Friday, November 22, 2019

Part 5 of the Making of My “Homemade Air Plant Terrariums”


Hello, Darlings,

Happy Holidays to you all the seasons.

Today I have part five of my DIY series in  Homemade Air Plant Terrariums.  In the photos below you can see that my vision had come to life. I even put a few in small mason jars. However, I am thinking of creating a little dramatic scene in each jar to make them more fun. Since moving, I am still trying to find some of my craft supplies, and when I do, I will post the final version of these terrariums.








This project has been very fun for me, and I look forward to creating more DIY projects in the coming years.


Until next time,
     Chow, Darlings

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Arrowroot Pancakes Online


Hello, Darlings,

Today's pancakes recipe are truly a renal patient dream. The homemade baking soda used in it does not contain sodium aluminum sulfate, monocalcium phosphate, and is also gluten-free.

I updated my homemade baking soda and pancakes recipes after reading Maya's article Grain-Free Paleo Baking Powder Recipe. As I stated in my Freedom Pancake recipe, I wanted to do a test with this baking powder substitute. However, first I had to figure out the exact measurements for using it in pancakes because if your pancakes are not right, don’t expect your cakes to be.

The standard recipe for the paleo baking powder is one part baking soda, one part arrowroot, and two parts cream of tartar. While in some other recipes it is one part baking soda, two-part cream of tartar and one part corn starch. None of them stated the exact teaspoon or tablespoon amount of these ingredients to use.  However, after more research I did the math, and then came up with the exact amount of substitute ingredient to use in the pancakes that I believe will work as well in other recipes requiring baking powder (recipe below).

Most of the recipes for homemade baking powders I saw online contain monocalcium phosphate and sodium aluminum sulfate which is standard, and ingredients I can safely eliminate or reduce from my diet.

The other ingredients that I needed to eliminate or reduce are sodium chloride, cholesterol, lactose, and some other gas-forming foods.  Although, renal disease is no longer a major concern, eliminating or reducing the amount of sodium chloride in my diet to decrease my BP and cholesterol levels is fine. Furthermore, I also reduced the amount of gas formed in drinking regular cow’s milk, beans, and cabbage by drinking lactose-free milk, substituting it with rice milk, and adding a large onion in beans and cabbage, which are two other staple foods in our diet; so some amount of flatulence is understandable

Maintaining acceptable BP and Cholesterol levels is an on-going dietary health issue for me.  Therefore, my commitment to eliminating or reducing as many of the ingredients that work adversely is the reason for my wanting to perfect this pancake recipe and when perfecting the homemade baking powder is of major importance in terms of volume and taste of the pancakes. This commitment also works well in my weight loss diet. By which I can eat what I like but in smaller caloric amounts.

While I love eating diets with a lot of fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits, I also love pasta, meats, fish and seafood. The latter being higher in sodium, but is okay in moderation, and goes far in balancing out our diet at home, which also means I minimize the amount of canned, boxed,  process and takeout foods to keep these unwanted ingredients low whenever possible.

I know; I have deeply digressed.

In conclusion, any recipe I cook has gone through intent research of not only its caloric contents but a close look at all its other major ingredients and inserts as well. Therefore, for me a recipe with ingredients substitution and perfection includes a good batch of pancakes.

Arrowroot Pancakes

Ingredients


1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 – 1-1/2 tbsps light brown sugar
2-1/4 tsps arrowroot baking powder substitute
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup rice milk, original or unsweetened 
2  tbsps cooking oil,
 Margarine or butter
2 egg whites

Directions

1.      In a medium bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, arrowroot baking powder, and salt
2.      In  medium bowl or mixer add  milk, egg  cooking oil to and mix until well blended
3.      Stir into flour mixture just until moistened or remove lumps
4.      If the mixture is too thick add a little more rice milk
5.      Add a cooking spray, butter, or margarine
6.      For each pancake, pour ¼ cup of the mixture onto preheated 350°F to 365°F nonstick-coated electric skillet
7.      Turn over when bubbles form on the surface golden browned

Makes 6 pancakes
Ingredients:
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/4 tsp Cornstarch (or Arrowroot Powder)

Directions:
Mix the three ingredients together to make one teaspoon.  
.

