Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labor Day weekend here already.......

For those of us living along the Gulf Coast, we have a hurricane to worry about. I’ll bet there won’t be much Labor Day celebrating going on down here. TF and I are as prepared as we will be, let’s just hope Gustav decides to go elsewhere.

Aren’t we blessed with a beautiful earth.

Yesterday I made the most wonderful muffins, they were moist, wholesome, and yummy… Here’s the recipe:

Whole-Wheat Banana-Nut Muffins:
Recipe from the Houston Chronicle,Flavor section 8-28-08

If you want to reduce the calories, sweeten the muffins with ½ cup of agave syrup instead of brown and granulated sugar.
¼ cup ground flax seed
1 ½ cups minus 1 TBL. - Whole wheat flour
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional) I used the mini chocolate chips.
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup applesauce
4 TBS. melted butter
3 bananas, mashed (the browner the banana, the sweeter the fruit.)
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
Sliced banana or raw sugar for garnish (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the center of the oven. Use 16 muffin-tin liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2) Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, then stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients.
3) With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, carefully fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. The batter should be thick and chunky; over mixing will produce a dense, rubbery muffin. (I made sure that the batter was mixed with no flour showing and my muffins came out good.)
4) Spoon into prepared muffin tins and, if desired, place one slice of banana on top of each or sprinkle with a scant amount of raw sugar. (I didn’t put anything on top of mine.)
5) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
6) Place muffins on a wire rack and cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from pan.

This recipe makes 16 muffins (an entire week of breakfast). If you want something that is easy to hand the kids, as they run out the door to school, then this is it. I loved the light, banana taste that these muffins had and my grandkids loved them. They will freeze easily with a one minute hit in the microwave to warm up.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Assortment of reads......

Fabulous Freebies 2008 - This is an awesome website with lots of free things for you… Check it out.

Oil prices rise as Hurricane Gustav nears Gulf - Just when prices were starting to go down a little. Read this.

One thousand dogs saved from West Virginia puppy mill - This one made me cry. a href="">How can anyone be so mean.

Razor Care

Do not leave your razor in the shower. After each use, dry your razor (whether disposable or regular) with a towel. You can use a hair dryer if necessary. Store it where it will stay dry until the next time you need to use it. The razor blade will stay sharp much longer. Rose (Dollar Stretcher) Note from Lucy: Guess I better move my razor…

Borrow for School? - Not something I would do, but here are suggestions from several readers on the pros and cons.

Going Green? - This is a wonderful website if you are trying to be “green” or at least trying to do something green.

Sellers Drastically Slashing Car Costs – Economic woes are forcing dramatic discounts in car costs. If you are in the market for a new car, this is for you.

Tough Housing Market Complicates Divorce - In an ironic twist, couples who are splitting up are fighting over who gets burdened with the house. This is interesting. Story Here

Note from Lucy: I'm keeping an eye open for Hurricane Gustav, which is heading for the Gulf of Mexico. My fingers are crossed that it won't head in our direction. JJ and Bonnie are "back to school". JJ is very happy with his new school and his nice teacher. Bonnie is busy with her Physics, Differiental Equations and a fairly easy load this semester. She is taking Music Appreciation and found out that her teacher was in Region band with her 12 or 13 years ago. He is trying to talk her into taking band which is only a one hour class, two times a week. She is mulling it over in her head and trying to decide if she wants to do that again. Personally, I hope she does..

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Home Dried Potatoes

Recipe By : Real Food for Real People

Potatoes -- manageable amount
Metal Blanching Basket
Mixing Bowl
Paper Towels
Baking Sheets -- OR
Food Dehydrator and trays
Non-stick Cooking Spray

Peel desired amount of potatoes and slice into rounds 1/8 inch thick. (Peeling is optional- there are important vitamins and minerals stored in the potato skins, but they look nicer peeled, so choose according to your personal preference.) This can be done quickly with a food processor or slicer. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Put potato slices into a vegetable basket and plunge the basket into the boiling water and wait for the water to return to a boil. Once the water is boiling, start counting off 8 minutes of blanching time. While potatoes are blanching, set up a large mixing bowl in your sink and fill it with ice water. When the potatoes have blanched for 8 minutes, plunge the basketful of potatoes immediately into the ice water and let them sit there for 15 minutes. Spread the blanched potato slices in a single layer between paper towels and blot them dry.

