buying and storing bulk foods

Good morning 😉

Since moving to Colorado, I’ve found that I have much more access to buying foods in bulk ( beans, nuts, dried fruit,rices, spices) <—  made a little rhyme for ya 😉

 

Not that I didn’t back in Plymouth ( most health food stores have bulk bins and for the most part, they are far more affordable than buying pre- packaged.

So you grab your plastic bag, scoop your ingredients , place a tag with the PLU of ingredient in the bag and write it on the tag

( I know you know how to do this…  but I have something cool to share that I just figured out yesterday .. grab a cup of tea and stay tuned)

 

bulk itemshere is Saturday’s haul

Yellow peas

White beans

Pistachios ( they were on sale)

Himalayan sea salt

Brown Lentils

Peanuts ( SOOO much cheaper than buying a jar! )

Golden raisins ( used in the kale salad that I made to go with this and that I’m making this

Slivered almonds

 

I have a huge infatuation with ball jars. It’s the inner 1950’s housewife in me.  I also love to reuse interesting jars from pre-packaged food.

I have actually purchased items in the past based on the fact that I loved the packaging and would re use the jar for years to come

 

strawberry-basil vinegarsee the jar that I used to store  Strawberry-basil home- made vinegar … that was a salad dressing bottle  ( I make my own most of the time ) but I seriously loved the jar and knew It would become part of my collection!

 

here’s my new Tip..  I usually try to empty the bags of goods the same way that I scooped it in, through the big wide opening.

Which is WAY bigger the the mouth of the ball jar, and most of the time ends with lentils and chick peas rolling all over the kitchen floor.

Until… I thought of this bulk itemsusing kitchen shears, cut a small triangle int the bottom of the bag. Place the hole into the mouth of your storage jar and it acts like a funnel and will filter down into your jar with no runaways!

 

The only thing that it didn’t work on were the raisins. They were tactile enough that they stuck to the inside of the bag. For those I just cut the bag down the center and using clean hands, scooped them into the jars.

ball jars storage

I’m really lucky to have an open shelving area in my kitchen; But this is not necessary. In my old house I had a bookshelf that I re- purposed to be my grains & beans shelf.beans and grains

 

so no recipe today, just a little tip that I figured out this weekend and i wanted to share.

 

speaking of sharing… allow me to share this amazing Colorado sunset with you!

 

colorado sunsetnamaste, friends 🙂

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simple refrigerator pickles

simple. that is the key here.

have a cutting board?

have a knife?

have a pretty jar?

cool. Then let’s GO!

IMG_0561start by washing your jar with hot soapy water and air dry.

On a stove top, add 1 1/2 cups of sugar to 1/4 cup water and 1 tsp Kosher salt. Bring to a boil and whisk until sugar is dissolved.

let cool.

Start slicing your veggies.

place a layer of cucumbers in your jar,  layer a big slice of red onion, a hot pepper sliced ( poke seeds out of center to make ‘rings’)

sprinkle some kosher salt, a few black peppercorns, a few mustard seeds, peeled garlic cloves, and dill sprigs.
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Repeat.

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make as many layers as you’d like.. I went with 3.

Add 2 cups of white vinegar to water/ sugar mixture and pour over veggies.

using the bottom of a wooden spoon push veggie layers into liquid.

I had about 1/2 inch of veggies that would not submerge, but with in a few hours the veggies softened and I was able to submerge all of them. If you have more room than that, add a little more vinegar.

Cover and refrigerate.

that’t it!

these are simple and tasty and are PERFECT to make ahead . I made these for Ali’s graduation party and they were a hit. ( more recipes from the party coming soon! )

and since we moved less that 5 days later, I sent the leftovers home with 2 of my good friends and rumor has it that they are STILL snacking on them!

so you should make these. and impress yourself.

I did 🙂

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want more cucumber recipes?

check out chilled cucumber soup

and cucumber salad

and panzanella salad

and cucumber martinis

hmm… that last one just gave me an excellent  idea 😉

‘night friends 🙂

veggie chili

Friends.

I’ve hesitated.

I have a veggie chili recipe that I have pretty much been making for years. And I love it. but  I have a really good friend who is sort of a chili making champion.  She lives in Texas and they take their chili VERY seriously.  IN fact.. I have had the pleasure of tasting her chili… it truly is out of this world… You should  can visit her at River Cat Chili.

