Saturday, March 21, 2009

Granny's recipe for Sore Throat

I've been sick with a cold the past few days... it started with a sore throat that kept getting worse. No one likes being sick, but I dread having a cold or sinus infection because I can not take anything that contains Pseudoephedrine, and just about every cold/flu medicine has it as an active ingredient (Sudafed, NyQuil, cough syrups, etc.). Pseudoephedrine makes my heart pound/race and keeps me awake. It's what I would guess taking speed would be like... I didn't figure out this sensitivity until a few years ago, and then I had to start looking into other options for finding relief - there aren't many! I always try to head off a cold by taking Zicam at the first signs of getting sick which works most of the time. Not this time...

Surprisingly what works best for me, to heal a sore throat is a gargle recipe that my Granny used to make for me. It really does do wonders, though it took a couple of decades for me to catch on that it really does work. Here's the recipe, though I never measure it out so these amounts are guesstimates.

Salt Gargle
1/4 cup warm-hot water (microwave 35 seconds)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp honey

The salt helps reduce inflammation, and the honey soothes. I make roughly this amount and gargle it (don't swallow) until it's gone. I do this a few times a day - usually in the morning, right before bed, and in the middle of the night if needed.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I found this in my draft email folder... am I the only one that saves things as draft emails when I want to go back to it later - whether or not I plan to ever send it as an email? Anyway, I came across this Desiderata by Max Ehrmann and it completely changed my outlook for the day! Just thought I'd share it with you.

Desiderata - Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Clean Banana Bread

So what do you do with 4 overly ripe bananas? Make Banana Bread of course! We wanted to try a recipe out of Tosca Rena's new book The Eat-Clean Diet for Family & Kids, and this was the perfect opportunity. It came out a mess, as you can see below... but it was very tasty! Here's a picture of the results after trying to transfer it to a rack for cooling, and eating off of it...

Not very pretty but it is really good - and clean! We will be trying this recipe again. I'm still not convinced my husband greased the pan... The picture is not nearly as nice as my husband's but hey, it's not bad considering it was taken with my iPhone.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Home Roasted Coffee Beans!

Two years ago I decided to buy an espresso machine (the Rancilio Silvia if you're interested). I researched models, did the math, and figured out that in the long run it would save money to make my own cappuccinos and lattes. The funny part about this is that my husband John was not a coffee drinker but would enjoy the occasional latte with milk and flavored syrups - yet within a couple of weeks he became quite the barista! We have espresso (usually lattes) every morning, and I'd say he makes the espresso for us both (split double shot) about 85% of the time. I love it! And yes, we officially became coffee snobs! Every once in a while I'll get in a mood for straight up coffee, so I'll just grind the beans coarse (espresso is ground fine) and make some up in my French Press.

After about a year of pondering, John decided to take things one step further... and ordered a coffee bean roaster from Sweet Maria's which came with 8 lbs of green coffee beans! Here are some pictures he took of his first roast. Aren't these pictures great? My husband is so talented!

Measuring out the green coffee beans...
The roaster.
Load 'em up!
Let the roasting begin!
Watch the temperature.
Roasting nicely.
The cooling process...
The finished product, at home in their vacuum pumped container!

John only roasts the amount of coffee beans we need for 1 week. So we always have fresh, great tasting coffee! So far he's only roasted an espresso blend he created himself. I've already put in my request for a roast for straight up coffee. Mmm... The only down side to roasting our own coffee beans, is that it stinks up the house! The first time he roasted them in the kitchen under the stove vent and p-ew. The second time he roasted them in the garage and though some of the smell lingered inside, it wasn't nearly as strong. Until he rigs up some contraption to incorporate with the stove vent, roasting is banished to the garage. I do wonder what our neighbors think - no comments so far!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Ant

I have no words for this - it speaks for itself! Scary true, isn't it?

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by phildavi

Sunday, March 08, 2009


I have been wanting to experiment with making a healthier version of chocolate chip cookies for a while now. Today I finally searched for some recipes and pieced my own together that is fairly "clean" (relatively speaking). I'm so impressed with the results, and so is my husband! Here are some pictures of my Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies...

Here's the recipe I pieced together:

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup brown sugar (next time I will try half honey, half brown sugar)
1/2 cup butter (I used Smart Balance)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 generous cup old fashioned rolled oats (I read somewhere that regular rolled oats are best for chewy cookies, and quick cooking oats give you wimpy cookies)
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 60% cocoa)

Cream the butter and brown sugar (and/or honey) together. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk and stir until it's all combined and creamy. In a small bowl, stir all the dry ingredients together and then slowly add them to the wet batter. Mix, then add chocolate chips, and mix again. Spoon cookie batter out on parchment paper lined cookie sheet (cheating I know, but so much easier). I used a generous tablespoon per cookie. Bake at 350 degrees about 12 minutes, until the cookies are nicely browned.

Mmmm... so so good, and I don't feel guilty for eating them!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

That's not Tang...

This video, which had me crying laughing is about NASA's Water Recovery System on-board the International Space Station that turns urine into drinking water... There is some bad language so consider yourself warned!

It is very "green" to recycle sweat and urine into drinking water! It is also very economical for NASA considering it costs thousands of dollars to ship a pint of water to the ISS. You can read more about this on NASA's website.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Have you seen a pink dolphin?

Wow, at first I didn't believe what I was reading... I had to check and make sure I wasn't on The Onion. Check out this blog about a PINK dolphin. Image below by birdologist on flicker.

Here's a snipbit from the blog:
"The young dolphin, which was first sighted as a calf in June 2007 and photographed a few weeks later, gets its brilliant pink color and bright red eyes from blood vessels that lie just below its layer of blubber. This pink color is masked by pigments in the skin of normally-colored gray animals."