Cook’s Note: This recipe can also be made with one tablespoon baking soda, one tablespoon arrowroot, and two tablespoon cream of tartar to make four ounces of arrowroot baking powder that will last about one month in an airtight jar. I used my spice grinder to make sure all the small lumps were grounded up to blend in well with the rest of the ingredients.

Moreover, while normal Betty Crocker pancakes, to which this recipe was adapted from, use 3 teaspoons of regular baking powder, this arrowroot baking powder only uses 2-1/4 teaspoons. However, both methods made pancakes of very similar taste. 

In other words, this baking powder substitute is not an equal one to one substitute for regular baking powder, which is why I added its recipe. I would venture to say that the same would be true in using it to bake cakes and other baked goods needing some form of baking powder. However, trial and error always make for perfection in cooking.

Click links above for recipe downloads

As the old saying goes: “If it doesn’t kill you, …..”



Until next time,

     Chow, Darlings.




Tuesday, November 5, 2019

MY DIY DREAMCATCHER THEN AND NOW

Hello, Darlings

Back in 2012 I created my first Dreamcatcher. It mostly contained earth tone beads and pleasant feathers as shown below.

It was nice and diffidently original. However I didn't think it was so a representation of what a Native American Dreamcatcher might look like. So today, I updated it, and God because it was beginning dry out.  Below is what it looks like now.  It is not an original Native American Dreamcatcher, but it certainly a better DIY representation of one.




Which do you like?

Until next time, 

     Chow, Darlings

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Freedom Pancakes

U[DATE: This recipe is updated to add the cooking oil into the mix.

Hello, Darlings

Good news! I do not have a renal disease.

I was retested and all my results were normal. The only explanation for the previous diagnosis is a testing error, which is great news for me and even greater news for any of you brave souls out there who may have tried my renal ready pancake recipe that I never got right and tasted terrible.

Nevertheless, renal disease or no, I did not give up on improving the recipe.  However, after many failed tries, I stumbled upon a salt-free, sodium aluminum sulfate-free and gluten-free baking powder made by Hain.

Whereas most regular baking powder contains corn starch, sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum sulfate, and monocalcium phosphate, Hain Pure Foods Featherweight Baking Powder is a dual-action baking agent that contains monocalcium phosphate, potato starch, and potassium bicarbonate. And if you will remember prior to the retesting of my renal functions, eliminating the sodium aluminum sulfate and the monocalcium phosphate were my main goals of changing what baking powder I used.

While Hain Pure Foods Featherweight Baking Powder does contain monocalcium it is not a danger to my kidneys.

Although pricey the Hain’s baking powder makes the taste of these pancakes the bomb of deliciousness, and in this recipe, there is a slight buttery taste due to the margarine I used without the bitter soda and sodium aftertaste. Each pancake rose golden brown just the same as a regular one.

Therefore this recipe is a keeper, which is helpful in lowering my blood pressure and my cholesterol level as well.

So goodbye sodium aluminum sulfate base baking powder, and hello to Freedom Pancakes.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

This leads up right into my new recipe.

Freedom Pancakes

Ingredients

            1 cup all-purpose flour
            1-1/2  tablespoons light brown sugar
            1 tbsp Hain baking powder substitute
            1/4 teaspoon salt
            3/4 cup rice milk, regular or unsweetened 
            2  tbsps cooking oil
            Margarine or butter
            2 egg whites

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, Hain baking powder substitute, and salt 
2. In  medium bowl or mixer add  milk, cooking oil
3. and egg, mix until blended 
4. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened
5. If the mixture is too thick add a little more rice milk
6. For each pancake, pour ¼ cup mixture onto preheated 350°F to 365°F nonstick-coated electric skillet
7. Add some butter, margarine, cooking spray
8. Turn when bubbles form on the surface
9. Cook until lightly browned

Makes 6 pancakes

Here you have a truly salt free, sodium aluminum sulfate-free, and a gluten-free batch of pancakes to brighten the smiles of all your pancake lovers.

