not be letting our children trick-or-treat on Sunday.  We recognize Sunday as the Sabbath and feel like no matter what holiday falls on this day it should continue to be recognized as a holy day and day of rest.

Whether we do the Chili on the night we go trick-or-treating or on Halloween it will still be good and will be something I look forward to.  The more I think about it I think we can manage to whip up a pot of Chili.

Now once again we have another meal that is in great debate at our home.  My husband likes traditional chili with just meat.  I however like less meat and more black beans.  Sometimes he doesn't win this one- seeing that I am making a special pot just for him-that goes against everything we tell our kids, huh?

We also have two chili recipes we switch between.  One is my tried and true one that we have used for years.  The other is on the back of my husband's favorite chili seasoning that his Grandpa got him hooked on.  I have to say I do prefer this seasoning. I would love to start make homemade chili seasoning but with such a big supply of Chugwater Chili I haven't ventured out, yet.

We also enjoy our chili over a bed of fritos and sprinkled with cheese making a chili pie.

Here are the recipes-take your pick- and enjoy!

Mary Kathryn's Chili

2 Tablespoons oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 c. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (15 oz.) cans kidney or black beans
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 T. chili powder
1 T. distilled Vinegar
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper

Brown Hamburger in oil.  Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft.  Pour off any excess fat.  Stir in beans, crushed tomatoes, chili powder, and vinegar.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Heat to boiling, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Chugwater Chili
2lb ground beef

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Simple Perfect Enchiladas

Last time I made this for my husband he said they were the best enchiladas he has ever had.  I gave credit to the fact it uses ground beef and my man simply likes himself some red meat.  I kept this in mind but hadn't made them for awhile. When I finally had the meal planned life got crazy with the move.  Having the ingredients on hand made it so I had no excuse to make them.  It was a nice treat in the middle of our crazy week to have a homemade meal. 

Simple Perfect Enchiladas- from: Your Homebased Mom

  • 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour
  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Enchilada Or Red Sauce
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
  • 1-½ pound Ground Beef
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 2 cans (4 Ounce) Diced Green Chilies
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 10 whole (to 14) Corn Tortillas
  • ½ cups Canola Oil
  • 3 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • ½ cups Chopped Black Olives
  • 1 cup Chopped Green Onions
  • ½ cups Chopped Cilantro
Preparation Instructions
Step #1 – The Sauce
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.

Step #2 – The Meat
Brown the meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in 2 cans diced green chilies and seasoned salt. Set aside.

Step #3 – Tortillas
Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. One by one, using tongs, fry tortillas in oil until soft, not crisp – about 30 seconds per side. Remove to a paper—towel lined plate. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried.

Step #4 – Assembly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of baking pan. Spread to even out. Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then remove to work surface. Spoon meat, a little grated cheese, a little black olives, and green onions in the center of tortilla. Roll up and place, seam down, in baking pan. Repeat until pan is filled. Pour extra red sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas before serving.

*Recipe Notes
I used olive oil for the sauce.  I used flour tortillas for the kids because they don't care for the corn tortillas and instead of completely "frying" all the tortillas I lightly spritzed with my Pam olive oil and then cooked in a skillet- but will use my griddle next time.

This time my husband said, "Have we had these before."  I never know what I will get with him it sometimes seems like his taste buds go through drastic changes.  I very cautiously told him yes and re-stated what he had said about them the first time.  He agreed again that these are the best enchiladas he has had.  There is just something about this combination they are so good!!  My 6 year old and 1 year old each had 1 1/2. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Waffles

I got this recipe from Green Smoothie Girl.  I did like the batter but I did realize that I am not a waffle fan.  My waffle maker drives me crazy and I don't like cleaning it.  I think the batter could also work as pancakes and I just may give it a try another day.  For you waffle lovers try this and let me know what you think.

Pumpkin Waffles

2 cups whole-wheat flour (finely ground- soft white or hard wheat or a combo)
2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup yogurt or kefir
2 ½ cups water
1 (30 oz.) can pumpkin
¼ cup coconut oil (liquid)
3 Tbsp. Sucanat or unrefined coconut sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. sea salt
1 ½ tsp. baking powder (no aluminum), reduce by ½ tsp. if you soaked grains overnight

2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs (organic, free range)

Mix rolled oats in your high-power blender to break them down to a coarse meal. Mix the whole-wheat flour, oats, yogurt, and water together, then cover and let sit overnight (optionally). In the morning, add the remaining ingredients and mix by hand, but don’t overmix. Batter is dense, and baking time usually must be longer than waffle timer indicates. Top with Quick Raw Applesauce or plain yogurt, and real maple syrup.

