Monday, June 20, 2016
Most everyone is familiar with Lavender. The soothing scent has been used to reduce anxiety and induce sleep for ions. It was also used as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. I have used Lavender on my skin to help take the sting out of sunburns. We take the Healing Honey Butter on all of our trips, especially our last trip to visit my Mom in Florida. Where my Mom ended up with a bad sunburn. She put on the Healing Honey butter, and while her skin remained red through the next day, she did not hurt or itch at all. I usually burn one time a year, I know it's bad I don't mean too. I used my Healing Honey Butter and no longer felt the sting and itching of my damaged skin. Below is a picture of my sunburned shoulder, I posted on Instagram.
How do I make this amazing, Healing Honey Butter?
I infuse my Organic Coconut oil with Organic, dried, Calendula Officinalis flowers and beeswax. I like to take my time when making an infusion, I want to get the absolute most out of the flowers I use. I want to sell my Customers the highest quality product. So I start my infusion and carefully monitor it, stirring the coconut oil to allow a perfect mixture of oil to healing benefits of the calendula flower.
Once the infusion has reached maturity I then start the process to whip it into a frothy state to keep it from hardening into a big lump that is difficult to get out of it's container. This has to been done several times as the butter cools and hardens. After it has cooled sufficiently, I then add the pure French Lavender Essential oil. Blend and pour into the containers. The smell is heavenly and the result is divine. I should have named it Heavenly Honey Butter.
I like to add beeswax as it helps the coconut oil set up and seals in the skins moisture along with the healing power of the Calendula. By adding Lavender, the skin healing/soothing benefits gets a real boost, plus the scent of lavender is soothing and calming. Healing Honey Butter has a light fragrance and goes on smoothly. Your skin will be soft and supple all day long. Try some today, see how much your skin can benefit from this ultra moisturizing and healing butter. I promise your skin will love you for it!
I use all the products in my line of skin care. All of them, I wouldn't sell anything that I don't love. If you would like to make a purchase go to my website: www.essentiallypurely.com or visit my Etsy store.
These Statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, mitigate, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Avoid if pregnant. Avoid if allergic to any ingredients, or if allergic to the Daisy family. Pictures from Wikipedia, except the one of my shoulder. That's mine.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Frozen fresh? What is that? My Dad went to North Carolina this past fall and harvested a bunch of fresh strawberries. He brought me about 6 gallons of them. I washed them off and let them dry. After they were dry I placed them, in a single layer, in a freezer safe container and directly into the freezer. So, Fresh Frozen. Dad's idea and it worked beautifully. Stored in that way, they could be used, at will, throughout the winter. I still have some left and noticed that they were "growing" ice, which means they are going to be ruined and frost bitten. What in the world was I going to do with them?
My son asked for waffles for breakfast. We have gluten free, multi-grain Pumpkin spice waffles, which actually taste like gingerbread. How to incorporate those strawberries? Strawberry syrup.
I have been purchasing organic Ceylon cinnamon sticks so I can grind my own cinnamon. I have read articles that claim some cinnamon is cut with bark. Cinnamon is bark, but I don't want another kind of bark in my cinnamon. I prefer pure cinnamon. How can I assure this? Grind it myself. I put several sticks in my coffee mill and poof, freshly ground cinnamon that I know is 100% and nothing extra added.
Where does the dried up brown sugar come into play? I keep my Organic brown sugar in a ceramic container, with a terra cotta bear to keep it moist. However, not all of the brown sugar fits. Some of it has to stay in the original container, where it dries up into a big ole' lump. I know if you add sugar to strawberries, the strawberries released their juice so it becomes a delicious syrupy treat. It's so good, just strawberries and sugar. Not so much frozen strawberries and sugar, fresh strawberries.
I capped the strawberries, dumped the dried up brown sugar over them, and sprinkled some cinnamon on them too. Let me tell you, it only took a few minutes to have a fresh strawberry syrup with delicious strawberries to go with it!
