Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zucchini Ideas!

Zucchini Ideas!

Squash Kabobs! 

Alternate Zucchini (peeled and cut into fourths) with butternut squash (peeled, cleaned, and chunked) onto a kabob stick. BBQ on top rack or at the edge,  with brush coat with melts butter and sprinkle with seasonings (garlic and herb were our favorites but I have read butter and curry are devine!!)  as desired. Bake on BBQ at edges or top shelf until roasted tender - about 20-25 minutes. Or! Bake on a greased baking sheet in the oven at 350F for 25-30 minutes until tender.
Or just Kabob the Zucchini!

Crispy Zucchini Chips with Parmesan

1/4 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 egg
2½ cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini
olive oil or butter to prep pan

Set oven to 425F. Combine breadcrumbs,Parmesan, and seasonings in a medium bowl and sift thoroughly with fork.  Set aside. Whisk egg in a shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices in egg and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place coated slices on a greased or buttered baking sheet.Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and crisped.

For dipping sauce (works awesome with platter of fresh cut vegies too)

1 cup homemade plain yogurt or sour cream
1 mashed avocado
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tsp minced garlic (or garlic powder to taste)
pinch of salt

Foil em!
This is so simple!
Clean and cut zucchini into slices, place serving size amount onto a foil sheet, add a dab of real butter and sprinkle with garlic an herb seasoning or curry. fold over foil and seal edges until it resembles an envelope.
Lay serving size foil pouches with all ends rolled and sealed on a baking sheet and bake  at 425 F for 20 minutes. OR - my favorite- lay foil pouches on to BBQ and roast pouches turning once at least for about 15-20 minutes. This way is especially nice when doing large BBQ and easy to hand out serving sized portions.

I'm Excited for this New resource, New Blog, and Giveaways!

I'm Excited for this New Resource, New Blog, and Giveaways!

 As I am learning and growing in the Real Food lifestyle, I am sharing each small piece that I can with you and this site has been one of my most trusted resources. I'd like for more people to know about it. I love Cultures for Health! They provide a wealth of information about cultures, probiotics, real food, fermenting; as well as homemade breads, cheese, kefir, kombucha, etc etc.

Since I started learning the benefits and joys of making my own homemade yogurt and yogurt cheese- the possibilities of building healthier meals for my whole family are endless!  It has been a joy to learn about, and an absolute privilege to learn from them! The resources are wonderful! Health benefits, how to videos that explain everything! Recipes, tips, tricks, helpful tips, advice and supplies!

 I am excited! One of my favorite sites to learn from now has a new blog:  Cultures for Health Blog

Cultures for Health

The blog features passionate writers who are real people working in kitchens just like yours with helpful tips and tricks to make your life easier! It like a community devoted to helping normal people just like us in bringing our families around a table filled with real, sustainable, health-giving food.!

As an added bonus: To celebrate their new blog they are offering a giveaway!    Cultures for Health Blog
Every day five cultures or culture starter kits will be given away!
  • Monday, April 29th: Sourdough Starter
  • Tuesday, April 30th: Milk Kefir Starter Kit
  • Wednesday, May 1st: Yogurt Starter
  • Thursday, May 2nd: Kombucha Starter Kit
  • Friday, May 3rd: Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit
  • Saturday, May 4th: Water Kefir Starter Kit
Take a look! You'll fall in love with Cultures for Health too! Wonderful resource!  Cultures for Health Blog
This is where I purchase my Yogurt Starter Cultures from. My next adventure will be the cheese making kit! So excited to try!

You may also like:

Cultures for HealthClick her to Make Yogurt at HomeMake Your Own Cheese at Home
Click Here for Heirloom Variety Sourdough Starters

* Note: All opinions are mine. This post may contain affiliate links

Monday, April 29, 2013

Crock Pot Monday

Crock Pot Monday! 

    I love to use the slow cooker on days when it's hot. The idea of running the oven just sounds awful; and today it's gonna be 90+F here in my part of California. Just the start of the coming hot weather here; but, the fact it's also Monday is enough for me to dive into this early and easy-
It's a  CROCK POT Monday for me!

