Thursday, January 01, 2009

Cooking and experimenting!

For those who celebrate: Happy New Year! 2009 should be a good year. I'm going to do everything in my power to make it such. What did you do to celebrate? I was in good company and fell asleep (nodded off multiple times) probably around 10:30 or so. :)

Let's get started:

I've come to the realization that Greg does not eat any of the food I make. He will be polite and eat it when I first make it but will not have any of the leftovers...and seeing as I'm cooking in the crockpot, leftovers are in abundance. With this realization also came the revelation that I can make lunch/dinner for myself for a week straight and spend less that 10 bucks. This means that I need to hope the food comes out good and I will need to remember to pack my lunch. I'm really watching my spending. It's getting out of hand. With that being said, last week (Christmas Eve, actually) I decided I wanted to make a whole chicken in the crockpot. I decided to use The Crockpot Lady's Rotisserie-Style Chicken recipe and got to work. I recall not having a couple of the spices but I didn't really care at the time. Use whatever spices you want. I wouldn't say it came out like the rotisserie chicken you get at the supermarket (I've never had them, actually...) but I liked it. The chicken was SUPER moist that it was a little difficult at first to cut it into pieces. I got the legs, thighs and wings cut but when it came to getting the rest of it cut..........uhh, good god, I need to learn basic kitchen skills. I mangled that poor chicken. I highly recommend that recipe but would advice you throw in some veggies or something. Or at least be smarter than I and cook some for your side, maybe some rice too. Yum. I wasn't really thinking when I went to the supermarket (when am I ever?) and didn't get any veggies. And then by the time the chicken was done (I cooked mine on high), I had already decided I couldn't wait for it to be done and made myself some Mac & Cheese instead. :D

Today I wanted something warm and filling for dinner. Beef and barley soup it is! I found a million recipes online and they were all the same.

1 lb stew meat
2 pieces celery--chopped
2 carrots--diced
1 med onion
3/4 cup barley
1 bay leaf
6 cups beef broth
salt and pepper to taste

Throw everything into the crockpot and cook on high for 4-5 hours. I have 2 and half hours to go. I'm starving. I hope this comes out good.

I was thinking of making cholent (I love this recipe and usually add a little more honey and ketchup to my own bowl of it) but I'll probably do that next week since I now have a bag of barley to use up.

And speaking of food, I was given a "cookbook" of sorts last week. There's 300+ Raw recipes plus tips and things about eating raw and the benefits of doing so. No, I'm not a raw foodist. I think that's clear from the soup I'm making tonight alone. BUT! I keep getting yelled at about the baked goods I make and how they are made with ingredients that are terrible for you--white sugar and flour, mainly. I'm open to trying new things and seeing what all the hype is about. In doing so, I've been to Catch a Health Habit Cafe in West Haven a couple of times and Glen hasn't disappointed me yet. I mean, I've only had some tea, a raw cacao smoothie thing and some raw chocolate shaped like a tree. Oh! And honey still on the comb. That was weird, but oddly good. What did Glen say? "It's nature's chewing gum." I also decided to buy a Larabar today to see how they were. YUM! Wanna know what's in the Chocolate coconut something or other bar I bought? Dates, walnuts, almonds, cocoa powder and coconut. That's it. Nothing else. It was really good. I wanna make my own seeing as I spent a buck 25 on one small ass bar! I need a food processor, though. So if you love me, buy me one. I'm broke. ;) I might give this raw eating thing a try, if only slightly. I barely started today but I'm gonna try and make it through an enormously crazy day of work tomorrow (I hate year end--don't work in accounting, people) eating fruits, veggies and some cashews I bought today. I wish I liked almonds without chocolate engulfing it. I did get some crackers and granola bars for my snack drawer in case I can't handle just fruits and stuff. I hope tomorrow goes well....Wish me luck!

In other "good for you" news, I was talking to Andrew today and remembered that he wanted to take his honey business (which is raw, BTW) to the next level, as they say. He mentioned to me months and months ago that he wanted to try out making some beauty products. Apparently honey is really good for your skin, is an antiseptic and a cleanser and who knows what else! So we got to talking a little and I brought it up. He said that he doesn't have the time or man power to jump into such a project with his business right now with all the other things going on in his life. I mentioned making a simple sugar or salt scrub would be a good, small way to start. This got me thinking. I actually just finished up the Dead Sea Salt scrub that I've been using and need something else to exfoliate. Why am I gonna go out and buy another jar that'll cost me an arm and a leg? I decided to look for recipes online and make my own. There are so many recipes online and I noticed a couple people used mineral/baby oil. Do not do this, people. It's not good for your skin! In the end it'll just dry it out more, not to mention clog your pores. Ugh.

So here's my recipe: (Umm, I used an actual teaspoon while making this, not a measuring spoon so the measurements are iffy...also, do the conversions yourself. ;)

1/2 cup sugar (I've read brown sugar is really good but that you basically need to double it...)
4 teaspoons local honey
8 teaspoons jojoba oil
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Throw it all in a bowl and mix it up. I started out with 6 teaspoons of jojoba oil but it wasn't the right consistency so I added two more and then decided on some olive oil for good measure. I might try using a little less sugar next time but we'll see after I really try it out. When cleaning up, I made sure to leave a little in the mixing bowl and washed my hands with it. Let's just get it out there that I have terribly dry skin in the winter. I've tried drinking more water but in addition to making my bladder hate me for it, I don't really see a different in the moisture levels in my skin because of it. This makes me sad. Maybe it's a myth? Maybe I'm just a freak of nature...Either way, I used some of the scrub for my hands and LOVED it so far. I might just add a little more jojoba oil in my next batch. Jojoba oil has been helping my skin out in all sorts of ways. I use it to take my makeup off at night and since I started doing that, my skin has really started to clear up. NICE! I also use it as a general moisturizer. Sometimes I don't feel like using my $20 Kiss My Face face cream so I just warm a little oil in my hands and use that instead. A little goes a long way, folks.

But back to the scrub: You can use salt instead but be forewarned, do not use it on your face as it (the granules) might be too harsh for it. I dunno about the sugar one on your face...try it and let me know. I'm not brave enough. Also, don't use a salt scrub if you've just shaved or if you have any sorts of cuts on your person. It'll sting and it won't be fun. You can also substitute the vanilla extract for an essential oil or another type of fragrance; experiment a little. Just remember that if you have sensitive skin, you might wanna skip the fragrance all together. I like the scent of vanilla and it's what we had in the house. You can barely smell it. I might up it to 2 teaspoons so it lingers a little. If you do use an essential oil, keep in mind that they are extremely concentrated so be careful when adding it--don't overdo it.

That's all, folks. I hope you all had as productive of a day as I did so far. I'm also doing laundry as I type. Wahoo!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whoa! I love that sugar scrub thing you made! I'll have to try it out when I run out of my scrubs! Where did you get your jojoba oil? I'm thinking of getting them online but I don't know a good supplier or what a good price would be...