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Benefits of Banana Peels.

Published May 28, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

Banana-Peels

The benefits of a banana are amazing and I can’t say enough good things about bananas, in general. They taste great, are very high in potassium…

 

But what about that peel? Don’t throw it out, eat it! That’s if you want to. Yes, the banana peel is edible.

Now I don’t buy into the ‘landfill/ banana peels cause global warming’ debate that those are inherently evil for the environment when discarded in the trash here in the U.S., because, they aren’t. And whoever wrote that particular article claiming such, likely didn’t do their research  first or just cut/copied/ pasted something to their website, more than likely. Or… perhaps they don’t have a green thumb  and never stepped foot inside a garden, own a micro-mini farm, a compost heap, or so much try to be like the few out there that do manage to go off-grid and live a self-sustaining lifestyle.

My banana peels break down just fine in my compost and my rose bushes love them and they decompose rather fast, too. The banana peels will give back to the soil which is nutrients which in turn gives flowers and plant much needed food to survive and they make awesome compost! And you don’t have to shell out a lot of money for the bone meal and blood meal products that can be expensive and they don’t give as much in a tiny box.

 

But a lot of folks recommend either frying, baking or cooking the banana peel before it’s consumed to make the tough outer skin a little more easier to digest and soft.

 

What about pesticide residue on the banana peel, if it has any that is? Wash the banana peel and then soak it in a water bath would be my advice. I would refrain using tap water though. Tap water can have bacteria. I will always advocate steam-treated distilled water. That’s what I use to soak all of my fresh produce in. And if it’s a veggie, then it gets some Bragg’s Apple Cider vinegar and regular apple cider vinegar.

 

Until recently though I’ve let my rose bushes have all the banana peels and other times they went straight into my compost pile. So long as it is non-meat and no fish it can go into the compost, so that was that or so I thought.

 

I recently tried rubbing a banana peel in my hair because there’s some benefits that will help to soften and give much needed nutrients to the hair follicle. It’s too soon for me to say whether or not I’ve noticed any difference as opposed to when I use the aloe vera leaf juice (that clear slimy stuff) that does make a noticeable difference in how my hair feels soft and becomes shiny. So I will keep an update on the banana peel hair care DIY.

 

Also, there’s even more benefits from a banana peel such as a natural tooth whitener. But this I discovered didn’t work for me, personally as great as the crushed fresh strawberry did to whiten my teeth naturally. Then of course you’ll have to follow-up with a regular brushing afterwards. And this natural tooth whitening should only be done once every two weeks or so I’ve heard, but not everyday as I’m sure it might be hard on the tooth enamel.

 

So, I did more reading on the edible banana peel. And I also did more research and now it’s off to see if these banana peels really do pack as much vitamins as one would need in their diet. Some folks claim banana peels will taste bitter if they’re not cooked, baked, or fried. I happen to be the rare few that do like some edible things to be tart and bitter tasting. Just how many vitamins does a banana peel contain? Let’s see here…

 

12 % of daily fiber.

 

17 % of vitamin C.

 

20 % of vitamin B-6.

 

12 % of potassium.

 

and…

 

8 % of magnesium.

 

And there’s plenty more benefits using banana peels than just eating them. They can help fight acne when applied to the skin. They can soften the skin and work wonders for the hair.

 

I tried rubbing a banana peel on my face, neck, and arms and it does make the skin soft. And if you’re one of those that suffers acne breakouts, (I don’t anymore now as an adult), rubbing a banana peel on the acne might be a healthier and more natural alternative as opposed to the expensive dermatologist prescribed acne creams and over the counter acne products.

 

I remember when I used to have bad teen acne and had to get a prescription (high strength) roll on acne medicine and it was the equivalent to 100 % rubbing alcohol. But whatever ingredients that acne stuff contained, did it ever like to burn my sensitive skin, yikes! I had to refrain from going out into the sun and exposing myself to UV rays after application anywhere from five to twenty minutes.

 

I don’t remember what the name of the prescription was called and this was before the days of Pro-Active acne treatment. All I do remember about the stuff is that it felt like my skin was burning off (like battery acid was applied to it) and it would turn red where the solution was applied on my face likely either a chemical burn and/or allergic reaction. And then, try to wash your face afterwards—forget that. My skin would be so raw that I could feel the heat radiating from it like a nasty sunburn, so it had me thoroughly convinced that prescription acne stuff was bad.

 

Thankfully my teen acne at the time wasn’t severe. It was bad, but tolerable and I still don’t believe that getting that prescription was the way to go. The over the counter acne stuff could only do so much. As a teen I never questioned, gave it a second thought or even so much glanced at all those chemicals and ingredients in all that pre-processed junk food I consumed like the occasional frozen pizzas, the pizza snacks, the soda pop which was probably by and large responsible for a lot of my teen acne due to its loads of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. And oh, yeah, the candy and greasy fried foods, can’t forget those. Mind you, I ate this whenever my parents stepped out for the night which wasn’t an every night deal.

 

Oh, and that prescription acne stuff worked wonders stripping away a label from a cassette tape. The acne stuff must have contained something very harsh in it since it stripped off entire labels in one application as well I found out when trying an experiment with it. And when I stumbled onto that weird discovery, I quit using said prescribed acne solution and returned again to using over the counter products instead, and did so sparingly so I could give my skin a chance to heal.

 

Had I known back then about all these wonderful, inexpensive, nearly all-natural home toner, face, and acne remedies you can get from fruit and other common healthy fresh produce I would have opted for that any day of the week than ever having subjected myself to some ‘god-only-knows’ what harmful chemicals were in that prescription solution of acne medicine in a roll-on bottle.

 

But when I was a teenager I didn’t have any decision-making whatsoever when it came to what I wanted to use and/ or try. It was often whatever my parents decided for me and that’s how it was going to be until I was eighteen and living on my own. However, I still argued and complained like any other teenager in my shoes might have done. Oh and everything had to be dramatic. Can’t forget that teenage drama, either. At least there was never a dull moment.

 

And what I love most now that I am an adult is that I can make my own decisions. Thanks for reading, commenting, re-blogging, tweeting, liking, sharing, etc. and to all my fellow bloggers and new followers, thank you! I truly appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

 

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Chia seed Carbo & Chocolate Cookies with Chocolate Dessert Topping- My Recipe

Published May 24, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1
choc dessert topping

My homemade chocolate dessert topping drizzled… eh, rather adhered to a frozen banana, sliced fresh strawberries and topped with sumptuous unsweetened Carbo chips.

