a note from bonnie! happy monday, lovelies! since ashley pahl's drink recipes have been such a huge hit, i'm very excited to share with you today that she's coming on board as a weekly contributor- this time for a weekly diy project! to learn more about her (and just how adorably-sweet she is) make sure to head on over to her blog, indie pretty projects and check out her lovely etsy shop as well. now, won't you join me in a big warm welcome for her?
I've been cooking a lot more lately, and I've just started to realize how expensive real vanilla extract is - almost $4.00 for one ounce! Long ago I saw a recipe for DIY vanilla extract, and it's amazing how easy and cost effective it is - it came out to $1.01 per ounce! This would be even cheaper if you bought ingredients in bulk.
1 vanilla bean
3 ounces of vodka
Starting 1/2" from top of vanilla bean, slice length-wise down the bean, and stop 1/2" from bottom of bean. fold bean in half, and place in air-tight container. Fill the container to the top with vodka. Store in a dark place for two months, when it is ready to use. Shake occasionally.
Glass containers with corks would work perfectly - I used a plastic, screw-top bottle I picked up at Hobby Lobby. Handmade vanilla extract makes a fantastic gift - even after the extract is used up, the bottle with the bean still in it can be re-filled with vodka to make extract again.
My extract started out clear as vodka, but within two days it has already darkened some - I can't wait to try it out in a couple of months.
Have you tried making your own vanilla extract before? How did it turn out? Have you tried making any other kinds of extract for cooking?
Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.
starshaped press takes me back to a simpler time. all of their work is letterpress the old school way, as they use beautiful antique metal and wood typefaces and ornaments. no computers here! and the results are both timeless and outstanding.
this every heart beat print is extra-special. all of the proceeds from this $10 print will be going to the stella b foundation in buffalo, ny where two of the starshaped press ladies will be participating in a 5k this may. the foundation helps families with children fighting long term or terminal medical conditions. in fact, it's helped jen's little niece who has heart disease travel to get to one of her pediatric cardiologists. what a wonderful foundation to support!
if you follow me on the old twitter thang, you might know that my mister recently decided to start eating vegan. i'm a supporter of both all things healthy and him, so it made me excited, but quickly made me wonder, 'what does this mean for me'? since i'm the cook, it certainly has some heavy implications for our dinners at home. but remembering why i think being vegan is such a good idea in the first place, i quickly decided to at least give it a try. why not? i find myself emotionally attached to dairy (but no longer meat, as i gave that up a long time ago). but isn't that kind of strange? why are we as a culture so attached to dairy? no other culture in the world is! i think i can live without it. especially with all the yummy alternatives there are these days.
but i immediately started being self-conscious of what people would think. i didn't want to tell anyone. more important then them just thinking i was a real quack, i didn't want them to judge me. saying your vegan these days comes with a pretty hefty toll. people judge. and hard. i can just hear them saying, "you say you're vegan but you're wearing leather shoes?" and then immediately dismissing me. i don't think that's fair.
in fact, i still plan on eating honey. local, raw, organic honey. it's good and incredibly good for you (remember?).
i still own some leather shoes and david will still wear is favorite leather belt. we're not perfect. we drive a big nasty car that only gets 20 miles to the gallon. i'm not proud of that, but you know what? i am proud of what we ARE doing. and i'm proud of each and every little thing that you are doing.
why are people so often negative to people who are trying to do good? i guess what i'm saying is that i don't like labels. vegetarian, raw foodist, vegan, paleo, locavore, freegan, pescatarian, fruititarian (just google these for some fun reads). if you can stick to it, great. but i think by labeling ourselves, we sign ourselves up for failure- and maybe (just maybe) even to be judged by others.
i'm interested in being the healthiest i can be. does that most closely resemble a vegan diet? yes. will it always? probably not. might i get chickens again and eat gorgeous, local and organic eggs right from my own back yard? probably.
i want to celebrate the good things. i want to lift up every conscious decision we as human beings make- no matter how great or how small. i'm proud of anyone who cares, even if it's just by a little.
so what do you do? i want to hear about it. do you have meatless mondays at your house? did you bike to work? pee in the shower to save water? did you pass up one burger from a fast food restaurant last week? did you buy something organic? support a local farm?
even if it's one decision, one time- i think it makes a huge difference and i want to know about it. i want to celebrate you.
on the flip side: even though you're a vegetarian, did you eat a piece of meat last week? confession time! are you vegans hiding honey in your cabinets? any paleo's out there still eating chocolate? i know you're out there, so fess up! i'll start in the comments section.
i want to start erasing labels and removing stereotypes from those of us who are just trying to do some good. we're not perfect. i want to acknoledge the greatest gift we have on this earth- the ability to make our own decisions about what we will and will not put in our mouths.
seriously? maybe the cutest cards i've ever seen. a big thank you to jen for introducing me to these perfectly named nourishing notes: greetings that combine all things food, laughter and letterpress! let's make whoopie, holy mole it's your birthday and whey to go are among my favorites, though it's hard to pick just three. each card has a corresponding recipe idea or helpful kitchen hint on the back and each are letterpressed by hand using soy inks. yes, please! perfect for all lovers of food.
hello lovelies! today i'm starting a new column called the forgotten ingredient. so often i find myself not only discovering new ingredients, but also discovering the health benefits to some more common ingredients that i just never knew about. are you with me? sound interesting? feel free to share you thoughts in the comment section, add any knowledge you may have or even suggest ingredients for future posts!
wh foods describes turmeric as has having a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger. to me, turmeric has a very light and agreeable flavor, one that you might be surprised at given the intensity of it's color. you'll often find it in indian dishes and curries, as the ingredient that gives them that vibrant yellow color. turmeric has quite a long list of health benefits, among them are an immense amount of anti-cancer properties and anti-alzheimers preventers. in fact, over a billion people eat turmeric in india every day, and they have one of the lowest rates of alzheimers in the world!
turmeric and its active component, curcumin, are useful for treating indigestion, ulcerative colitis, stomach ulcers, osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, uveitis, and bacterial and viral infections. it is a natural liver detoxifier, anti-inflammatory agent, pain killer and may aid in helping fat metabolism. click through the following articles to find even more of turmeric's benefits and read the details of each:
so the next question is, just how much should we be eating a day? the recommendation for adults are:
- cut root: 1.5 - 3 g per day
- dried, powdered root: 1 - 3 g per day
- standardized powder (curcumin): 400 - 600 mg, 3 times per day
- fluid extract (1:1) 30 - 90 drops a day
- tincture (1:2): 15 - 30 drops, 4 times per day
that's roughly about 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric a day (anyone have some turmeric and a gram scale??)
so the next question might be, what do you do it with it?
- add it to curries, stir fries and any indian dishes
- toss it with vegetables before roasting
- make turmeric tea (and read about the benefits)
- add 1 tsp (or more) to rice, quinoa, bulgar or any rice-y dish
- add it to potato or egg salad
- add it to soups
any other ways in which you use turmeric? please share!
soon, i will live both by the sea and in the mountains. the idea to me is a little overwhelming, as i've always been several hours away from the water. i consider myself a mountain girl. i like the trails, the scenery and ever-flowing rivers. the idea that i could have all that plus sandy beaches, rolling waves, and year round sunny weather has never occurred to me. needless to say, i've begun to wrap my brain around it and cannot wait to experience it. the problem? well, i've got all the hippie mountain clothes i need, but now i need to start gathering easy-beach, cottage-by-the-sea, sunny-weather items. for starters, i like these suits above. what do you think? i also need to find a good romper.. (any advice?)
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