Monday, March 31, 2014

Sprouting Grains

Ever since my hubby spoiled me with a The Sausage Maker stainless steel food dehydrator and NurtriMill L`Equip grain mill, my life hasn't been the same.  

One of the staples in our home is sprouted grains which creates sprouted flour which creates a lot of yummy foods.

I have no desire to go gluten free.  Or grain free.  Do I have a gluten sensitivity?  Yes, a small one.  Stomach bloat after I eat to much white flour products...check.  But I am also a believer that we need a TON more fruits and vegetables in our diets, which create those little enzymes that help break down gluten and allows our bodies to process and digest food like they should.  And that from the years of crap that we have all eaten our bodies are simply tired.  Tired of trying to process crap.  So, inturn we have damaged our bodies, thus creating gluten intolerances and sensitivities.

Now, ask me why kids are having gluten sensitivities and intolerances at such YOUNG ages.  And I do not have a scientific answer for you......yet.  I have my own opinion about this.  But is not post worthy yet, without some hours of research and interviews invested first .  ;-)  

So, I have chosen a middle ground for myself and my family.  And here it is.....

When I eat out I use doTERRA's TerraZyme.  TerraZyme is digestive enzyme complex, click here to learn more about TerraZyme.  And I sprout my grains and grind my own flour, the majority of the time I am cooking and baking.  I do buy Organic King Arthur All-purpose flour to keep on hand, (which of course I soak before using it to bake.  and I highly recommend the ebook Is You Flour Wet?,  it is FREE now!).  And I am currently using their flour to make sourdough starter.  And of course I am always attempting new recipes with coconut flour and almond flour, just because it is a fun challenge to make dishes with these ingredients that taste good.  And I am thrilled that I am finding more and more dishes that we consider good.

I do believe that I need to make our grains the healthiest possible.  Thus, I sprout.

Sprouting is like a science project in your kitchen.  It is so easy.  Anyone can do this.  And if you don't have a food dehydrator, you can use your oven at it's lowest temperature to dry your sprouted grains.

Personally speaking, everyone needs a grain mill (who eat grains, that it.  if you can go 100% grain free, my hat is off to you).  They make great Christmas or birthday presents. ;-)  Even the good, unbleached, organic flour that we buy in the stores, has most likely been sitting in that bag forever.  Which means by the time we buy it and take it home most of the vitamins and nutrients are gone.  Which is utterly depressing.  Once again, we are eating more dead food.  I believe that if companies started to store this flour in freezers, some of the vitamins and nutrients would be preserved.  But....that hasn't happened yet.

So, on to sprouting.  Here are the basics to getting started.

Sprouting 101
Pour your whole grains (organic hard red wheat or organic soft white wheat*) into multiple quart or 1/2 gallon wide mouth canning jars, filling them 1/3 full (trust me, don't overfill...the grains swell ALOT and they won't sprout if they don't have room for air to circulate inside the glass jar) and cover the grains with reverse osmosis water.  Make sure you use pure, clean water here (I don't know if fluoride filled water will allow the grains to sprout or not).  Cut a piece of cheesecloth and place over the top of the jar and use the ring to keep the cheesecloth in place or purchase these lids from Amazon, I love mine.  Just make sure you are buying the sprouting lids with the tiny holes.  Some of the 3 packs have holes that the grains will fall through.  Let jars sit upright overnight on your counter with the water soaking the grains.  

In the morning, leave the sprouting lid or the cheese cloth on the glass jar and turn the glass jars upside down, draining the water off of the grains, remove the spouting lids (or leave the cheesecloth on) and fill again with clean water, covering the grains and turn upside down and gently shake the jars and pour off water (use a turning motion of the jars while draining off the water, this ensures that the grains are all getting rinsed as you pour off the water).  While holding the jars at an angle,shake the jars to get the excess water out.  Place all 4 quart jars in a tub or some sort of a container at an angle so the water continues to drain off of the grains.  See picture below. 

Ok, so you have the glass jars sitting at an angle.  Now you just have some small maintenance to do.  At different times today, rinse the grains with reverse osmosis water 2-3 different times before going to bed.  I am going to be honest here.  Some days mine get rinsed twice and that is it.  And they sprout just fine.  Each time you rinse the grains, shake and turn the jar to make sure all the grains are getting wet.  The grains cannot sprout without moisture.

You are going to do this for the next 2-3 days.  Keep watching, you will see sprouts sooner than you think!  Note:  Sprouting time may take 3-4 days, depending on temperature of your home, amount of grains you put in jar and number of times you rinsed the grains. 

When you start to see the grains sprout, it is time to dry!!