I created maybe not the first chocolate dessert topping out there, but the most chemically-free one for that matter. In my endeavor to remain as healthy as possible I don’t consume sugar. I substitute it with raw honey. And there are certain treats in life I won’t deny myself. If it’s an unsweetened baking cocoa bar, Carbo unsweetened chips (it tastes like actual chocolate, but isn’t), or unsweetened baking cocoa powder count me in. I certainly put the Carbo chips to the test and they won me over when I made both chia seed Carbo chip cookies, and my first ever attempt at making chocolate cookies. I had the idea after I’d seen a pre-packaged deal of sugar and chemical-laden overkill called “soft-baked brownie chocolate cookies” or something to that effect, and since I no longer consume sugar, reviewed the ingredients of said package of cookies and there were more chemicals and sugars cleverly disguised by other names and maybe three or four actual ingredients that went into making the bad junk food cookies. I jotted down the ingredients and moseyed over to the baking aisle of Dollar General and discovered a brownie recipe on a box of Nestle Tollhouse baking cocoa. I didn’t need the baking cocoa so I jotted down that recipe, paid for my distilled waters and returned home. I didn’t expect my improvised cookie recipes to turn out. And before this I never made pure chocolate cookies. Since I already had all of the ingredients on hand, I decided to give it a try.

The Chia seed & Carbo chip cookies were excellent I thought. And the finished result of my chocolate cookies? They turned out good, if not, great. I believe I ate about five in one sitting and made half the recipe using some ground flax seed, but not much since it can act like nature’s laxative. In the Carbo chip cookies I threw in some organic raw unsalted pumpkin seeds, organic unsalted (plain) sunflower seeds, some qouina seeds, Nature Nate’s raw unfiltered honey, two Teaspoons of Rumford’s aluminum-free baking powder, a pinch  of Redmond’s Real Salt, One cup of whole wheat flour, two palm-sized handfuls of unsweetened Carbo chips, one raw egg *(please note, the egg is optional, but DO NOT eat it raw due to possible Salmonella, a.k.a. food poisoning if egg is used). This Chia-seed & Carbo chip cookie recipe can be made without the egg, but you might need to use a little more water to form a dough.

I already had my cookie sheets lined in foil and greased with coconut oil so clean up is easier. Whenever I use water in my recipes and for cooking I always go with steam-treated distilled water and/ or Hiland Drinking water. I never ever use tap (city) water due to it’s nasty fluoridation and potential bacteria surprises. And the amount of distilled water I use in my cookie recipes will vary. I prefer to use just enough so the dough is between sticky and yet able to be dropped onto the cookie sheet by the spoonful. And the amount of honey I use also varies with each recipe.

My Chocolate cookies recipe (this turned out a lot like a brownie):

I like to melt down one square of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate, add in one palm-sized amount of Carbo chips, 3/4 cup of Nature Nate’s raw unfiltered honey, 2 teaspoons of Rumford’s aluminum-free baking powder, a handful of ground flax seed meal (optional), a pinch of Chia-seeds, two heaping spoonfuls of unsweetened baking cocoa, one egg (sometimes I skip the egg and just use distilled water only) one, sometimes, two cups of whole wheat flour. I make my chocolate cookies a lot like I do with my Chia seed & Carbo chip cookies. I pre-heat my oven to about 350 degrees and bake the cookies for about fifteen minutes and watch them as they bake so they won’t burn. When a toothpick inserted in them comes out clean (and depending on how well done you prefer), remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool down on a wire rack. Since I like my cookies to be on the soft side I’ve never had success making thin, crispy cookies. I like to store my cookies in an air-tight container in the fridge. I also had some condensation issues with my cookies if I place them into plastic zip lock bags and store them in the fridge without allowing them to cool off completely first.

Both cookie recipes should yield about 12 cookies (depending on amount of the ingredients used) and have a shelf life in the refrigerator up to four days. Nothing beyond a week as these cookies will turn moldy. I don’t use yeast or any other ingredients other than what I’ve mentioned.

For my home made Chocolate dessert topping you will need the following:

Hershey’s unsweetened baking cocoa powder and/ or any baking cocoa powder will do. I prefer the unsweetened baking cocoa since I laid off the sugar as much as possible except if it’s already in the food to begin with. I like to add three Tablespoons of cocoa baking powder into a sauce pan, then break off one (sometimes two) small squares of Baker’s brand unsweetened chocolate, place this in with the baking powder over low heat, pour in about three or four Tablespoons of raw honey and allow the ingredients to melt. If you put this on medium or high heat it will burn and your sauce pan and utensils will have to soak overnight. I watch this stuff like a hawk so it won’t burn and through my many attempts found out that I love to melt just raw honey and the unsweetened baking cocoa together.

Next, you’ll want to stir this constantly, and then remove it from the burner once its melted, and the chocolate baking powder is absorbed. For an added natural sweet treat, try adding in some sliced banana, washed and cut fresh strawberries and blueberries and top it off with Carbo chips. This kind of  reminds me of Fondu in a way, but tastes very similar (in my opinion) to chocolate Sunday dessert topping but without all the loaded down heavily pre-processed chemicals. It is rich, so a little bit of my chocolate topping goes a long way. By the way, I haven’t tried this over ice cream since I don’t consume dairy products whatsoever, but I’m sure it would be excellent on ice cream. If I had to recommend a brand (or more than one), Ben & Jerry’s as I heard they were at one time supposed to be all-natural, and also Breyer’s ice cream. However, the true ice cream I ever enjoyed growing up was homemade using rock salt, ice, fresh cream, sugar, milk and mixed in an antique hand crank ice cream maker. I haven’t tasted any commercial ice cream since that could ever top homemade.

On a side note the Carbo chips are a lot like chocolate chips and can be found at your local health food store. The Carbo chips also come in the semi-sweet, and sweet varieties as well. The Baker’s brand baking chocolate comes in unsweetened (orange box), semi-sweet baking bar (comes in a red box with a depiction of a slice of chocolate cake topped with a few raspberries), Baker’s White Chocolate and Baker’s German Chocolate. The Baker’s Semi-sweet chocolate will have either 6 or 9 grams of sugar in it. I don’t know how much the others contain since I don’t buy them.

Thanks as always for sharing, liking, re-blogging, commenting, tweeting, etc. I truly appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

 

A Wonderful Day for a Wok and San-J Tamari Soy Sauce..

Published May 20, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

I’m referring to Chinese and Asian cooking that is. I recently purchased a 14″ Imusa wok and couldn’t be happier with it. Before I made my purchase I did a lot of price-comparison, reading reviews, and moreover, wanted to find a wok without a non-stick/ coated surface, but don’t think I succeeded. Why not go with a coated or the non-stick kind, you might ask yourself. Because harmful chemicals in those coated and non-stick varieties can leech out when cooking, and granted, I have no idea if the one I purchased is non-stick/ non-coated. It’s carbon steel though.

