Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s Next?

Every now annd then…usually whenever I finish a big group of posts about the same topic I like to stop and take a break and look backwards and forwards at where I’ve been and where I’m headed as far as content.

The purpose of my blog is supposed to be crawling up the Raw Foods pyramid one tier at a time…going from bottom to top…Yet I just finished posting several recipes containing meat…how dare me, right?!!

Another purpose of my blog is supposed to be learning to cook healthier foods now that my husband has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes…

If you haven[t figured out, I have ADHD…my thoughts wander all over the place constantly…so if you are a regular reader, expect tangents…

Anyway…enough about that…

So let’s look back…

Before I started going up the Pyramid, I decided that it might be wise to look at several different cooking methods…(yeah, I know…so much for raw foods, right?!)

But most of us have spouses and children who would probably not be too content to eat raw veggies, raw fruit, seaweed, and nutritional yeast for the rest of their lives.

So we have taken a look at three different cooking methods—sauteeing, pan frying, and deep frying.

Honestly, I still want to continue my experiments in deep frying…by talking about making such things as onion rings and tempura….

But then I want to move on to other cooking methods..

Here are a list of the different cooking methods that are commonly used…

But first let’s finish deep frying…by learning how to make onion rings…

Join me for the Journey…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know that

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Maintaining Your Knife For Life

If I just forked over this much money for a quality knife to slice and dice veggies, I am gonna want to take the very best care of it that I can.

So how do we do that?

Here are a few tips…

After each use wash your knife in warm, soapy water and dry it well.

Never put it in the dishwater. This can dull and damage the blades.

Never soak your knife in water.

Store your knife in a certain place, not in a drawer crammed with everything else that manages to find its way into your kitchen….but more on this later…

Use a traditional knife sharpening steel to sharpen your knives. Otherwise, bring them to a knife store that will sharpen them for you. Remember that sharp knives are  not only easier to use, but also safer.

——————————————————————

  • Cuts
  • slice, mince, chop, crush, tenderize, and scoop up
  • cutting and
  • making garnishes
  • hold the knife in your writing hand (the Chinese
  • call this the “chopstick hand”).
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

These Knives Made the Cut

7" Chinese Chef's Knife Vegetable Cleaver, , large

So in my quest for the best knife to buy as far as veggies, which ones did I find worth considering…

Cutco Vegetable Knife #1735

  • Blade…wide enough to easily move ingredients from the cutting board to the pan
  • Blade Length…7-3/4″
  • Blade Material…410 High-Carbon, Stainless Steel
  • Cost…$150
  • Edge…straight
  • Engraving…available
  • Guarantee…Cutco’s Forever Guarantee means that they will sharpen, hone, buff, repair and if necessary replace your CUTCO knives and accessories for FREE, no receipt required
  • Handle…ergonomically designed for all hands—both large and small…both left and right
  • Handle Color…classic brown or pearl white
  • Handle Material…highly engineered thermo-resin
  • Overall Length…13-1/4″
  • Review…On the Gas
  • Source…”American Made. American Proud.”
  • Tang…full, meaning that the blade extends the full length of the handle
  • Use…to chop, slice and dice ingredients for soups, stews and vegetable platters
  • Weight…7.6 oz.

Dalstrong Phantom Series 6” Nakiri Vegetable Knife

  • Blade Length…6”
  • Blade Material…forged from a single piece of ice tempered steel with high levels of chromium added for stain resistance…the ice-tempering ensures excellent resilience and superior edge retention
  • Cost…$149.99…on sale now for $44.04
  • Edge…straight…double-bevel…tapered to minimize surface resistance and to increase both durability and flexibility
  • Handle Material…traditional Japanese D-shaped black pakkawood with a distinct red spacer, carefully crafted mosaic of copper and brass, and hand-polished stainless steel end cap designed to create counterbalance and distinction
  • Review…That’s a Knife
  • Tang…full tang for incredible robustness and quality
  • Use…prepping vegetables in bulk

Global Cutlery USA SAI 6″ Vegetable Knife

  • Blade Material…three-ply corrosion-resistant 18/8 and CROMOVA 18 stainless steel
  • Cost…$164.95
  • Edge…12.5-degree convex convex blade edge
  • Handle…unique thumb rest to give added comfort and control.
  • Handle Material…metal, totally wood free….three-ply corrosion-resistant 18/8 and CROMOVA 18 stainless steel
  • Review…Knifeista
  • Tang…full
  • Warranty…lifetime warranty against defects and breakage
  • Weight…1.3 pounds

