Carrot Parsnip Puree

I apologize to those of you who feel like I am constantly making things with parsnip or carrots. The truth is that this time of year, root veggies are the easiest and cheapest for us to get our hands far as organics are concerned. Not to mention the fact that N absolutely loves both! Why not make a dish your toddler means that dinner will be oh so much smoother!

I was really craving something like a mashed potato, and knew squash just wasn't going to cut it! Since N can't have potatoes we feel bad serving ourselves up some of that yummy goodness and leaving him I have tried to find tasty alternative to keep us all satisfied.

I opened the fridge and what do you know, I have parsnips and carrots...why not try to mash them??? :) Here is what I did...N absolutely loved this recipe and now refers to it as Pumpkin pie...which in the world of my 2 year old toddler is the best complete any chef could get! J and I also really enjoyed this recipe. We had this with roasted season salt chicken, garlic sauteed spinach, and millet biscuits.

2-4 Tbsp Unsalted butter
4 medium parsnips Peeled (optional) and chopped
1 bunch (about 6 or 7 carrots) peeled (optional) chopped finely
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic or 1/2 clove elephant garlic, diced.
2Tbsp-1/4 cup heavy cream

Now I have done this recipe several times. A couple with peeled parsnips and carrots and a couple without the peeling. The main difference is with the parsnips...there is a much stronger parsnip flavor if you leave the skins on. That isn't a problem for our family, but if this is your first introduction I would peel. Lately the organic parsnips at the store have been really fine...then I wouldn't waste your time...there is nothing left after you get done peeling them!

Okay, so place your onions, butter, and garlic in a heavy bottomed 3-4 quart pan or pot. Sautee until fragrant. Add in the parsnips and carrots. Stir until combined and then cover. Allow to cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Check on the mix every 5 minutes or so to make sure you aren't burning the bottom. If your lid doesn't fit tightly, than consider adding 1-2 Tbsp of water to help the veggies cook. I use a 3 Quart Enameled Dutch oven and it works really well with no added water.

When the veggies are tender remove the lid and let any excess moisture burn off. Remove form the heat and add the heavy cream. Puree with either your hand-held blender or a normal blender or food processor. Yummy!!

Dairy Allergy note: IF you can't have dairy, omit heavy cream at the end and use a little chicken broth, and use coconut oil for the saute instead of butter. This also works well...this is how we ate it when J was on the Candida diet!

Homemade Season Salt

I have given up on finding a "healthy" season salt to purchase at the store. Most contain refined sugars, and filler that either contain corn or gluten. I have been mixing up this recipe for a little while now, and we don't miss the store bought variety at all! This seasoned salt is very easy to make...

½ cup salt
¼ cup succanant
¼ Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp Garlic powder
2 Tbsp Onion powder
2 Tbsp Turmeric

Place all ingredients in a 1 quart ball jar, screw on the lid and shake well. Stores well in the jar, or you can transfer to a "spice" jar with a shake top. This is my primary spice blend in my Chicken pot pie or chicken and biscuits recipe.

Grinding Grains at Home

So I have always heard, that you can easily grind grains at home using a food processor. I have always used my blender and achieved satisfactory, I decided to give my food processor a "try-out" as a grinder. Mostly because I was feeling bad for my "over-worked" blender this week!

Before I start the explanation of this process I will tell you the flavor of a home ground grain is so far superior to that of the store bought variety. I haven't noticed quite some much with wheat, but any alternative grain, to me, is almost unpalatable if purchased in the flour form! I can't even get store purchased millet flour near my face without feeling queasy. The smell and taste are just off! There are a million things that could be contributing to it...but most likely I am smelling and tasting the rancidness. Take it from me. Take the 20 minutes and grind it yourself...the results are definitely worth it!

So, I filled up my most favorite food processor with about 2 cups of millet flour. I let it run for 15 minutes and then "checked" the millet for texture. I wasn't so thrilled. It was still exceptionally coarse and very warm...moisture was building up in the grain. I let it rest for about 30 minutes and the grain cooled down. I ran it for another 15 minutes, and the grain was still very course...and hot...

