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Health, Home, and Happiness: July 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

Venison and Beef Shepherd's Pie

Using organic ground beef and venison to make shepard's pie for dinner this week. The venison is cheap (I think the tag was $15 and we processed it ourselves.) and the beef is pretty pricy, but I find venison too dry to eat by itself.

This is deer tenderloin, and the beef browning. I still don't love cooking meat, but I feel better when I eat meat a few times a week at least. So I force myself through cooking it.

We used the lactofermented green beans in the Shepherd's pie, and I finally remembered to buy organic potatoes at the health food store last week. Potatoes are supposed to be important to buy organic, since conventional ones are often treated with sprout inhibitors. I made gravy with the meat drippings as described in Nourishing Traditions and put that over the meat but under the green beans and potatoes. Baked at 375 uncovered for about half an hour. Everyone loved it.

Now back to cleaning out the house ;)

This post is a part of fight back Fridays

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm on a massive clean out of my house this week and not cooking a whole lot. We're eating a lot of pot stickers from Costco, I try to choose my convenience food more carefully now. These little frozen pot stickers are MSG, trans fat, artificial coloring, and pork free. They contain chicken, veggies, and are cooked in butter (good fat), so they're a good enough compromise for having a cleaned out house.

I have a friend who keeps up her house beautifully, and I finally realized that if I want a beautiful house then I should copy what she does (we're not in second grade any more, so she doesn't mind a copy cat for a friend ~grin~). She is great at moving things on that don't need to be held onto. So I'm attempting to do the same via Freecycle (I love that! Just post it, and then someone who wants it comes and takes it off your porch), donating to the thrift store, the children's consignment store, and the dumpster.

I'm trying to remember that there's not use hanging onto stuff that takes up tons of room and is only used every so often that I could go buy at the thrift store for $1 if I really did need it again. So far I've gotten rid of a boppy (I used it with my first, hardly at all with my second since I was constantly nursing on the run), a bunch of books that we didn't need to own, clothes, decorative knick knacks that have meandered from house to house and never been enjoyed, and the toaster oven is going too. Next is the garage, going through what baby clothes we really would use again, quilting scraps, other crafty paraphernalia. I've decided the single stroller can go, since I have a double one now. If I might need a single stroller, we can make do with the ergo or mei tai.

Any clean out tips are welcome!
What have you gotten rid of that you thought you would miss but didn't?

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Chocolate covered crispy pecans

Lots of sugar on my blog this week. Last week I decided to take half of my crispy pecans and cover them in chocolate. Melted chocolate in the double broiler, mixed them in, then spread on parchment paper to cool. Broke them up and kept them in the freezer and have been enjoying.

This is neither Nourishing Traditions or Maker's Diet friendly, since I used regular chocolate chips that contain sugar.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Making cookies in bars

Maybe everyone else already knew this, but I just figured out that I can make a whole cookie dough recipe, dump it in a 9x13" pyrex, press down a little, and cook. I don't need a special 'bar cookie' recipe. I've been doing this for my forever-hungry husband lately. Saves tons of time and since they don't have to stay in cookie-shape, I can up the eggs (protein) and flour (cheapness) to stretch the batch.

Yes, I am that lazy that scooping individual cookies out on the pan and switching the pans in the oven is 'a lot of work.'

My typical recipe:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar, brown or white
5 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3-4 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 a bag, or a few handfuls of chocolate chips (for those of us who buy chocolate chips in bulk...)

Then I bake it until it seems slightly underdone, 350 degrees maybe 35 minutes?


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Crispy Almonds, Pecans, etc

We love Nourishing Traditions' directions for crispy almonds. They're very easy healthy snacks. I get the 3-pound bag of almonds at Costco ($9.99 here) and dump them in a bowl. Cover with 2 Tablespoons of sea salt, and then fill the bowl with filtered water. Let soak overnight, drain, and spread on a cookie sheet. Put in the oven on the lowest setting (mine is 150) for about 24 hours, or until crispy. The salt and soaking make the almonds not too salty, and easier to digest. We do the same with pecans and it pulls out the slight bitterness that you expect from eating pecans. We buy one or two bags of nuts at Costco once a month and eat them as snacks all month long. I love them in muffins, breads, and cookies too.

