Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Guesting Posting Today At Cooking Traditional Foods

Today I am guest posting at KerryAnn's blog, Cooking Traditional Foods, about the amazing benefits of raw organic apple cider.  So, hop on over to KerryAnn's blog to read more about how you can heal your body with raw apple cider vinegar.  HERE is the post!

KerryAnn has an amazing blog with a wonderful newsletter, menu mailers, and ebooks to help you learn how to incorporate traditional foods in your diet.  Whether you are new or a pro at cooking with traditional foods, you will want to take a look at what KerryAnn has to offer!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Aromatherapy and Stress Part Two

The workplace environment is often a place that produces stress.  Aromatherapy can be very helpful to reduce stress levels and create a more inviting work environment.

Photo credit:

Photo Credit:
Please remember that when you are working with essential oils, it is critical to buy from sellers that have organic, high quality oils that have not been diluted in any way.  One the right side of my blog, I have three recommended sellers.

An easy way to enjoy essential oils at work is to place 2-3 drops on a cotton ball and set that next to your computer at your workspace.

Photo Credit:

The following is a recipe from Healing Home Spa, by Valerie Cooksley, for an uplifting and purifying blend.  These oils can be placed in a 2 ounce dropper bottle (you want one that is colored - these can be purchased at Mountain Rose Herbs, as can the essential oils.  Simply click on my link to the right.)

9 parts lavender essential oil
3 parts lemon essential oil
2 parts geranium essential oil

Place these oils into your jar and place on the jar's cap.  Gently roll in your hands for a few seconds to blend the oils.  Label and date your jar.  This should last 6-9 months.  To use, place 2-3 drops on a cotton ball and set at your workstation.  As with all essential oils, it is good to rotate through your different oils and not use the same oils daily for long periods of time.  Try this synergy (blend) 2-3 times a week as needed.

*If you are pregnant or nursing, should consult your health care provider before using any essential oils.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cultured Mondays - Sourdough, Why Do It?

It's Cultured Mondays once again and this week I will be discussing sourdough.  I would like to start out discussing the benefits of sourdough...why even go through the process in the first place?  Well, here are a few good reasons:

*Yeast - Baking yeast is modern invention (you can read more about it here).  The problem with this yeast is that the amount that is used to make bread is MUCH higher than the amount that occurs in naturally fermented (ie - sourdough) bread.  While this is not the only factor, it is a factor that contributes to yeast overgrowth in the digestive system and body, which leads to various health issues.

*Phytic acid and mineral absorption - Breads made with bakers yeast do not break down much of the phytic acids in bread, which prevents mineral absorption and they are more difficult to digest than their sourdough counterparts.

*Gliadin - This is component of gluten that many people have trouble tolerating.  Sourdough breaks down this component of bread much better than bread made with baker's yeast.  You can read more about this HERE.

Fed Whole Wheat Starter
 I recently started to use a whole wheat starter (my previous starter was rye, but it sadly died after a long time of faithful service), and I actually like this starter better.  I don't bake with rye as a rule, so it has been easier for me to maintain this starter since I use a lot of soft wheat (low gluten) flour in my cooking.  Some say that rye is easier to maintain than whole wheat, but so far I have not found that to be an issue.

I bake with my starter about twice a week.  To maintain a healthy starter, you need to feed it at least once a week.  Getting the hang of sourdough will take a few weeks, but once you have it figured out, you will never want to stop!  You can do all kinds of things with sourdough which include muffins, cakes, pancakes and more!  Happily, my sister is doing a sourdough series on her blog and I have linked you to two of her recipes HERE and HERE for a basic loaf bread and a breakfast cake.

Sourdough Bread Rising

(Featured on The Healthy Home Economist, Kelly the Kitchen Kop, The Nourishing Gourmet)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nourished Living Network

I'm so excited to take a break from Whole Foods Friday today to announce that I am now a contributing writer for Nourished Living Network.

Nourished Living Network is a fabulous group of bloggers who are dedicated to real and traditional foods that follow the teachings of Weston A. Price, and to natural health and family living practices.

Come take a minute to check out our page, here, and enjoy the wealth of recipes and information that awaits you!    We would love to have you follow us on facebook, pintrest, or twitter.

Photo Credit:

My New Knife - Sharpest Ever and Under $10!

