Making the Perfect Baked Potatoes — May 30, 2019

Making the Perfect Baked Potatoes

Russet the Rascal — May 27, 2019

Russet the Rascal

So let’s check our Mr. Potato Head and his fellow companions….actually the group has two different cliques—each based on the amount of  starch and water that they contain.

These groups are the following…

  • Starchy
  • All-purpose
  • Waxy

Let’s look at the characteristics of a starchy potato…

  • absorbent almost all of the butter and cream that you place on them…yum…
  • break down easily when cooked
  • don’t hold together very well when cooked
  • flesh coats your knife with a white, milky film when you cut into it

  • high in starch
  • low in moisture

The most common type of starchy potato is the russet potato, also known as an Idaho potato or Burbank potato.…russet potatoes are in fact the most common type of potato grown in the United States. Russet potatoes are the type of potato most people think of when they think about buying potatoes in the grocery store.

There are actually numerous varieties of russet potatoes. A few of their characteristics are…

  • brown
  • easily absorb butter and milk making them ideal for mashed or baked potatoes
  • just a few shallow eyes
  • light, fluffy texture
  • medium-to-large size
  • oblong or oval shaperough net-like skin that becomes chewy when cooked
  • white flesh

Cooking methods that are best for starchy potatoes include…

  • Baking
  • Deep Frying
  • Pan Frying
  • Roasting

These cooking methods create a crisp crust and keep the interior moist.

Starchy potatoes are not good for dishes that require the potatoes to hold their shape.—such as potato salads, soups, stews, and potatoes au gratin—because the flesh flakes and easily separates after cooking.

However, these potatoes are great for making…

  • baked potatoes
  • French fries
  • potato chips
  • gnocchi
  • mashed potatoes

So let’s start actually cooking by using the cooking method that we are currently talking about—deep frying—by frying up some potato chips and French fries..


Mr. Potato Head and His Friends — May 25, 2019

Mr. Potato Head and His Friends

When you mention the word potato, most of us automatically think of McDonald’s French fries that have been fried in tons of oil or a great big baked potato stuffed with butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon, the kitchen sink, and so on and so forth.
Yeah, I do realize that these are bad for you….But potato chips that have been baked with one of the healthier cooking oils can actually be both good for you and a great treat,
(Note…Don’t worry, I do realize that deep frying is definitely not the healthiest way to make homemade potato chips, so eventually we are going to learn how to make them in both the microwave and the oven….)
Potatoes actually contain many nutrients and minerals —such as potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and  copper. A potato actually contains more potassium than a banana…half of the RDV of vitamin C…no fat, sodium, or cholesterol…
Potatoes contain very little to no fat.
One medium-sized, unadorned, skin-on potato contains just 110 calories per serving.
But for right now, let’s take a quick look at a few of the estimated two hundred varieties of potatoes sold in the United States…
These potatoes vary in texture and act differently when cooked. For example when you are making a pot of soup, your potato chunks will either remain intact, or disintegrate…depending on the type of starch and the amount of moisture in the flesh.not bless with too many ”
Because the result that you get depends on the amount of the starch contained in the potato, these varieties are typically broken down into three basic categories—:starchy, all-purpose and waxy.
In the next few posts we will be look at each of these different categories, but here are a few things to remember regardless which type of potato you are looking for…
Shopping…When you are shopping for potatoes, look for ones that are…
not green tinged
very firm
void of soft spots, cracks or cuts
without sprouts
Storing…Potatoes will last a few weeks when properly stored, but don’t refrigerate potatoes because this causes some of the starches to convert to sugars, giving them an odd flavor.
photo of pile of potatoes
Photo by Marco Antonio Victorino on
A Chip Off the Old Block —

A Chip Off the Old Block

Now that we’ve basically covered every single use for baking soda known to man, let’s finally get back to cooking.

Our detour on the many uses for baking soda began as an ADHD tangent on the fact that baking soda can be used to make a batter for the cooking method that we’re focusing on now—deep frying.