These are okay for The Maker's Diet phase one.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cooler Yogurt

A gallon of nonhomogenized whole organic milk was about to expire and on clearance at our health food store. Unafraid of expiration dates, I snagged it and made yogurt this past Monday. This is what I do for a whole gallon (more step-by-step instructions with a half gallon back here) to let it incubate. I fill the original gallon jug with hot tap water, put the jars of milk/yogurt and the water jug in the cooler, then fill the bottom of the cooler with a few inches of hot water. Close the lid, and leave it overnight. I find that when I have the cooler mostly full like this, it stays warm enough. If you have a bigger cooler, you could add another jug of hot water if you have it, or just exchange the cooler water for hot water again once during the process.

I have one friend who wants some whey and yogurt from this, another who will take the yogurt cheese, and then I'm keeping some whey for ourselves to use in bread, falafel, and lactofermented foods. The whey helps break down the anti-nutrients in the whole wheat flour for bread and the beans for falafel, and adds good bacteria during the fermentation process.


Grasshoppers in my apartment garden

I planted my container garden out on the porch back in June and offered my neighbor the rest of my tomato plants. She said that she tried them last year and the grasshoppers ate them all so she wasn't going to bother this year.

Hadn't seen a grasshopper 'til this week, but they're all over the front window now (this guy is eyeballing me from outside the glass). We'll see how it goes...


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Falafel with tahini sauce

It might be a first, but I actually followed the recipe for this. Falafel on page 506 of Nourishing Traditions, tahini sauce on page 148.

We plan on making this a regular part of our menu now, it was liked by everyone. We generally do the bulk of our cooking on Tuesdays, a couple dinners and bread if we need to, so that the rest of the week is free for sewing, errands, and park visits. We were planning on making just the falafel mixture, but then Hannah and I decided to try it for snack and it was so good that we just had to have it for dinner that night. Didn't quite get to the soaked wheat pita bread this week, we just ate it with the suggested tahini sauce and ginger carrots for Hannah and I, sauerkraut for Hubby.

I had made falafel last summer, but with a different recipe and I didn't soak the garbanzo beans as called for in Nourishing Traditions. We liked it last time, but this time was even better.

To soak, I boiled a pot of water, added the dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and added a few tablespoons of whey (lemon juice is okay too), covered, and left to sit overnight, drained, then repeated the process and let sit until the afternoon. Next we processed the garbanzo beans and spices in batches in the food processor. Not much to look, it looks like moist sand, the kind that you can make really good footprints in when you walk along the shore.

I love Nourishing Traditions, but sometimes I wish there was a little more detail in the recipes. Like how to shape the patties, how long to cook, etc. I found that thinner small patties work best to cook through and for ease of flipping. Maybe those who have actually had falafel by people who knew what they were doing could share the normal size?

falafel spices: parsley, cumin, coriander, pepper, sea salt, cayenne pepper, baking powder (I know, I thought it was strange too, but it worked)

I used the sunflower oil that I had on hand to fry in since it has a high heat point. I still ended up filling the down stairs with smoke, as I seem to do at least once a month. Don't forget to turn off the burner after you finish frying the patties up -grin-

A very filling meatless meal. Rounding numbers, $1.50 for the dried chickpeas, $0.50 for the spices, $1.00 for the oil; this meal comes to well under $5 with the tahini sauce and fed the 3 of us including one with a huge appetite, with leftovers.

Tahini sauce is 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 cup tahini, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, all processed in the food processor until the consitency of heavy cream. Tahini (sesame seed paste) is a little pricey, but this sauce is rich and flavorful and will last quite a while. It took me a few trips to different stores before I could find the tahini, but one of our health food stores had it with the other nut butters. It was $4.35 and one jar would make a couple batches of this sauce. I've used it in hummus before too.

This post is a part of Pennywise Platters Thursdays and Real Food Wednesdays

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Seventh Generations Diapers to clear up diaper rash

My kids are pretty sensitive to synthetics. All those cute fuzzy fleecie hats, PJs, pants that they make for newborns? They all gave my babies red rashes. Sam is more sensitive than Hannah was, I even had to cover his carseat straps with cotton (they're nylon, a synthetic material) so he didn't get a rash. God-given natural fibers are the way to go with my kids (and me too! that's why I started making and using these- because of the itch factor).

