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A Home Made Home
Chocolate Almond Sea Salt Squares PDF Print Email
Written by Brenda Walker   
Monday, 29 April 2013 01:40

I'm completely addicted to this candy bar that I get from Whole Foods that has dark chocolate and sea salt. I only allow myself to buy one every couple of months or so and I can't imagine how it always seems to get hidden in the back of the pantry where only I can find it. Wink Once in a while I start to feel guilty and I allow the rest of my family to have a little piece as well. So... feeling guilty at hording this special treat, I decided to try and make it so that it would be just a bit (tiny bit) healthier and so that we could all enjoy it. I'm totally in LOVE! It was SO easy and it is wonderfully delicious with that salty sweet combo that I absolutely adore.

 I'm TERRIBLE at taking food pictures, so forgive the picture but you get the idea!

Chocolate Almond Sea Salt Squares

It was so simple, that I can't even call it a recipe, but here is how I did it.

Put 2 cups of organic dark chocolate chips in a double boiler until completely melted. While the chocolate was melting, I chopped up about a cup and a half of almonds. After the chocolate was melted, I added in some sea salt (maybe about 1/2 tsp) and the almonds and stirred it up well. Then, I dropped them into these little 1" silicone molds that I have (you can also just drop them onto wax paper but the molds made these cute little squares that are just impossible to resist). I then sprinkled some course sea salt over the top of the squares and put them in the refrigerator to set for about an hour. This made 24 one inch squares.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 03:46
 
Hearty Veggie Soup with Sausage, Spinach, Tomatoes, Beans, and Herbs PDF Print Email
Written by Brenda Walker   
Friday, 25 January 2013 15:52

I LOVE soup! It makes me warm all over and the house always smells so wonderful while it is cooking. This is a deliciously hearty soup. Very satisfying and even better the next day! Even my picky 6 year old loved it!

 

Here is the recipe!

 

Hearty Veggie Soup with Sausage, Spinach, Tomatoes, Beans, and Herbs

Ingredients:
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan)
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary (or use 1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed)
3 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage (or use 1 1/2 tsp. dried sage)
1 T finely minced garlic
1 package of Tofurky brand Italian Vegetarian Sausage
10 cups veggie stock (either homemade or 10 cups of water with 5 Rapunzel Vegetarian bullion cubes)
2 cans diced tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz. can)
1/4 cup tomato sauce (you can freeze the rest if you're opening a jar)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 large bunch spinach or kale (if using kale, you will need to cook longer)
4 cups cooked great northern beans
freshly grated Parmesan style cheese or vegan alternative for serving (optional)

Instructions:

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in heavy frying pan over medium heat, then add chopped onion and saute 3-4 minutes, until onion is soft. Lower heat a little and add garlic, chopped rosemary, and chopped sage, and saute 2-3 minutes more. Put onion-herb mixture into large soup pot with 10 cups stock and start to simmer.

Add 1 more tsp. olive oil to frying pan if needed and turn heat back to medium. Cut up veggie sausage into small pieces and cook until browned. Add to pot with simmering stock. Add tomatoes and juice, tomato sauce, and black pepper. Simmer about 30 minutes over low heat.

After about 30 minutes, add spinach or kale and beans to simmering soup mixture. If using spinach, you can serve it after the spinach is wilted and beans are hot. If using kale, chop the kale into small pieces and simmer for another 30 minutes or so until the kale is cooked.

Last Updated on Friday, 25 January 2013 16:20
 
My Journey Through Necrotizing Fasciitis PDF Print Email
Written by Brenda Walker   
Sunday, 28 March 2010 03:48

I am the Mommy to the three most wonderful and FUN children on the face of the earth - Robbie, Abbey and Nathan and wife to the amazing Robert Walker! We have a nonstop, hectic life that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. Robbie and Abbey are 6 year old twins and Nathan is 4. Nathan was born on Robbie and Abbey's 2nd birthday and so they all share the same birthday. I love to see people's reactions when I tell them that for 3 hours I had 3 children under the age of 2! :-)

Here is our journey through a deadly infection that almost took my left leg as well as my life.

It took us 6 1/2 years to get pregnant with Robbie and Abbey so you can imagine the surprise and joy we felt when we found out that the Lord had surprised us and a new baby was on the way. When Nathan was born on the twins' birthday, we just laughed at the irony of it all. His birth was normal without any complications at all. However, just about 5 days after his birth I had to go in for a minor, outpatient surgery. That is where the story begins.

