Sweet, Sweet Sunday

A Watched Pot Never Boils

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

As Warm As Toast

One of my original goals when I began this blog was to discover ways to create and enjoy more of a “natural” lifestyle…

But after I started this blog, my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes…

So my focus changed from creating a more natural lifestyle to helping him learn how to cope with having developed the “Southern man’s rite of passage.”

Lately we have been talking about different cooking methods so that we can get back to the Raw Foods Pyramid and learn how to eat better—now only better for your health, but also better than what you’re been eating for the last how many years.

The cooking method that we are learning about now is “deep frying”…

Now we will look at five different batter types…first of all, a baking soda batter…

But before we start looking at baking soda as batter, I thought that I would cover some more of the uses of baking soda…for “beauty,” health and home.

Starting with using baking soda as a deodorant…

Okay, enough of a road map…to try to convince you that I haven’t veered totally off course with my priorities…

Let’s move on…

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Becoming a Smarter Consumer

Many of us have started paying way more attention to the ingredients in the products that we buy…making sure that these products do not contain parabens, formaldehyde, aluminum, synthetics, and other harmful additives that might be harmful to both our bodies and our community.

Many of the current skincare and makeup products not only contain these ingredients, but are more likely to irritate the skin, clog the pores, cause even more skin problems.

But on many of these more “politically correct” products, you may find natural cosmetics are much less effective,,,so many of us are starting to make our own alternative products….

In this post, we will look at using baking soda as an alternative to store-bought deodorant…

After all we all have to use it…it’s cheap…and we’ll have to have it on hand when we actually start deep frying our French fries and onion rings…

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Why Baking Soda?

Baking soda is one of the best natural ingredients to use when making your own deodorant…if not the best…for many reasons, including…

  • contains no harsh chemicals, artificial fragrance, or alcohol
  • having antibacterial properties that help control the bacteria that grows in our underarms, which cause odor when they break down sweat.
  • helps balance and regulate pH levels in the body
  • neutralizes strong and obtrusive odors effectively—as already proven in its use to deodorize drains, trashcans, dishwashers, and refrigerators
  • offers long-term protection
  • relatively inexpensive
  • removes harmful substances from your body

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The How

There are several different options as far as using baking soda for deodorant, including…

  • Adding Baking Soda to the Natural Deodorant You Already Have
  • Baking Soda and Arrowroot Powder
  • Making a Spray Deodorant
  • Plain Baking Soda

There are also ingredients to add that will make your deodorant more effective. These include…

  • Aloe  Vera
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Dried Flowers…such as lavender
  • Essential Oils
  • Shea Butter
  • Vitamin E Oil Gel Caps
  • Witch Hazel

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Recipes

1.Adding Baking Soda to the Natural Deodorant You Already Have…If you find yourself with an arsenal of half-used natural deodorants that you quit using because they were ineffective…as so many are…then “fix” them by adding baking soda. To do this, roll out all of the remaining deodorant in the container. Mash the deodorant in a bowl with an old fork or spoon. Now add at least 3Tbsp baking soda and mix well. Once you have the right consistency – not too hard or too soft – pack your improved deodorant back into the original container and refrigerate for a few hours so it hardens.

2. Baking Soda and Arrowroot Powder…Combine 2Tbsp baking soda and 1/3C arrowroot powder to a mixing bowl. Stir to combine them thoroughly…(more on arrowroot powder later).

3. Making a Spray Deodorant…Combine ½tsp baking soda, ½C witch hazel, and ¼C aloe vera in a spray bottle….(More on witch hazel and aloe vera later)…Shake the bottle to combine the ingredients. 

4. Plain Baking Soda…Simply put ⅛tsp…(no, I really don’t expect you to measure it, but you get the point)…in your palm. Now add ¼tsp water to your palm to dissolve the baking soda. The mixture should feel slippery, so add more water or more baking soda as needed. Apply the mixture to your underarms. Allow the mixture to dry before getting dressed.

