Friday, February 17, 2012

Curly Cabbage and Sausage Soup

At my house we're on the verge of everyone being sick again. The Huz is ailin', the boy is ailin', the girl is an emotional mess so she'll prolly be sick tomorrow...SO I whipped up some healing soup for supper. Everyone knows chicken broth is good for ya, but did y'all know that cabbage has both antibacterial and antiviral properties? It can also help allergy sufferers and contains other goodies of your body. Aaaaand cabbage is cheap, y'all. Hooray for cheap. So yeah, tonight I fixed this tasty simmer...

It was light, but flavorful and comforting. A definite make-again. Good and, as I said before, good for what ails you. Happy tummy and happy healthiness to ya, friends.

Healing Curly Cabbage and Sausage Soup  

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Ready In: 1 hourish
Servings: 8 +

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 links natural chicken sausage, sliced (we like the spicey flavor)
2 quarts beef or chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/2 head cabbage, cored and chopped into strips
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
2 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup parmesan cheese

1. In a stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add in onion, garlic, and sliced sausage; cook until onion is transparent and sausage bites are browning, about 5-8 minutes.
2. Stir in broth, salt, pepper. Bring to a boil, then dump in the cabbage. Simmer about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in tomatoes. Return to a boil, then simmer 15 to 30 minutes, stirring often.
4. Add in lemon juice and cheese and serve with crusty bread with honey butter. Yummz. Freezes well.

Alternate method: Cook ground sausage in stockpot until mostly done. Add onion and garlic to meat and cook until onion is soft and sausage is done. Continue with recipe at step 2.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Makin' Your Own Laundry Soap - Why and How

while i wouldn't label myself "crunchy" (i don't care a whole lot about the environment) or a true "naturalist" (i still regularly delight in eating oreos), i would say i "lean green" when it comes to food and cleaning 'round here. it's not a conviction, or something that overrules the budget, but if i can find a deal on a healthier product or make more things from scratch or use what i have so i don't have to buy something else, i'm all about dat.
like this...
making your own laundry soap isn't a new idea, lotsa people do it. i've been making mine for a while now, and it's not complicated, it cleans well, and is really worth it if you are looking for a cheaper version of a "natural" laundry soap. so if you're trying to save money, my recipe is not cheapest MYO recipe out there (if you want one that is, this one claims to be), but it is still pretty cheap. i make my own with natural bar soap because i'd like to have less exposure to toxic/harsh stuff for me and my kiddos. if you're game to try it, the whole process takes me just 20min and it makes about 50 loads worth at about $0.10 per load.
here's whatcha do:
buy one box of each of these... 20 mule borax and a&h washing soda (NOT baking soda)...

...grab a bar of dr. bronner's lavendar castile soap...

...grate that bar into a gallon of water getting hot on the stove...

... stir as it dissolves completely... (yeah, that's my kid's hand not mine, fyi)

  ... carefully pour that hot soap-water into a 5 gallon bucket (with lid) in the tub and add 1.5 cups of borax and 1.5 cups of washing soda. fill bucket to 5gal mark with hot water, and stir it up, baby.

put the lid on and keep it in laundry room. let it sit for 24 hours. it may get lumpy, but just use an old whisk and break up the chunks if they bother you. i still use separate spot-treating gel on my stains, this stuff doesn't work that way.
to use: start your load with hot water (only to activate the soap for the beginning). use a 1 cup measuring cup and scoop a bit less than one cup per laundry load. let it mix with the hot water for a minute, then change the water temp to your desire for your load and add in your clothes. PLEASE NOTE: if you add your clothes first, it will not mix in well... at all. actually this method helps most laundry soaps to work most effectively. so remember: SOAP FIRST into the water, then clothes. mkay?
  • i still use spot-treating stuff for stains, this soap won't work like that.
  • i don't have a HE washer, but many of the recipes online like this one claim it is completely safe to use with them because it's low-suds. i don't know either way, so use caution there, i guess.
  • like soft clothes? add a cup of white vinegar to each load instead of using fabric softener. it gives extra freshness, especially if you’re like me and forget to get those wet clothes into the dryer until the next day... gulp. (helpful household hint: if you do forget your laundry load until the next day (or so) and it does stink, you don't need to rewash them with soap, just loosen up the clothes, add a cup of white vinegar, and wash away. this actually works BETTER than soap for getting rid of that smell.)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mac N Cheese "Muffins"

today was a family "holiday" of sorts - our "Freaky Feastings" day. check it out on Campbellstown if you're a member! one of the yummiest things we tried were these babies:
it's a recipe adapted from a couple other ones to fit our supplies (what's in the fridge) and our demands (what we like). another emily made a healthier version of these here, but if you're like me, you're not eatin' mac n cheese for your health! my unhealthy recipe, which the crew approved, goes thusly...
Mac n Cheese Muffins
4 c cooked macaroni
1 T butter
1 T flour
1 c milk
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup bacon bits
½ cup frozen sweet corn or peas
1 egg
1 egg white
Garlic salt & pepper to taste
Extra shredded cheddar for topping (optional)
Diced chives for topping (optional)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400. Grease your 12-cup muffin, set aside.
  2. In a sauce pot, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the flour, mixing it into the butter until it thickens. Add the milk and turn up the heat, but don’t let it boil. Add the cheese and mix until melted into sauce.
  3. Remove the cheese sauce from heat and whisk in the egg and egg white (which hold everything together).
  4. In a big bowl, mix the pasta, cheese sauce, bacon, corn, salt and pepper together.
  5. Spoon into muffin cups.
  6. Top with extra cheese and diced chives, if desired.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops brown a bit. Let cool 5 minutes before popping them out of the muffin pan, otherwise they’ll fall apart.

Yields 12 muffins