I started with a pork butt roast, rinsed it, and placed it in the crock pot. I covered it with a glass of water, and used my dehydrated vegies seasoning (onion, carrot, garlic, green onion and fresno chili). I add 1 whole onion quartered, pepper, and 3 stalks of celery. I set the crock pot on high around 10:30 am. It should be falling apart soon- about 3-4 hours. I'll turn it on low after 4 hours and let it stay there until I finish dinner.

Tonight I am going to drain the juice/broth from this and make a homemade gravy out of it. I do that by pouring juice into saucepan, adding about 1/2c milk, and 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) stirring constantly over med heat until it thickens to gravy.  I'll serve it with baked potatoes and steamed carrots. For smaller roasts, I normally add the potato and carrots into the pot- but this roast is hogging up the whole pan!

In a way, serving the vegies separate is wonderful, because now my roast is not limited in flavor! I can shred the left overs and make enchiladas later in the week with it. I Love multi- purposing meat! No waste.A frugal way to use a roast and not waste!

This is also a fantastic way to start pulled pork for sandwiches! After completely cooked and falling apart, shred meat by using a fork and knife, add  your favorite BBQ sauce,  and stack on buns! Everyone can enjoy! 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Amazingly Simple Banana Nut Bread

Simple Banana Nut Bread

1/2 cup real butter (1stick)
1 cup organic cane sugar (or 3/4 c raw honey )
2 eggs
1 tsp. organic vanilla extract
3 over ripe bananas mashed
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

use real butter and grease inside of bread loaf pan.set aside
heat oven to 325F. In a mixing bowl cream butter, sugar, and 2 eggs until creamy. add vanilla and mashed bananas. Stir in rest of ingredients until fully incorporated. Pour into bread pan and bake for 1 hour & 15 minutes, or until butter knife inserted in middle comes out clean.

When done, invert pan onto bread board or wire rack, to drop out loaf, set upright and let cool before cutting.

So easy your mom would be proud! Mixes in just a few minutes, I just use one bowl; and it took me all of 10 minutes to pull ingredients, and mix and pour into pan to bake. Set a timer! You don't want to forget this
wonderful comfort food! Makes 2 mini loaves, if you want one for yourself and one to share!
Also: extremely good additions would be a diced tiny apple, 1/2 c applesauce, and 1/2 cup raisins.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mini Steak Tacos- Tacos de Carne Asada

These are quickly going to be a favorite around here, I can tell!  Love love love this!

Mini Tacos de Carne Asada--Mini Steak Tacos 

in sauce pan boil:
1/2  white onion, skinned and quartered
3 jalapenos- destemmed
boil until onion and chilis are very tender, reserve remaining water

in food processor:
add 2 avocados,
the onion and jalapenos (strained out of onion water w/ with slotted spoon) and
2 tomatilloes ( unhusked and quartered)
chop until mixture turns creamy.  If too stiff, add spoonful of onion water from reserved pan until consistency is thinner but not runny. This is your sauce- serve with big spoon in a bowl .

in fry pan:
heat at med high: 1 tbsp. olive oil,
add  1 lb of steak or roast-diced tiny,
1/2 white onion diced tiny,
1 clove garlic minced
salt and pepper.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice on after starts frying.
Brown the meat until all is brown. abt 4-5 minutes.
Reduce heat and Cook on med low until meat is tender. 15-30 minutes depending on how tender you want it.  if need moisture add spoonful of onion water from original sauce pan.

warm mini corn tortillas in heated dry fry pan, enough for at least 2 each person.
Top with:
Chop fresh cilantro and 1 onion -tiny minced
Squeeze a bit of lemon over each

Layer mini tortilla , spoonful meat, onion, cilantro and top with avocado sauce.

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Real Food Wednesday 7/10

Friday, April 26, 2013

DIY Olive Oil Sugar Scrub

Sometimes, the easiest of things can create big changes!