With Hannah, I was able to use cloth prefolds or fitteds with a PUL (plastic) cover, or All In Ones that I made (also with the PUL outer), but this boy gets a rash even from that. So we use cotton prefolds and wool 'soaker' covers with him to keep rash away. If you're new and looking for a good diaper store, Green Mountain Diapers is my favorite place to order cloth diapers now, we have 12 infant prefolds and 24 premium CPFs.

When life happens, I put him in disposables, generally about once a week. By the end of the day he'd have a rash. I'm not thrilled with Huggies diapers anyway because of the gel, but he would pee right out of Tushies that are gel free, so we were just using Huggies. I finally glanced at the box and noticed that they added petroleum 'for skin protection'. Gross. And the same stuff that polyester is made of, so most likely that's what was causing the rash. So we tried Seventh Generation from the health food store and no rash. Wahoo. He also is prone to eczema (that is caused by dairy in my diet), I wonder if there's a correlation?

With my first, her little bum was only in cloth until she was a year and a half and we moved, then she was in Tushies sometimes. But with this one, I give myself permission to put him in disposables once life gets the best of me. It's more of a cost factor than anything- if I need to put off laundry and use a couple 31-cent diapers in the process, it's less expensive than ordering pizza for dinner. And sometimes something's gotta give!

Costs: In looking at Amazon's Seventh Generation Diaper prices size 3 diapers are 31.7 cents, but then go down to 26.9 cents with their 15% off 'Subscribe and Save' discount. is 31.4 cents a diaper, and the health food store is some crazy-high price that I paid just because I wasn't sure they'd work and I didn't want to be stuck with a case of diapers that didn't work. Amazon doesn't look like it has Tushies, but is where I had gotten them before, and they are 34.8 cents for a 'medium' that is comparable to Seventh Generation 3s I think.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Menu for the week of 7/19

I'm getting a little tired of our food rut, so I'm venturing out a little bit this week. Not anything amazingly gourmet, but different from what we normally have. We're still following the predictable schedule (outlined here) but doing something other than the same ol same ol within it.

Lunches are sandwiches, either like this one with my crockpot chicken lunchmeat, or with a batch of egg salad, either on soaked whole wheat bread. Hubby eats chicken sandwiches every day, on homemade white or wheat bread, and a piece of fruit, some organic (GMO free) corn chips or crackers, and a cookie. Or 7. He does construction and eats a lot. When he was laid off due to lack of work this past winter, our grocery bill seriously was cut in half.

Breakfasts have been a lot of cooked buckwheat with scrambled eggs on the side, or combined

Snacks are soaked/salted/dehydrated nuts (crispy almonds, crispy pecans) and fruit

Then dinners are as follows:

Monday: Chicken enchaladas. Have my pinto beans soaking and chicken cooking in the crockpot as I type.

Tuesday: Pizza

Wednesday: Falafel in homemade pitas, with sauerkraut or some other lactofermented veggie. As far as my toddler is concerned, we could have pickles with every meal :)

Thursday: Buckwheat crepes from Nourishing Traditions. We'll see how they go, I haven't tried them yet. With berries and whipped cream if I get around to it. Scrambled eggs too.

Friday: Not pizza this Friday, we're having Costco's potstickers. Pork free, MSG free.

Saturday: Umm. Saturdays all too often end up being whatever we can scrounge up. Quesadillas a lot since they're fast.

Sunday: Burgers, half venison, half organic beef.

On the agenda to make and subsiquently blog about this week:
Buckwheat crepes
Falafel (I've made it before, just never taken pictures to share)
Soaked wheat pitas- we'll see if they'll turn out

I've got a wholesale order I'm working on this week for dolls, so here's a shameless plug for my Etsy Shop ~grin~

See more menu plans at Organizing Junkie

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Nourishing Traditions/ Maker's Diet Food preperation ramblings

A better picture of sprouting buckwheat. We've really been enjoying this, in sandwiches, in scrambled eggs, and I'm going to try adding it to whole wheat bread next.
Sautéing it with butter on our cast iron griddle- then we added some eggs for scrambled eggs.
Hubby's white bread. He'll eat the whole wheat, but prefers white. I try to not impose my ideas on him too forcefully, so I make him white bread about once a week. If he decides to eat a loaf as toast in one sitting (he does construction and really eats quite a bit) then the rest of the week he can have the wheat bread we have on hand.