After that. I transferred it to my blender to continue the process. It finished up in the blender in just a couple of minutes.

Moral of the story. The blender does about 2 cups millet in 20-30 minutes...and the food processor was at 30 and not even close to being done. For homemade flour...I would highly recommend the blender!

Just as an fyi. I put my blender on liquefy to start, and then lower the speed to "mix" or puree and stir the grain through the opening at the top to prevent it from climbing up the sides. (I remove the little plastic circle from the top and stick the stirring spoon in, obviously, you are just shifting the top layer of flour, the spoon should never be close to the middle or the bottom of the blender...need I say more.)

Good luck grinding your own flour. Naturally, if you are baking lots or using lots of alternative grains, which get quite costly to purchase in flour form, a grinder will probably be a great investment..but until then...use the blender!

After you have "blended" your grain into flour, store in an airtight container in the refriderator...and preferably away from light. It will keep for a week or two. If the flavor starts to resemble the store purchased know it is time to blend up some more! (Thank you LAP for your question!)

Ode to My Food Processor

I cannot tell you all enough, how much I really appreciate my food processor. It is a huge, essential to my kitchen that happened about 1 1/2 years ago. Since the addition, I am constantly finding new and exciting way to use it. I have heard from many, that they have one and they don't use it all that much!!! I can't even understand that! Simply because if I am cooking in my kitchen, my food processor is usually out!

I have heard one of the main differences from food processor and non-food processing people it is that some of the people can only chop with their food processor! My food processor is great for chopping, but also for shredding, kneading, and slicing! I love to use it! :)

So what food processor do I own that I am in love with? The Cuisinart Power Prep Plus 11 cup Processor. It comes with endless features and it is wonderful! I have used it to make bread, soup, sauces, batters, pancakes, chop veggies, shred cheese or veggies...the possibilities are endless! :) If you are interested in seeing other customer's reviews please click on the photo!

Sauteed Red Cabbage

I'm not a huge fan of red cabbage, but I will say, shredding it finely makes it way more palatable! N won't touch cabbage in a large leaf form, but once it is shredded or finely chopped it is one of his favorite veggies. Red cabbage is a vegetable that really hinges upon "how it is prepared." I will give you my edible secret in the following recipe, remember best served with sauces:)!

1/2 head red cabbage cut in half
2 tbsp spring butter
2 Tbsp Water

With your food processor, use the shredding attachment. Place half of the cabbage in the food processor and shred it, then shred the other one. Once all the cabbage is shredded, heat a cast iron skillet to medium high. Once heated, add the butter then the cabbage. After a minute or two add the water. Continue to stir until cooked through. This is a great side dish when eaten with Saucy foods. Saucy pork chops is a great way to enjoy this, or with tomato sauce dishes.

Saucey Oven Pork Chops

We had some 1 inch pork chops in the fridge, and seeing how it was approximately 20 degrees outside, I figured grilling it was out of the question! So, I decided to spice up the chops for the oven! N and J both really like them!

4 inch boneless pork chops
1/2 of a medium red onion
1/4 cup natural maple syrup (water processed)
2 Tbsp Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 Tbsp Naturally Fermented Soy Sauce
Sprinkle of Garlic Powder
Sprinkle of Black Pepper

Place all ingredients, except the pork chops, in a food processor and process until smooth and well blended. Position the pork chops in a dutch oven and top with the sauce. Place covered in a 350 degree oven for 15-30 minutes. The time range is so huge simply b/c everyone's oven cooks at a different temp. Mine tends to be extremely hot! Pork needs to be cooked to 160 degrees. When checking the heat of the meat it is important to stick the meat thermometer lengthwise across the chop, not straight down throw the middle. More than just a tip of the thermometer needs to be inserted for an accurate read! I highly recommend serving this with Rice or Quinoa, and Red Cabbage and peas. To serve, place the chops with all the excess sauce over the cabbage pea mixture. The sauce settles into the cabbage and it is amazing! (and I normally isn't a huge fan of red cabbage!)