After writing this I came across an article entitled Grain-Free Paleo Baking Powder Recipe.

It is simple and contains no sodium aluminum sulfate and monocalcium phosphate.  The author states that this homemade substitute recipe for baking powder is an introduction to the paleo lifestyle.

Hmm.

Although I have not tried it, the fact that it does eliminate sodium aluminum sulfate and monocalcium phosphate makes is worth a try, which I will do and will follow up my article will a review.

Here is the Grain-Free Paleo Baking Powder Recipe.

Ingredients

   2 parts cream of tartar
   1 part baking soda
   1 part arrowroot powder


I believe the key ingredient in this recipe that is different from my failed tries is the arrowroot, as opposed to just the one teaspoon baking soda and two teaspoons cream of tartar that I used. Whether the addition of the arrowroot balances out the flavor and eliminates the bitter sodium taste of the homemade baking powder, begs an honest taste test and review by me that will make a good follow up to this article.

Until next time,

      Chow Darlings!



Note: The photo above is generic. I used it because the pancakes were so good that they were eaten before I could take pictures of them.














Friday, September 13, 2019

How My Garden Grows, or Not, Sic. The Life and Cultivation of My Little Garden


Hello, Darlings


I am here again with a post about my garden. I am sure I mentioned it in one of my recent posts. I have always kept a journal, by the same name, on my progress, and with it I can reflect and improve on my successes and limit my failures. Anyway, besides being a DIY-er, I am also a container gardener. I got into container gardening long before it is “the thing” that it is today

I started like most container gardeners back in the days when our grandmothers and mothers would place a plant in water on to the window seal. These plants were usually various potatoes and some herbs.  There was also the small collection of parlor palms, African violets, airplanes and spider plants, just to name a few. 

I just had a funny thought. If we were living in California, there could be some marijuana plants growing merrily in someone’s window seal right now. 

Well, back in the earlier seventies I started experimenting with some generally thought of outdoor plants for indoor use. I had some success with roses under grow lights; however, the intensity of the lights was too strong and the roses grew, bloomed, and died too fast for enjoyment indoors. I was living in an apartment up north at the time. 

Disappointed, I temporarily gave up, but I never forgot the beauty of those roses blooming in my apartment regardless of their briefness. 

Well, over the years, I have experimented with other outdoor plants with some success. However, I must admit I recently lost a couple of dwarf Cavendish trees, apparently, my grow lights were strong enough, but I over watered them.  Nevertheless, I plan to grow a couple of them and some roses in containers outdoors at some later date.

The reasons I continue with container gardening is that it is easier to control the plants environments, means the contents soil and method of feeding.  Moreover, I cam happily grow and care for plants indoors and outdoors. For containers, I use the standard terra cotta, and plastic pots. Most recently, I have started using the cloths grow bags, which comes in 1 gallon to 300-gallon sizes. 

As a renter, I find using containers fun and also a plus, because I neither need to nor want to plant anything in the ground belonging to someone else. 

Below are pictures of my container garden as it looks today. The grow bags have a variety of young greens growing in them. Some of you might recognize the collard, the mustard and the turnip greens. However, I also planted a green that is new to me and is called the Leafy Red Amaranth Greens. Like my all-weather leaf lettuce, the Amaranth Greens are heat tolerant.  The other plants you’ll know as they are still very popular. 



Mustard greens

Collards, Mustard, and the Red amaranth greens

Collards


Amaranth greens and Mustard greens

Long view around fire pit

Long of whole garden at an earlier date.
As you can see my little garden is very contained, and there is no need to plant anything in the ground. In addition, it is very transportable from place to place.


Until next time,

   Chow, Darlings. 




The Amazing H2O Mop X5 Steamer, a Recommendation for All Households

Hello, Darlings,

I want to share with you an invention that I discovered two years ago and have greatly changed the way in which I mopped floors.

Firstly, I have never been a great fan of mopping because dealing with harsh chemical cleaners and the dirty water affected my allergy problem. However, my purchase of the H2O Mop X5 Steamer changed all that.

Although, I still have allergies and always will, the use of the H2O Mop X5 Steamer has eliminated the allergies associated with mopping.

