2017 Long Weekend Detox

As promised, you can find my 2017 "Long Weekend" Detox here.  It's my twist on The 2017 Annual goop Detox with a sprinkling of Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox recipes and tips.  For reference, the Annual goop Detox webpage, which includes a link to the shopping list, can be found here.  And, you can click here to see Kimberly Snyder make her Glowing Green Smoothie (GGS).  Please note that I did not get around to making the detox granola bars.  Also, I did not get around to making either of the lunch salads or miso sweet potatoes.  We ate the lentil soup, turkey chili, and small side salads for lunch most days except one, when we had a couple of energy balls for lunch due to an out-of-state appointment that snuck up on us.  If you do give it a try, I'd love to hear how it went and what you thought of my adjustments in the comment section at the end of this post.   

My Review of the Annual goop Detox

Who participated:  Me, my husband, my (adult) son generally followed the meal plan for 5 days.  My two youngest daughters generally followed on days 4 & 5.

What we thought:  Overall, my husband and I felt energetic and satiated while on the plan this past week.  He had no cravings and I had one or two mild cravings for chocolate.  On the flip side, my son was ready to throw in the towel on the third day.  The girls were excited to be joining in on day four and, because they are familiar with oatmeal and fried rice, enthusiastically ate their "healthy meals".  This week, I incorporated the remaining left-overs into meals early in the week, have already made the bone broth again a couple of times, and continue to begin my mornings with warm lemon-ginger water. 

How did it impact my weight:  I easily lost 1.5 pounds during the detox.

Egg Drop Soup & Avocado on Squirrel Toast

Egg Drop Soup & Avocado on Squirrel Toast

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Salmon and Radicchio over Lentils

Salmon and Radicchio over Lentils

Larb Filling

Larb Filling

 

 

Oregon Homemade Honey Blackberry Jam

By the time June rolled around in Myrtle Creek, we could head outdoors and find blackberries almost anywhere on the property up until Halloween.  Every year we scrounged up a few old boards and leaned them out into the thick, lush green blackberry bushes.  These were are bridges to otherwise unreachable areas where we believed the biggest, juiciest, and sweetest berries were hidden.  Nevermind the scratches from those huge thorns, or the chore of cutting back never-ending briars with a sickle in the August heat.  If we filled a big bowl, my mom would make blackberry cobbler.  Sometimes we had to pick for hours so she and my aunt could make jam.  When we got a little older, we filled buckets and took them to the local Dairy Queen to be blended into fresh blackberry milkshakes.  The berries seemed so much sweeter and juicier back then.

Nowadays, I see the blackberries at the market, five dollars a pint, and chuckle.  Most are Marionberries anyway, not what I consider “real blackberries”.  Not like the ones I grew up popping into my mouth all summer long.

When I opened my eyes Wednesday morning and saw the sun coming through the sliding glass door, I knew it was time to head out to one of the farms and pick some of those real blackberries.  If you grew up out in the countryside, close to the land, you might also just get a feeling about when the berries are ripe, when it’s going to rain, or when there’s a critter outside, in the dark, before you turn the light on and can actually see it.

There were three buses and several other vehicles in the gravel parking area at the farm when I arrived.  Luckily, the summer campers were all sitting at picnic tables or visiting with the goats.  I was able to get my flat, wash my hands (the farm requires), and stroll out into the field in my lemon, cotton sun dress lickety-split.  I had the time, so I was careful to look closely at each blackberry before barely giving it a tug to see if it would release easily into my hand.  That’s how I pick `em anyway, not over ripe, not under ripe, just ripe!

Once I got them home, I gave them a 15 minute soak in a couple of very large bowls filled with water and a quarter cup of distilled vinegar in each.  Then, rinsed them well in filtered water and put them in the refrigerator overnight to keep until my daughter and I would turn them into jam the following day.  And so, we made jam and it's delicious, just like what I remember.

If you’d like to make some too, here’s what we did:

We stopped by Portland Homestead Supply Company earlier in the week to pick-up some more of my favorite Weck jars.  On jam-making-day, We followed the instructions for sweet blackberry jam found inside the box of Pomona's Universal Pectin I picked-up at the farm during checkout.  