*Recipe Notes
I used natural buttermilk- i.e. raw milk that had expired- instead of the yogurt and used about 2 1/2 cups to get a good soak.  Also, we did not use the raw applesauce due to time (although I am sure it isn't very time consuming).  We had sliced apples instead but I am excited to try the raw applesauce next time.

Quick Raw Applesauce

4 large Jonathan or Fuji apples, washed/cored/quartered
1 cup water
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup (or more, to taste) maple syrup

Pulse all ingredients in high-power blender for a chunky sauce.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is my favorite soup.  I do not limit it to the cold months it is just too good to deprive myself of it throughout the year.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can (4 oz.) chopped mild green chilies, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cans (15 oz. each) diced tomatoes, including juice
½ to 1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. cumin
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lime
corn/flour tortillas, sliced into ¼ inch strips
½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 avocado, seeded, peeled, diced and tossed with lime juice to prevent browning
Place Chicken in crock-pot slow cooker.

Combine chilies, garlic, onion, tomatoes, ½ c. chicken broth and cumin in a small bowl.  Pour mixture over chicken.

Cook on HIGH for 3 hours.  When chicken is tender, use the tines of 2 forks to shred the meat.  Adjust seasonings adding additional broth if necessary.

Just before serving, add tortillas and cilantro to Crock-Pot slow cooker.  Stir to blend.

Serve in soup bowls, topping each serving with cheese, avocado, and a squeeze of lime juice.

*Recipe Notes
We use my homemade flour tortillas and have them on the side keeping them big.  Some like to tear them up and put them in the soup others like to tear pieces off and fill the soup mixture in the tortilla and eat.  The leftovers make for a different meal- we drain the juice and use it as burritos the next night.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Story and Meatballs

I have made it known that I am not a big meat fan. It's more or less I am just picky about my meat and how I will eat it. Growing up I loved to have spaghetti but my mom always made a meat marinara sauce. Since I thought that was gross -and my mom did what any mother would do and didn't make me my own sauce- I would just take the back of the spoon rub it over the sauce then spread it on my noodles. Giving me a light spread of just marinara!

When I got married I was so excited to make spaghetti- my way!!! I prepared a great meal of spaghetti, bread, and some kind of vegetable I am sure. When we sat down to eat my husband said, "Where is the meat?" With a big smile I said, "I didn't use any because I don't like it." He went on to inform me that he can't eat spaghetti without meat. I was heartbroken.

I was back to making spaghetti the way I didn't like until I made dinner for the family I worked for. It was then that I learned of a new recipe that would help us both get what we like. It is so good that we all prefer to have spaghetti and meatballs even over plain marinara. I have since improved the recipe using fresher ingredients and a homemade breadcrumb that I keep on hand and stored in the freezer.

Nana's Meatballs

1 lb. Ground Beef
3/4 cup Italian Style Breadcrumbs
1 egg beaten
1 1/2 T of Parmesan Cheese
1 T. finely chopped Parsley (fresh or dried)
1 tsp. of Grated Onion
1-2 Garlic Cloves

Combine all ingredients.  Roll into desired sized balls.  Place in lightly sprayed 9x13 pan.  Cook for 30 minutes on 350.

These do well frozen after they are cooked and then reheated when needed.

Italian Breadcrumbs

1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp.dried parsley
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil

I use my homemade bread to make the breadcrumbs.  Sometimes I will save a few pieces- usually the heels and out in the freezer until I am ready to use.  Then I blend them up to use with this recipe. 

Mix all ingredients and put on a baking sheet.  Broil for a few minutes to get a nice crisp texture.  The time will depend on how stale or moist your bread is.  This is an easy alternative to buying breadcrumbs- and you know everything that is in it.

I store my leftovers in a container in the freezer.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Moving Week

Yes it is moving week.  With the weather changing and cooling off here I felt like it would be a good week to share some recipes we have been enjoying.  Granted this week we may not be able to have the luxury of having such great homemade meals but maybe these posts will help keep my spirits up.  Keep checking in as I have scheduled posts throughout the week.  While I am busy packing, cleaning, organizing and such you can have some great ideas to add to your menu plan as the cold weather sets in- there will not be any pictures.  I forgot to get it out during meal times.  If you make these recipes and think to take a picture that you would like to share with me feel free to, thank you.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Garlic and Bug Bites

My daughter woke up with a strange and pretty decent size bump on her buttocks, yesterday.  After examining it I came to the conclusion that it had to be a bug bite.  It was itching and irritating her a lot and I wanted to be able to relieve the pain before she went off to school.  Having some things already packed up and wanting a simpler solution for this I went in the kitchen and got a clove of garlic.  I cut the garlic in half and rubbed it over the bump.  She did squeal a bit and said it stung- being sensitive to that- I put a little coconut oil on too.  The bug bite didn't bother her after that and by bedtime it was gone.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Onion as a cold remedy

My 18 month old is getting his molers in.  His only reaction to teething, besides the normal drooling and gnawing, is a croupy like cough and constant runny nose. 