This is a batch from when I tried to make ezekiel bread, thus the beans and lentils.  I have some soft white wheat spouting now, I will take new pics of it and update here. 

In my opinion, these sprouts are to long for my grain mill.  Though, they are beautiful.  I will post new pictures later showing the correct sprout length you want. 
These are soft white wheat grains.  The sprouts are still a little longer than I prefer but better than the ones above. 

(Note:  DO NOT refill the jars with water and let them soak in the water for the 3-5 days.  You are rinsing the grains and letting the jars sit upside down at an angle with NO added water in the jars for the next 2-3 days.  Sitting them at an angle allows for air flow which will allow for the sprouting process.  I just let mine sit out on the counter top during the process.)

The goal is for the sprouts on the grains to be 1/2 the length of the grain.  

Note:  After 2 days of sprouting, hard red wheat berries become very sweet.  They are very tasty just raw.

After the grains have sprouted I place them on my dehydrator trays and dry at 150 degrees for 6 hours.  Don't overfill the trays or you will need to mix the grains up periodically while they are drying to ensure all of the grains are dry.

After the 6 hours, I leave the grains in the dehydrator (unplugged) or bring the trays out and let the trays of dried grains sit on the countertop for a couple of days.  This just ensures there is no moisture left in the grains.  Then I store the grains in 1/2 gallon glass ball jars that you can buy here (this price is crazy expensive, so I would ask around at your local hardware store and see if they carry them or if they can order them for you).  And I love these lids and I buy them on Amazon.  Then I label the glass jar what grains are inside and store them in my deep freeze until it is time to grind.

When you grind grains, you want the grains to be frozen.  That ensures that less vitamins and nutrients are lost in the grinding process.  The process of grinding heats up the grains when creating flour.  Thus, if you begin with frozen grains, it takes longer for the grain to heat up and kill off vitamins and nutrients.  Make sense?

Sprouted grains do not fall down into the shoot of grain mills like ordinary, unsprouted grains do.  So, I use a Pampered Chef citrus peeler to push the grains down into the shoot to grind.  It works perfectly.  (I know an awesome Pampered Chef consultant, if you are interested too.)  :-)

So, there you have it.  There is a lot to share but after you do it a couple of times it is so easy.

Make sure you save your cheesecloth squares for next time.  Use a safe and green dish soap and hand wash them and then lay them out to dry, until next use.

*These are the only 2 I have tried.  Don't try to sprout organic hulled barley, it doesn't sprout.  Trust me on this.  And pay attention to smell.  If you are starting to smell a strong, sharp odor from the grains before they have sprouted, they may not sprout.  This is what happened with the barley.  I just rinsed and rinsed them until I couldn't smell the sharp, sour odor any longer and then dried them.  I guess they could be called fermented organic hulled barley.  :-)  

Sprouting in a nutshell
-Organic red hard wheat (good for breads/pancakes)(i also make an all purpose with 1/2 hard red 1/2 hulled barley, I do not sprout the barley
-Organic soft white wheat (good for lighter pastries/baking)
-Glass Ball jars
-Reverse osmosis water
-Cheese cloth and canning rings or sprouting lids
-Dish pan

1.  Soak grains overnight, covered in water.
2.  Drain next morning.  Fill again with water to rinse.  Drain.  Place at an angle in dishpan.
3.  Rinse and drain grains 2-3 times per day.
4.  Keep looking for sprouts.
5.  When you see sprouts 1/2 the length of the grain then it is time to dehydrate.
6.  Dehydrate at 150 degrees for 6 hours.
7.  Leave grains sit in dehydrator for 2 days.
8.  Place sprouted grains in a large glass jar with lid and label.
9.  Store in freezer.
10.  Do not thaw grains before grinding.  Grind frozen.

Happy Sprouting!!


Sourdough.  Sourdough starter.  Sourdough bread.

For some reason sourdough mesmerizes me.  It stumps me.  It challenges me.  I am not yet obsessed.  But I would say I am close.  :-)

I tried sourdough a while back with freshly ground rye.  The starter looked and smelled wonderful, but the bread, was, well bleck.  So, I want to try this adventure again.


Today is day 1 of trying this Sourdough adventure again.

Here is what I have...
1/2 cup reverse osmosis water, room temperature
1/2 cup Organic King Arthur All-Purpose Flour, room temperature
1 quart size glass jar
Mix. Let sit on counter. Cover with cheesecloth or kitchen towel.

Tomorrow, Day 2....Add to the quart glass jar

2 tbsp of reverse osmosis water
2 tbsp of Organic King Arthur All-Purpose Flour (both room temp). 
Stir. Cover.

