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Health, Home, and Happiness: September 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Baking Day

My counter on Mondays. Wheat soaking, two loaves of white bread ready to rise.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Naturally Yeasted Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

I let my bread dough soak in a clear glass bowl most of the time. I origionally just used this bowl because it's big and fits quite a bit of bread dough, but as a bonus I can see if there are natural yeasts (from the air) working in the dough. This only happens for me every once in a while, but when it does I'm happy to leave the commercial yeast out of my recipe, and just wait a bit longer for the natural yeast to do it's job and the bread to rise.

This picture is one of those times, no yeast had been added to this. Just the whole wheat flour, whey, and water as described in my how I make bread post.

Why wouldn't I want to use regular yeast (that comes from a grocery store)? Because as talked about in Nourishing Traditions, no studies have really been done on that commercially available yeast. Traditionally natural yeasts from the air were used. Commercial yeasts were introduce to 'hurry up' and standardize the process of making bread.

More about Natural Yeasts on the Weston Price (Nourishing Traditions) site

Rather like the carefully nurtured cultures and caves that produce delectable fermented cheeses, sourdough bread cultures are a product of place and the people who care for them and use them. They are all different, produce flavors and rates of fermentation peculiar and beloved unto themselves, require temperatures and other conditions known intimately and respected by the baker. Commercial baker's yeast, on the other hand, is a monoculture of just one single variety of yeast, grown to be a consistently fast and vigorous replicator and producer of carbon dioxide, but incapable of developing grain flavors (the lactobacilli are best at that).

Why do I 'ferment' my bread dough?


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cooked cereal- millet

Cooked cereal this morning. Millet, soaked overnight in water with a teaspoon of whey or so. A dash of real sea salt, some chopped almonds, coconut milk, and organic butter.

Other posts of interest:

Homemade Oatmeal Bars- easy breakfast on the go

Millet cooked in orange juice


Friday, September 18, 2009

Antique Lemon Juicer

My mom had a gold depression glass lemon juicer that worked so well when I was growing up. I have good memories of random kitchen tools (she has a really nice potato masher too). I finally got around to dragging the kids in the antique store last Sunday and found an antique lemon juicer to use. Isn't it pretty? I was kind of hoping for pink, but this bright green is fun too.

Juicing lemons is a good activity to do with toddlers, just help them steady the juicer with one hand and press down hard enough on the lemon half. I bought a big bag of limes at Costco as well, which we'll use to soak our hot whole grain cereals. The price per pound of limes was a little cheaper than lemons, but I wasn't thinking at the time that I might actually get less juice out of 5 pounds of limes than I would out of 5 pounds of lemons, because there are more lime rinds. But maybe the lime rinds are thinner so it evens out. Still not sure.

More reading~ Hot cereal
Millet porridge
Buckwheat porridge


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Special Needs Kids Eat Right by Judy Converse book review

I have a hobby of reading both nutrition and parenting books, I check them out all the time at the library. This one surprised me with how good it was, so I wanted to share.

I thought the book Special-Needs Kids Eat Right: Strategies to Help Kids on the Autism Spectrum Focus, Learn, and Thrive, written by a Registered Dietitian Judy Converse, would be some of the same low fat, follow the USDA food guide pyramid, etc. that annoys me about nutrition books written by 'experts'. I was pleasantly surprised that she seemed to have broken out of the box and recommended such things as organic meat, omega 3 eggs, and to be wary of the excess omega 6s that are all too popular in our modern diets. She speaks as someone who has experienced the fact that mainstream medicine standard operating procedure often falls short of what is needed for health.

Judy Converse does a great job at focusing on how to make this diet work for families, giving parents lots of ideas for a variety of foods that are family friendly. The only thing I wish there was a little more on was an elimination diet in a breastfeeding mother, rather than switching to a low allergen formula.

In addition to nutrition information, she has a realistic view of family's budgets and gives common sense advice on when to order lab tests that have to be paid out of pocket, and when not to. She talks about a nutrition focused physical exam so that you can check yourself for free and see what is likely to be missing from your child's diet rather than relying on expensive lab tests.

I also wanted to say that The Underground History of American Education: A School Teacher's Intimate Investigation Into the Problem of Modern Schooling is absolutely amazing. It's a book that we're going to buy, since it takes longer to 'digest' than I can have it checked out from the library. I'm still reading it, but seriously it is to education what Nourishing Traditions is to nutrition.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Homemade Lactofermented Ginger Ale

From Nourishing Traditions, but in true-to-me form modified to suit the ingredients I had on hand. Sugar rather than rapadura, lemon juice rather than lime juice, and cut the recipe in half because I didn't have enough lemon juice or ginger.