With the use of the H2O Mop X5 Steamer and its attachment, for the past two years, I have been able it clean the dirtiest and grimiest floor imaginable.  By using plain water changed into stream, I am able to clean and bring the natural beauty of both marble and wood floors back to the surface without having to resort to getting down on my hands and knees to clean them, which in truth, is something I have been blessed in not having to do. Pushing a cloth mop around the floors was bad enough; no one in this day and age needs to get down of their knees. That is oh so old school.

The miracle of the H2O Mop X5 Steamer is a must for today’s housewives, househusbands, and anyone needing an easier and more healthier way too clean their floors. It is lightweight and comes with lots of interchangeable, washable attachments

Click this link to discover more about this amazing the H2O Mop X5 Steamer,



Until next time,

    Chow, Darlings

Monday, August 26, 2019

Part 4 of The Making of My “Homemade Air Plant Terrariums”


Hello, Darlings,

Here are the two terrariums bases stains with two layers on pecan high gloss stain. As you can the dowels now blend in with the bottom bases. I am thinking this is an okay shade. However, the camera also product this shade, which is a muted shade when no flash is used. I can come close to this shade by mixing the pecan will dark shade.

Before staining

After staining

Without camera flash, but shade to use.

After the stain dries, I will decide whether to darken them or not .

Until next time,

      Chow Darlings

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Part 3 of The Making of My “Homemade Air Plant Terrariums”


Hello, Darlings

I’m back with a third installment of the progress of “The Making of My “Homemade Air Plant Terrariums”.  In last night post, Part 2 of The Making of My “Homemade Air Plant Terrariums”, I showed you that I glued the dowels to the wooden bases.

The photos below show how the glass jars will sit on the bases once I have stained them. I let the dowels dry overnight, and now they are ready for some light sanding and staining.




The jars are cradled very nicely.

Until next time,

      Chow Darlings

Wasp for Today??


Hello, Darlings



I found this little fellow DOA in a pail of rain water that I am using to water some baby greens in my green house. It is my first encounter with this bug, so I snap this picture and looked it up on the web.

What I discovered about this bug is that it is a Cuckoo Wasp and it was nosing around my backyard because of the flowers and other plants I have back there. 

The Cuckoo Wasps like the drink the nectar of flowers. They have very small stinkers, so unless you are allergic the threat of getting badly stunk is probably less than the normal black wasp.



With all the high winds and rains we are experiencing the wasp probably was pushed into the rain water where it could not get out and drowned.

Anyway, here is a link on more about Cuckoo Wasp.


Until next time,

       Chow Darlings.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Part 2 of The Making of My “Homemade Air Plant Terrariums”

Hello, Hello, Darlings!

I am here will a brief update on the progress of my DIY project, "The Making of My “Homemade Air Plant Terrariums". Tell me.  Can you italicize a period? You know I'm not serious, right. Right!!! Hmm, never mind.

Anyway, I must admit that this project was not moving at all before today. Lately, there are other things that have been taking up much of my time. Nevertheless, while out and about town today, I stop in my favorite thrift store found two wooden ornaments that will work perfectly as the bases for my terrariums.



Each one of these has feet on the bottom which is helpful because when finished, the terrariums will not be laying flat.


As you can see I glued on the dowels which will keep the glass jars from rolling off. Of there is still a problem with them staying in place, I will glue the jars in the centers. Once the dowels are dried, I will sand everything to remove any excess glue and then them stain everything to tone down the color to a nice chestnut. And that will be the next post.

Until then, 

     Chow, Darlings!!










Monday, August 12, 2019

The Making of My “Homemade Air Plant Terrariums”


Hello,  Darlings

Today I will explain the mystery of why I posted the story The Meanest Man Who Ever Lived (An American Folktale). In spite of what some less imaginative people may have thought, my reason for posting the story was and remain purest and of the godliest of reasons. I, as the title of the post states, am making a couple of homemade terrariums in the hope of saving my air plants. My hope is that in partially enclosing them in the jars it will stop the extreme dryness of the plants caused by the two large circulating fans in the living room that blow air on them twenty-four hours a day, every day.