When I made my selection both woks I viewed at the store were identical. The only thing that set them apart was the difference in price by a dollar or two, and by their handles. One had plastic handles. No thanks. And the other had wood handles. Both were made by the same company Imusa. One price tag stated non-stick, the other stated 14″ wok non-coated. Neither label on the woks indicated which was non-stick/ coated and which wasn’t. The labels just stated ‘seasoning required’. I decided on the carbon steel wok with the wood handles. Woks, no matter the brand, will require seasoning before using them. I even looked at an $8 non-stick coated wok at Big Lots and wisely decided against it. It was too small and flimsy for my needs.

The only con I have with my new wok is that it requires oil before and after although it’s not that much of a pain. Woks are one of those high matience fancy skillets kind of like dutch ovens are and so are nearly all cast iron skillets. So far it hasn’t distracted me from teaching myself how to make fried rice, and other Chinese/ Asian-inspired cuisine,  etc.

A wok is great for stir fry, something of which I truly fell in love with more than nine years ago. However, the cost for all the ingredients became expensive. Back then, however, I wasn’t much of a full time gardener like I am nowadays and didn’t know the benefits of going outside and plucking my produce next to nearly nothing nor was I aware of freezing the stir fry ingredients like snow peas, onions, green bell and red bell peppers and whatever else appealed to me, either. And back then I didn’t kick my chicken habit or that of my pre-boxed Minuet white rice addiction. I haven’t had much success with fried rice yet but I keep trying. I believe this is because my rice turns out gummy from sitting overnight in the fridge and/ or I must be doing something wrong when cooking it.

I absolutely love Sesame oil but it loves me back in the wrong way. Other than that I would highly recommend the toasted Sesame oil by Kadoya. I also bought another brand of Sesame oil by Sun Luck, which doesn’t seem to give me problems, however, I noticed it lacks the robust flavor. Maybe it’s just plain, not toasted sesame oil.

Some excellent soy sauce I recently discovered is San-J Tamari. It’s gluten free. For the longest time I wouldn’t purchase any soy sauces simply because they always were too rich for my system, for one. Secondly, the other brands of soy sauces have so much MSG, flavor enhancers, and other added junk and wheat ingredients in them that the taste was too much for me, that is until after much reading discovered some rave reviews for San- J Tamari soy sauce. I thought “… well, I’ll only waste about three dollars if I don’t/ can’t stomach it.”

Is San- J Tamari soy sauce vegan? From what I’ve read, yes, it is.

Is it strictly for stir fry, Asian and/ or Chinese cooking? Nope. San- J Tamari soy sauce is excellent on salads, hard-boiled eggs, raw cabbage leaves, tomatoes and avocados and has a meaty flavor without being too rich and contains no wheat ingredients. San-J Tamari soy sauce also compliments any meal just about.

Now back to the wok. Here are some do’s and “I can’t believe I just did that!” kitchen calamity learning experiences. Okay, maybe ‘disaster’ doesn’t quite fit, but oh, well… 🙂

The Do’s:

Do wash and dry the wok thoroughly, especially when the manufacturer’s instructions recommend to oil the wok in order to “season” it before cooking in it for the first time. Seasoning is basically a process that darkens the wok and creates a type of coating on the surface. Some regular cooking pans even the cast iron skillets and dutch ovens will require seasoning before use. A wok is no different.

I like to oil my wok with a little bit of coconut oil and/or used to use a drizzle of sesame oil and smear it around using a dry clean paper towel this way there’s no mess winding up in my laundry. Grease and oil is very difficult to remove from kitchen towels, etc.

The Don’ts when using your wok:

Don’t use metal cooking utensils when cooking with a wok. This will scratch and gouge the surface, and it was a mistake yours truly here made the first night even though I was gentle with the metal slotted spoon. Make sure to have some wooden utensils on hand when cooking with a wok.

Another useful healthy tip: Don’t buy used wooden cooking utensils, no matter how clean they appear. They can harbor nasty bacteria, have unseen surface cracks where dirt and other filthy particles can linger and/ or be splintered.

Make sure to buy new wooden utensils. If you opt to purchase used/ second hand wooden utensils you never know where they’ve been or what they were used for, and they may not have always been used for cooking meals, either. And wooden utensils can be breeding grounds for mold spores especially if the utensils are untreated or show a lot of use. I’ve recently bought one of those new ‘economy’ three packs of wooden spoons and like to refer to these as “get me by until I can find something better” wooden cooking utensils. But thinking way back to some similar wooden cooking spoons my mother had when I was a child, those were better made and lasted us many, many years without cracking, splintering even beyond their normal wear and tear. There was something that made those older version wooden spoons of yesteryear better made from higher quality wood, perhaps and I’m just guessing on that.

The three pack I bought in a pinch made me seriously question if I’d get nasty  splinters in my food or lodged in my intestines. The new spoons were rough cut with jagged edges and so poorly made I couldn’t believe the quality was so shoddy they were allowed to be sold. I scrutinized all the wooden spoon packs they had at the store which weren’t many, by the way and the workmanship is very crappy. I realize that hardly any wooden spoon set out there will even be worth $3 (and I think paying $8 is excessive for a very rough produced bamboo set, too). I decided to use the cheap three pack of wooden spoons for something else other than cooking, like gardening or stir sticks for when its time to re-paint.

I went to the new small grocery store and in my “hustle my bustle” usual manner when its late I found a Chef Craft heavy handled beechwood spoon for $1.79. That’s a far better price and the quality was surprisingly better in my opinion. In fact, I was so impressed with the heavy handled Chef Craft brand beechwood spoon, I bought a second one later on. So far they seem to hold up well cooking with the wok and its been little more than a week. However, I never leave the wooden spoon unattended in the wok while my food is cooking. I like to use one of my old Corningware dishes as a spoon rest.

So for the least amount of money the Chef Craft brand wins. Now as far as how long these particular wooden spoons will last, I have no idea. I assume quite a while with normal use just depends. And I discovered I had a Sushi mat, chopstick and rice paddle set that I just got around to trying out for the first time.

Honestly, I have no prior experience using a Sushi mat. I had to watch several different tutorial videos on how to use a Sushi mat and it requires the right ingredients. But since I’m extremely allergic to Seaweed, (this is what the rice, raw fish, etc. has in it), I instead opted for cabbage leaves and Turnip greens. It was just my personal preference for the cabbage and the Turnip greens were on sale and never tried those before until just recently.

And please don’t nag at me that I didn’t use the correct type of rice in my first Sushi knock-off experience. I don’t get uptight if the rice isn’t what so-and-so uses. I use whatever rice is either organic (whenever possible), and nutrient rich (not bankrupt like most ‘enriched’ and ‘parboiled’ inexpensive rice brands are). And I like to stretch my rice and mix it with wild and/ or brown and Basmati rice (again finding a non-parboiled and non-enriched brand can be tricky at times). Don’t know if Basmati rice is any healthier but with nearly all rice, it might contain trace amounts of arsenic.  So boil, boil and BOIL that rice for at least 35-40 minutes on the stove top. The recommendation is 25 minutes, but I go the extra mile and drain the water off and use a little fresh distilled water in my rice so it won’t stick to the pan after I cook it. Do I always remember to fluff my rice with a fork? Not always and it still turns out okay for my taste.