Skillet for cooking
Organic Ceylon Cinnamon sticks
Organic Brown Sugar (dried up, fresh, whichever doesn't matter)
1-2 cups frozen strawberries, cap them and place into the skillet
Sprinkle the ground cinnamon over the strawberries
Put brown sugar on top
Turn skillet on low
The heat will start to un-thaw the frozen strawberries and a syrup will start to form,
Gently stir the berries to incorporate the brown sugar and cinnamon
No need to wait too long, the syrup will form pretty quickly
Ladel the strawberries over the waffles, scoop out some syrup and you have your own, freshly prepared Strawberry syrup.
My son gobbled all, but 4, of the strawberries (I saved some for myself) and his entire waffle. Which he rarely does. Healthy goodness I could feel good about. Like most Moms, I beat myself up over every little thing I think I'm doing wrong. Today it was, that I didn't think I was feeding him enough healthy things to help him grown and develop properly. This was a good start to a great day!
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Ok. Yes I said it! Lentils! Yes, these cookies are made with Lentils. I was watching the Cooking Channel, years ago, and saw a woman making these cookies. They looked so good. I didn't get around to trying them until this year. A friend of mine is opening her new Pastry shop, called Luv Berry, and she asked if I could help her find a chocolate chip cookie recipe that doesn't use white flour or white sugar. I immediately searched for this recipe.
I modified, as I always do. Since I have a trace wheat allergy, just to whole wheat, I used regular organic flour. I joke, sort of, that I can eat white bread because it use to be wheat, but has been processed so much that it doesn't affect my allergies. I also left out several ingredients because I don't like nuts or seeds in my cookies.
Here is my version of the recipe from Bal Arneson via the Cooking Channel website, a link to Bal's original recipe can be found at the bottom of the recipe.
Quick note: Let the Lentil's cool before adding the butter, I didn't and all the butter melted and I had butter and lentil soup. I ended up having to add more flour. It was a near disaster.
Healthy Chocolate Chip Lentil Cookies (modified version)
1 Cup dry Lentils
2 Sticks unsalted butter
1 Cup brown sugar
1 Cup Organic Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Cup regular dried Oats
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Raisins
1 Cup Sweetened dried Cranberries
Cook Lentils in boiling water for 35 minutes. Strain and smash with a fork. LET COOL.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or grease cookie sheet)
In a bowl, cream together the cooled lentils, butter, and brown sugar
Add the egg and blend well
Add the baking soda, flour and vanilla extract and blend
Stir in the chocolate chips, raisins and cranberries
Drop the cookies and flatten on the cookie sheet, by the spoonful
Bake for 13 to 18 minutes
Remove from oven and place on a baking rack to cool
Now, try to stop yourself from eating them all. I dare you!
For the original recipe go to: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/bals-lentil-cookies.html
Thank you to all of my friends for the outpouring of support for my new venture! I started my new company, Essentially Purely™, with the intention of sharing the products God has blessed me to be able to create. They really work, they are fantastic and I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful friends, and family who are Customers, and to have added Customers who feel like friends.
I've been making making my own deodorant for years. I started my search for a natural deodorant about 16 years ago, after my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. The lump was caught in the very early stages and thanks be to God, she is 100% ok. After the surgery and the treatments, she was told not to use commercial deodorants. She was advised to find a natural deodorant that didn't contain aluminum or other harsh chemicals. That really triggered a "WHY?" Response in me. I have always been that person who needs to know why? When I found out how some of the chemicals in our deodorants can negatively affect our health, I was appalled. That is probably the root of why I have been so persistent in my search for natural/organic things for my family and myself. How can the FDA approve such things to be used, when they know what kinds of awful side effects they can cause. Serious problems, such as cancer!!!! It's not ok. A couple of examples:
Aluminum Chlorhydrate is found in most antiperspirants, it is used to close the pores. Doctors have found links to that and Alzheimer's disease as well as breast cancer and other illnesses. (Check out article: http://side-effects.owndoc.com/deodorants-and-antiperspirants-side-effects.php)
Triclosan is an endocrin blocker, it's found in deodorants, toothpaste, anti-bacterial soaps, soaps, shampoos, it's bad but it's FDA approved for you to rub on your body, and use in your mouth. Here is an excerpt from a great artical on the dangers of the ingredients in commercial deodorants.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Tortilla Tuesday is here!
