Thursday, January 24, 2013

Use What You Have, insulated lunch bag

A friend of mine handed me an insulated grocery bag and whispered, "Let's talk."

Her daughter needed a lunch bag to bring to preschool.  The mom had an insulated grocery bag with a top that didn't latch anymore.  She asked if I could help her, and could it please involve purple fabric.


So we found a style that she liked and fit into my ability level.  Then I spent a sunny winter afternoon with my sewing machine.

The result:


Because the insulated bag is from Ikea, this just might be considered an Ikea-hack!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Skill-share, Mystery Wellness Foods

What do you get when you cross a Girls Night In with wanting to learn something new with a feisty cold/flu season?

You get a room full of cheerful ladies with ideas, samples, and skills to share.  You get yogurt, kefir, vanilla extract, sprouts, kombucha, and lots of snacks.

My favorite thing about all of the living foods that we talked about is that, aside from a bit of attention at the beginning and the end, these foods pretty much prepare themselves.  And they are so much cheaper and fresher than their supermarket counterparts.  And, because so many of them are loaded with healthy bacteria, they prevent against sickness. Which is so much smarter than a trip to the doctor's or a bottle of medicine.  Sign me up!

Here is SL explaining her experiences with the Stove Top Method and the Crock Pot method of making yogurt, and her uses of the resulting whey.

She brought homemade vanilla yogurt samples.  She also brought some homemade vanilla extract, xylitol mouthwash, and peppermint mouthwash.  Overachieve much, SL?

Here is AMH sharing her mother-in-law's kefir grains (curds?).  She whipped up some delightful kefir/spinach/orange smoothies and won us all over.

I passed around jars of sprouted wheat berries and some legumes.

Garden in a jar, anyone?

I referred to this diagram, sent to me by TC, for inspiration.

What can you do with sprouts?  Well, they sure do jazz up a grilled cheese sandwich!

The highlight of the whole night, for me anyway, (no, it wasn't the after-hours reenactment of childbirth, although that was a close second) was the kombucha demonstration by LE.

Phrases like fermented tea, distilled water, scoby hotel, and continuous brew now have a little more meaning.  And the kombucha was oh-so-tasty!  As soon as my house stays about 70 degrees, I'll get my first batch started.

As far as the non-mysterious snacks that we enjoyed, there was the all-famous Chunky Salsa, the Chocolate Marble Bread with Ganache, an impromptu potato frittata, and some Curried Nuts.

As an FYI, for the Curried Nuts, you just toss into a crockpot 28 oz of almonds/cashews/walnuts/pecans, 1/4 cup oil, 3 T butter, 1.5 t ground ginger, 1.5 t curry powder, 1 t salt, 1 t sugar.  Cook on Low for 2.5 hours, stirring several times throughout.

For my first project, though, I think I'll start another batch of yogurt and expand from there!