5. Store Bought Options…Good choices as far as non-DIY OTC natural deodorants include the following…

  • Burt’s Bees
  • JASON
  • Kiss My Face
  • Trader Joe’s

6.  Add-Ins…Finally there are more ingredients that you can add to any of the above recipes, including…

    • Cocoa Butter…2Tbsp cocoa butter
    • Cornstarch…2Tbsp cornstarch
    • Essential oil…10-15 drops of essential oil—such as patchouli, myrrh, tea tree, lavender or orange.
    • Shea Butter…3Tbsp shea butter
    • Vitamin Oil…2 vitamin E oil gel caps

 

 

 


Storing

Regardless which baking soda deodorant you are making, once you finish making it you have two options as far as storing it….either transferring the mixture to a small lidded container or putting it into an empty deodorant stick that you already have.

When you’re not using the deodorant, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

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Using

Regardless which baking soda deodorant you are making, rub a small amount of the mixture on your underarms. Wait up to five minutes before getting dressed to avoid smearing the paste onto your clothing.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

How to De-Funk Your Kitchen—Eliminate

I have heard so many women advise new brides that If you haven’t started dinner before your husband comes home from work, start cooking some onions…and they will think that you have been cooking for hours.

I know that times have changed…

But onions haven’t changed…

And neither have odors throughout your home…unless you do something about them.

So I thought this would be a good time to talk about eliminating and enhancing the odors throughout your home, mainly your kitchen.

Here are a few of the areas around your kitchen that you might want to consider if you want your kitchen to not smell like rotten eggs…

1.Windows…If you have a window in your kitchen, one of the easiest ways to start making your house less stinky is to open the windows so that smells don’t linger.

2. Kitchen Surfaces…If you are going to keep your kitchen smelling great, it should be kinda obvious that your kitchen should be clean, including your cutting boards and other areas where you prepare your food. This will not only get rid of any smells left behind, but also kill bacteria.

3. Garbage Disposal…There are many things that you could run through your garbage disposal on a weekly basis to eliminate any smells. Not only will this keep it from smelling, but it will also kill bacteria.

These “things” include…

  • Baking Soda
  • Essential oil, such as peppermint, lavender or rosemary
  • Ice Cubes
  • Lemon Juice
  • Lemon or orange peels
  • Lemon-scented dish soap
  • Salt
  • Vinegar

Fridge…One of the main things that can start making your fridge stink is the residue on your fridge shelves that are left from bottles and containers. Fridge mats, such as these, are a great way to catch these drips. Once they easily clean them, instead of having to waste time scrubbing those shelves.

Freezer…Set fresh coffee grounds to get rid of the smell of rotten food in your freezer.

Garbage...Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your trash can every time that you take out the trash to help neutralize the smell of kitchen scraps and keep nasty garbage odors at bay,

Microwave…Pour some vanilla extract into a bowl and microwave on high for one minute.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Oh “Huck,” Where Have You Been

Okay, I just told you to dry your food that you are going to be sauteeing off with a paper towel…and many of you cringed at the thought that I would even dare to have them in my house…aren’t we all “going green” these days?

Even though you might be much better off using this on the food that you are going to be sauteeing…after all, do you really want to risk making your family sick by drying foods such as raw chicken on something that you might then wash and use to clean your mirrors, windows, and wood furniture? 

But right now I am taking a break to look at all the other things that can be used as alternatives to standard paper towels so that we can do one more thing to be “eco-friendly” and do our art in saving the environment.

Basically in the school of “green thinking,” there are three trains of thought—find something similar, use something else instead, or use something that you already have on hand.

So let’s first look at “Something Similar”…

When it comes to ordinary paper towels, the next something similar would have to be other towels and napkins that are made of a fabric that can be washed and re-used. Examples of this include Huck towels, microfiber cloths, and napkins from such materials as chambray, cotton, and linen.

