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Cooking & Recipes

Oven Eggs

August 31, 2014 • Paige

Grease muffin cups, line with strips of flour tortilla.

Put tiny slice of ham in the bottom, crack an egg over the top and bake at 350 for 20 mins.

Take out of oven, put some cheese on top and let it sit for 5 minutes to finish.

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Pizza Sauce

June 29, 2014 • Paige

One 8oz can of tomato paste
1/2 cup of water
1  TBSP minced garlic
4 TBSP basil or pesto
1 TBSP sea salt
8 dashes liquid smoke
3 TBSP Parmesan cheese
1 TBSP dried oregano
2 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors blend.

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Growing your own sprouts

May 12, 2013 • Paige

sproutinglentils-fivedays07How to Sprout Lentils

Sprouting is something that everyone can do to grow fresh nutritious food for very little cost.  For about five years, the Gustos have been growing our own sprouts and eating them every day.

At this point, we have developed our own method of sprouting, which is what I am going to show you.

To start things off, we’ll focus on lentils.

What’s a Lentil?

Lentils are a small brownish green legume found with the dry beans and rice. The store brand usually costs about $1.40 per pound.

Note: You can sprout several different types of dry beans, but some of them are poisonous, so make sure you choose something you can safely sprout!  Example: NEVER eat sprouted kidney beans.


What do I need to start sprouting lentils?

A bag of dried lentils

A wide-mouth glass jar

A lid and a screen

  • Metal ring lids that come with a canning jar (they rust, only use them once or twice).
  • Plastic lid, cut with a hole-saw
  • Metal screen from hardware store, cut with heavy duty shears. You need this for sprouting small seeds.
  • Plastic screen, cut from craft store “Plastic Canvas”.  Large holes, lots of air-flow

If you don’t have any of that stuff, a rubber band and some window screen works pretty well, too!


Getting Started:

Prepare your materials

Wash and sanitize the jar, lid, and screen to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Do this before each new sprouting “crop”

  • Wash in hot water by hand or in a dish washer.
  • Rinse in a light vinegar or bleach solution.

Start with about  1/4 cup of dry lentils.

Pick through them and remove any small stones and debris, and rinse well with cool water.
Note: I used a half cup for this tutorial – it was way too much!


Cover lentils with water and soak for 8 – 12 hours. 

Leave lots of room for lentils to expand.


Rinse and Drain

Drain and rinse your lentils well with cool, clean water. They will have doubled in size.

Rinse and drain lentils every 8 – 12 hours.

Place jar upside down in a bowl or rack at an angle steep enough to prevent water from pooling. Ensure there is plenty of air-flow through the lid. We keep our sprouting jars in a dish drying rack with a drainboard that drains into the sink.

Photo below – Left: Lentils               Right: Black Eyed Peas.
We have switched to all plastic lids now, this photo is a few years old.


At approximately 24 hours, the lentils are beginning to sprout. 

If you are going to cook them, you could stop here.  I like to sprout them a lot longer so that I can eat them raw.

Sprouted lentils after 36 hours:


Sprouts are Ready to Eat!

At 3 days, (below), the sprouts can be eaten raw.



At 3 to 3.5 days, the sprouts begin growing little leaves.

That is when we start eating them!

Five Days



Stopping the Sprouting Process and Storing your Sprouts

Refrigerating lentils almost stops the growing process.
Rinse sprouts and drain very well, gently pat dry with a towel.

  • Store sprouted lentils in a clean, dry jar secured with an airtight lid.
  • Rinse and drain well once per day.
  • Eat within a few days.

Lentil sprouts smell heavenly when you lightly saute them, but we usually eat them raw, sprinkled into our salads.  We usually have two jars going so that we have a constant supply of fresh sprouts.

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Simple Skillet Granola

January 6, 2013 • Paige

Happy New Year!

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?  The number one New Year’s Resolution is eating healthier. The most important thing is to get started – but where do you start?  Breakfast is very important, so begin each day with some clean, healthy food.