Being a whole foodie means a lot of chopping!  I've been through a few knives in my time and have not been very happy with any of them.  Following a tip from the Nourishing Gourmet, I found these knives.  I ordered THIS one,  for vegetable chopping and THIS bread knife.

Set of Komachi Knives (Photo credit:

I have been so happy with these knives and even if they need to be replaced more frequently than my more expensive knives, I won't mind.  These are also extremely light weight, which I find makes chopping a lot easier.

I am looking forward to trying their paring knife and their serrated multi-utility knife

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DIY Organic Dishwashing Liquid

I was thrilled to run across this recipe for a DIY organic dishwashing liquid.  The idea of making my own has been on the back burner for a while and time is running out as I am almost out of my current dishwasher powder.

A fellow blogger, Rebekah at Potholes and Pantyhose, has presented an easy recipe for making your own organic, non-toxic dishwashing liquid.  I can't wait to give this recipe a try!

You can read her recipe's so easy to make.

Make a cute label for your detergent and store in the refrigerator. Use about 2 TBS per load.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Easy Homemade Almond Milk

My list of new recipes to try seems to be monumental right now!  But trying almond milk has been near the top right now as I have been looking for creative liquids to give my toddler.  One of my sister's happened to be in town last week and she has made almond milk before, so she gave me a little lesson.

Photo Credit:
We covered 2 cups of almonds in water and left them overnight.  In the morning we poured out the soaking water and placed the almonds in my vitamix (a strong blender should work as well).  We then added 2 cups of water and blended on high for about 1 1/2 -2 minutes.  We strained the liquid through a very tiny mesh strainer, then place the pulp back into the vitamix and added another 1 1/2 cups of water and ran it again on high for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes.  We strained the liquid again and were left with some yummy almond milk.  I saved the pulp and have used it in smoothies, oatmeal, and sourdough bread.  Don't want those nutrients to go to waste!

We will be enjoying this in our house on a regular basis now, I hope, though definitely not daily, as almonds have oxalates which can interfere with calcium absorption and can be difficult for some people to tolerate.

(Featured on Nourishing Treasures, Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, My Sweet and Savory, Healthy Home Economist, Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, Ruth's Real Food, Homestead Revival, Real Food Forager, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cultured Honey Mustard Dressing

It's Cultured Mondays once again!  How are your fermenting goals going so far?  Today I am going to share a super easy salad dressing recipe using the cultured mustard that I made a few weeks back.

This salad dressing is tangy, sweet and a breeze to whip up:

*1/2 cup cultured mustard
*1/2 cup raw honey
*1/2 cup organic raw apple cider vinegar
*1/2 cup organic extra virgin olive oil

Simply place all four ingredients in a medium sized bowl (at least 4 cups) and briskly whisk until all ingredients are well blended.  This will take a minute or two.  Place in a canning jar or other glass jar with lid so that the dressing can be shaken before use.  

This is also delicious served over cooked chicken breast or as a dip for raw vegies.  And the best's full of the healing properties of the probiotics in the mustard and the enzymes in the organic raw apple cider vinegar and raw honey.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Ham and Potato Chowder

t's Whole Foods Friday!  I will be sharing a recipe for Ham and Potato chowder from my sister's website, Whole Foods on a Budget.  This is a perfect winter chowder; thick, filling, and enjoyable with all this chilly weather!  Click HERE to read the recipe.

(Featured on Kelly the Kitchen Kop)

How to Care for Someone who has Miscarried

I recently walked through the pain of a miscarriage with a D&C at 14 weeks.  I never knew how emotionally (and physically!) difficult it could be until my own experience.  Many friends and family want to know what to say and how to help, but don't know what to do.  I found THIS post very helpful and a good guide for what to say and do for a loved one who is walking through this sad experience.

Photo credit:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chicken and Arsenic

I'm pretty passionate about organic food; keeping what's on my table as organic as possible.  When I read articles like the one I have linked in this post, I hope you can see why I'm so passionate about organic food, and staying informed.  The FDA has FINALLY admitted that the product Roxasone, which is a Pfizer product,  that is fed to conventional chickens, is laced with arsenic.  Apparently, this type of feed has been given to chicken for 60 years now.  And, sadly, the poop from these chickens is then fed to conventional cows - so you are getting it in your conventional beef supply, too!

