"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away?"

Author: Unknown

Sunday, July 17, 2016

All Natural, Effective Deodorant/Anti-Perspirant...Plus It's Cheap!

    For years I have thought about what I had been reading about the aluminum in anti-perspirants being strongly linked to Alzheimers and breast cancer. According to one article I read it stated most breast cancer tumors are found near the outer section of the breasts near the arm pits. However,  have never been able to find anything I liked that didnt have aluminum that worked. The aluminum is what the deodorants use to keep you dry.
   However, recently I got a stronger nudge to find something safe. My sister in law was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and just completed a round of chemo, and lost all her hair. Now she is beginning to embark on a series of radiation treatments. I really feel for this woman going through this, but she has held strong, and tackling this head on.
    With this new diagnosis in mind, I started my research again. I was on the edge of ordering one brand when I saw a post on a blog about her homemade deodorant and follow-up comments about how others were having reactions to the baking soda that was used to keep a person dry. After I delved into this further I found even more people commenting about the baking soda causing rashes and skin irritation. The skin under your arms is rather delicate after all. I guess the baking soda can be a little abrasive. I was getting ready to add that all natural deodorant to my shopping cart then decided I better hold off a little longer.
    So back to the drawing board again. After doing many Google searches on natural deodorant recipes I stumbled upon someone promoting Milk Of Magnesia as a deodorant-anti-perspirant. Supposedly it was pretty effective. So I decided to give it a try.  I poured a nickle size amount onto the tip of my fingers on one hand and shared this amount on the fingertips of the other hand. I then smeared this around on my armpits. It doesnt take long to dry. Low and behold....It worked. I have even tested it in the gym. I have no underarm wetness and no odor. I always shower at night before bed and apply it then. By the time I get lotion on, etc its dry. i dont re-apply the next day but you certainly can. I have been testing this for a month now and I am very happy with it. It's even summer time too.

Its just magnesium which is good for you. Some are even deficient in this mineral. You will need to buy the off brand however. The name brand has added sodium hypochorite which is just a bleach agent that is added. It will be listed under the "inactive ingredients" list on the back of the label. My Kroger brand didnt have this. Just the magnesium.


I beleive the Kroger brand was around a dollar. Others have found brands without bleach at the Dollar Store, or Dollar General. 


Give it a try, you have almost nothing to lose and a more healthier disease resistant body to gain.


New Baby and Ninja Turtle Quilt

   We have a new baby in the family. My niece just had a beautiful little baby boy. The are Ninja Turtle fans and requested a quilt. I usually prefer soft colors for new babies but nija's just dont come in baby blue,lol. I also used a store bought receiving blanket and monogrammed it and mde a matching burp cloth.

I also surprised mom and dad with a banner with baby info recorded o it in embroidery. I also added the turtle .

I hung the banner on a dowel and added some ribbon. All ready for the nursery wall.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Seasoning Cast Iron Skillets....The Right Way

    I have been married for 38 yrs. I bought a set of cast irons pans during the first year of my marriage from walmart. I have used them a few times over the years, but I really didnt like them. My son liked to make deep dish pizza in it occasionally. I had problem with them sticking even tho I seasoned them several times. Well to be honest I did what I thought was seasoning  I used them. I would use, wash with soap and water, then dry over heat on the stove just until fully dry, then rub a light coat of oil on them. 
    What freaked me out was that EVERY time I wiped them with an oiled rag, my rag always came back black as coal. No matter how many times I rubbed it down. I couldnt stand the idea of this getting into my food. Plus, it still stuck unless I cooked with oil in it. 
    Well recently, I read another method to season. I decided to give it a try. I didnt have any thing to lose. This method is as follows:

1. Wash pan well. I even used a scrubbing pad. A Brillo pad. I scrubbed till it felt good and smooth on the bottom. Then rinsed well.
2. Dry with a towel.
3. I rubbed each skillet with crisco shortening and a rag. Inside and out. I read you could also use coconut oil.
4. Place upside down in oven with aluminum foil on the rack under them.
5. Turn oven onto 350 degrees. Heat for an hour. then allow to cool down.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 two more times. for a total of 3 times in the oven.
I couldnt believe how shiny and smooth my pans came out. Even better than when I purchased them.

Plus they passed the rag test. I rubbed them with a towel and the towel comes back clean. Absolutely no black.
Just look at that shine!
I understand they recommend only washing with water and no soap. Some people say they use soap. But either way, do not let them air dry. dry on a hot burner then put away when cooled.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Homemade Kombucha and Growing Your Own Scoby

      If you have never tried Kombucha you are in for a treat. Its full of healthy probiotics for your digestive system. It is fizzy and makes a wonderful sub for sodas.  My daughter talked me into trying it the first time after she bought it in Walmart. She became excited when she read on the label it was Raw and Organic. This was GT Synergy Kombucha in a few different flavors. I have tried to reserve it for when I am out running around shopping as it is kind of expensive. It runs just a little over $3 a bottle. 
This is what it looks like. In my walmart it is found near the mushrooms, tofu etc.