Shun Classic 7-in. Vegetable Cleaver

  • Blade…hand-sharpened 16° double-bevel blade
  • Blade Length..7 in
  • Blade Material..high-performance VG-MAX stainless steel.
  • Cost…300.00
  • Handle Material…D-shaped ebony PakkaWood
  • Overall Length…13-1/4″
  • Source…Japan

ZWILLING Cutlery TWIN Signature 7″ Chinese Chef’s Knife Vegetable Cleaver

  • Cost…90
  • Edge…laser-controlled edge that is incredibly sharp, honed, and hand-finished
  • Handle…three-rivet handle
  • Handle Material…polymer
  • Source…a German manufacturer that has been making knives for over 280 years
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

11 More Uses for Mineral Oil

In addition to the various uses for mineral oil around the home that we just got through talking about, there are several uses for mineral oil for your own use also.

So a bottle of mineral oil is well worth the investment.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the uses for yourself.. 

 

1.Arthritis...Mineral oil can decrease the stiffness and reduce the pain of arthritis.

2. Babies…Mineral oil can be used to treat cradle cap, diaper rash, and many other types of skin irritation. In fact, baby oil as marketed to new mothers is mineral oil with added fragrance…and costs much less,

3. Constipation...Mineral oil can be used as a laxative to treat constipation and hemorrhoids. Mineral oil creates a film around the stools that makes passage of the stools through the colon much easier.

 

Cosmetics...Mineral oil is a common ingredients in many ointments and cold lotions, in addition to baby oil.

5. Ears…Mineral oil can also be used to treat earaches and to remove ear wax, Drop a few drops of warm mineral oil into your ears at night to melt any ear wax. Be sure to rinse your ear with warm water in the morning.

6. Eyes…Mineral oil can be used to remove any oil which has settled on your eyes and to help maintain the your eyelashes from busting and cracking.

7. Face…Mineral oil can be used for about ten minutes before using mineral oil makeup. The oil does not cause acne or blackheads, but works as a great moisturizer

8. Feet…Mineral oil can make your heels crack-free. Rub your feet with the oil and wear socks.

9. Hands,,, Mineral oil can be used to treat dry hands if you apply it throughout the day.

10. Paint…Mineral oil can be used to remove paint spots from your skin.

11. RadIation…Mineral oil can hhelp treat radiation skin burns,

 

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Seasoning and Maintaining Your New Wood Cutting Board

Before using a new wood cutting board, you should take the time to properly season your cutting board.

In fact, you should oil your boards about once a month in order to keep wood cutting boards in good condition.

 

 

Seasoning your wood cutting board regularly will help prevent staining, warping, and cracking.

 

When choosing an oil to season your board, you want to look for an oil that is inexpensive, easily available, and food-grade.

Mineral oil is the oil most commonly recommended oil for seasoning your wood cutting boards…more on this later…

 

Seasoning Your Wood Cutting Board

Heat the oil slightly.

Rub the oil into the board, rubbing in the “direction of the grain.”…yeah, I hate it when I’m told that also and usually have to ask someone to show me what that means…don’t feel like you’re all alone in this…jk…

Allow the oil to soak in for about thirty minutes.

After about thirty minutes, then decide if you need to rub even more oil onto the board.

In fact, the very first time you season your board, you need to do this about four to six times.

 

Other Ways to Maintain the Integrity of Your New Wood Cutting Board

In addition to this, you can use a cutting board refinisher, such as this tool from  Ace Mart from time to time. This will remove the top level of wood, along with its nicks and scratches, leaving you with a smooth surface again.

As far as taking care of your wood cutting boards on a routine basis, scrub the board with hot soapy water immediately after each use.  

 

 

Two more things to remember as far as taking care of wood cutting boards…

Never run your wood cutting boards through the dishwasher

Never let soak in water.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Flat Bottomed Girls

Let’s start our look at the different cooking methods by first looking at sautéing, the method used to brown or sear food, especially vegetables such as bok choy.

Sautéing, unlike other cooking methods, involves quickly cooking food—such as onions and  green peppers—at relatively high temperatures in only a small amount of fat. This allows you to quickly brown the food without burning the food or steaming it.

The term sauté comes from the French term “sauter” which means “to jump.

First let’s see what utensils and tools you need for sautéing….starting with an…

8-10″ Stainless steel frying pan with a lid

It is better to invest in a few really good pans made from high quality materials if you would like to “kick it u a notch,” as Emeril says. Better cooking tools will help you get better results.

