Saturday, February 27, 2010

Naturally Free Soap Recipes

Here are two of our latest soap recipes! French Green Rosemary and Exfoliating Oatmeal.

French Green Rosemary

3 oz lye
8 oz rosemary hydrosol
22 oz oils (7 olive, 7 coconut, 7 palm, 1 jojoba)
1/2 cup French Green Clay
1/5 cup Rosemary
0.25 oz Essential Oils (1 part bergamot, 2 parts geranium, 1 part peppermint)

Exfoliating Oatmeal

16 oz distilled water
6 oz lye
44 oz oils (15 coconut, 15 palm, 10 olive, 4 jojoba)
0.25 Essential oils (2 parts sweet orange, 2 parts lavender, 2 parts chamomile, 3 parts tea tree, 1 part patchouli)
Ground Vanilla Bean & Oatmeal (approx. 1/2 cup oatmeal and 2-3 vanilla beans)

Stuff I Made this Morning

Sorry it's been awhile since I've posted. I've been busy BUSY trying to start a business with Sarah and Evan and I have both had to work late nights over the past two weeks.
This morning though, we finally had a little time to breathe and I was able to finish a few projects I was working on and start a few other ones. The picture shows my morning creations: Nutty Pancakes (recipe), Kefir Cheese (recipe), and Rose Infused Olive Oil! The rest of the stuff is what my kitchen table looks like after a morning of culinary and healt creations.
The Rose Infused Oil I'll be using in my next soap! Speaking of soap...who wants some?! I have two batches that I'm giving away before we start selling it. So if you want any more for free, speak up now! :)
Also, you'll notice that you can now subscribe to the Alive, Radiant, Free RSS feed, and I'm adding pages at the top soon, so you can access the more popular areas of the blog more easily.

Flab-Off Update - Lettuce Wraps & Nutty Pancakes

Well, with one day to go...the February flab-off has been a great success! I've only lost 1 lb. but my stomach is flatter and my energy is higher and more consistent. Elliot has not exactly been participating at the same level that Evan and I have been, but he's maintained his little weight the whole way along. My husband on the other hand has lost 18 27 days. Seriously now?! Isn't that great?!
However, the best thing of all happened the other day. See, this last week, I haven't been very good AT ALL about planning and preparing for our meals, but Ev has stuck with the Flab-Off commitment. When I said that we only had a week left, he asked, "Well, then what do we do?" I said that we could talk about it and see what we wanted to add back in or exercise moderation in some of our more excessive pleasures (cough...Cokes and Little Debbies...cough). And he just kind of looked at me confused and said, "I'd like it better if this were just our lifestyle." WHAT?! I got so excited! That was the most perfect thing that he could have said. And the best result I could ask for from the Flab-Off, better than any number of inches or pounds lost.
Here are two more recipes that we've enjoyed - Lettuce Wraps and Nutty Pancakes!

Lettuce Wraps
10 oz canned white chicken
3 Tbsp Ground Walnuts
1 Tbsp Olive Oil Mayo
1/2 tsp Sage
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Rosemary
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
Dash of Pepper
4 long romaine lettuce leaves

1. Spread hummus on lettuce leaves
2. Mix chicken, walnuts, mayo, and spices in a small bowl and spoon onto lettuce
3. Fold lettuce in half lengthwise and enjoy!

We had the lettuce wraps with a few raspberries and 7-grain crackers.

Nutty Pancakes

Dry Ingredients
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup ground walnuts
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup ground oats
1/4 cup ground shredded coconut
1/4 cup wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder

Wet Ingredients
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup kefir whey
1/2 cup yogurt (the whey and yogurt could probably be substituted with 1 cup buttermilk)
2 Tbsp Butter or Coconut Oil, melted

1. Grind all dry ingredients in a quick mill or food processor and mix together
2. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl
3. Stir wet and dry mixtures together
4. Cook on a non-stick, preheated griddle
5. Top with fun things like - berries, pecans, dark chocolate chips, honey, almond butter, etc.

My brother and husband liked these! Ev said he liked them better than the coconut pancakes I highlighted in an earlier post, and they're chock full of protein and other good vitamins and minerals!

Kefir Cheese!

I made Kefir Cheese! Like....there's cheese in my fridge that tastes good, that I made! :) So fun, right? Here's the recipe.