As for the folktale, I posted it because I concur with the unknown author that Spanish moss is an invasive plant. I, like many people,  think of it as a parasitic plant that slowly but surely will suck the life of the trees that they cling to for support. Now I am also aware of the Southern charm the plant so gracefully inspires as it hangs on to the trees, and that it is not seen by some people as a pest. However, like the Widow tree, Spanish moss has inspired many folktales of both the romantic and of the dark and haunting kind.  Therefore, as for this story, The Meanest Man Who Ever Lived (An American Folktale)  it relates to the plants negative far-reaching and eventual cost.

Well, that is enough on the nature of Spanish moss and my personal thoughts about it. The fans in the living room help the cool air circulate from the AC unit. This is a good thing. However, the downside is that the constant cool air on my air plants dries them out to the point that they quickly dry out, fall apart, and die, which is a shame because the plants are so beautiful.

Below are my supplies I am using to make the terrariums, and luckily I already had many of the items on hand, which were leftovers from other DIY homemade projects.
  • Two large glass jars. Jars that once held pickles; to be set on homemade platforms. I might glue the jars to the platforms to prevent them from rolling on to the floor and breaking. 
  • Two pieces of flat wood to make  the bottoms for the platforms;  leftovers from the wood I use to replace the broken glass shelves of the china chest. 
  • Eight small dowels, to be glued to the platforms to create supports and to hold the jars in place 
  • Several river rocks which are leftover from when I was into fish keeping. I now use them under planters to help with the drainage of water, and now this project.
  • One can of green paint for painting the wooden platforms and the dowels after gluing them together. 
  • One can of clear semi-gloss paint.  To give the river rocks a polish look.



          So there you have it, my latest project and the reason for the folktale, which I must admit is not all that pleasant of a read, and which is a totally unflattering truth about Spanish moss. However, it was something I just stumbled upon as I was looking for uses for it.



The jars and some of the other supplies on hand


Spanish Moss, hopefully creeper free


Air plants; not glue to driftwood


The river rocks
I will post more photos of my progress with the terrariums as I go along.


Until next time,

     Chow, Darlings!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Meanest Man Who Ever Lived (An American Folktale)

Hello Darlings,

I ran across this story when I was looking up uses for Spanish moss./ It is one of many origin story about the plant, but is is also a cautionary tell for good, dirty, scoundrel. It is entitled, "The Meanest Man Who Ever Lived".


The Meanest Man Who Ever Lived (An American Folktale)

Once upon a time, a man lived down in Georgia who was so mean, people always tried to stay away from him. That mean man was so smart that he worked out ways to make other people fight with one another. He did so many terrible things, it's hard to recount them all. He threw rocks at children and animals. He chased people with brooms. He poisoned food and water. He cheated. He lied. He boasted and bragged. He yelled at the top of his lungs. Nobody knew how to stop him from causing so much hurt.

Nobody liked him. Well, that's not completely true.

Indeed, the Devil loved the mean old man. The Devil watched him for years, measuring the mean old man's strengths. He admired his skills. He even stole some ideas from him. And then one day, the Devil decided it was time to meet that mean old man. After all, he was old.

One day, the mean old man was walking down the road, looking for someone to hurt, when he felt a presence nearby. He turned around, looking this way and that, but he didn't see a soul. Then suddenly, out of the mist, the long arm of the Devil stretched toward him and reached for the mean old man's lapels, ready to yank him into the netherworld.

The mean old man leaped away and cried, "Wait just one second! I'm not going anywhere. Is that you, Devil? If it is, you must know it's not my time!"

The Devil laughed. "You've been here a long time, old man. A long, long time."

That was true. The mean old man had been around for as long as anyone could remember. He'd made life miserable for everyone for longer than anyone knew, and when they tried to figure out how old he was, no one could.

"I've got a lot more meanness left in me!" the mean old man said to the Devil. "I've been here a long time, that's true. But, please. Let me stay a while little longer. I'm your best friend on Earth!"

The Devil thought about this. He knew that was so. The mean old man was doing a good job here on Earth, and the Devil was reluctant to stop him.