Granola is incredibly easy to make and if you vary the ingredients, you’ll never get tired of it.  Once you try home made granola – you may never buy boxed cereal again.

Skillet Granola – simple version

2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons real butter
1 cup of old fashioned oats  (NOT quick cooking!)

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Slowly stir in honey until combined.
Add the oats and cook about 4 minutes, continuing to stir.
Granola is done when the oats are a golden brown.

Spread granola on a sheet  of  foil to cool.  It will crisp up as it cools.


Or if you want something more complex:

Skillet Granola – ‘to die for’ version

2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons real butter
1 cup of old fashioned oats  (NOT quick cooking!)
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, added just before the oats.
1/2 cup dried fruit added just as the granola begins turning golden brown.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Slowly stir in honey until combined.
Add sesame/sunflower seeds and cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the oats and cook about 4 minutes, continuing to stir.
Add dried fruit just as the oats start to brown.
Granola is done when the oats are a golden brown.

Spread granola on a sheet  of  foil to cool.  It will crisp up as it cools.

Simple Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes

November 20, 2012 • Paige

I’m not originally from the South, but after nearly ten years, this West Coaster has acclimated pretty well.  One of the first things I noticed when we moved down here is that holidays in the South mean lots and lots of cooking.   I couldn’t believe how much work is invested in the huge and festive holiday meals.  Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love a Southern holiday feast.  Time spent with family sharing a delicious meal is precious.

I brought some of my family traditions down south as well.  My mom wanted holidays to be a time for everyone to enjoy time together, so her holiday meals were geared towards deliciousness that didn’t keep her in the kitchen all day.  I created this version of sweet potatoes a few years ago and it was a huge hit with all of my family.  Now it is an important part of our holiday celebrations.

Simple Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes

4 – 5 lbs sweet potatoes cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes
1 1/2 sticks of real butter
1 cup Steen’s cane syrup
1/4 cup of honey
1 to 2 tsps cinnamon
1 to 2 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Coat the inside of crockpot with butter.  Cut the remaining butter into chunks and set aside.  Toss in cubed sweet potatoes, and then add the rest of the butter, cane syrup, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Add chopped pecans when the potatoes are about half done.

Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for about 4 hours.

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Chicken Spaghetti

September 9, 2012 • Paige

This recipe was born out of “use what you have”.  I had chicken, whole wheat pasta, and some canned tomato paste & sauce.

Chicken Spaghetti


2 chicken breast
3 cups (approx.) broth from boiling chicken
1 ½ cup diced celery
1 ½ cup diced onion
1 small can tomato paste
1 15oz can tomato sauce
2+ TBSP minced garlic
a big handful of crushed basil, or pesto
dried oregano (I used a bunch)
handful of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cube chicken boullion
Pepper or Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning
Tiny bit of Tony Cachere’s (green can)
liquid smoke


Boil the chicken breasts, keep simmering until ready to use.

In a large pot, sauté onion and celery on high.
Add “some” of the chicken-broth and turn heat down.
Add tomato paste and tomato sauce and simmer gently.

Dice or shred chicken breasts, then add to the sauce.
Add as much of the chicken-water as is needed.
Simmer gently while adding everything else.
Serve over whole wheat pasta.
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How to Cook Brown Rice by Moxie Gusto

May 28, 2012 • Paige

The myth that eating healthy is expensive – is false!

Simple, nutritious and low-fat food is actually some of the cheapest food out there. Brown Rice and dry beans are about $1.50 per pound.  A pound of dry beans cooks up about six cups of beans, equal to five cans.

Brown rice is packed with nutrition, and cheap. It goes well with practically anything and I think brown rice tastes a lot better than white rice.  I make big batches and keep it in the fridge for quick meals.

Learning to cook brown rice is easy.  You just need the patience to leave it alone and resist temptation to lift the lid and stir it.  For me, this was not easy!

Cooking Brown Rice

Brown Rice Method one:

  • Pour 2 cups of water in a medium sauce pan, heat to boiling.
  • Measure and rinse 1 cup of uncooked brown rice, add it to the water.
  • Stir and cover with a lid.
  • Turn heat down to low, and set a timer for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, uncover.
  • Drain off any excess liquid and fluff with a fork.

