Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Junque Food - "Stock"-ing up in more ways that one

Yesterday DaHubster casually mentioned that it might be time to make stock.  See, I take our leftover food bones, chicken, beef, pork, and freeze them in bags until I get enough to make stock with. In the summer time, I do the same with all my garden veggie peels and ends.

When I get a good sized baggie full, I dump it all in my stock pot, and throw in just enough water to cover, Bring to a quick boil, then simmer for a few hours.

then I drain the home made stock, and put the liquid into ice cube trays and freeze. Then take the frozen cubes of stock and store them in freezer bags.  Each frozen stock cube is about 2 tablespoons of liquid.

I use the stock in almost all of my cooking. there's no salt, like there is in commercial stock or broth, and a few cubes is a great way to enhance flavors in just about anything you are cooking.

And it's not really a hassle to do, since you don't have to watch the stock pot when it's simmering. You don't have to watch the cubes freeze. 

It's a great thing to do on the weekends, when you're running around cleaning or whatever. Makes for healthier eating too.It's a great way to get a little extra sumpin-sumpin out of bones that you are just gonna throw out anyway. And, best of all, it cuts down on your grocery bill if you dont have to buy broth.

Now, start saving your bones & veggie peelings, people! :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile - Holy Henna Batman!

If you've been reading my blog lately, you know that in addition to giving up shampoo and condition for baking soda wash and a vinegar rince, I have also tried a couple of different things to attempt to bring more red to my head.

My first attempt was with cranberry juice, and you can read it here: Dying my Hair Naturally part 1

My second attempt was with a mixture of ground paprika, olive oil, and cranberry juice, which was post in: Dying my hair Naturally part 2

Both attempts, I'm told will work, if apply almost every day. It takes time to build up the color, but I don't have the time or the inclination to do either of those every day, and then maintain it.

So I started researching Henna.  Henna is a plant based dye that's been used probably since the dawn of time when some cave woman realized that her favorite hunter was casting his wayward eyes at some younger and more nubile female gather, who didn't have shots of gray in her rat's nest of hair.

it's totally natural, and it's totally potent.  I settled on a company that seemed to have clear, concise information about their product on their website, and fast shipping, which is always a plus.  www.hennahut.com is a company located in Spring, TX, and if I'm honest, I was sold on them by their testimonials page, in which happy customers showed before and after pics of their lovely locks.

In an effort to maintain readership, I'll keep this post short, and just show you my before and after shots after applying their color called "Red."



Yeah, I'm not showing a full face pic, because I have NEON RED hair. Which, if I were in my 20's, I would totally be IN LOVE with this color. But in my 40's? Not so much.

I'm dreading going to work on Monday.

What went wrong, you might ask? Did I pick the wrong color? No, I think I left it on too long. The directions say to leave it on anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. I rinsed it out somewhere between 30 to 45 minutes. I always had to leave commercial dyes on the fully allotted times their directions called for.

And I should have done a strand test. But really, can any of you honestly say you ever do a strand test when dyeing your hair? I didn't think so.

But all is not lost: according to the directions and the FAQs on the website, it is supposed to calm down after you wash it 18-24 hours later. I'm just about at the 24 hour mark, and I will be jumping into the shower soon to see how much it will settle down. I'm seriously considering even using shampoo, which is something I haven't used in over a month (check out the No-Poo experiment posts in this blog to find out what that's all about).

Do I recommend Henna. Surprisingly, yes, I do.l My hair feels great, the dye itself doesn't smell harsh like commercial dyes, because there is no peroxide or any chemicals in it. You can't go lighter with Henna, just darker or brighter.  My aim is for brighter, and I believe I'll be able to get a better result out of the shoot the next time I use it. It's all a learning experience, right?

Besides, Henna Hut JUST came out with a new tint called, Strawberry Blond, which, had it been available last weekend when I made my purchase, I would have snapped it up like a really hungry turtle. I've always been a strawberry blond, not a neon red.

(Boy you should have heard the bad words come out of my mouth when I saw they were advertising their new color online - as I was getting ready to mix the color I'd already purchased - Wooo Boy! Was I ever ticked off about that.

So if you  see a person with glowing red hair walking down the street, be kind to her, will you? She's just having a bad hair month...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Junque Food - using up your Easter eggs...

How do you use up your Easter eggs now that Easter is over, and all eggs have been found by the kidlets. Well, unless you lived in my childhood household, where one egg managed to stay hidden for months. It was eventually found in the frame of a large portrait in the living room. None of the adults in the house took responsibility for being too clever to hide an egg where no one would ever look for it.

But I digress...

So, to you just shell and eat your hard boiled eggs? Make egg salad? or how about deviled eggs?

BTW, deviled eggs....doesn't that sound downright sinful for a pagan/secular symbol used to celebrate a religious holiday?

But they are so tasty...whatcha gonna do?

The filing in Deviled eggs is so varied and interesting. There are regional favorite ingredients galore to choose from, as well as family variations that old lady's will fight to the death to get their paws on.

I personally like a simple mix of yolks, mustard, mayo (not miracle whip), sweet pickle relish, and a sprinkle of paprika on top. If I'm feeling frisky, I'll blast it with Sriracha sauce.

But the interwebz has oodles and oodles of different recipes, from the sublime to the haute - and you don't have to fight Grandma for the recipe either...I want to try them all:

Caviar Stuffed Deviled Eggs from Better Homes and Gardens

Ranch Deviled eggs, I like this because the vessel is peppers and tomatoes, a really interesting twist! (also from BH&G)

Or how about Spicy Southwestern Deviled eggs? These sound awesome!  (from myrecipes.com)

and OMG! Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs.  My arteries are crying for their mommy right about now... (from allrecipes.com)

And lastly, this one could easily become my Mom's favorite: Blue Cheese and Bacon Deviled Eggs (from kitchendaily.com). Too bad they didn't have a picture to share.

