Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday Eats - Crazy for Gravy!

 What are you doing in there Mom?  There's bowls and stuff out.
This must be Saturday if it was Sunday you'd be eating a bowl of that cereal that tastes like packing pellets so you can make it to the early church service.

OH!  SNAUSAGES!!!

Mom's making Dad biscuits and gravy since he took a day off from work yesterday and worked all afternoon putting new glass in the sun porch storm windows.  He's pretty handy at stuff like that like when he spent a day in the basement last winter building a humidifier system into the furnace.  You see,  Mom shuffled across the carpet in her slippers and then touched something metal which resulted in a very loud pop and some HBO words and Dad was sent to Menards. With a 100-year-old house, there's ALWAYS something to keep Dad busy.  So Mom make's sure he is well fed.
I know I won't get any gravy cuz it has salt in it but I WILL get a SNAUSAGE?
These are made with White Lily flour which is made out of soft wheat, not the hard winter wheat you find in most store brand flours.  Many stores carry it all over the country and it makes THE best tall, fluffy biscuits.
MMMM, big chunks of snausage just like Dad likes, not that Snausage dust he had on the restaurant biscuits and gravy he got on the road.  And the gravy is nice and thick, flavored with salt, pepper, red pepper, and nutmeg.

Dad rated it “Best Ever Biscuits and Gravy!”,  I was observed sitting by the kitchen door, drooling on the floor.  Serves 3-4
I kneel before your fluffiness, oh biscuit.

2 cups White Lily brand flour – sifted (this makes the softest tallest biscuits as it’s made with soft wheat, not hard winter wheat)
3 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup cold butter cut into ½ inch cubes
2/3 cup milk to which you’ve added 1 tsp lemon juice and let sit (or use buttermilk)

Preheat oven to 450F

Place dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.

Add butter and pulse til the butter is the size of peas (if you don’t have a processor, mix dry ingredients by hand and cut in butter with a knife and fork).

Put into large mixing bowl and add the milk and honey and stir until it comes together.

Place on a lightly floured surface and knead several times to work the gluten.  Do not overwork,

Pat the dough by hand to be 3/4 to an inch high.

Cut with biscuit cutter, forming a biscuit out of any scraps.  Bake 10 – 12 minutes -until golden brown.

If making for other than gravy – brush tops with melted butter as they come out of oven.
Gravy

Before biscuits go into oven cook up sausage, then start the gravy when biscuits go in

Cook 1/2 package Oberweis Pork Sausages (or 1/2 pound of your favorite meaty or veggie "sausage") in 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (seriously, the Oberweis Sausages are the bomb if you live in the Midwest and can find them).

Remove sausages when cooked and cut into 1/3 inch pieces
In drippings on medium, whisk in

1/3 cup flour
3 shakes salt (from salt shaker)
6 shakes pepper
2 shakes crushed red pepper
pinch of nutmeg

Whisk until flour is incorporated and it’s very light brown and slightly nutty in aroma (about 3 minutes)

Lower heat and whisk in (about half a cup at a time)

2 and 1/2 cups milk (I used low-fat)

Raise heat back to medium/medium-high and\whisk constantly (it should be slightly bubbling) until thickened, about 8-10 minutes.  Stir in sausages and let heat through a minute.  Serve over biscuits.
"Snausage?  For ME?!"

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Two or Four Footed - Do you have Sensitive Skin? - Bend Soap Company

I normally mostly do product reviews on the healthy living blog but these products were so great I wanted to share with a wider group.

Goats Milk toiletries from Bend Soap Company.

Dwight and Marilee Johnson (no relation to us!) and their family of 11 live on a 40-acre farm in beautiful Central Oregon. I know that area well. Back when I was playing airline pilot we had a run  into the Redmond/Bend airport and it was one of my favorite trips as we had a layover long enough to enjoy the amazing scenery.

 As the Johnson's raised a herd of happy healthy goats that ate only good food and were given natural substances to keep them healthy rather than medications that would then end up in their milk – they got the idea of making some soap with it. With a long history as a successful entrepreneur and the support of his creative and clever wife, Dwight's  initial soap soon became a family effort as a result of crafting some soap from their farm’s goats to help with eczema that their young son Chance was suffering with.
Making some goat milk Kefir in my "cowboy wineglass"
 - no milking involved, just a trip to Whole Foods.