Healthy Crunchy Nuts! Of all kinds! :)

Why healthy? In order to obtain all the nutrients from Almonds...or any nut for that matter, it is important to eat them in a raw, soaked state! Don't get me wrong, I was the girl who loved roasted nuts, but the truth is, they really aren't all that nutritious for us. We can't absorb a huge variety of the nurtients this way, and many are killed in the Roasting process.

So, start with your "raw" or as close to raw as possible nut (buy organic nuts! Conventional Nuts are pasteurized with gas organic are pasteurized with stem at least!), first soak them to deactivate numerous anti-nutrients present in nuts. This allows them to be more bio-available, and reduces intestinal irritation from eating nuts! So, "soaking" them is quite easy. Depending on the variety of nut, some might prefer them with their shells off! I definitely feel this way about almond and peanuts! If you want more precise information about soaking nuts, please visit or buy the "Nourishing Traditions" cookbook by Sally Fallon.
Basic recipe:

4 cups nuts of any variety
1 Tbsp Salt

Soak the nuts in the water for at least 7 hours. Then, if you are going too, remove the shells from the nuts. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and place in a 100 degree oven until completely dried out, about 12-15 hours. You can also use a dehydrator. There you have it, a crunchy nut, that is totally nutrient available. I use Crunchy almonds to make pancakes frequently for N! He loves them!

Delicious Yummy Pancakes (Gluten Free!)

So, I promise these pancakes will be like nothing you have ever seen before, but they really are good, you just need to give them a try! N absolutely loves them, and actually refers to them as his "special treat!" They contain no starch at all! Unless you use a conventional baking powder, and then they contain the starch from the baking powder (or gluten)
2 cups whole, soaked, shelled (optional), dried almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder (I use homemade)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cream or coconut cream (or you can buy coconut the red label full fat "thai kitchen"
coconut milk and just use the "cream" that has congealed at the top of the can and then use
the "skim" liquid in another recipe...
1 tablespoon honey (I use really raw, but I have also done it with succanant and it works well
they just aren't as sweet.)

2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
Any fruit you may like for mixing into the batter (blueberries or strawberries perhaps?! )

Take your almonds and place them in a food processor, and process until completely ground, and almost turning into a "paste." Add to the sticky crumbles, 2 eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut cream/or cream, salt, and baking powder. Turn processor back on and process until well blended. If mixtures seems too thick, add a little coconut "skim" milk to to, or water if you were using cream. Heat a cast iron griddle until hot, and drop by the spoonful onto the griddle. Be patient, these take a little longer to cook than other pancakes.

Obviously, if you are using fruit, I wouldn't process that into the batter! :)

If on the Candida diet omit the honey!

Flourless Chocolate Cake (gluten free)

This is an amazing dessert! We are huge fans,and even those with Gluten Allergies can enjoy it! You won't even be able to guess what the recipe is missing...flour! I highly recommend using Lyndt Chocolate for the chocolate bar. I haven't found a huge difference in the type of coco powder, just make sure it is alkalized, it will help stabilize the texture, and flavor. Enjoy this with homemade whipped cream or ice cream...or some strawberries or raspberries. It is fabulous!
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.

4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup succanant
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. You can line the bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper. I have flexible baking pans, and I have done it in glass, and I don't use the wax paper.

Chop chocolate into small pieces (if you buy Ghiaradelli chocolate chips, you avoid chopping.) In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.

Dust cake with additional cocoa powder(and powdered sugar.) Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.

Cinnamon Scones (with or without coconut)

Okay, So these are definitely not an everyday sort of thing, but they truly are fabulous for special treats! J loves them, as does anyone else that I have ever made them for. They are part of my recipe collection that I used to make for the local sandwich shoppe. They are versatile, add raisins, or cranberries or blueberries if you would like. Just omit the cinnamon and coconut!