1. Huck Towels

  • Color…may be white or dyed different colors…designate a specific color for each specific use
  • Commercial Uses…to clean surgical instruments…also used by rofessional window washers, car detailers, and cleaning companies
  • Durability…long-lasting, tend to hold up well even after many washings
  • Fabric….pure cotton…whenever buying Huck towels, make sure that the towels are 100% cotton because blended fabrics are not as absorbent.
  • Household Uses…window cleaning, drying dishes, dusting and polishing furniture, wiping down furniture on the patio and porch
  • Source…Rag Lady…looks like an excellent source for all sorts of recyclable, well…rags…
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

10 More Uses for Mineral Oil Around Your Home

As we start building our kitchen one item at a time and crawling our way along the Raw Foods pyramid at a snail’s pace, so far we only have three items in our dream home…

  • A saute pan
  • A spatula
  • A cutting board

And in the last post we saw that we should also buy some mineral oil to keep our boards in good shae,…

But sorry, as a minimalist on a budget, I am so not gonna buy mineral oil just to kee my cutting board in working condition…

There has to be way more reasons to fork over money on mineral oil, regardless of how chea it may be, than to rub on cutting boards.

So I did some research to find what else I can use mineral oil for, and was surrised to find just how useful mineral oil can be…both around the home and around to take better care of myself and my family.

First let’s take a look at how mineral oil can be used around the home, other than taking care of your cutting boards…

1.Adhesives…Mineral oil is the one thing that can be used to remove stickers, bumper stickers, adhesive tape, price tags…as well as any residue that may be left behind.

2. Essential Oil Diffuser…Mineral oil can be used as a carrier oil when using essential oils in your diffuser.

3. Knives…Before you leave your kitchen and move to other rooms in your house with your brand new bottle of mineral oil, take the time to use the mineral oil to clean and maintain your kitchen knives. This will create a barrier against any moisture in your home’s atmosphere and also help keep knives rust-free.

. Laundry…Mineral oil can be used as a pre-wash treatment for stained clothes. 

5. Leather…Mineral oil can be used to clean your leather surfaces, such as leather shoes. Before doing this, first rub a small amount of the oil onto a small area of the item to make sure that the oil doesn’t affect the color of your leather. Once you’re sure that the mineral oil will not damage the surface, rub the leather surface with the oil and wait for about thirty minutes before buffing the leather with a clean, soft cloth.

6. Linoleum…Mineral oil not only is great for wood and metal surfaces, but also for refreshing the color of your faded linoleum kitchen counters. Just let it be known that even though mineral oil does refresh the color of faded linoleum for about three weeks before fading, and that constant application of mineral oil to linoleum will make it break down…so only do this for special occasions such as holiday parties when you really need your kitchen to look extra-gorgeous.

7. Metal…In addition to wood surfaces around your home, mineral oil is also great for metal surfaces, such as your stainless steel kitchen appliances and preventing rust on metal furniture, such as your outdoor table and chairs.

8. Noises…Mineral oil can help reduce the noise around your house—such as noises from squeaking doors and creaky floors.

9. Stainless Steel…Mineral oil is great for shining your stainless-steel sinks, appliances and countertops. Pour a few drops of the oil onto a clean, soft cloth…and then wipe the surface until you have a smudge-free shine.

10. Wood…It kinda goes without saying that if mineral oil is good for your cutting boards, it’s good for other wood stuff around your house also—such as wooden handles of kitchen cooking utensils, salad bowls, and wood furniture.

In fact, mineral oil can be used instead of your normal store-bought furniture polish to help preserve and protect wooden furniture.

To make your own furniture polish, combine 2C mineral oil and the juice from a lemon.

Uncategorized

Salad Dressing…Oh What a Blessing…

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Finally now that you’ve gotten the best salad greens and the best vegetables into your bowl, what do you have?

Just a bowl of salad greens and vegetables, right?

What makes a salad actually a salad is salad dressing.

And what makes countless other foods—such as wings, pizza, breadsticks, chicken nuggets, French fries, sandwiches, subs, and burgers.

