Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pocket Diapers.

No. 1 is expecting a girl in February and I'm finding myself thinking about things I'd not previously thought about ... like diapers.

From an environmentalist point of view, and maybe even a cheapskating point of view, it seems to me that pocket diapers fit the bill.

Drybees offer pockets for purportedly cheaper than some others, but lots of options exist, ranging from fleece to hemp to bamboo.

BumGenius was the first brand I'd read about, and they seem to be the most popular amongst reviewers.

The principle of an attractive outer pant with a disposable inner "pad" was already commonplace in Norway when No. 1 was 14 months old. *I* was caught a little off-guard, though, as I didn't have an outer pant to accommodate the pads my family offered. Simple enough to buy one.

I'm really trying not to influence No. 1 in any of the decisions that come with motherhood, so whatever she decides to do/use will be fine with me. [gulp]

Great Online CookBook.

Em forwarded an Email from someone he'd worked with that had absolutely the best array of crockpot recipes one could imagine. I traced it back to a sublink of a group that's (for the most) broken up now, but agreed to keep the cookbook online indefinitely.

I've added the link to the sidebar and will add it here, as well.

50PlusFriends Cookbook

Check out the Crock Pottery section. AWESOME! What CAN'T be made in a crockpot?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Home Baked Bread.

We just got home yesterday from another trip to Nevada. This trip was to West Wendover. I blogged about our last West Wendover trip here, and this week's trip was pretty much a complete repeat of that one. We had lots of fun, it was really cheap, and had trouble in the Love Field parking lot. THIS time, we couldn't find our car.

Before we left, I'd been jonesing for some homemade bread, but Em didn't want me to make it until we got back. So, today we did the same thing we always do when I make bread starting with me asking him where he stored the grain mill. I've been baking bread for several years, but I've never been able to get high bread. I think one reason is that my bread pans are 5" wide instead of 4" wide. The bread spreads out sideways. Another reason is that I ALWAYS make wheat bread because we just don't like the gummy white stuff.

Diane made some really pretty loaves recently and sent me the recipe which I modified to use half freshly ground hard white wheat flour and half unbleached white store-bought stuff. I just tasted the end piece with butter. It was sturdy, but the next piece in really resembled Wonder Bread in consistency. I think you can get away with half hard white wheat flour without anyone noticing, Diane. I'll let ya know how the half hard red wheat turns out.


That was the last of my hard white wheat berries, so I ordered more today, along with a few new bread pans. I put tinfoil inside the one pan today because the surface finish is chipping off.

If you want to try the recipe for Wonderbread:

Diane's Beautiful Looking Bread

2 cups warm water 1/3 c sugar 2 T yeast 1.5 t salt 1/4 c oil 6 c flour

Dissolve sugar in water. Stir in yeast. Proof till foamy. *
Mix salt and oil into yeast.
Mix in flour 1 C at a time.
Knead 10 minutes. [Both Diane and I use our Kitchen Aid mixers to knead]
Cover and allow to rise until doubled (30-45 minutes)
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead out the air. Divide in half, roll into loaves with seam on bottom. Put in oiled or nonstick pans and squish the dough into the corners of the pans. Let rise 30 minutes or so, until over pan tops. Bake 30 minutes @ 350. Butter tops once done.

* On the chance that the bulk yeast I keep in the freezer (2 years old now) was responsible for my wheat loaves not getting very high, I bought a 3-pak at the local grocery. I had one pack of that left, but it expired last month. I tried it anyway (as is my way), but it didn't proof. My bulk yeast proofed beautifully.

I'm going to experiment more with the basic recipe, adding more wheat flour, using hard red wheat, using honey instead of sugar, adding gluten, dough enhancer, buttermilk, potato flakes, etc.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Angry Americans (a subculture of our society).

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black - Angry Outbursts
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Lots of opinions being put forth this week regarding the angry demonstrative people attending the August townhalls and September 12th rallies. Why are they so angry with Obama?

Some, including Jimmy Carter and Em think it's about race.

“Barack Obama stripped millions of Americans of their right to not have a black President.” Balloon Juice

"I remember when they were hooded." Margaret and Helen

"The president does not think (the birther handjob movement) is based on the color of his skin", White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.
Well sure, that explains why they hated Clinton, too, but did the anti-Clinton handjobs take to the streets? No, this is a special kind of hate: "Them niggers just stole America and we decent white folk gotta steal it back ...and if a price has to be paid, I know God is on the I-hate-them-niggers side."
This has civil war written all over it.
Who thinks I'm kidding?"