He calls it buttermilk bread, but there isn't any buttermilk in it. It's unbleached white flour from Wheat Montana (GMO free and organic, but not certified organic so the price is affordable), honey, water (or milk if we have it), butter, yeast, and sea salt.

I've got some white beans cooking away in my crock pot, after soaking last night. Wheat is soaking for bread dough tomorrow. My entire bottom shelf of the fridge and half the door is taken up with lactofermented veggies, so we'll eat those for a while before making more. I bought 5 dozen eggs last weekend and we're down to one dozen left. I'm always surprised at the amount of eggs we go through.

I need to get better at planning weekend eating, all too often we kind of snack our way through the weekend because I didn't get my act together to actually fix two or three real meals a day.

After hemming and hawing for quite a while, I bought a (used) double jogging stroller, which we've been enjoying this week. We go out at least once to one of the three parks that are within walking distance of us. It feels really good to be out in the sun, and unlike the Ergo I don't have to worry about my baby getting too much sun while we're out. I've read that it's better to not wear dark glasses, that your eyes actually need sun, and I want to look into that more. I tried searching for it quickly and didn't come up with anything very credible, so I'll have to look into it a little more.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Nourishing Traditions Sandwich

Seriously good! And sleeping in this morning (and subsequently not packing my husband's lunch) motivated me to make 3 sandwiches for lunch today- one for me, two for him tomorrow.

I really love these lactofermented veggies, because I can put together a great sandwich without having half the 'supplies' going bad. I'm ashamed to say that fresh veggies like tomatoes and lettuce usually go bad in the bottom of my fridge before I can use them all.

This sandwich is made of:

Soaked wheat bread
Organic crockpot chicken (cost ends up being less than $1 per sandwich)
Grapeseed oil mayonnaise
Sprouted buckwheat (that I'm loving right now!)
Store bought mustard
Tilimook cheese on hubby's

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Using Sprouted Buckwheat

I wasn't quite sure what to do with the buckwheat I had sprouted, so on a whim I added it to a lunch of scrambled eggs.

I added a good 1/2 cup + of sprouts to 5 eggs at the end of scrambling, when they were mostly cooked. I was surprised that it was really good, the texture was nice and soft, but the flavor was a little nutty.

I can tell when my toddler really likes something, because she puts down her fork and just uses her fingers. This was a fingers kind of meal. ~smile~

Then the next day we ate the sprouted buckwheat as porridge, again with butter and syrup. Both the toddler and I liked the sprouted porridge better than the unsprouted soaked version, so we'll do this more. It was a little softer than the other version. Sprouting takes out the phytates (anti-nutrients found in the outer shell of whole grains). After using the rest of our sprouts up, I went ahead and started some more right away. I think the nutty soft flavor would be good in a lot of things. I'm really glad that I tried using this 'grain'

(see more about buckwheat here)

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sprouted Buckwheat

I sprouted the buckwheat (talked about buckwheat back here) and it sprouted really well. I wasn't sure since it was hulled, so I thought that might have made it so it couldn't sprout. Pictured is after 24 hours in the sprouting jar. Can you see the tiny 'tails'?

(see my sprouting jar back here, with wheat)


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Buckwheat porridge

The porridge turned out really well. My 2 year old liked it a lot, I think that she liked that the 'grains' were easier to pick up than rice, since they're a little bigger. The only thing that was a little weird, was that it retained it's green color a little when cooked. It tasted really good, and it kept it's form so it wasn't 'mushy' like oatmeal. Absolutely worth trying again. We had it cooked in just water with some butter and a tad of maple syrup on top.

To make it I soaked 1/2 cup buckwheat and 1 cup water + 2ish tablespoons yogurt overnight. In the morning I turned the burner on 'medium' and cooked, covered, for about 20 minutes.