Consuming goat milk (which I drink in place of cow’s milk which I don’t digest well) the Johnson family knew the benefits of the milk nutritionally.

• Goat’s milk is full of vitamins, proteins, and minerals
• Is easily absorbed by the body
• And has a pH that is relatively close to that of the human body

Could that also help young Chance's skin if used topically?

They found that by putting a couple bars of their newly created honey and oatmeal soaps into the bath and letting Chance play and soak in the water for 15-20 minutes gave him great relief, and his eczema was practically gone after one week of daily baths like this. This is great news because it’s often recommended that you avoid frequent bathing if you have eczema as it dries out the skin, making the itching worse.
That’s the secret behind their amazing milk bath product. This was one of the first products I ordered, the online ordering easy and the products arriving quickly (with a free sample bar of tea tree soap - thanks!)

Rather than a powdery, strongly scented product like many bath additives, it’s fine shards of the purest soaps with essential oils (except the unscented one)  that dissolves in your bath like a cloud. Goats milk also has natural alpha-hydroxy acids which will gently exfoliate the skin. I used some for the first time last night, the “English Garden” scent, and my husband commented on how smooth my arms were when he gave me a hug as I came out of the bathroom in my pajamas. He also commented on how clean and pretty the scent was.

He then used a bar of unscented goat milk soap in his shower to wash his hair. When we first married and I moved into his home, I noticed he only used this one generic brand of dandruff shampoo. I told him several years later that it must work as he had no dandruff. He laughed and said, “I never have, I just hate the strong scents of drugstore shampoo.” Well, the dandruff shampoo was kicked to the curb. So much of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies that I didn’t want him using a medicated product he didn’t need. He'd found a couple of natural shampoos he liked but he loved the idea of a bar he can use to shampoo as much as he travels in his engineer job.

He washed his fine blond hair with the unscented Bend Soap and his hair was SO soft and shiny. I’m loving the soaps as well, the unscented for my face cleared up some "I can't have acne I'm over 50!" that developed after I used a new sunscreen that my face and rosacea did NOT like. Within two days, my skin looked 100% better. I’ve never been able to use soap on my face, too drying, but the goat milk soap left my skin soft and smooth, didn’t burn my eyes, and calmed the redness that is the bane of rosacea.

Got Pets with sensitive skin?  Made to lather well, the goat milk soap is easy to use on your dog or cat's coat.  It will get their fur clean, but it is a LOT easier to rinse off than most other pet shampoos.  Gentle and non-irritating on the skin it also doesn't contain chemicals that their bodies will absorb, or remain on the skin to be licked off later.  Always do a patch test first like any new product, but Abby has her baths with goat milk soap (a much more expensive brand so I'm happy to find this) since we got her and her fur is SO soft and shiny.

For a shower or bath for we humans, it’s great. Most commercial skincare products are made with a mixture of alcohols, synthetic fragrances, and other chemicals which strip our skin of its natural oils that keep it protected and are intended to defend it against becoming dry, irritated, and unhealthy.  I had a little rubber bucket of assorted bath products for my nightly bath, but I couldn't use them every night or my skin would dry out and itch.  I hadn't learned yet that the GMO oils used in cheap bath products, even those touted as "moisturizing", can irritate and dry the skin.

 The Bend Soap and milk bath have made a huge difference in my skin in only a few days and the milk bath is soothing and inexpensive enough I can use it frequently! I can’t wait to use the goat milk lotion on my face and body instead of the scented products that often make me itchy or break me out.

With the quality ingredients including palm oil, that they ensure is sustainably harvested, it’s no wonder.

So for my book fans and readers some questions

 •Do you suffer from harsh skin sensitivities, like me, spending thousands of dollars over the years trying to help?

 •Are you allergic or sensitive to many skin care products and can’t use them?

  •Are you concerned about toxic products in your body and the effect on you and yur family's long-term health?

  •Would you love to use wonderful products to make your skin and hair soft and supple without spending $9 a bar or $30 a jar?

