#diy

Spice it Up: 2 of my Favorite Indian Dishes!

Who doesn’t love Indian food? With their array of spices and flavors, Indian food is not only super tasty, but those spices do more than just tingle your tongue and excite your taste buds. The spices used in Indian food have many benefits. Here are the benefits of just a few:

Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, a natural liver detoxifier, a natural pain killer, speeds up wound healing (hmm maybe that’s why my burn from the other day is almost healed), and has been known to aid with Psoriasis (something I myself have) and other skin conditions.

Cayenne Pepper promotes heart health, supports weight loss, has anti-bacterial properties, stimulates your circulatory system which aids in detox, helps prevent migraines, and aids in digestion.

Curry helps burn fat, boosts immune system, helps reduce the risk of heart disease, reduces blood pressure, increases energy and also aids in blood circulation.

Coriander is a good source of Vitamin C, is high in Iron, has anti-bacterial properties, aids in digestion, contains Calcium, Folic Acid, Riboflavin, Manganese and Potassium.

Cumin also contains Iron, Manganese, Calcium and Potassium, helps with weight loss, and also aids in digestion.

My two favorite Indian dishes are Chana Masala and Cabbage Subzi. Both are Vegan dishes and are normally served on Basmati Rice but I substituted that for WIld Rice because it contains protein and is not processed. There are a lot of recipes for these dishes out there, I made them my way.. which is always the fastest and easiest way. I had to take a trip to the local Indian Spice store (which is great because I love supporting local small businesses) and bought myself the ready to go spices. They have already combined most of the spices you need for Chana Masala and other Indian Dishes.

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Chana Masala

– About 2 1/2 Cups Cooked Garbanzo Beans (or 2 cans)
– 2 Medium Tomatoes
– 3-4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Chopped
– 2 Shallots, Peeled and Chopped
– 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
– 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
– 1/4 Teaspoon Tumeric Powder
– 1/2 Teaspoon, Red Chili Flakes
– Juice from half a Lemon or Lime
– 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
– 1 Teaspoon Chana Masala Blend (pictured above)

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Method:

Add tomatoes, garlic, red chili flakes, salt and lemon/lime juice to a blender and blend until liquid or paste. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and then add Garbanzo Beans and tomato sauce/paste. Cook for about 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally. Top with cilantro for garnish and enjoy!

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Cabbage Subzi:

– 2 cups Red Cabbage
– 2 cups White Cabbage
– 1/3 Cup Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
– 5 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Minced
– 1 Teaspoon Turmeric
– 1 Teaspoon Salt
– 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
– 1 Teaspoon Kitchen King Spice Blend (pictured above)

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Method:

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add Garlic and reduce heat to medium, let the garlic cook for a bit and then add your cabbage. Cook those together for a minute or two while stirring and add all of your spices and the salt. Let cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally and you are all done. Top on your wild rice and enjoy!

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Note: Wild rice requires 4 parts water to 1 part rice, boil the water first, add the rice and let cook for about 45 minutes.

 

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The Coffee Struggle

I have had and am still having a coffee struggle. I know a lot of people go through these ups and downs with coffee as well. One minute you hear that it has antioxidants and you should have a cup or two a day, and the next you hear that coffee should be avoided. In my opinion, it should be avoided. When I drink coffee I enjoy it at the moment, but usually find myself feeling jittery and uncomfortable, and sometimes even a bit short of breath. I do have quite a sensitive body and this experience might not be the same for everyone. I know some people can have 5 cups a day and feel totally normal.

But have you actually tried quitting? Once you do, you will notice just how dependant your body has become to coffee, or rather – caffeine. I gave up soda years ago and that was actually pretty easy. Giving up coffee on the other hand, is still a struggle. When I first decided to quit, I experienced withdrawal symptoms like heavy headaches, moodiness and fatigue! It was very hard and not pleasant at all, especially when you have to be at work and on point! That was around 2 years ago. Today, I have made progress because I used to drink one or two cups a day and now it’s not a daily thing anymore, but I still haven’t reached my goal of cutting it out all together.

The first thing to do if you want to quit coffee is find out the facts. Knowing why you are quitting and how it will benefit you is what’s going to keep you going. According to Dr. Mercola, coffee is one of the most heavily researched commodities, and a lot of the research is conflicting. He does however state that it has been associated with stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, and can raise blood pressure. Coffee is not as bad as soda or fruit juice, but eliminating is recommended. You have to weigh your options , the pros and cons, and decide if it will better your daily life if you do give up coffee.