Using a Sushi mat flattens the cabbage leaves stuffed with cooked rice and tuna I found out and keeps everything from spilling out. I also tried using Turnip Greens as well but noticed those didn’t do good at all and I find they don’t make good Seaweed subsitutes, either. I later found out that Turnip greens are supposed to be cooked, but seldom eaten raw like lettuce. I’m no gourmet chef and will attest to that. I live and learn like the rest. 😀 I do love food and enjoying trying new dishes at least once. I will more than likely pass on the Turnip greens from now on.

What I couldn’t understand according to one youtube Sushi mat tutorial video by a how-to beginner why the lady placed a Sushi mat in plastic wrap. As she went onto explain in the video it was to prevent the Sushi mat from becoming messy and dirty. Messy… eh, excuse me, but dirty, seriously? She sounded like one of those women that just can’t stand the thought of a making a mess and everything has to be perfect and very clean.

And she seemed more overly concerned about how clean her Sushi mat and work surface appeared than about getting down to the task and showing the viewer how to make Sushi rolls and there was a lot of missing ‘step-by-step’ instructions as well. By the middle of the video and this woman’s worry over “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” Florence Nightingale mentality, I was scratching my head with a slight perturbed look on my face while having a good laugh. That’s why you reach for the scouring pad, a little bit of Ajax and some dish soap and water to clean up the counter tops after having fun in the kitchen. That’s why if any mess falls on the floor and your little furball four-legged vacuum cleaner doesn’t like cooked rice or bits of Seaweed, you bust out the broom and dust pan and simply clean it up. I began to wonder if this lady wouldn’t be one of those kind to just suffer a public freak out mental breakdown moment, curl up into a fetal position and try to find her ‘safe place’  if she ever came face to face with a soiled Sushi mat that wouldn’t come completely clean. As a viewer I couldn’t watch this particular Sushi mat tutorial all the way through and had to find a few more that had better instructions and that were thorough instead of being vague. I won’t knock the lady’s ‘give it a try’ spirit though.

And one thing I wanted to add about wok cooking, the veggies will be crisp (not wilted or mushy) and it all depends on the temperature setting used. I use medium-low heat when making stir fry and lower setting when I’m re-heating my leftover rice.

One dish I do love is wild rice, fresh washed and sliced Jalapeno pepper (about four slices since they’re hot), and for some real heat try some Sarreno chili pepper (extremely hot in my opinion) and that’s if you’re a fan of spicy-hot dishes. So it’s not nearly cooking Asian or even Chinese cuisine, but eh, I enjoy it. And I also use some of the San- J Tamari Soy Sauce, a dash of Redmond Real Salt, and a dash of black pepper (whatever I have on hand in the Hosier). As always thank you so much for sharing, liking, re-blogging, tweeting, commenting, etc. I always appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

Get the most out of your store-bought celery: grow it yourself and other inexpensive kitchen food discoveries.

Published May 14, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

celery leaves drying for aloe vera blog

 

And that was another very easy nearly ‘free’ food I found out about two years ago. Surprisingly my first attempt yielded celery during the first freeze we had last year (before winter set in, that is). Now the celery chutes don’t get terribly huge when going form the container growing method. My first celery stalk growing experience left me with small, slender stalks that were young and still went great in soups and salads. They also froze extremely well.

 

Living on a shoe-string budget is tough and wherever nearly free food can be discovered, grown at home, frozen, dried (think in terms of long-term prepping), or even so insanely easy to re-plant and grow I find myself scratching my head thinking, “Why didn’t I think of this sooner? This is so easy!”

 

And my first celery stalk was chopped off mid-way and sat in a bowl of tap water (before I became wise about the fluoridation) on my kitchen window sill. I didn’t hold out any hope and thought my efforts would be a waste of time. Yes, my celery stalk had to share space with my beloved (although somewhat hearty soil-bankrupt) air purifying airplane/spider plant that’s been the dominant houseplant going on five years. I was surprised when I noticed leafy greens sprouting up from the lopped celery stalk. I can’t remember if I changed out the water or if that’s a necessary thing to do. Since my first celery stalk died during the winter and I had no place to bring it in out of the harsh weather, it didn’t last. Yet, I managed to re-grow enough celery from that first stalk to fill a large zip lock bag and I didn’t need to buy celery at the store for the whole year. When frozen about all celery is good for is using in stir-fry, soups and stews. I never had any success using frozen/ thawed celery in leafy green salads. But frozen celery goes great in my freshly prepared plain cucumber salads which means I don’t slather my cucumbers in any type of oils, mayonnaise, or commercial salad dressings since those don’t agree with my system. I make my own mustard-onion dressing that I will share in this post as well.

 

And a year later, I’ve nearly finished off my entire bag of celery. I haven’t tried to grow any celery stalks in the garden. I like to plant them in patio containers and snip off the stalks as I need them and allow the celery to re-grow more chutes. I have two more celery stalks that I re-grew using distilled water and was surprised when they appeared greener and more heartier. I transplanted those to outdoor containers recently and started on my third celery stalk in distilled water. Hopefully it will grow as well as the others.

 

How to make my onion-mustard cucumber salad dressing:

 

Wash, cut and place green onions in a clean mason jar. I like to use a pair of kitchen shears to snip the onions. And other times I will go out to my garden and cut off a large onion leaf. These are very potent and a little bit goes a long way. I also use the small onion bulb as well and chop that up. Next, I mix equal parts of Dijon and Spicy Brown mustard and add that in with my onions. I stir this concoction and leave it in the fridge while I prepare my cucumber salad.

How to make my cucumber salad (no-dressing or oil variety):

 

Wash, peel and slice up the cucumber if its store bought. Believe me, you don’t want to ingest the wax they use on the veggies. I’ve heard horror stories that the wax used is no different than what they use to wax floors with, Yeesh! And if it’s true, that’s a dirty little inside trick to make veggies appear delicious and ‘preserve’ them, I suppose. If you can grow your own cucumbers and don’t use pesticides, you could skip peeling off the outer skin. Since I don’t use pesticides on my garden for the very reason they can be toxic, I don’t have to worry so much.

 

There’s no wrong way to slice a cucumber. If you like thick slices, got for it. If you prefer small, thin slices, that’s excellent too.

