Friday, March 21, 2014

All About Sorghum

This morning I decided to have a bowl of oatmeal and every once in a while I enjoy my oatmeal with some Sorghum or Molasses. I chose sorghum this morning and as I was quietly eating it I began to wonder what the health benefits to sorghum were. I always heard that Molasses was good for a boost in iron but I admitted to myself that I really did not know much about sorghum so I decided to do a little research.

First of all... What is Sorghum?
Sorghum is made from 100 percent pure, natural juice extracted from sorghum cane. The juice is cleansed of impurities and concentrated by evaporation in open pans into a clear, amber colored, mild flavored syrup. The syrup retains all of its natural sugars and other nutrients. It is 100 percent natural and contains no chemical additives of any kind. 

Here is a video that explains how sorghum syrup is made. This is the place that actually made the sorghum that I had on my oatmeal this morning. I thought it was totally awesome to watch how they made my breakfast sweetener. It is so neat that it was made by a family that has been doing this for so long. Yes, they really do use horses to mill the cane. :) 

What is the Difference Between Sorghum and Molasses?
Molasses is a by-product of the sugar industry, whereas sorghum is the syrup produced when the extracted juice from the sorghum is boiled down. Sorghum is milder in taste.

What Does Sorghum Look Like?
 Sorghum kind of resembles corn stalks when it is growing in the field. 

What Else Does the Sorghum Plant Produce?
Not only will sorghum make a delicious syrup, but you can eat the sorghum seeds. It is gluten-free and there are so many things that you can do with it. Here is what the seeds look like.

Here is a link to the nutrition facts of Sorghum grain: 
Sorghum is a cereal grain that originated in Africa about 5000 year ago where it continues to be an important food source today. It is sometimes called milo and in India it is known as jowar.

Today the United States is the largest producer of sorghum where it is primarily used for animal feed. Because of the growing need for gluten-free products sorghum has become a popular ingredient in gluten-free flour and baking mixes. 

Sorghum grain is like corn because it is an incomplete source of protein. It does not supply adequate amounts of lysine, an important essential amino acid (protein). The body requires lysine for growth, bone health and for converting fats to energy.

A large verity of gluten-free flour mixes contain  sorghum flour blends with other GF flours, starches and leavening agents. It is blended because using sorghum grain alone produces dry, gritty baked goods. If you mix it with tapioca starch than your baked goods have a better volume and texture.

Look at what else you can do with the Sorghum grain/seeds.
YES!! That is popped sorghum seeds!! Haha! I was so excited when I found this out. It looks so YUMMY!!

Lets learn more about popping sorghum seeds.
They are very small but they have a HUGE flavor.

It is a super healthy whole grain food (containing calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron) low in calories and fat, and gluten free! 

Because it essentially has no hull, popped sorghum grain may also be tolerated and enjoyed by some sufferers of Crohn's disease and diverticulitis. Of course, you should always consult your doctor if you have these conditions before changing your diet.

It does have a lower yield than popcorn (meaning that up to 30-40% of the grains may not pop) but that is part of its charm. Many of the grains that don't pop are toasted in the process, making them crunchy, nutty and delicious!
Here is a video that shows how to pop sorghum seeds:

 Lets get back to our discussion on sorghum syrup. :) 

What is the Nutritional Value of Sorghum Syrup?
One tablespoon of sorghum syrup supplies all of the average adult’s daily potassium needs. It’s also high in antioxidants.

One tablespoon of sorghum syrup:
  • 30 mg calcium (3% DV)
  • 300 mg protein
  • .76 mg iron (almost as high as blackstrap molasses; 4% DV)
  • 20 mg magnesium (5% DV)
  • 11 mg phosphorus
  • 200 mg potassium (almost 6% DV)
  • .80 mg zinc (5% DV)
  • .03 mg riboflavin (a B vitamin; almost 2% DV)

Before the invention of the daily vitamins, many doctors prescribed sorghum as a daily supplement for those low in these nutrients. 

