Sunday, December 30, 2012

(Herbal) Iced Tea Recipe

This is SO simple and a healthy alternative to soft drinks. When I first started serving this, I really did it for myself. I don't drink the sugary lemonade that I make (from concentrate) that the rest of my family likes. I would warn guests that it was only lightly sweetened with stevia and was more like a flavored water. But people do drink it and I serve it regularly now. It does not go in the same quantities as the sugary stuff, but that's OK by me since I enjoy it. :-)

  • In a clean glass jar (old honey jar) I put 6-8 tea bags with the tags on the outside. 
  • Add filtered water to the top. 
  • Set it in the sun (this will also work without sun, by the way but better in the sun) for an hour or so--this does not have to be exact.
  • Squeeze out the tea bags to get every drop of flavor and toss them
  • Use half the tea concentrate to 2 liters of water and one packet of stevia
  • Serve in a pretty pitcher or carafe
If it makes you happy, you can of course garnish with real fruit pieces or cinnamon sticks. 

I make two kinds of tea blends: in the summer months I make a combo of the fruity teas: cherry, plum, strawberry, hibiscus, etc., what ever you love. You get a bright color for the concentrate which becomes very pale when diluted, but it's still pretty. Alternatively in the winter months during colder weather, I use the spicy teas that are mostly cinnamon flavored. You can use any flavor you love and you don't have to use only herbal teas.

Stevia is a natural plant extract that is used as a sweetener. It has an unusual taste and I have found that if you just use a small amount it tastes best. It can be an acquired taste, and not everybody likes it. It's worth repeating: if you don't like the taste, you might be using too much.

I also add a few drops of the liquid stevia to my lemon water and it helps me drink more during the day.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Emergency Preparedness

Whether it's a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake, or a man made disaster like war, every home can take action to be prepared. This post is not complete but a beginning. There are many, many resources on the Internet and government websites as well.

If you see that I should add something to this list, please comment or send me an email and I'll edit this post.

First of all, every home should have a three day supply of bottled water. That's enough water for each family member for three days and that adds up to a lot of water. The number that comes up most is 4 liters of water per day per person.
Tip: when you finish a bottle of bleach, just fill it up with tap water for emergency use. That water can be used for cleaning or flushing if need be. If it is pure bleach, the water can be boiled and it will become potable. If it has soap in it, do NOT boil, use it only for cleaning or flushing.

Non perishable food supplies, also for three days.
Canned goods: fish, fruit, veggies, beans, I also love to have stuffed grape leaves
Dry goods: cereals, crackers, nuts, dried fruits, granola bars, cookies or other comfort foods
Other canned goods: peanut or other nut butters, tahini, jams, honey

Here are some other supplies you should have on hand:
Flash lights plus extra batteries and/or candles
Baby supplies: formula, cereal, diapers, wipes 
Medications: over the counter pain medicine as well as a reserve of prescription meds
Feminine hygiene products
Battery operated radio plus extra batteries
Sturdy shoes (there can be a lot of debris to clean up after a disaster) and work gloves
Toys or stuffed animals for kids (crayons and paper, cards etc), games
Books, both spiritual and other, include for each family member. 

First Aid Kit:
Adhesive tape
Meds (both Rx and over the counter)

Family Papers:
Have a list of all doctors and phone numbers
Have all medical insurance cards or copies
Passports, ID cards

Family planning: 
It's possible that not everyone will be home in a disaster. So be sure everyone in the family has an out of town number for where to check in, in case phone lines are down or busy.

Make sure that children are prepared with what to do or where to go in the event of an emergency.
In Israel:
Kids who could be home alone in Israel should know where gas masks are stored.
Know where your closest bomb shelter is and make sure it's either unlocked or that you have a key!

Many sources teach that you should have a To Go Bag of supplies that are packed in case you need to evacuate suddenly. That's another list which I'll post later.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What Should I Pack???

What should you pack when you travel?
Here's a tool to help you travel light!

Here's a nifty little tool that asks you some questions about your trip plans and then generates a suggested packing list. Of course it's up to you to decide if it's relevant for you.

Here's the link:

I found this from a neat blog called

Safe and happy travels!