Who doesn't like Tacos and Tortillas?! My family loves them. For those of you that follow me, you know I try to make healthy choices and avoid GMO and GE foods at all costs. Sometimes we make exceptions which leaves me guilt ridden because I fed my family pesticides. Ugh. Sounds so dramatic, however I have food allergies and have to take every ingredient in our food seriously. I understand how, even insignificant, ingredients can cause someone a problem.
For instance, I have a sensitivity to pomegranates, I ordered a popular protein shake made from real fruits and vegetables. One of the mid, to last ingredients, was pomegranate powder. I thought, "well, it's not a prime ingredient, I should be fine."
For instance, I have a sensitivity to pomegranates, I ordered a popular protein shake made from real fruits and vegetables. One of the mid, to last ingredients, was pomegranate powder. I thought, "well, it's not a prime ingredient, I should be fine."
I was wrong. I had energy and wasn't hungry for the first few days, but then I just started feeling bad. It's hard to explain, but mostly I just felt.... bad. I started feeling sick and grumpy and I couldn't concentrate. I felt heavy inside and couldn't get myself motivated to do anything but sit on the couch. I thought back to how my diet had changed, which led me to realize it was the shakes. It took a couple days to get all of it out of my system, but then I felt like myself again. It's funny how one small ingredient can cause so many problems.
That said, I believe that if we are using the foods laden with GMO/GE ingredients, and artificial colors we are hurting our bodies, not to mention the environment. While I can't cut out all GMO's, mainly because our country does not require food distributors to disclose that information on the labels, I do try very hard to minimize our intake. (That's why it's important to buy Organic and Non-GMO certified. Here's a link to the GMO dirty dozen.)
All that said, we love taco's and tortilla's in our house. Every time I get a box of taco's or bag of tortilla's I read the long list of ingredients and cringe a bit inside. My friend Ana is from Chile and she makes tortilla's by hand, with 3 ingredients. Yes, THREE. I thought I'd give it a try. We gobbled them up, they were delicious. Hard, but good. So I modified my next batch and they were fantastic. Soft, delicious, and good all by themselves.
Here are a couple of tips:
Don't roll the tortilla's too thin or they will become brittle and hard.
Adding Organic Sunflower lecithin helps them to be soft while adding nutrition and health benefits.
To make a burrito, thin the batter with more water and then pour on the griddle. (I have not tried this yet, but Ana said it will work.)
3 cups organic flour +more for rolling dough
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
2 teaspoons Organic Sunflower Lecithin (optional)
Coconut oil (optional)
Mix flour and lecithin in a bowl
Heat up griddle or skillet to about 350 degrees
Mix salt and water and stir until dissolved. (taste the water, if it's too salty, just add more water and next time cut back on the salt. The water needs to be salty though, it will flavor the tortilla's.)
Add salt water, a little at a time, to the flour and mix until it is no longer tacky or sticky
Pinch off a golf ball size roll of dough
Sprinkle flour on board and then roll out until about 1/3" thick (you may have to just experiment a bit to get it to the thickness you like. Too thin will be hard and brittle)
You can put the tortilla directly onto the griddle as is, or add some coconut oil to give a nice golden color.
Flip when the tortilla starts to brown
Place on a plate and cover with foil or a towel to hold in heat. I just place mine in the oven.
These are really good.
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Friday, February 19, 2016
How about some Vanilla Cinnamon Chia Pudding or just plain Organic Chocolate?
