Just say NO! to Soy.

One of my fondest memories of kindergarden was having milk and a graham crackers everyday after our nap, yes! we had to lay down for a few minutes everyday.  I don’t know why we had to take a nap,  maybe it was a kinder and gentler time.

My mom packed a lunch for me almost everyday of my elementary school years that either included graham crackers or vanilla wafers.

I have many fond memories of using graham crackers to make S’mores while camping or summer back yard barbeques.  As a kid I loved to crumble a few of the cinnamon variety in a bowl and cover them with milk and eat it like cereal. A afternoon snack could be peanut butter spread on to a graham cracker.

So you can see I’m no stranger to graham crackers.

Over the past few years i’ve become a bit of a food nazi, being careful to read ingredients on boxes to stay away from  products that contain corn and soy.   A few people think I take my eating style to the extreme, but it works for me, and I have even gotten a few people to pay more attention to what they are consuming.

So a few weeks ago out of the blue I decided to buy some honey maid graham crackers, I even bought some marshmallow cream to make a quick S’more.  I don’t know what I was thinking but, I didn’t  even bother to do my usual check of ingredients on the label.

I had blind faith in the people of Nabisco,

and that friendly little  bee on the pretty little blue box.

When I did get around to reading the ingredients on the label I was shocked to see that the honey maid graham crackers contained more soy than honey.  I decided right then and there to “just say NO! to soy” and make my own.

So I checked the internet and found a few recipes, some of them by celebrity chefs.  But I came upon one recipe that sounded very easy that even included a recipe for marshmallows.  Yummy!  Visions of S’mores came dancing in my head.

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup water

In a bowl of a standing mixer, add flours, sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking power.  Stir to combine, then add butter and mix till you have  coarse crumbs. Add honey and water, mix until it forms a large ball.

Shape dough into a flat disk, roll between 2 sheets of parchment paper 1/4 thick for crispy cookies, thicker if you want softer cookies.  Cut into desired shapes and bake on parchment paper at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.   re-roll any remaining dough.  Don’t over bake!

I made them the other night, and let me tell you, they are yummy!  And the best part is……   Wait for it… They have real honey in them and NO soy!  Yay!

Because you make them yourself, you decide if you want them thin and crispy or fat and soft.

I  like to make my cookies big, fat and soft.

 But I did make some thin ones too!

   I will make these cookies again, because I already have an idea to make a all in one  S’more cookie.  I almost always tweak a recipe I like into something  a little more decadent.

P.S.   After reading the label I also discovered that the graham crackers were made in Mexico.  Since I have a choice of where I spend my money, and I try to buy American made when I can.

 

  I’m saying, adios to Nabisco.

 

 

 

 

 

XOXO

 

 

Anti-germ blend for kids

anti-germ for kidsI made an “anti-germ” blend that is safe for children 6 months old and up. I use it in a spray (kept in purse) to use as hand sanitizer. It’s safe for me to use on Vivian and I use it on myself as well, just in case I get some on the baby.

I also diffuse it in the air a couple days per week in the house as a preventative to keep colds away.

It smells a little like lemon Lysol, except without the headache I get from Lysol. It got me thinking that the makers of Lysol probably had really good intentions, but then somewhere along the way of R&D they had to alter the formula to make it more shelf stable, make it more cost effective, and the result is something that probably won’t kill us, but not really the best option for our bodies.

This blend is just made with Cinnamon Leaf, Fir Needle, and Sweet Orange essential oil. In the spray form, it’s mixed in a good quality witch hazel, which has its own beneficial properties as well.

Very effective in slaying bacteria and more gentle on children’s skin than Thieves oil.

Ode to Orange Essential oil

Orange essential oils have been studied in their ability to reduce bacteria on surfaces. How do they do it?

Orange essential oil is diffused through the air and lands on the bacteria and then just rips the bacteria cell walls open. Or orange essential oil is wiped on the surface of bacteria and then just rips the bacteria cell wall open. Specifically, it “inhibits the growth of Staph. aureus, causes gene expression changes consistent with the inhibition of cell wall synthesis, and triggers cell lysis”

So sweet, innocent oranges are slaying bacteria?  If its good enough for the Journal of Hospital Infection, it’s good enough for me.

Crazy Wart Girl, No More!

