Smoked Burgers

Best Burger Ever!!

Sirloin hamburger patties, frozen
Bolivian rose salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Daiya Cheddar cheese
Canyon Bakehouse hamburger buns

Put frozen patties in the stovetop smoker, with hickory chips.  Sprinkle a very small amount of salt and pepper on the patties.  Smoke until internal patty temp reaches 145 degrees.  Add one slice of cheese.  Continue smoking until temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Serve with a little bit of ketchup.


I raided my kitchen and herb garden for tonight’s dinner and this was the end result…

Strawberry Vinaigrette
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp agave nectar
6 large basil leaves
6 strawberries
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Blend in food processor or blender.

I used the vinaigrette on a spinach salad with a couple of diced strawberries, toasted pecans and leftover smoked chicken.  Other variations could include toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts, salmon, gf pasta.  Who knows?!

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 1/4 cup water
4 large strawberries pureed with 1/2 cup water
8-10 mint leaves, torn

Mix well and serve chilled.

Nia bubbles

This is a photo of my niece with a bubble wand that I made for her, using two dowel rods and some clothes line rope.  Each side is approximately 38 inches.  This created some huge bubble trails!  I made a second wand, which is 22 inches across the top and 25 inches on each side.  This also created some big trails, but was best for sending giant bubble blobs up into the sky.  Very cool to watch!!

Giant Bubble Solution
1/4 heaping tsp guar gum (found in the bulk section of Mama Jeans)
1 tsp rubbing alcohol
1 liter water (seperated into 250 ml and 750 ml)
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp Dawn dish soap
1/2 heaping tsp baking powder
Mix guar gum and alcohol in a small bowl.  Heat 250 ml water in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Pour guar gum mixture into the heated water.  Slowly whisk for a few minutes.  Combine in a large container with 750 ml water.  Add Dawn and slowly whisk to avoid creating bubbles.  Add baking powder and slowly whisk to combine.  Let the solution rest for a least 15 minutes.  Overnight is preferred.

Two words – Robot Vacuum.  A couple of weekends ago, I started researching robot vacuums.  I talked to a few friends that own one, watched a ton of YouTube videos and read multiple reviews.  I finally decided on a Neato XV Signature from Bed Bath and Beyond, since they have a great return policy.  I also saved some money with their 20% off coupon.

I have Jinx (Space Camp flashback) on a schedule to vacuum Monday-Friday, while I’m at work.  He starts up at 8:45am and goes until all of the rooms (minus the kitchen because it’s gated off) are vacuumed.  He goes under furniture, which I’d normally have to move to vacuum with my upright.  When his battery starts to run low, he returns to his charging station to fuel up and then returns to where he left off.  Amazing!  At the end of the day, I come home to nice vacuum lines on the carpet and clean tile.
I’ve been very impressed with how much dirt he picks up.

As for the rest of my schedule, I’ve incorporated some multitasking.  While S is in the bathtub, I wipe down the bathroom surfaces with homemade cleaning wipes, clean the mirror and toilet.  After he gets out of the bath, I spray down the tub with homemade shower spray.  Jinx is cleaning the kitchen floor while all this is going on.

I keep a second tub of cleaning wipes in my bathroom and I’m now in the habit of doing a quick wipe down after I get ready in the morning and after I get ready for bed at night.  It takes seconds.  I much prefer this approach over picking a night of the week to clean the bathrooms.

Shower Spray
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol (91%)
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
1 tsp blue Dawn
10 drops eucalyptus oil

Add ingredients to a plastic spray bottle, using a plastic funnel.  Fill the rest of the bottle with water.

Cleaning Wipes
Bounty paper towel, cut in half with a serrated knife and cardboard roll removed
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp blue Dawn
10 drops tea tree oil

Add ingredients to a plastic container and mix.  Add paper towel, cut side down.  Secure lid and allow liquid to be absorbed by roll.

My mom got this recipe from a coworker and passed it along to me.  The first batch, with blueberries and sunflower seeds, turned out great!

Homemade Clif Bars

3/4 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup quick-cooking oats
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (I used blueberries)
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts or seeds (I used sunflower seeds)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine rice cereal, oats, flaxseed, dried fruit and nuts in a large bowl.  Note: I forgot to finely chop the fruit and sunflower seeds, so I put the entire mixture into my Vitamix and pulsed it several times.  I like what it did to the overall consistency.

Combine honey, peanut butter, vanilla and cinammon in a saucepan.  Stir until melted and well-blended.  Pour over the cereal mixture.  Stir to mix well.

Press mixture firmly into an 8 inch glass pan (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray).

Chill for at least 30 minutes to help it set.  Cut into 12 bars.  Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.

** Next time I’ll make them into balls. The bars were a little too soft.

Cherries and lightly salted roasted almonds
Apples and toasted pecansDates and dry roasted peanuts
Chocolate chips in place of dried fruit

I’ve been looking for new recipes to try for S.  This one didn’t automatically sound great to me, but I liked that he could easily pick them up.  I’m definitely happy with how they turned out…in fact, I *may* have eaten several while napped.  I made some honey mustard sauce (half honey, half Dijon) to dip them in, which was really good.  The recipe filled two cookies sheets.
1 lb ground turkey
2 medium carrots
1 large apple
1 garlic clove
1/2 small onion
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup oat bran
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt & pepper

Preheat broiler.

Place ground turkey in a large mixing bowl.  In a food processor or by hand, grate the carrot, apple, garlic & onion.  Add to bowl with turkey.  Add the beaten egg, oat bran, thyme, salt and pepper.  Mix all ingredients together.

Scoop mixture up about 1/4 cup at a time (size of a large meatball) and roll into little sausage shapes, placing on a foil covered cookie sheet.
Place in broiler and broil for 7-10 minutes on one side, then turn over and broil 7-10 minutes more.

Remove and let cool. Store together in a freezer bag or individually wrapped in foil.

Serve with homemade honey mustard sauce.