Do not lift the lid, not even once until 45 Minutes are up!

Brown Rice Method two:

Pre-soaking brown rice cuts the cooking time in half!

  • Measure and thoroughly rinse 1 cup of uncooked brown rice.
  • Soak the rice in a bowl of cool water for two hours, then drain.
  • Pour 2 cups of water in a medium sauce pan and heat to boiling
  • Drain the soaked rice and add it to the boiling water.
  • Stir and cover with a lid.
  • Turn the heat down to low, set a timer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, uncover.
  • Drain any excess liquid and fluff with a fork.

Do not lift the lid, not even once until 20 minutes are up!

If you’re not sure how to use brown rice, here are some recipes to get you started:

Southern Brown Rice Recipes @

Recipe: Lentils, Brown Rice, and Carmelized Onions

Here is an explanation of some of the benefits of  brown rice.

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Cleaning Products Made Simple by Moxie Gusto

October 19, 2011 • Paige

Is the area under your kitchen sink cluttered with ten different kinds of cleaning products?  You really don’t need them. Besides, they cost too much and they’re almost all toxic.  Having a “non-toxic” house (or close to it) is pretty easy. Just stop using commercial cleaners.  You already have simple stuff that works just as well.

All you need is hot water, white vinegar, and baking soda or salt. I clean my stove with plain hot water, which takes less effort than it used to with harsh commercial products.  Commercial cleaners irritate my skin and they have a nasty chemical “stink” to them.  Even when I’ve been lazy and there is stuck-on food from last weekend’s cook-a-thon, it all comes off with hot water.  Sometimes I might scour with a little table salt or baking soda, too. The same thing works to clean floors, counters, walls, etc.  Put a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and you have a natural germ killer and deodorizer spray.  There won’t be a vinegar smell when it dries.

  • Glass cleaner: Water and a clean, dry cloth.
    If you’re really old school, water and newspaper.
  • Floors:  A gallon of hot water with a cup of white vinegar.
  • Kitchen & bathroom: baking soda for scouring, vinegar & water spray, plain hot water
  • Toilet: straight white vinegar and a scrub brush
  • Soap residue and water spots: straight white vinegar

Sponges and scrub pads tend to get germy and stinky after a while, so I don’t buy them. I just cut up discarded t-shirts. I have all the cleaning rags I’ll ever need without spending a dime. The best part is that I can toss them in with the laundry.

Stay tuned… Next, I’ll share my super simple laundry secret.

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Dry Beans Vs. Canned Beans Conversions

September 4, 2011 • Paige
These are not exact, since beans are different  sizes.

One 15-ounce can of beans equals:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked beans
  • 1/2 cup dry beans, before cooking

1 pound dry beans equals:

  • 2 to 2.5 cups dry beans, before cooking
  • 6 to 7.5 cups beans, after cooking
  • Four to Five 15-ounce cans of beans

1 part dry beans equals

  • 3 parts cooked beans

How to use dry beans:

First, rinse and sort dried beans, discarding any blemished ones or any grit and small stones.

First, Soak:

LONG SOAK: Cover dried beans with three times their volume of water and lets stand in refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight. Drain.

QUICK SOAK: In saucepan, cover dried beans with three times their volume of water and bring to boil. Boil for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for one hour. Drain.

Then, Cook:
In a large saucepan, cover drained, soaked beans with three times their volume of fresh water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, and topping up with water if necessary, for about 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours, depending on age and type of bean. Drain.

One-ingredient Banana "Ice Cream"

August 28, 2011 • Paige
Slice up a few ripe bananas (we used 5)
lay the slices on a cookie sheet and freeze them
put the frozen banana slices in a food processor, and process.
it does take time, so be patient.
It will turn into soft-serve ice cream.  I promise!

You can add a glop of peanut butter, a little bit of chocolate, some cinnamon, other types of fruit, or anything you like!

OMG! I’m never buying ice cream from the store again!!!!

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