I worked in the tourism industry for quite a few years when living near the Grand Canyon. When you are working with the public (I was a florist for 8 years, then worked front desk for another year) -you see a lot of faces from many different places, and they see your face and your hands when you hand them what they need. Clean hands, smiling face and warm friendly service.
A common side effect of working with the public, is washing your hands often. Antibacterial soap does it's job but it can ravage your skin! Mine would get dry and cracked if I didn't take drastic measures. This happens to be another case for me, of "if I knew then, what I know now.."which seems to be a running theme in my life! LOL

The easiest answer I have found is in my kitchen and readily available. I recycled a jar and cleaned it- filling it with sugar and olive oil. It now resides beside my soap pump at the sink. I refill as needed, no recipe really needed. Sugar soaked in olive oil. About a 1/4 c olive oil to 3/4 c sugar.

After cleaning up, when the sponges and cleansers go down for the day, and I am ready to relax with the family and enjoy the night- I wash my hands, and then I sugar scrub.
The sugar cleans and exfoliates. Rubbing vigorously warms my hands and the pores open up, improves circulation, and eases muscles. The olive oil goes to work moisturizing healing and protecting. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, especially Vitamin E. The olive oil has an added benefit of being extremely good for cuticles and nails- be sure to rub into cuticles.  Scrub for a minute, until the sugar starts to dissolve, and rinse with warm water.

I no longer have to purchase expensive, and chemical laden hand lotions again. I had everything I needed right there in the kitchen. :) Done. easy. All natural.Very Frugal when considering the cost of hand lotions today.

A simple easy answer to dry, overworked, cracked hands. I do not have a model's figure or modeling hands- but you can see below- no alligator cracks, no dry patches, no unsightly exzema- just soft hands.

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DIY Homemade Body Spray

     :) Summer is here in Southern California!!!!!! We can feel it!!!!!

On warmer days it's nice to be able to use a refreshing body spray, but I personally want to avoid the extra perfume chemicals that so often over power them. The older I get, the more I have started to notice certain perfumes overwhelm my sense of smell. I prefer a light and natural scent that essential oils give off. Their aromatherapy is beneficial health wise, and provides a natural alternative everyone can enjoy with out chemical dangers.  

An Easy to make DIY Body Spray

In a mist bottle combine:
8oz. distilled water
1 tbsp. witch hazel
20-30 drops essential oil
Mix and shake well before each use.

The combinations of essential oils are endless: for energetic and bright try sweet orange oil with lemon oil, or grapefruit and lime for citrus zing! For calm and relaxed moods you might like just lavender essential oil;  or for calm focus, lavender and lemon essential oil.  Personally my favorite is lavender and vanilla essential oils. For holidays you might like cinnamon and orange scents.  The possibilities are endless! You cannot go wrong.

Shared with and you might enjoy the links at:
Make Your Own Mondays 7/1

You can find wonderful essential oils at:

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

You might also like:
The Holistic Mama Organic Skin CareSkin Care eBookThe Holistic Mama Organic Skin Care

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DIY Homemade Body Butter

Back in January I ran out of my body butter, and being in mid winter season- that was a bad thing to have happen. For me, winter dry skin is a definite challenge. Being compared to an alligator is not my idea of sexy- LOL. I need serious help, and I found an answer that's easy and natural. Love it.

DIY Homemade Body Butter
4 oz. Coconut oil
2 oz. Sweet Almond oil
2 oz. Grape seed oil
8 oz. Shea butter
10-20 drops essential oil

In a double boiler, melt shea butter, coconut oil and almond oil  and grape seed oil together. Shea butter takes the longest to melt, stir to help it along. Remove from heat and pour into a medium sized mixing bowl. place in the refrigerator for about 1-2 hours until it chills and hardens. Once it's hard white, whip on med. speed in a mixer for at least 5-7 minutes. At first this is tough, because the mixture is cold, but it breaks up quick and begins to whip. The trick is to mix for a minimum of 5 minutes, any shorter time length and the mixture will not emulsify and combine properly (causing it to separate later). After about 5 minutes you will start to see peaks form and it takes on a whipped cream kind of look. Add essential oils and whip some more until incorporated. (For first batch I added lavender essential oil. But if you love the smell of shea butter you can just leave it be- for a tropical coconut shea smell that's already there.)
 You're done!
 Place into a jar you can lid, and set on shelf. It will harden more in the jar.I recycled my old jar of coconut oil for it- worked perfect!
To use, the golden rule is to realize a little bit goes a long way! Use Too much and it can be interpreted as a greasy mess. Start with just a dime sized portion and spread as far as you can before grabbing more. I have found it is wonderful to keep legs smooth!  This body butter soaks in to the skin in just a matter of a minute and is wonderful! It leaves a light scent, and the alligator dry is gone. I use it right after the shower and since I have started I do not have to re apply lotion later in the day.
This is all natural, and will last on the shelf (if kept in a cool room) for a few months. If you are uncertain about the amount- mix a half batch and give it a try. Contains none of the chemicals of store bought brands, moisturizes and hydrates your skin naturally.