And as soon as I hear the word “deep-frying,” my mind automatically thinks about potatoes—potato chips…and French fries…

So let’s talk potato chips…

Potato chips are obviously one of the most popular snack foods around the world…but I honestly have gotten where I hate store-bought chips. To me they often taste soggy and greasy, instead of crispy and crunchy.

Also most of the chips available at your local grocery store either contain all sorts of words that none of us can pronounce…or cost too much and have so few chips in the bag that you can’t justify spending that much.

So instead we are going to make our own potato chips that are crispy, easy to make, and a good-for-you snack your whole family will devour. 

But before we can ever expect to make the best potato chips…and French fries possible, we must first learn to select the ideal potatoes for frying…

After all, as a musician we are taught that there are only two really important parts of a performance.  It is important that you start well, and that you end well…

So let’s start well!!!


Just Like Grandma and Her Grandma Before Her —

Just Like Grandma and Her Grandma Before Her

For decades our mothers and grandmothers have all taught us to keep an open box of  baking soda in the fridge, but baking soda also can be used in many other ways to help whatever “junk” causes the “funk” around your home.




Home Odors

Baking soda works by actually interacting with the odor particles, naturally neutralizing the pH balance, and totally eliminating these odors.

Basing soda works so much better than any “multipurpose odor remover” that you could ever buy at Walmart…or for those of us who don’t shop at Walmart, at Target or Tom Thumb that simply release fragrance molecules and temporarily mask the smell.

    1. Cat Box…Sprinkle baking soda all over the bottom of your cat box before filling it with kitty litter.
    2. Dishwasher…Toss it into the bottom of your dishwasher.
    3. Trashcan…Sprinkle it over the layers of garbage in your trash can. Research shows that putting baking soda at the bottom of your trashcans can get ride of  70% of the bad odor in the typical kitchen trashcan..





Baking soda produces carbon dioxide when heated, which can smother and extinguish small oil, grease and electrical fires. So assuming you don’t panic and try to beat the fire out with a towel like I did once, throw some baking soda over the fire instead.






Cleaning with baking soda is a much safer, natural, and cost-effective option than most of the commericial cleaners that contain chemicals that can be harmful to pets and children.

Not only can baking soda remove tough stains, but it also eliminates foul odors, whitens and disinfects

Here are a few of the things around your house that you could clean with baking soda.

  1. Carpets…Sprinkle your carpet with baking soda. Wait twenty minutes. Vacuum.
  2. Coffee Pot Cleaner…To remove tough coffee stains and funky tastes from your coffee pot, combine 1/4C baking soda with one quart warm water. Rub the mixture on and in your pots. Wait a few hours. Rinse.
  3. Dish Washing…Add baking soda to your regular dishwashing cycle to help eliminate unwanted grease and grime that builds up on your dishes.
  4. Drain Cleaner…Pour baking soda and then vinegar down your drain to create your own drain cleaner. Wait 15min. Rinse with hot water.
  5. Oven Cleaner…Add 1tsp baking soda to a damp sponge or rag and wipe away food and grease.
  6. Scorched Pots and Pans…To save a scorch pot, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the bottom of the pot. Add enough water to cover the burnt areas. Bring the mixture to a boil and empty the pan as usual. Scour with dishwashing liquid if needed.
  7. Scouring Powder...Sprinkle baking soda on the surfaces in your kitchen and use a sponge or rag to scrub. Make a paste using baking soda and a bit of water. Then clean away.
  8. Silverware Create a paste that is three parts baking soda and one part water. Rub the paste onto your silverware. Let it sit in a large tray or bowl. After twenty minutes, rinse the silverware.
  9. Silver Polish..Silver undergoes a chemical reaction when it comes into contact with aluminum pan and baking soda that transfers the tarnish from the silverware onto the aluminum pan. .To do this, add 1tsp baking soda to an aluminum baking pan. Slowly pour in 1/2C white vinegar. Next, pour in 1C boiling water. Place the silver in the baking pan. This should work in less than a minute.





Baking soda is often used as a detergent booster and fabric softener.