"All right," the Devil agreed, "I'll give you more time." He pulled his hand back into the mist, but the mean old man called after him.

"Listen, the next time you come for me, give me a sign that you're coming before you appear. Send me a message so you don't catch me by surprise!"

The Devil agreed, and the mean old man was happy that he had outsmarted the Devil. He was proud of himself for earning more time on Earth. Even though he moved slowly and every muscle ached, he knew he had a lot more meanness in him. His mind was always plotting mean things to do to people.

Time passed, and the mean old man continued robbing people of their money, destroying children's self-esteem, hurting people who were already hurt and cheating workers. Every time he found something he could take away from someone, he took it -- friends, houses, land, air, water, time. He loved to tell everyone how smart he was. He told them he was smarter than anyone else, for no one else knew how to be this mean!

"I'm the meanest man around!" he boasted.

Everyone agreed, of course.

The Devil had to keep his word, so when he decided it was time to come again, he had to send a sign. He sent a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder and a voice that boomed, "I'm coming now!"

But the mean old man didn't hear him because he was too busy making noise of his own.

The Devil was outsmarted and puzzled. "It will soon be time for the mean old man to die," he said.

A little later the Devil sent a howling wind and a wild storm to warn the mean old man he was coming, but he paid no attention.

Even the Devil knows a deal is a deal. If the mean old man didn't hear the Devil coming, he couldn't take him.

The mean old man headed to South Carolina, and then on to North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. He spread his meanness everywhere, and the Devil couldn't catch up with him.

The mean old man poisoned rivers, chopped down orchards and tore down dams. After a while, food wouldn't grow, and even the mean old man began to shrivel away.

But his white hair and beard kept growing. He grew tinier, but his hair grew longer, catching on bushes and branches.

Suddenly, one day the old man disappeared.

The people were overjoyed. They saw that he had left that long hair behind, and still it grew. They called it Spanish moss, but everyone knew it was really the mean old man's hair. People began to use that hair to build homes, make ropes and stuff mattresses. They were thankful the mean old man was gone, but at least his hair was useful.

Occasionally, mean little critters crawl out of that hair and bite people, reminding everyone of the mean old man who once walked this Earth. To this day, they continue to tell his story.


Source: "Tell Me a Story 3: Women of Wonder," the third CD in the audiobook series, is now available. For more information, please visit www.mythsandtales.com.

Until next time Darlings,

Chow!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Monday, March 11, 2019

Happy Corned-Beefless Cabbage Soup


Hello, Darlings

I had a great idea for my cabbage soup. Lacking a brisket of corned beef, I decided to trick my cabbage into thinking that its familiar companion the corned beef was in the pot with it. Below is the resulting recipe.

Happy Corned-Beef-Less Cabbage Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium-large or large cabbage
1 bag of small red potatoes
1 large onion
1 ½ cup of small carrots
1 ½ cup chopped ham
1 ½ tablespoon of prepared corned beef seasoning
2 teaspoons of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
A pinch of crushed red pepper
1 ½ tablespoon of canola oil

Directions:
  • 1.     In a large Dutch oven add a half of pot of water with the onion, crushed red pepper, canola oil, salt, black pepper, and corned beef seasoning
  • 2.      Cook to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • 3.     Meanwhile, cut up and rinse cabbage; set aside
  • 4.     Wash potatoes and set aside.
  • 5.     Then wash the carrots and microwave them in a microwave cooking container with a steam filtering lid for 20 minutes on high.
  • 6.     When Dutch oven comes to a rolling boil add potatoes and cook for 20 minutes on medium heat.
  • 7.     After carrots are done, drain and put in the pot, then cook for another 15 minutes.
  • 8.     After this time is up, add cabbage and cook until the cabbage is done, about another 20 minutes.
  • 9.     If desired serve with cornbread or corn cakes

I must say that I was delighted by the results. Using the corned beef seasoning to season the cabbage soup was a good idea after all. It tastes as if there is really corned beef in it and has now become a regular soup on our menu.

Until next time,
     Chow Darlings

Download recipe here.
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