He usually only starts his coughing at night when he is in bed.  Last night my husband said, "He has been coughing for a long time. He has to be uncomfortable."  He wasn't crying so I was just going to let him cough it out.  That is why our bodies cough- there is something in there that needs to be coughed out.  However, I started to pay more attention and the coughing was pretty consistent.  So I went into the kitchen, cut up an onion, put it in a bowl, and set it right by his crib.  His coughing stopped immediately.  It was amazing.  He also woke up with a clear nose this morning. 

The running nose has started back up but if I can help him have a comfortable nights sleep I am okay with his body doing it's thing and draining during the day.  I love such natural remedies with things that you more then likely have in your kitchen already.
One of the blogs I frequent is doing a Giveaway from Actual Organics.  This is a great way to help switch over from your commercial personal products and into making your own or buying some that are actually better for you.  Take a look at Nourishing Days.  It would also be nice to have some things like this on hand for traveling and such.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A hair product update

Things have been busy around here but I just wanted to share a few changes in our hair care that I have really liked. 

We have really enjoyed using the baking soda paste.  I pour some baking soda into a container and then add a little distilled water so that it is a paste.  This is easier to apply for the kids hair and feels better then dumping cold water on their head. 

Another thing we have done is a lemon rinse.  I can't remember the ratios exactly and I am sure you could play around with it to suit your own needs.  I squeezed half a lemon into our squirt bottle then added warm water.  The ratios were probably something like 4 parts water 2 parts lemon. I love the lemon rinse as an in between kind of hair cleaning. 

Have fun experimenting!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The plans

I had planned on after my hydration post to get into helping to solve the sick season coming up.  However, we have had some events happen around here to change things up a bit.  We will be trying to move within the next two weeks.  I hope to still find time to complete those posts but if it takes me awhile you know why.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Photo Credit: Cleanse and Detox Lifestyle
When I think of staying hydrated I relate it to the summer time.  Due to that common knowledge and living in desert climates I think I naturally keep myself hydrated during those hot months.  I was a little surprised when about two weeks ago I started to feel a little -extra- worn out and started to get more frequent headaches.  To me this was a sign of dehydration.  I started to increase my intake of water and make some changes and am feeling better.  Just because summer is slipping away doesn't mean it is time to put the water bottle away.

Here are some tips that I have learned/re-learned and followed from an amazing post at Keeper of the Home:

::Our bodies become dehydrated over night so in the morning is the best time to start our re-hydrating process.

::It is recommended that you drink half of your body weight in ounces.  It is recommended that we try to drink of our recommended ounces by mid-morning.

::Wake up with warm lemony water (I have been doing this, not enjoying it but doing it and I like the results- a lot!).  This is actually a good cleanse for your body, prepares your digestive system for food, and helps to alkalize your body.  I bring about 12 oz. of water to just warm in a pot, poor into a mug, and add 1/2 of a squeezed lemon and a little honey.  It is better, for me, once it has cooled down a bit.

::Drink between meals.  When you drink with a meal- a very natural thing- it affects your digestive juices.  Which in return can make it slower and less effective.  Which interferes with your bodies absorption to nutrients.

::Avoid plain tap water- this has been easy for me since I was a kid.  Use purified.  Still not sure what is the best but we have a place here that we have trusted for years or from the Health Food Store's Reverse Osmosis system.

::Store your water smartly.  My preference, Klean Kanteen.

Go drink up- stay hydrated even if you don't feel dehydrated.  You don't want to get to that point because it is no fun and water really is good for you.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Misc. and the end, for now

Some other things I use:
local homemade soaps
coconut oil as a lotion, face moisturizer, etc.
coconut oil as a smoothing agent for hair

Things I want to try or have read about:
Using coconut oil as a hair gel
Making hair spray by boiling a lemon in water
Learn to make my own soap

I love the fact that I can use things I have in my home already and to know that most of these things are edible makes me feel so much better about using them on my body.

I have seen a great change in my skin with these changes I have made.  I have always had sensitive skin that reacts to the elements.  All four of my children have inherited a fraction of the skin problems I have.  We do have a water softener that helps us but since I have been bathing the kids less often and using better products on their skin none of them have had any problems.  Even during teething times, which was always when they would have bad flare ups. 

I also believe that what we put into our body makes can make a big difference too.  Making sure we get all of our vitamins through foods, eating the rainbow, taking cod liver oil, staying hydrated, etc.  All these things work together as a team to have better manageable hair and skin.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


This is my favorite one so far!!  I have used natural deodorants for years.  Lots of different brands.  They would work for a little bit then not so much anymore.  I have used plain coconut oil and had moderate results.  I used vinegar for awhile but the smell never seem to fade.  When I came across this recipe and read lots of different reviews I thought it would be the best choice for me.  Since I had a little success with coconut oil in the past I figured in combination with these other great ingredients it would be great... so far, I am right! 

