Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cleaning: Floors

Floors - general
1 cup water + 1 cup white vinegar + 6 drops pure peppermint oil. Shake to mix
1 c water + 3/4 c white vinegar + 3/4 c rubbing alcohol + a few drops of dish soap

water + eucalyptus oil and/or lavender oil

Wood Polish
1:1 vegetable oil to vinegar. Rub in well

sprinkle salt on rugs and floors. Vacuum

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Slow Cooker: Beef Stew

Didn't have canned tomatoes so substituted some cheap tomato paste. Didn't taste so great - needed to cover it up with salt. Was also missing basil and thyme so used coriander and tarragon instead. Could be better with more flavor, better quality beef, etc. Makes 6-8 servings.
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/2-1" pieces
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped 1/2" pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 t tarragon
  • 3/4 t coriander
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • package of lean beef stew, cut into 1" pieces (1-2 pounds)
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes, undrained (used 10 oz tomato paste and one large freshly diced tomato instead)
  • 14 oz water + bouillon cube
  • 1/8-1/4 c potato flour (or corn starch) (or 1/4 c regular flour if you don't need gluten-free)
  • 1/2 c cold water
  1. Layer ingredients in order from carrots down to water and bouillon.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW 8-10 hours
  3. Remove beef and vegetables to large serving bowl. Cover and keep warm.
  4. Discard the bay leaf.
  5. Turn slow cooker to HIGH and cover.
  6. Mix flour/starch and water in a small bowl. Add 1/2 c cooking liquid. mix well. Stir mixture into slow cooker. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until thickened.
  7. Pour sauce over beef and serve immediately.
Next time use better beef (was sale package from No Frills), use basil and thyme, use diced tomatoes instead of paste
Used cornstarch but did not thicken well. Next time just use potato starch.

Beef Stew II

Tried another version using some antibiotic-free and hormone-free beef. Still lacking in flavor. I wonder if it needs more spices due to the beef stock being rather plain. Or if it's because I don't add onions to anything anymore. ***
  • 2 lbs stewing beef
  • 3 red potatoes, diced
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 full stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/3 t black pepper
  • 2 heaping t minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 c beef broth
  • frozen peas
  1. Place beef in bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Mix flour, salt and pepper. Pour over beef and stir to coat.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients, up to broth.
  4. Cook on low 10-12 hours or high 4-6 hours.
  5. About 5-10 minutes before serving add in peas.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Applesauce Banana Bars

Ran out of applesauce so used a banana to supplement. Based on a recipe from  They came out a little too sweet for my taste, so I would reduce the sugar next time - maybe by half. 4 stars for how quick it was to throw together, only 3 stars for taste.
  • 1/4 c butter, softened
  • 2/3 c brown sugar (reduce this next time, maybe in half?)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c applesauce
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 t soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t ginger
  • 1/8 t cloves
  1. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix the butter, sugar and egg until smooth. Add the applesauce.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, soda, salt and spices. Stir into the wet mixture.
  4. Spread evenly in pan.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are golden. 
  6. Cool in pan. Cut into squares/rectangles. 
  • Throw in raisins
  • add chopped apple

Monday, September 13, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza

Made some pizzas for M's birthday. Experimented with two recipes. First one rose way too much and came out with a thick airy crust. Second one didn't rise at all and came out as a thin crust (more like New York style) and tasted more "pizza-like". If to make again would reduce sugar in first recipe or increase in second. Would like somewhere in the middle. Or maybe more flour to the first recipe as it was very wet.

GF Pizza Dough 1

  • 1/4 c millet flour
  • 3/4 c white rice flour (or use a mixture of brown rice and white rice flour)
  • 1/4 c glutinous rice flour
  • 1/4 c cornstarch (or tapioca flour or arrowroot starch)
  • 1/2 c tapioca flour
  • 2 t xanthan gum
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 1/2 T sugar (note: would reduce this next time)
  • 1 t sugar for proofing yeast
  • 2 1/2 t active dry yeast
  • 3/4 c warm water, (heated to 115 -120 degrees)
  • 2 T cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T sugar (or honey)
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t italian seasoning
  1. Optional: Preheat oven to 170F.
  2. Mix olive oil, cottage cheese, sugar and vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside to come to room temperature.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Heat 1 c of water until it reaches 115-120F.
  5. In small bowl, place yeast and 1 t sugar. Add 1/4 c of the heated water. Stir and let sit for a few minutes.
  6. With everything at room temperature, add eggs AND cheese mixture to the dry ingredients.
  7. Add the yeast mixture.
  8. Gradually add 1/2 c warm water. Dough should look like stiff cake batter. The dough should still hold swirls as you mix, but should be shiny and not dull. Add the rest of the water slowly until the right consistency is achieved.
  9. If you have parchment paper, line the baking pan with it. Grease with olive oil. Spread the dough into a 12-13 inch circle or into a 9x13 glass dish. Create high edge. Cover hands with olive oil to prevent sticking (dough will be very sticky).
  10. Optional: Turn oven heat off and let rise for 40 minutes in warmed oven.
  11. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes.
  12. Add toppings.
  13. Bake at 400F for 7-12 min until toppings are cooked (cheese should be melted and browned to preference). 