    It is a fermented tea that has been around for over 2000 years.There are many health benefits touted for kombucha. From inproved digestion, weight loss, strengthens immunity, fighting yeast overgrowth, liver detox, and aides prevention and treatment of arthritis. There is lots of information out there. I have very limited experience with it, and have not drank it regularly. However, i have noticed it helps to settle my tummy and helps cravings. Plus, its just a good tasty drink. 
     You must have a scoby or "Symbiotic Culture Of  Bacteria and Yeast". This is called the "mother" because as it ages it produces "babies" to make more or give away. 
In this Qourt jar I am growing my first scoby using GT Synergy Kombucha. See the light colored ring around the top of the liquid? I have read many comments online that said you have to use unflavored Kombucha to grow your own, plus others that say the new version of GT's can no longer be used because of a new formula. I am here to debunk both of these.

I started by sterilizing my quart jar in boiling water and setting it aside to cool. In a pot, I placed 4 tea bags (3 green tea, and 1 black), and 2 cups water. You can not use tap water if your have city water since it is chlorinated and this will kill the good bacteria. I have well water without added chlorine etc so I used my tap. Otherwise use bottle water. I bring this to a boil then turn it off. i added 1/3 cup sugar and stirred then let it steep for couple of hours. I also understand you can NOT use decaffinated tea. The scoby uses the caffiene and sugar to grow. so that in the end of the process there is very little if any of the two remaining in your finished kombucha.  After steeping I removed the tea bags and let the tea finish cooling. It has to cool completely before adding your store bought kombucha. The heat will kill the good bacteria. I poured out all but the last 1/4th or so of two bottles of kombucha leaving the stringy stuff in the bottom. I have read where others use one bottle, but I had it so i used two. Do not drink the excess out of the bottles, pour them in a drinking glass. You dont want to contaminate your tea from bacteria from your mouth. Pour the remainder of the kombucha that you saved into your quart jar with your tea. Cover this with a towel and rubber band to hold it on. Depending on how warm your house it, it may take 2 weeks or more to grow your scoby. i left mine two weeks. I probably should have left it another week however, cause my scoby was a little thin. I am inpatient so I  hope its thick enough. I read it should be 1/4" thick. Mine was about 1/2 that.
     Here is my scoby when I pulled it out of my quart jar. Be sure and use clean washed hands before handling. It is kind or rubbery feeling. Do not use any metal with your scoby.

     When your scoby has grown, now you can start to brew your kombucha. I already had  bags of green tea and a box of organic tea blends. I decided to get creative with my first batch and mix these. I used 10 total tea bags and an old 1 gallon pickle jar I had gotten from a deli once for free. Wash 
your jar, rinse it thoroughly and I also sterilized it in some boiling water.  I then boiled about a quart of water with 8 green tea bags and two flavored black tea for total of 10 -12 bags. When it has started boiling I add 1 cup sugar and stir it in, then let it sit and steep for 15 min to an hour. I steeped for an hour. Then remove your bags and pour into your big glass jar that is at least 1 gallon. then pour in your remaining 3 quarts of cold water to finish  cooling your tea. Make sure it is cool before next step. Pour in your scoby from your quart jar with about 1.5 to 2 cups of the tea it was grown in. 

You can see my tiny scoby floating in the top in this picture.

This is the box of flavored teas I used. I picked out the cardamom pu-erh bag and a Numi Golden Chai bag that had black tea, cinnamon, ginger, anise, and cardamom. It smelled so good. Cover with towel and rubber band. Place in a warm dark place. Let ferment for a week or two. After a week, take a straw and insert along the edge of your scoby, place your finger over the end to pull some tea out. Check the taste. if it is too sweet ir needs to ferment longer. If you let it go too long it will start to taste more vinegary. So check frequently after a week. When ready it can be drank now but will not be flavored or fizzy.
In my next post, I will explain about getting the fizz and flavoring in your second ferment.


Sunday, May 01, 2016

Homemade Vegan Banana Nut Raisin Bread

    I was married 38 years ago and was given a wonderful Betty Crocker cookbook as a wedding present. I have used this book many times over the years. It has served me well.
    I loved the banana bread recipe it had but I can never leave anything without adding my personal touch to it, lol. So I added a bunch of spices to my recipe. The family loved it.
    Then 15 months ago, I became a plant based vegan. So my wonderful recipe got adapted again. It no longer resembles the original Betty Crocker  recipe, but is is still just as good as my adapted version. 
This just came out of my over and I added a smear of my vegan homemade butter while it was still hot.mmmm . Doesnt this make you want to lick the screen?
When creating vegan versions of recipes you eliminate eggs and have to find an appropriate substitute to bind everything and get a good rise. This is not always easy.  But as you can see this huge loaf has  a wonderful crown to it. For the egg substitution I used the very popular aquafaba. Aquafaba is simply the liquid form a can of beans or from your own cooked beans. I used chickpea liquid or navy beans. When I open a can I simply pour the liquid into an ice tray and freeze blocks and put them in a baggy for later use. This stuff works fantastic. No...you do not taste beans....not a hint! 



