I recently realised how much I like to cook and I decided to make an online collection of recipes I've collected and tried. These are all pretty easy, and I have made many of them while watching a toddler, or at least during nap time.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Peppermint Breeze Shampoo (name courtesy of Crystal)

what you need:

  • empty shampoo bottle (16 oz is great, I recommend one with a cap that has a small hole)
  • Peppermint Castille Soap (hint: Trader Joe's, natural stores, Amazon.com)
  • 100% Aloe Vera Gel [optional]
  • Lemon Juice (very important)
  • Jojoba Oil (again, TJ's or natural food stores)
  • distilled water
  • eucalyptus oil [optional]
Put 4 oz each of Castille soap and water in the bottle, add 2 oz lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon of Jojoba , 1 TBSP of Eucalyptus oil, and 2 TBSP of Aloe Vera

This is very thin, so instead of pouring in your hand, squirt it directly on your wet scalp, give yourself a good massaging, let sit for a couple of mins, and rinse. This can also be used as a body/face soap, but do not get it near eyes!!  I have noticed with my most recent batch (possibly due to the addition of Eucalyptus oil), it is a LOT thicker. Sometimes I have to add a TBSP of water and shake it up.

I highly recommend following up with an apple cider vinegar rinse. Get a spray bottle or one that has a cap like this. Just squirt on to your hair. Yes, it will stink in the shower, but you will get used to it after a few uses. Once you rinse it out, you just smell peppermint. The acid smooths down the shaft of your hair, preventing knots and adding shine.

Conditioner is hard to make homemade and shelf stable. I recommend Trader Joe's spa conditioner. It is cheap, and has no sulfates. After 2 shampoos/conditions with this combo, almost all of my flaky dry skin is gone, and my hair looks and feels great! Amazing!!

**also recommend Organix Tea Tree Mint Conditioner, though it costs more than TJ's Conditioner

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Laundry Detergent

Ok, so I know this is not edible, but it IS still a recipe. . .

Save up those detergent bottles, and when you run out, try making your own detergent. Here is what I did:

grate (finely) 1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap ($0.97 at Wal-Mart). Other lightly scented soap can also be used (body or laundry--another laundry soap I saw is Zote)

1.5 c Sodium Carbonate (pH plus or Washing Soda. Cannot find Washing Soda, so I used pH plus from the pool chemical section. It is 98% Sodium Carbonate and 2% Water. $5.97 at Wal-Mart)

1.5 c Borax. ( I believe it was $3.97 at Wal-Mart)

boil 3 c water in a large saucepan. add grated soap, whisk well. add sodium carbonate. mix; add borax, mix again. pour into a bucket and add about a gallon of water (more if you want it thinner, less if you want it concentrated. I simply did this amount because it was the combined capacity of my bottles). If you add about a gallon, use one ounce per load. It must be shaken before each use, as it will separate almost immediately.

I figured out that this costs about $4 for 120 loads. a lot less than you pay for Tide

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cutting Onions

simple way to prevent burning eyes--chew a piece of gum. Love this tip, why didn't I know about it sooner??

Monday, April 19, 2010

Roasted Chicken, Squash, and Potatoes

a.k.a, Vitamin A and Protein.

So, I wanted some of my favourite veggies--sweet potatoes and butternut squash.

Had some chicken breast tenderloins in the freezer, and the urge to cook.

In a 9x13ish dish (woot-Pyrex, or your LeCreuset), place:

a drizzle of olive oil
a few chicken tenderloins (I did under a pound cuz that's what I had, and I like more veggies)
1 medium cubed/peeled butternut squash
1 huge or 2 small cubed yams/sweet potatoes
1 purple onion, cut up into 1 inch-ish pieces (mincing isn't as cool!)
a handful of pine nuts
a few tablespoons of chopped garlic
some fresh chopped herbs (I've used sage, thyme, rosemary, cardamom and cumin in varying combinations)
fresh ground pepper
a dash of sea salt
more olive oil

here's what it looked like, just before going in the oven. sorry, low-Q cell pic.
bake at 400 F for about an hour and 15 minutes. I covered it in foil for the last 30 mins the 3rd time I made it, which helped keep it moist.

This is SO delicious, and easy. . .and. . .it was my first time cooking butternut squash! hooray!

I think maybe even a 2nd onion would be good for some more colour!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Southwestern "Eggrolls"

Tonight I was thinking about how to get rid of some egg roll wrappers left over from when I made cream cheese wontons.
Soooooooo, I decided to do a southwest veggie egg roll.

In the food processor, I 'processed':

About 4oz frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
the leaves of 10-15 stems of cilantro
1 jalepen, ribs removed, most seeds left (remove seeds if you don't like some heat)
About half an onion
About a third of a zucchini
1/4 cup green onion
2 cloves garlic

Place in a large bowl.