Several days after the surgery, I was running a fever of 104 and had uncontrollable chills and shakes. A few days later I began to experience a dull ache in my left calf which quickly turned into a more excruciating pain than I could ever imagine. It was so painful that I was begging for my husband to rub my calf but as soon as he touched it, I would scream in pain. I could no longer walk and it was apparent that something was terribly wrong. We spent an entire night calling doctors and trying anything and everything to get some relief from the pain but nothing worked.

Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 03:48
 
Benefits of Water Kefir PDF Print Email
Written by Brenda Walker   
Thursday, 30 August 2012 04:12

Ok, I have become addicted! Yup - it is true. I find myself sneaking over to the fridge several times a day to get a shot of my moonshine Water Kefir! So, what are these slimy bacteria things and why on earth would I want to drink a concoction made from them?

Well, first off, they are chock full of good bacteria and beneficial yeasts as well as being rich in vitamins B-12 and K, Potassium, natural sodium, chloride and biotin. They strengthen the immune system and people have even claimed that they have helped with things like chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, Candida, autoimmune diseases and cancer! They aid in digestion and help to cleanse the liver as well as the endocrine system. Many women report having healthier menstrual cycles as well as improvements in their complexion, hair and nails. As if that weren't enough, they also have antibiotic and anti fungal properties and have been known to help with warts, moles and liver spots! There is information all over the internet on the benefits of Kefir Grains and as you can see, these little creatures are pretty amazing.

The very first thing I noticed is that when I take a shot of the Water Kefir in the afternoon when I'm feeling that 2:00 slow down and am losing all semblance of motivation, I am almost instantly perked up and ready to go. I have never been a coffee drinker but I would imagine it does for me what that morning cup of coffee does for coffee drinkers.

The next thing I noticed was that although I'm very "regular" normally, I'm SUPER "regular" now. Honestly - it has cleaned me out! Yes, that was probably way too much information but I thought you should know what to expect!

Seriously, do a search and you will find endless amounts of information on the benefits of Kefir Grains.

How do you get some and what do you do with them? If you don't have a friend that is making moonshine breeding Kefir Grains (which is where I got mine! Thanks Jennifer!!) and you live local to the Atlanta area, I would be more than happy to share some with you! They multiply like rabbits so I have an endless supply that I would be happy to share. If not, you can order them from www.waterkefirgrains.com. After you get your grains, it is REALLY easy to make the Water Kefir.

1. Take a very clean, quart sized mason jar (or any other glass jar with a good lid) and fill it about 3/4 full with water (either spring water, well water or filtered water, but not distilled because you need the minerals from the water). Add about 1/3 cup of a sweetener of your choice. I use pure maple syrup because I LOVE the flavor it gives my kefir but you can use any sweetener you wish except for honey because the anti-bacterial qualities of honey will kill your sweet little babies. Cover and shake the jar until all the sugar has dissolved.

2. Add about 3 Tbs of the Kefir grains. and then add enough water to fill the jar about 3/4 full. Do not shake the jar after you put your grains in there.

3. Cap and let it sit on your counter for 48 hours. Do NOT shake the jar during this time.

4. After 48 hours, strain the liquid into another jar and set the Kefir grains aside for a moment. At that point, you can either drink the Water Kefir as it is or do a second fermentation. I have always done a second fermentation. To do this, add some fruit to the jar. I've tried grapes, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, lemon, cherries - you can use pretty much anything. I also add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla. Strawberries and vannilla has been my favorite so far. I have also just done a Tbs of vanilla extract in it without the fruit and it really does taste just like cream soda. Recap the jar and let it sit for another 24-48 hours. You can taste it at about 24 hours to see if you want it to sit longer.

5.  Now, take 3 Tbs of the Kefir grains that you strained out and start a new batch with the water and sugar. After that one has been on the counter for 48 hours you should have more Kefir then you started with because they love making babies! You can put the extra Kefir in a jar with some of the liquid and put it in the fridge. This will keep them from continuing to multiply but they will stay fresh for about a month.

6. For more recipe ideas, you can do a search for Water Kefir recipes and you will find tons of them. Most of them really just involve adding about 1/4 cup of fruit (fresh or frozen) to the water Kefir and allowing it to ferment a second time. Be creative and try lots of different types of fruit.

Just a little note... If your Kefir grains slow down and aren't making as many babies, do a batch with about 2 tsp of organic black-strap molasses and they will "wake up". I don't like the taste of it with the molasses so I only do this when I want to give them a little kick start but some people love that flavor as well.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I am!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 October 2012 14:15
 

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