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Homemade Vegan Banana Bread
I adapted my Betty Crocker recipe many times in the past. Adding more spices etc. Today, since I have been vegan for about 15 months, I adapted my recipe to now make it vegan. It is a moist, almost fudgy bread loaded with raisins and nuts. So delicious when warm and lightly buttered.
Ingredients
  • 3 c All Purpose flour or sub in 1 c.  oat flour
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 TB apple sauce
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c nut milk of your choice
  • 3 TB aquafaba (liquid from can of beans such as chickpeas or navy)
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp optional almond flavoring
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 c raisins
  • 1 c chopped walnuts or pecans
Instructions
Blend all but raisins and nuts. when batter is well combined, fold in nuts and raisins. Bake at 350◦ for 55-65 min for large pan, or 55-60 min for small pan. Insert knife into center to check if done. If it comes out clean its done, if you see some wet batter on knife bake for few minutes more and check again.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Makes 1 lg loaf 9x5x3 or two small loaves 8.5x4.5x2.5

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Grand Kitchen Remodel. I Love It!

    We are all set for our family Christmas dinner this evening. There are still a few small things to do. Some drawers to build for inside the cabinets in the island and paint the bay window, and some new rugs and window treatments. Also a little more organizing. It turned out fantastic tho. Take a look....










Tuesday, December 01, 2015

HomeMade Non-dairy Yogurt

    As you may remember, I have been eating a plant based vegan diet. I can't say I have been craving cheese. I haven't. I have been wanting to try my hand at cheese making tho. My husband enjoys his grilled cheese and cheese on pizza. I found recipe online that someone shared and reduced size to make 3/4 to 1 cup.
1/4 cup cashews soaked overnight and drained.
1/4 cup water
1 probiotic capsule opened
3/4 tsp tapioca starch
After draining nuts. Put in blender with 1/4 cup water and tapioca starch. Blend on high till very smooth. Then place in a small crock in oven with a plate to loosely cover. NO HEAT just the light on. Leave overnight. Then place in refrigerator tightly covered for about 8-10 hrs. Recipe said to then drain in fridge for 4-8 hrs. But mine was thick enough without so I didn't. You can then add sweeteners or fruit of your choice. I tried it plain and thought it was slightly less tangy than greek yogurt, but very good. I also added some maple syrup and thoroughly enjoyed it. The original recipe called for two probiotic caps with 2 cups nuts and two cups water and 2 Tb tapioca starch. But I wanted to see if I liked it first. SO I made a  mini batch. Now off to finish my non-dairy mozzarella.


Almost Done!!

    We are finally nearing the end of this huge remodel. What I initially thought would only take a couple weeks to complete has morphed into a couple months. We still have to put the crown molding along the ceiling , mantle above the fireplace, white subway tile back splash, and shelves between the two glass front cabinets on the wall with the pantry. I think we  may also paint the bottom of the old wood table and the chairs white.
                                    This is a little peak into the kitchen from the living room.
                                 We still haven't found counter height stools that we like yet.
I still haven't gotten things put back in order from Thanksgiving dinner. Hence the two extra chairs and baby stroller. We dont have any babies right now but the grandchildren like using the stroller for their "babies", lo. When my husband gets the molding back up on my large bay then we will get it painted white.
                      The wood stove will get a nice heavy white mantle. Plus get cleared off lol.

The old pantry cabinet is located to the far left. The two glass front cabinets were original to the old kitchen as well but hubby built the base cabinets. We were going to just simply put white shelves between them then crown molding across the top making it look like one big hutch. Like HERE
                        Then we saw  Chip and Joanna do this kitchen on fixer upper HERE:
We love the rustic looking shelves with the black metal supports. I thought the black pipe might pull the black from the stove on the other end of the kitchen. So now we arent sure. We are kind of leaning to the simple white shelves tho to creat the country looking hutch.
            Above, we were testing out the look using my black sweeper hose and an old board,lol
My husband and I designed this wonderful range hood and he built it. We work together well like that. I know he can do anything I dream up,lol. We still have to do the pretty tile pattern we have planned for here and add some stamped tin to the inside upper part around the fan/light.

    I love these pretty crystal knobs. Real glass bought from ebay for .95 each. Cant beat that deal!
This is the end of the island. There is one thing I would have done different had we thought of it before it was built. I would have used wider boards for the top and bottom of the frames making up the corner legs so more showed once the moulding was in place. My wonderful guy also put me in a couple electric outlets in the ends of the island. These are so handy.
This is the front of the island cabinets that he built.They are not as difficult as they look when you have the right tools. Cheaper to build than buy the cheap particle board ones in stores even adding in the price of a Kreg jig for joining and a new router and router table. Just need some basic skills, a little internet research, and a little "Go For It..ness".  I love my new island!