Time to Relax! Tub Time!

Soak away the worries of the day…

 

I’m a fan of long, relaxing soaks in the bath tub. I’ve been doing this for years, I think since high school. They provide me with that moment to empty my mind, recharge and refocus. I light candles; bring in some reading material, a large glass of water and I’m prepared to soak for an hour… Love it. I also love scents. I think scents can have a huge impact on how we feel. I used to purchase all kinds of bath products to create this relaxing bath time moment. My soak time included bubbles, powders, oils, salts. You name it, I tried it. I remember even paying $100 for an Asian bath soak at Bluemercury. I was a beauty product junkie. However, now I take a much simpler natural approach and make my own bath salts, which also happen to sometime be cheaper!  It’s super easy too!

Mix together:

3 Cups Epson Salt

2 Cups Sea Salt

1 Cup Baking Soda

Essential Oils

Herbs  Optional

Last night the temperature dropped to a brisk forty-two and I had another stressful week at work.  When I came home from work, I made myself a little snack and poured myself a LARGE glass of red wine.  Then I went into the bathroom and started filling  tub, I needed to soak my stress away for the weekend!

When I make my bath salts, I usually make enough for a couple baths and store them in a Mason Jar.  I also put in some fresh herbs from the garden.  I leave the leaves whole for easier clean up.  Now here’s a tip worth its weight in gold.  After you’ve distress and finished that large glass of wine and it’s time to drain the tub, but oh snap, there’s all these herbs floating in the tub.  For easy clean up, put a washcloth over the drain.  Don’t fold it because it won’t be thin enough for the water to run through.  Now, all you’re left with are the herb remnants.  Simply, get a napkin and whip them up!

Cheers to red wine and baths!

Oh, Granola. Again!

Oh, Granola.  Again!

Homemade Granola

Okay, so every recipe on the internet explicitly states that making granola is simple, extremely simple.  It’s so simple that it took me numerous times to get it right.  The first time I made it, I added all the bells and whistles, which included coconut, coco powder, salt, fruit, nuts, spices and extract.  Needless to say, my boyfriend did not like it, and he eats just about anything.  However, I already knew it wasn’t a homerun, after I tasted it myself and was left with ultimately having to throwing it out.  The next time I made it, which was the following day; the outcome was too dry.  Now, totally obsessed and completely driven to nail this granola, an hour later that same day, I whipped up another batch and it was too wet!  The following morning, I made it again, much better, finally, something edible, but still not right.  So I made ANOTHER batch and yes, if you’re counting, I’m on my fifth batch.  Finally, granola that had the right texture and tasted delish too!  Whew!  Now, I’m about to unleash some secrets that I did not find disclosed on the good old internet.  First off, do NOT add salt!  It doesn’t need it and leaves a strange after taste.  Secondly, after you take your granola out of the oven to cool, if you have quality baking sheets that retain heat, take your granola off the baking sheets, because they will continue to cook.  These secrets could be a little obvious to some, but they were not to me.  Also, the secret is to finding the combo of wet and dry ingredients.  This isn’t always easy because your extra ingredients outside of the oats might not be the same as someone else, which is part of the fun.  The whole point to making homemade granola is that you can control the ingredients and customize your granola to your liking!

Here’s a recipe from the armature gourmet blog that I roughly followed and found most helpful:

Easy Homemade Granola

From “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup whole almonds [Note: I used slivered almonds, and they worked fine.]

1/3 cup whole hazelnuts

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined.

Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them: Gather up some of the mixture in each hand and make a fist. Repeat until all of the oats are coated with the honey mixture.

Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.

Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. Let cool completely. Sprinkle the raisins and cherries over the granola…

Transfer it to an airtight container.

The granola will keep for 1 week.

ENJOY- Rene’

 

Sausage- Stuffed Zucchini

Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini

Every season the vegetable garden, at East Durham Farms’, NY, explodes with zucchini.  I’m sure we’re not unique to this scenario.  Tonight we’re making sausage-stuffed zucchini.  However, this recipe could be enjoyed any time, breakfast, lunch or even for satisfying snack.  And for a bonus, it’s a snap to make.  I remember when I first started courting my boyfriend and visiting the farm, I thought he was living the life, fresh organic vegetables literally right outside his front door.  How amazing?!?  Start a garden today.

 

Ingredients:

1-      Zucchini

1-      Onion

1-      Pepper

1-      Jalapeno

2-      Garlic Cloves (medium sized)

1-      Cup of Sausage (casings removed)

Optional- Cheese

 

The portions or ingredients can fluctuate dependent upon your tastes.  I added extra sausage.  I also added some leftover baby eggplants I had lingering in the refrigerator.  Use your imagination.

 

Directions:

Slice zucchini in half.  Fill a large sauce pan with about half inch of water and boil the zucchini for approximately 8 minutes.  Another option, bake the zucchini for approximately 15-20 minutes, but be sure to clear out the seeds first.  Times vary, which are dependent upon the size of the zucchini.

Slice Zucchini in half

 

Dice the onion, pepper, eggplant, jalapeno and garlic.

Dice Vegtables

 

 

Sauté onion, pepper, jalapeno, garlic and sausage until vegetables are soft and sausage is browned.

Saute

 

If zucchini was boiled clean out the cavity, first.  Then add sausage mixture to the top of the zucchini.  Slice some of your favorite cheese and add to the top.

photo (5)photo (4)

 

Bake uncovered for approximately 18 minutes.  Then place the pan under the broiler, long enough to brow the top.

photo (3)

 

Enjoy.