Friday, August 17, 2012

How to Chop an Onion

I came upon this video randomly on (it's what I do when I want to play around) and gave it a try. It is a wonderful way to chop an onion and I really do get burning eyes less with this system!

Fish Recipes

Here are some recipes I've found online that we've made at our house.

This one is a new family favorite. That means there's never any leftovers!

We don't always have the exact spices for the recipe so we use what we have and it's always been divine!

We've made this one too and it's pretty good as well.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Easy Zucchini Recipe

Simple to make and looks like a party! Yum!
This one is easy shmeasy, just the way I like though it does take a wee bit more time.

First, peel your zucchini or yellow squash (or not, how ever you like). Leave the thick stem on! Then slice the long way up to the stem.

Place the prepared squash in the baking dish. Now add slices of peppers or onions or any other veggie you want in between the slices of zucchini. This adds color and flavor. You now have a kind of fan.

If desired: drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and crushed hot pepper or any other herb blend that you like. (I do love Mrs. Dash!) In the photo above I added cherry tomatoes for the added color and decoration.

Bake uncovered until tender in a medium oven.

Makes a great presentation and delicious too.

Enjoy! <3

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Non-dairy "cheese cake" recipe

I found this recipe on the Internet. It's all over the place so I hope it's ok that I'm jumping on the band wagon. It's a great recipe. I've made it a number of times and it's always a hit. I've changed some things in the recipe so it's actually a little different than the original. The photo is a "cheese cake" I made with a blueberry topping (used frozen blueberries). The first year I made it my daughter also made a chocolate cheese cake and side by side they disappeared at the same rate. :-) (Also I have substituted walnuts or pecans for the crust.)

Just Like Cheesecake
- by Emily Lee Angell

Makes: 24 slivers
Special Equipment: Food Processor

For the Crust:
2 cups raw macadamia (or walnut, pecan, or almond) nuts
1/2 cup dates, pitted
1/4 cup dried coconut (optional)

For the cheese:
3 cups chopped cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
3/4 cup lemon juice (or lime juice)
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt (optional--I never use this)

up to 1/2 cup water as needed for the "cheese" filling

For blueberry sauce:
1 bag frozen blueberries
1/2 cup dates

To make the crust, process the macadamia nuts and dates in the food processor. Sprinkle dried coconut onto the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch springform pan. Press crust onto the coconut. This will prevent it from sticking OR line the pan with parchment paper. This will make wavy wrinkles in the sides of the cake but I think they look nice. Put this in the freezer while you make the filling.

To make the cheese, blend the cashews, lemon, honey, gently warmed coconut oil (do not use microwave), vanilla, sea salt (if using), and 1/2 cup water. Blend until smooth and adjust to taste.

Pour the mixture onto the crust. Remove air bubbles by tapping the pan on a table.

Place in the freezer until firm. 

For the topping, put most of the blueberries in the food processor with the dates until creamy, then mix with the whole berries and pour the mixture over the firm cake, back to the freezer until you're ready to defrost for serving.

Remove the whole cake from the pan while frozen and place on a serving platter. Defrost in the refrigerator. 

Once the cake is defrosted, it does not need to go into the freezer again. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Natural Oven Cleaner Recipe

A couple of years ago I went to visit a friend for the week-end. She started coughing up blood and I spent several nights in the hospital with her instead. The suspected a terrible lung disease. Later on they figured out she had likely inhaled some of the oven cleaner she had been using!

If it's Passover cleaning or spring cleaning, keep it safer with this cleaning paste. It's worth it to put in the extra effort for your health.

I saw this and just had to share. I really want to keep this recipe in my world. It's from another website with great photos:

(There are comments with that post that just a paste of baking soda and water would do the trick and you need to leave the oven cold!)

Let me know if you have other recipes or links to natural cleaning.

To your health!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Eat to Starve Cancer

This is a very enlightening talk by Dr. Li via Ted Speaks.  Below is a list of the good foods to eat that will actually starve cancer. And the wonderful benefit? These are wonderful foods to enjoy in a healthy diet anyway! (list of top 33 foods below) What didn't make it to his list below is the cooked tomatoes that seem to be good for men in particular.

How about a breakfast smoothie with some of these wonderful fruits? 
Add turmeric to lots of things you cook: chicken, rice, sauces, etc.
Pumpkin soup in the fall. 
Try my favorite salad dressing: Lemon juice, (cold pressed, virgin) olive oil, and salt.

