Wednesday, February 18, 2015

breathing new life!

Well, gonna "revive" this blog.  I am trying to get a new lifestyle going here that involves removing all toxins (as much as possible) from my home, food, etc.  NOT going to obsess, so, if I want to hit Macdonald's for breakfast or something ONCE IN A GREAT WHILE, I am going to do it.  Control at home, tho, is what makes the huge difference.
SOOOO, going to start with a few of the things I've gotten into lately:
Soap Nuts and Soapwort are two things you can use to replace manufactured soaps.  They both do a great job.  I've used them for dishes and laundry so far and very happy with the result.  Soapwort, BTW, is a great hair-wash!!!  I order them online and now have some seeds to grow my own soapwort.  The other is a real long-term commitment, according to what I've read online.  It seems it takes about 10 yrs before the tree starts to produce the nuts...aka "soap berries."  I might try growing one, anyway.
I've been ordering both from amazon.
The nice thing about using these things is that, once their supply of the "soapy stuff" in them is exhausted, they make great compost.
Here's the start of the blurb from Wiki: "The drupes (soapnuts) contain saponins which are a natural surfactant. They have been used for washing for thousands of years by native peoples in Asia as well asNative Americans.[5] Soapnuts are being considered[6] and used[7] for commercial use in cosmetics and detergents as well as many other products."
Link about soapwort:  http://www.altnature.com/gallery/soapwort.htm

I am "discovering" vinaigre!  I've been using white vinaigre for a while to clean up after the pups' "accidents" and have expanded to using it, generally, to clean the floors and I add it to my dishwashing for a lovely, spot-free result.  The wine or cidre vinaigres have a lot more going on than just salad-dressing.  I recently found that, if you dampen a nice, clean cloth with ANY vinaigre and wrap you cheeses up in it, they keep forever...and, no, no taste of the vinaigre!  And, of course, you can also use it to de-scale you coffee pot, irons, etc.

The other thing I've been doing for quite some time now, is to get my drinking-cooking water from an artesian well.  I have BPA-free bottles and go over there once or twice a month and get about 10 gallons.  I have a BPA-free keg in the kitchen that I keep topped-up.  The water tastes wonderful and I am not getting whatever chemicals the City uses to clean the tap-water supplies.  If you live near me, there is one little well over in Autaugaville, right near the "old" school and an old house that was a restaurant for a bit.  A little algae in the pipes, but, it's harmless.  The best, tho, is the city-maintained one in Prattville, on Doster Rd, next to Pratt Park.  Good, vigourous flow.  There are others I've heard about and there's one at Old Cahawba, by the Crocheron columns, but, lately, it has been more of a trickle.  Some friends and I have been drinking from these wells for ages with NO ill effects, while my Doc (who gets HIS family's drinking water from the well in Autaugaville) says there are parasites present in the municipal supplies around here.  Very small numbers, but, in there, nevertheless...then there's all those "traces' of medications etc.   I'm opting OUT.

More to come.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A word from the Daisy

Well, since this blog started I have become head of a pretty large family (sighs deeply).  I have mixed feelings about this, but, my human (MY human..she was MINE FIRST!) got into rescuing dogs and fostering and, apparently, there is this syndrome called "Foster Failure 101" so I am now one of EIGHT "adopted siblings."  It's kind of annoying at times, but, as my human points out, they had no place to go and the alternative was pretty grim, so, I am making the most of it.  At least I have a lot of playmates and we get up to some good mischief together. At least she has declared a  limit to how long a foster can stay now!  They gotta have a "leave-by date" and a good place to go!  I am glad that Teddy, the big one, has outgrown eating her shoes and pillows, since that really ticked her off.  Teddy also rides along with Nancy and me for "car-car" and is pretty good company,  I taught him how to behave in the car!  I'm very proud.  Nancy and I still steal away on our own sometimes.  I love that, esp since I love visiting my friends and flirting.  I get some great belly-rubs.  People are so nice, esp when you let them know how much you like them by throwing yourself on your back at their feet and sticking your legs in the air and being winsome.  
Happy hols, everybody, whatever you are celebrating!
And, here's a recipe Nancy said I should share for home-made dog treats:
flour
stuff to go in the flour like, pureed veggies and meats, bacon crumbles, or peanut butter, carob powder, applesauce, brewer's yeast...anything a pup can safely-eat will work..not all at the same time, of course.
Nancy addes an egg to it all.
Cut into shapes or whatever (your dog will not care much about what shapes they are.  Trust me) and bake on a cookie-sheet at 350º for about 20 minutes..or whenever they get a little browned.  They're a little chewy, but, MAN, are they good!  Healthy, too! We get out treats without a "side' of chemicals.
The carob powder is nice since it tastes like chocolate, which we cannot have, of course.  GREAT in the peanut-butter version.
Now, we just have to teach Macy not to try and eat Nancy's fingers at treat-time.
Some of my adopted sibs not moving