Repeat for 4-6 days until sour, bubbly goodness appears. 

I will keep you posted. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Why I Left Mary Kay.

This question was recently brought up by my two amazing "do" essential oil mentors, Dena and Val, and I thought the answer to be more than post worthy.

They both know that years ago I used to be an independent product consultant for Mary Kay.  I used to teach classes and most of my close friends and family used Mary Kay products from head to toe.  Dena and Val have recently asked me for info as to why I stopped using and selling Mary Kay.

Here is what I have to say about that.....

The book that changed my life is called "Green Babies, Sage Moms" written by Lynda Fassa (who believe it or not, I am friends with on FaceBook.  Crazy huh'?  She is an amazing woman.)  This is not a book just for someone who is pregnant, wants to be pregnant or even a mom.  This book is for anyone and everyone who wants an explanation of what is going on around us.  Lynda writes from her heart, sharing all that she has learned.  And it all makes sense.  From the foods we eat to the lotions and makeup we apply to our bodies every day.  This book discusses how candles and air fresheners are harming our kids and the real truth behind hair coloring and our favorite mani's and pedi's.  I highly recommend you buy and read this book.  Highly.

In Lynda's 2nd chapter, titled "Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep" I found information that rocked my world and I have never been the same.  Thank God, I have not been the same.  She referenced a 2004 British study in the Journal of Applied Toxicology that cited parabens as a "cause for concern."  As a former 7 year Pharmaceutical Representative, this, of course intrigued me.  So I headed to google to find this study and dissected it myself.  Here it is.

Basically what this study showed was 20 women, who had breast cancer, donated their surgically removed tumors to science.  And scientists found trace amounts of parabens inside all 20 tumors.  Scientists, then of course, concluded that there was a link between parabens and breast cancer.  Parabens are NOT a naturally occurring element in our body, so how did the women get the parabens inside their tumors??

And as most of you know, studies have linked products containing parabens to a variety of hormone disorders, including underdeveloped testes in infant boys, to quote Lynda Fassa.

"Over and over, parabens have been linked to cancer in lab animals."  "In lab tests on sunscreen that contained parabens, fish and frogs began to change sex, from male to female."  There are safe sunscreens to buy and make yourself.  But for the most part the sunscreens on the shelves are doing more damage than they are helping us.  Sick....I know.

To quote The Cancer Prevention Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group, "The cosmetic industry has been as reckless as the tobacco industry and the FDA has remained silent."

Common parabens to look for on your labels are...

"About 99% of all consumer cosmetics contain one or more parabens, a group of powerful preservatives that extend a product's shelf life."

All of this makes me sick!  WHY in the heck (submit a different word there) are these chemicals still allowed in our body care and makeup products??????????????

Why are chemical ingredients banned in other countries that are allowed here in the U.S.????  WHAT IS GOING ON??????

I can't control the FDA.  Heck, I can't even control my own kids or my life, but I CAN inform YOU of what is going.  I can teach you what to LOOK for when you are at the store deciding on what product to put in your cart.  And if you can't get it at your local store, you have Amazon.

So, please start reading labels.  If you put it on you or you put it in you BE INFORMED about what is in it. Take responsibility for yourself.  No one else is going to do it for you.

It took me 3 days to muster up enough courage to go look at the ingredients in my Mary Kay products,after finding the study I referenced above.  When I did, I was shocked.  A few of the Mary Kay products had 4 different parabens in them, not just 1, but all 4 of the parabens used in 1 product!!!!!!  And all but 2 or 3 of them had at least 1 paraben in them.  So, obviously, I stopped selling Mary Kay.  I sent back what inventory I had left and was refunded at 60% of the value, if I remember correctly and, get this.....I was blacklisted.  Blacklisted=I would never be able to sign up and sell Mary Kay products again, for the rest of  my life.  To that I replied, that is fine...if you don't green your products up, why would I want to sell them anyway??  If I was selling something that could have been causing cancer in my family and friends than I was D.O.N.E.!  They Blacklist anyone who returns the products back to the company for partial reimbursement.

I then switched to Mineral Fusion for all of my makeup products, and I love them.  I buy them at Whole Foods, Earth Fare and Amazon.    

I make my own facial cleanser, my moisturizer, eye makeup remover and hair gel is organic virgin coconut oil that I buy here and I buy my shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion and hairspray from Whole Foods.  Whole Foods has a generic line called 365 and I pay $4.99 for a 32 oz fl oz bottle of their shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and lotion.  