If you are not using a dehydrator, spray cookie sheets with vegetable oil spray (do not use regular cooking oil); if you are using rimmed baking pans,spray and use only the upside down bottoms of these pans to prevent scorching near the pan's raised rim; if you are using Teflon cookie sheets, there is no need for spray. Spread potato slices on the prepared sheets or pans as close together as possible but in a single layer. Place cookie sheets on oven racks and turn the oven on to its very lowest temperature. (between low and off) Keep the oven door ajar so that the air can circulate freely and let moisture escape. Make sure that the temperature never gets so hot that your hand feels uncomfortable when held in the oven. This is necessary for thorough drying.

If you are using a dehydrator, place potato slices on racks which have been prepared with vegetable oil spray, placing potatoes close together, but not touching, so air is allowed to circulate between them. Turning is not necessary on vented racks. Dry according to manufacturer's instructions, or until potatoes are brittle, somewhat translucent and are not at all pliable. If you have solid racks, follow the same directions as for turning potatoes dried in an oven:

In an oven: After 1 hour, turn all the slices over; then turn the slices over every 30 minutes. Drying time will depend largely on your own oven, but you should begin checking for doneness at 3 hours. The potatoes are done when they become brittle, somewhat translucent, and are not at all pliable. Their color should be pale white with a tinge of yellow; do not let them become brown or even dark amber in color. Some potato slices will dry faster than others, so check every 15 - 30 minutes for slices which are done.

Let the dried potatoes cool thoroughly, then store for up to a year in glass or plastic jars OR plastic bags at room temperature in a cool, dry place.

Kaylin White/Real Food for Real People"

NOTES : Recipes to use with dried potatoes can be found on the Real Food
website at:

Note from Lucy: Drying food is a way of Preserving that has been around for ages. When food is plentiful, it is a way to "put up" food for future use. Potatoes can be used in a multitude of ways. I hope some of you give it a try.

Have a great week everyone! It seems that I need to remember this quote:
"It is indeed remarkable that the nature of our dealings with our fellowmen will determine, in large measure, our status in the kingdom of heaven....We may attend to rites and rituals and yet overlook the weightier matters such as brotherly kindness, honesty, mercy, virtue, and integrity. Let us never forget that if we omit them from our lives we may be found unworthy to come into His presence."

--Mark E. Petersen, "Do Unto Others", Ensign, May 1977, 73
John 13:34–35

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cookies, Tacos, Deep breathing & Herbs....

Ruby's Coconut No-Bake Cookies
Courtesy of our free Healthy Cookies Recipes Newsletter
Chet, my daughter-in-law made these for her children when they were small. Good heath cookies.
1 cup peanut butter, either smooth or chunky
1/2 cup honey
1 cup seedless raisins
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix peanut butter with honey, raisins and vanilla. Spread coconut on waxed paper or a flat pan. Drop spoonful of peanut mixture on coconut and roll to coat, ompletely. Chill. Makes about 3 dozen. Enjoy!

A Simple Qigong Exercise
I got this from ChetsDay website:

Here are Mark's thoughts and the "how to do it" details for an easy and highly effective Qigong exercise that you should use to drain tension and thus improve your's a terrific one to try to get a sense of what this Oriental approach to natural health is all about.

Both use very deep breathing in their practice. The yoga practice even has a name for it - pranayama.

In the Qigong practice, you stand up,relaxed, and take a deep breath in while raising your arms over your head, then lowering your hands slowly while you breath out and imagine that the "bad" Qi is draining out of your body through your feet into the earth while the fresh Qi is entering through the top of your head. I find many of the Qigong practices "subtle"(that means I don't feel anything).

But this one is very relaxing, and I can feel the tension drain out of me, and I feel re-energized. How's that for a simple Qigong exercise? And it didn't cost you a dime. Try it. You'll like it.

Herbs for Your Medicine Cabinet

If you're ready to fill the natural remedy side of your medicine cabinet, this article provides an excellent list of herbs to stock.