And Jojo and Macy playing "I Bite Choo Face" in the morning.  Will they EVER grow up?

'bye for now
Miss D.



Back to the blog..CORDIALLY yours!!!

I have neglected this blog, and reading back while looking for a photo, I realised it's pretty worthwhile, so, off we go.
Since petering-out, I've discovered a lot of cool kitchen stuff, among this being home-made cordials.  They've been a BIG HIT!
Easy to make!
I pick massive amounts of "u-pick" blueberries every year at Oakview Farms and turn them into lovely cordials.  All you need is sugar cubes, fruit and some mid-priced Vodka...lots of it.  (BTW, if you are stuck for a disinfectant, Vodka does the job.)  
You fill a canning jar 3/4 full of fruit, add the sugar cubes to the top of the jar, then pour Vodka in until it's topped-off.  Put the lid on tightly and stick the stuff in the back of a cabinet or someplace else dark and cool for as many weeks as you have before giving it away..the longer the better.  I do them right after picking and decant during the Xmas season.  I decant by pouring them into those flip-top bottles (the ones with the old-fashioned clip-closers) thru a fine mesh of some kind (I used a tea-strainer.)
I am experimenting with peaches.  You have to keep flipping the jar over, tho, as the peach-slices tend to float and some have turned a rather unappetising colour, but, everything seems fine and the cordial tastes yummy.  I've also done cherry cordials.  I might try strawberries next year, but, hate to waste a delicious, fresh strawberry on anything other than just scarfing it down.  In the meantime, casting about for other fruits to use.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Fast food meditations....and preserving

The whole "Chik-fil-a" flap made me think about fast-food, generally.  I have a major soft-spot for "Jack's" and "McDonald's" when I decide to go for a fast-food meal!  McD's oatmeal is a really good deal, the "fruit and maple" version is only 6 points and, add milk, and you get a tolerable 8 points.  Our local outlet also puts a REAL fried egg in the "Egg Mcmuffin," which you can ask for without the cheese.  The OJ TASTES fresh-squeezed, altho I asked, and it isn't.   As to a burger, "Jack's" (which seems to be a "Southern Thang"), makes the best fast-food burger I've ever eaten...on  a par with some sit-down restaurants...and great fried-chicken.  Also, HEAVENLY shakes, made the old-fashioned way, from scratch with real ice-cream.  If you are ready to calorie-out, "Jack's" is the place!  The "orange brain-freeze" is a stab at ice-cream heaven.
"Jack's" also makes a version of the Mcmuffin, which they call the "British Biscuit."  (I HAD to take a pic of the sign to give my London friends a giggle.).  You can get that one with really lovely, crisp, bacon slices, which is nice.  Also can request no cheese.  I've noticed they've all quit buttering the muffins, which is good, as it cuts out a major source of fat.
Burger King is really slow to get on the bandwagon...they seem bent on making their offerings worse and worse, in terms of fat and caloires.  Also, their fried items all taste like the oil is slightly rancid, wherever you get them.  I tried the French Toasts a couple of times and threw most out.  I always try something like that twice before I decide it's hopeless.  A must to avoid. 
Wendy's, where you can do pretty well, does great Chili, for a FF item!  It's a modest 7 points for a large, and 5 for a small.
I found that one restaurant in town, "The Downtowner' which already does a great breakfast, has a cook who makes a PERFECT poached egg!  I discovered this when I had wandered in there after two days of a NASTY stomach-bug and that's all I wanted, with some dry toast, and was too drained to cook it myself.  I was so absurdly-thrilled, looking at these two perfectly-cooked poached eggs staring up at me from my plate, that I tipped her $10!  I figured such a rare skill deserved a reward.  Most places around here, if you use the word "poached' just look at you like you ordered something from another civilization, entirely.  Ditto getting milk with your hot tea - HOT tea being another "exotic" choice, to start with.  My Uncle and I both would drink our tea with milk and usually ended up just ordering a side of milk when we'd have breakfast "out."  Of course, actually getting a POT of tea won't happen here...you get a "Lipton's" bag and a cup of hot water.  Oh, well.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Blogging and dogs