 

Next wash, and slice one or two red tomatoes. Again, if they’re store-bought tomatoes they may have been gassed in order to ‘ripen’ them while their still green, and eating green tomatoes is okay too. Ever hear of the old 80’s movie, Fried Green Tomatoes? Anyways, if your tomatoes are home grown, then your assured of the safety of your own produce. Place the sliced tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl and set aside. Next slice up some red, white, and yellow onion (if you have any on hand and this is optional). I’m kind of basing this on my late grandma’s recipe but without the dressing. My grandmother used to use white onion cut into rings.

 

I also like to spice things up with a fresh cut Japeno and throw that in with the cucumber and tomatoes and mix some crushed red pepper as well. I then give this salad a soak in a little Apple Cider Vinegar/ distilled bath just for good measure, rinse and return to the bowl. I like to finish off with a few snips of fresh Kale (the yellow blooms will produce a delicate sweet taste, too), Parsley, Chives, Peppermint, Spearmint, Pineapple Sage leaf, one leaf of cabbage and fresh Brussels sprouts (never the canned or frozen variety for me). So technically its not a straight cucumber and tomato salad, rather an actual salad. Eh, sometimes I enjoy a change of pace.

 

What to do with those celery leaves: don’t throw them out! Wash them off really good and dry them. I say this because the cost of buying celery either in seed, salt, or even the crushed leaf variety can be expensive. Since I don’t have a pestle and mortar I can’t grind the leaves  into a powder so it’s the very old-fashioned ‘drying’ method by placing the celery leaves (preferably washed, dried off, and place on a cookie sheet or in my case a pie pan lined with a coffee filter will do. Allow the celery leaves to thoroughly dry for two weeks or a month or so. When they’re completely dry (and some might be curled), then you can store them in a spice jar or use them immediately in soups, stews, stir-fry, etc. I had great success drying two bunches of half priced cilantro for a month and yielded two huge batches to last me a year or better. Cilantro goes great in homemade pico de gallo (Mexican condiment/ salsa).

Hope my shoe string budget kitchen tips help. Thanks for liking, re-blogging, commenting, sharing, tweeting, I truly appreciate it. 🙂

My homemade skincare/ hair care aloe vera lotion: a how-to guide with step-by-step pictures:

Published May 14, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

It will cost about a dollar or less for the aloe vera leaves depending on your geographical location, and if your supermarket stocks these huge leaves since they might likely be considered a ‘specialty’ item and hard to find/ purchase. I know before we got a new grocery store, I had no idea aloe vera leaves were sold fresh much less grown for their edible purposes as well. In fact, I had never seen a large aloe vera leaf in person until I popped into the new grocer to see what all the hubbub was about. And what I found was some very new and somewhat exotic edibles such as aloe vera and cactus leaves (when boiled cactus leaves are very similar to green beans and freeze well, too) which I’ll blog about here in a little bit in a separate post.

 

Before I spent any money on the aloe vera leaves, I did my research. I scoured youtube to see what others had to say about fresh aloe vera leaves. It turns out I learned of the many benefits of aloe vera and cactus leaves. I had seen whole cactus leaves being sold at some other grocers between $5-7 dollars and you only received two small cactus leaves that you had to then go to the trouble to de-thorn, slice, chop—essentially ‘prep’ the old-fashioned way. I watched several youtube videos on how to cut up a cactus leaf and the thorns fly everywhere even when using a plastic bag and scrapping them with a paring knife. Sounded like a potential whacking off a digit accident waiting to happen.

 

I did more research late at night while waiting for my [then working] off-balance washing machine to finish thrashing another load of laundry. After watching about ten ‘how to’ cut aloe vera leaves and boil cactus leaves youtube videos I decided to give both the aloe vera and cactus leaves a try.

 

Are the aloe vera leaves edible? Yes, the gooey clear gel is edible. However, if the slime is yellow this will act as nature’s laxative and it’s highly recommended to discard the yellow stuff. In small quantities the aloe vera leaf gel can be blended into smoothies, chopped up and frozen for later use for skin application and/or used in DIY olive, coconut, and argan oil hair mask treatments. I even found a use for the aloe vera leaf itself and like to cut it up, bag, label and freeze them for later use when dry shaving my legs or whenever I might need something quick and handy for rubbing on my skin or through my hair to make it soft. I usually run on a very erratic schedule, so yes, there’s going to be prep work involved which should take about 30-35 minutes and you’ll have to set aside time to cut the aloe vera leaves. I find that I can make this aloe vera gel last me about a month (conserving it that is) and stretching it with some steam-treated distilled water. Never use city tap water as that can contain bacteria and other nasties that can’t be filtered out in a city water treatment facility try as they might, plus if the city fluoridates their water or its hard water that’s really yucky!

 

“Make sure it’s steam-treated [distilled water], not the other kind,” That was sound advice from my dear dad a year ago. He’s been a health nut long before I was ever born.

 

Here’s the steps I use for making my homemade aloe vera lotion. Oh, and this must be kept in the fridge or else it will go rancid if sitting out since there’s no preservatives whatsoever when I make my aloe vera lotion.

aloe leaves for hair care

Step one: Wash the aloe vera leaf with some distilled water (never tap water) to give it a quick rinse. Drying the aloe vera leaf isn’t necessary unless you want to do this extra step.

aloe vera step2

Step two: Make sure you have a bowl or other container ready. I find that placing a bowl in the kitchen sink helps and I just scrape the gooey goodness into it from the cutting board. Use a serrated knife and a cutting board as well. Also, be extremely careful when slicing these aloe vera leaves. The gooey stuff is slimy and will be the consistency of egg yoke and it gets over everything and makes work surfaces and the knife you’re using very slippery. So, do exercise caution when cutting the aloe vera leaves with a sharp knife and take your time.

aloe vera step 3

Step three: I like to cut off the tip and end and discard those in my compost container that I plan to empty into my garden. Next, I slice downward to remove the prickly thorny sides of the aloe vera leaf. Sometimes they’ll yield a very tiny amount of clear gooey stuff and I’ll cut those into slices and place them in my freezer bag for later use. When I can help it I don’t like to discard a lot of stuff until I get as much use from it as humanly possible.

aloe vera step 4

Step four: Transfer the clear gooey stuff from the bowl and pour it into the blender. Blenders will vary and I like to start blending with the ice crushing option, then whip and puree. At this point the clear aloe vera gel should turn frothy and foamy. This is normal and the foam will settle. To make this stretch further I also pour in about half a cup of distilled water and blend it some more. Again, this will turn foamy and it will settle. I then make sure my aloe vera jar is handy and fill it. After screwing the cap on it I like to give the contents a good shake then place it in the fridge.