Equipment

A variety of your favorite canning jars (estimate volume based the amount of berries)

(1) 12-quart Stainless Steel Pot (for sterilizing and processing)

(1) 8-quart, Stainless Steel, Heavy Bottomed Pot

(2) 4-quart Large Glass Bowls

(1) Jar Lifter

(1) Potato Masher

(1) Canner Rack

(1) Long-Handled Tongs

(1) Firm Heat Safe Spatula

(1) 2-Cup Glass Liquid Measure Cup

(1) 1-Cup Glass Liquid Measure Cup

(1) Large Tablespoon

(1) Small Glass Plate (put in freezer for testing jam)

(2) Clean Kitchen Towels (I use flour sack towels)

(1) Clean Cloth for Wiping Jars

Ingredients

- 10 Cups Blackberries, Mashed

- 1/4 to 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice, Freshly Squeezed (I used just over 1/4 cup)

-  2 1/2 Cups Honey - I used Oregon Growers Raw & Unfiltered Wildflower 

- 5 tsp Calcium (from the 1/2 tsp calcium + 1/2 cup water mixture)

- 5 tsp pectin (powder)

1.  We placed a canner rack in the bottom of a 12-quart stainless steel pot, filled it with water and brought it to a boil.  Then, followed standard canning procedure to sterilize our favorite jars, lids (and rings).  You can find complete instructions for sterilizing your favorite canning jars at the National Center for Home Preservation website

2. We mashed the berries in the 8-quart pot, spooned them into a 2-cup liquid measure, and transferred them to one of the large bowls.  We repeated this until we had the total volume of berries (10 cups total) and then poured them back into the pot.

3. We mixed 1/2 teaspoons calcium powder (found in the smaller of the two packets inside the box) into 1/2 Cup filtered water in a glass jar, put on the lid, shook, and let it sit.

4.  Because we had 10 Cups of berries, we decided to go with 2 1/2 cups of honey and 5 teaspoons pectin (found in the larger of the two packets inside the box).  The instructions indicate mixing the pectin thoroughly into the honey.

5. There was some lemon juice in the fridge squeezed earlier in the morning so we poured a heavy 1/4 cup of it into the pot of mashed berries and brought it to a boil, stirring occasionally with the heat-proof spatula.

6. When it came to a full boil, we removed it from the heat, mixed in the calcium water and the honey pectin mixture, and returned it to the heat and back to a full boil.

7. We let it boil for a couple of minutes and then dropped a tablespoon of it onto the glass plate we put in the freezer to see if it was ready.

8.  It was definitely ready.  We transferred the pot onto a trivet beside the prepared canning jars and used the 1-cup liquid measure cup to fill the jars with jam (leave 1/4" head room).

9. We wiped any drips of jam that got onto the rim or outside of the jars, put the sterilized rings onto each, and put on the glass lids and clamps.

10. Finally, we processed the jam using the standard process method for canning jam.  You can find those steps (steps 6-9) Here.

Happy Jamming!

#teatimetip - The Wardrobe Capsule (#1)

teatimetips

Settling into an hour of focused time earlier in the week, I hoped to come up with a short list of projects and mini-adventures my daughter and I could tackle before she enters college in the fall.  My goal was to create a list of at least seven fun, mother-daughter activities that could realistically be squeezed into her already busy social calendar before end-of-summer.  After brainstorming for a while, I gave myself a break and browsed through my Twitter feed.  Fortunately, I quickly came across a tweet by Caroline of un-fancy.com and her blog post about creating a customized seasonal wardrobe planner she calls a “capsule”.  From the post on her website here, I was able to print a couple of free 10-page templates and an example “capsule” we could use as a guide to create our own.  And, that’s the short version of how project #1 on my list manifested!

Working on the project casually throughout the day, around outings so my daughter could hone her driving skills, we thought, talked about, and transformed our wardrobes into sets of seasonal “uniforms”.  We started by listing the items (tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, e.g.) we currently own into two areas, what we really love to wear and what we really never wear.  Getting real about what is and isn’t really working for us (fabrics, styles, colors, e.g.) really narrowed things down.  Next, we jotted down our lifestyle activities including special events & travel, the average weather during the season, and words that we associate with our personal style.  And, we made a list of stores, brands, and designers we favor and filled in a color scheme grid with the major, minor, and accent colors of items we already own.  By the end of the day, we had our lists of go-to “uniforms” for the summer (we deemed June through August) and moved one step closer to minimizing our lives and curbing the shopping habit.