Other posts of interest:
Maple Syrup Research (We use Grade B and it's really good!)
About Buckwheat


Monday, July 13, 2009

Buckwheat and Vitamin B17

I try to be slow and steady in how I add new healthy things into our diet, while systematically getting rid of things I know aren't good for us. I recently decided to add buckwheat. After working with wheat (see bread here, sprouts here) and feeling like I've figured that out. I know I needed to start working through a few different grains since we have so many available to us, each with different properties. I looked through the Grains chapter in Nourishing Traditions I decided on Buckwheat because it contains vitamin B17.

B17 is an anti-cancer vitamin that is found in seeds. I first heard of this vitamin through Kent Hovind, and it seems to be pretty controversial so I affectionately call it the conspiracy theorist vitamin. Regardless, I think it has enough merit that I'd like to include it in our diet.

So, still not entirely sure what I was looking for, I bought enough to fill my quart jar of 'unhulled raw buckwheat' from the bulk section of our local health food store. I put some in a pot (above) to soak for the next mornings porridge (adding a cube of yogurt and some filtered water to help soak out the phytates, see more on that here).

I also put some in a jar with my sprouting lid on it (like I did wheat back here) to see how it did with sprouting.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Weekend eating

Beet kvass. I didn't know what to expect, but I kind of like the beet kvass. My toddler thought it was something sweet and asked for some. She swallowed what was in her mouth, but was not interested in finishing the cup. That's okay. It just tasted like pickled beet juice to me.

For dinner tonight we had wild rice from costco cooked in chicken stock for a long time. I mixed in some organic ground beef, and had lactofermented green beans and organic tortilla chips (read: no GMOs) on the side. I was reading about the protein-sparing effects of geletin in stock during lunch yesterday. Nourishing Traditions says that by eating a diet with lots of good chicken stock means that your body can better use less protein. That works for me, since good quality animal protein is pretty expensive.

My hubby seems to becoming more acclimated to this way of eating. I had bought the organic wild rice from Costco over a year ago, and he wanted nothing to do with it. He's gladly eaten it twice now, not even saying anything. I've been cooking it a really long time (2+ hours), as recommended in Nourishing Traditions, so I wonder if that helps. I don't stress too much about what he doesn't want to eat. I'm pretty picky about what my kids eat, just because I want them to be in the habit of eating real food, but if it takes hubby a little longer to get on board as much as I am, I'm fine with that.

We've got a chicken going over night in the crock pot, and some buckwheat soaking for breakfast. This will be my first try with buckwheat, we'll see how it goes. I like to just do a little every day, and try something new once a week or so. Less often if life is busy.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Washing Hair with Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you're looking into washing your hair with baking soda and vinegar (No Pooing), you'll also be interested in the following:
Homemade Humidifier Additive
Homemade Deodorant that really works
Essential Oils
Tooth Soap
Other Natural Home and Body Care Products
Soapberries- All Natural Laundry Detergent! 

And now onto how to wash your hair with baking soda and vinegar

A friend had told me quite a while ago that you could wash your hair with baking soda and vinegar. I had seen 'no poo' people around the internet and just thought that they were not using anything to clean their hair. Didn't sound like anything I wanted to try.

I was still pretty skeptical about the vinegar and baking soda, I was convinced it would leave my hair dull, dry, and vinegary. But after seeing how well vinegar softens up wool when I used it on my son's longies, I thought I'd give it a try as a conditioner. I had some baking soda leftover that I had been using for my teeth (switched to tooth soap, which works way better).

Once again, I was surprised at how well natural alternatives work. I had been using Herbal Essences (which I know are quite not natural) after a failed attempt with Burt's Bee's natural shampoo and conditioner. The baking soda cleaned super well, it was a little harder to work into my hair than regular shampoo, but it easily rinsed clear. The vinegar was amazing and left my hair easier to brush out than the chemical or natural conditioner ever did.

I've been using just the vinegar on my toddler's hair too, her hair is really dry so I don't need the baking soda. I just rinse her hair out with water (she showers with me) and then put some vinegar in and rinse it.

When I first tried this I used about a tablespoon of baking soda and 1/4 cup of vinegar. I thought that wasn't very frugal, I'd be going through a box of baking soda and a bottle of vinegar every month or so. Then I read how Stephanie at Keeper of the Home does it, she diluted the vinegar and baking soda down so it lasts way longer. I've been doing that since she posted, and it works just as well but uses way less.