6 Tablespoons Kefir Starter or 1 packet Kefir Grains/cultures
1 quart milk (unhomogenized works best, a lot of people use raw milk, but I haven't found a provider for that yet)

1 quart container with lid (or some sort of cover - plastic wrap works)
Cheesecloth (or unbleached linen)

1. Heat milk to skin temperature (around 90 degrees)
2. Stir in kefir cultures and pour into quart container
3. Cover and leave on a countertop (do not refrigerate!) for 2-4 days, until the curds are separating from the whey
4. Line strainer with cheesecloth, set strainer in a bowl (so there is space for the whey to drain and collect)
5. Pour the kefir mixture into the cheesecloth (whey will immediately begin to drain off)
6. Wrap cheesecloth tightly around the curds
7. Set strainer, bowl and all in the refrigerator for 1-2 days
8. Unwrap cheese and put in a sealable container. 

The kefir cheese will be the consistency of cream cheese and you can use it in any function that you would use cream cheese. We've had it as a cracker spread thus far. I left half of it plain and half of it I mixed with a bunch of herbs (marjoram, oregano, thyme, basil, dill, garlic, salt). You can use it on bagels, for dips, etc.

I ordered by Body Ecology kefir starter cultures online from here. Here are a couple links on the benefits of kefir - here and here. One benefit of using raw milk was pointed out to me by a friend the other day. Raw milk, doesn't spoil - it cultures! SO...when raw milk starts to taste sour or less creamy, that means it's time to use it for other things, like yogurt, butter and cheese. I'm still doing a bit of research on the whole thing, but I think we'll be switching soon, if I can find a place close by where I can by a share.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Valentine & Naturally Free

It's Wednesday night and I'm just now blogging about this weekend....crazy! Anyway, I had an amazing weekend with my Valentine. It's been six years since we started courting and it has been a fantastic journey. I love him more than ever and I can't wait to see what the next six years have for us and our little family. For Valentines Day we were able to go get my ring...YAY! Then he got me roses, a card, made me a really great dinner, and then we went to see a movie together while Elliot and Aunt Sarah had a date. 
I also started taking some little small business courses online this weekend to teach me how to write a business and marketing plan. Why? Because, I'm going to start stocking up some inventory and selling Naturally Free products. I'll have an online store and website up soon, but I thought some of you would be excited to hear about it! My sister Sarah is going to be my business partner...her specialty is all natural candles. :) If any of you actually know about starting a small business or are good graphics or web designers and would love to help a girl out for free...I could definitely use your help.
SO...I hope your weekend (though it seems far off now) was just as love-filled as ours! And that you were able to ponder how you can slow down for the season of Lent this Ash Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Some Flab-Off Recipes - Coconut Pancakes & Nutty BBQ Meatballs

One thing that has been really fun about this Flab-Off is getting creative and trying new recipes. Monday morning we had flourless coconut pancakes. You can find the original recipe on Tropical They have several other GREAT recipes! I used honey in place of the sugar and 1/2 plain yogurt, 1/2 milk instead of the heavy cream.
Yesterday for dinner we had lima beans, sweet potato chips (thinly slice a sweet potato, toss in 2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, place in a single layer on a cookie sheet, top with red pepper, black pepper, garlic powder and salt, cook on 400 for 20 minutes), and BBQ Meatballs. And yes, I made the recipe up all on my own! Here's the thing. All of these recipes include ketchup and worchestershire sauce in their ingredients, which are chock full of corn syrup and sugar.'s the flab-off recipe. Loved by mommy, daddy, and Elliot! This one's a winner for us. Hope you enjoy it too!

BBQ Meatballs

BBQ Sauce
1 cup tomato puree
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced

1 lb ground beef (grass-fed)
½ cup milk
1 egg
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
¼ cup pecans
¼ cup almonds
¼ cup ground flaxseed
¼ cup coconut

Combine BBQ Sauce ingredients in a large saucepan and mix together. Start simmering on low, while you prepare the meatballs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ground beef, milk, egg and celery in a medium bowl.

Combine pecans, almonds, flaxseed, and coconut in a food processor and process until mixture is at least coarsely ground.

Knead nut mixture into beef mixture. Roll into small balls and place on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Combine meatballs with BBQ sauce in saucepan.

Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Flab Off - Confessions of Week One

With the best of intentions, we started the Flab-Off one week ago, and while neither of us exercised 20 minutes a day and we only got 7 hours of sleep about half the nights. We DID stick to our diet and drink our Sassy water each day!!!
Ev's been having headaches from caffeine and carb withdrawal, but we're loving our meals and snacks, and I can tell a difference in my skin and energy level just from the increased water intake. 
So this week, my goal is to workout every other day...on top of the diet and water and sleep. We're trying to change habits here so there's still a lot that needs to be done. 
At our weekly weigh-in tonight, we found that in the last week Elliot has gained .5 pounds, I have gained 1 pound, but Evan has lost 11.5 pounds! How awesome is that?! I'm so proud! The Biggest Loser is now following him on Twitter....hilarious!
On another note, the Colts lost the superbowl! :( Sad. It's supposed to snow a ton more tomorrow. And I'm made some new soap this weekend and ordered kefir starter too! :) Crazy stuff happening at the Gilmores. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Parabens & Phthalates