This is embarrassing to share, but I’m going to in case anyone else has this problem. I get warts on my thumb and I’ve finally found a treatment that works! I’m not like crazy wart girl, but I’ve had 2 in my life and I’m vain, so I can’t handle them when I get one. 
The first one I got on my thumb took NINE years to go away. I tried everything…burning them off with dry ice (at the dermatologist) for weeks on end, OTC salicyclic acid, filing them down, duct tape, nail polish. Nothing worked. 
Then I got one on the other thumb and I really lost it. I couldn’t handle another wart. I like my thumbs too much for this to happen. I looked into essential oils, since I have a medicine cabinet full of them. I started using lemon essential oil daily (1 drop on the wart each night) and in 3 weeks that freaking wart is gone. 
I don’t know why I’m so amazed because there are many essential oils that have anti-viral properties (warts are caused by a virus). I’m sure there are other essential oils that could have done the same thing. But I’m so happy that I keep finding more natural treatments that keep me out of the doctors office. 
Sharing in case you or your loved one has a freaking wart they can’t handle anymore

X0X0

12 Things you can do to Reduce your chance of Cancer

This is a lengthy post but well worth your time, I promise! The President’s Cancer Panel has public records of their meetings and summaries of recommendations they make to the President. It is all funded by The National Cancer Institute. They have given recommendations on how to reduce your risk of cancer, it is hundreds of pages so I summarized them for you. Spoiler alert, you are going to want t…o run away to the woods to live off the land, but don’t do that…a bear would probably eat you. Just find the ways you can reduce your exposure and pass the info on to a friend:
1) Remove shoes before entering your house and wash work clothes separately from the other family laundry. Especially important if you have children or pets that spend a lot of time near the ground.
2) Drink filtered tap water rather than bottled water. Public tap water is better regulated than bottled water, but tap water still needs to be filtered.
3)  Store and carry water in stainless steel, glass, or BPA- and phthalate-free containers. Microwave food and beverages in ceramic or glass instead of plastic containers.
4)  Choose food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Wash conventionally grown produce to remove residues.
5) Eat free-range meat that has not been exposed to antibiotics or growth hormones, if it is available. Minimize consumption of processed, charred, and well-done meats.
6) The Household Products Database is a resource to help make informed decisions about the products that are safe for the home.
7) Properly dispose of medicine, household chemicals, paints, and other materials to minimize drinking water and soil contamination.
 Choose products made with non-toxic substances or environmentally safe chemicals. Don’t use pesticides in your yard, they are contaminating drinking water supplies.
8)  Turn off lights and electrical devices when not in use. Drive a fuel-efficient car, bike or walk when possible, or use public transportation.
9) Try not to keep a cellular phone near your body for prolonged periods of time. Wear a headset when making a call, text instead of calling, and keep calls brief. Don’t keep your phone in your pocket.
10) Home buyers should conduct a radon test in any home they are considering purchasing. If you already own a home, periodically get the radon tested. If the levels are higher than recommended, there are ways to remedy the situation it looks like the prices range from $500-$1200).
11) To reduce exposure to radiation from medical sources, patients should discuss with their health care providers the need for medical tests or procedures that involve radiation exposure. Key considerations include personal history of radiation exposure, the expected benefit of the test, and alternative ways of obtaining the same information. In addition, to help limit cumulative medical radiation exposure, individuals can create a record of all imaging or nuclear medicine tests received and, if known, the estimated radiation dose for each test. (It looks like MRI, ultrasound testing is mostly a better option. Some CT scans provide more radiation than nuclear fallout survivors have received).
12) Wear protective clothing and sunscreens when outdoors and avoid exposure when the sunlight is most intense.
The following chemicals were also identified as needing stronger regulations: formaldehyde (found in furniture and building materials), BPA (found in plastics), phthalates and parabens (found in cosmetics and baby toys) and nanotechnology products (toxicity has not been studied in depth).One thing I’ve learned about government recommendations is that they take a LONG time to be acted upon and there are way too many regulatory agencies that don’t communicate with each other. We can’t rely on the government to protect us from cancer, because clearly as their meetings indicate, they know they are doing a poor job. Something gets missed between the recommendations and when laws become enacted in Congress.
BUT consumer demand can make a huge impact, so vote with your dollars!
 Love you guys. Don’t let your insides fall apart.Here is a link to the report http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf

National Nutrition Month

Toes are being amputated, tubes for breathing, tubes for eating, medications for medications…
Working in a hospital is a reminder of all the reasons to be thankful for health!
Now that we are in National Nutrition Month,  I want to encourage my friends and family to take care of themselves.
 Don’t let a preventable illness be the cause of a hospitalization…there are enough accidents and viruses out there to dodge in this life.  I’m afraid the real message of nutrition has gotten lost.
 Before I became a dietitian,  I thought nutrition was about the individual nutrients…”How do I get more Vitamin C?”  or  “Am I eating the right kind of fat?”
 Vitamins and minerals work together in harmony.  They have the power to heal and repair and they come best from natural packages…plants.
 This month, I encourage you to walk away from the
 frozen meal that leaves you starving and wanting to binge eat later.
 Put down the protein bar that promises you muscle but probably leaves your body with inflammation.
 Instead, pick up your pots and pans and cook from scratch.
 Add vegetables.
  Add spices.
  Add fat (gasp)!
 Snack on fruit.
 Try a new grain.
 Drink  w a t e r.
 Savor the flavors of real food and finish it off with a walk outdoors.
 I love yous guys.
 Don’t let your insides fall apart ♥

Should I go Paleo?

Should I go Paleo?

Raw? Gluten-free? 8-hr diet? Organic? GMO free? Vegan? So many choices…who is right?

Do we eat too many refined carbohydrates as a population?    Yes.

Are the additives, packaging and GMOs causing disruptions to our genetics?  Uh huh.

Are pesticides and poor soil quality affecting our produce?  Duh.

Is animal cruelty a part of most meat/dairy distribution?  Sadly, yes.

There is no one right way to eat, because there are so many issues with our bodies and our food supply. We are all individuals with unique genetics (some of which cause food allergies and intolerances), distinct passions (animal rights, human rights), and unique talents (cooking, gardening, athletics) that will dictate what foods we choose to put into our bodies. What is best for your body may not be what is best for your neighbor.

Whatever way of eating you choose, eat with sensibility and compassion. By sensibility, I mean moderate portions and variety of nutrient sources. By compassion, I mean think about how the food you purchased got to you (did it come from a company that widely used pesticides or GMOs, traveled across the world and left a large carbon footprint)? Animal rights is a huge part of compassion, follow your heart with however you feel lead.

We can all eat better. In turn, we can help our bodies, our animals, and our earth.

April, what do you think about a paleo diet?

 Although I’m not personally a proponent of the Paleo Diet, I definitely support any meal plan that advocates less processed foods.
 Paleo can be healthy, but it seems to unnecessarily restrict grains and legumes. If it comes from the Earth (and it’s not poisonous) it is likely beneficial for our bodies. The grains and legumes aren’t bad in themselves, it’s the general over consumption of them, notably grains and sugar.
 Most packaged foods are hardly food anymore…all the husks and fiber removed, bits of cheap soy and corn added, extra sugar and salt to enhance flavors, emulsifiers…we aren’t doing our bodies a favor by eating them.
 However, eat a 1/2 cup of black beans or 1/2 cup of quinoa and your body will be nourished.
 I’m a proponent of eating foods as close as possible as they come out of the Earth. Its a lot of work, and it’s not realistic 100% of the time.
 But following something like the 90/10 rule…eat well 90% of the time and allow 10% of the foods you eat to be treats, can be an easier path to follow.
 Getting back to the basics of eating unprocessed is a goal I’m working toward and I’m really enjoying.
 It feels good to eat real food. ♥

 

 

Day tripp-n in Ojai

Sunday My boyfriend and I took a little day trip to Ojai. 

 We had talked about spending the weekend at the Ojai Valley Resort and Spa, but because I live an hour away from Ojai we decided do a little day trip instead.

 

First stop was the New Oak Ranch in upper Ojai Valley to Pick Lavender.

  Who knew there were acres of lavender growing a few miles outside of downtown Ojai! 

 The lavender season is short.

 mid-June to the end of July-  (weekends only).

It costs $5.00 per bunch of lavender (that you cut yourself).  They supply the cutting shears and twist ties.

 

This is about as much as you can fit into the twist tie.  Its a great deal!  Take a deep breath of that…ahhhh!

 

 

 

 

 They have more than 5,000 lavender plants.

 The ranch also has 1,400 Tuscan olive trees, which produces a olive oil that they are very proud of!

 The ranch has 35 walnut trees that are harvested in the fall.

 Aww…baby walnuts…aren’t they cute?

You’re welcome to bring a picnic lunch and savor your lunch on a walnut shaded table.

 

You can also purchase quite a few items made with their lavender.

 Everything from body care product to  honey, and even a tomato jam!

 (sounds weird, but it was quite yummy!)

 Yours truly, Big floppy hat and all…

Next stop, downtown Ojai to visit the Farmers Market.