With the weather being so cold, and plenty of snow to play in, sometimes Hot Chocolate becomes boring. How to mix it up and be healthy? Make home made pudding. This recipe is an adaptation of Grandma's Jello Salad recipe. Which, is one of my most popular recipes! Give it a try. Anyway, my son and I love Chocolate. I try to make healthy treats for us, and can't bring myself to use the boxed pudding mixes any longer. If I can't pronounce an ingredient, without a Chemistry dictionary, then I probably shouldn't be eating it. Thus this recipe was born. I made a vanilla pudding for Rice Pudding and raisins. It was very good. So why not make chocolate? I used Organic Cacao powder, it's a superfood!
|Organic Chocolate Pudding|
This picture shows how silky smooth the pudding is. In fact, my son liked it so much he keeps asking for it. When making my second batch, I messed up the flour and sugar measurements. Not to worry, the result was a super thick pudding, so I just added milk to thin it out. Worked great. So, don't freak if the pudding looks super thick, just add more milk. Don't forget you can also use 2% or skim milk for this. We were snowed in and this was the only milk I had. I don't usually use this brand, but when a snow storm is on the way, you sometimes have to take what Organic milk you can get.
When I was enjoying this delicious dessert I thought about my friend whose son has a lot of food allergies, like me, and my other friend who is opening a restaurant and wants to use "healthy alternative" foods.
My friends son wouldn't be able to enjoy this pudding because of the milk and egg. So I sent her a message to ask what she used to substitute eggs. She told me Chia seeds or flax seeds. Ok, I had coconut milk and chia seeds. She was coming over today, so I put her to work. We created this new pudding recipe. I'm so happy with it! Her son loved the pudding. The consistency was a touch thinner, and it didn't set up as solidly as a pudding, but it was setting up better as it cooled.
|Vanilla Cinnamon Chia Pudding|
1 cup of organic milk
1 organic egg beaten
2 Tablespoons of organic flour
3 Tablespoons of organic sugar
1/2 cup of Cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon stick (optional)
In a sauce pan over medium heat,
pour 1 cup milk and beaten egg
vanilla and cinnamon (both are optional)
DO NOT LET IT BOIL!!!!!!!
Whisk frequently (you'll see it start to thicken)
Get the flour and sugar ready to whisk into the hot mixture.
Whisk as you put the flour in to avoid lumps.
I put my flour and sugar in a bowl, whisk with one hand and shake in with the other hand.
After you have incorporated the flour and sugar then whisk in the cacao powder.
If the mixture is too thick or you just prefer a thinner pudding, then whisk in more milk until it is the consistency you like.
After the cacao is mixed in thoroughly and there are no lumps the pudding is ready.
2 cans Coconut milk
1 Tablespoon of milled Organic Chia seeds (substitution for eggs)
4 Tablespoons of Organic Flour
4 Tablespoons of Organic Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Vanilla extract
1 Stick of Organic Cinnamon (ground well)
I put the cinnamon stick and the chia seeds in my vitamix and milled to a powder
Put the milled mixture in a measuring cup and add 1/2 can of coconut milk. This will allow the seeds to thicken. You may want to add the entire can if it looks like the seeds have thickened a lot.
Put the other can of coconut milk and the vanilla, in a sauce pan over low heat.
When it starts to steam add the chia seeds. DO NOT LET IT BOIL.
Whisk in the flour and sugar.
If the mixture is not as thick as you like, add some more flour, just be careful that you don't add too much. You don't want to taste the flour in the pudding.
You may want to add Cacao powder to this to make it chocolate. We couldn't because Junior is allergic to nuts, and the Cacao was packaged in a facility that also pacakages tree nuts.
This was very good! I was surprised to be honest. Pleasantly surprised.
If you like this recipe, please comment below and visit me again!
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Crab apple Preserves
Candied Crab apples
|My Mom always made everything a celebration. Our birthdays were not just a regular day. On our birthdays we didn't have to do any chores. Nothing! That by itself was a perfect day! First thing in the morning, I couldn't come downstairs until Mom or Dad called for me.|
Walking down the stairs, I couldn't help but smile knowing how special everything was going to be. As I stepped down each step I could see the lights had been dimmed, and I could smell my favorite breakfast, anything bacon! After the last step I would look up and see my family standing around a beautifully decorated table, arranged with flowers, a chocolate iced cake (my favorite) decorated beautifully, presents sitting on my plate and my family smiling and singing Happy Birthday to me. I can't tell you how much those memories mean to me. Like I said, my Mom always makes everything a celebration! Thankfully some of my Mom's creativity has rubbed off on me. My best friend, Angie, calls me Rosie Jr. I love it.