Choosing a high quality pan is one of the most important choices that you will make as far as buying cookware because you will be using this pan probably more often than any other pan in your kitchen.

The characteristics that you should be looking at whenever you are looking for the perfect saute pan include…

  • Cost and Value
  • Manufacturer Reputation
  • Materials
  • Size
  • Style

Here is a guideline to use whenever you are looking for the perfect sauté pan.

Size…As far as size, there are many different sizes available, but I find that I use my 12″ pan most frequently.

Bottom…The bottom should be thick and wide and flat…thick so that heat will be transmitted evenly without developing hot spots, wide so that food is not overcrowded, and flat so that the heat will be evenly distributed.

Sides…The sides of a sauté pan should be straight and low…straight so that liquids do not spil over the sides, low so that air circulates more freely around the pan and helps prevent food from getting soggy.

Handle…The handle of a saute an should be long enough to make it easy to shake the food back and forth while you are browning it.

You also need the handle to be sturdy and durable,…securely attached to the an securely by rivetes or long, sturdy screws. 

You need to be confident that the handle won’t fall off when working with it.

Look for handles that are “cool touch.” This allows you to hold onto the handle without getting burned, even though you should still always use oven mitts when using any pots with metal handles.

Lid…Your lid should fit tight.

Materials…When buying a sauté an, erhas the most imortant factor to consider is the “vonducivirtyy” of the material that it is made from.

Conducivity refers to how responsive the an is to the heat…

Does it get hot quickly?

Does it cool off just as fast?

Does it easily transmit heat from the heat source to the food easily, evenly, and efficiently?

Copper…The best choice as far as conductivity is copper, but copper can be super expensive and they’re a pain to keep shiny.

Anodized Aluminum…A much better choice, at least for most of us, would be anodized aluminum.  

These are great because they are easy to clean, have good heat transmission, and do not react negatively with certain foods—not to mention the fact that they cost a heck of lot less than copper.

Two other materials to consider are cast iron and stainless steel.

Usability…Always look for cookware that can be used on the stove, in the oven, in the freezer and can be washed in the dishwasher.

Because I am slowly adding or clearing out my collection of pots and other cookware based on cooking method, at this point the only thing that I need at this stage of building my “dream kitchen” is a 5-quart saute pan.

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

10 Ways to Improve Refrigerator Raids These Holidays

Having a bigger fridge will be the perfect answer to your food storage needs. Like everything else, a bigger space simply gives you a bigger area to make a bigger mess, right?

Instead of a bigger fridge, you need a smarter fridge…or at least a smarter fridge organization system.

Having a “smarter” fridge means having a clean, tidy, and organized fridge.

But before we move on to ideas to help you organize your fridge, let’s look at why we need to even store food in a refrigerator in the first place?

Four basic factors affect the nutritional value of your food once you bring it home from the grocery store. These are…

  • Exposure to air
  • Exposure to heat
  • Exposure to light
  • Length of time in storage

Refrigerating foods can help slow down this process.

But what good is refrigerating your food if you can’t find a darn thing whenever you open it?

And now is possibly the best time of the year to clean and organize your fridge— before the upcoming holiday season baking and partying season begins to make your kitchen way more messier than normal, and also blows your grocery budget.

Here are some really great ideas…

1.  Binder Clips,,,The first tool that will come in handy as you are starting to organize your fridge is a binder clip. Not only are binder clips great in the kitchen for closing that opened bag of Fritos, but can also be used to keep round bottles on their sides in your fridge so that they don’t roll around in your fridge and to hang opened bags in your fridge or freezer so the contents don’t spill out all over the place.

2. Bottle Loft…($ 38.00 from Uncommon Goods)…Each set of two 8″x1.5″ heavy duty magnetic strips with peel-and-stick adhesive holds six beverage bottles suspended from the ceiling of your fridge, keeping them handy and freeing up space for other food. These stris are especially good for the ourside “beer” fridge that you hoe that all of our Southern Baptist friends never know even exists. Not only do these strips save much needed space, they also keep bottles from tipping over in the fridge.

3. Door-Sized Drink Dispensers… I am a total fanatic when it comes to almost anything sold by The Container Store, and these pitchers are no exception. These two refrigerator pitchers are made from heavy-weight glass with a locking plastic lid that seals tightly and a grip handles. The smallest of these two pitchers measures 9x4x3 and will hold about four fus. This pitcher costs $9.99.

eggs

4.  Egg Storage Box…Egg Storage Boxes, such as this Girl12Queen Refrigerator Egg Storage Box av.available at Walmart, can store up to rwo dozen eggs inside a compact and durable container that you can safely tuck beneath other goods.