 

Shelf life of my homemade aloe vera lotion is about one week in the fridge. However, I’ve been able to make my aloe vera lotion last for about two weeks even a month if I’m conservative with it and haven’t noticed it going rancid in the fridge. And always whenever I remember I will pick up one or two aloe vera leaves and store them in my fridge until I need one this way I have a constant stock of them on hand. And look for the discounts. Sometime aloe vera leaves will be sold by the red tape bundle at a discount if they’re wilted. This I’ve discovered doesn’t matter much to me since I don’t use the wilted aloe vera leaves for smoothies. I use the wilted aloe vera leaves for my skin and hair care lotions. I use the good aloe vera leaves for the smoothies which I seldom make except once-in-a-while due to their cleansing/ detoxing properties.

aloe vera step 5

Step five: pour the aloe vera lotion in a glass jar. I have heard that plastic containers can leach out chemicals into food and drinks so I re-use a 10 ounce glass green olive jar for my homemade aloe vera lotion (pictured).

 

Hope this how-to tutorial helps for my fresh homemade aloe vera lotion. I never use any preservatives when making this. When it settles it will feel like a raw egg when applying it to the hair and skin. But no need to panic, the skin absorbs the aloe vera gel rather fast and leaves your skin feeling velvety smooth. Sometimes there might be some gel sediment that adheres to the skin and hair. I use a soft-bristle natural foot brush to whisk this from my skin and hair. When applied to the hair (a little bit goes a long way), wrap your hair in a silk or cotton scarf or any soft large light-weight material will do and keep it on for an hour, then remove the scarf and gently comb your fingers through your dry hair. Doing this step after you’ve washed and towel-dried your hair works great and makes your hair feel extremely soft and gives it some shine. I found this to be a huge relief since my area is hard water. And since I quit exposing my hair to all the fluoridated city water recently, I noticed my hair is not as limp, weighed down, greasy or unhealthy or ‘unwashed’ in appearance. Also, I don’t wash my hair daily into overkill like I once used to do years ago and saturate my poor hair strands to chemically-laden shampoos and conditioners (whatever was cheap at one time). I also re-use my fresh fruit/ fresh veggie distilled rinse water and make my own Camomile sun tea on occasion to give some high lights to my hair. Other times I keep a large pickle jar in the fridge filled with part distilled and bottled drinking water (supposedly non-fluoridated when I checked).

DO NOT use a plastic comb to brush out your hair when applying this aloe vera gel into your hair. Sometimes it will leave microscopic gel balls that can tangle the hair, so go easy when brushing your hair. This hair care process shouldn’t be rushed as I found out in my early trial and errors.

Recently, I’ve heard from many folks that strive to grow out their hair and keep it healthy advise to ditch the plastic hair brushes and combs completely, and if at all possible, do not wash your hair with city water unless you have a water purifier/ filtration system that can filter out heavy metals, contaminants and some traces of fluoride. Another hair care top: opt for boar hair bristle hair brushes/combs. And those are difficult to find unless they’re antique. I saw a ‘made in China’ boar hair shower brush at Big Lots a while back, but inset in the middle of it was a chunk of plastic as a faux loofah sponge. I’ll pass thank you very much even though I realize getting rid of all plastics out of my life is nearly impossible although little by little I am making snail pace strides to natural vegan materials as I can afford to do so.

When I need to brush my hair I use an itty bitty antique celluloid comb. The rest of the time I use my antique hair/ clothing brushes since they were made during the 1850’s/ 1900’s and have real hair bristles (not nylon even though it was produced back in this time frame). Since using the antique hair/ clothing brushes to brush my hair vs. using plastic hair brushes has made a huge difference. I haven’t dealt with many tangles when brushing my hair after it’s completely dry, that is. And I haven’t felt any knots or painful tangles in my hair either like I used to get often when using a plastic brush and comb. And I quit combing my hair while its still wet. This is when the hair is most fragile and elastic-like. It can snap, strands can fall out (often referred to hair fall out) when brushed wet, tangle and knot like it’s nobody’s business, and did I mention all of it painful if you have a sensitive scalp? It is.

Thanks for re-blogging, liking, commenting, sharing, tweeting and especially to all of my subscribers. I truly appreciate your likes, shares, etc.! 🙂

I’ll be posting some budget gourmet kitchen how-to goodies from how to grow your own celery on your kitchen window sill, drying your own spices from fresh store-bought/ patio-grown herbs, making cinnamon-flavored toothpicks, and my almost “sugar free” dessert. 😀

 

 

 

 

Ah, it’s almost summer and that means…

Published February 19, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

It’s almost time to break out the shorts, open-toed sandals, a comfortable top or tank, and sunshine in a bottle.

What? Sunshine in a bottle fruit smoothie, that is. I recently came across a recipe for it and it looks delicious. For this you will need the following:

Glass Mason jars (any size).

Glass straws such as these or others found here as well. I know they’re pricey, but when you’re trying to ween yourself off of plastic entirely and are concerned about unhealthy chemicals being leeched into your drinks and food, then glass straws might be a very healthy lifestyle investment. Sure glass straws can be a pain to clean (some come with a straw brush) and the other draw back is they can shatter and get broken, but making any lifestyle changes come with extra work.

You will also need a juicer or regular kitchen blender. If you opt for a blender, then you might want to strain this through a cheese cloth. I’ve tried the wire mesh strainers and they end up becoming rusty after one use. And if you have a juicer that gets rid of the pulp, then great. 🙂

If you’re going the blender route, be sure to add in enough water to cover the blades first and foremost to reduce wear and tear.

Sunshine in a bottle fruit smoothie:

Take one lemon rinse, peel off the rind and slice it into chunks. You may want to remove the seeds before tossing it into the blender. Depending on what juicer you have, the more expensive models I’ve heard and read about anyway should eliminate the seeds and pulp. Also, about the seeds, some can have small toxic properties, and although its considered a very minuscule amount when ingested by eating certain kinds of fruit like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, if the seeds do get ground up, then in turn could cause small sharp particles that can then tear the intestines. Believe me, that doesn’t sound like fun. Therefore, I take the extra time to remove the seeds, especially when in doubt.

Next you will need some Fuji and/ or about three red apples. Wash, rinse and slice them into chunks. Discard the core and seeds in the trash. Add the apple slices in with your lemon.

You will also need some oranges, peeled, rinsed, and seeds removed if you want to go to the extra effort. About two Cara Cara oranges or pretty much any type of orange should work. And you need about three. I used one bag of small Halo Cutie oranges, and prepared these in a juicer and frozen them in ice cube trays.

One pineapple. Rind removed and discarded. Next, you’ll want to cut up the pineapple. Its all a personal preference if you discard the core or use it when juicing. I’ve heard both pros and cons of eating the core of a pineapple. The pros is it contains a high concentration of natural vitamin C and other healthy benefits. The cons of the pineapple core is that it can cause fiber balls to build up in the digestive system that can be difficult for your body to break down. Also, some seeds in fruit aren’t meant to be ingested because they can contain cyanide.  So, for myself personally until I can do more research on eating the whole pineapple I would toss out the core. Yeah, I might be depleting the vitamin properties and not getting the full ‘juicing’ experience, but rather be safe than sorry.