1 3/4 cups Spring whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour) I use Montana mills
1 Tbsp Homemade Baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup succanant
3 Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup coconut oil or 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup coconut oil melted on the stove
add to the oil 2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup first pressed full fat coconut milk (I use Thai kitchen, the red label)

I have on hand some extra flower in case the batter is too sticky (1/4 cup at most) Sometimes just 2 Tbsps are needed for cutting. If you don't like coconut, omit the shredded coconut, use all butter, and add 1/4 cup flour to the recipe.

Combine all the dry ingredients, including the coconut in a bag and shake well to combine. Transfer to a bowl and add the melted fat. Cut in to the mixture is crumbly, then add in the coconut milk. The mixture should be moist, but not overly sticky. Transfer mixture onto a cutting board (if the mixture is sticky, add 1-2 tbsp of flour on the cutting board and another 1-2 tbsp flour on the top of the mixture once on the cutter board and fold in) Make a circle, about 9-10 inches in diameter and cut into pizza triangles. Transfer triangles onto a greased baking sheet or ungreased sil-pat and bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

Top with a glaze.

Glaze recipe:
1 cup powdered sugar (powdered evaporated cane juice crystals)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 Tbsp coconut milk

Mix above ingredients together until a dripable consistency is reached. Drizzle onto of partially cooled scones!

Baking Powder: Not Gluten Free

So, I usually note in recipes, but not in all, "homemade baking powder." Why you might ask, do I spend time making homemade baking powder?

Believe it or not, Baking Powders, aren't gluten free, and they are an essential ingredient in almost all gluten free baking products! Many of them contain either gluten or Corn as an anti-caking devise, or just as fillers to help bind and rise your recipes. Homemade baking powders can be achieved, depending on the allergies of an individual.

There are also plenty of Gluten free baking powders that are made commercially and can be processed in the store!

Bob's Red Mill

If they still contain allergens for you, than making it is the best solution.

1/3 cup Baking Soda
2/3 cup Cream of Tartar
2/3 cup Arrowroot (or potato starch)
Mix well. Store in an airtight container.
1-½ teaspoon of this mixture = 1-teaspoon of regular baking power

Notice this has potato or arrowroot in it, if these are allergens than try, corn, tapioca, etc. You can also omit the starch entirely, if starch is a problem, and use 1 to 1 substitution.

If you want to buy commercial baking powder without starch, Bakewell creek located in New England makes some options for you!

Hope this helps!

Ode to My Immersion Blender

So, there are very few kitchen appliances that bring a smile to my face like the immersion, or hand-held, blender! I know it sounds silly, and maybe a little obsessives, but I love it! In a healthy, non-idolatry kind of way!

I finally purchased one about a month ago, and I can't say enough good things about it. It has revolutionized my soup making ability, not to mention some awesome orange slushees, and a some really great smoothies. Are all of these things possible with a regular blender, well of course!

So, what's the big deal than? Well, the Immersion blender is so much easier to clean, and it is more practical, especially when it comes to anything that is hot and in a large pot! No more transferring your boiling hot chunky soup into a blender, then into a storage bowl, and eventually back into a pot for re-heating. With the Immersion blender, you can do it all in one pot! And you just need to clean the little stick! So much easier than taking apart the blender.

I have the Cuisine Art Hand-held smart stick. It was quite an economical purchase. We got ours at Bed-bath Beyond and used our monthly mailer 20% off coupon. The link above will bring you to Amazon. I know they sell larger hand-held stick blenders, but I find this one does the trick!

Definitely a good gift idea for an alternative cook! :)

Products, Tools, Equipment in Our House

Welcome to our home, literally. I would like to give you a tour through our kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, living room, etc. I will even show you all of my secret cabinets that you never show household guests!

Why? Simply because we have done lots of trial and error with products that are natural or kitchen essentials, and I would love from you all to benefit from our mistakes. We will talk about kitchen appliances, cleaning products, personal care products, etc. All in an attempt to help you and your families make small steps toward living a natural chemical free life!

Remember every step to become more natural, is a step in the right direction, it doesn't matter how small! Especially if you are raising large families, think baby steps! You didn't just land where you are today, you journeyed there, so continue to the natural direction one step at a time!