The second thing to do, is figure out what you are going to drink in the place of coffee. As something that is consumed usually every single day by those who drink it, quitting will be easier with a coffee substitute to fill in that gap. Some people might start drinking decaf everyday, which is exactly what I was doing. I later found out, decaf is probably worse than regular coffee!

The problem with Decaf:

Since coffee beans already have caffeine, companies use chemicals in order to remove the caffeine from the bean. So, if you are drinking decaf that means it went through even more processing than regular coffee. I know not all companies handle their products the same, but as for the big companies I do know that they are the ones that use chemical extraction, it is approved by the FDA to be safe and all that jazz but then again there are so many horrible things out there approved by the government. The bigger companies such as Nestle use the method involving Methylene Chloride which is also an ingredient found in paint remover and fire extinguishers. Yikes! The other problem with decaf is that it’s not caffeine free, there is usually 1-3 % caffeine in decaf.

So, here is what you can try:

Dandy Blend – This is a coffee substitute I have been using for a few years. It’s the closest tasting thing I have found to actual coffee and it can be used to make all the same drinks. The ingredients in Dandy Blend are extracts of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root and sugar beet. So it’s all natural, and actually good for you! It’s also safe for pregnant or nursing women J You can order a big bag from Amazon.

Here is a Link:  http://tinyurl.com/qhyh3tv

There are other coffee substitutes to try as well such as Roostaroma and Genmaicha.

Whichever one you choose, it will definitely help you get past that coffee struggle and you’ll save money.

This picture shows Dandy Blend in 3 different ways:

Iced Latte, Warm cup of coffee, and Armenian style coffee

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Homemade Tea Tree Deodorant

Why make deodorant at home? Well, because it’s easy, works better than store bought, and you know exactly what’s in it… no surprises! Some people may be surprised to hear that store bought deodorant contains some things that should be no where near your body, especially not being rubbed on sensitive parts of your skin, like the armpits. 

As humans, we are trusting and don’t think twice about most of the things we put on our body, including deodorant, which most people use multiple times a day. In the morning, after a shower etc. Sadly, deodorant and antiperspirants include Aluminum (in antiperspirants the aluminum blocks your pores from sweating) which is obviously not ok. According to Dr. Mercola “Aluminum is widely recognized as a neurotoxin, which has been found in increased concentrations in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease”. For women, he also mentions that toxins like aluminum can be an even bigger problem, women shave their underarms, apply deodorant or antiperspirant and more of the aluminum is absorbed due to the damaged skin from shaving. Antiperspirants are worse than deodorant but deodorants still have things like parabens which have been linked to breast cancer. 

Here is the full article on his website: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/02/16/aluminum-lurks-in-crystal-deodorants.aspx

This deodorant made at home feels great on your skin and you don’t need to use much for it to do it’s job. 

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What you need:

– 6 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder 
– 3 Tbsp Shea Butter
– 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil 
– 1 Tbsp Baking Soda/Powder
– 2 Tbsp Bentonite Clay
– 10 drops essential oil (I used Tea Tree)

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Method:

Melt the coconut oil, then with a mixer mix shea butter in with coconut oil. Mix the dry ingredients in another medium sized bowl. Then, with the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the shea/coconut oil mix then another 1/3 and another until they are combined. Then scoop into a ball, put in a glass jar and store away from sunlight. Once settled, the deodorant will set and be ready to use!

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Another reason, I don’t buy deodorant or toothpaste from the store is because I do not want to support big companies like Proctor and Gamble, that do Vivisection which is defined as surgery on a living organism, usually an animal. I know that these labs and animal tests created are usually done for the purposes of money. Companies like this get governments grants to open these labs and conduct these tests, which in this day and age where we can send a huge robot machine to Mars, is ludicrous. Unfortunately, Proctor and Gamble has pretty much a monopoly on items like deodorant and toothpaste. At the store, you see many different brands to choose from, but the reality is they are all an extension of Proctor and Gamble, who is the parent company of these brands. If you look at the back of the product the label should show the parent company, if it is Proctor and Gamble chances are some rabbits and monkeys and even cats and dogs are being tortured for that product. 