Right now we're just using an old plastic Burt's Bee's shampoo bottle for the baking soda/water and I filled my mostly empty vinegar bottle (plastic) up the rest of the way with filtred water and that's what we use for that. I did put a couple drops of orange essential oil in each because I like to have some sort of scent in my hair and that's what I had around.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

My crockpot chicken

I've been doing my crock pot chickens now once a week since May. I'm buying the more expensive organic chickens at Costco, which usually works out to around $12. Since we've been able to give up gross nitrate-laden nonorganic lunch meat, it's been about a wash in our budget.

I've found that a chicken's worth of meat makes all 5 sandwiches for hubby, and another 3 or so for me, plus I can add some chicken to quesadillas or burritos or something during the week. And the broth and fat are a great addition to rice, bread, and anything else savory that needs liquid.

I personally find that when I pay a little more for organic, and have to work a little more (doing this chicken rather than buying lunch meat) I 'respect' the food more and tend to waste less and take better care in preparing our meals. I'm slowly switching over to more and more organics, but keeping our same food budget just by being more careful with what we have.

Cooking the chicken and making the broth in the crockpot

Information on the health benefits of real broth from

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More pickles, and green beans (lactofermented)

We did some more pickles, in rounds this time for sandwiches. And my friend suggested green beans, so I picked some up at Costco and did those too.

Hannah and I have been devouring the pickle spears that we made last week. And since we're mostly milk free, I'm thrilled to be getting some good bacteria for us (through the whey) that most people can get from yogurt.

Honestly, as healthy and frugal as I try to be, I still way too often find produce rather... wilted... at the bottom of my fridge at the end of the week. Preparing my veggies this way keeps that from happening, which is great for our health and dollars.

More about easy nourishing lactofermented veggies

And this ties right into what Kimi is talking about at The Nourishing Gourmet, not wasting food. Hop on over there for more frugal fare at Pennywise Platter Thursday

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Real Food is Satisfying

After my little binge on refined/processed food last weekend, I was reminded of how I used to eat. I used to eat pastas, breads, bagels, chocolate until I was overfull, stuffed, starting to be way too uncomfortable without an elastic waistband.

I didn't realize it, but I just don't have the urge to eat that much any more. I thought it was because I was busy with two kids now, but no, after seeing how I act when exposed to processed foods, I realize it's because the food I now eat is satisfying. I do eat pretty often, I just ate some crispy pecans, but when I finished my handful I wasn't compelled to march right back down to the kitchen and get more and keep eating until I felt sick.

When I was eating more low-fat, low-nutrient (though all the labels claimed to be Enriched! Part of a Healthy Diet!), my thoughts were consumed with food a lot of the day. I thought that maybe it was because I was on the swim team and exercising a lot, but the thoughts didn't stop when I quit swimming so I could start working. If I had the money for them, I could easily drink 4-6 diet Pepsi sodas a day. If I bought a package of candy, saying that I would make it last all week, it would be polished off that night.

Now I often have high fat food around, and I usually have chocolate chips in my freezer (we do eat cookies! But after we fill up on whole grains, proteins, and healthy real fats) but the thoughts of food aren't always at the front of my mind. When I was in high school and weighed 15 or so pounds more than I do now, I thought that I just had lack of self discipline. Tomorrow I would only eat 1200 calories, I'd say. And it never really worked.

I do know that some people are able to be successful at maintaining a healthy weight on a low-fat diet, but I think they are very few and far between. And honestly, most of them are pretty crabby most of the time! They feel deprived, and deprived they are.

I feel so thankful that I found real food and am able to nourish my family with this, and maintain a healthy weight. I hope that my candidness can help people who are struggling with weight and health issues. While I'm sure there can be some self control issues (like, say, putting the processed food in your grocery cart, or resisting the marketing of fake food that is so often in the media) having a diet full of healthy, nourishing, real foods takes away the overwhelming desire to eat eat eat, since your body is getting the nutrients that it needs in ways that are appropriate.

Please, don't fall for the myth that your body doesn't need fat. Don't fall for the myth that the only difference between whole wheat bread, properly prepared, and white bread is the fiber content. Don't fall for the myth that vitamins are vitamins, no matter the origin.