Green Tea 
Red Grapes 
Red Wine 
Bok Choy 
Maitake Mushroom 
Sea Cucumber 
Olive Oil 
Grape seed Oil 
Dark Chocolate 

Maybe a happy, grateful attitude is the most healing of all. Check out my website for ways to minimize the hard stuff of life and increase the joy and serenity: 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Easiest, Yummiest, Healthiest Bar-b-que Sauce Recipe

This is so fast and always a hit at my house. I don't think there's an easier recipe for BBQ sauce than this one! Plus, no white sugar if you're careful with the tomato paste you buy (I make sure the tomato paste I buy is 100% tomato, you really have to check the ingredients).

Sooooooo simple:

1/3 part tomato paste
1/3 part tamari (or soy sauce)
1/3 part selon (date honey) or other sweetener (like maple syrup or agave)

Stir it together well and brush or drizzle over your meat or fish.  This will keep well in your fridge for days. If you're not going to use the whole batch you make remember to be careful about keeping any sauce "clean." By that I mean don't re-dip your brush or spoon into the sauce once it's been used on raw meat, chicken, or fish.

You can make this in a small quantity of 1/3 cup each. Or, if you're having a big bash or want to have some ready in the freezer by making portions, you can just up the measure to a cup or more, what ever will serve  your needs.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Green Potatoes

Do your potatoes ever turn green on you? It really bugged me that my potatoes sometimes turn green so I looked it up. I thought maybe there was something unnatural going on. Turns out, it's very natural! Potatoes turn green when they are exposed to light! That is the chlorophyll that is developing. BUT, it's NOT a healthy chlorophyll. It's got a chemical that is not good for you. So, don't eat the green. Cut it all out of the potato.

So, if you're not going to prepare your potatoes right away, keep them out of the light. If you can, store them in a dry, dark place, that's the best. 

At my house, I'm afraid that if they're not in my veggie basket I might forget about them and then they'd rot. So my big idea is to keep them in their same place only to cover them with a thick, dark dish towel.

Thanks so much to zabmo and for the perfect photo!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to Clean Your Bathroom in Five Minutes or Less

The way to make housework easy is to get a system going. I call it "the flow" (especially important in the kitchen but that's another post for another time). 

Marla Cilley aka the FlyLady inspired my current evolution of the system I have for my bathrooms. She teaches people to clean their bathrooms every morning with a quick "swish and swipe." I love that! But let me break it down for you exactly in simple steps how I complete a "swish and swipe."

  1. Get a clean rag, toilet cleaner, and glass or all purpose cleaner which is stored in each bathroom.
  2. Lift the lid and seat to the toilet and apply toilet bowl cleaner into the bowl, then put it away.
  3. Spray cleaning solution onto mirrors and wipe clean with your rag.
  4. Spray cleaning solution onto the faucet and sink, wipe clean with the same rag.
  5. Swish/Clean toilet bowl with a brush. Lower the seat.
  6. Spray cleaning solution onto the top of the toilet seat, then lift the seat and spray underneath and the top of the toilet bowl.
  7. Close the lid, spray the top of the lid and behind the lid on the rim of the toilet.
  8. Take your same rag and in this order wipe off the top of the lid, under the lid, the top of the toilet seat, the underside of the toilet seat, the rim of the toilet. 
  9. Close the lid and use the rag to wipe off behind the seat on the rim.
  10. Fold the rag inside out and wipe the base of the toilet (spray with more cleanser if you have boys who miss).
Done. Five minutes or under. Do this daily or a few times a week to keep it simple. As FlyLady says, "Nothing says 'I love you' in flu season like a clean toilet bowl." (We should never know from such things!)

To your health!
Aunt Laya

Thank you so much to and phaewilk for the perfect photo! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

GMO produce

I do find it disturbing that there is a whole industry designed to genetically alter fruits and vegetables. It's not a comfort to know there could be genes of insects or amphibians or something in my produce. Yikes. Here's a link to an article that came to my attention about how to recognize GMO produce in US supermarkets. 

It's getting more and more compelling to buy organic. I'll give my garden another go this spring. It didn't do that well last spring and summer but the idea is that you keep learning, right?