Garbanzo Tacos
Courtesy of our free Healthy Vegetarian Recipes newsletter.
2 can garbanzo beans
1 packet healthy taco seasoning from health food store
Lard-free tortillas or hard taco shells
Any other items you like on your taco
Dump both cans of beans into a skillet (but use the liquid from only one can). Dump in the taco seasoning. Stir and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Add beans and other ingredients to your tacos, burritos, and/or taco salads. Especially good recipe for those who aren't crazy about the flavor of garbanzo beans. The seasoning takes over. Serves 6.
Note from Lucy: If you don’t want to buy taco seasoning form from the health food store, just buy regular taco seasoning. Also you can use regular tortillas and taco shells if you want to. I guess it depends on how easy you want to make this dish.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's that time of year again.......

The shopping specials are out there everywhere. With school about to start up again, clothing and school/office supplies are on sale. We have always purchased TF’s blue jeans/work jeans in August. I buy them on sale and put them on a shelf in his closet. When he needs a new pair of jeans, all he has to do is look up. We own our own business and I buy most of our office supplies as they go on sale at Office Depot, Staples, Walgreen’s and at other stores. Pencils, pens, tape, Duo pocket folders with brads, staples, paper and whatever else I need are at my beacon call. I will stock up now and have most everything I need throughout the year. AND the best part, I get it all on sale. With gas prices up and groceries costing more, a penny earned is a penny spent on something else you need.

Now from the Dollar Stretcher website:

Special Ingredients

A great way to save money on some of those more expensive treats like shiitake mushrooms, pine nuts, sesame seeds, sesame oil, laver (seaweed) is to visit a Korean grocery store. These foods are very expensive in an average American supermarket if you can even find them. They are much cheaper and frequently sold in larger amounts and with better quality in Korean grocery stores. These days most items are labeled in Korean and English, so finding exactly what you want should not be a problem. The majority of customers will be Korean in this store though, so be prepared for an adventure into another culture right here in the U.S. In fact, take the kids for an informal and informative free afternoon outing. Dana H. in Las Vegas, NV
Note from Lucy: I went to the Hong Kong food market in our neighborhood last week, trying to find some more butane fuel for my cook stove. They have the best price in town at $ 5.00 for a package of 4. They were out of stock but while I was there I found the exotic vegetables at a much cheaper price. It is well worth the trip if you have a market close enough to you.

Nearby Attractions

We just came back from a wonderful day of fun! There is a hotel within two hours of our home with a waterpark. I thought the cost would be too much, but I called ahead and found out that the public can use the park from 9am until 9pm for only $6 a person. We are a family of six and we took our niece and nephew along. I shopped the day before and took fruit, veggies, crackers and water in the car. When we were hungry, we went outside, sat under a tree and had a little picnic. Plus, the waterpark was located inside, so we didn't have the expense (or mess) of sunscreen!
It would have cost $175 to stay overnight! We spent $42 for our tickets (we have a one year old who was free). It pays to ask questions! Nichi P. in Rockwell, IA
Note from Lucy: This sounds like a great way to save money for a good time with the kids.

Recycled Prescription Bottles

Use empty prescription bottles that are a little taller than normal to store cotton swabs. This is a great waterproof way to make a compact travel case to throw in a suitcase, beach bag, or swim bag. The bottles are also the perfect size to store quarters, which is great for the Laundromat. Give a filled one to a college student heading off to school this
fall! Karen Note from Lucy: This sounds awesome, I can’t wait to give it a try. I like both ideas.

Creating an emergency fund
Strategies for building your cash reserves for unexpected events. If we had not had an emergency fund, we would have been in a peck of trouble when TF had his gall bladder take out. Check it out here.

Old plastic pumps up credit score
By Don Taylor, Ph.D., CFA, CFP •
If I have credit cards that I don't use, should I keep them or should I close the accounts and destroy the cards? Here's your answer.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Up and running.....

I don’t have much time to talk right now, with a tropical storm out in the Gulf. It’s projected path is right into Galveston with Houston only 60 miles away…..I am hoping that "Edurado" will decide to take different path and leave us along.

My ham radio is up now, just in time for hurricane season. We had a training net last night and we will check in again tonight to see what is needed before and after the storm hits. Check out my equiptment……

Have a great week everyone. Keep your fingers crossed and wish us luck….