I buy the unscented shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and lotion.  I put the body wash into a 16 oz glass bottle with a lotion type pump that I buy from here and then add my own "do" essential oils to make one FABULOUS concoction (click here to see that post)!!!!  If you have any questions about "do" message me or click here.  Their essential oils are the absolute best in my opinion.  And the only essentials oils I will use or recommend.

So.... that is why I quit selling Mary Kay products.

You can reference the Environmental Working Group to see how your body care products measure up.  It is a very cool website and they even have an app now.

Keep living green.  Make a step every day.  Even if it is a little one.

**Update May 2017.  I am currently using and loving LimeLight by Alcone.  Check it out here.... 

I currently wrote this... What facial products do I currently use?

***Update:  A Mary Kay consultant contacted me January 2017 sharing that Mary Kay is removing parabens from quite a few of their products (see pics below for list).  That is wonderful!!!!  But please keep reading labels.  We should not be putting anything on our bodies that has aluminum in it.  Here are the pictures the Mary Kay consultant shared with me.  Thank you Sally for sharing.

Homemade Shower Gel (sorta)

I made shower gel the other day (sorta) and it was so simple I had to share. :-)  I say "sorta" because I didn't make the actual shower gel.  Whole Foods gets credit for that, I just jazzed it up a bit.  :-)

I went to Whole Foods and bought a big bottle of their unscented shower gel.  $4.99 for 32 fl oz.

This time was a trial run in my mind, so I only filled my 16 oz glass bottle 1/2 full with the 365 shower gel and then I added 15-20 drops of doTERRA Citrus Bliss essential oil blend and swirled it around to mix the oil with the shower gel.  I bought the 16 oz amber glass bottle and lotion type pump from here.

This made a FABULOUS, easy and inexpensive shower gel!!!  

Add a cute little waterproof label and cover the label in clear packaging tape (so the writing doesn't run in the shower).

(I am still in a testing time frame with the label.  I bought waterproof labels and used a black sharpie, which is supposed to be waterproof to make the label shown below.  The words on the label did not survive the shower.  So, that is why I suggest adding a piece of clear plastic packaging tape over the top of the handwritten label to see if that helps.  If not, the labels from my label maker are waterproof.  Not near as cute but will work.)

If you have any questions message me or click here.  The company that begins with "do" essential oils are the absolute best in my opinion!  I will NOT use or recommend any other brand.

I picked Citrus Bliss because it smells AWESOME and it brings peace and happiness to the mind and body and joy to the heart, promotes energy and is soothing .  I thought that would be a great way to start the day.  :-)

Happy Oiling!!

Happy Oiling!!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saturday Morning Sourdough French Toast

My close friends know when it comes to Saturday mornings, don't bug me.  ;-)

Saturday mornings are special for us.  I make a big breakfast, we watch T.V. and hang out together.  I don't like to go anywhere.  I LOVE making a big breakfast.  This used to be every day of our lives before my oldest son started school.  Not going to lie, I miss those days. 

So, for the past week my oldest son keeps asking for French Toast.  I laugh, because it has been forever since I have made us French Toast.  I am surprised he can even remember those days.  But he does have a memory that amazes me, so, really, I shouldn't be surprised.

So, this is what I made this morning and it was so delicious, I had to share.  

Saturday Morning Sourdough French Toast
2 farm fresh (not grocery store) eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk (Whole, Organic or RAW)
1 tsp homemade vanilla (click here on how to make it yourself....super easy)
Pinch of Redmond's sea salt
3/4 tsp of organic cinnamon (more or less to taste)
Bunch of KerryGold or RAW butter, melted in your cast iron skillet
4-6 slices of sourdough (ours was a little old and dried out and was perfect for this)

Beat eggs, milk, vanilla, salt and cinnamon until well blended (I just use a fork or whisk).  Heat your cast iron skillet and butter that skillet up with real butter (if your butter is white, it is not real.  sorry, even if it's organic).  

Dip 1 slice of bread into egg mixture, flip, coating both sides of bread, hold the soaked bread over your egg mixture bowl for a few seconds letting the excess egg mixture drip and then carefully place in your hot skillet with all that amazing butter and cook until golden brown, flip, repeat.  (Think butter is bad for you?  PLEASE read this and this and this.)

And since organic strawberries are finally making a comeback here, I served our French Toast with a bunch of sliced organic strawberries, maple syrup and a couple dashes of powdered sugar (hey, it's Saturday morning.  :-)  )  And of course a BIG glass of RAW milk from Pasture's Delights


Happy Eating!!!!

It is not Grade B (which is the best) but it will do.  :-)

Kerrygold Salted Butter