There are countless salad dressings available, but most salad dressing fall into one of two categories—mayonnaise based salad dressing or vinaigrettes.

“Creamy” salad dressings usually use mayonnaise or some other “creamy” ingredie1nt—such as yogurt, crème fraiche or sour cream—as  the main ingredient.

The most common creamy dressing, obviously to most of us, is Ranch.

 

 

Vinaigrettes. on the other hand, are a mixture of oil, vinegar, and  other ingredients—such as hazelnut, fruit juice, mustard, spices, herbs, lemon juice, basil, parsley, and oregano.

The most common vinaigrettes include…

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Dijon Vinaigrette
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Strawberry Poppyseed

But don’t limit yourself to these traditional dressings. Feel free to try other things also—such as traditional dips, guacamole, hummus, and salsas.

 

Things to Remember…

If you are making your own salad dressing, use the highest-quality ingredients that you can find.

Salad dressing can make your healthy salad just as fattening, if not even more fattening, than a Big Mac. Remember this when you are choosing your salad dressing as well as using your dressing on a salad. 

Serve the salad immediately after using the dressing. Otherwise your salad will wilt.

 

Toss your salad gently but thoroughly, making sure that you do not totally crush or ruin your leafy greens and other ingredients.,

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Share the Challenge

As this new year begins, I have decided to get serious about getting our house in order

Recently I stumbled upon this challenge on organizing one section of your house each week.

This first week we were challenged to clear our counters and sinks.

Honestly this has never been that much of a trouble to keep organized…clean, no…organized, yes…

It drives me crazy to see a bunch of junk on my kitchen counters.

If there is only one area of my house that gets cleaned on a given day, it would definitely be my kitchen counters.

As far as the rest of my kitchen goes, it depends on how the rest of my day is going.

The first few weeks of this challenge revolve entirely around the kitchen…figuring out how best to organize our kitchens for…

  • Cooking (also including food preparation)
  • Eating
  • Family and friends hang out area
  • Family calendar and control central
  • Food storage (both cold storage and pantry)
  • Home office, bill paying center, and/or home mail organizer center
  • Home recycling center
  • Homework area
  • Recipe and cookbooks

My hope is to share my before and after pictures with you as I begin this challenge, and to find other like-minded people to hold me accountable throughout the year.

Join me on this journey…

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s Next?

When I started this blog, I had no intention of turning this into yet another food blog. There are enough of those out there already.

Instead I wanted to talk about my journey to take our family to a more minimalistic and healthier lifestyle, especially since my husband was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Some of the topics that I have learned more about so far in this journey have included…

  • How to deal with insomnia
  • Which cruelty-free products in my daily so-called “beauty” routine
  • What clothes to include as you switch to a minimalistic capsule wardrobe
  • How to read nutritional labels
  • What foods you can eat on a Raw Foods Pyramid

Even so, changing our lifestyle from the typical “Deep South” menu where everything is deep-fried or has lots and lots of cheese and heavy cream on it has taken priority right now.

So in these next few posts I’m going to be looking at the next rung of the Raw Foods Pyramid…

Leafy Greens…

Growing up in the Deep South, I never thought that I would actually enjoy eating, much less, cooking…things like turnip greens or collard greens. But now I actually enjoy eating them…especially when they’re served with lots and lots of bacon.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that adults consume at least three cups of dark green vegetables each week.

Thankfully, there are several varieties of leafy greens out there…I find the idea of eating three cups of mustard greens or collard greens still repulsive, but my Mom would be so glad that I actually do eat them now instead of feeding to the dog while she wasn’t looking.

So which ones should you choose and how do you use these before they sit too long in your food rotter, if you’re anything like me…

All leafy are packed with important and powerful nutrients, and most can also be found year round. This makes adding them to your menu for the week quite an easy task.

As far as nutritional value, all leafy greens are typically low in calories and fat….and high in protein per calorie, dietary fiber, vitamin C, pro-vitamin A carotenoids, folate, manganese and vitamin K.