For some reason, every time I try to write a new post, the dogs all land on the bed and start being cuddly.  Hmmm....same when I am trying to talk on the phone, except they add barking.
Loud barking.
So, on the last day of the Horrible Pills..I waited until after lunch, so I could get some nutrition in.  I have to expect that, once this is all over the wt loss is going to slow down significantly and I MIGHT put a pound or so back on, but, I know that, if I stick with the programme, it will eventually come off.  I'm in this for the long haul.
Had a nice little piece of grilled chicken with some rotini and spinach, with a peach for afters.
Not bad.
I look forward to feeling more like exercising.
Big bump tomorrow as I am invited to lunch where I KNOW they'll be serving ribs, already-dressed salads, etc.  Have to do some thinking about which and how much I eat there.  I am going to try to skimp on breakfast and plan on a salad or something for supper.  Maybe that and a fruit bowl  Farmers' Mkt tomorrow, so, stocking up on tomatoes again.  Going to put some up in the freezer....also, as many other vegs as I can.  Because of the drought, produce prices are going 'way up this winter, so, it would help to have some stuff put by.

Monday, July 23, 2012

on the road again

Got such a late start that I had to have a "McBreakfast" but asked for the "Egg McMuffin" without cheese. Got a large oj, which is a lot of points, but, I felt like I needed the sugar.   Fell into the Chipotle "black hole" for lunch, altho did pretty well.  I skipped all the toppings but the steak and the tomato altho I added a serving of guacamole!  Heck, it's good for you.  Came home with only 3 points left for the day, and drank it up in a glass of buttermilk.  Kind of needed the buttermilk, since I was taking the "horse pill" and am trying to avoid the churning-stomach effect that has made me nickname it a "little white bomb."  Guess I will eat a few over my points today.
TEN pounds off, tho.  My whole body feels different.  Stairs are easier and I don't feel so much "padding" between my chest and my arms...ditto my throat.  You can really FEEL it gone.
Onward!!
I was transporting a couple of our rescues to the group that arranges fosters and adoptions.  Two little Basset Hound puppies who were pulled back from the brink of dying of Parvo.  Lovely to see them all healthy and feisty!  I always do the "Birmingham run" on these things, meeting up with a gal from Huntsville who takes them the rest of the way.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ginger

A short digression in praise of GINGER!  No, not a friend, but that lovely little spice.  If you have a sick tummy, as I did yesterday, there is nothing like a Ginger brew to settle it back down.  They DO exist in sugar-free versions, but, if I can work it into my points, I prefer real sugar if I'm feeling punk.  I note from the "Reed's" website that they make a "nausea brew" as well as a 55-cal version.  Whatever, it's great ginger beer!  Ginger beer is generally stronger-flavoured than the "ale."  As far as what I can get around here, when I have neglected to stock up on "beer," is the Canada Dry ale.  It's more "gingery" than other brands.  http://www.reedsinc.com/brews/
Anyway, aside from settling you tummy, it's very comforting.