If you're just starting, I'd recommend this post

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesdays

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Confessions (why I gained 5 pounds last weekend)

I don't know what it is about Costco, but somehow packaging everything in larger-than-life quantities makes it so much more appealing. I had been eyeballing the nearly-5-pound (they print the weight right on it) key lime pie for the past 4 Costco trips. Corn syrup. White flour. Sweetened condensed adulterated milk. I had to have it.

And a swing by the discount bakery rack in Walmart yielded 4 white flour loaves of sourdough bread. "For Hubby" I said. In reality I still haven't completely lost my addiction to toasted white flour sourdough with butter, and I ate the equivalant of a loaf's worth over a 3-day time span.

And no doubt, after day 2 of eating like this I felt lousy and had gained 5 lbs. The pie was finished on Monday, and now it's Wednesday and after being back on The Maker's Diet foods I'm back down 2.5 lbs to 147.5. When I stay eating how I should, with the occasional cookie but not an entire pie or loaf of white bread, I easily stay between 140 and 145, which is what weight works for me at 5' 8.5"

I'm sure the weight will come back off by the end of the week, without limiting portion sizes or doing any more exercise than normal. I'm thrilled that I've found a 'diet' that works for me, just eating real whole foods.

(This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday)

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Got my Tooth Soap

I got my tooth soap (post about it back here and it's for order online here) in the mail yesterday. Of course I had to try it out right away, I tried the original flavor. It honestly was less soapy than I expected, it didn't make me gag at all. I still brushed my tongue with plain water, but I think I might work my way up to using soap soon. My toddler is just fine with anything that I do, and she happily let me brush her teeth with it as well, then she 'finished up' herself.

So far I'm happy with it. What I'd heard about it does seem true, my teeth feel super clean, even more so than with regular toothpastes. I'll check back in after using it for a month and let you know how it's going.

Specifically, I can feel a couple surface cavities that hopefully will heal up, and the bottoms of my front teeth seem thin. They're transparent and I wonder if this will change.

Curious about this whole thing? See the rest of my holistic dentistry posts here.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Healthy Mayonnaise

I've been wanting to do real mayonnaise for a long time now. I did decent stuff back in 2007 but it was with canola oil, which we're avoiding now because it's genetically modified. At least it wasn't the partially hydroginated soybean oil that's in commercial mayo.

This weekend I finally gave up on the kitchenaid and used the food processor, which is what is recommended in Nourishing Traditions anyway. I hadn't used it before because I find it a pain to clean, and also I wasn't sure which blade to use. I just used the biggest metal sharp blade and it worked really well. I remembered that this was why I bought the grape seed oil, and since the grape seed oil is bright green my mayo has a green tint but that's fine. I ran out of grape seed oil before it was done, so there's some olive oil in it too.

I added whey also, so it's lactofermented. After letting it sit out for 7 hours (which is so counter intuitive! Haven't we been trained since forever to never let mayonaise sit out?) it did thicken up, and then even more after being in the fridge. I'm happy with it and am officially no longer intimidated by a little oil, salt, raw eggs, and whey.

On soaked whole wheat bread with my crockpot chicken, lactofermented radishes, and just plain French's mustard since I haven't gotten around to making that yet.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

About Home Made Lactofermented veggies

A list of links to step-by-step instructions in pictures, follow the links below. In general, it's 2 tablespoons of whey and 1 tablespoon of sea salt to 2 little jars or one big jar. Lactofermented veggies are a really neat way to liven up foods. We're all familliar with pickle relish, but modern relish is made with vinegar due to industrilization's desire to have every jar be exactly the same. The old way of preserving veggies for the winter was to use good bacteria (the exact same as is found in yogurt, see how I made yogurt to start this whole process) to crowd out the bad bacteria in the jars, thus keeping the food from spoiling. goes into the same stuff that I read in Nourishing Traditions about how eating lactofermented food is so good for digestion, absorption of nutritients, and keeping the body's bacterial system in balance. Just like soaking whole wheat flour to make bread (how I do it is here) makes it easier to digest and absorb the nutrients, not to mention how much better it tastes, lactofermenting veggies does the same for nutrient-dense but economical vegetables.