5. Lazy Susan…Lazy Susans, such as these allow you to reach food in the back of your fridge without having to move two dozen condiment bottles to find the one that you’re actually looking for.

magazine

6. Magazine Holders…Plastic magazine holders, such as these clear  8″L x 11-7/8″H x 4″D STORi Clear Plastic Magazine Holders, can be stacked on their sides to maximize vertical storage in your fridge.

7.  Snack Bins…Snack bins, such as this mini 3-drawer organizer, allow your kids to grab their own snacks out of the fridge without having to rummage sort through the entire fridge.

pods

8. Spices and Herbs…To help keep fresh spices and herbs fresh and also prevent them from ending up crushed and rotten at the bottom of a your “food rotter,” try these Prepara Herb Savor Pod 2.0.

9. Storage Bins and Boxes…Storage bins and boxes are a given when it comes to organizing your fridge. These bins and boxes come in handy for everything from making snacks accessible to making sure that opened wedges of cheeses or packages of deli meat don’t simply find their way to the pits of your fridge and make your fridge end up stinking until you can clear everything out of the fridge in order to find out what is making your fridge smell so bad.

Two great sources for storage bins and boxes are Fridge Binz from InterDesign and storage bins from mDesign.

mdesign

10. Vegetable and Fruit Bags…Taking reusable mesh bags, such as these Purifyou Premium Reusable Mesh/Produce Bags, with you to the store when shopping for produce makes so much more sense than using standard plastic produce bags typically found at grocery stores will not only keep your fruits and vegetables fresher, but are also “politically correct.”

Heading Off to Work, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Be Committed

IMG_4860-1

Be diligent about starting your new habit…Make a point of adding this new habit—whether it be exercising, eating better, or writing or whatever else it may be, for just one day at a time, even if only for a little bit of time.

 

Eventually you’ll find yourself not even thinking about that new, or old, habit…and actually miss doing this on the days when you don’t.

 

 

In my attempt to include writing as part of my daily routine, it was first of all…to state the obvious…important that I actually did write!!!

 

And along my journey this year to adopt writing as a part of my daily routine, I have found the following resources that have hopefully helped me improve my writing skills, think more clearly, and be more organized altogether.

Some of these websites that have helped me along my journey this last year as a writer have included…

1. 750 Words The primary goal of this website is to get writers into the daily habit of writing.every day. This site gives writers the opportunity to write Morning Pages, three pages of writing done every day about anything and everything that pops into mind. ..a concept that originated with the book The Artist’s Way, first published in…

Writing Morning Pages helps clear your mind and gets the ideas flowing for the rest of the day.

According to the website, the standard accepted number of words per page is 250 words…making three pages about 750 words.

This site tracks your word count at all times, lets you know when you’ve passed the 750 mar, awards points based on your writing, allows you to compare your points with the other 300,000-plus members, and gives you an analysis of the feelings, themes, and mindset of your words each day.


2. The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) was founded in 1967 as a nonprofit organization created to advance the art of writing as essential to a good education, encourage and advocate for new writing programs, and provide publishing opportunities for young writers.

Their website includes an extensive database of literary programs, grants, awards, contests, publication opportunities, and conferences throughout North America.

The AWP Conference and Bookfair is the largest literary conference in North America and features over 2,000 presenters and 550 presentations, readings, lectures, panel discussions, book signings, and receptions. Each year conference attracts more than 12,000 attendee and 800 exhibitors.

The first conference was held in 1973 at the Library of Congress, with help from the National Endowment for the Arts. The next conference will be held in Washington, D.C. from February 8–11, 2017.

The Writer’s Chronicle, a magazine published six times a year, has been an important asset to writers for the last forty years. The magazine features in-depth essays on the craft of writing; a listing of grants, awards, publication opportunities available to writers; a list of upcoming conferences for writers; exclusive interviews with accomplished authors, and news on publishing trends.

Each year AWP sponsors six contests…

  1. AWP Award Series, an annual competition for the publication of excellent new book-length works.
  2. Donald Hall Prize for Poetry is an award of $5,500 and publication.
  3. The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction
  4. The AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction
  5. The AWP Prize for the Novels
  6.  The AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature


3.  The Authors’ Nook is a blog written by Ben Schmitt—a blogger, copywriter, and screenwriter—that offers great writing advice with a dose of humour.


