Friday, June 29, 2012

Junque Food - Faux Rice and other things Cauliflower can do for you.

I love Cauliflower in it's natural form. It's always on a veggie tray at family dinner's. I dig it steamed with Mrs. Dash and garlic, and way back in the day when I tried the South Beach Diet, I fell in love with the "Mock Mashed Potato" recipe that was in there. It has become a must-have for holiday dinners.

Now that DaHubster and I are endevouring to lose weight and live healthier, we are trying The Paleo Solution (I hate calling it a diet). I've talked about it some in other blog posts, but essentially, it means giving up all processed foods, grains, and dairy. As a diabetic, I try to stay away from processed foods in general (except when I'm weak and cave), and I've been on and off lactose intolerant for years. That means the hardest thing for me to give up is grains. No bread? *cries*  I love my homemade bread.

Ok, ok, quit crying.

Without lifting a large portion of the book (and putting you all to sleep in the process), the gist of it is that grains are not well digested by the body, and people have varying degrees of bad things happening in their guts when they do attempt to digest grain.  The one that's pertinent to me is inflammation. Do your joints hurt you constantly? Mine do. And I felt a lot of relief in them just by giving up grains. Only after a couple of days, I was moving around better, quicker, and with more energy than I have in a long time.  If giving up bread, pasta, rice and the like is the cause of me feeling better, than I'm going to continue. Because I've felt like crap for eons, and it's nice to not feel that way anymore.

Ok, quit preaching and get on with the recipes.

So...cauliflower.  Natures faux rice.  The interwebz and the books we've been picking up use a lot of riced cauliflower in dishes that call for rice.  We've tried some of them, and have been pleasantly surprised.  No, it doesn't taste like rice, But it does bulk up our dishes like rice does, giving us that satiated feeling, without the hunger in a couple of hours, like you do when you eat take out Chinese.

I'd resisted ricing a cauliflower, because I thought it would be a pain in the ass.  Not so.  Cut up a head of the 'flower into smaller florets. Then pulse them in a food processor until they look like grains of rice. I have to do it small batches because I have the smallest (and loudest) food processor in the known universe.  Put the cauliflower in a container and throw it in the fridge, and it will last about a week.

One head, depending on the size will give you 3-4 cups of "rice."  Here are some of the things I've used it for:

Califlower Pizza Crust.  OH YEAH, BABY....God's most perfect food, made low-carb and totally yummy.  Not entirely Paleo, as it does have cheese in it, but Mammit, I'm not perfect.  And this crust us yummy. So says even my mother, who hates cooked veggies.  This recipe is every where on the Webz now, but I originally saw it on and did I mention that it's yummy?  My only change to that recipe is that I would pre-bake the crust longer at a lower temp than she calls for. My crust was a bit soggy in the middle. But utterly edible.

Paleo Dirty Rice. The Hubster made this as a side dish because I'm constantly complaining about the amount of salads we eat.  I mean come on. What to make as a side when you don't want to eat grain? Make this. "Totes to the Yum" as I said when I did it this. You can probably add in some lean meat and make it a whole meal. Was great stuff.

Faux Fried Rice. I didn't really use a recipe, but I hunted around, and this one looks unusual, but really good.  If you like to experiment, I say go for it. I like the addition of bacon and fish sauce, and will definitely have to give this one a try.

My Faux Fried Rice was more basic: onions, peppers, tiny cut chop suey beef, and eggs. And it was PHENOM. Definitely something that will become a go-to at our house.

So yeah, there you have it. We love it, and it's an easy way to incorporate a few lower carb meals into your life.  And if you do try, see how it makes you feel afterwards. You might come to the same conclusion that I did.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile - 80 uses for coconut oil

I saw the link for "80 uses for coconut oil" on Face Book from a site that I have befriended called "Homestead Survival". They post links to websites that they think might be interesting or helpful to people who Preppers, or just want to live economically or sustainably.

Their website is:

"80 uses for coconut oil" comes from, and this was my first time visiting this website. Some of the claims for coconut oil seem to be a little far fetched, but I still thought I'd post it here so that people can see some of the more mild health benefits of this wonderful stuff.

I use coconut oil in cooking and beauty care.  I frequently use it for a deep conditioner for my hair. On the weekend, I will wash and then slather on the coconut oil and leave it in for a day or longer. By the time I have to go back to work on Monday, I rinse or wash again, and that's all the conditioning in need for the week.  I also rub it on my legs, feet, arms, and face after a shower deeper moisturizer than I get from commercial lotions.