I love that I don't have to do cans in hot water baths and pressure cookers like traditional canning. Who wants to do that in the heat of the summer when produce is ready to be picked? I just follow the instructions in Nourishing Traditions; grating or chopping my vegetable, adding salt and whey, then filtered water as needed. Screw a canning jar lid (or even a clean applesauce jar worked) on tight, but don't do anything else. Let it sit out on the counter for a few days to get the process started, then transfer to the warm part of a fridge (or root cellar if we had that)

Surprised that my family will eat this? Well, my husband will eat the sauerkraut and pickles, nothing else so far. I'm going to try putting the radishes in his sandwiches. My daughter loves the sourness of it all, as I talked about back here.

Worried about serving your family 'bad' food that will make them sick? Sally Fallon, in Nourishing Traditions, states that if an occasional batch does go bad, when you open it the smell will be so awful that nothing could persuade you to eat it. I felt better knowing this. I'll admit that last time I did let it sit in the fridge for a good week or two before trying it, to make sure that if it was going to go bad I'd be sure to know it. This time I'm more confident in the process and we started eating some ginger carrots and sauerkraut after just letting it sit 4 days.


The purple is beet kvass

Pink is radishes

Orange is ginger carrots

The pickles are pretty obvious

And the pale jars are saurkraut

On another page: Green Beans

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ginger carrots, lactofermented

For ginger carrots. Organic carrots, couldn't find organic ginger.
Mixing the whey, salt, carrots and ginger.

Pressing to get the carrot juice outPressing again once it's in the jar. I'm a messy cook ~grin~

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Beet Kvass

At first I wasn't sure what I thought of beet kvass, and I origionally bought the beets to do pickled beets. But that required baking them for 3 hours and it's hot- didn't want the oven going for 3 hours.

Beet kvass, like all the lactofermented veggies I've been doing lately, is supposed to be really good for digestion. The lactofermentation brings out the nutrients in the beets, making them easier to absorb in the body. It also is raw, so has the enzymes in it still that are so essential to life.

Beet kvass is recommended as a tonic, so we'll try drinking the liquid or adding it to salad dressings and other things where it will remain uncooked so the enzymes stay intact.


She said to coarsely chop, not grate, because grated beets would turn into alcohol. I'm not sure how coarsely to chop, so I did one in bigger chunks, one in smaller.
With the whey, filtered water, and salt. We let them sit on the counter for 3 days with the jam jars screwed on securely (but not boiled or cooked or steamed or anything) and then transfered to the fridge to stay.

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Apartment Gardening

As a part of my Pennywise Platter Thursday, I wanted to share the progress on my apartment garden. "My garden" is up on a chair so my crawling little boy couldn't get to it. It usually sits on the deck.

I told you about it back here when I first started, and since then the soil looked dark for a while so I thought it was still moist, but nope, it was just dark and dry as a bone. So I had to re-plant everything other than the tomatoes. They are growing and have little green tomatoes on them, which is great!

We also picked up a lavender plant from a nursery who was having a closeout sale on their plants.

The tomatoes are the main reason why we are 'gardening' this year, nothing that I've found in the grocery store can compare with a ripe tomato fresh from the garden. And since I grew them myself, I know that no harmful pesticides were used, they're not infused with flounder genes, and they aren't coated with harmful bacteria from bad farming practices.

Another 'pennywise' part of this post is that we did move from the country into an apartment last year to help our Dave Ramsey plan. (Some pics over here of where we used to live). I was skeptical of Dave Ramsey at first, but not only is there now a method to our maddness, but my husband is completely on board now! He's free on Hulu and we listen to him on our local radio station in the afternoons too. If you want to learn more, check out his New to Dave Ramsey page here.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Home Made Lactofermented Sauerkraut

Finished and ready to 'rest' on the counter to start fermentation.

Beginning- coring the cabbage.

I absolutely love my Cuisinart for shredding cabbage.
My make-shift pounder. A mason jar in a plastic tupperware bin. I was surprised at how much pounding and grinding I had to do
The crushed cabbage

We'll let it sit out 4 days, then transfer it to the bottom of the fridge.

Part of


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