Studies have shown that eating leafy greens may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent, a fact that I wish that I’d known when I first got married 32 years ago. Leafy greens have also been shown to improve your eyesight, bone health and skin elasticity while helping your blood to clot normally.

And even better, there are so many more varieties that can keep you from feeling like you are simply eating the required bowl of bagged salad every single night, night after night…

Some options that we will be taking a look at are…

  • Arugula
  • Beet Greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Boston (Butterhead)
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Collard Greens
  • Edible Green Leaves
  • Endive
  • Iceberg
  • Kale
  • Microgreens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Rapini (Broccoli Rabe)
  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnip Greens
  • Watercress

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s In My…School Backpack of Our “Resident Four Year Old”

Today the “resident four year old” starts pre-k for the fall…a moment that any fifty year old chasing a four year old 24/7 looks forward to all summer long.

I imagine that I will drop him off and then come home and sleep until it’s time to pick him back up…I’ll let you know…

So even though he’s only in pre-K and doesn’t need too many things to take with him to school other than his lunch, a stuffed animal, and a nap-pad…(oh year, teachers…good luck getting him to take a nap)…this made me think about upgrading out school and office supplies to more environmentally friendly options.

Even school and office supplies can be unfriendly to the environment, as well as toxic…

A few of the toxic chemicals that are sometimes included in school and office supplies include…

  • asbestos (a known carcinogen) in crayons
  • benzene (a probable carcinogen) in dry-erase markers
  • lead (a neurotoxin) in children’s water bottles
  • phthalates (linked to hormone and developmental problems) in 3-ring binders

Not only that many of the companies that make school and office supplies are not cruelty-free.

So it’s important to think about things like that instead of simpy running to Dollar General and buying the cheapest items so that you can cross them off that dreaded back-to-school school supply shopping list this year…

A few trains of thought as far as shopping for school and supplies include…

1.Backpacks…As far as backpacks are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose natural materials, such as cotton or hemp. Never choose PVC plastic at all costs.

2.  Crayons and Markers…As far as crayons are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose crayons that are composed from beeswax and soy products. Always avoid cheap crayons which may be laced with asbestos.

3. Lunch Boxes…As far as lunch boxes are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose reusable and durable, PVC-free lunch bags and lunch boxes that will last more than one season. Another great options, especially for adults, would be stainless steels. But whatever you do, avoid using plastic baggies and plastic wrap. Invest in a stainless steel water bottle….(I will look at a few more great options as well as ideas as to what to put in your lunch boxes in a future post).

4. Markers…As far as markers are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose water based markers. Many permanent markers contains chemicals such as xylene, toluene, and other VOCs…which stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, my “one new thing learned at school today” for today.

5. Paper…As far as loose-leaf paper, notebooks, and binders are concerned, the main train of thought should be to shop for items made with recycled paper, and binders that either do not have a plastic cover or are clearly labeled PVC-free.

6. Pencils and Pens…As far as pencils and pens are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose pencils that are made from recycled materials or wood from sustainably managed forest…and pens made from recycled plastic.

Thankfully there are sources for better school and office supplies that you would typically find at the local dollar store…sure, they may be more expensive…and honestly, these options might not be way more expensive…but depending on how committed you are or are not about the above concerns in all areas of your family’s life, you may want to get out your debit card so that you can buy some really cool new gadgets for the new school year.

Finally, some really great places online to shop or at least browse at these other options include…

Beginning with Breakfast, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Yes, Actually You CAN Take It With You

Now that we’ve established the fact that all of us should be drinking more water and talked about a few ways to make drinking water more of a habit, let’s look at a few of the things that will make this goal easier to achieve.