Thanksgiving and Christmas were fantastic events, full of German customs mingled with American tradition. We had advent wreaths, sugar cookies with smiling icing faces, Gingerbread houses iced with white sugar and covered in candies. We wrote letters to Santa and awaited a visit from St. Nikolaus on Christmas eve while we remembered Jesus' birth at Christmas Eve service. With nervous anticipation we would come into the house, to see if St. Nikolaus left us sticks with coal, or brightly covered pieces of chocolate. We had to dress up in our best clothes for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Mom laid out her best china, linens and festive tablecloths. Fresh pine fronds were cheerfully nestled among the silver serving dishes filled with steaming and home cooked foods. Perfectly cooked turkeys with crisp golden skin, ham covered in pineapples, cloves and bright red cherries. Gravy, stuffing, veggies, bread, casseroles, and salad laid out in abundance. Right beside the ham, served in it's own silver bowl were the candied crab apples, covered in a bright red syrup. In my mind I can still see those crab apples, served over a slice of ham. In the bowl they looked like Christmas tree decorations that should be sparkling on the tree, not shimmering at me under a spicy, sweet syrup. With each slice of ham or turkey, Mom would carefully ladle the festive apples and syrup over each one. Absolutely delicious.
Last year I decided that I would find some crab apples and try my hand at making my childhood memory come to life again. I mentioned to a lady at church and she told me that she has a crab apple tree in her yard. She would check to see if they were still OK, then let me know. Next time I saw here she told me that her apples had turned bad, but her daughter also had a tree and she would check, but that would turn out to be a bust as well. It was too late in the season for the crab apples. I was very disappointed. I would just have to wait until next year.
This summer, as I was walking around my neighborhood, I decided to go down a street I never walk on. As I made my way along I noticed a tree with cherries on it. As I neared the tree I realized they were crab apples!! I was so excited I couldn't believe my eyes! There they were, red, small round apples on a gorgeous green tree! Anyone who knows me, is shocked by what I did next, I marched right up to the front door of someone I don't know and knocked. My heart was pounding and I was thinking, what am I doing! No one answered. Unbelievable! I got up the nerve to knock on a strangers door and no one is home. Great. I didn't think I'd ever get the nerve up again, but the memories flooded in and Iknew what I had to do. The next day, I walked down that street again and knocked on the door. No one answered. This must be a cruel joke. As I was walking away a man with a dog came toward me, he asked if he could help me. I told him yes while proceeding to tell him I'd like to get some of the crab apples, but no one is home for me to ask permission. He looked at me in an almost disgusted way, mingled with surprise and asked, "what in the world do you want with those nasty old crab apples?" His mouth curled in distaste as he said it. I told him my reasons and he advised me that the couple that lived there would not have a problem with me collecting as many apples as I could carry. He explained that they despise the tree and are planning to chop it down. He then went on to invite me to harvest white and purple concord grapes from his backyard. He and his wife had planted grape vines along their fence line and there was an abundance of them. I thanked him heartily promising to bring him a sample to try, and finished my walk as quickly as I could in order to prepare for an afternoon of harvesting fruit from my neighbors yards!
I called Mom to inquire about the recipe, she informed me it is from a very old Kerr Canning Cookbook, which she would type out and e-mail to me. I then took the boys to help me gather the crab apples and grapes. We got a lot of fruit! I wasn't sure what to do with the grapes but thought I'd make jelly. That's a story for another day though. I knew I needed canning jars and lids, even though I don't know how to can. I do know how to freeze, so I wasn't too concerned about preserving the crab apples. The recipe seemed easy, but I didn't believe it, no way it could be so easy. Let me tell you, it was easy. It didn't take a lot of time. I also added my own touches to the recipe.