 Natural, gentle, deeply moisturizing, healing and convenient products from a family run company that's had years of happy customers.  What's not to LOVE.


There's soaps, lip butters, scrubs, lotions, and even a natural deodorant and lots of information on their company and products and it's obvious how close this family is.
I so enjoyed the photos on their website of their children helping with the chores and the production - growing up as I did doing things with my brother around our childhood Western home to earn a little money, learning responsibility, sharing, and commitment to something.  As I look at the smiling faces of the Johnson family, I can't help but think of what wonderful family memories are being made right now as they provide a product that supports and nourishes a community of people.

Go check them out, especially the gift tins with the holidays coming up (and seriously- orange Sugar Scrub? - I am SO ordering that!)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Smore Fun

Abby Lab here - normally when I drive around with Mom when she runs errands on cool days I'm pretty quiet and just lay down on my seat (I have a harness system that keeps me from flying forward in case of a sudden stop but it allows me to lay down).

Until Mom stops at Arby's for a French Dip with Cow Jus if Dad is out of town and she doesn't want to cook.
 But then I just go back to sleep.

Until something just catches my eye.

BARK BARK BARK!  MOM MOM MOM!

They're harvesting the giant marshmallows!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Jurassic Bark - A New Dino Chew Toy


Mom was looking at a newspaper and there was an article about power lines and keeping them free from raptors, and having watched Jurassic Park one too many times, I think she was thinking Velociraptor - not the bird of prey common around here because she then made this sign to go up at work. 



But Mom, sort of being a goofball scientist aside - knows that EVERYONE loves Dinosaurs. So imagine my delight when I got a package from the folks at Chewy with a chewy dinosaur in it! Mom orders from them every month, and with my food order always adds treats or a toy.
It's a  Nylabone Dental Dinosaur!  It comes in brontosaurus, stegosaurus and T-rex (one is chosen randomly).  I asked if it came in "Barney" and Mom said the stuffed Barney met with an industrial accident after she watched 20 episodes back to back with the little peeps.

 Mom picked this one because it's made for "powerful chewers" and she says I could eat a Humvee in 15 minutes if it had a squeaker.
I love my dino!  Mom was a bit surprised as I totally ignore the hard toys and balls in favor of the squeaky, fluffy things I can dismantle.  I also only play with the Kong if there is peanut butter in it. But the dinosaur is awesome!  I was so busy chewing on it, the photo was blurry and my tail was going a mile a minute. I just thought it was fun, but Mom said this will help clean my teeth, reducing tartar and freshen my breath.

Mom finally took it away from me, to give back later, as she says such toys should be only used while supervised, and then it was time for dinner.

The dino held up well.  This large size was recommended for dogs up to 50 pounds. I'm a Lab MIX and am a lot smaller than most labs but I'm still a bit above that limit so Mom just let me play with it a short time, closely supervised, then we put it away.  But with 20 minutes of serious, solid chewing it had only the tiniest of scratches on it and none of the pointy bits were broken off.  I would certainly recommend it for your medium sized dogs for fun and  Mom would recommend it for dental health. They also make a smaller sized dino.
Thanks Mom!

Abby Lab

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday a- Not so Black and White

Little Bird at Rest
Synchronized swimming ducks 
Cornmeal Waffle and Bacon Bourbon Syrup
Shutter Speedy Racer

Run Mr. Rabbit!
The truck is clean, the sky is blue
Antique doorknob 
Bashful Dog and Angry Bird.
Music to my ears
Everybody needs a little notebook or three.
Another batch of pickles for this week's lunches
Time to tidy up - Abby's collected her dog toys.
A Weekend Supper Pie  - Sausage, Broccoli and Four Cheese variety.
OK, we need to walk off that supper.
Watch out for Ninja Cows.
A walk in the park
Miss Abby enjoying the walk with her Dad
Beauty in the smallest of things
Happy Dog

 Red  hair in black and white
I have some medicinal Vitamin "c" in my pocket if needed.
Australian damper bread with golden syrup and afternoon tea
I am so glad you are my people
 Chinese Chicken and Portabellini Mushroom Chopped Salad
 and a glass of Chardonnay.
Time to savor these days
Have a wonderful Sunday (and not a black and white photo - that was the light).
 - LB