Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tasty rye crackers that are oh soooo easy

The recipe for these crackers came about for a couple of different reasons. Number one - I am sort of allergic to wheat. By sort of, I mean that I am selectively allergic to wheat. If I eat too much I get red in the face, get a headache, and become sluggish. However, if a delicious slice of cake or delectable cookie is offered to me, my allergies suddenly subside (or at least are no longer important)! When I am eating at home, I am usually "good," though, so wheat is barely present in our house. Number two - we are what you might call poor at the moment. Spending money on extra things like crackers and chips just doesn't fit into the equation. But I was hungry! I needed snacks! That's where the rye crackers came in.

I usually bake with spelt flour, however spelt flour is generally expensive and therefore very precious to me. Rye is good for you, but much too dense to make a good bread without mixing it with lots of white flour. It is, however, much less expensive to buy a bag of rye flour than spelt most of the time, so it is a perfect candidate for things like crackers, which don't have to be light and fluffy, and which I wouldn't want to waste my precious spelt on. I made this recipe up, and if you ask me, I think it's pretty damn good. Let me know.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups rye flour
3 tbs. flax seeds
1 tbs. basil
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 - 3/4 cup water

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Add a 1/2 cup of water and stir together. If the mixture is too crumbly, add more water until it's not. Mixture should be just sticking together, be careful not to make it too wet. Turn onto a cutting board sprinkled with more rye flour, and roll out the dough to whatever thickness you want your crackers to be. Cut into whatever shapes desire, and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until crackers are lightly browned and hard (times will vary depending on thickness). Let crackers cool and store in an airtight container.

This recipe is not set in stone. If you don't have flax seeds, substitute some other seed, or leave them out entirely. Basil isn't necessary either - go ahead and experiment with your favorite herbs. These crackers are also a little spicy because of the black pepper - if you don't like it you can cut the quantity, or cut the pepper entirely. Play around with it, and let me know if you come up with any awesome variations that you want to share.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Katezilla's Saucy Tube Top




I have long desired to knit myself some article of clothing but until recently have never had the patience to actually do so. This shirt was born out of boredom and designed out of laziness, as it is probably the most ridiculously easy thing to make. It is knit on circular needles, which are extremely impressive looking, but secretly the lazy lady's tool of choice because all you have to do is keep knitting and knitting and knitting and you end up with a lovely tube of stockinette stitch. So if you're feeling that odd combination of lazy and productive that I feel 99% of the time, then try out this super pattern and let me know how it goes.
Materials
29" size 7 circular needle
3 balls of Lily Sugar'n Cream
Directions
(For a size small)
Cast on 120
Rows 1-4: Knit 2 purl 2 rib
Rows 4+: Knit
Continue to knit until piece measures approximately 12", or whatever your desired length is.
Next 3 rows: knit 2 purl 2 rib
Last row: Bind off in rib, leaving 8 stitches
Transfer last 8 stitches onto straight needles. Stockinette stitch until strap is desired length. Bind off and sew strap to back wherever you've chosen to put it. (If you don't want strap to curl, use garter stitch instead of stockinette)
That's pretty much it. There are lots of variations you could make to this, so play around with it if you like. For instance, if you'd rather a true tube top, just leave out the strap.

The Happy Homemaker Does Cleaning

My mother will probably find it highly ironic that I'm writing about cleaning as if I know something about it, but oddly enough, I actually do. Gone are the days of bathing bi-monthly and cleaning the bathroom roughly three times a year. With adulthood comes the amazing realization that small gnomes armed with Clorox and 409 (AKA Mommy) don't just pop up and clean everything while you are asleep - and after that realization comes the nagging need to do what those suddenly lazy gnomes are not doing.

For me this process of realization has been growing alongside the increasing desire to do as much as possible in a "green" manner. For me this has meant replacing my shampoo with a natural brand, bringing my own reusable bags to the grocery store, and seeking natural household cleaners. While there are many natural cleansers available for sale, there are also a lot of things that you can make yourself, which is what I have opted to do in several instances. There is a buttload of more options out there, but here are a couple which I have come to swear by.

Favorite cleaning ingredients:
White Distilled Vinegar
Baking Soda
Essential Oil

Uses:

For a general, all-purpose cleaner for use in both the kitchen and bathroom I just fill a spray bottle with vinegar and add 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil. Lavender helps to cut the harsh vinegar smell and also has antibacterial properties.

To unclog a drain, I pour 1 cup of baking soda over the drain and follow it with roughly 3 cups of boiling water (or however much a tea kettle will hold). I have read articles that advise using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain, but I found it less effective than use baking soda alone.

As a toilet cleaner, I just pour about a half a cup of baking soda into the bowl and scrub with a toilet brush. I sometimes add a few drops of essential oil, like grapefruit or lavender, for a fresh scent.

Last but not least, I find that baking soda does an excellent job of removing nasty scum from the bathtub. We have very hard water and it causes brown deposits to build up on the tiles. I was never able to remove it until I discovered that just putting some baking soda on a wet sponge and then scrubbing it onto the surface does the trick. I sometimes spray the tiles with vinegar first and let it sit for a few minutes before applying the baking soda.

These are just the popular cleaners used in my house, but there are many other natural cleaner recipes out there, and different combinations of these basic ingredients. http://vinegartips.com/Scripts/ has some really cool information about vinegar and all its uses and http://www.armhammer.com/ has lots of information on baking soda and its uses in its "Visit our neighborhood" section.