The Recipe:
5-6 T of coconut oil
1/4 cup of cornstartch or arrowroot powder
1/4 cup of baking soda

Mix well until you reach the consistency you desire.  Mine was really soft at first but has hardened a bit.  I store it in a wide mouth glass container and just scoop some out and use as needed. 

A lot of things I have found about deodorant suggests it not to be used everyday.  With an active daily life and exercise routine I haven't been brave enough to try this.  Maybe over fall break I will give it a try. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Second step....

This is another big one for me.  Face wash.  I tend to have light breakouts here and there.  Usually once a month.  I have religiously washed my face morning and night since I was a kid and not always using that great of a product.  When my sister came to visit this summer she made mention of using castor oil and olive oil to cleanse her face.  I thought that was kind of weird and since she has the better skin of the two of us I figured it just wouldn't work for me. 

Then, I changed my mind.  I came across the website for The Oil Cleansing Method and I was convinced that it was at least worth a try- and to be able to give myself a mini facial each night.  Heck why not!?

I bought a small glass jar from the health food store for about $1, I put less then half of castor oil in and fill the rest with olive oil.  Each night (yes, I am still doing every night but have skipped a few here and there which is probably even more beneficial for you) I pour a little of the oil in the palm of my dry hand, I gently massage it into my face for a couple of minutes focusing on some problem areas (nose, chin).  I turn the water on to fairly warm, wet a wash cloth, then cover my face with the warm wash cloth as the steam continues to cleanse my face and wipe away the oils.  I repeat the washcloth step two more times.  I rub in any extra oil that may be on my face- which usually isn't any- and that's it no need to pat dry.  In the morning I simply rinse my face and will sometimes put a light layer of coconut oil on as a moisturizer.

If I can do this you can- it is a huge money saver and leaves you with great results!  Especially having three girls- this will save the wallet in the future.

Once again, please follow the link as it gives more information on the benefits and procedures.  And by all means do your own research.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My frist step....

was to make my own shampoo.  This was a big step for me.  I have always washed my hair everyday.  I have very thick and generally greasy hair.  Daily maintenance is what I always thought best.  A while ago I started washing my hair every other day.  I found that it was much easier and saved me an hour and a half from fixing my hair or making an excuse and just throwing it up everyday.

When I came across these other methods on how to clean hair I knew I had to give it a try with me liking homemade, frugal, better for you kind of things.  Everything I read warned that you would have a 2 week detoxing period.  While your hair tried to strip and rid of all the previously used chemical based hair products.  It took my hair about 3 weeks to get to where it wasn't tangled and dry feeling.  I had great results for a few weeks but have recently had a set back.  Not sure what is going on but my hair just can't seem to whip back into shape.  I haven't had my hair thinned out in awhile and that may be a big part of it.  I am not giving up and am continuing to research other options.

Even with my set back I still recommend this for the fact that I did have success for a little while and all three of my girls hair is responding great to this method.  I continue to wash my hair every other day- or even an extra if I know I am not going anywhere- and I wash my kids hair maybe twice a week.

The recipe I use now:

I get a 4 cup mixing bowl and fill it an 1/8 the way with baking soda then I fill it up with warm purified water.  Sometimes I add Rosemary and sometimes I add a few drops of essential oil.  I store it in an old and cleaned out shampoo bottle.  Sometimes we squirt it on our hair, sometimes we dump it.

Video on how to make Shampoo from the blog I got the recipe from.

Other great posts I have read and been inspired by:
Nourished Kitchen- GMO free personal care
Nourishing Days- "how to avoid toxins"

Follow these links to learn more for yourself.  I continue to find new things and will share my experiences along the way- even the non-successful ones.  What doesn't work for me could work for someone else. 

How great a knowledge is it that baking soda can clean your hair in a time of need.  I love the simpleness of it!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A theme week

I am very excited for what I have planned this week. I want to share with all of you the changes I have been making in my beauty regimen. Some of the reasons I have made these changes is for the simple fact of being intrigued when I read that people were making and using homemade shampoos, deodorants, face wash, and so on. A lot of people make the change for safer ingredients. This is important to me also but it was not the primary reason. I have found these methods to be very cost efficient and I am extremely pleased with (most of)the results. If you don't think these methods will work for you at least store the recipes with your food storage information. It will provide the proper information you may need for those time of emergencies. Or you can just simply give them a try- I was even skeptical at first about some things. Stay tuned for more great info!!