You might also like:
The Holistic Mama Organic Skin CareSkin Care eBook

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Loaded! breakfast muffins!

Loaded! breakfast muffins!

in a bowl combine:
1/2 c apple sauce or apple butter
1 tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 c honey
whisk together.
In seperate bowl combine:
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. cinnamon
sift, and slowly add to the first bowl while stirring.
Once fully incorporated, add:
1 apple (peeled and diced tiny)
1 c. raisins or dried cranberries
2 c. grated carrot (or chopped tiny in food processor)
1/2 c chopped walnuts or almonds

Heat oven to 375F. Prep muffin baking pan with paper cups. Fill muffin cups and bake 20-25 minutes.  (makes 18 small muffins or 12 larger)  Done when toothpick inserted into one comes out clean. For larger muffins may need to add 5 minutes.
Or! You can make this into a breakfast quick bread. Fold mixture into prepped, greased baking loaf pan and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Done when inserted butter knife comes out clean in center.

Quick and Delicious Tuna Salad -GF

Quick and Delicious Tuna Salad

I discovered something and now I am never making tuna the same way I used to! :)

Do you remember how mom made tuna salad? All slathered in mayo and slabbed on white wonder bread?  - yup- well for me- Never again!

Try avocado- and yogurt! yup... The avocado makes it creamy, with out the horrible oils of processed store bought mayo! Avocados are rich in potassium, vitamin B-6, folic acid, fiber, and antioxidants! They have twice the amount of potassium as a banana! Super good for you! 

for base: 
1 avocado mashed, 2 spoonfuls of plain homemade yogurt, salt & pepper, 1-2 cans of tuna drained and rinsed. (for 2 cans use 2 avocados)

to this you can add
dill, pickles, chopped celery, pine nuts, flax seeds, lemon juice, mustard, parsley, pinch of cayenne, chopped onion, chopped green onion or chives, diced tomato, sunflower seeds, peanuts, shredded cucumber, shredded carrot, shredded lettuce, oregano, chopped fresh basil, or chopped fresh spinach!!!!! (any combination there of, that makes you happy!)

you can served this on a bed of spinach leaves,
or dolloped into a romaine lettuce leaf and rolled up like a wrap,
inside a hollowed out cucumber,
inside a cleaned hollowed bell pepper,
or inside a hollowed out beefy tomato!

So versatile, so easy! Give it a try! Super yum!!!!!!

Note: This would be considered gluten free!

I read the original idea to use avocado somewhere- truly, the way I sit in the early morning and read, read, read; I probably absorbed it unconsciously from a genius! Who ever it was, I thank you!!! What an inspiration!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DIY Homemade Lipbalm

Homemade Honey Lip balm

2tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. sweet almond oil
3 tbsp. raw honey
2 tbsp. beeswax

In small saucepan over lowest heat, on or in double boiler, melt beeswax and oil. add honey. stir constantly until incorporated. This actually takes about 5 minutes for it to reach temp where everything comes together.
Pour with a spoon into lip balm containers. Cool completely (about 4-5 hours) before capping.

Store in cool area; it  is a softer balm.  Use as you would normally for dry chapped lips, works wonderful to moisturize and protect and tastes great! If exposed to heat (I live in area that gets 100+F in summer)-just place it in the fridge for a bit- solids right back up.

Be Very careful to not spill when pouring- will burn you! I just used old spoon and carefully went one by one. I refilled 4 old recycled and cleaned out lip balm tubes, and 4 small metal round lip balm containers with this recipe.

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Make Your Own Monday 6/3

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Homemade Banana Wafer Pudding

Ever have a favorite it seemed you just could not make without store bought stuff? I have.