What I like about it for cooking is that it's solid until temps reach 75, then goes liquid. that makes it great for mixing. And it makes some awesome fried eggs! The only thing we found we didn't care for using it with is making popcorn. We need the oil to get hotter before smoking for popping, so this doesn't fit the bill.

It also has a long shelf life without going rancid, unlike a lot of other oils. So stock up! It's pretty cheap, too.

So go read the wonders of coconut oil. As I said, your mileage may vary with some of the claims on that website.  But then again, it's not going to hurt you to try, right?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile

Just a general update, no big whoop.  :)

It finally rained here at the micro mini-ranch. I sat outside Saturday afternoon, and gave myself a pedicure while the rain beat down on the dehydrated lawn. We had lightening and thunder, and a great breeze, and was a wonderful way to spend an hour, scraping my feet of the ravages of winter, while the rain cooled everything off.

DaHubster and I have been cutting down our intake of grains, starches, and dairy, to wonderful results. My joints and back feel better than ever. He and I have both lost around 10lbs each over the last month or so. The more I practice the Hunter/Gatherer lifestyle, the more I find the benefit in it. I'm not perfect at it, and I still crave breads and sweets, but I'm getting better. And feeling better. It's wonderful.

I had planted some annual flowers in my front garden to offset all the perennials, but some hungry bunny came and ate all the blooms off the alyssia, verbena, and lobelia. Hope that  made a nice meal for you guys!

I need to plant more flowers, it's looking a little utilitarian in the back yard with only veggies, fruits, and herbs. I pin a ton of ideas in my gardening folder on Pinterest, but never actually do anything with it. I really should rectify that.

For those that were following our No-Poo experiment, I'm still not shampooing. Baking soda is all I need to keep my hair clean, and healthier looking. I've also switched from commercial dyes (I'm not a real redhead, heh), to henna. That's been an interesting ride.  Henna is pretty powerful stuff, but there's not chemicals. I'm a darker redhead, than I used to be, but I like it.

I'm going to need a project soon. Not just the gardens, which are a project themselves. I have an old desk that I've posted about, that I keep wanting to fix up, because it's an ugly eyesore. Maybe I'll get the gumption soon to drag it out, sand it down, and get a new top put on it. I've been eyeballing mosaic designs online. I need to find cheap or recycled materials to use to get that done. If I can come up with a color scheme for the top, I'll know what color to paint the legs.  decisions, decisions....LOL.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Carpenter Bees in the Junque Yard

I'm mainly referencing this article, because the behaviors of the bees are spot on.

I have had a growing problem with carpenter bees chewing up my back patio overhang.  As the article suggests, it's a relatively untreated wood, and probably the only untreated wood I have on my property.

And carpenter bees think it's yummy.

The first time I saw it happen, I had NO idea what was going on.  The big fuzzy bee was making crunching noises right in front of my eyes.  Then there was a pile of wood dust on the ground below it.  Overnight, there was a hole in my wood.  I was fascinated, and yet knew it was probably very disruptive. So I started reading about it, and yup...the momma bees release a pheromone that the babies remember, and come back to in the fall.  We plugged up that hole, and kept watch over the summer. Nothing happened, and no other holes were made.

The next couple of years my porch didn't see much action, and I was relieved.  Maybe that one bee released a pheromone that said, "NOT WELCOME HERE."

But this year, the bees are coming in droves. We've got 2 new holes, and we've been doing what we can to get the bees out of them.

I am so against killing bees with the bee shortage out there. We need them to pollinate our food plants so badly that in California, there are bee keepers who keep their hives on trucks, and just driving around to various orchards so that the trees can be pollinated.


Bees are dying left and right, due to something called "Colony Collapse Disorder." Which is fancy phrase that means scientists don't know why colonies of bees are just dying. It's been having for many years now, and the closest thing that can be attributed to it is insecticides and human progression eating up the land and giving the bees no where to go.  Lately, I've seen something about mites on the bees that are also part of the problem. But I bet the mites have been around forever, and it's a smoke blowing technique to take the blame off of insecticides.

But that's me...I'm a conspiracy theory nut.