Two Kale leaves washed/rinsed off. I would say optional on this if you don’t like mixing veggies with fruits.

Okay now that you’ve washed, sliced, diced, peeled, chopped and cored your fruit you’re ready to add it into the blender and/ or juicer and whip these ingredients together. Last night I tried making this smoothie with most of the ingredients but lacked the most vital one; the pineapple.

So my “half” sunshine in a bottle smoothie is sitting in the fridge. Today I was determined to  walk to town to get  said fruit. And did the usual errands. I also stopped in a local upscale women’s clothing boutique that sells boho (Bohemian/ Hippie-ish) inspired clothing, jewelry, Vera Bradley hand bags, wallets, small back packs, makeup bags, Hanky Panky thong underwear, and even more Chinese-produced, massively over-priced jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, earrings… eh, I’ll just blog about all that in another post.

Tonight I plan to finish my fruit smoothie, crank out at least two other blog posts on here, do my Yoga for the night, etc. Then tomorrow I plan to get the garden cleared  and get it ready for summer. I already have most of my seeds bought and saved back as many as I could from all the fresh produce I bought at the store (roughly a year’s worth of “almost” free food if it grows and produces, that is).

Oh, and if you tried making this sunshine in a bottle fruit smoothie or anything similar, I’d be interested in knowing how it turned out. And should I find the video again of this smoothie I seen on youtube, I will post it in this blog. It looks great, but if you try to make it without the pineapple you’ll have a strong lemon smoothie instead.

Stay tuned for more. As always, thanks for liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting, tweeting. I always appreciate it a lot! 🙂

Eating Healthy: My Daily Routine.

Published January 26, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

I wanted to share with you a healthy habit to get into. And if you’re already doing so, then great! 🙂

I know– I know, groan all you want. Sigh and roll your eyes. Tell me to my face I can’t possibly know the first thing about eating right since after all, I’m just your average woman out there living on a tight income. I’m not a licensed dietitian. I’m not a physical fitness trainer nor am I a certified life coach. But what I do have to offer is a great way to get started on a path to good health and it might even eliminate some bad habits along the way. And if you chose to stick with it (its a preference, not an order), then you’ll begin to see results.

I don’t believe in pumping my body full of diet pills just to achieve desired results. In fact, I believe those are highly dangerous and some have even caused death (think of that Fin-Fin).

This is like a nutrition ‘meal planner.’ Yep, I pre-plan everything I’m going to eat and prepare it the night before or even set aside time a week before and spend three days preparing my own meals on a budget. Pre-planning can save time, be extremely handy when in a hurry or when arriving home dead tired on your feet after a long day at work.

And eating healthy is just a start. When I get up I put on a pot of water. While its heated I remove my container of oats. I begin my day like anybody else, except I take things slow. I don’t get in a hurry. If I had roses to stop and smell, I do that too. I  don’t distract myself with a blaring TV or radio. The house is silent. The computer is kept off. I shower, then get dressed. I return to my boiling water and fill a coffee cup part water/ part oats. As that cools, I add in some Nature Nate’s Raw Honey and go make my bed and tidy up and get ready to head out.

My stuff like winter gloves, hat and scarf, receipt book, odometer notebook and pens are already packed in my bag so is my music. I snag a hard-boiled egg, peel off the shell and eat it with some salt. I wash it down with either steam-treated distilled water (some times seltzer water), and eat my oatmeal. I shut off the burner and when I’m done eating, brush and floss my teeth.

For lunch I might have a kale and avocado spread sandwich on home made Pretzel bread and a handful of unsalted almonds (high in natural vitamin E) and a cutie (small orange) or similar fresh fruit (never canned or pre-packaged fruit cups).

For supper my one pot meal awaits in the fridge. I either have pea, steamed potato and ham soup, or I thaw a batch of home made chicken broth, add in a piece of chicken and simmer it for two hours on medium heat, then add in some dried peas and whole wheat wide noodles. I check on it and add in water as needed. I clean house, do laundry, and fold and put away clothes. I sweep and vacuum, and when I’m done, the rich aroma of a home made stew fills my cozy house. I bring in my cat and feed her a spoon of Tuna along with her dry cat food. She’s happy as long as I’m the center of her universe. Sometimes she’ll claim the recliner and curl up and sleep for hours. I eat supper, wash up the dishes and wipe down the stove and counter tops.

My meal plan is as follows:

Mornings: Oatmeal and raw honey (in winter), one hard-boiled egg, one banana. In the summer: one hard boiled egg, one banana. I try to eat at least within the first 30 minutes after getting up. This helps to boost metabolism.

Lunch: Sandwich using home made avocado spread and/or soup/ stew or boiled Pollock fish or Salmon (if its on sale) and rice, steamed asparagus, green beans or corn, and a potato (make sure to poke holes in the potato or else it will explode. Do this especially if you plan to have a baked potato).

Supper: This is generally the ‘heaviest’ meal of my day. It can vary depending on what I have on hand. I’ll either have stews, soups, chicken (as the main meat), a veggie, a potato, and for dessert, an apple and peanut butter. Sometimes I forgo the apple and peanut butter and eat a small custard-cup serving of mixed frozen fresh fruit that’s been pre-washed, sorted and bagged. Other times I might make Jack Straw Tuna Casserole and bake it in a 350 degree oven for about 15 mins 20 mins.

How to make Jack Straw Tuna Casserole:

One can of Tuna (drained) and dumped into baking dish. Or, if you prefer, you can always use one can of Salmon or canned chicken with the gross stuff drained off and rinsed in distilled water. The thing about Tuna is that it contains mercury, so you may want to eat this once-in-a-while. And this same heavy metal is also found in most fish as well.

One potato washed, peeled, and cut into shoe-string length. Add those in with the tuna and add in some water. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Sometimes I’ll make this using hot dogs and sauerkraut, and shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Tuna is optional and so are the hot dogs. It’s very rare I do eat hot dogs on a regular basis simply because they are so full of chemicals and they are very unhealthy. The more chemicals you can keep out of your body, the better you’ll feel.

Put some tin foil on the baking dish, set the timer for about 15-20 mins. and place the casserole in the oven to bake. Make sure to use a half cup of water so it doesn’t burn. For a variation Feta cheese is also good as a topping as well in this recipe.

During the summer I rarely heat up the house using the oven and prefer to either steam the heck out of my veggies and chicken dishes, or just boil them in water. I never use any cooking oil and don’t make or consume fried, greasy foods either. It may sound like a plain boring diet, but its what helped me lose a lot of weight and keep it off.