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The sad reality is that the FDA is not protecting our food sources.  There are too many special interest groups involved at this point.  I think the FDA was started with good intentions, but those now seem to be long gone.  It's really up to you now to protect yourself, your family, and your food sources.  I love seeing the increase of small local organic farms.  Let's do what we can to support them and provide healthier food sources for ourselves and our children.

A great resource about eating whole, organic foods on a budget is my sister's site: Whole Foods on a Budget.  Check out her blog for all kinds of budget friendly ways to incorporate organically raised meats into your diet.

If you have a minute, read this short article.

Photo Credit:

Monday, February 13, 2012


Last week I posted this recipe for a delicious, medicinal chai.  One of my favorite ingredients is cardamom, as it helps add depth and intensity of taste to my chai recipe.
Photo credit:

Cardamom has many wonderful health benefits, which include:

*detoxifying benefits
*digestive aid and helps with stomach discomfort, including a reduction in acid
*a good source of minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese and copper
*the pods are a good source of vitamins that include vit. C and vit. B
*helps to cleanse the kidneys and strengthen the urinary tract system
*improves the circulation of the lungs and can be helpful for treating asthma
*can help to reduce depression

Photo Credit:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fish Sauce Free Cultured Ketchup

It's Cultured Mondays again!  I've been enjoying my cultured ginger and cultured citrus in my smoothies this past week...even my toddler is enjoying his daily servings of cultured foods!  Today I have a tasty ketchup recipe for you to try.  My son LOVES ketchup on almost everything, so I was determined to come up with a healthy cultured version of ketchup.

I have to admit I have put off making cultured ketchup because the only recipe I had seen was once from Nourishing Traditions can called for fish sauce and that just never appealed to me.  I started looking around a bit more last week and saw other versions and came up with my own take on cultured ketchup. I hope you enjoy it!  It tastes very much like regular ketchup with a bit of a fizz to it from the culturing process.

Cultured Ketchup:

*4 cups or five 7 oz jars of organic tomato paste (Bionaturae carries a brand of organic tomato paste in glass jars)
*1/4 cup raw honey
*1/4 cup organic maple syrup
*2 Tbsp salt
*2 tsp allspice
*1 tsp anise
*1/2 cup whey plus 2-3 Tbsp for topping jar

You will need a large 6 cup canning jar or two quart sized canning jars.  In a clean bowl, mix together the tomato paste, honey, maple syrup, salt, allspice, and anise.  Then add 1/2 cup of whey and stir 30 seconds to completely incorporate.  Pour ketchup mixture into your jar(s) and top off with remaining 2-3 Tbsp of whey.  Screw on jar lid loosely.  Allow to sit at room temperature in a clean dark place (like a kitchen cabinet) for 3 days, then place in refrigerator.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Whole Foods Friday

My sister runs an amazing blog called Whole Foods on a Budget.  Each Friday I am going to be featuring a favorite post from her blog.  Take a minute to stop by and learn more about how you can eat organic, whole foods on a limited budget!  Here is a favorite recipe for a delicious breakfast cake...just what we are having for breakfast today!  You can read her post on breakfast cake HERE.


Clockwise beginning top left: peaches, strawberries, apples, blackberries.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Aromatherapy and Stress Part One

The more I study aromatherapy, the more amazed I am at the healing properties these oils contain.  I'm excited to see aromatherapy being accepted into the world of modern medicine, as I believe that helps to legitimize these healing oils (not that they need that, in my opinion! =)

Before I begin this post, I do want to emphasize that many essential oils (including some in the recipe I include on this post) should not be used while pregnant or nursing, so please consult with your health care practitioner or local aromatherapist before using any essential oils.

I am going to be doing a short series on aromatherapy and stress, discussing some different ways that essential oils can be used to relieve and mitigate stress.  Quality essential oils are a bit of investment up front, but will last a long time, as just a few drops are used at a time.  It is of absolute importance that the oils you buy are from a quality source, as many oils are diluted or full of chemicals and can actually cause harm.  Because these oils are so concentrated if they are not organic or wild crafted, they can hold high levels of chemicals in them.  I have listed on the right side of my blog three recommended sources for essential oils.
Organic Essential Oils

How do these oils relieve stress?  This is a complicated and scientific question, but a brief response would be that many of these oils act as nervines (relax the nervous system), sedatives, antispasmodics (relieve muscular pain and spasms), antidepressants, and analgesics (relieve pain).  Essential oils can lift spirits, calm, soothe, relieve insomnia and do so much more!