GF Pizza Dough 2 
This one was much easier to make.
  • 1 T yeast
  • 1 1/3 c milk
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 1/3 c brown rice flour
  • 1 c cornstarch
  • 2 t xanthan gum
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t italian seasoning
  • 2 t olive oil
  • 2 t apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat the milk in the microwave so that it is warm (not so hot that it would burn your finger, just warm). Combine the milk with the sugar and yeast in a small mixing bowl. Let sit a few minutes.
  3. Combine the brown rice flour, cornstarch, xanthan gum and spices in a larger mixing bowl. 
  4. Add the oil and vinegar to the yeast mixture. Then pour all of that into the flour mixture and stir well.
  5. Once you’ve done this, the dough will be somewhat sticky, and now is a good time to sprinkle some extra rice flour on it. Now that the rice flour is cutting down on the stickiness, form the dough into a ball and let it sit while you get your pans ready.
  6. If you’re using pans or a cookie sheet to cook the crusts, you will need to grease them, so that the pizza crust does not stick. Spread butter or olive oil on the pan and then sprinkle a bit of rice flour on top of that. Use an 8x8 dish and a circular pan (or what have you). 
  7. Split the ball of dough into two pieces – one for each pan. Starting from the middle of the dough, use your fingers to press down on the dough and spread it out towards the edges of the pan. When you get the dough to the edges, continue to push the dough up onto the side of the pan, so that you will have a nice crust.
  8. Prebake the crusts for 8 minutes. 
  9. Drizzle some olive oil onto your crusts and spread it over them evenly. (This will keep the pizza sauce from making your crust soggy.). Add the toppings. 
  10. Bake the pizza for 15 min or until cheese is browned slightly. 
  11. Cut and serve.
GF Pizza Dough 3
10/31/2010 Tried combining the above two to get best of both worlds while limited to flours on hand...had a crispy crust, but texture of dough could still be improved.

  • 1 T yeast
  • 1 1/3 c milk, warm
  • 1 T sugar
  • Flour: 1 c rice flour, 1/8 c soy flour, 1/4 c millet flour, 1/4 c glutinous rice flour
  • Starch : 3/4 c tapioca flour, 1/4 c potato starch
  • 2 t xanthan gum
  • 3/4 t salt
  • heaping 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 2 t olive oil
  • 2 t apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg 

For regular pizza dough or topping ideas, see the gluten-full recipe.

    Cleaning: Dog

    Dog Shampoo
    • A container such as a shampoo bottle or other squeeze bottle.
    • CLEAR liquid antibacterial soap. Palmolive, Ivory, Dove are recommended
    • WHITE vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
    1.  Mix equal parts vinegar and soap in the container. Shake well.
    Nourishing Conditioner for Dry hair
    A nourishing conditioner for dry or damaged hair which can be used for all hair types: Separate the white of an egg from the yolk, whip it to a peak. Add 1 Tablespoon of water to the yolk and blend until the mixture is creamy. Then mix the white and yolk together. Wet hair with warm water, remove the excess moisture, and apply the mixture to scalp with fingertips. Massage gently until the froth is worked into scalp, then rinse the hair with cool water. Keep applying the mixture until it is used up and then rinsed until all of the egg is washed away.

    The vinegar is poured into the hair, massaged into the scalp, and left to dry for a few minutes. Then the hair is washed. The process is repeated daily until the dandruff disappears, usually within a few days.

    Post Commercial Shampoo for pH Balance
    A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with a pint of warm water can be used as a rinse to restore the ph balance of your dog's skin after using a store bought (or other) shampoos.

    Pet Urine on Carpet
    First, blot up what you can with paper towels. Mix one teaspoon mild dish-washing detergent in one cup warm water, dip a clean towel in the liquid and, working from outside in, dab at stain. Do not over-wet. Rinse with fresh water and blot dry. Next, add on-third cup white vinegar with two-thirds cup water and dab on stain. Rinse with water; blot until dry. Once area is totally dry (after at least 24 hours), sprinkle entire carpet with baking soda or rug deodorizer. Vacuum after a few hours.

    Method 2

    1. Blot up moisture - if fresh
    2. Mix 1:1 water and white vinegar. Spray and work into carpet with soft brush or fingers. Blot area with paper towels to absorb vinegar mixture. Vinegar neutralizes ammonia in dog urine. If have wetvac, then use it to remove excess moisture
    3. When dried or almost dried, sprinkle good handful of baking soda over the soiled area. Mix half cup 3% hydrogen peroxide with teaspoon of dish soap detergent (plain, not caustic). 
    4. Pour or spray mixture over baking soda. Work into carpet using fingers/brush. Allow to dry COMPLETELY...using fan or heater to expedite. Vacuum.

    Cleaning: Bath Tub

    • baking soda
    1. Sprinkle liberally.
    2. Scrub with wet sponge.
    3. Rinse.
    For deeper clean, wipe with white vinegar first.

    Note: Vinegar can break down tile grout, so use sparingly.

    Cleaning: Toilet

    Switching to all natural/non-toxic cleaning solutions.
    • 1 c white vinegar
    • 1/4 c baking soda
    1. Dump in toilet.
    2. Let sit a few minutes.
    3. Scrub.
    4. Flush.