Category Archives: Back To Basics

Cough Medicine Alternative – Back To Basics

The FDA issued a cough medicine warning to all parents of small children. It states that, over-the-counter cold medications should definitely not be used for children under the age of two. It’s not a wise move to give your older children the medication either. Doctors say, “Find an alternative.”

Vicks Vaporubfoot The cold and flu season is at hand and what’s a mom to do when her child is coughing it’s head off at 2 o’ clock in the morning. Here’s a little tip that my daughter Katie offered, as we sat around our dinner table.

Take children’s Vicks VapoRub and rub it into the the soles of your child’s feet. Cover his feet with socks and in no time at all, your child will stop coughing.

Now, I thought it sounded a little “airy fairy”…. but if it works…it works. She swears by the method… not only for her children, but for herself. “No kidding… it works… It’s like magic,” she says. (Katie uses the full strength adult rub for herself.)

Why not give it a try the next time your child has a cough. Anything is better than putting your child at risk by giving him over-the-counter medications that the FDA and doctors have warned us about.

Till Later

Kathy
Insightful Nana

P.S. If it works for you… let us know!

Scratch Recipes For Salad Dressings

A scratch recipe for salad dressings is getting down to cooking basics.  With so much rich food that grace our holiday tables… it’s nice to offer a good healthy “Green Salad”…  to even things out.  I promise, your guests and family will appreciate the extra effort you go to, if you use these scratch recipes to make your own salad dressing… because they are so good.

These three recipes use basic ingredients you usually have in your cupboard or pantry.  So.. save a few coins and make your own dressings and get raves.  There is nothing like the “real” thing.

The three salad dressings I’m sharing with you today are: Rick’s Honey Basil, Evelyn’s Creamy French, and Basic Buttermilk Ranch.   These recipes have been in my recipe box for years and they’re so easy to prepare.

Rick Carter is the husband of Rebecca, my fellow designer.  He’s does the cookin’ at their house and she does the clean up.  What a deal.  He’s one of the finest chefs I know.  He often would cook and bring lunch to our work.  We were often treated to his secret specialties… such as “Bear” and “Ostrich.”  Never a dull moment.  Rick’s Honey Basil dressing is a nice substitute for Italian.

The Ingredient are   1/2 C. Cider Vinegar…1/2 C. Honey… 1/2 C. Oil (I use light Olive oil but Veg. oil works great.)  2 tes. Sesame Seed Oil… 1/2 tes. garlic powder… 1 heaping tes. of Spicy or Hot Mustard…. 1 tes. Dried Basil… 1/4 tes. Salt… Dash of Pepper.

You can put all the ingredients in a blender (except the dried basil) … or you can use a hand blender to mix.

Blend at high speed until all ingredients are mix well.

Stir in dried basil by hand.  Refrain from blending basil in blender.

There you have it… Rick’s Honey Basil Dressing.

Evelyn is my mom.  Her Creamy French dressing adorned our Thanksgiving and Christmas tables as long as I can remember.  We called it the “Red Dressing.  It’s not only delicious… but it’s bright color is a spiffy addition to your holiday table.

The ingredients are:  1 1/4 C. Ketchup… 1 C. Oil… 1/2 C. White Vinegar… 1/4 to 1/2 tes. garlic powder… 1/2 tes. Dry Mustard…  A scant 1/2 C. Sugar… 1/4 tes. black pepper.

Combine all the ingredients together in a blender or bowl.

Blend all of the ingredients together at high speed.

This Creamy French dressing is so good… you’ll keep a fresh batch in the fridge all year long.

I don’t ever remember my mom every purchasing a bottled dressing.  She always made her dressings from scratch… and that included her Buttermilk Ranch.

The ingredients are:  1 1/2 C. of Mayo.  (She sometimes would substituted the 1/2 C. Mayo for Sour Cream).  It make the dressing a little more mild. 1 tes. Onion Powder.  1 tes. Garlic Powder.  2 tes. Dried Parsley.  1 1/2 C. Buttermilk. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.

Put all the ingredients in a bowl… not a blender.

Mix together with a wire whip.

This is so good… you’ll be telling Hidden Valley “good bye.”

I love a fresh green salad… don’t you?

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  If you’ve got a great salad dressing recipe and would like to share it… let me know and we’ll post it on Back To Basics.  Contact me by e-mail.  insightfulnana@gmail.com


Winter Automobile Emergency Preparedness

Besides making sure your automobile has plenty of coolant… you should consider having an emergency preparedness winter kit in your car.

Last winter, here in Utah, we had an unusual storm hit the “point of the mountain”, as we call it.  This area is south of Salt Lake City, just as you enter Utah County.  In the winter, it’s known for high winds, blowing snow, and treacherous roads.

The surprise storm hit in the late afternoon and continued through the night.  Motorists were stranded on the freeway and side roads for many hours.  Traffic on the freeway inched along and was often stopped dead still for hours.  Many people spent the night in a convenience store parking lot.

My son, Brad was stranded on the freeway and couldn’t get home even though he could see his house from his car.  He pulled off the freeway and spent the night at my daughter Katie’s home.

My daughter, Emily had run down to a local store to pick up a few items for dinner.  All roads were closed by the time she left to go home.  Even though she could see her sub-division from her car, there was no way to get there and, her kids were home alone.  Emily was stranded for 8 hours  Cell phones worked sporadically because everyone was tapping into the tower signal at the same time.

Emily’s four children, ranging in age from 4 to 13 were down stairs in their bedrooms when the lights went out.  Groping in the dark for sometime, McKenzie was able to find a couple of candles and led her brothers upstairs where they waited until their folks could get home.  Just a note here:  Be aware your portable phones will not work when the light go out.  Your home should have at least one land line phone.