How Can You Be Sure That You Are Buying Pure Sorghum?
The logo seen here was developed by the NSSPPA as a tool to insure that you are buying a pure sorghum product. Each producer in the association is given a number to put on their logo that will quickly identify where and by whom the sorghum was produced. When you see the logo, you will know that you are getting pure sorghum, NOT the blend. MAKE SURE YOU LOOK FOR THE LOGO.
I was relieved to see that my jar of sorghum had the logo on it. Whew!! :)

What To Do If Your Sorghum Crystallizes?
Like honey crystallizes, sorghum does too. Yes, mine is starting to crystallize. :) Putting your sorghum in a pan of warm water can restore it to a usable form. I also run warm water on the lid if I have a hard time opening it. I do not have a microwave but if you have one, you can put it in the microwave for a few seconds to loosen the crystals.

Is Sorghum a Good Sugar Substitute for Diabetics?
No. Although it is a natural product, it is still a sugar and will effect your blood sugar readings. Talk to your doctor to see if small amounts of sorghum can be incorporated into your diet.

 I am truly happy that I decided to research all the beautiful qualities about sorghum. I am excited to give sorghum seeds a good popping. LOL I think they will be something that I would enjoy very much. :) Maybe you will want to give sorghum a try too. 
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Easy Mosaics for Beginners

Mosaics can be so easy and fun. You can make them out of just about any kind of material that you can find. Kids will love doing mosaics because they will have a blast exploring all the possibilities that can go into each project. 

Use your imagination to make your mosaic as original as you want it. Use twigs, stones, seashells, Lego pieces, glass, tiles, beads... the list can go on and on. The key is to have fun with it and let the ideas flow.

I used stuff that I found at the dollar store to make my pictures. I had a bunch of stuff left over too. 
What I used:
Cardboard Frame
Burnt Matches

I save my matches after I light a candle because I just know that I will use them for a cool art project one day. :)  They came in quite handy for this project. 

If you would like to watch my video so you can see how I made these really cool pictures, click the link below. I explain it step by step as I make both of my pictures. 

Now let me explain how I made my seashell picture using photos from my video.
Here is the painting that inspired me to make my 2 mosaic pictures. I wanted the two pictures to go along with this painting and I wanted to integrate real seashells into the pictures because the painting has real seashells too. I loved that idea! It gives the painting such texture and a real life feel. I knew that mosaic pictures would go perfectly with it.  

The first thing that I did was to paint my cardboard frame with acrylic paint. You can use whatever paint that you have or you can leave the cardboard unpainted if you would like. In my world, there is no right or wrong way to do a mosaic. :)

The internet is a beautiful tool to get your imagination flowing. I knew I wanted to make one of my pictures a seashell but I was not sure of the shape I wanted it. So I simply looked up seashell pictures so I could pick the style I wanted.

I decided that I wanted to make a clam shell. I wanted to use my real seashells at the bottom sides of my mosaic clam shell. I placed my shells on the picture where I wanted them and then I drew the rest of the picture free hand with a pencil until I thought the shell design looked centered. 

I start by gluing one small section. Then I placed my beads on the glue. Next, I glue another small section and then I placed my burnt matches on the glue. It makes it super easy if you work in small sections at a time. 

This is what it looks like with the beads and match sticks glued on. The last thing that I do is glue the seashells onto both sides of the bottom of the shell design. The Tacky Glue will dry clear. I had to touch up the paint on my cardboard because I got a little messy but that was very easy to do after I was done. LOL

Here is what my finished seashell looks like.

I did the same process for making my seahorse. If you would like to see me make my seahorse, I have it in my video. I love how both of my pictures turned out. 
Watch the video:

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I thought these two pictures might work good for Pinterest. :) 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

DIY Jewelry and More

In this blog post I will be showing you pictures of the projects that I have done using this awesome technique. The possibilities are endless when it comes to ideas. I made jewelry, hair clips, hair pins and decorations. It is inexpensive and easy to make all kinds of creations.

Things you will need:
*Finger Nail Polish
*Hair Dryer
*Waxed Paper

In this step by step video I will show you how to do this technique if you would like to give it a try too.

Here are some of the projects that I made so I could share with you some of the many things that you can make. I hope it encourages you to give it a try. :) 

Hair Clips

I love how the nail polish makes the projects sparkle.

Hair pin





Flower Decoration
I made this flower out of pipe cleaners. I wanted to see if I could use this technique out of something as simple as pipe cleaners... AND I DID! hehe

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