Sunday, July 6, 2014


I spent part of my holiday weekend canning.  This weekend it was dill pickles.  I had a good bunch of dill in the garden and decided to put it to good use.  In fact I'll have to make another batch to use it all up!

The basic recipe for 4 quarts is approx:
2 quarts water
2 quarts white vinegar and
1/2 cup of salt.
Bring to a boil.

In sterilized quart mason jars place a sprig or 2 worth of dill leaves in the bottom of each jar.  Add cucumber (in favorite shape) or whole if mini pickling cucumbers.  To help prevent softening soaking whole cucumbers overnight in ice water may help. 
Add any additional flavors here.  Whole garlic cloves, mustard seed, chili flakes, chilis, and peppercorns are all favorite addins around here.

Pour brine in jars, top with a couple more dill leaves and place 2 part lids.  Then process in water bath canner for 10-15 minutes. 

Cool till sealed and tighten the lids.  Cool another few hours before storing in cool dry place.  Give them approximately 2 hours before opening to allow flavors to fully incorporate.

Friday, July 4, 2014

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Zucchini Dessert Bread

Zucchini Dessert Bread

1 medium-large zucchini finely shredded
2 eggs
2/3 cup oil or butter (I used a combination)
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup flax meal
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
2 healthy pinches of salt
2 tsp baking soda
3 cups of AP flour
1/2 cup blueberries

 Preheat oven to 350
Prepare two loaf pans

Mix wet ingredients and incorporate flax meal, spices, and baking soda before adding flower.  Once well mixed fold in blueberries. Bake between 30-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Zucchini Bread

Its that time of year, zucchini over abundance is taking grocery stores and farmer's markets by storm.  At our local market they're only 50 cents each (and these suckers are huge!).  You know you gotta use them up, but what to do with them?

Well, I started testing zucchini bread.  It freezes beautifully, and will give lots of delicious breakfasts for months.  This week I tested a breakfast version, less sugar and more fiber, and a dessert version.  Both were yummy and a hit with the toddler as well as the hubby.

Zucchini Breakfast Bread

1 medium-large zucchini finely shredded
2 eggs
2/3 cup oil or butter (I used a combination)
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup flax meal
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
2 pinches of salt
2 tsp baking soda
3 cups of whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare two loaf pans.

Mix wet ingredients together then add in baking soda and flax meal to incorporate before adding flour.  Split batter between two loaf pans and bake between 30-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


For my son's third birthday I made him a Batman cake.  He's a tad obsessed, and while the decorations were a lot of hard work, the cake itself was easy and decadent.

This cake was mostly homemade.  I took some help from the grocery store, and purchased a cheap devil's food cake box mix.  So that's step one for this, step two is throw out the box and do something very different.  I used the cheap cheap box, I can't remember the exact ounces but it was different than the brand name ones, and this seemed to work fine, and should work well with other mixes as well.

To the dry ingredients I added one package of dark chocolate pudding mix
3/4 cup of yogurt
3 eggs (beaten)
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of flax meal
 Incorporate well by beating on medium speed for approximately 2 minutes.

Fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and then pour into your molds. 

Bake at 350 till a toothpick inserted in the center is clean.  Around 25-30 minutes. 

This cake was so fluffy and light you'll never want to use the directions on the box again!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent!

When you buy detergent at the store, you're getting all kinds of chemicals, and unless you're buying powdered detergent, mostly water.  I've worked awhile on a formula that works well, and its all ratio based.  You only need 3 ingredients:  Bar soap, Borax, and Super Washing Soda (see image below).  All these ingredients are readily available and inexpensive.  Cheaper in fact than the leading commercial brands of detergent, and you get a heck of a lot more loads out of this mix!

Your ration is 1:2:2    So for every cup of grated soap, you need 2 of both the Borax and Washing Soda. 

I've found the good old food processor to be the easiest method to get the consistency you want. 

Put your soap in the processor first and grind till a pretty fine powder (this may take a few minutes, patience).  Then add in your Borax and Washing Soda, pulse till well mixed, pour into a storage container and wahla!  Laundry detergent.  For powder, as per usual, you start the water on your machine, add in approx 2-3 tablespoons of powder, then the clothes.  A little goes a long way.  I've never tested this in an HE front loader, so check your warranty information, but for the standard top loading washer, works like a dream.


I often add about a cup of baking soda to this mixture because I have a toddler boy and smelly dogs, and this provides extra deodorizing power, though the original recipe works fine for most stuff. 

The soap you use is up to you.  Traditionally something like Fels-Naptha or Ivory is used.  I prefer an organic low ingredient brand like Kiss My Face, or other natural brands.  The one in this picture is a dead sea soap, and has a beautiful vanilla almond scent.

Happy Cleaning Y'all!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Banana Bread

Yummy yummy Banana Bread.  This is a healthified version that my son and husband love.  A slice of this for breakfast is a great way to start the day, and it functions as a delicious dessert as well.

1/3 olive oil or melted butter
3-4 overripe bananas
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Optional mix in
1/2 cup slivered almonds (or other nut/seed) or
1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat oven 350
Combine wet ingredients in large bowl...whisk together dry ingredients and combine into wet.  Once well mixed fold in your mix in. 

Pour into well greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack.

I recommend doubling and making more, this will go quick and freezes beautifully.  You can alter each one with different mix ins, I've used blueberries (great success), strawberries (not as pretty but still tasty), almonds, pecans, flax seed, walnuts, etc.  I often top with either some sort of crushed nuts or a cinnamon sugar mixture to give a little bit of a crust. 

This recipe is a basic quickbread, you can switch out the banana for carrot or pumpkin or apple or zucchini (approx a cup of puree or equivalent), If using the veggies, more sugar may be needed.  For the pictured loaves of bread, I omitted sugar in the recipe as the bananas were VERY ripe, and just gave it a light cinnamon/sugar dusting on top.