May 24, 2010

Peach-Walnut Coffee Cake

I'm not really a food blogger, but I made this for breakfast and it was yummy. I thought I'd share it. I actually used white flour instead of wheat, because I didn't want to grind just a cup of wheat. I need to grind a few cups of wheat to have some flour handy in the freezer at all times. I didn't take a picture, either. That's proof I'm not really a food blogger. No food porn!
The best thing about this recipe is it uses canned peaches - commercial or or your own - so it is seasonless. It's a quick and easy pantry breakfast. I wished I had had some of my homemade vanilla yogurt to eat with it!

Peach-Walnut Coffee Cake
    1 ½ cups whole wheat flour, freshly ground 
    cup xylitol 
    ½ tablespoon baking powder 
    ½ teaspoon sea salt 
    ½ cup walnuts, chopped 
    1 teaspoon cinnamon 
    ½ teaspoon allspice 
    16 oz.can peaches, drained and chopped 
    ½ cup peach syrup, reserved 
    1 each egg 
    cup coconut oil, melted
 1. Preheat oven to 375℉. Butter an 8x8 baking dish.
 2. Drain the peaches, reserving 1/2 cup of syrup. Chop up coarsely.
 3. Mix the flour, sweetener, walnuts, baking powder, salt, and spices together in a large bowl.
 4. Add the egg, peaches, peach syrup, and oil. Mix gently but thoroughly.
 5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.

May 7, 2010

Cheese and Stuff

A few years ago I stopped buying those individually wrapped cheese slices, and started buying the packages of cheese slices that were all stuck together. I replaced processed cheese food with processed cheese. They melted just as well and gave the same creamy results in grilled cheese and omelets. It was a step in the right direction.

In the past few months I have stopped buying the processed cheese slices, and started buying more blocks of cheese, usually colby. It doesn't melt as well, and tends toward a stringier texture. It still makes delicious grilled cheese and omelets. I have to grate it for the omelets now, though. I've always used grated real block cheese for my mac and cheese. A slice off the block of real cheese is a much nicer snack than a slice of processed cheese. It's another step in the right direction.

The Farmer's Market opened last Saturday. There wasn't a lot available, because the last frost date here is mid-May. Most crops are still in their little seedling containers, safely indoors. I was able to get a nice couple of bunches of asparagus and some swiss chard. The rhubarb preserves I got are very runny, but delicious. I also got a rhubarb plant. It's sitting outdoors in a pot, ready to be planted. Not next year, but the year after I should have my own rhubarb supply!

April 22, 2010

Toothpaste and L-Theanine

While looking for a source for a fluoride-free, xylitol based toothpaste I found a wonderful website: Swanson Vitamins. They had Norwegian Cod Liver oil capsules. They had L-Theanine for half the price we were paying locally. And, of course, they had the NOW brand Xyliwhite toothpaste. I placed an order for all of the above, plus some Dr. Bronner's soap with Tea Tree oil.

I won't go into the arguments about fluoride, pro or con. I decided we should try a toothpaste without it, and that one with xylitol would be a very good idea. And so I did. I bought NOW brand Xyliwhite refreshmint toothpaste. I am very pleased with this toothpaste. It doesn't foam up as much as Crest or Colgate. The flavor I got is mint, but it's not the nasty intense mint you normally find in toothpaste. It's a very mild, barely there mint taste. It contains baking soda and tea tree oil too, which is always a bonus in my opinion. It leaves my teeth clean, and my mouth refreshed, but not to the point where I couldn't drink something cold. If it prevents cavities and promotes gum health as well as I will never switch back.

The place I ordered from, Swanson's Vitamins, was a place I had never seen mentioned in any of the healthy cooking and living websites I visit. The prices were right, though. Items they had on sale were less than the prices at my food co-op. I am pleased with this company so far. They didn't overcharge for shipping, and shipped promptly. I'm a happy camper.

