Healthified Caramel Popcorn Squares

In light of the recent news about organic popcorn and how healthy it is for us, I thought it would be a good idea to make a popcorn snack. Plain ole popcorn can be boring after a while so why not try something new?

I love caramel but I don’t love the way caramel is made with corn syrup or tons of brown sugar (which is very refined.) Rather, using grass-fed butter (I use KerryGold) and raw, unpasteurized honey, I created my own caramel-like sauce. Using equal parts honey and butter, I boiled it down for about 4-5 minutes and then tossed it in with organic (to avoid GMO’s) AIR-POPPED (stay away from microwave popcorn) popcorn. Continue reading

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Do-It-Yourself Laundry Detergent

In an effort to cut out unnecessary chemicals from my life (and cut down my grocery bill,) I scoured the internet for a homemade laundry detergent.  I was very, very skeptical.  It seemed way too easy.  So, with just enough liquid Purex for one more load, I headed off to the store to see if I could locate the ingredients and move forward with my experiment.  I purchased the following – all of which I found at Wal-Mart – and all which cost me less than 10.00.  I believe this will provide me enough detergent for almost a year:

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1 Box of Borax

1 Box of Washing Soda

3 Bars of Kirk’s Castile Soap

Now, I didn’t need to use all of each item for my first batch. Continue reading

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Homemade Chocolate Syrup – Without Refined Sugar!

Ever since I determined my son could not tolerate corn syrup and I started eliminating it from our diets, my beloved chocolate syrup was no longer.  I was not able to buy it in good conscience, even for just me, because if he couldn’t have it, I didn’t want it in the house.  No sense having double standards.  I lived without it for many years and tried different syrups, including one made by Trader Joe’s that tastes good but is extremely thick and also uses a lot of refined sugar.  I decided to experiment and make my own.  There are several recipes online using 1.5 CUPS of sugar but that was way too much refined sugar for my taste so I thought about replacing the sugar with a more healthy sweetener: maple syrup.  Pure maple syrup has many benefits, including being an excellence source of manganese and zinc.

Ingredients: Continue reading

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Fabric Softener – Cheap and Chemical Free

Now, I have to be honest.  I never really use fabric softener.  I never saw the need.  However, when I saw that someone had used white vinegar…I was intrigued.  It is cheap and easy!  I have used this several times – in cold water – with success!!  Once the clothing is dry (I used a dryer for most of my clothing,) there is no vinegar smell remaining!  I just smell fresh and clean!  I also use my own homemade laundry detergent which doesn’t lend much fragrance and I like it that way.  I used my homemade laundry detergent and the vinegar and I believe the vinegar aided in odor reduction and I believe my clothing comes out even fresher than without it.  I have 2 boys and their socks can get NASTY!!!!  I literally took a previously nasty sock out of the dryer and put it to my nose and took a deep breath in and…. it was so fresh smelling!  No remnants of vinegar or stinky sweat.  Pretty neat.  I have continued to use vinegar for the past week or so with every load and I have been pleased every time.  Don’t be alarmed if it smells coming out of the washer, the vinegar smell will be gone once it dried.  I want to try adding essential oils to the vinegar to get a slightly flowery smell to my clothing but my boys don’t really want that….and are happy just smelling fresh!  Have you tried this before?

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The Evolution of Label Reading

I have been a label reader my entire adult life. I can’t remember the last time I bought a packaged food that I didn’t pick up and read the ingredients or the nutrition facts. In fact, I probably haven’t! I like to know things. I like to know what I am putting into my body. However, my label reading has evolved over the past 15 years. The first few years I would strictly look at the nutrition label. I would immediately hone in on the “fat grams” like a laser beam. I remember as a tween and teen my mother always being concerned about how many “fat grams” something had. I didn’t really know why, except that it was bad for me and, heck, they were called “fat grams” which really led me to believe the more of them I ate, the more fat I would be. So, my goal as a teen was to find boxed foods that were “low fat” or even better yet, “fat free!” If it made that claim, it immediately got my attention. If it were low fat, or fat free, and included some type of chocolate flavor – I pretty much had to have it.

sample nutrition label provided by the USDA

The next step in my label evolution still involved “fat grams” but since I now was more educated (or so I thought,) I started not really caring about how many fat grams were in a food item, but how many saturated fat grams were in it. Somewhere I heard that saturated fat grams were indeed the devil. So, I started to worry less about just plain ole’ fat grams, and starting focusing my hatred towards saturated fat. This meant butter was no longer allowed in my fridge. Butter and I were just not meant to be together despite my love for it in my great-grammies homemade mashed potatoes. I started replacing butter with margarine with low saturated fat, thinking I was doing myself a favor. Oops.

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Sensational Strawberry Smoothie

place all ingredients in a blender and enjoy

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Food Labels. What do they mean???

I will be posting later today all about food labels and what they mean to help you navigate the confusing claims made by meats, fruits, veggies and boxed foods.  It will be a great reference for your next grocery shopping excursion! 

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Peanut Butter Fruit Dip. Bliss in a Bowl.

Combine all ingredients. All natural peanut butter will work best (not like the thick skippy-type...I use Trader Joe's all natural.) Refrigerate for about 1 hour for best taste but can be served immediately. A great complement to fruit due to it's high protein and less sweet taste. Why ruin fruit with over-sweetened store bought dip??

Posted in Food, Gluten-Free | 5 Comments

A Little Background…

About 7 years ago I was dealing with a 4 year-old child who had very irrational behavior and crazy temper tantrums that just seemed so uncharacteristic and unnatural that I was actually considering counseling. I was at the end of my rope and was willing to try just about anything. I was talking to a woman at church who was dealing with similar issues with her son and said that she had narrowed it down to an allergy to corn. Corn? Seemed like an odd thing to be allergic to, but nonetheless I was ready to try anything. I cut EVERYTHING corn out of his diet, including corn starch and…drumroll please….HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP! Literally, within 48 hours of cutting out corn, corn starch and corn syrup, my son had returned. The crazy monster child that was living in my house was gone. I was amazed. I was thankful to God and I knew that it had something to do with corn. After doing some research online and reading some testimonials regarding the effects of corn syrup on some people’s behavior, I was convinced it was not the corn, but it was the corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. It all was related to the process that is used to create the sweetener. I was floored.

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Gimme Me More Molasses Cookies

I do like molasses cookies. I realize that molasses tends to be polarizing. You either love it or you hate it. I personally can’t say that I LOVE it, but I do like it and everyone once in a while, have a hankering for it. I had such a hankering the other day and I knew given my newfound whole foods, less refined foods lifestyle, that I would have to create my own recipe.  I wanted to use whole grain and a healthy sweetener.  I decided to try using sucanat, which is a non-refined sweetener that retains all of the vitamins, minerals and trace elements found in the natural sugar cane plant – it has a flavor closer to traditional brown sugar but a different texture. (for a closer brown sugar replacement, try muscovado sugar.) I used white whole wheat flour which is whole grain but not quite as gritty as whole wheat but not as finely ground as whole wheat pastry flour. I would say you could easily use the whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe but I didn’t have any on hand when I made these cookies. You could also use unbleached white flour but I have transitioned to whole grains and sprouted grains whenever possible so I get more “bang for my buck” when I eat grains. The best molasses to use is unsulphured molasses. Also, be sure to use butter not margarine. I know it is tempting to us margarine because it is cheaper but it is costly to your health.

Oven should be set at 350 degrees.

2 cups of white whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground allspice

pinch of salt

1/2 cup softened butter

1/2 cup sucanat

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg plus 1 egg white

  1. Prepare cookie sheets – line pans with parchment paper.
  2. Continue reading

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