Don't those two words just make you cringe?
If they don't then you haven't been asking enough questions. I was going to do a post awhile back on each of these things, but the folks at Soapchix have done a more fantastic job than I could have, so I'm going to point you their way. Check out their post on the dangers of and differences between parabens & phthalates.
Basically, you need to be aware of these things for yourself, but also if you have children...or are going to have them in the future. Soapchix say that children absorb up to three times as much stuff through their skin as adults do. So even if you're not concerned about the estrogen and carcinogenic nature of parabens for yourself. Or you don't really care what phthalates do to you because you've been using products with them your entire life. Still be informed about what's going in to your little one's body.
In a nutshell, they're both in just about any store bought bath & body or cosmetic product. Parabens are used as a preservative, while phthalates are typically used as a binding agent. And while you might not find phthalates listed in the ingredients of some products, if it says "fragrance" the phthalates are there.
For some products and providers that I've found helpful, you can check out my posts on RMS and Simple Soapworks. Two other companies that I do use, but haven't done posts on are Aromaleigh and Chagrin Valley. Check them out! (I think I should totally be paid for advertising these puppies!)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

COOL New Whole, Organic Foods website!

Y'all need to check out "Gnowfglins". A webite/blog about using God's natural, organic, whole foods that are grown locally and in season. Lots of tips on whole grains, soaking, sprouting, kefir and all that good stuff.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February Flab Off - Day Three

So...we're on day three of the flab-off and so far, so good. We've not been exercising like we wanted to, but I think the water and diet and trying to get more sleep is disrupting our lives enough. Maybe we'll try to be more intentional about the exercise next week. We've been enjoying the food a lot...for the most part. The almond butter-raisin oatmeal this morning could have used a bit of honey, but other than that, it's been pretty good stuff. Here are our favorite lunches so far!

Strawberry-Chicken Salad Pita
Toss 3 oz of canned chicken with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp olive oil mayo, 1 Tbsp chopped pecans or almonds, and 3-4 sliced strawberries. Fill a whole wheat pita with the chicken salad mixture. Have with about 1/2 cup pineapple tidbits and 1 light string cheese.

Chicken Mango Muffin
Toast one whole wheat english muffin. Spread with one wedge of herbed Laughing Cow Cheese. (You can buy it herbed, but I just added some rosemary, garlic and paprika. Sage, marjoram & thyme would probably be good too.) Mix 1 Tbsp chopped pecans with 3 oz canned chicken, put that and a couple slices of mango on your sandwich. Serve with the rest of the mango, some strawberries, and some non-fat yogurt.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Flab Off - Day One Menu - Sassy Water and Flab-Off Granola Recipes

So today is the first day of the Flab-Off. I'm still trying to figure out how to attach files to my posts, so I can give you my meal plan, recipes, and charts, even though I'm sure most of you are not as anal as I am about that stuff. Prevention magazine started something called the Flat Belly Diet, which now has a book out about it. One thing that they do as part of their 4 day jumpstart is drink 2 liters of Sassy water a day. This water is supposed to calm GI tract irritation, decrease bloating, get rid of constipation, and decrease water retention. I guess a flabby belly is both because of fat and retained fluid, and most of the time, you retain fluid because you're dehydrated. You can read more about it here.
On our menu today - Sassy Water (of course)...Flab-Off Granola, Low-fat Yogurt, & Raspberries for breakfast. Sunflower seeds and light string cheese for a snack. Chicken, Strawberry and Pecan Salad Pita Pockets and Pineapple for lunch.
Here are the recipes for the water and granola.

Sassy Water Recipe

1 Lemon
1 Medium Cucumber
1 Tbsp. Grated Ginger
12 Spearmint Leaves
2 Liters of Water

Slice lemon and cucumber, grate ginger root, and combine with spearmint leaves in a pitcher. Fill pitcher with water and place in fridge overnight. Drink all of the water the next day and repeat.

Flab-Off Granola

3 cups Oats
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup slivered or chopped almonds
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 pkg. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. warm water
1/4 cup coconut oil - melted (you can substitute canola oil)
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup honey

Preheat oven to 300. Combine oats, nuts, seeds, and coconut in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together cinnamon, vanilla, water, oil, agave nectar and honey. Pour sticky mixture over dry ingredients and stir together until coated well. Spread granola evenly over a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cook for 40 minutes, taking the granola out every 10 minutes to stir it. Dump cooked granola onto wax paper covered surface to cool and dry. Store in an airtight container for two weeks or freeze for up to two months.



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