Below are room by room alphabetical listings:


Dry Skin: omega-3's and oil

So you have dry skin. If you live in Western New York or any where, for that matter, that could be considered the Arctic tundra, it is just a fact of life. There is nothing like wind burnt 10 degree checks to make this reality any clearer.

In an effort to avoid dry skin, for comfort and health reasons, I have attempted some wonderful remedies. N, has problems with dry skin on his checks, and legs. We have have had much success with some natural salves made of honey and fat supplementation.

Fat supplementation you say?

Yup! Dry skin, more times than not, is a nutritional problem exacerbated by environmental conditions. (remember, we are talking about dry skin, not eczema, a totally different issue all together.) One of the leading causes of dry skin is a lack of fat in the diet. In N's case there certainly isn't a lack of "fat" in his diet, but there is a lack of certain types of fats in his diet.

All fats aren't created equal, while they all serve their biochemical purposes, for different problems, different fats are needed. N because he is developing, eats lots of saturated fat, and unsaturated fatty acids, in butter, coconut oil, and olive oil. We also knew of the importance of supplementing omega-3's into his diet, and this is where the fat train gets complicated.

There is no one fix solution for all here! Many recommend Cod Liver Oil (including myself) for various healthful solutions, but that doesn't mean that everyone can take it, should take it, or can biochemically speaking assimilate it into their system. N, was the perfect case study for this.

We bought an awesome, highly recommend cod liver oil brand. The whole family was taking it, including N. After a month on the supplement there was no change in his skin. (dietary oil increases or supplementation, usually take a month to manifest changes in skin quality.) In the meantime we had a visit to our beloved AK Doctor down in NJ. We brought in the Cod Liver Oil, and were very surprised to learn, that N's system wasn't recognizing it. (meaning in a simple way he wasn't processing the food as an omega-3, or he had a sensitivity issue with it.)

I was shocked. I always knew we could be sensitive to fruits, veggies, meats, and grains, I never knew one could have a sensitivity to an oil. So, we proceeded to test him with 12 other variety of omega-3 substitutes, and to my shock, only one of them worked....Standard Process Tuna Omega Supplements. So, we made the switch, after a month on the supplement we are seeing results, and I am needing little to no honey salves for his checks and legs.

Moral of the story. Increasing Omega-3 fats in the diet will help the skin repair the fatty layer and oil secretions to limit dryness. As far as what Omega-3 supplement you should use, it is best to talk to a Doctor, Homeopath, Ak, etc for specific system checking, but I will list possible sources of Omega-3's if you would just rather experiment just remember you need a month trial to see if it is working!

Flax seeds and oil.
  • The Flax oils can be added to homemade dressings (by the tablespoon, you don't replace all of your oil with it, that would be nasty!), or nut butters or taken as a supplement by the tsp or tbsp. Keep in mind it needs to be cold pressed, never exposed to heat and refrigerated at all times. It goes Rancid or bad very very quickly. Flax seeds, home ground can also be added to porridge or other like mixtures, just be sure they are ground up by you! Flax seed meal, which can be purchased is more times than not rancid. Once you home grind, be sure to store in the fridge in a dark container.

Fish oils and Cod Liver Oils
  • In this category, you will find tons of options. I really like Standard Process Supplements, and they are highly recommended by health care professionals. If you opt to go to your local health food store or online, you really want to make sure your supps are free of mercury or other contaminants, and cold processed. Pharmaceutical brands (Standard process, Thorne, or Nutriwest) also have options available. For Brand recommendations for Cod Liver Oils click here.

Anything with omega-3 is an unstable fat, meaning it has a high likely hood of rancidity.
Flax seed oils are more easily assimilated in a females system than a males, and fish oils are better assimilated than fish oil capsules, just as an FYI.

Bottom line, it is the winter, and everyone from time to time is going to have issues with dry skin. You can use just basic Olive oil on your body (or coconut oil) and almond oil on your face as it is lighter and absorbs more easily. Just remember your skin is your largest organ, don't put anything on it, you wouldn't eat!