When I had cooked up the apples, they tasted just as I remembered and they were amazing!!! I was so happy with how they turned out. I took a jar for the the people who let me harvest the apples from their tree, a jar to the neighbor that let me harvest grapes and to a couple other people I told about and they all reacted negatively to the crab apples. I also put a couple in a baggie, so they could taste them and decide if they wanted to keep the canned jar for the Holidays, or give it back to me if they didn't like them. Everyone that tried them, loved them. I had to go get more crab apples and make another batch. I cleaned the tree of them. After the second batch, I shared a jar with my friend Kimberly and she loved them. I brought her a jar when we all met to eat lunch with two other families. Everyone at table tasted them, and loved them. The owner of the restaurant came over and tasted them and he wanted some too. I have found more crab apples, but they are green. I'm going to try them as well, but I am told they are a little more tart. I have also been told of another family with a red crab apple tree in their yard!!!! I'm so excited.
The most labor intensive thing was cleaning the apples and sorting through them. I filled a sink with warm soapy water and poured some white vinegar in to kill any germs on the apples. I left them in the sink for a few minutes and then rinsed them really well. I then sorted through the crab apples taking out any with holes and placing them in a separate bowl to use later. After the apples were sorted and ready I moved on to the next step, cooking them. Here is the recipe for Crab Apple Preserves. I call them Candied Crab Apples, but the Kerr Recipe names them Crab Apple Preserves.
Crab Apple Preserves
Inspired by Kerr Canning Recipe Book
Select good sound apples, wash and remove the blossom end. Leave stems on and do not peel.
3 Cups Water
6 Cups Organic Sugar
2 Fresh Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tsp cloves
1 1/2 Tsp Red Hots Cinnamon candy
Boil the syrup for 5 minutes
Add the crab apples to the syrup and boil until they are tender and transparent (my crab apples didn't become transparent, but the skin did split a little. I took that as the indication they were done.)
Work rapidly and Pack cooked apples into *sterilized canning jars, cover with boiling syrup and seal each jar as filled.
Make sure to wipe the top rim of each jar, to make sure that there is nothing that will cause the seal to fail, before adding the lids.
1) Let the jars "heat seal". With this method the apples should be eaten within a few months of preparing. Making sure the jars are hot, as well as the lids, will help with this method. Also make sure you are filling the jars with the boiling liquid and apples. Fill to "neck" of jar and try not to leave too much air space. You can turn the jars upside down it you want, I left mine upright. As the contents cool, the lids contract and "pop" shut, sealing them.
2) Place your filled jars on rack of large lidded canning kettle. The jars have to be a least 1/2 inch above the kettle bottom so water can circulate and the water has to be at least 1 inch about the top of the jars. Process in boiling water bath, at a rolling boil for 25 minutes. Use canning tongs to remove the jars from the canner, put them on several thicknesses of cloth to cool.
You should hear the lids "pop" indicating they have sealed.
*Sterilizing Your jars:
Wash them in hot soapy water, rinse and then boil them in clear water for at least 15 minutes. Turn upside down on a clean kitchen towel until ready to fill. (or you could wash them in the dish washer under sanitize)
Important for canning.
To keep the jars warm, you could place them in an oven set at the lowest heat setting.
Scald the lids by placing them in a pan and pouring boiling water over them. Do NOT boil the lids, but keep them warm until you are ready to use.
NOTE: Without the Red Hot Candies, The syrup was a brown color, and didn't look very good. That was a problem. Everyone that heard about my desire to find crab apples, asked the same question; "why on earth do you want those nasty crab apples?"
I didn't want to use the Red Hots because of the artificial color and I suspect they are made with High Fructose Corn syrup which means it's probably made with GMO corn. I try to stay away from anything that is GMO or GE. In this case, I really had three choices.
- leave them out and have a muddy looking syrup no one would want to taste
- add food coloring and get a strong dose of red 40 (which has been shown to cause a lot of problems in kids and adults.)
- add the minimum amount of red hots, just to turn the syrup red and add more cinnamon flavor
I went with option number 3. Sometimes you just have to go with it.
The Kerr recipe only calls for the sugar, water and red hots. I added the cinnamon sticks and cloves.