Process one can of diced tomatoes, drained. Don't go overboard, you don't want a puree, just smaller pieces

add to other ingredients

1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
About a tsp cumin
About 1/2 tsp chipotle
Red pepper flakes to taste
Black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together.
(also get some shredded cheese if desired)

Lay a wrapper out in a diamond shape, and put some filling in it, about 2/3 of the way down, leaving spaces on the side. It's great with a little shredded mexican cheese blend. Start to roll it up, tuck in left/right corners (think an envelope), then wet the top inch or so of the wrapper (a bowl of water to dip fingers in works great), and seal it up. Yeah, terrible instructions, the package should have a diagram, so you can look at that.

(this should give you a good idea of how much to put in)

Fry them in oil over medium heat until desired crispness.

Place on a paper towel-lined plate, tilting upward to aid oil drainage. Flip em over so the other side can drain too.

They're GREAT dipped in greek yogurt. I added some more cumin to my yogurt. . .it's one of my fave spices!

Friday, February 12, 2010


So, I found this really cool idea while getting lost on cyber trails.
It's pretty simple, and reminds me of those little pizza bites, but in the shape of a pretzel.
Here's what you need:1 can refrigerated pizza dough (like biscuits, but for pizza)1 jar pizza sauce
some pepperoni, cut into stripssome shredded cheese. I used a 'mexican' shredded cheese blend; my dairy-sensitive partner in crime used Trader Joe's yogurt cheese chopped into small bits.
1 egg white
italian seasonings

roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface; cut into 4 strips lengthwise. actually, we think 3 might be better, our pretzels kinda fell apart.

spoon some pizza sauce onto the dough; add cheese and pepperoni. Make sure to leave space to roll the dough up. we had some trouble with the liquid from the pizza sauce--it likes to leak out.

roll 'em up! try and get it well sealed.

place each roll in the shape of an upside down U, grab the ends, twist once, and fold them over so they look like pretzels. This article is helpful.
whip up that egg white really well with some seasonings. I used oregano, basil, pepper, powdered onion, garlic powder, and black pepper. brush over the pretzels.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Orange Chicken



2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite-size cubes)
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 eggs (beaten)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Oil (for frying)

Orange Sauce-

1 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons orange juice
¼ cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon orange zest (grated)
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon ginger root (minced)
½ teaspoon garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons green onion (chopped)
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1: Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in egg mixture and shake in flour mixture to coat. Deep fry chicken in batches at 375 degrees in a deep fryer (or use a wok) until completely cooked.

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine 1 ½ cups water, lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic, and onion. Bring to a boil. Add more orange zest and juice if you like. I recommend making the sauce a little too strong and sweet if you will be eating this with rice.

Step 3: Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until it thickens. Pour sauce over breaded chicken, and if desired add red pepper flakes and garnish with green onions.

from: http://blogchef.net/orange-chicken-recipe/

it helps to get a large bowl or a pan (like a cookie sheet with sides, whatever it's called), line it with 2 layers of paper towels, and place your chicken on it. A bowl will help retain heat, the paper towels absorb oil.

this does not make very good leftovers--so only make what you plan to eat. the coating on the chicken gets a little soggy with moisture. the sauce, however, keeps well. it starts to look gelatinous after being in the fridge, but I just dump it in a saucepan and reheat.

egg beaters work just as well as whole eggs. gluten free flour and tamari soy sauce also work great if you have celiac/follow a gluten free diet--tastes the same. I believe I used Red Mill flour (all-purpose)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

The Crust
(You'll need an electric mixer or food processor with a dough hook for this--thank God for Kitchen-Aid's)

2 packages dry yeast ("Quick Rise")
2 cups tepid water (90 degrees F)
1/2 cup salad oil
4 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup cornmeal
5 1/2 cups flour

In the mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the salad oil, the olive oil, the cornmeal and 3 cups of the flour. Beat or process for 10 minutes. Add the dough hook and mix in the rest of the flour. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes. Put the dough onto a plastic countertop or a cutting board and cover it with a very large metal bowl. Allow dough to rise until double in bulk. Punch down and allow to rise again. Punch down again.

Oil two large round deep dish pans or cake pans. Divide dough between the pans. Put a little olive oil on your fingers and press and push the dough to the edge and up the sides of each pan. The dough should be 1/8 inch throughout.

The Filling

3/4 to 1 lb. sliced mozzarella cheese
1 28-oz. can of plum tomatoes, coarsely crushed
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (according to taste)
grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbs. olive oil

Layer the mozzarella cheese all over the bottom of the pies. Next add the tomatoes, basil, oregano and garlic. Add salt to taste, and then, if you wish, add any or all of the following

Optional Additions to The Filling
crumbled sweet or hot Italian sausage
thin sliced Pepperoni
diced yellow onions
sliced mushrooms
slices of cored green pepper
sliced ripe black olives

Liberally sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and drizzle the olive oil on top.

Bake the pizzas in a pre-heated 475 degree F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden and gooey and the crust is a light golden brown.


lightly sautéed red onions
green bell pepper
artichoke hearts (in brine, not the marinated ones)
fresh spinach

I don't layer it according to directions--i put a the tomatoes down, then spinach,cheese, then other toppings.

I think I make five or six 9-inch pizzas. the disposable foil cake pans work great--just make sure they're cake pans, not pie pans!