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!