Adding 1/2C baking soda to your regular amount of laundry detergent in each load is a great and inexpensive method for removing odors from clothes, whitening them, and cleaning them.


Baking Soda and Your Health —

Baking Soda and Your Health

Before moving on, let’s take a look at the other benefits that baking soda can offer as far as health.



1.Cancer..Research shows that baking soda may help alleviate chemotherapy side effects and help chemotherapy medicines work more effectively by making th4e aread around the tumors less acidic.

Suggestions are to rinse your mouth three times per day with a mixture of 1C warm water, 1/4tsp baking soda, and 1/8tsp salt,..followed by a rinse with plain water




2.Heartburn and Other Digestive Problems…Most heartburn medicines available at your local drug store—including Tums and Rolaids—contain baking soda,

This is because baking soda has been proven to neutralize the acid in your stomach that can cause such problems as acid reflux, ulcers, heartburn, and indigestion…and get your body’s pH back in order after overeating acidic foods, stress and eating greasy or spicy foods.

To do this, add 1/2tsp baking soda to 2C water, Drink this an hour after eating to gain some relief.




3, Kidneys…The kidneys help remove excess waste and water from the blood….as well as help balance important minerals—such as potassium, sodium and calcium.

But often people slowly lose function of their kidneys, and their kidneys are no longer able to remove enough acid from their blood.

We’ve already seen that baking soda buffers acids in the body and helps keep pH levels in balance.

Taking baking soda or some sort of bicarbonate as an oral supplement can replace the bicarbonate typically made by the kidneys that acts as an acid buffer in the body.




4. Muscle Fatigue and Physical Fitness…Baking soda has become a popular supplement among athletes because supposedly it can help you perform at your peak for longer periods of time,while doing high-intensity exercise…especially during anaerobic exercises—such as high-intensity training and sprinting.

Baking soda has a high pH, which may help delay fatigue by slowing down the rate that your body starts producing lactic acid.

This lactic acid is what causes the burning sensation that you may get when you exercise and that lowers the pH inside your cells, possibly causing your muscles to get tired.

After your workout, you may want to reduce fatigue post-workout by soaking in a warm warm with a 1/2C baking soda to help neutralize lactic acid build up in the muscles.




5. Urinary Tract Infections…Urinary tract infections are one of the most common infections, especially among women.

Research has shown that after four weeks of taking sodium carbonate orally is an easy, inexpensive way to improve these symptoms with little to no unwanted side effects.


Baking Soda and Skincare — May 23, 2019

Baking Soda and Skincare

Book Review…Essential Oils: The Complete Guide: Essential Oils for Beginners, Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Recipes — May 21, 2019

Book Review…Essential Oils: The Complete Guide: Essential Oils for Beginners, Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Recipes



Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

Essential Oils: The Complete Guide: Essential Oils for Beginners, Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Recipes is a guide book about essential oils written to “introduce you to the world of essential oils and aromatherapy.”

The book was written primarily for beginners who have absolutely no prior knowledge about using essential oils and carrier show how to use them properly…

This book sparked my interest because so many of the natural body care and skincare products that I will be making and sharing in the near future contain them.

The title, Essential Oils: The Complete Guide: Essential Oils for Beginners, Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Recipes, is appropriate for the book because the book explains everything in simple, easy to understand steps..

The purpose of the book–showing how to use essential oils  properly-is carried out throughout the book as evident by the fact that the book tells the reader how to store your essential oils and carrier oils, and the fact that It is important to know what you are doing when you are using essential oils because some essential oils can do things such as increase UV light/sunlight sensitivity and affect your hormones.

According to the introduction, this book promises to teach you a natural treatment that takes care of both your mental and physical health at the same time…how to cure your common cold without the use of drugand how to start the day exploding with motivation and energy, whilst finishing the day calm, content and stress-free.all through the proper application of essential oils.

The author of the book is Amy Joyson.

The main idea of the book is that both your health and vitality can be improved through the use of essential oils.