These oils can help to relieve both physical and emotional symptoms of stress, so recipes and blends can be made to treat one or the other or both.  These oils can be breathed in ( by placing on a cotton ball or clothing or diffused), placed in massage oils or gels or placed in bath salts.

One of my favorite ways to use these oils is in a bath.  Make the time taking the bath as relaxing as possible by adding things like candle light, a good book, soothing music, flower petals, etc.

photo credit:

Here is an easy, stress relieving recipe from The Healing Home Spa by Valerie Cooksley

4 T of Celtic Sea salt
1/4 cup powdered kelp (optional)
9 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops clary sage essential oil
1 drop majoram essential oil

Pour the salt into a small dish and, if desired, mix in the kelp.  Add the essential oils and mix with the back of a spoon.  After the bathwater has been drawn, pour the sea mixture into the water and disperse with your hands.
(The only changes I would make is that you can use epson salts if you don't have celtic sea salt, and I would mix the essential oils together first, then add the salts and stir well, being sure to completely disperse the essential oils into the salts.)

photo credit: (clary sage)

(Featured on Healthy Home Economist

Kraut Pounder

My new favorite tool!  This is perfect for making your fermented foods.  I recently bought this lovely tool and wish I had done so years ago.  You can find this on Cultures for Health.  Just click the link to the right and try one out yourself!

If you are interested in learning more about the subject of whole foods and how to do it on a budget, be sure to check out my sister's blog for excellent ideas and resources!  Click HERE!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Delicious, Medicinal Chai

I love chai!  Lately I have been getting a bit creative with our chai teas and adding all kinds of medicinal herbs to them.  They come out tasting so yummy with plenty of health benefits to boot!  Here is a basic chai recipe and some additional herbs you can add for fun.  Try adding one or two the next time you make your chai for a new healthy boost.  All these herbs can be found at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Just click on my link to the right to order.  (Enjoy looking around their site - they have amazing products!  If you are a tea lover, check out all their tea selections!)

Have fun and here's to a healthy winter season!  (I have linked the herbs to Christopher Hobbs Herbal Prescriber Database if you would like to read more about their healthy benefits.  Be sure to scroll down the entire page as he has a lot of excellent information.)

Those pregnant and breastfeeding need to consult their physician or midwife before using herbs, even in recipes like this.
photo credit:

Basic Chai: (Makes 2-3 servings)

4 cups of water
10 peppercorns, any color
1/2 tsp anise seed
1 T dried ginger root
2-3 tsp of black tea
milk and sucanat to taste if preferred (I  often drink mine without milk or sucanat)

Place the 4 cups of water in a glass pot and add all the herbs.  Cover and bring to a simmer and allow to simmer on low for 45 minutes.  If water levels are low, add back enough water so there is 3-4 cups.  Add your milk and sucanat to taste.  Enjoy!

photo credit: (star anise)

Herbs to add for additional medicinal benefit (try using only 1-3 at a time, as some can have a strong taste to them).  I have linked each herb to Christopher Hobbs Herbal Prescriber Database if you would like to read about the health benefits of each of these herbs.  Be sure to scroll down the entire page - he has a lot of great information.

photo credit: (licorice root)

3-4 pieces of astragalus root
3-4 pieces of licorice root
2 tsp crushed milk thistle seed
1 tsp echinacea root (use only if sick)

photo credit: (marshmallow root)

