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January 18, 2011 / Suburban Subsistence

Tasty Tuesday- Brigadero

This is a traditional Brazilian candy. It is fairly low calorie and even in small doses it satisfies the biggest choc-a-hololic craving.


2 cans (28 oz) Sweet Condensed Milk
2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened (optional)

Add all ingredients into a pan. You can leave out the coca powder if you want to make a vanilla caramel.  Put on medium to low heat. Stir until caramelized. The cooking/ stirring process is the most time-consuming part of this recepie.  It takes a while and you want to keep stirring pretty much the whole time. If you don’t the mixture will clump or burn.  Both of which don’t taste great. Keep stirring until the mixture can hold its shape long enough to allow you to see the bottom of the pan. You want it to be about the constancy of pudding when you turn off the burner. Once it is cool it will be more the consistency of caramel.

I eat this by scooping out about a tablespoon and eating it off the spoon. Traditionally this mixture is rolled into little balls and covered in chocolate sprinkles. This is too much work for me, but you are welcome to do so if you want.

Nutrition Facts 

Servings Per Recipe: 28
Serving Size: 1 serving 


Amount Per Serving
Calories 96.4
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 0.2 mg
Potassium 7.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 0.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Sugars 0.1 g
Protein 0.1 g
Vitamin A 0.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 0.1 %
Vitamin C 0.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.0 %
Calcium 0.1 %
Copper 0.8 %
Folate 0.0 %
Iron 0.3 %
Magnesium 0.5 %
Manganese 0.9 %
Niacin 0.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.0 %
Phosphorus 0.3 %
Riboflavin 0.1 %
Selenium 0.1 %
Thiamin 0.0 %
Zinc 0.2 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
January 16, 2011 / Suburban Subsistence

Container Garden

We might be able to do more than I thought. I think our front window might be converted into a little greenhouse type area.

From the Encyclopedia of Country Living
Recommended plants for containers or beginners (which is exactly what I am):

  • Bush Beans
  • Bush Peas
  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Onions from sets
  • Summer squash
  • Swiss chard (no spinach)
  • Tomatoes (Climate permitting)

Soil recommendations:

  • slightly acidic (around 6.3-6.8)

Now I have to find some good recipes, so that I will actually use whatever plants we might be able to grow.

January 13, 2011 / Suburban Subsistence

Changing out lightbulbs

One of the first steps my family took in lowering our energy consumption was to change out old style light bulbs for florescent. We had our apprehension about fluorescent bulbs. I think most people have school memories of old fluorescent bulbs flickering above them, or emitting an irritating an annoying buzz while in the middle of a big exam. For this reason we bought just a few at first to see if we liked them. It turns out compact fluorescent technology has come a long way.

One of the best parts about compact fluorescent is that the produce the same amount of light as older style incandescent light, but use less power. Here is grid from Wikipedia that shows the power usage of fluorescent vs. old style incandescent:

Many fluorescent bulbs boast a long life (3-5 years).  I have yet to experience this first hand, as most of our bulbs have only been in place for 6 months.  We have had a few bulbs fail, and since a bulb life of 3 or 5 years is guaranteed we didn’t have any trouble exchanging the bulbs for new ones at the stores we purchased them from.

If you are looking to make changes in your household changing out your incandescent lights for compact fluorescent is a great first step. You can update your bulbs as the old one’s fail or change them all out at the same time. And keep in mind that your local recycling center would love to receive your old incandescent lights.

If you are interested in learning more about fluorescent I highly recommend the Compact fluorescent Wikipedia entry.

January 11, 2011 / Suburban Subsistence

Tasty Tuesday- Humus

Humus is a great easy veggie dip that is low in fat and high in potassium, B-6, and manganese. I like to use this as a spread on crackers, pita or to dip veggies in.  It is also especially tasty over a falafel sandwich.

Straight from Momma Ashley’s Kitchen here is my humus recipe:

0.15 fl oz Lemon Juice
1 tsp Garlic
2 tbsp Tahini
a cans Chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans)

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor.

For special flavors you can add roasted peppers, chili power, green onions, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, Tabasco, or even eggplant. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Nutrition Facts

16 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 76.5
Total Fat 2.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 138.9 mg
Potassium 94.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 11.1 g
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
Sugars 0.0 g
Protein 2.9 g
Vitamin A 0.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 11.2 %
Vitamin C 3.4 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.4 %
Calcium 3.1 %
Copper 7.0 %
Folate 8.5 %
Iron 5.3 %
Magnesium 4.2 %
Manganese 16.6 %
Niacin 1.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.6 %
Phosphorus 6.9 %
Riboflavin 1.9 %
Selenium 2.0 %
Thiamin 4.0 %
Zinc 4.4 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

January 8, 2011 / Suburban Subsistence

Living Series – Energy Conservation for a Greener Home

We watched “Living Series – Energy Conservation for a Greener Home” tonight. A nice little rental from our local library. It reminded me of some of the things we have done to our home and gave us ideas for further improvements.

Checklist for Future Energy Conservation:
– Putting Duct tape over any holes in our air ducts
– Insulating the pipes under the house and the ones running from the AC into the house.
– Testing the airflow in our home heating and cooling system
-Making the toilets low flow
-Blocking off the fireplace we don’t use

I think that’s a pretty good list for one film.

January 7, 2011 / Suburban Subsistence

Small Space Gardening

I realize it is January, but the growing season will be here before I know it. Based on some recommendations I received from my wanderings around the internet I have ordered the following books to see how I can maximize my small backyard’s food growing potential.

Carla Emery's" Encyclopedia of Country Living"

Eliot Coleman "Four Season Harvest"

Mel Bartholomew's "Square Foot Gardening"

It will definitely be interesting to see what I can do with my small yard. I’ve never been much of a gardener. I’m good at keeping the house plants alive but outdoor gardening or farming will be a whole new experience.

Check these books out:

Carla Emery’s” Encyclopedia of Country Living”

Mel Bartholomew’s “Square Foot Gardening”

Eliot Coleman “Four Season Harvest”