I’ve already set aside follow-up time to finish my list but am kind of hoping to simply stumble on more great ideas like the one I found on un-fancy.com along the way!

If you have a moment, please leave a comment and let me know if this #teatimetip was helpful to you.

Samosas

Samosas!

Samosas!

Around three or four o'clock yesterday afternoon I decided to make samosas.  While some of us decided to relax and read, the rest chipped in and made the delicious Indian hand pies in no time!

For a look at what we did, I've posted some snaps below.  You can find the full Saveur recipe Here.  Below are the three adjustments we made to the original recipe:

1. We doubled the amount of russet potatoes called for in the recipe. (the adjustment resulted in just the right amount of filling)

2.  We replaced 2 Tbsp Canola Oil with Coconut Oil and cooked the samosas in coconut oil.

3.  We left out the mint and the small green Thai chiles.

Here are some images of the steps based on the instructions outlined in the original recipe.

Adding water to the flour, butter and salt

Adding water to the flour, butter and salt

Formed dough

Formed dough

Divided balls that were put in to the refrigerator to chill

Divided balls that were put in to the refrigerator to chill

Filling ingredients

Filling ingredients

Cumin was popping, onion and ginger added

Cumin was popping, onion and ginger added

Added ingredients to the cooked and coarsely mashed potato and carrot to make the filling

Added ingredients to the cooked and coarsely mashed potato and carrot to make the filling

Rolling and shaping the dough

Rolling and shaping the dough

6" each

6" each

Cut, then chill in batches while shaping and filling 4 at a time

Cut, then chill in batches while shaping and filling 4 at a time

Fill, moisten edges and...

Fill, moisten edges and...

Pinch to seal

Pinch to seal

Avoid crowding the pot by frying in smaller batches (recipe makes about 24 total samosas)

Avoid crowding the pot by frying in smaller batches (recipe makes about 24 total samosas)

We enjoyed ours with a little Britt's Curry Kraut and fresh salad

We enjoyed ours with a little Britt's Curry Kraut and fresh salad

Hope you get a chance to make some with your family.  And if you do, I'd love to hear what you think of them!

Creating Your House of Bliss

So you’ve made the transition to automatic soap dispensers and are ready to take the next step toward creating the “house of bliss” you’ve always dreamed of.   Before you lose that afterglow from yo’ proud self, why not step right into this next one;  It's super easy.  I’ve been cleaning my house with these two Do-it-Yourself (DIY) household cleaners for the past year and have never looked back.  I typically clean the house on Mondays.  It takes me a good few hours from start-to-finish but that’s mostly because it includes laundry, meal breaks, unexpected interruptions, and you know, other stuff.  And, when it’s all said-and-done, the place is ready to be featured in one of those Fancy Nancy magazines.  There are countless reasons why I have switched to my homemade cleaning products but, at the end-of-the-day, it all boils down to ensuring a safer, healthier environment for my family.

Still need some motivation before getting started?  Here are 7 home-related quirks about me that will keep you laughing while you mix up your home cleaning potions:

1.      Getting into a bed dressed with freshly washed linens is one of my favorite things in the whole, wide world.

2.      I like my house to smell so good that it makes my mouth water.

3.      I have to be able to see outside easily from every room in the house.

4.      When I look at the walls in my home, I only want to see memories…if you don’t know what I mean, just ask.

5.      There must be plants in every room of my house (save my youngest daughters’ bedroom and bathroom, but this will be rectified in the near future).

6.      My house is a “no carpet” home.

7.      If you were to ask, "may I toss one of the easy chair pillows onto the floor to use to cushion my weary feet", I will gladly say yes, and then wash it first thing the next morning. ;)

Here are the two potions I use to magically transform my home into a “house of bliss”:

All-Purpose Cleaning Scrub

¼ Cup Water (filtered or distilled)

¼ Cup Castile Soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Mild)

1 Cup Baking Soda

14 drops Essential Oil (my favorites are lemon and peppermint)

Mix ingredients in a glass jar and use it in the bathtub, toilet, sinks or any other surface where you want a light abrasive.  It also works really well on my stove top.

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

16 ounces water (filtered or distilled)

1 Tbsp Castile Soap

7 Drops Essential Oil (lemon, tea tree or peppermint are my favorites)

Combine the ingredients in a glass 2-cup liquid measuring cup and pour into a spray bottle.