She is just back form a very big chili challenge that I’m sure she will be telling us all about soon.. and I have seen some of the pics.. and trust me… you wont want to miss this.

Sharing my measly chili recipe has had me intimidated.  But today… I feel strong.  I am going for it!

So the other day I defrosted chicken and had to decide what to make for dinner. Given the fact that I had more then just 2 to cook for, I needed to get creative.

This is my favorite way to cook. I have always said that if I were ever lucky enough to have a cooking show.. that this would be my ‘spin’

Open the fridge… take inventory… combine with pantry items and come up with 3 possible ideas.. and make one.

Which is exact-a-lacktaly what I did.

so what did I come up with? my veggie chili .. cooking the chicken on the side for those who wanted it. It was perfect.

I started by chopping the veggies and adding all but he garlic to a pan heated with oil

season with salt and pepper ( avoid salting the mushrooms)  and let everyone get a nice little crust.

after about 5 minutes, add the garlic, stir together, turn heat off, add wine to deglaze.

Turn the heat back on… once the wine has evaporated add some veggie stock and jarred tomatoes ( these were second to the last batch from last summer.. *snif*)

Let the chili come to a boil, then reduce and let simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir in beans. ( I used beans that I had made in the crock pot and froze.. just because I go throught them so fast, but feel free to use canned)

For the chicken, I cubed it.. tossed it in spices and sauted in oil over med high heat.  Then added chicken broth to deglaze , covered and let simmer until  chicken had reached 165.

At the last minute, stir in some chopped cilantro or Parsley…  I served it with the chipotle cream sauce and it was perfect. ( I added the cooked chicken on top of those who wanted the chicken.

This is easy, healthy and yummy 😉  I finished the rest of it for lunch today with 1/4 of a chopped avocado and some fresh lime juice. It is a perfect meal for a fall day 🙂

* a note on the ghost pepper salt*

I have recently REALLY gotten into finishing salts. I can thank Ryan for this. I make a few of them myself (Lavender salt, Rosemary salt) but I’m a sucker when come across different flavors.  I am lucky That Ryan goes to school near a fabulous little tea and spice chop.. and every opportunity that I have I visit and he and I try out the different salts.

and sugars

and spices

and teas

We came across this one last weekend.. and although the ghost pepper is UBER hot.. ( bought some powdered ghost pepper this summer…  you only need a spec.. this stuff is strong.) I knew I had to buy it.

I have used this every day. yumm..

it’s awesome. like you!

what am I thankful for today? for you .. my readers…  you make my day.. seriously.. it’s nice having y’all as my bffs 🙂

oxoox[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:4]

lentil love

I expressed a few weeks back about how much I truly enjoy LENTILS.
The bonus is that they are so GOOD for you! .. back in my previous life of being a cosmetologist, I had a client who was in her mid to late 50’s and looked AMAZING. Simply Amazing. I asked her how she did it… she told me that she ate a lot of lentils.. I know this sounds silly, but I swear to you , this is true.

I don’t think that I had really eaten lentils except for maybe in soup? They are readily available in just about every grocery store, there are many different kinds, they are quick and easy to make and if you live near a Trader Joe’s ( field trip there for me tomorrow… suggestion on what I should get??) you can buy already cooked lentil in the refrigerator section at Tj’s.

could it be easier? I think not.

My sweet, daughter in law, Amanda ( and future nurse:) *congratulations on Nursing School acceptance!* Started changing her diet earlier this year and has discovered a whole bunch of new foods in the process ( and also lost over 30 pounds in the process!) One of the companies that she discovered was Laurel Hill.

I bought a bag and….. I’m hooked. ( I found these at Whole foods) And as silly as this little recipe is, I feel the need to share this with you because I eat it 3-4 times a week. True love, I tell ya… true love ❤

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:3]

* side note…after an embaressing weight gain I am going to be re joining weight watchers… as soon as I do I will figure out the point plus info for this recipe and come back and edit it for those who are interested*

I have been using coconut oil for about a year now. This is some good stuff. Coconut oils had gotten a bad rap for many years, but researchers are finding that it has amazing health benefits

It can be a little pricey ( around 10 buck a jar) but it lasts a long time and I swear.. it’s worth every penny… I use it to cook my eggs & fry my tofu. If i had a must -have 20 item list in my kitchen, this would be on there 🙂

If you are new to lentils, I urge you to try them 🙂

don’t they look purty on my beans and grains shelf?

xooxox

~shel

barefootgirl in the laundry room…… a give away

who likes to do laundry ?