Banana Pudding- remember mom layering Nilla wafers with jello pudding and chunks of banana? It'd never sit long in the fridge. It's a can't do without when the weather get's warm home comfort food for me.
So I figured it out.
3 stages.

Make Homemade Vanilla wafers
1 cup butter
3 eggs
1 cup unrefined cane sugar or palm sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
cream together until smooth. Sift in:
3 cups flour (I use whole wheat but you can use almond flour nice!)
3tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp milk.
Mix well! No lumps. Refrigerate for 1 hour until chilled through. Roll out very thin and use a cookie cutter or a juice glass inverted to cut. Bake on greased cookie sheet or lined with parchment paper- at 350F for 6-8 minutes. Cool.

Make Homemade Vanilla Pudding.(I make this while cookie dough is chillin in the fridge.)

2 cups milk
1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar or palm sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch or tapioca starch
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
In medium saucepan,  heat milk on med heat until begins to bubble at edges. Don't let it completely boil. In a bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Pour into hot milk, a little at a time, stirring to dissolve. I used a whisk.  Stir constantly until mixture thickens like thick gravy.  Don't let it boil.   Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Set into refrigerator about 1 hour to cool. if you do not like the "skin" that forms on cooked pudding, cover with a piece of plastic wrap before refrigerating. 

Then  I started the cookies which had cooled in their dough and baked them not worrying about the pudding. It's chillin! Yay! :)

Once both are made and cooled;  it's just a matter of slicing a banana and layering into a bowl, cookies, pudding banana- cookies pudding banana- and yay! Homemade banana wafer pudding. No boxes. A comfort food you can be proud of!!!!!! Serve as desert.

Talkin' about Real Food- the steps I take.

Just a talk about real food.

I'm a gal in my forties, just going through the motions. I have a wonderful family! We are not rich in money- but our family is strong, and together in this challenge we call life. We work together, and it works for us.
We all learn as we go. I think that's true for everyone.

A while back, I wasn't feeling well. Every day was a struggle in energy, aches, pains, stress... after a few doctor visits, I wondered what could help.  I really did not want to start playing the pill popping game. I just didn't feel old enough for that yet. I hate seeing it happen. So my question was simple: what can I do to avoid it? What can I do to feel better?
Before I really found a strong desire to change- actually - it felt like before I even had the chance- I had the doctor give me a medicine that I was allergic to- and I suddenly went from being diagnosed with high blood pressure- to nearly having a stroke. It took over a month to recover!
I found my motivation. Unfortunately it took a scare to cause it. And I want more people to realize that they can start sooner- before a scare- Prevent a scare! ---please!

There have been trends of diets and fads for decades. New! try this! Do that! Guaranteed to work! All trends that come and go. Marketing today takes an idea to extremes and shoves phrases down our throats to the point of confusion and disheartening results. You can barely avoid it, on every ad, on every page, every internet site, at the end of the market isle, whole sections devoted to the newest latest trend.
But... you do not have to follow a trend. Or jump on a bandwagon.

Sometimes, all you need is to know what's good and what's bad- and make better choices. Not feel like you are joining a cult trend.

Just trying to eat healthier. Small steps.
That's what you should do. Make better choices when you go to the store. Cook better food when you decide to cook. Cook at home more often,  and know what you are eating. Choose to make healthier food.
Simple really.

look up: Real Food, Clean eating, Whole food.
All phrases being used lately for good reasons. Some people, as in all things, take it to extreme. You do not have to unless you want to. Your choice. Even if you only choose to grab a healthy choice once a trip- you've taken a step in the right direction.
Baby steps- as it's been nicknamed.
Every step in a healthier direction is a step in progress to less doctor visits, less days of feeling bad, more energy, more smiles, and more ability to enjoy life. 
That's how I am looking at it.

I'm just learning.
But I'm learning how easy it can be to take baby steps. And already, I'm visiting the doctor less.

Don't be afraid to look it up. Literally just type your question into the internet browser and the information comes up. It can be so simple. Don't take one site's word for it- look at several! When key factors start repeating no matter where you look -you will start to get a sense of validity, and see a pattern. You just have to start- research isn't hard, it's a matter of asking questions and sitting down for a second. Not long.  Look up EWG. org and take a look at the chemicals in food. Google ingredients in a box of food you have on the shelf. take a look at MSG, and other ingredients. Start reading labels..read the dirty dozen/clean fifteen.