Sweetie has been taking L-Theanine, on the recommendation of a family member. He checked with our doctor, who said "If it helps, take it! It can't do any harm." L-Theanine is an amino acid that promotes alpha brain wave activity. Sweetie says that it allows him to shut off the thoughts that cause his anxiety to spiral out of control. It lets him simply think that he feels terrible and anxious, and might need to take some of his medication. This is wonderful, because previously he was so consumed with all the terrible possibilities he could imagine that he wouldn't think of taking his medication. He has been needing less medication, too.

I have taken it a couple of times, as a sleep aid. You know how sometimes your brain just won't shut off so you can't sleep? This lets your brain shut off. I find it to be a bit too calming for use in the day. It's nice to be able to focus on something, but I am accustomed to having a whole series of other things going on at the same time. Background processing, in computer terms. This eliminates multi-processing for me. Great for sleep, not so great otherwise. I also find that it takes a couple of days for the effect to wear off completely.

April 17, 2010

The Condo complex

As promised, some more pics of where we live. These are not of our condo, but of the complex in general. With one of our door.









It's lovely here.

April 16, 2010

My Current Favorite Blog

I plan to be adding this site to my links soon. But until I get it linked, I want all 11 of my regular readers to know about Kitchen Stewardship.

If you want to move to a healthier diet, this site can help. It has recipes, Monday missions, lists of things to do and lists of things to avoid. It's not rabidly proselytizing a set of dietary beliefs and insisting their diet is the only way to eat, although it is a TF (Traditional Foods) site. She knows her audience is real people, and that you have to make compromises between time, money, convenience and health. She helps by rating things in terms of those compromises.

I was reading an archive today of her 3 easy steps that don't cost too much. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I have been doing all three. I also have eliminated white sugar, and am close to eliminating transfats and HFCS. I have been doing better than I thought. I cannot yet give up white flour totally; the bread I make is only 3/4 freshly home-ground wheat. I need to get a sourdough starter going, too, to make the bread more healthy. But Jim makes pickles, and I make yogurt. I made some delicious sauerkraut, too, not that Jim will taste it. I'm not doing badly.

March 28, 2010

WoW Still Owns My Soul

Note the lack of posts? WoW still owns my soul, but I'm getting better at limiting my time playing. The things you can accomplish when you aren't "in game" all day!

We moved. We bought a condo. Not the first condo, which we really would have preferred (first floor half bath!) but another one. It's in a different location, actually closer to most of the places we usually go. It's a bit farther from Mom than the first condo, but closer than the apartment. My new condo owns my heart.

I cannot overstate the joy of having my own washer and dryer again. I can put a load of laundry in at midnight if I want. I can do laundry while still in my jammies if I want.




This condo allows me to again have my small office area just off the kitchen. I can see things simmering on the stove as I sit here (beans are pre-soaking for bean soup). I have a working stove vent hood! Kitchen storage space is limited, but it's not as ghastly as I feared. I like the way the kitchen is open to both the dining nook and the living room. I can see a new dishwasher in the mid-range future. The upper rack has a wheel that keeps falling out of the track, but it works perfectly well at producing clean dishes. It's not a priority.

We painted all the kitchen cabinets rather than replacing them. Even Jim admits that they need replacing, and someday we will. But for now we need to work on resuscitating our savings.

I still have work to do cleaning off the bar section of counter. When we were first moving and the paint and carpet weren't yet completed it was one of the few locations we could put things. It was piled high! What the picture shows is actually a vast improvement.

So there you have a first look at my happy new home.

January 14, 2010

The Time Pit

When my sister sent me a link for a free trial of a game she plays, I should have been suspicious. I'd been refusing to play it for at least a year. And the last time she engaged me in a game I lost 3 1/2 years of my life and hundreds of dollars to The Sims 2 and Electronic Arts. I knew better. I signed up for the free trial anyway.

It's only been a few days, less than a week, since I began playing. I've already laid out the money to continue playing after the trial ends. So, for those who care, I am Nyhelia, a level 14 Night Elf Priestess on Dawnbringer in WoW. I would like to meet folk of similar level for some group quests. Priests are a puny bunch, and I could use some warrior/hunter/rogue support. Or, more accurately, I can cast spells to help keep your players alive in combat provided you keep me from being killed while I do so. If you need me for anything IRL, message or mail me in game.