<— raised her un-manicured hand

who likes to put it away?

<—– pulled her hand down faster than a speeding bullet

Yes, today we are talking laundry…. and not just any laundry, but fun laundry! Eco friendly laundry! Creative laundry. Yes friends, I have something uber-fun for you…….  are you ready?  soap nuts

say WHAT??  yes soap nuts. You are about to learn how to do laundry using nuts  *insert 7th grade giggle here….  we’ve had a lot of giggles here about this exact thing throughout this past  summer*

so what are soap nuts? here ya go… directly from Laundry Tree’s website

LaundryTree SoapNuts are an easy way to “green” your laundry!

Soapnuts aren’t actually a nut at all, they are simply the fruit of a tree (Sapindus Mukorossi), found primarily in the Himilayas. And they are an EXCELLENT alternative to traditional laundry detergents and cleaners.

A FEW AMAZING THINGS ABOUT SOAP NUTS:
  • They are simply a dried fruit — 100% totally natural.
  • Clothes washed with soapnuts will have no scent — and that’s how you’ll know they are TRULY clean!
  • They are organically grown and are free of harsh chemicals, so they are incredibly gentle. (This makes them especially great for those with sensitive skin — including babies and those that suffer from allergies, eczema, and psoriasis).
  • They’re totally biodegradeable, so they’re better for the environment than regular detergent.
HOW DO SOAPNUTS WORK?

The outer shell of the soapnut contains saponin, a natural substance known for its ability to cleanse and wash. (That’s what makes them so GREAT for cleaning your laundry!) And here’s a cool fact: soapnuts aren’t a new concept; they have been used to clean all kinds of fabric for centuries, and are only now gaining popularity in the Americas and Europe as a powerful, yet natural alternative to modern detergents. Having used any number of other detergents, we’re here to say so far man has yet to best Mother Nature in coming up with a genius cleaning agent for clothes.

HOW ARE SOAPNUTS PREPARED FOR USE IN YOUR WASH?

They are simply harvested, de-seeded, and then dried in the sun.  And they WORK — they really, really work!

YUP! they work!

I bought these at the beginning of the summer on Open Sky. For those who do not know what Open sky is, it’s somebody’s (usually famous or famous-ish) personal store where they feature products that they like.. my Open sky store would have

  1. vintage Springsteen stuff
  2. cheese.. and lots of it
  3. wine stuff
  4. jeep stuff
  5. fun ball jars
  6. yoga stuff
  7. lotsa socks
  8. comfy clothes
  9. pictures of Fenway
  10. all of my kids’ artwork on display
  11. chap stick galore
  12. lotsa quilts

So I bought these crazy little things and they arrived. I was very excited… to do laundry??  yes.  they can be used one of two ways….  ( copied from Laundry tree’s website)

  • Put 3-5 soapnuts in the cotton drawstring bag that comes with your order
  • Pull the bag closed. If you desire scent, add a few drops of essential oil.
  • Pop it in the washing machine and wash the clothes on warm or hot.
THAT’S IT!

Take the bag out before you put the laundry in the dryer. You can re-use the same soapnuts for your next load, since they’re good for four rounds. If you don’t have any more laundry to do, just set them aside to dry and you can use them again later. ——> barefoot girl addition to this info —>( this works best in warm/ hot water)

barefoot girl talking form now on… no longer copying form website—-> they can be used for around four times. Simply let dry then use again… Not sure if your nuts still have power in them? *sniggle*

wait.. it gets better….. while they are still wet, simply squeeze them and if some white liquid comes out there is still life left in them

I couldn’t make this up ! nor would I want to… I’m just so happy that I found them 🙂 *I wasn’t kidding about my un manicured hand*

when there is no more life to them, simply compost them :).. BUT>>>> I don’t do that just yet.. set them aside .. I’ll come back to that.

The other way to use soap nuts is to make a laundry soak..  Don’t be a=scared… it’s easy 🙂

again.. copied from Laundry tree’s website.. photos courtesy of moi……

  • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a heavy saucepan with a lid.
  • Turn off the heat and toss 6-8 soapnuts in the saucepan with the hot water. (If you’re using Soapnut Bits, use about 1/2 cup).
  • Cover the saucepan, and let it sit overnight.
  • In the morning, fish out and discard the remaining soapnut shells.
  • Pour the cooled liquid into a container with a lid. (Just about any container will do. We use a pretty antique bottle that makes us smile every time we reach for it. But an old spaghetti sauce jar will work just as well).
  • (Optional) If you’d like your Soapnut Soak to have a scent, add your favorite essential oils. We suggest lemon or tea tree oil for bathroom cleanser, lavenderfor cold water laundry loads, and sweet orange for dishwasher cleaning liquid.