I don’t own a juicer yet. Rather I do blend my fresh produce like kale, fruit, strawberries, bananas, apples, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and add in a small amount of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. I also like to use half a cup of steam-treated distilled water and/ or Hiland Drinking water (bought at Dollar General). I blend all of the ingredients using grind, whip and puree on my blender, and when its too my liking (thickness-wise like a fruit Smoothie), I pour it into freezer bags, label them and store them in the freezer for future use. The shelf life of this in the freezer is about one month or until the bananas begin to brown then you know its time to toss it.

The avocado spread is made much the similar way using just enough water not to make it soupy but keep it like a thick sauce texture, some lemon juice (spices optional: rosemary, black pepper, Cayenne pepper, Kosher salt, onion powder or fresh sliced white onion about two strips) and freeze it if its not going to be eaten right away. Shelf life of avocado spread in the freezer is 3-5 months. Thereafter it must be pitched out if not consumed by then. I always like to thaw the avocado spread in the fridge overnight so it’s ready for me when I get up.

The home made pretzel bread I make has to be either frozen or refrigerated. Other times I’ll make Welsh Rarebit for a snack. I did happen across Welsh Rarebit when skimming through my 1890s cookbook and wanted to share it:

Welsh Rarebit:
16 (1/3-inch-thick) diagonal bread slices
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup porter or ale
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large egg yolk

I usually omit the butter, and all-purpose flour and use whole wheat flour instead. I would assume the bread slices are put on a plate and then the Welsh Rarebit is served over it kind of like an open face sandwich. Also, I skip the port and ale and leave out the milk. This is just my personal preference. With the other ingredients in the Welsh Rarebit, you’ll want to mix these and bring them to a low simmer over medium heat stirring constantly so it won’t stick or burn. Once thickened, remove from burner and serve over the bread. Goes great with a little bit of Feta cheese on top and a side of green beans.

I also have a recipe for my no yeast Pretzel bread:

• 3 cups whole wheat flour (preferably stone ground)
• 4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1⁄2 cups rice milk (works with any liquid) or 1 1⁄2 cups water (works with any liquid)
• 1⁄4 cup liquid fat (i.e. melted milk free margarine, vegetable oil, olive oil)
Directions
1. Mix dry ingredients.
2. Do not sift the flour!
3. Mix liquids and add to dry.
4. Stir until there is no more dry flour.
5. Depending on the humidity of the air where you live you may need a little bit more or less liquid.
6. The dough should be moist but not sticky.
7. It may take a few minutes for the flour to fully absorb the liquid, so don’t rush to add liquid or flour to it.
8. Score lightly the surface in a diamond or X shape to prevent splitting of the crust.
9. This is a country style bread that should be sliced thick.
10. It is important not to overwork the dough.
11. Shape into a ball or an oval, with oiled hands.
12. Place on clean baking sheet.
13. Bake for 40 minutes at 400°F.

Remove bread when done, and brush on a mixture of water and baking powder. Sprinkle with Pretzel salt and return to heated oven for about 5 mins. Take out and let cool on a wire cookie rack. Sometimes the loaf will stick to the bread pan so make sure to oil it with Coconut oil or similar if you’re using cooking oil. This bread comes out hard and crusty on the top, moist and spongy on the inside. Cut into slices (this is hard to do without a bread knife, but can be done), then put into bread sacks or zip lock bags and place it the freezer or fridge. If you place this bread in the fridge be sure to consume it within less than a week. Since there are no additives, this bread doesn’t contain all the chemicals that store bought bread does to keep it from getting moldly. This home made bread also sets better and is more dense (not light as air like all commercial store-bought breads are) and you won’t get hungry afterwards since it won’t contain any MSG Mono Sodium Glutamate = ‘natural flavors’ or artificial “your guess is as good as mine” ingredients.

It might take awhile to notice any results when breaking free from chemically processed foods and switching over to an all natural, raw fruits, veggies and home made meals diet since everybody is different. If you can cut out the sugar (sugary drinks, bagged sugars, candy, and sweetners) you’ll soon discover a HUGE, (I mean massive) increase in energy and libido. Your body will thank you and your spiritual, mental, and emotional well being will love you for it. Not only will you feel great, but you’ll see it physically.

Another helpful tip: start by keeping a weight diary. (This helps, trust me). Weigh yourself each morning after you get up first thing. And don’t eat or drink anything. If you do, that’s okay too. Usually you weigh less in the morning than you would at night. I generally like to take my weight twice (once without a stitch of clothes on), and one weight reading with clothes on including shoes for better accuracy. I always jot down my weight nowadays and the date.

When I began my raw veggies/ fresh fruit about three years back, I didn’t keep a weight diary. And I really should have. I weighed 132 pounds back in 2014, and for a woman of such a small size, I would consider that morbidly obese and I’m not even a medical doctor. Surprisingly throughout my past regular and even yearly exams nobody ever brought up my weight to me. I didn’t gain that weight until I was in my late twenties (27-28) and it just stuck with me since my ex would cook in grease. Everything was grease and he’d swear by it was the only way to cook. I used to drink soda like a fish back then, ate very unhealthy processed foods and by the time I was in my early 30s I hated how I looked and felt. I know what did it for me was when I undergone my emergency gallbladder surgery at 35 and that was my wake up call. And had I not heeded that handsome surgeon’s advice about having the emergency surgery, I wouldn’t be here blogging.

I began to see results almost one week after I cut out soda completely. But mind you I began to do this slowly over time once I healed from my gallbladder surgery completely. Then I stopped baking with sugar. And then I really saw results! I slowly, but surely I eliminated all boxed dinners, processed foods, junk foods, candy, gum, and at the last even tea. I will eat sunflower seeds and chew on toothpicks.

Nowadays I make my own steeped tea boiling water and adding in two fresh frozen cranberries. Other times I will raid my Hosier cabinet for my dried Peppermint leaves and put those in my tea strainer. They won’t change the water to green as I’ve seen from the bagged “Bigalow” Peppermint tea does. There’s hardly any ‘mint’ taste from my dried peppermint leaves, but they complement the cranberries I think. I’ve also tried a little bit of my dried lavender flowers too and didn’t notice much difference (taste-wise). Lavender does help to aid digestion.

Cranberries are an extremely good source of antioxidants and natural vitamin C and if you can buy them fresh in the bag (Oceanspray brand) found in the fresh fruit/strawberry, blueberry, and mulberry cooler, then its worth it. Yep, you can freeze fresh cranberries (at least I do), and you can freeze fresh strawberries, blueberries, and mulberries. 🙂

If I can think of anything else, I will be adding to this blog as time goes on. Please, keep checking back. Thank you for liking, commenting, sharing, re-blogging, and tweeting. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