Diving into bread again

I stopped eating bread about 8 years ago after my chiropractor mentioned I might be sensitive to wheat.  You would think it would have been hard for me to let go of all bread products (especially croissants and other awesome pastries I would eat in Belgium), but I am the kind of person that either does something or not. So, I dove right in.  At first, I ate gluten-free breads since I was used to having sandwiches for lunch (I mean what else could I eat on the go while in college?!). Then, I became raw vegan in May of 2007 (until 2012) and I let go of everything that was processed and refined. My diet consisted of nuts, veggies, and fruits for several years…but that is a story for another time. Let’s get back to bread.

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My first gluten-free sourdough breads

I have recently been playing with Gluten-free Sourdough starters, since Taproot released the issue “Bread”  last November. One of the first articles  I read, was Tara Baker’s Gluten-Free & Sourdough: A heavenly Match. I learned so much about making sourdough starters from her. I attempted my first gluten-free sourdough starter shortly after reading her article but it never seemed to grow as much as she described. I did make her bagel recipe with the started but they didn’t rise much and were quite dense. Then in the spring, I started allover again with brown rice, water, and coconut milk kefir and within a week I had a strong bubbling starter. I used it to make her pizza recipe and fell in love with its taste and lightness.( Before trying this pizza crust, I would make nut based ones but they always felt so heavy in my stomach even though there were delicious).

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The loaves the night before

Last week, I decided to make gluten-free sourdough bread after eyeing this recipe for a while:  Gluten-free Sourdough Whole Grain Boule by Cultures for Health (my favorite source for any fermentation recipes and supplies).  I let the dough rise for 12 hours, shaped it before going to bed and left the two loaves in the oven overnight. By morning, they had merged together and kinda deflated, so I re-kneaded them and reshaped them. I then let them sit at room temperature for 2 hours and baked them at 400 F for 35 minutes. I checked the inside temperature and it had reached the required 190 F. However, once we cut into the bread that night we realized that some of it was still moist. It still tasted wonderful in sandwiches, especially once toasted in the cast iron on high. It was nice to have bread for three days…I have realized that I really love that sour taste (I usually let my pizza crust dough rest for 3 days before baking it).

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The dough starting to rise above the glass dish

Venturing in Liquid Soapmaking Again

On a rainy day last week, it was time for me to make liquid soap again. Since I had run out of Shea Butter, I looked for a different recipe and found one that used just two ingredients: coconut oil and olive oil. Pretty easy and straightforward.  This recipe made a little over 1/2 gallon of liquid soap which is more than double the previous recipe.

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With that 1/2 gallon, I made dish soap, foaming hand soap and body wash. Here is how I make each of them:

  • Dish soap: I fill up the mason jar with soap and add about 10 drops of doTERRA’s Purify blend (which is full of citrus oils making it perfect to disinfect).
  • Foaming hand soap: I fill up the mason jar fitted with a foaming pump and add about 10 drops of doTERRA’s On guard blend (which contains antibacterial essential oils such as wild orange, clove and eucalyptus).
  • Body wash: I used the same basic recipe as last time but added about 2 teaspoons of salt (which made the soap thicker) and about 1 tablespoon of magnesium oil (I boiled 1/2 cup of Ancient Minerals Magnesium Bath Salt and 1/2 cup of distilled water)

*You can always substitute any liquid castile (such as Dr. Bronner’s) soap for the homemade liquid soap in the recipes above.

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I like this recipe a lot better than the other one for two reasons: for one it made a lot of liquid soap and it feels softer and less drying on the hands.

Venturing in Liquid Soapmaking

A few Tuesdays ago, I decided to make liquid soap using my crockpot. I have made liquid soap before on a stove but wanted to try another method.  I followed the instructions of Sally Hornsey in her book “How to Make your Own Soap”. It took about three days of on and off work (all in all I spent about 5-6 hours) for me to get the right consistency of soap. It was too thick at first so I ended up adding a lot more water then she recommends to dilute the soap paste.

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For the liquid soap, I used almond oil, coconut oil and Shea Butter.

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Once I had the liquid soap base to the right consistency, I used some of it to create a dish soap and a body wash. For the dish soap, I added a few drops of lemon essential oil since it has cleansing properties and I like the smell.

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For the body wash, I used the general guidelines from Mountain Rose Herbs. I combined the following ingredients together:

1oz of Aloe Vera Gel
3 oz of homemade liquid soap
3 oz of spring water
1 tablespoon of rose infused jojoba oil
15 drops of ylang ylang and rosemary essential oil
1 tsp of sea salt

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The result is a white body wash that smells heavenly but is still a little bit too liquid, so next time Ill use more salt. But I love using it regardless as it leaves a nice scent on my skin.

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I am in love with the liquid soap and am looking forward to making more. I am even thinking of including it in my shop. Would you be interested? If so, dish soap or body wash?

Another great resource for making liquid soap in the crockpot: http://ourlifesimplified.com/house/soap-recipes/homemade-liquid-soap-the-easy-way/

*sorry for the picture quality, they were taken with my phone*

Weeds are Awesome- Check out their Nutritional Value

One handy chart to have when you need to convince others that lots of weeds are actually edible and highly nutritious (Thanks Joybilee Farm for sharing):

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I love my weeds regardless of their nutritional value though…free greens in the Spring and Fall (and sometimes summer if it doesn’t get too hot)…YES, PLEASE!! Check out this huge bowl I picked the other day for dinner (cleaver tips, dandelion greens and nettles):

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Nevermind that it cooked down to just 2 cups of tasty greens

New Product in My Etsy Shop

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I just added a new product to my Etsy shop “At Home Facial Kit”. This kit was inspired by a class I taught in the Fall.  During the class, I taught the students  how to make the Oat/Clay Scrub and the Lavender Lotion (I had already made the Queen of Hungary Water since the herbs have to steep for at least 4 weeks). Once all the products were made, we gave each other a facial. We started with a honey mask, followed by the Oat/Clay scrub, the Queen of Hungary Water, and finished with the lotion.  By the end, everyone’s face felt smooth, clean and moisturized. I really enjoyed that class and wanted to recreate the experience for everyone. So, this kit came together. The only difference is that I omitted the honey, which you can get anywhere, and I added a random soap sample just for fun.

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The kit comes in a lace/vintage bag and with the instructions on how to use all the products.   I did not include the instructions for the honey, because you only need to use it about once a week…while the contents of the kit can be used every day to take care of your skin.  All the products in the kit work for all skin types. I, friends and class attendees have used this kit to clear our skin of acne and problem spots.

If you want to add the honey to your routine once a week, here are the instructions:

  • Tie your hair up in a pony tail and/or use a head band to keep your forehead clear of hair (otherwise honey will get allover it).
  • Place a drop of honey on your fingers and spread it allover your face (get more honey if needed)
  • Let it sit on your skin for about 5 minutes
  • Wash it off with warm water (it comes off much more easily than you think)
  • Proceed with the Oat/Clay Scrub