So, do you hate me yet?  Don't be a h8r, dude...just go make some deviled eggs, and invite me over, OK?

P.S. Don't forget to crush those egg shells and throw them in your compost, or mix into the soil of your gardens...calcium is always appreciated by your veggies and flowers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile - New Steam Mop vs. The Old one

They don't sell my old Shark Steam Mop anymore, so the picture to the left is the closest I could come to it. It is the If you click on it, it takes you to the Amazon.com sales page for it. This one is called the Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop - Model S3601.
I loved it, and was sad when it broke and couldn't be fixed.  Unfortunately, it appears the Shark steam mops do break quite easily, and seem to have a working life of about 1 year. Mine lasted 2, so I was pretty happy with it.

 I also liked this mop because it had 2 different mop heads, one rectangular for doing large open areas, and a triangular one that got into corners and smaller areas. I was easy to switch mopheads, and it was easy to fill with water.  I liked that you could control the steam by a pump in the handle - want more steam? Swipe faster.  I always felt like I got a good workout using it.

So, as I said, the Shark mop died. And I cried. But then I started researching for new mops. What I saw is that if you wanted to spend $$$ you could get are very, heavy, but eminently reliable steam mop that will do everything you want, including cook you dinner.  If I wanted a lesser priced model, I needed to be prepared for it to break within 1 to 2 years.  I found an very precise review of differing machines on Amazon. Click here to read it.

After reading that review, and some others on differing sites, DaHubster and I decided on the Eureka Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer,313A . It was supposed to have hotter steam than the Shark, and it had a no pump-action handle, so it was less likely to break. At $59.00, it was quite a bit cheaper than the Shark, so if it breaks quicker than the Shark did, my nose won't be too out of joint.

The first time I tried the Eureka steam mop, I accidentally overfilled the water reservoir. This caused the unit to not heat properly, and water to run out of the bottom of the mop. What a mess! I changed the cleaning pad, drained the water and tried again.

I couldn't figure out when the Eureka was heated up because it was so quiet (and I had my house-cleaning music blaring). There was no visible steam rising from the bottom of the mop either, to tell me it was ready to go.  My old Shark mop made that Whooshing noise when it was hot enough to use, as well as visible steam) so I had no trouble knowing when to start mopping.  The Eureka also takes 4 or more minutes to come up to tempurature, whereas the Shark mop was less than 2 minutes.

One last thing that I liked more about the Shark was the removable mop heads. I used the triangular head quite often, and it helped get into the corners more than the Eureka. After I steam-mopped the bathroom floor, I had to go around the baseboards with a liquid spray cleaner and paper towel to get the gunk that the Eureka pushed in there, and didn't get picked up by the cloth mop head.

I think you can see that I'm leaning towards liking the Shark mop more than the Eureka.  It's still early in the game, though, so if the Eureka works in the long run, I can overlook the long start up time and the lack of being able to clean corners with it.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile "Dyeing my Hair naturally, part 2

In "Dyeing My Hair Naturally, Part One," I attempted a rinse of all natural cranberry juice, with absolutely no results.  After further researching, I found out that that rinsing color into your hair is something that shows results over time.  But I found other things to try, as well as ways to make the natural "dyes" thicker in order to have it sit in your hair, and not run or drip off.  Olive oil was a good choice, and something that I had on hand.

Last weekend, I made a paste of Paprika, olive oil , cranberry juice (hey, I had to use it up, yanno?). I let this paprika gunk sit in the fridge overnight, and then took it out a couple of hours before I planned to shower, so that it would come up to room temperature. I then washed my hair, using my usual No-Poo method, and while the hair was still wet, I slathered this paprika mixture all over my head, from root to tip. I have to say, it sure looks like it was going to do some good.  Not all of the paprika dissolved into the liquid, so it was a tad gritty, but not too bad.

I decided to let it sit on my head until it dried fully. It took about 4 hours.

After rinsing my hair, I looked at it wet, and I don't know maybe it me being hopeful, but there was a reddish tinge to my hair.  After letting it dry, I checked the mirror again, and nope...really no difference.

DaHubster and my mother both said there was a bit of red in my hair, but I think they were just trying to make me feel better.

It's widely reported over the interwebz that using herbs, flowers, teas and spices to color your hair means doing it frequently, and the color builds up over time.  I'm lazy and I don't want do much more than wash my hair, scrunch it a bit of hairspray, and call it done. I was hard-pressed to dye it with real dye any more than once every 3-4 months.

So, my next experiment will be with Henna. It's apparently come a long way from the 70's when you were told not to use it if you have processed your hair in any way.  I've researched the different companies and looked at reviews, and I chose one company. I should get my order early next week, and I'll let you all know how it goes after I goop it on my hair.

In the meantime, I'm just going to have too look like a mongrel: half blond, half dishwater, and sprinkled with silver. blech.

I want my red back.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile - The Great "No-'Poo" Experiment-Part 3.5

I thought I'd go two weeks before asking Vino and JayBeez what their final thoughts are on the No-Poo experiment.  But I had a situation that I thought would be good to share.

I've been out of commission since last Sunday with a back spasm. as a result, I've not been able to shower or wash my hair since them (it's Thursday right now).

I have to say that if I was still using shampoo, my hair would be a greasy, itchy mess, and I would normally be insane to wash it.  But thankfully, I'm not. Getting into a shower or bending over a sink isn't possible for me right now, so I am thankful that the sebum in my scalp is not over producing anymore. I can fully attribute going No-Poo to the fact that I am not scratching my scalp off with my finger nails.


I will be updating the rest of us this weekend.  In the meantime, I could use some good thoughts for my back, please.