Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Now that the season of fresh veggies and fruits is almost upon us, I just couldn't help but try to make a healthy snack made from a vegetable. Before we get started, let's get one thing straight:  sweet potatoes are better than regular potatoes. So, now that we've got that out of the way, let me show you my new favorite snack and the recipe that goes with it.

This is a healthy alternative to the oh so popular potato chip.  They're sweet (duh) and salty, and they take away the guilt in the mid afternoon "need" for snack food.

Here ya go, folks!

1-2 Sweet potatoes (depending on how much you want)
Sea salt
1-2 Tbls. Olive oil (Depends on amount of slices.

-Preheat oven to 375.
-Slice up your potato; you can use a knife, or pampered chef slicer. (peeling potato is optional)
-Put slices in a bowl and pour in olive oil.
-Mix, turn, rotate, etc. the olive oil onto all the slices.
-Line up on cookie sheet, sprinkle them all with salt.
-Bake at 375 until crispy or to your satisfaction.
***Also remember that this recipe can work with regular potatoes as well, I just can't resist a good sweet potato!

Wasn't that simple?

Have a great, healthy snack day,

Friday, May 17, 2013

DIY Herbal Tea: Mint and Sage

As you saw in My Herb Garden, I have a mint and sage plant that I have been using to their fullest.  Not only do these lovely plants have amazing health qualities, they also taste great as teas.  Today, I have a mint tea and sage tea recipe for you guys!

Mint Tea:
-2-3 mint leaves
-1 1/2 c. water
-1 tsp. (or more) honey
-1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

-Boil water on stove top until bubbles appear to be rolling.
-Clean mint leaves.
-Take water off stove and place the washed off mint leaves in the water, steep for 5 minutes.
-Pour in teacup or mug, add honey and sugar, stir.

Drink mint especially when you have a headache...or when you want to feel all cozy inside.

Sage Tea:
-1-2 sage leaves
-1 - 1 1/2 c. water
-1 tsp. honey
-1/2 tsp sugar (or more, sage is more bitter than mint)

-Boil water on stove top, and like the mint recipe, look for the bubbles to roll.
-Make sure and clean the leaves.
-Take water off stove and put leaves in water, steep for 5-6 minutes.
-Pour in mug or teacup, mix in honey and sugar,

Drink sage tea when you are on "that time of the month" and are suffering from cramps.

 Also, I got new glasses.
Have a lovely tea filled afternoon,

My Herb Garden

One of the many, many reasons I love being around The Farmer and his family is that since our humble, dating beginnings, I have grown an interest and love for gardening.  I honestly never gave the hobby much consideration until a year into our relationship. When I stopped thinking about clothes and other trinkets, I started focusing my money on things that were far bigger, and in my opinion, far more important.  I could spend $50 on a name brand purse, or, I could spend the same amount on a garden, or fabric for a quilt, and have that money go further, and mean more in the end.  Let's face it, clothes and bags will only be "in" for a short time; my herb garden, and even my quilts for that matter, will always hold a special meaning in my life.  Now, don't assume that this change came from my own doing, this heart change came from God.  My desire to be trendy and in style began to change as God began to mold my heart towards the creation he wanted me to be.  I honestly believe that these changes that God carved into my life were for the purpose of marrying The Farmer.  Our marriage would be a lot harder to obtain if I had continued with the dangerous mentality I had towards money and what my money was going toward.

Without further ado, here is my herb garden!

Keep in mind, I am a beginner at this whole "herb thing", but as far as I can tell, they take minimal care.  I also chose to keep them in pots because I will be moving out in two months, and my parents don't want a garden dug up in their yard, so pots seemed to be the easiest.  Pots also help keep them clear of weeds and easy to control.  Remember to water them a least once every two days; if it's hot outside, like crazy, ridiculous hot, you need to keep a closer eye on them and consider watering once to twice a day. When choosing pots, choose pots that have draining holes on the bottom. I bought a strawberry plant, a blackberry plant, a sage plant, a lavender plant, a basil plant, and a mint plant all for $50.