My favorite part of the book was definitely the over 100 recipes for natural body and skincare products, as well as home cleaning products because this is something that I am focusing on right now in both my life and my blog…recipes to enhance your calm or self-esteem and confidence, to uplift your mood, to support your detox and many, many more.

Other topics discussed include what aromatherapy is and how you can use aromatherapy at home for stress relief and weight loss, what carrier oils are and how to use them, and what exactly essential oils are and how they work in the body.

I highly recommend this book, and feel that you will also be happy that you bought it.

The Essentials about Essential Oils — May 19, 2019

The Essentials about Essential Oils

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Essential oils are perhaps the oldest known element in following a “natural health” regimen…dating back to the ancient Egyptians, who seem to have used them as far back as 3500BC for religious, cosmetic, and health purposes.

Essential oils have been called the “life blood” of the plant and are typically extracted from within the many shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes and seeds in which they are found through the process of steam distillation. These essential oils have been used for both physical and emotional benefits for thousands of years.

Each person will respond to the aroma, or these specific chemical elements, when breathing in the scent of an essential oil, in his or her own unique way…based on individual emotions, behaviors, memories, and experiences.

That being said, certain essential oils are always considered to have a certain effect regardless of these factors. Certain oils simply almost always seem more uplifting, more invigorating, more calming, more soothing….

In a future post, I will be sharing a list of the best essential oils to use when fighting insomnia.


But what good is that list of essential oils and a brand new vial of essential oil…if you’re like I was the first time that I purchased essential oil. It sat in my bathroom for years before I finally gave it away to my daughter because I had no clue what to do with it…(okay, did I just admit that?!)

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Essential oils can have a huge positive influence on us both physically and psychologically.

Physically, using essential oils aromatically can help heal and maintain the respiratory system by improving the quality of the air we are breathing and protecting us from environmental threats…

Psychologically, using essential oils aromatically can help control moods, tension, and stress.

But first, how and why do essential oils work aromatically?

When you inhale essential oils, you are actually breathing in a fine mist or vapor of the actual oil. This vapor contains all the same properties of the actual liquid oil itself, just in a different format.

Once you have inhaled the vapor, the scent of the essential oil interacts with smell receptors located in the brain, known as “olfactory sensors.”

These “olfactory sensors” are part of the “olfactory system,” the part of the brain that regulates our sense of smell. The “olfactory system” part of the brain is located near and closely connected to the limbic system.

Once the scent is processed by the olfactory system, it travels through the olfactory nerve to the limbic system.

The “limbic system” is the part of the brain responsible for processing smell, emotions, behavior, memory, and thoughts…and that can help us feel calm, encouraged, and so forth. Here, the scent triggers responses in the brain based on memories and experiences.

Notice that the limbic system, the part of the brain most closely connected with the olfactory system, is not connected with processing sight, sound, or touch…explaining why smell, more than any of the other five senses, is so successful at triggering emotions and memories.

And why essential oils have a particularly powerful effect when used aromatically.


Book Review…Essential Glow — May 17, 2019

Book Review…Essential Glow

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

Essential Glow: Recipes & Tips for Using Essential Oils is an all-inclusive guide to natural beauty written for people who would like to learn how to use essential oils in their daily lives to boost their beauty, home, and general wellness.

This book sparked my interest because I am just now starting to use essential oils in my home now that I have started this journey to a happier and healthier lifestyle.

The title, Essential Glow, is appropriate for the book because the book was written by the same people who host the popular Hello Glow website—the ultimate source for daily inspiration, recipes, projects, and tips for living a healthy, mindful life and learning more about natural beauty and wellness.

The author of the book is Stephanie Gerber, a Nashville-based natural living blogger, who has also written…Stephanie Gerber says that she believes that “the journey to well-being can and should be, simple and beautiful, natural and stylish.”

The book is filled with over two hundred simple recipes and tutorials for making organic skincare and haircare-products, household cleaners, and even cosmetics at home…all using essential oils…including recipes for laundry softeners, all purpose cleaners, steam tablets, masks, bath oils, and invigorating scrubs.