I'm more inclined to think that, while ALL of the groups represented have SOME racists, "it’s hard to measure racial motivation. And it’s hard to measure levels of vitriol, whatever motivations may drive them." .

Some see The Revenge of Ron Paul's Army.

Others see the influence of Fox News and talk radio with their lies and fantasies about health-care reform swirled together with lies and fantasies about the chief executive himself. If you didn't click on the link to Rachel's interview with Frank Schaeffer, go back to the dailyhowler article and check it out. He talks about subcultures of our society.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lower fat, lower sugar crockpot granola or I wonder why we don't get sick from eating old food.

My insanity kicked in again this week, so I made granola (still using the crockpot) using less oil & sugar. Here it is cooling.

The recipe was the very first recipe in Google's list. I stopped there because I had all the ingredients and because I probably tend to eat a bigger bowl of granola when I eat granola than some other people might and every time I dish it out I think, "Well, there's about 1000 calories."

While the granola was cooking, I decided to make something REALLY healthy for lunch. REALLY healthy means low-fat AND incorporating fruits/vegetables. As I said, my insanity kicked in again this week. I ended up cooking quinoa, adding cottage cheese, frozen peas (defrosted slightly via rinsing), chopped onion, orange bell pepper, watermelon, black grapes and several dashes of white pepper. I couldn't remember the ratio for water to quinoa, so did another google and learned here, "Quinoa should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer if storage beyond a month is desired. " Say WHAT? The quinoa we ate today was purchased in May of LAST year, frozen for several weeks just to kill any insect eggs that might have been in it, and then put into what looks like a repurposed glass salsa jar in the pantry. The sunflower seeds and flax seeds I used for the granola today are even older than the quinoa, and they may not even have been frozen before going into the pantry. My dried fruit doesn't get used often enough to be eaten anywhere remotely within the expiration dates (if they even have any - I usually pick them out of bulk bins).

No. 1 shared a watermelon with us on August 22 and we're still eating off of it long after she said that her portion went bad. Looks fine TO ME, and tastes delicious:

Sometimes I'm too ignorant to know when food is designated "bad". No. 2 cut the grey/brown parts out of avocados when she was here, but I just ate those parts along with the green parts and never noticed any taste difference between green and grey. Sometimes I simply don't care to know when food is designated "bad" like when the dried blueberries MIGHT be more black than blue. Sometimes, I think it's wasteful to throw away food stuffs that look and smell fine. Other times I think either there's not a lot of credence to these food storage guidelines or that my storage conditions are superior to those used to develop the guidelines. The watermelon has been at the rear of the top refrigerator shelf (where temps are inbetween those of a refrigerator and freezer), for instance, and the indoor temperature of our house never fluctuates much beyond 75-85 degrees with low humidity. No. 1 and her husband closely follow guidelines with NO exceptions, so I must be careful to serve them only the freshest food if they eat here. Do you follow guidelines or tend to use your eyes and nose to make your own decisions?

Monday, September 07, 2009

What are your opinions on public nursing (breastfeeding)?

I ran into a Facebook comment a week or so ago wherein a family member mentioned that she'd seen a woman at the mall walking around with a 2-year-old "hanging off her chest". She went on to say that she made a point of passing the woman again just to be sure that she'd seen what she thought she saw.

Seems that she and her friends believe that there's a point where women should stop nursing for no other reason than that she doesn't want to see it in public OR she and her friends felt that if you must breastfeed after the child is walking and asking for milk you do it in the privacy of your home.

I totally disagreed, and expressed my support for breastfeeding until mom and baby decide to stop. They said they supported breastfeeding, as well, but just not as long as some moms and babies did it.

I heard words like "discrete" thrown around. My experience with nursing my three was that people who approved of breastfeeding always thought I was discrete and those who didn't said things like, "She just whipped it out." Heh. I ALWAYS thought I was discrete, so it's pretty obvious that discrete has different meanings for different people.

Lots of pregnancy/childbirth talk in the blogosphere lately. My oldest daughter's expecting and a few bloggers are, as well. I'm really trying not to influence my daughter in the childbirth/breastfeeding departments BOTH because I understand that my opinions may not be currently mainstream AND because I think she should decide what she wants to do without my influence. I'll support her in whatever she decides to do, even if I have to grit my teeth while doing it.

What are your thoughts on childbirth/breastfeeding?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Experiment Updates: 1)Freezing Squash, 2) Dandruff, 3) Lip Fungus, 4) Sweet Potato - Experiments Update.