4.  Backspace is an online writers organization with over 1,800 members, including several dozen New York Times bestselling authors,cthat seeks to help writers help other writers through discussion forums, an online guest speaker program, question and answer sessions, articles from publishing experts, and actual conferences and events. Backspace was included in Writer’s Digest Magazine’s ‘101 Best Websites for Writers’ list from 2005 to 2012.


5.  The Blog Starter is a website run by Scott Chow that shares his knowledge from twenty years of experience starting blogs and websites. his ambition is to show other people exactly how to start their own successful blogs.


6.  The Crafty Writer offers a free online, self-paced creative writing course that consists of eight sessions…

  • Releasing your Creativity
  • How to write a short story
  • Writing from a point of view (POV)
  • Bringing your writing to life
  • Writing characters
  • Writing dialogue
  • Poetry: how to write poems
  • Markets, competitions and opportunities


7.  Daily Writing Tips delivers a daily article to your inbox or RSS reader…about topics including grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage, and vocabulary..


8.  Grammarly is an online grammar and spelling checker that helps users find and correct writing mistakes.

Grammarly provides expert help and instant feedback on the accuracy, impact, and credibility of text that you copy and paste into their online text editor.
After checking for more than 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, Grammarly flags these errors, suggests corrections, and explains the reasoning behind each correction.

The Grammarly website also offers…

  • Access to the Grammarly Facebook community and Twitter accounts
  • Grammarly Answers, an online community for writers to ask and answer questions on English writing
  • Grammarly Handbook, an online guide explaining English grammar and style
  • Grammarly Words, an online dictionary-thesaurus hybrid
  • The Grammarly Blog full of fun grammar tips and discussions


9.  inkPageant is a database and search engine for blogs and blog posts related to writing. The site strives to help writers improve their writing skills and reach their goals…by gathering the stories of the experiences of other authors and advice given on their own blogs.

10.  Positive Writer encourages writers to stay positive during those days of writer’s block, self-doubt, rejection, waiting, and disappointment.

This award-winning, highly acclaimed website was created by Bryan Hutchinson—a writer whose work has been published in newspapers, national magazines, books, and on world famous blogs.

Articles can be found on this site that to encourage, inspire, motivate, and advise writers…such as this article,  39 Great Books on Writing.

Getting Dressed

August 3-National Underwear Day… Clearing Out Closet Clutter 

  
Cleaning out and organizing your clothes closet is a very SMART long-term goal…(much like losing fifty pounds before Christmas, right?!)… that can seem overwhelming and must be broken into several short-term goals…

Closets often become a stashing ground-not only for clothes, but also for all kinds of other stuff that you don’t exactly know what to do with. So it eventually becomes overwhelming to even begin finding the floor of your closet. 

Your initial thought might be to pull everything out of the closet and attack the clutter all at once, but this can get way too overwhelming way too quickly..simply leaving an even bigger mess and wasting precious time.

Instead, attack only one small zone at a time, starting with the most obvious items—anything that you haven’t worn in at least a year…simply don’t like…do not feel comfortable in…”wouldn’t be caught dead in”…can no longer fit into…

  

Why Get Rid of “Clothing Clutter”

1.  When you get rid of clothing clutter, you can help someone else in need who will be able to use the clothing you cannot.

2.  When you get rid of clothing clutter, you can perhaps sell some of the discarded clothing to help you get back some of the money you spent. This can be more work, but it can be quite motivating as well. 

3.  When you get rid of clothing clutter,  you no longer waste precious storage space in your home storing stuff that no one ever uses anymore.

4.  When you get rid of clothing clutter, you’ll only be left with only things that make you feel good and actually still fit.

5.  When you get rid of clothing clutter, you no longer find yourself doing “excess” laundry…and it will be much easier to put away the “clean” laundry..

  

Once you’ve finished analyzing and curbing down your wardrobe, completely empty your closet. As you take items out of your closet, group like items together. This will allow you to see how many of each type of item you have and help you choose the right types and sizes of closet storage solutions.

Now choose what storage solutions best accomodate the items you have kept and work for the shape and size of your space.

Options to consider include additional closet rods…drawers…extra adjustable shelving…hooks and pegs…over-the-door storage solutions…storage baskets…vertical hanging dividers.

You probably already have many items you can use to help organize your stuff around your home…so use whatever organizers you already have before buying any expensive closet organizer kits and systems. After all, there is no magical one-size-fits-all closet organizing system that everyone should use.

After you have your closet organizing systems in place, finally place everything back into your closet, grouping like items together and placing frequently used items where you can find them quickly and easily.