IT FITS

ahhh, stuff I've been "squeezing" into everytime they come out of the wash suddenly gliding on without t fuss!!!!  This is awesome news.  The thing is, I can't really tell whether I've lost 10 pounds, or 7.  It's like this, when they weighed me at the ER, I had my jeans and shoes etc on, and it registered 199 (OH DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN!!!).  I knock off at least 2 pounds for my "gear" (I had very light-wt shoes on...almost ballet-slippers) and basing it on a home-grown "OH DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN" moment at home a couple of days before. My scale is digital...it, unfortunately, never lies.  It will even weigh in "stones" if I want to share this dreadful info with my "London posse."
THIS is revolting!  US or Brit version..it's revolting.
One of the mixed-blessings about being tall is that you  can "get away" with carrying more weight than you should.  The other odd thing is that, the more weight I am carrying, the more height people give me.  When I hit my heaviest weight ever....234 pounds by the time I dropped out of college, up from 145!...people would describe me as "around 6 feet) (I am 5'9" if I stretch.)  When I got it really down, I'd be "given" 5'8".  
How could I have done this to myself???
Oh well, I know very well how...lazy about exercise, eating "not wisely, but too well,: but, I really can't say "over-eating" because I do not, in fact, eat a great deal.  However, it's obvious that my choices were not good and my meals not well-thought-out.   I went to the Chinese buffet with a friend a couple of weeks ago and was barely able to finish my one plate..she was on her third.  She's SKINNY..I'd hate her but she is a wonderful person.  However, when I think about what was ON my plate, which included very greasy LO-mein and a couple of those little donuts...well, there you go. I think I could have made far better choices and even worked in ONE little donut!

DOWN!!! and soup

     As of this morning 7 pounds down!  YAY!  I've been taking "sulfa" meds for a, um, "something" and they really make you a bit queazy.  Last night I was hungry, but just about everything made me want to run, screaming.  SOOOO, here's my standby for a gyppy tummy:  Egg-and-lemon soup.
This is SO easy and SO comforting.  I add rice to it sometimes.
Chicken broth, egg, lemon juice..that's it.  Take some of the broth out and beat the egg with the broth and a little of the lemon juice.  Once the broth is hot, add the egg-broth mix and stir just long enough to thicken a little.  Even if it separates, and I end up with something that looks like egg-drop soup, it's still good, so, not something to worry too much about.  You do want the egg to cook enough to be safe to eat.   I add cooked rice here, as well.  Lemon juice to taste.  Sometimes I like it more "lemony" sometimes a bit less.
    Three points without the rice, six points with a half-cup of cooked rice added.  I based the whole thing on using 1 cup of canned broth, 1 egg and a half-cup of cooked rice.   If you use fat-free broth, it's only 2 points, (for the egg), plus 3 for the rice, if you add that.
When your stomach is "upset" that you have ALL the nasty symptoms, rice gives your gut something to hold on to, as it were, and helps slow down the "other symptom" after you've swallowed the Immodium. (-;
      I find that it is 'way too easy to fall off the wagon if you aren't feeling well, esp if you have a gen-yew-wine ailment going on.  It's important to stick with it as much as possible.  The first time I did WWers,  and lost quite a bit of weight....this was YEARS ago and the plan was somewhat different....I got  a very nasty case of the 'flu.  On the way back from the doctor, I stopped at the grocer's and loaded up on frozen entrées, WWers being the only ones available at the time, bagged salads, and frozen vegs and canned fruit.  I was so determined NOT to fall off!  It worked!  Same thing when I broke my back!  A friend went and did the shopping for me that time, and I lost 10 pounds while lying around convalescing, so, anything is possible.
     That I have to go back to losing it again is my own damned fault.  I got very sloppy about my eating after the Big Break and lazy....no other word for it.  Consequently, my weight shot back up.  It's ridiculous, since, the more weight OFF the less pain I have from my back, not to mention the condition of my leg.
     Just this 7 pounds made a huge difference.  I noticed last night, coming up the steps to my porch that I climbed up with much less effort!
    This is so worth doing!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Another black hole

Really have to plan ahead for THIS one!  
Going over to "Yarnhouse Studio" (http://www.yarnhousestudio.com/ check it out...great shop!!)  to take a class on knitting sox toe-up...the "black hole" has to do with the wonderful eating-places surrounding this shop!  There's a cheesecake  bakery, a GREAT Italian place..and more.   Then there are the snacks provided.  Hoo-boy!  Really need to come up with a strategy for this trip!  Inevitably,  everybody wants to go "get something" after the class, so, I have to either say "no" and eat something I've brought, or think about what I can have from the menus.  The Italian place does a nice mini-pizza with a very, very thin crust, so, that might work...with lots of veggies.  Will have to see.