    Isn't it beautiful?

This first plant is a blackberry plant.  I have yet to do extensive research on its health benefits but they're mostly obvious.  Blackberries are full of antioxidants and detoxifying nutrients and some web pages have said even their leaves have health benefits. Blackberries should be in partial sunlight all day.
This is a strawberry plant, i.e. my favorite.  Again, its health benefits are obvious:  antioxidants, etc. I didn't get this plant for its benefits, I bought this for the tasty fruit; I plan on making jam from these babies!  Strawberries should be in direct sunlight all day.

 This is a general mint plant.  There are multiple types of mint, but I kept it simple and did plain ol' mint.  Mint has nutrients that help treat body aches and headaches when made into tea or eaten whole. Mint should be in partial sunlight all day.

This lovely, versatile plant is basil.  I haven't found any specific health benefits for this plant, but many websites have said the use of this plant in cooking adds flavor and health to your meals.  I can vouch that this adds flavor to any plate; I've used it in crock pot recipes, pizza, and even sandwiches. Basil should be in direct sunlight all day.

Lavender has got to be my favorite herb in terms of what it's used for in the health field.  The first use I've found for lavender is the aromatherapy use of its scent.  By rubbing the leaves and blooms between your fingers, you can rub the scent on your temples and under your nose which will relieve stress and create relaxation.  When the plant blooms, you can use the blooms to create tea that is just as effective as chamomile for promoting sleep and soothing nerves.  Because its scent is so fresh and soothing, it's oils can also be used as a replacement for processed perfumes.  This use is my favorite:  you can use the blooms in a hot bath to create relaxing scents and a peaceful bath! Cool, right? When the blooms appear, you can tie up a bundle and do two things with it:  1. place the bundle in your pillow case, lavender helps you sleep better, 2. place it in a cloth sack and put it through the dryer, it will make your clothes smell amazingly fresh.  Lavender also produces oil that can be used in many different ways.  My plant, unfortunately, has yet to bloom.  When that day comes, I plan to try out all of these things! Lavender should be in direct sunlight all day.

If you're a woman, get a sage plant.  It has natural nutrients that help relieve cramps and back aches and is also uses to induce labor.  If you're pregnant, don't eat or make tea from sage! If you're dealing with the typical womanly problems of "that time of the month" make some tea (Click here for recipe) and allow yourself to be winged off of the modern medicines to be fully dependent on this. Sage should be in direct sun light all day.

Since taking these pictures, my plants have done some growing.  I've used the mint and sage leaves to make tea (Recipe posted here); I've also used basil in my cooking; I've picked four strawberries and I am planning the ways I will use lavender when it finally blooms.  I love herbs, they are so interesting to me.  I hope to master the science and practice behind them in the next few years.
"Herb" a good day,
(See what I did there?)


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Honey Cornbread

I love cooking for The Farmer.  It's practice is rewarding to me; it is, on some days, the highlight of my day.  This past week our busyness grew to an all time high, and, only being able to fit in one sit down meal all week, we chose a taco night themed array of food.

Having said that, you can probably guess what this post is.  This recipe for Honey Cornbread is my absolute favorite kind of cornbread.  It's moist, and sweet, as opposed to the typical cornbread recipes that crumble.  I will be practicing this recipe for years to come, I just know it!

That's all I have for a prelude, so let's gets started!

1 c. buttermilk
2/3 c. honey
2 large eggs
4 tbls. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 c. cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda

1.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease a 8x8 inch baking pan.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, honey, eggs, and butter until honey is fully mixed in.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients

4.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix them together.  Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
I hope you enjoy this amazing recipe as much and The Farmer and I did.  It's not your grandma's southern cornbread recipe, but it sure is just as tasty!

Happy cooking,