DIY Household Cleaners

DIY Household Cleaners

If cleaning your house just feels like too much to ask, then by all means, please use this time to invent an in-home laundry machine that will do my laundry, to my specifications, and will fold it too!

Sparkle * Sparkle *

Good 4-Ya Chocolaty Balls

Late last night (um, after 10 pm) I gracefully excused myself from the outdoor 4th of July festivities mostly because I could just as easily enjoy the beautiful colors, minus the loud noise and pesky mosquitoes, from the comfort of my own kitchen.  Expecting a busy week ahead, I decided to whip up some on-the-fly energy balls.  I've been weeding through a number of energy ball recipes and have one recipe I've made a few times but wanted to try out something new.  I still need to try making the Chai-Spiced Almond Butter Bites that I've been meaning to make!

On a mission, I pulled out as many ingredients from the cupboard and refrigerator as I could carry in one load and dumped them onto the butcher block beside the food processor.  I know the basic concoction (ratio) that will produce a snack-size ball of what I can feel mostly good about eating first thing in the morning if I need to get protein in the 1st 30 minutes upon waking or for a go-to mid-day snack with my tea or (decaf) coffee.  

My 3 criteria for producing some worthy balls are:

1. They have to be palatable, preferably taste good.

2. They need to include so many "healthy" ingredients that the one or two controversial ingredients seem inconsequential.

3. They have to stick together.  I can't call them balls if they're flat, right?

Here's what I threw together:

- 1 heaping Tbsp Marantha Organic (OG) Creamy Peanut Butter (finished off the jar)

- 2 heaping Tbsp Trader Joes' Creamy Almond Butter (no salt)

- 5 heaping Tbsp Bob's Red Mill OG Almond Meal / Flour

- 1 scoop Garden of Life Vanilla Raw Protein Powder (this is an organic plant protein blend)

- 4 heaping Tbsp Let's Do Organic Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

- 7 whole, pitted Dates

- 2 grabs (lol, but that's what I did basically) Pumpkin Seeds (these were previously soaked for 6-8 hrs then roasted and salted - good little snack to have on-hand)

1 Tbsp ground Flax Seed

1 Tbsp Raw Cacao powder

- 1 heaping Tbsp Dr. Bronner's OG Virgin Coconut Oil (melted)

- 1 Tbsp Coombs Family Farms OG Maple Syrup

- 1 splash of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract

- Sprinkling of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Put the ingredients into the food processor and pulse or process until they come together into a malleable dough.

Chocolaty Balls

Chocolaty Balls

The ingredients came together nicely!  I used my #60 scoop (the size of a large gum ball) and scooped them out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet that fits into my freezer.  I rolled each into a ball and put the sheet into the freezer.  The next morning, I transferred the balls into glass Weck jars for storage and put them into the refrigerator.  The ingredients are pretty stable so they should hold nicely in the refrigerator for a week or two (if they last that long).  I divide them into multiple jars so my husband can take a handful to work to snack on, etc. Today, I decided to dip some in Theo 70% melted dark chocolate because, well, I just love chocolate!

Hope you get a chance to try making your own version!  Let me know if you do.

Happy Rolling!

Disclaimer - My husband JUST informed me that there is an existing South Park "Chocolate Salty Balls" episode.  This was COMPLETE news to me as I am unfamiliar with the South Park series.  I do not endorse it...LOL

Maryhill Apricot Fruit Roll-ups

Happy Independence Day!  

While my husband got very involved in his board game of Defenders of the Last Stand, my daughter, her boyfriend (via the phone, from Canada) and I made apricot fruit roll-ups this morning using my Oregon Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups recipe.  We just used apricots instead of strawberries, and also added a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste.  

To a free and relaxing day with family and friends doing what we love! 

Maryhill apricots we found at NW grocers yesterday morning.

Maryhill apricots we found at NW grocers yesterday morning.

Pure sunshine!

Pure sunshine!

If only you could smell these beauties!

If only you could smell these beauties!