(Featured on Healthy Home Economist, Real Food Forager, Marvelously Messy, Far Above Rubies, Whole New Mom, Hope Studios, From Mess Hall to Bistro, Mandie's Recipe Box, Not Just a Housewife, All the Small Stuff, Nap Time Creations, Rook #17, Time-Warp Wife, Learning the Frugal Life, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, 21st Century Housewife, Homestead Revival, Gingersnap Crafts, Take it From Me, Beyond the Peel, Frugally Sustainable, We Are that Family, Raising Homemakers, Mind Body and Sole, Food Corner, Savvy Southern Style, The King's Court IV, This Chick Cooks, Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Chef in Training, Made Famous, Premeditated Leftovers, Somewhat Simple, Momnivoure's Delimma, Miz Helen's Country Cottage, Gluten Free Pantry, A Little Nosh, Frugal Follies, Delightful Order, GNOWFGLINS, Tales from Bloggeritasville, It's a Keeper, A Glimpse Inside, The Nourishing Gourmet, Simply Sweet Home, Happy Hour Projects, Creation Corner, Comfy in the Kitchen, Real Food Whole Health, Real Food Freaks, Jennifer Cooks, Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo, Jo's Health Corner, Allergy Free Vintage Cookery, Fitness Friday, Whipperberry, Food Renegade, Natural Mother's Network, Butter Believer, A Well Seasoned Life, Six Sister's Stuff, The Sweet Details, Learning the Frugal Life)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Salted, Cultured Lemons

It's Cultured Mondays again!  How is your culturing challenge going?  We continue to enjoy our cultured foods daily and my family is having fun with each new addition I make each week.  This week I made salted, cultured lemons.

If these lemons come out tasting as good as they look, I will be thrilled!  I used the recipe in Nourishing Traditions to make my salted lemons and I can't wait to taste them.  They have been out for almost a week and are looking wonderful.

Recipe from Nourishing Traditions:

*5 organic lemons, preferably thin-skinned variety 
*3 T sea salt
*3 cinnamon sticks, broken up
*2 T whey
*juice of two lemons

Wash lemons well, slice thinly and cut slices into quarters.  Toss in a bowl with salt and cinnamon sticks.  Place in a quart-sized, wide mouth mason jar and press down lightly with wooden pounder or a meat hammer.  Mix lemon juice with whey and add to jar, pressing down so that the liquid completely cover the lemons.  Lemons should be a least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temp for up to 2 weeks, turning the jar once a day, before transferring to cold storage.  When adding to recipes, remove pulp and cut skin into a julienne.

(I used Meyer lemons, did not break up my cinnamon sticks, and added about 20 cardamon pods.  My lemons have been sitting out for a week and I have no mold issues.  I plan to let these sit out one more week, then I will refrigerate. )

These lemons can be used minced in a variety of ways (and I will be searching the internet to find even more uses!).  I plan to mince them and place them in salads, over cooked meat or fish, in fruit salads, and in tuna fish.  Enjoy and if you have any recipe ideas, please leave a comment.

(Featured on The Healthy Home Economist, Nourishing Treasures, DIY Home Sweet Home , The Gunny Sack, Home Savvy A to Z, Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, Delightfully Dowling, My Sweet and Savory, Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, You Are Talking Too Much, Raising Isabella, So Very Creative, New Life on a Homestead, Ruth's Real Foods, A Southern Fairytale, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Homestead Revival, Organizing Junkie, 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven, Real Food Forager, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Whole New Mom, Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Mind, Body, and Sole, GNOWFGLINS, Nourishing Traditions, Real Food Freaks, Real Food Whole Health, Food Renegade, Jo's Health Corner)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Homemade Sore Throat Gargle

It's cold season and our house has been hit this week.  I pulled out one of my favorite books (The Healing Home Spa by Valerie Gennari Cooksley - no longer in print, but can be bought used on amazon), and made one of her sore throat gargles, with a few little changes.  I really liked that it has apple cider vinegar in it, as it can help kill the bacteria that cause sore throats.

Apple Cider Vinegar - 32 Ounces Liquid

Here is her recipe:

*1 cup sage herbal tea or hot water (I did a strong sage tea, using 2 tsp of sage in the cup of water and let it sit for about 30 minutes until it cooled to lukewarm)
*1T fresh lemon juice (I used 1 drop of lemon essential oil instead)
*1T apple cider vinegar (I used Braggs raw apple cider vinegar)
*2 drops geranium essential oil (I used one drop, since I had used the lemon essential oil)
*1 drop ginger essential oil
*1 tsp raw honey or sage honey

I combined the essential oils first in a little jar, then added the remaining ingredients, making sure the sage tea was cool enough so it would not kill the beneficial bacteria in the honey or apple cider vinegar.  I would use this gargle 2-3 times a day.