This batch of Soapnut Soak will wash at least 16 loads of laundry. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup for each load. (You can adjust this amount as needed, depending on the size of the load and how dirty the contents are).

barefootgirl talking again —-> when I am boiling my nuts.. ( I can’t control myself here..) I add all of my old used nuts just to get the last little bit out of them…  after letting sit covered overnight… I put my hand in and try to break down what is left, then drain through a fine mesh strainer.

then I add an essential oil to the mixture… for me, clean cotton rocks my boat..

then simply put in a container and use 1/4 cup -1/2 cup depending on the size of the load 🙂

but wait… there’s more.  I still see more *umph* in the nut remains, so I add more water, re-boil and make more… a less- stronger version….  and come up with a killer all-purpose cleaner…. I added lavender to this one and have the prettiest smelling cleaner going. Add it to a spray bottle and you are good to go!

Now.. remember last week when I told you that I was bound to make mistakes (remember, if a word is a different color then click on it and it may make my story make more sense…. then again , maybe not… but it is still worth a shot)

so I was sooooo excited to try to get the finger prints off of my inherited ipad that I poured the soap nut diluted soak right into this cute little spray bottle… and melted it…. *le sigh *

note to self… and my invisible blog friends… LET the mixture cool!!  this isn’t rocket science ( although I have to admit, it kinda felt like it with all the bottles and boiling  and stuff 😉

the top couldn’t even screw on anymore…….. ( I did cut it down so it works and I washed my windows and computer/ipad/phone screens and it works AWESOME!)

so…. there ya go.. a lesson in balls..and guess what? Laundry Tree has generously given my *10* soap nuts sample kits!!  FOR YOU!!!!!!!Yes.. you can do this too!!   ( and trust me, you want to 😉

sooo… if you haven’t already..

  1. like barefootgirl in the kitchen on facebook
  2. share a barefootgirl post on your facebook page… pick your favorite!
  3. have a friend do either of the above… then post on BFG page your name .. you each will get an entry
  4. sign up for barefootgirl email or through wordpress using the links on the blog itself.
  5.  comment about whatever enteres you mind on the blog itself.. simply hit leave a comment… and leave a comment!!!
  6. Share this ( or any barefootgirl post on pinterst).. just shoot me a message on the FB wall or email me at barefootgirl27@me.com so that I know that you did 🙂

you can earn multiple entries!!  Each friend that joins or likes give you at least an extra entry!  So lets see.. today is Wednesday… so I will close this contest Friday at midnight….

so good luck 🙂 and thank you again for reading…

oxoxox friends 🙂

banish boring salads

well… maybe not banish but know that there are options out there.

You know how when you got to a restaurant and some of the fancier salads look sooo good… but you have a hard  time shelling out 13 bucks for a salad..

yeah  me too.  Here’s the thing.. you can make these at home!!  Now I know some of you are like, “duh? is she going to seriously walk us through salad making 101?”

yes. Because I have a few friends whose diets have changed and they need to add more fruits and veggies into their diet & want to show the amazing amount options that are out there. If you already know all of this.. I apologize…. just scroll to the bottom to help answer a question about my next giveaway.

WHOA!!! wait.. YOU!… get back up here.. I’m not done yet.

We’ll start with making a dressing….  yes.. making it is super simple.. and there are 17,000 combinations that you can create… just use a basic formula and add the flavors that you like!

you will need

1~ an acid.. either vinegar, lemon or lime juice, wine….  1/8 cup

2~ an oil…. olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil.. coconut oil ( my new FAVORITE! ) 1/4 cup

3~mustard… again… SO many flavors out there… play with it! 1 tsp

4~ honey.. or maple syrup ( the real stuff) or agave…. 1 tsp

5~ (optional) herbs.. fresh or dried… or sesame seeds, or crushed garlic….. 1/2-1 tsp.. depending on how strong you would like ( always start with less then add more)

6~ sea salt and pepper…..  I have a slight salt obsession as well…..  we’ll chat about this later 🙂 remind me if I forget.

simply add everything to a small ball jars

   put the top on the jar and shake….

you just made dressing 🙂

trust me.. you can’t get that out of a bottle…. anywhere.