Just cooling off

Just cooling off

Time to transform

Time to transform

Justin's board game of Defender's of the Last Stand

Justin's board game of Defender's of the Last Stand

Port-Preserved Oregon Cherries

With the abundance of scrumptious Oregon cherries available at our farmer's markets this season, I couldn't help but preserve some for those cool winter days to come.  Below is the recipe I used if you'd like to save some for yourself!  What you'll need to make 6 - 7.4 fl oz glass Weck "tulip" jars and 1 - 91.3 fl oz glass Weck "tulip" jar of preserved cherries:

Equipment

The jars named above or your favorite jars (same combined volume)

(1) 12-quart Stainless Steel Pot (for sterilizing and processing)

(1) Large Heavy Bottomed Pot (I used a #30 Le Creuset, spooned off the foam and there was still some over-flow)

(2) 4-quart Large Glass Bowls

(1) Paring Knife

(1) Cherry Pitter (optional)

(1) Jar Lifter

(1) Canner Rack

(1) Long-Handled Tongs

(1) Firm Heat Safe Spatula

(1) Ladle

(1) Large Tablespoon (for filling smaller jars)

(2) Clean Kitchen Towels (I use flour sack towels)

(1) Clean Cloth for Wiping Jars

Ingredients

- 5 lbs cherries - ripe, red and sweet from your farmer's market if you can get them

- 32 oz Honey - I used NW Wildflower from Trader Joe's

- 1 1/2 Cup Tawny Port

- 1 Cinnamon Stick, whole

- 1 Vanilla Bean, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scraped with back of knife -or- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste

- 1 Spice Sachet that includes 3 Star Anise and 5 Cloves, whole

- 2-3 pinches of finely grated Orange Zest - I use a microplane zester

1.  Place a canner rack in the bottom of a 12-quart stainless steel pot, fill it with water and bring to a boil.  Follow standard canning procedure for sterilizing six 7.4 fl oz glass Weck "tulip" jars and a 91.3 fl oz glass Weck "tulip" jar.  (go to the National Center for Home Preservation website for complete instructions)  You can find Weck jars HERE for purchase or use your own favorites (same combined volumes).   Leaving space between each, place the sterilized jars, lids and rings onto a flat surface lined with a clean kitchen towel.

2. While the pot of water is coming to a boil, soak the whole cherries in one of the large 4-quart glass bowls filled with filtered water and about 1/4 cup distilled vinegar for about 15 minutes to disinfect.  

2. After disinfecting, cut the cherries in half with a paring knife, remove pits and place them into the other large 4-quart glass bowl filled with only filtered water.

3. When all the cherries have been halved and pitted, strain away the filtered water and transfer them into a large cooking pot along with the remaining ingredients.

4. Bring the cherries to a moderate boil, stirring regularly for 15-20 minutes.  During this time, the cherries will release their juices and soften, the juice will become concentrated and begin to thicken and the spices will bloom and flavor the liquid.  Cooking time may vary based on your individual preference toward a thicker or thinner syrup.

5. Remove the pot of cherries from the heat, remove and discard the spice sachet, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick and carefully ladle or spoon the cherries and syrup into the jars leaving 1/4 - 1/2" clearance from the rim of each jar.

6. Wipe the rim and sides with a clean cloth.  (I dip a corner of the cloth into the boiling water, ring it out, and wipe)

7.  Using the tongs, hold each of the rings in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes before placing them onto the tops of the jars.  Place the glass lids over the rings carefully aligning ring to jar and lid to ring.  Clamp each lid with two canning clamps across the lid from one another.  The Weckjars.com describes this process in detail HERE

8.  Using the jar lifter, place the first 4 small jars carefully onto the rack in the pot of boiling water to process.  (there should be an inch or two of water over the jars) I processed these for 30 minutes.  Remove the first batch and place them onto a flat surface lined with a clean kitchen towel to cool.

9.  At this point you will likely need to add more water to your pot and bring it back up to a boil.  Keep in mind that you will be processing the larger jar this time and will need to gauge how much water to add to the pot considering the weight of the larger jar will make the water rise some when the jar is submerged.  (remember there should be 1-2 inches of water over the lid of the largest jar in the pot while processing)  Using the jar lifter, place the 2 remaining small jars and the large jar carefully onto the rack in the pot of boiling water to process.   Again, I processed these for 30 minutes.  Remove the second batch and place them, along with the first batch, onto the flat surface lined with a clean kitchen towel to cool.

10.  Enjoy a nice glass of that tawny port while your cherries are cooling and look forward to the changing seasons!

Cheers!