After making this deodorant for the first time, my husband came out of the shower and said this was the first time he’s had virtually no chemicals on his body, because our face wash, toothpaste and deo are all homemade and natural. What a great feeling. 🙂

Try this homemade deodorant. You will love it! 

St. Patty’s Day with Green Sparkly & Homemade Dark Chocolate!

Everyone has heard of green beer for St. Patrick’s day, how about some green sparkly? 

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Just juice some spinach and add a dash to your glass for a bright green and bubbly delight! 

Homemade dark chocolate is easy, tasty, and the perfect match for some champagne or sparkling wine.

1/4 cup of Coconut Oil (melted)
2/3 Cup Cacao Powder
4 Tbsp Agave Nectar
Cashews or any nuts of your choice

Mix them all together, Spread on parchment paper and let sit in fridge. Once hardened, cut up little pieces of heaven and enjoy!

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HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY! 

Don’t Throw Away your Almond Pulp!

Hopefully, you have already made some almond milk at home or are planning to make it soon. Here is the link to my homemade almond milk post in case you missed it https://redwhiteandsparkling.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/almond-milk-how-to-make-it-yourself-and-why/

I mentioned in that post, to keep the leftover almond pulp because there are many things you can do with it! Isn’t it great that you can have some of the tastiest and freshest almond milk made at your own home and then use the leftovers for much more? It’s all about doing it yourself, getting the most nutrition out of your food, keeping the waste level as low as possible, and saving money.

The first thing you need to do is let your almond pulp dry. I just spread it out in a wide pan and let it dry, it usually dries overnight.

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1. Almond Meal Pancakes

I tried this one yesterday for breakfast and I loved it.

1 1/2 Cup Almond Pulp/Meal
1/4 Cup Almond Milk
1/4 Cup Water (filtered)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Egg
1 Tsp Chia Seeds
1 Tsp Flax Seeds

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Mix everything together and drop batter into lightly greased pan on medium heat. This should make about 10 small sized pancakes. Top with whatever you like, syrup, agave nectar, strawberries, blueberries, and so on.

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2. Almond Meal Crackers

If you have a good food processor or blender, these crackers will be perfect for you.

What you need:

1 cup Almond pulp
2 tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil (melted)
3/4 Tsp Salt
1-2 tbsp chopped herbs (optional)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Add almond pulp to a food processor or blender until fine. Melt the coconut oil, then mix everything together in a bowl. Roll almond dough in a ball, then place in between parchment paper and roll out with a roller into a thin sheet. Cut into squares then take a fork and poke each square. Let cook in oven for 20-25 minutes.

3. Almond & Oat Face Scrub

I have been trying to find a simple face scrub that will last a long time and this one is it. All you need is:

1/2 Cup Almond Pulp
1/2 Oats
Water

Blend/grind almond pulp until fine, then do the same with the oats. Mix items together and store in a glass jar. The face scrub will be kept in dry form so it should like for months. When you are ready to use, just take some in your hand and add a little bit of water, then start scrubbing.

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These are only 3 things you can do with the almond pulp. There are many more as well. So make sure to keep the almond pulp!

You’ll never go back to store bought toothpaste.

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If you haven’t already, try making toothpaste at home. It’s so easy that there’s no reason not to!

All you need is:

1/2 cup Coconut Oil
2 tablespoons Baking Soda
2 packets Stevia
about 10-15 drops essential oil (I use peppermint)

Melt to oil then mix in remaining ingredients. Store in a glass jar and let cool.

I love it, and my teeth have never been so sparkly!

Almond Milk: How to make it yourself, and why.

I’ve been making almond milk for a while and after some trial and error I have finally perfected it. Here are the exact steps I take to get the most out of my money and the almonds.

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What you need:

– 2 cups raw (preferably organic) Almonds
– 6 cups filtered water
– Cheese Cloth
– Blender

Step 1:
I always soak my almonds over night. Soaking nuts is very beneficial, and helps absorb its nutrients better. All nuts contain anti-nutrients. These anti-nutrients are removed during soaking and leave you with a better version of nuts, nutritionally and taste wise.

This picture shows the almonds before being soakedImage

This picture shows the almonds after being soaked. As you can see the water is murky, so make sure you rinse well and get rid of the bad stuff.