Sure, you could simply buy bottled water, more on which kinds of bottled water to buy later, but having a portable water bottle that you can carry with you everywhere you go is a much smarter option. In fact, using reusable water bottles…

  • does not create the litter that typical water bottles do. More than thirty billion water bottles are consumed every year…and most of those empty bottles end up eventually stockpiled in landfills.
  • saves you money. Tap water costs 240 to 10,000 times less than bottles water. Last year, people dumped thirty-eight billion water bottles into landfills worldwide.
  • is environmental-friendly. Bottled water production consumes over one thousand times more energy than tap water.
  • saves water. Producing one liter of bottled water actually requires three liters of ordinary municipal water.
  • makes you a smarter consumer…ordinary tap water and then making the consumer think that they are getting some super-water with extraordinary powers to cure what ails you. Wrong!!! Shockingly, 24% of bottle water is actually just repackaged tap water.

Seems like such an easy option, until you start looking at the different options available.

So how do you know which water bottle to choose?

By thinking about the different types and features of reusable water bottles so that you can make a good decision once you get to the store.

 

Materials…The first factor to consider when choosing the perfect water bottle in what the bottle is made from. Water bottles can be found in many different materials—including aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, polyethylene, and copolyester.

 

1.Plastic…The first material that portable water bottles can be made from, and the first material that comes to most of us when we think of them, is plastic. Benefits of using plastic bottles include…

  • affordable
    can repeatedly drop one without worrying about breaking or shattering it
    can take just about whatever abuse you give them
    easy to tote around
    incredibly durable
    lightweight
    readily available
    travel

Brands To Consider

  • Fit & Fresh
  • GOBIEH20
  • Nalgene

 

2. Metal…Metal options include stainless steel and aluminum, and are ideal for those who are tough on their water bottles. Benefits of using metal water bottles include…
  • doesn’t retain smells and tastes
  • double-wall construction that gives them outstanding insulating properties
  • keeps water cool for an extended period of time
  • keeps water fresh tasting, but some absorb heat and make the water warm
  • provides better insulation than plastics
  • very durable

Brands To Consider

    • Earth Lust
    • Hydro Flask
    • Klean Kanteen

 

3. Glass Bottles…A third option for water bottles is glass. Benefits of using glass reusable water bottles include being totally recyclable. Brands of reusable glass bottles include…

  • bottlesUP
  • Life Factory
  • Love Bottle
  • Takeya

In addition to first choosing which material you would like your water bottle to be, there are other questions that you should ask yourself, including…

Easy to Carry

  • Does the water bottle have a belt holster that can hold your water bottle if you participate in activities where you need to be hands-free or if you just get tired of carrying a water bottle?
  • Will the bottle be easy to carry?

 

Easy to Clean

  • Is it dishwasher-safe? Can washing the bottle in the dishwasher actualy clean the inside thoroughly or does it have to be hand washed?
  • If you will have to wash the bottle by hand, is the opening wide enough to get a bottle brush inside them in order to clean it?

 

Opening…In addition to checking the neck of the bottle to make sure that it will be easy to clean, ask yourself if the mouth of the bottle will be easy to fill with ice cubes and water…

 

Drinking Valve…

  • Does the valve lock securely enough to prevent the bottle from leaking?
  • Is the valve wide enough to provide optimal flow?
  • Does the water bottles come with a push-pull valve or a bite valves?
  • Which type of valve do you prefer?
  • Insulators
  • – Some water bottles come with sleeves that help keep your drink warm or cold. This comes in handy depending on your walking or hiking weather conditions. A nice, cold drink is a definite plus on a hot, summer day.

 

Size

  • How many ounces will the bottle hold?
  • How many ounces does your ideal bottle need to hold?
  • Will you have a source of water nearby, such as a water fountain, to use if and when you need to refill the bottle?
  • Will the bottle fit in the cup holders in your car?

 

 

Filter

  • Does the bottle have an in-bottle filtration system that will allow you to refill the bottle from any faucet or other source and be certain that your water will be clean and tasty?
  • Does this water filter make the bottle too heavy to be usable?
  • How easy is it to replace the filter?