Tag Archives: Recipe

Sloppy Bellas: A Vegan Version of Sloppy Joes!

Sloppy BellasOne of the things my husband and I have both noticed since changing our diet to full-on vegetarian (i.e., we eat no meat/flesh though we do still eat eggs, dairy, and honey) is that you start to miss certain things. Comfort foods. Childhood classics. Those hearty (often naughty) stick-to-your-ribs meals that feel like a real “treat.”

Which is why I was thrilled to discover a vegan take on the super-classic “sloppy joe” sandwich recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Quick-Fix Vegan, by Robin Robertson. It’s meaty, rich in flavor, and fully satisfying… and feels like a naughty indulgence rather than a healthy, meat-free meal!

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Refrigerator (or Freezer) Jam Recipe: Homemade Blackberry Mint Mojito Jam

BlackberriesOne of the beautiful things about doing so much preserving over the summer is getting a chance to break into our warm-weather bounty in these (horribly nasty) cold-weather months!

An especially tasty gem I had tucked away in the deep depths of my freezer: Homemade Blackberry Mint Mojito Jam. If you caught my earlier post about the Raspberry Rosemary Lemon Refrigerator/Freezer Jam, then you’ll already be familiar with the glorious ease and tastiness of this type of jam-making method.

It’s quick and easy… and allows you to skip some of the more intensive steps required in full-on water bath canning. You can use any size glass container you wish – just be sure it is clean (sanitize setting on your dishwasher, or at least 30 minutes soaked in vinegar and then let air dry).

Also… once you have this made, you’ll be able to make what I’ll be sharing next week: Homemade Blackberry Mint Mojito Toaster Tarts! Oh yes. Yes indeed.

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What’s also nice about this recipe is you can use fresh berries in the summer when they are plentiful (or in cooler months when organic berries magically pop up in your favorite market), but it works just as well with frozen berries. Berries are on EWG’s “dirty dozen” list, so I really do encourage you to use organic if you can.

Similarly, if you’ve got access to fresh mint (either in your own garden or via a local farmers’ market), it will taste fantastic. But in a pinch, you can also use 2 drops of peppermint extract. Not quite the same… but still pretty darn yummy!

7 oz. blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
juice from 1 small/medium lime ( 2-3 Tbsp freshly squeezed)
1 cup water
4 medium or 6 small mint sprigs (we’re talking 1-2 inches on the small to medium scale) OR 2 drops peppermint extract
3 Tbsp cornstarch + 1/4 cup water

  • Combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water, stirring well, and set aside. (After stirring, the cornstarch should be completely dissolved.)
  • In a medium pot, combine the blackberries, sugar, lime juice, and mint sprigs (or extract if that’s what you’re using). Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the mixture reaches a boil, allow to boil 3-5 minutes, until the blackberries begin to break up.
  • If using fresh mint, remove the mint sprigs (forks make this relatively easy) and discard.
  • Add your cornstarch/water mixture and continue to boil the jam for at least 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Remove the pot from heat and allow to cool.
  • Carefully ladel/spoon the warm jam into clean glass jars. (You can use whatever sized container desired; I tend to prefer 4 or 8 oz. glass jars, but there’s no right or wrong.)
  • Allow the jars to cool before placing on the lids. This jam can be stored in the refrigerator for a little over a week and in the freezer for up to a year. (Remember to label with your expiration date!)

DIY Whitening Rinse Recipe: Simple Homemade Whitening Mouthwash

DIY Whitening MouthwashI am an avid tea drinker… some might even say I am addicted to tea. (Some do.) I drink it all day, at all times of the year. I love it.

Unfortunately (and I found this out the hard way), it stains just as bad as coffee. I have experienced a long string of dental hygienists who looked into my mouth and sighed—dispirited by the long, difficult task that lay before them.

Thankfully, my current hygienist (who is awesome) recommended a trick to help significantly decrease staining and buildup. She actually recommended two options… but I latched onto the one that was the simplest and least chemical-laden.

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DIY Deodorant Recipe + Pros/Cons of 3 Natural Deodorant Options

At work...Homemade deodorant was one of those hurdles I balked at when taking on making my own non-toxic personal care products. I guess I was convinced there was no way it would work. Or it would feel funny. Or stain my clothes. Or be too hard.

Luckily, I was wrong on all counts! I started experimenting with natural deodorants after seeing the film Chemerical and seeing continued suggestions that the aluminum found in most store-bought deodorants may be linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. (Not to mention other potentially dangerous chemicals like parabens, pthalates, and SLS.)

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DIY Lavender-Rosemary Laundry Detergent (How to Make an Effective All-Natural Laundry Powder)

120513 029Ah, laundry. Probably even more difficult to crack than the dishwasher detergent, personal care products, or food has been the detoxification of our laundry detergent.

For a long time I used the “green” products found readily in the grocery store, though with a bit of research, it became clear who was greenwashing and who was not… and all for a very pretty penny. (Those “natural,” store-bought solutions never come cheap!)

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DIY Lemon-Eucalyptus Dishwasher Detergent… aka THE SAGA

august_13 091One of the first things we wanted to tackle when we started to de-toxify our home was dishwasher detergent. It’s the item we’re most likely to consume, we use it every single day, and the list of ingredients on most brands is filled with things I cannot pronounce.

“How hard can it be?” we thought. And therein lies what has probably been the greatest saga in our household toward finding a green, chemical-free solution that works as well as the brands we were trying to replace.

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Raspberry Rosemary Lemon Refrigerator or Freezer Jam

Raspberry Rosemary Lemon JamEarly on in my quest to go greener… my mother sent me several links to refrigerator and freezer jams (they are the same thing, just stored different ways). Apparently, my Aunt Lula used to make them all the time – and my mother thought I would enjoy learning the process.

In our DIY-fervor, Andy and I planted LOTS of fruit this year in the hopes we can eventually use our own garden to cover most of our fruit-eating (particularly in the summer). Among the many new plantings in our garden are three different raspberry varieties (purple, red, and yellow).

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