I used

1/2 cup peeled and chopped or grated ginger
2 tablespoons whey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Put in a jar, fill to within one inch of the top with filtered water. Shake to mix. Allow to sit out to lactoferment for 3 days, transfered to the fridge. She says it's best sipped in small quantities at room temperature rather than being chilled.

Tried it a few days later. Ahem, I think it's alcoholic. Didn't give it to my girlie girl. A little strong to drink straight, so I watered it down, I want to try it with sparkling water as recommended. It's good, not the cornsyrupy sweet of commercial ginger ale, but it's good.


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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Apricot Kernels and vitamin b17

Know what these are? Apricot pits. We found yummy organic apricots at our health food store, reasonably priced, on our last errand day. We ate them in the car and saved the pits in a baggie to take home and crack open.

I learned about apricot kernels, B17, and cancer a couple years ago, and since then have been keeping my apricot pits, cracking them open, and either eating the nuts (they are a little bitter) or dicing them up and adding to things. We added these to tuna, just to sneak them in.

The Politics behind curing cancer with vitamin supplements

Another Post:
Buckwheat also is a source of b17

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Easy Key Lime Bars

Sweetened condensed milk, graham crackers, ultrapasturized whipping cream. Not real food, but they're good. Easier than key lime pie for sure. I followed this recipe from Martha Stewart, but tripled it.

I did it all in the food processor; pulse to chop the graham crackers, add in the melted butter, put in the pans (to triple I used a 9x13 and 8x8), rinse the bowl, then do the custard. I did the whipping cream in the kitchenaid the next day.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Benefits to shopping locally: Free pears

A benefit to shopping locally: The owners and employees start to recognize you. When I walked into our local health food store to get some more buckwheat, an employee saw me juggling both kids as we walked in the door (I stick out, and apparently look hungry~grin~) and asked if we liked pears. When I said yes, she offered me 10 pounds or too-brown-to-sell organic pears that I gladly accepted.

Monday we turned them into 4 jars of pear sauce and put them in the deep freeze to pull out as we need them.

I've found that local businesses appreciate your business so much more than big box stores. And I have a feeling that if these pears had been at Walmart they would have ended up in the back dumpster, what do you think?

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Review: Natural Latex Pillows for Health

Well, I got my pillow about a week ago. I honestly was expecting it to have some sort of polyester or synthetic in it, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was really just a latex foam pillow with a really nice thick zip-up (so washable) cotton cover on it. As many things do, coming out of the box it had a bit of a mechanical smell, most likely from the machinery used to make it. But after letting it sit outside of it's box/plastic the smell was totally gone. The pillow is nice and squishy, you know how sometimes you really have to get used to natural alternatives (like whole wheat)? Well, this is absolutely mainstream friendly, but much healthier. I love it when it works out that way.

It's a priority for us to replace all the pillows in our home with nontoxic ones since that's a bit more within reach for us than a natural mattress at this time, but would get rid of a lot of petroleum products that outgass nasty chemicals. Now, since I got a chance to test it, I moved this one into my little girl's bed, since I feel it's more important to keep toxins away from our children because they are so small and their brains are still developing.

Other posts:
More about natural bedding
About Natural hair and body care


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Crabapple jelly in pictures

A friend gave me a bunch of crab apples from her tree, I was so excited because I love making jam, but when you have to buy your fruit the cost ends up being prohibitive. She gave me a quick explanation on how to make it since I'd only done jam before, not jelly. She explained how to do my juice and then to follow the instructions on the pectin box for the rest. I kind of spaced and didn't remember if she said to cut the apples up or not. The first pot full I didn't cut up, or cut off the blossom ends. I think it turned out fine, and I'll most likely just do it the lazy way (remove stems and wash) when I do it again.

I did use sugar, wasn't together enough to figure out how to use honey. I just followed the directions on the low sugar pectin. I'm excited to have a bunch of jelly for this year. Buying jam/jelly without corn syrup (corn syrup is genetically modified) in it can get expensive.

Washing. Aren't they pretty?
Removing the blossom ends now, since I stopped by the computer to clarify what I really should be doing.
The star inside
The pot of cooking whole crabapples. I did 3 different pots since there were a bunch.
Smashing them with the spoon. I love this spoon. Next I got the juice out in the same way I got the whey out back in this making yogurt cheese/whey post.
Stirring the jam.

This spoon again. It's good for scraping the bottom of the pot when you need the bottom to not stick.
Pretty good! I did the juice one day, and the jam the next morning since I have little ones. They made 2 batches + another bit of juice that I attempted to turn into syrup (have you seen the fruit syrups? Like boysenberry and stuff?) but it turned into really thick jam! Oh well, we just used that up first.

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