If you have any favorite natural cleaning solutions, please share them in a comment!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

About Being Lame

I like how in my last post, dated sometime roughly a gabillion years ago, I begged forgiveness for my laziness, and then proceeded to lie to you about how I was going to post something in the next couple of days. Granted, I didn't realize I was lying at the time. I had the best of intentions, but, alas, I was lame and didn't follow through. I told you that I'm lazy, right?

Anyhoo, to make up for all the lameness, I am actually going to leave you with a tasty recipe today. It's one of my absolute favorites for dinner. It happens to be adapted from a recipe that I found online a long time ago and adapted to my own tastes. Feel free to adapt this one to please your own taste buds as you wish. It's quick, it's easy, and it's full of eggy proteiny goodness. Just serve it with a luscious salad and there you go - dinner.

Eggy Noodly Stuff

Ingredients:

1 pound noodles (I like to use elbows)
5 Large eggs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tablespoons basil (Parsley works too)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of salt
2-4 tablespoons olive oil (I usually just eyeball it)
Half a small onion, chopped

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil and follow the directions on package for cooking noodles.
  • While the noodles are cooking, combine the eggs, cheese, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl with a whisk.
  • Heat oil in large frying pan or skillet with onions. Cook until tender and ever so slightly browned.
  • Drain pasta and add to pan. Toss to coat with oil.
  • Add the egg mixture to the pan. Using a wooden spoon (or something similar) mix together for about a minute while the mixture becomes thick and creamy. As soon as the eggs start to scramble, remove from heat and serve immediately.
  • Eat up! Serves about 2-4, depending on whether or not you're using it as a main dish.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My apologies

So I was planning on posting a new blog today. In fact, I wasn't sure that I could even wait until today, I was just that full of amazing ideas. But my nature won over - procrastination set in, and I ended up spending all of my time reading Twilight and doing fifty-two million other random things that I don't even remember right now. So this, essentially, is my apology.
But, never fear, I shall be blogging about something useful in the next couple of days! I really am brimming with ideas, and as soon as I get my brain under control, I'll be sharing them with you.

So don't give up on me yet - check back soon!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The "Happy Homemaker"?

As with most everything that I do, my original concept for this blog was considerably different than what I think it's turning out to be. And also with most everything else that I do, what I think it's turning out to be may, in fact, be not at all what it does turn out to be.

First things first: The first real change in this blog was the title. The original title was to be "The Happy Homemaker", which is really just a rip-off of Betty White's character on the Mary Tyler Moore Show (which I adore). There was a part of me that wanted something more original, and yet another part of me who just did not want to work that hard. But I couldn't help thinking about it and the more I did, the more the title just did not seem to fit. The concept of this blog is to provide a space for me to share my spur of the moment recipes, one of the kind craft patterns, and maybe write a little bit too. So while my content remains in this vein, I realized that my style is really not that of the happy homemaker. Consider:

1. The issue of "Happy" - Not to lead you to believe that I am a hopelessly depressed person, but seriously, what person is happy all of the time? I can tell you it's not me. Honestly, I think that some of my best creations have come to me when I was mad, slightly depressed, or terribly bored. What better time to create a lavish previously non-existent recipe than when you're feeling a little angsty? Throw in a little tuna here, chuck a few tomatoes there, and before you know it you're soothing your nerves with some tasty food - my favorite form of therapy! So I knew that to describe myself as unquestionably happy was not only a lie, it was unnecessarily unrealistic.

2. The lie of "Homemaker" - Yes, I do have a home, and Martha Stewart is one of my greatest idols, but I realized that this still does not make me a full-fledged homemaker. Dictionary.com defines "homemaker" as, "a person who manages the household of his or her own family, esp. as a principal occupation." First of all, my family consists of a boyfriend and three cats; there is not a whole lot to manage. Second of all, what I do manage, I manage with the grace of a teenage boy. I'm not putting myself down, I'm just stating the facts. To illustrate my point, I would like you to know that I am currently typing this blog on my laptop while lounging on the sofa surrounded by various crocheting projects that are thoughtlessly strewn about, several different dirty mugs and glasses, and a kitten who is currently eating my dirty tissue at my feet. I'm not this gross all the time - I swear! - but even so, I'm clearly not Martha Stewart or Betty White.

So, you see why I couldn't lower myself to that lie (or elevate myself, I'm not sure which). It wouldn't just be lying to anyone reading this, but it would be denying myself my true identity. I would love to be the happy homemaker - Martha Stewart, teach me! - but I'm not, and maybe I never will be. But although I'm not the happy homemaker, I think that I still have a lot of useful and cool things to offer, in my own way. So I hope that you'll join me in discovering who your own inner "happy homemaker" is - and embracing that.

In conclusion, and to end the very first post on a productive note, here is a very simple and highly tasty wrap that I make myself practically every day. Enjoy!

Salsalicious Scrambled Wrap
Can be enjoyed as a tasty breakfast or lunch
Serves: 1

Ingredients:

2 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
A pinch of basil
Salt (optional)
Pepper (optional)
Shredded cheddar
Your favorite brand of salsa
1 medium flour tortilla ( I use Rudi's Organic Bakery Whole Spelt Tortillas)

Heat greased ( I use Pam) frying pan over medium heat. In a small bowl whisk eggs, milk, and basil together until egg is no longer separated. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Pour eggs into pan and scramble to your liking. Put eggs in the center of the tortilla (I usually warm mine in the microwave for 30 seconds first so that it is soft). Sprinkle as much cheddar cheese as you like over the eggs and spoon on your desired amount of salsa. Fold tortilla and enjoy!