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Step 2:
After you have soaked your almonds, drain and rinse them well

Step 3:
Take 1 cup of almonds and transfer to blender, add 2 cups filtered water and blend on high speed

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Step 4:
Pour almond milk through cheese cloth into a bowl, strain the almond pulp through the cheese cloth to get all the milk out

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Step 5:
Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining 1cup of Almonds and another 2 cups of the filtered water

Step 6:
Pour the almond milk into the container you will use to store it. Add the remaining 2 cups of filtered water to the almond milk and you should have a creamy, flavorful almond milk that will last 3 to 4 days.

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You will have some leftover almond pulp from making milk, I usually use the leftovers to make a face scrub or almond crackers, and many other things. I will update my blog in the next few days with what you can do with almond pulp.

 

Why you should make it at home:

I used to buy organic almond milk all the time and thought it was providing me with an alternative to cow milk that was as healthy as can be. It’s still better than cow milk, but the truth is that pretty much anything on a store shelf is processed and has additives. If you read the ingredients for almond milk, it doesn’t look like there is anything bad in there right? Well, if you do some research into it you will find that is not the case and the big manufacturers managed to trick us yet again!

Some of the additives in store bought almond milk are Calcium Carbonate, Tocopherol Acetate, and Vitamin A Palmitate. All of these additives are synthetic and do no good for you but I want to focus on just one of them for this post: Vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 is not Vitamin D, it’s again, synthetic and toxic! There is an entire study done here: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/4/694.full 

 The most shocking thing I’ve read is that experts are finding that Vitamin D2 may actually be a cause of Vitamin D deficiency by desensitizing the D3 receptors in our body! And to think Doctors even prescribe this to patients! Vitamin D3 is vitamin D created by our bodies through exposure to the wonderful sun.

So, if you’re buying almond milk from the store, try making it at home instead and get your vitamin D from other places like mushrooms, eggs and the best vitamin D comes from our power and life source, the sun! Get outside, get some sun and let your body do the rest. 🙂

Goodies

My uncle’s birthday was this week, and I decided to do something different. What are the usual gifts a man gets… a shirt, sweater, a wallet maybe cologne etc. I figured he would be getting those things from everyone else, so I’ll do something made at home, from the heart and that I think a single man will appreciate. I made a gift box full of goodies… mostly all homemade items. It was easy, fun and the best part is that he loved it!

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Most of the items in here are things I make on a regular basis… Here is how:

1) Peppermint Toothpaste:

– All  you need is 2/3 cup BAKING SODA, 1 or 2tsp PEPPERMINT EXTRACT/OIL, WATER (preferably filtered), and optional salt. Just add all the ingredients together and mix, add water at the end until you get the consistency you like! I am working on an alternative for a toothpaste tube… will update soon.

2) Almond Facial Scrub:

– The best thing about  making Almond milk at home is that you get leftover almond pulp. There is so much you can do with almond pulp (which I will touch on in another post) but here we’ll just go over the face scrub. It is again, super easy to make at home.

– Once your leftover Almond Pulp has dried (you can either leave it over night to dry or put it in the oven on the lowest temp) you just add the pulp to your food processor or blender, and add ingredients that are good for your skin (I added coconut oil and chia seeds). There are many other options too like Avocado oil, mint etc.

-There is really no correct amount or recipe to making the scrub, you just add all the ingredients to your food processor or blender until you get the consistency you want. Add water later to make the scrub softer and easier to use.

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The Jam and Hummus will be uploaded in the next posts.

The Welcome

Hi everyone! My goal here is to share information, ideas and ways to get creative at home. I am almost 100% free of commercial buying and relying on the pre-packaged mass produced items for all my family’s needs. If it’s at the store, or being sold on TV ads etc. you can pretty much bet that there’s a safer, more natural and cheaper way to make it at home. That doesn’t mean it has to be very time consuming or difficult… for the most part it’s actually fun to D-I-Y!  To me, “RedWhiteandSparkling” is an American woman, that’s not exactly Americanized, she is moving forward like many other woman these days to better the life of her family and not rely on pre-packaged, processed, and mass-produced items.  She’s always looking for new ways to improve on the daily home life for everyone in the family whether it’s food, pets, gardening and most importantly herself… because the truth really is – Happy Wife, Happy Life!

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