Thursday, April 30, 2009

Making Cheese - Quark

Today I started my first attempt at making cheese at home. This recipe was too easy to pass by. I got this from: Seriously, if I can do this, anyone can. Basically, you take plain yogurt(make sure it doesn't have gelatin), put it in a strainer lined with cheesecloth, and put another container on the bottom to catch the whey. This will take 1-2 days and will make a soft cheese. I put a plate with jar of jam on top to gently press the whey out. Can you see there is already some there?

Supposedly, that's all there is to it. Just put the yogurt in the container and wait 2 days. Then you can flavor it sweet(with honey or jam) or savory (with chili pepper, garlic, onion, herb, etc.) I can't wait to see how it turns out. Eventually, I want to make the yogurt at home too, but I have to take things one step at a time. Now I will have whey to soak grains, nuts, or beans. I will keep you posted on how it turns out.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dandelions and Other Garden Fun

I love Papi's hat! Forming a dandelion bouquet.
So precious!

Garden prep is done! I have planted: brocoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chard, cilantro, carrots, radishes, onions, bok choy, spinach, snap peas, and shelling peas.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A little taste of spring

Mami's little helper in the garden. This looks good...
Hey, you took my spoon!

I love spring!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'm rich!

Not really. At least not in dollars by US standards. I am referring to the many other things that make life rich and full of joy. I read this a while back (from Melinda on One Green Generation) and really liked how she said it:

"The simple living movement has done an amazing job of redefining personal wealth. No longer is wealth about money or material possessions, it is about living a nurturing, filling, and happy life. Many people add more layers to the simple lifestyle, so that it is also about becoming debt-free, living an environmentally-sustainable lifestyle, and working toward social justice.

Wealth comes from a richness of relationships, flavors of fresh homemade and homegrown food, being within and a part of nature, contributing more good to the world, and deliberately paying attention to and fulfilling the needs of your self and those around you. It’s a beautiful, selfless, and self-fulfilling life."

In a culture that's all about making and spending money, we need to redefine wealth and our concept of what's enough. Especially as I think of the imprint my life leaves on my daughter. I want her to value things that can give her life meaning and make a positive impact on the world.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Best Cookbook EVER!

A friend just recently recommended the cookbook How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, so I got it. I LOVE IT! This is my kind of cookbook. Everything you need to know to make stuff from scratch at home. So many good recipes that I don't know where to start! I love what he says in the intro under the heading "What's Convenient?":
"Contemporary marketing has convinced many people the "convenience" food is not only quicker than home cooking but better and cheaper. In fact, it's worse, and more expensive, and only marginally faster. (Fully half the recipes in this book can be prepared in less than 30 minutes.)"
Woo-hoo! I am all for the less than 30 minutes part. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever wondered "What's for dinner?"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My garden is tilled!

Trying to keep things moving along with the garden, but still so much to do and so little spring left. At least it's tilled now!

Friday, April 10, 2009

New Words

In the last few weeks, Chili has learned a few new words! I'm excited to hear my daughter's thoughts out loud. I can't wait until she can say even more! I'm also excited to see her developing two languages. She has learned: chee(chip), nana(banana), ni-nite, mama, ah-ah-ah(monkey), uh-oh, and gee-tah(which surprisingly enough is supposed to be zapato-shoe in Spanish, I don't know why because it doesn't sound like zapato to me :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

"No poo" Review

No shampoo, that is. At least not the store-bought kind. Why, you ask? I am trying to get rid of as many chemicals in our lives as possible in order to live more naturally and to improve our health. Your skin is your biggest organ, and it absorbs a lot of stuff into your body. I had heard of people trying to wash without shampoo, and in the end it was better for their hair, but there was this yucky, greasy transition period, and I was not brave enough to do that. Then I heard Melinda, on One Green Generation, say how great her experience had been using baking soda and vinegar. So I thought I would at least give it a shot. Really, I was not very optimistic, but I wanted to see if it really worked. Here's what I did:

First, I tried massaging my scalp with water. That was gross! Greasy and yucky. Then I tried rubbing a baking soda paste on my scalp, that was still pretty gross. Then I tried it also using a vinegar and water rinse. Bingo! Much better! No yucky, greasy transition period, just clean, soft hair. It took a few weeks to get the techinique down, but once I did, I have to say it is MUCH BETTER THAN SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER! I'm not going back. I have now been using this for almost 3 months. I used shampoo one day (with the vinegar rinse as a conditioner), just to see what would happen, and yuck! My hair felt striped of all it's natural oils(aka softness), and pretty much like straw.

Here are the details of what I do:
*Put baking soda on a small plastic lid and make sure I have my plastic bottle of vinegar rinse(supposed to be 1 part vinegar to 6 parts water, but I never measure, mine might have a little more vinegar than that, in a reused Agave Nectar bottle, the pointed lid is perfect)
*Wet my hair, add a little water to the baking soda to make a thick paste
*Flip my head upside down, and massage baking soda on scalp, this part is important to get it all massaged well onto all places, this part took me a few weeks to figure out how to reach all the places and massage well
*Apply vinegar rinse and wait a minute or so before rinsing that out with water
*Gradually try to wash it less and less frequently, I used to wash it everyday, and now if I wash it Sunday, I don't wash it again until Wednesday or Thursday

*Don't get baking soda or vinegar in your eyes, it will sting!
*Give this at least a couple weeks for you to get the hang of it, some people also will have a transition period, but I didn't

My hair was softer, shinier, easier to comb through, and yea, no chemicals! Hope you will give it a try, and I hope you like it as much as I do!

There are other ways to do this too. For more info, check out:

Friday, April 3, 2009


Are meatballs. When I was growing up, I thought there was only one way to eat meatballs - with spagetti. I thought you could only make them with breadcrumbs or oatmeal. Then I saw my mother-in-law prepare them with rice...what? You can do that? She boiled them in water to make a soup. Meatballs soup? Yep. Here's how I usually make meatballs...

Ground beef, onion, garlic, tomato, cumin, basil, and maybe hierba buena (mint)or cilantro, an egg, and some sort of grain. I have used rice or barley. I think I will try next time with millet or quinoa, just to see what happens. Mix all in bowl (you don't have to cook the grain first). Put in water and boil for 20 or more minutes. Takes very little prep time. I usually put zuchini in too halfway through. So easy, quick, no artificial anything, and delish! You have grain, protein, and veggie right there. We love it! Have you ever eaten meatballs like this?