I don’t like overly dressed salads, so I usually use about a tablespoon per salad.. if you like more, then add more… I mix it with whichever greens I am using so that they are coated, then place in serving bowl… top with toppings…

like the quiche ‘recipe’  ( are you starting to get my method of cooking… it’s always a formula, then playing with ingredients… because I am a firm believer in  play!  <—- please read this post, it’s one of my favorites 🙂

so.. you will want

1~ green of choice… baby spinach, arugula, mesclun, romaine, butter lettuce..

2~ dressing of choice

3~ ( optional.. ) protein of choice… ( chicken, beans, salmon, beef, tofu, edamame.)

4~ other veggies.. just pile them on!

5~ (optional ) cheese

6~ (optional) something for crunch.. croutons, sunflower seeds, pepitas, sliver almonds

7~ (optional) dried cranberries or apricots or mandarin orange wedges

and  you, my dear have just made a killer salad worthy of any restaurant.

here’s your 13 buckaroos back 🙂

This salad  has

baby spinach

basic vinaigrette

topped with edamame ( I used trader Joe’s ).. about 1/2 cup

black beans .. about 1/4 cup

1/4 avocado, chopped

1/4 cup cranberry goat cheese ( if you are vegan, by choice or m=by force, eliminate it…  the avocado give the same mouthfeel… and you probably wont miss it)

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes

finish with sea salt and pepper..

I ate this for lunch yesterday and it kept me full all afternoon!  ( and peeps ask me all the time where I get my protein from 🙂  )

so be brave…. look beyond iceburg, cukes and tomatoes ( not that there is anything with it, it’s the only way I can get my kids to eat a salad, so I still make it… ) and have fun!!!!

NEEEEXXXXTTT…

I have fallen in LOVE with Greek Yogurt. Have you tried it yet? I buy the non fat plain and it tastes just like sour cream. I sub it out for sour cream all the time.  It is also a perfect base to make granola parfait but also… to make some ‘creamy’ sauces!  like this

Chipotle cream sauce

I used about 1/2 the can of peppers.. if you like it more mild, use less

about a cup of the Greek Yogurt

half a lime

I put them all in the magic bullet looking thing and blended

if you don’t have one of these babies, you could use a blender, just keep scraping down the sides.. or use a food processor.

that’s it folks… does it get simpler than that? I think not.

The girls had this on their tacos last night & I topped my tostada with it.

the girls’ taco filling is made with lean ground chicken, then when I add the taco seasoning ( only half the package… it’s so loaded with sodium.. a little goes a long way.. you also can make your own, considerably knocking the sodium down, but I had it so I used it) and when I add the water I add a can of refried beans. They blend in perfectly… it stretches the filling and boosts the protein 🙂 I’ve been doing this for years..

It also freezes and defrosts well, so you can make double the amount and have it in the freezer for a super quick dinner…. If you need to cook for one, make a batch and freeze it into individual portions…  again.. quick dinner for one

*if you have dinner for one, please do me a favor and do it by candle light.. you are special and should have a nice dining experience.. if you want you can face time me and we can eat dinner together 😉 *

My filling was chopped mushrooms, sautéed  in oil, then  I mashed some back beans and lime juice in, seasoned with sea salt, cumin & chile powder

I placed it on a small flour tortilla that I heated in my cast iron skillet ( I CANNOT say enough how much I love  cast Iron to cook with)

top with cheese ( if vegan, try the daiya cheese shreds.. it’s very good, melts and stretches like cheese and can be frozen.. It is on the pricey side ( $5 a bag) but it does freeze, and I just pull out what I need when I need it )

the I added avocado.. fresh salsa.. Chipotle cream sauce and some plain Greek yogurt..  YUM!  ( and sooooooo easy )

As far as the rest of the chipotle peppers ( I’ve never had a recipe that I’ve used the whole can ) I take a freezer bag & label it… place in a jar

then press out the air & seal

Whenever I need some for a recipe, or a burst of flavor, I just break a piece off! No waste here.. yo!

so now that I’ve made you hungry… I have a question for all of you.

I have a fun company that has offered for me to give away one of their products.  I have the choice…

1~ 1 big gift for one lucky recipient…

OR

2~ 10 small gifts ( of the same item) so that TEN of you can win….

so whatcha all think? 1 big winner or 10 smaller ones???

smooches friends!!  oxooxo

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