All it takes is a desire to change. An attitude of being fed up with feeling like crap everyday. A desire to be happier.

In my personal baby steps toward Real Food, I have:

1. Done my homework. Did the research I just told you about. Asked questions and WANTED change. I never stop reading, I look at everything I can.

2. Stopped buying boxes.  Boxed, premade, and convenience foods

3. Stopped the sodas. We drink Water, flavored water with citrus or herbs, teas, lemonade, kefir, almond milk -all very good!
4. I buy fresh, (or fresh frozen vegies now). Fresh fruit! Fresh colorful, vibrant! Whatever comes from a live plant! Fresh herbs even!
5. I buy organic pasture fed meats, fresh fish, nothing factory farmed.
6. I love the eggs!! Luckily we have no allergies! So- eggs! 
7. I fell in love with butter. Real butter. Cheese! Yogurts! Sour cream! All fine! I make homemade whenever I can!  again- we are lucky to not have that allergy!
8. Stopped the white over-processed flour! I use whole wheat, or almond flour now.  Stop the white.

9. Stopped the partially hydrogenated oils, margarine, canola, and cheap vegetable oils. I use olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or almond oil.
10. Stopped the easy sweets: corn syrup and refined sugar. I try honey, stevia, real maple syrup, palm sugar, organic cane sugar. 
11. Stopped blindly buying. I read the labels. my rule of thumb is easy: If I cannot recognize the ingredient, my body cannot either.

As I learn and progress there will be more to the list. There's always more to learn. But don't be afraid to try. Each and every step to eating healthier- is a step in progress to being healthier.
You just have to Want to try.

Seasonings: dehydrated vegies

Making your own seasonings:

As I am cooking, I go through seasonings like there is no tomorrow! Especially garlic powder, onion powder, dried onion, and garlic pepper! We are garlic fans! Haha! I have found, though, that the flavor just zings! if I add my own dehydrated vegies to the mix!  Whether they are fresher and haven't sat on a shelf forever, or what, I don't know- but making my own dehydrated vegies into seasonings is wonderful! And soooo easy! Dehydrated vegies do not lose their nutrients, and if stored in a sealed jar (I store mine in a Ball jar)  or in a closed recycled seasoning jar stay fresh for weeks!

On this particular batch I dried 2 yellow onion, a bunch of green onions, Fresno chilies, garlic, and carrots. (Bell pepper, tomatoes, any chilies, any onions, celery, basil, parsley, spinach, and kale work wonderful too!)

 In dehydrator set at 135F for 8 hours, then after cooled I tossed them into the food processor, and pulse until they came out small enough to use for a recycled seasoning shaker. If I have made enough I sometimes store it in a mason jar. Either way- amazing on meats! Great for addition to bone broth for quick soup! Fresh and no preservatives! No MSG.  
 So easy- it becomes fun to experiment with! Invent your own soup spices: add pepper, add sea salt, add cumin or chili spices! What ever your fancy! Invent your own unique combos for healthier foods.

If you do not have a dehydrator:
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cover with slices of vegies  (about an 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.) Place the baking sheet in the oven. Heat the oven to lowest setting below 140f. Perfect range: 135-140°F. If you have a convection setting, use it, it will speed up the process and help dry out the vegies in half the time.  Let dry in the oven like this for as long as it takes for the vegies to dry out and crisp; so about 6-8 hours, check at 6 hours for thin vegies and smaller pieces.When you can pick it up and snap it between fingers- it's ready. Cool. and process.

For idea for making real tomato flakes as seasoning try: Using the whole Tomato

Or making Tomato Bark: Tomato Bark

Regarding long term storage: With gardens beginning to produce, this is perfect way to save vegetables and not create waste! Mine never last too long.  However, being dehydrated and if sealed properly and stored in a cool dry place they could last years. Excellent for small mylar bags with oxygen absorber to create long term storage. Healthier than alternatives with preservatives and better consider you have the ability to create mixes that are personalized to your taste! Yay!

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