After the storm was over, this event led our family to a winter emergency preparedness discussion.

In the case of Emily’s kids, better emergency lighting could have provided.  It was agreed that Glow Sticks or Light Sticks (same thing… just different names), were the best way to provide lighting for children rather than candles.  A glow stick is safe, non-toxic-non-flammable, weatherproof and inexpensive.  Flashlights are great… but if your house is like mine… the batteries are always dead when I need the light.

By providing Light Sticks in strategic areas in your home, you furnish a means for young children to find their way about, if the electricity goes out.  All the child has to do is, bend, break, and shake the stick… and Waaa Laaa… Light!  We decided that a light stick in each child’s dresser drawer would be a good idea.  Also, place one on a shelf or in drawer in every room of the house.  This way, your child does’nt have to strike a match.

You can purchase glow stick that will last 4 hours, 8 hours and 12 hours.  I’ve seen a few that will last 24 hours.  The cost ranges from $.49 to $2.50 depending upon where you purchase them.

It was agreed that a winter emergency kit should be placed in the car.

Must Have: Winter coat, gloves, hat that covers ears, winter boots, socks, blanket and water. (Emily was in “heels” and had on a light jacket… or she would have attempted to walk home.)

Additions: Special needs such as insulin, medications etc.

Additions:  Cell phone charger.  Protein bars (not bars with lots of carbs because they’ll make you tired.)  Nuts, (raw almonds keep best.)  Flares, and glow sticks.  Small camp shovel.

Additions for when you have to leave the car: Umbrella, (good protection against the wind).  Ski mask, goggles.  Hand warmers.  (You can purchases these in a large package.)

For Children: Blankets, food for kids… like crackers and canned cheese.  Water and juices…  games.  Sometimes mom’s put their kids in the car without shoes or a coat… thinking, “It’s warm in the car and I’m just going for a minute.”  Make sure they’re dressed for an emergency situation, especially if the weather is threatening.

For Babies: Pack a diaper bag with bottles, formula, blankets, diapers, plastic bags, wipes and special needs.

There you go… I’m getting a head start on my winter emergency preparedness kit before the snow flies.  Who cares if it looks a little miss matched as long as I’m warm and safe.  I’m putting all of my gear in a duffel bag.

If you have any more ideas… leave us a comment.  Love to hear from you.

Till Later,

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S. It’s also suggested, during the winter months, you always keep your gas tank at least 1/2 full.

P.P.S. A winter emergency preparedness kit can make being stranded, because of poor weather, a little more comfortable… and in some cases, may save your life.

Home Canning Back To Basics

Home Canning is getting “Back To Basics” for me…back to my childhood.  During the summer, I could be found along side my mom at the kitchen sink canning bushels of fruit and veggies for the approaching winter.  It wasn’t much fun at the time… being out with my friends was far more appealing.  After my marriage license was sign, I swore, the wretched activity would never be repeated again.

Wrong!  About the middle of each June, my mom would call on the phone.  “The beets are on,” she would chirp.  Acting like a robot, I would order the beets from the farmer.  This ritual, in some form,  would be repeated the entire summer and into the fall.

So…here we go… with a list of the wretched activity that was not going to be part of my married life.

June: picked beets, strawberry jam, apricots, apricot nectar, apricot jam, dried apricot, dried apricot leather, cherries, cherry jam, frozen pie cherries, dried cherry leather, maraschino cherries, Queen Anne cherries.

July: dill pickles, sweet pickles, sweet pickle relish, bread and butter pickles, dilly beans, mustard pickles, pickled vegetables, frozen corn.

August: peaches, peach jam,  pears, pear butter, dried pears,  plums, dried plums, frozen fruit compote, raspberry jam

September: tomato juice, snappy tom, stewed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, chili sauce, salsa, green tomato relish.

October: chili, bottled fresh trout, corned deer meat, apple sauce, apple pie filling, dried apples, grape juice

I now look at the list of items I preserved in the past and it makes my brain rattle in my head.  However, there was great pleasure in going into my fruit room and seeing all the bottles lined up on the shelves.  When the door was closed there was a sense of security and a feeling of well being in my soul.

When my kids were small, the home canning helped my family through some tough financial times.  It was then, I felt gratitude toward Mom… who taught me well.

Still, one year I let a bushel of apples rot on the back porch… just too exhausted to put them in canning jars.  When they ended up in the garbage… I said to myself, “Enough is enough… my canning days are over.”  However, I did keep all my canning jars.. just in case I ever changed my mind.

For years, the case lot sales was the direction I went for my winter supply.  I won’t tell you how many years ago that was… but as the years went by… my memory dulled… and the  hankering to do a little home canning came back.  At that point, I home canned just for pleasure.   A little of this and a little of that.

This year…my hankering was a pretty strong and I dragged out my canning supplies.  Dill pickles, tomato juice, stewed tomatoes, and whole tomatoes sit on my storage shelves.  One afternoon… a bushel of peaches landed in the back of my car.  Hmmm… what’s this all about?  It was the “Back To Basics” stirring in my soul…. and the fact I need to be better prepared for an emergency.

Now, everyone doesn’t have the availability of the fruits and veggies to take on home canning… and in some cases… it might be less expensive to go to the case lot sale and purchase the items.  My shelves have case  goods on them too.

The point I’m trying to make is, whether you do a little home canning or buy case lots, having a little extra food on hand in case of an emergency can put your mind and heart at ease.  And, if no emergency arises… great…. additional food on your shelves is sure convenient.

But… since you never know… it’s best to be prepared.

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  We had our first frost here in Utah County… and the grapes are ready… Hmmm… got that “Back To Basics” feeling stirring again in my soul again. Cold frosty grape juice would sure be nice in January.  Apples…. applesauce…. pie filling…….Hmmm.