I've toyed with the idea of keeping a hive. In the city, I don't have much to fear from animals (like bears) ransacking beehives. Heck, I've never even seen a deer around the neighborhood. Not that deer are a threat to bees. But you get what I'm saying.  But I can't afford the liability of my neighbors getting stung. And really, I don't want to get stung (I do have a few girly traits that pop up here and there)

So I compromise, and try to go lots of things with pretty flowers that encourage bees to stay in the area. All my neighbors have gardens in one fashion or another. From container gardens to raised beds, to flower and rose gardens, we run the gamut here. And we all share produce and plants, which I think is pretty cool.

But I cannot have bees chewing my patio overhang until it falls down around my ears.'s a struggle. But a worthy one.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Junque Yard - year of the fruit

I am hereby declaring 2012 the year of the fruit.  While my tomatoes and peppers are doing all right, they are not growing as quickly as I'd like.


the fruits in my garden are doing gang-busters.

Strawberries - now that they can breathe from having been weeded, have so many unripe berries that the plants can barely stand up.

Raspberries - my canes are flowering and fruiting, and we will have the BEST harvest of them yet.

And even my poor old, decrepit peach tree, struggling to keep up appearances so I don't chop it down, has set an enormous load of peaches.

Now if the leaves would just stay on the poor old guy....


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Junque Food & Junque Yard - Do you eat what you grow?

DaMan recently read The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf, and is very into trying it.  I've been teasing him that his caveman side is showing, but I'm game to try it with him. Basically it tells the science behind why it's good for your body to eat what the hunter/gathers did. They were healthier than we modern humans are, they were taller, lived longer, and had very few incidents of major diseases like cancer and infertility. Why? When did it all change? The author believes, and has quite a bit of science to back it up, that when humans shifted from a hunter/gather lifestyle to an agrarian one, cultivating grains, is when we started getting sicker.

Well, I happen to know a lot of people with gluten intolerance. You can't swing a dead cat in the blogosphere of the interwebz without hitting some helicopter Mom who's rabidly promoting the health benefits of doing without processed grains. Junior is happier, healthier, and able to function by not eating bread or twinkies.

I might have been a little over-sarcastic there, but the point remains: eating lean meats, pure unprocessed fats, and a ton of leafy veggies is better for you than 85% of what you'll find in your local grocery store.

I'm a fat 40-something with diabetes and arthritis. I know that when I eat a few really good meals that are lower in processed carbs, I feel great. I also no that if I follow it up with a meal or two from the drive thru or the middle isles of the grocery store, I can barely move from the pain in my joints, and want to sleep ALL THE TIME.

So, if you haven't started a garden yet, why not? is space an issue? Container garden, or learn how to garden vertically. You think you have a brown thumb? I think cavemen all had brown thumbs (antibacterial soaps were around back then).

Just get yourself some butter crunch lettuce seeds and some baby spinach seeds and put them in a pot.

Water it every couple of days.

In about 30 days, you will have a salad that you can be proud of.

Go ahead and eat it.  You'll love it.

if you are interested in reading more about why a lot of us are sick, overweight, infertile, and more click on the link and get  The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet in: 0px !important;" width="1" /> by Robb Wolf. He's a decent writer, has the science background to back up what he says, and is pretty funny to boot.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Junque Yard, things are plodding along....

I keep buying plants and  not planting them. It's a sickness, I know.

I've got a sugar snap pea seedling that I bought 3 weeks ago, that I haven't potted yet. Most people are already harvesting their sugar snap peas, and my poor lil guy is just sitting in this blister pack, looking at me forlornly.

I also bought a chocolate mint plant and a pineapple sage plant, mostly for their smell (they do give me quite a boost) and I haven't potted either, either.

yesterday, I bought a few annuals to put in the flower garden. Mostly verbenas.  I just watered the gardens in preperation for the hot day ahead, and weeding at the sun allows. I figure once the majoirty of the water has soaked in, I'll go plant those flowers.

yeah, right.

I've been meaning to plant pumpkins and some summer melon seeds I have, and I haven't done that yet either.

I thought my strawberries were doing gangbusters...tons of berries and foliage, so much so, I couldn't see the soil underneath the plants, until earlier this week, when it was pointed out to me that the majority of the leaves were weeds, and they were choking out the strawberries in a big bad way.

I suck.

But you know what?

I'm still having a blast.

Even though I still have to take it easy (my back is still pretty fragile), I'm at least doing it. Doing what I can. And I can still get my zen on, earbuds in place- listening to podcasts - while I weed and tend things around here.

Now if I could just hire a maid to clean inside while I'm outside, life would be golden.


Happy Summer, y'all....