It's been over a month since the Summer Squash Freezing Experiment, so I pulled a random paper bag out of the garage freezer and set it on the counter to defrost for the evening's supper. It turned out to be the 4-bag experiment, and maybe you can see that only the very inside 2 bags got any moisture AT ALL, but certainly not as much as I might have thought. Photo was taken after squash defrosted in bags on counter.

So, only the two inside bags absorbed miniscule amounts of water from even the defrosting squash. Unfortunately, I lost track of which bags were the inside bags [These things happen to people who don't live alone] for this batch, so recycled all four (Em's preference all along). Can't say how "juicy" frozen yellow squash is expected to be, as I've never bought frozen squash, but my meal plan for this first batch was to add with fresh veggies (shown here), chop, and dump in a stove-top chicken dish with a can of Rotel. The dish turned out tasty, but the squash was just a vegetable among many, so no taste test was possible.

The Dandruff Experiment started mid July, so it's probably been about six or seven weeks, but I don't have dandruff anymore.

I probably could have gotten rid of the dandruff earlier had I followed the instructions and washed my hair twice/week after doing the hair treatment, but after several weeks of scalp treatment, I forgot about washing my hair because my scalp didn't itch anymore, or if it slightly itched, I found that simply massaging my scalp with
Photobucket eliminated the itch. My hair isn't oily, so washing maybe twice/month always made more sense than twice/week.

Em got the Studio 35 scalp stimulator shampoo brush at Walgreens for $2.00. Made a lot more sense for someone with long hair (like me) to use a massaging brush on my head during times I watched TV than it did to use a hairbrush leaning over at the waist (which tangled my long hair).

I did scalp treatments (when I did them) early in the morning because I'd gotten addicted to old reruns of Poltergeist, followed by reruns of Millenium. I'd massage my scalp with the Studio 35 brush while I watched and then squirt a solution of 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% Apple Cider Vinegar. When I started, I even sprinkled Borax on my scalp before the massage with the Studio 35 brush. That was pretty messy (requiring vacuuming afterward no matter how careful I was to brush only over the recycling bin), so I discontinued that. I also went through a period early on when I thought that the brushing only pulled the scabs off my scalp just to have them grow back again. It took 40 years for me to get rid of my dandruff and I'm under no illusion that it won't come back again. I achieved my goal, though, of discontinuing use of dandruff shampoos, and I know now how to keep my scalp healthy and what to do if it does. Whoopee! Yay! Free at last from the grip of big business shampoos. Looks like dandruff just might be a fungus, afterall, which leads me to discuss what happened to my lips last week (also cured now).

There are a number of ways to "cure" a lip fungus, just like there are a number of ways to "cure" fungi anywhere on the body. None of them are pretty. No telling where my lips caught the fungus. I do things in the garden and without even thinking use my hands (in dirty gardening gloves that have been EVERYWHERE) to flick hair out of my eyes (or off my lips). Could have been the green beans, but might have been lots of places outside the garden, as well. We don't consider the consequences of these robotic actions until we find ourselves with some weird dermal condition that doesn't want to go away on its own. Probably the first thing to remember with any fungus is that fungi thrive in moist environments. As women, we like to keep our lips moist, simply because it feels (and looks) better, so we might exacerbate the problem before we cure it.

As usual, I took a shotgun approach to my lips. I used apple cider vinegar, coconut oil and even powdered ammonium alum with a petroleum jelly base as astringent styptics. By the time No. 1 stopped by on her way somewhere, my lips were scabbed and cracked. Later the same day, however, I rubbed my lips with coconut oil and the scabs fell away to reveal normal lips. Took a few days to get there, but happy to report that the fungus lips are as gone as the dandruff.

We still have the one already cured sweet potato on the kitchen counter waiting for me to get around to making a sweet potato pie, but I suggested one day to Em this past week that we ought to feel around and see what the other sweet potato mounds are offering because they need to cure for 7-10 days after sitting on the patio table for a day & night. I didn't really want to expose my already exposed lips to the adventure, so Em took a turn.

He didn't feel like he knew what to do, so I got in there and pulled up a few sweet potatoes that probably shouldn't even be labeled as such.

Four sweet potato beds and they seemed to all want to put their effort into one big potato. Once I plucked that huge sucker out that looked like elephant man's head, the sweet potato plant that delivered it pretty much laid back and died. Not lookin' quite as bad a few days later, but on the day it was pretty sad.