Monday, June 6, 2011

DIY Sprinkler

So last week the temperature started to rise FINALLY! It got into the 80's and so it was time to break out the sprinkler for kiddos. I went downstairs only to find that our sprinkler was broken. So I did what every person does when they need to fix something, I called my mom! Don't you? She said,"Funny you should ask because I got this email today, I'll send it to you and maybe it'll help." OK..

So inclosed in the forward was this picture:

Yup. Not going to lie, I laughed and thought it was a bit, um... ghetto. I was in a pinch and promised some sprinkler action. I will admit, it's pretty creative AND you're recycling!
I went through my recycle bin and hunted around for a 2 liter bottle, but since we really don't drink soda around here I couldn't find one. Darn! I did have a smaller version, and this is what I came up with:

I apologize for the bad quality (taken with the phone) and I could've found a better spot in the yard and not the one section where I cannot get grass to grow, but you get the idea.


Old hose that you can cut up
2 liter bottle (or similar)
Heavy duty tape (I didn't have duct tape, which probably would've been best, but packing tape sufficed)

I cut the hose about 3 feet from the part you would use to attach to another hose (or facet). Then on the cut side I wrapped the hose a couple times with tape so it would fit snug into the bottle. I then poked holes all over the bottle. I put the hose inside the bottle about an inch or two. I then wrapped the tape around the bottle and hose a few times making sure it was snug and to prevent any water leakage. I then connected it all to my good hose and turned the water on! Voila! DIY sprinkler in about 10 minutes! Be careful to turn the water on slowly so that the bottle fills with water slowly. You can then increase water as needed after water starts coming out of holes.

I don't imagine this working forever (or even the whole summer), but for now, it does the job! It's not ghetto if you're recycling and if the kids are having fun!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oh My Beans!!!

Yeah, I know, but just hang in there with me....

So last week I went on a bean cooking/baking spree. It all started with hummus. I spend a lot of money on hummus and figured, given the ingredients, it's got to be cheaper to make than it is to buy. So I got my behind to the store and bought a bunch of cans of chickpeas. Another main ingredient is tahini, which my local grocery store did not have and I was too lazy to go store to store to find some with kiddos in tow. I figured I could make do without.

That very same week, as luck would have it, a blog I follow had a recipe for these Chocolate-Chip Blondies, made with... you guessed it, chickpeas!!! They are Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. For my benefit, they were basically pretty healthy and low in calories!. An since I've been working out a lot, of developed a sweet tooth that had never really existed, so I thought I'd give them a try. Plus a friend of my mom is allergic to gluten and has a hard time finding tasty desserts, I figured if they turned out OK, then I could send some her way.

So first came the hummus.

Turns out... you probably should use tahini. This turned out pretty good, and of course I ate it all, but it did feel like it was missing something. I searched a lot of recipes and created my out based on what I saw.

Tahini- Free Southwest Hummus

1 can (15 oz) Garbanzo beans (Chickpeas) drained
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Almond Butter (to sub for the lack of tahini)
1 diced green chili pepper (from the can, you can also use about 2 tablespoons of the pre-diced)
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp Capers

Throw all the ingredients in your blender, food processor, or Magic Bullet (that's what I used) until creamy and enjoy! I should probably note that it's a good idea to save a couple tablespoons of the Chickpea juice from the can so that it's not too thick and blends a little easier.

I put hummus on just about EVERTHING, so this was nice to have on hand. Suprisingly, the calories were a little higher for this than my normal hummus, so I'm going to try to figure out how to make it a little less. This came out to about 85 calories per serving (2 tbsp) and my store bought is about 50. Mine was a little thicker, and theirs is more of a whipped consistency, so that my have something to do with it.

Moving on...
I came across the recipe for Chocolate- Chip Blondies, and I have to say they turned out VERY tasty! The kids loved them!! So I didn't feel so guilty about giving them (or myself for that matter) just one more piece. That being said, they were gone so fast I didn't even get a picture! I did make their cousin Snicker-doodle Blondies (turns out Mom's friend isn't a big chocolate fan).

So yum!!! Nice and chewy and downright... well... yummy!

I changed both recipes a little for what I had. I used 1/4 C of Splenda Blend (a prepackaged blend of Splenda and real sugar). So your actually only using 2 tbsp of sugar total. I found out that they have a Splenda Brown Sugar Blend so next time I will try that. Splenda is the only non sugar sweetener that I can stand the taste of, so I use it a lot for coffee and such. I also used Almond Butter for the 'nut butter' since mom is allergic to peanuts. I only used 2 tbsp instead of 3 (for calories) and upped the applesauce to 2 tbsp for consistency.

The third part of my bean extravaganza was Black Bean Burgers. I really love burgers, but never tried the black bean variety, so while shopping for my chickpeas, I grabbed some cans of black beans. I think they turned out very good. Kids even ate them!

Probably not the best picture to convince you of their tastiness, but I was limited.
After researching many recipes, here is what I came up with.

Black Bean Burgers

1 can (15 oz) Black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 egg (you can also just use the egg white if you choose)
1/4 C Ground Flax Seed (instead of flour or oats what a lot of recipes use)
1/4 C diced onion
1 tsp Cumin

Mix in blender, food processor or mixer (above) until you have a mold-able consistency. Make into patty as you would a regular burger. Using Olive Oil grill in pan about 8 minutes per side. I put a lid on for about half of the time to help cook the inside a little faster. Grab some buns and add your favorite burger condiments and enjoy! Use the Sandwich Thins for a little less calories and they worked perfectly. Kids really did like them, I should've taken a picture of that, because I wasn't sure they would either! 

Thank you for coming with me on my Bean Extravaganza! I'm sure my family thought I was loosing my mind that week, but just yesterday my daughter asked me to make some more blondies (and I did!) so I guess it payed off. Off to start studying (Summer semester started yesterday.... more on that later), have a great day!!!