We bought lots of amazing items, like flavored goat cheese, lemon cookies, strawberry pie, fresh basil, pixie tangerines, olive oil.  All the great looking fruits and veggies made me so hungry, I forgot to take pictures!

 We decided to get something to eat at a quaint little health food store called the Rainbow Bridge Market.

 Me, pigging out on a de-lish  avocado- veggie sandwich.

  I eat one whenever i’m in Ojai.

P.S.

I bought a organic olive oil while I was at the Farmers Market.  They have a tour that will be in part 2 of day tripp’n in Ojai.

 

Move over Rover

and let Jimmy take over

Look close, you will see a Bee

 Humming the song

 Purple haze.

XOXO!

Janice

 

 

Things have a way of turning out for the Best!!

I’ve been working on my house once again.   Yet,..another episode of this old house!

Houses are so needy!  They take up lots of your time and most of your money.   I have owned this house for over 25 years now, and over the years almost every thing has been replaced or re-modeled.

Last year I discovered that the sprinklers in the front yard had caused some major damage to the windows in the living room.  Water from the sprinklers had been hitting the windows for who knows for how long.

This caused not only the windows to mold, but also my wood floor in the living room  *sigh*

 

So…2 months ago I decided to order some new windows for the living room.   I received such a great deal on them I decided to replace all the windows in the front of the house.  I was told it would take about 2 weeks for the windows to come in.

The windows were on their way,  so my son in law  decided he would  install them on December 3.  But as fate would have it… on December the 2nd a powerful wind storm hit the Los Angeles area….causing the delivery truck to blow over,  and all of my windows were  broken in the accident!   *darn*

But all was not lost for December the 3rd… we decided to have a pregnancy photo shoot for my daughter who was due to have her first baby daughter in 2 weeks.

Instead of installing windows…  my Son in law had a day of rest.  Here he is catching a few well deserved winks between photos.

 

And it was a good thing Chad didn’t have to work that day…. because my daughter, April went into labor a few hours after the photo shoot was over.

So, that was an wonderful example of… “things turning out for the best”.  Chad would have been exhausted after a full day of installing windows, and then helping his wife go through labor.

Now….Back to my window story.

So we had to wait for my windows to be made once again.  A few days before my windows arrived I was looking at all the houses in my neighborhood that had installed new windows.

Seems everyone had replaced their windows with windows that didn’t have grids in them, and the windows I ordered had grids. *darn*

I wondered if I should have ordered my windows without grids?  Yes….. I think I should have… I liked the way the windows looked without the grids!

Now what I’m I to do?…. it’s too late to cancel them !  *sigh*

So, a few days later I receive a phone call informing me that my windows are in, but they wanted to know if I ordered my windows with grids or without grid.???  Seems my windows came in without grids….OMG!

Once again…”things have a way of turning out for the best”!

I love my new windows…the view is so much better, and being insulated makes a big difference in how much warmer the house stays, and less outside noise to hear…so…take that you noisy bumpasse’s…..tee hee hee!

XOXO,

Janice

My Holiday Baking

Chocolate & Raspberry Shortbread.

Dough

2 sticks butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar together..add flour and mix till it forms the dough.

This makes enough dough to cover a 13 x 9 baking pan, or you can make 2 pans of  8 x 8.  I made one pan of 8 x 8 shortbread and saved the other half to make chocolate toffee bars…(Next recipe)

 

Choose your size pan.. and pat the dough into pan.

then cover with seedless raspberry jam..

if you use a 13 x 9 pan use the whole jar…8 x 8 pan use half of jar..I use this Jam…

bake at 325 for about 20 minutes…take out of the oven when done..while still hot.. sprinkle on…

Wait about 10 minutes…and then swirl melted chocolate and raspberry together

Now…. lick the knife…YOU know… you want to!

I had to also lick my camera len.. because… I’m a dork… I got chocolate all over my camera while taking these pictures!

 

Chocolate Toffee Bar

You need the above shortbread and…

I used the whole can…for a 13 x 9 pan…take them out of their wrappers and put into blender to chop into smaller bits…..pat shortbread into pan…sprinkle on the toffee bits…bake 10 minutes at 325…then sprinkle on chocolate chops..bake another 10 minutes…let cool an few hours and then cut into squares..

MORE recipes  coming soon….

 

Candy cane cake pops

Snowmen cake pops

Snowball cake bites

 

 

Chocolate cake bites with pretzel sprinkles

 Pecan Carmel.

 Sugar Cookies

 Merry Christmas to all

Love,

Janice