The Miracle of Baking Soda

I knew baking soda made a great household cleaner.  But recently, my hubby has been having fun (yes, you read that right, HE has been having FUN) using baking soda to remove what we thought were irremovable stains.  He said I HAD to post about it on this blog.  When my man wants a recipe or natural living thingy posted, he gets it, because rarely does he say that!

Here’s what he’s been cleaning lately (I have a newborn, thus the reason for all this man cleaning):

-White stovetop-  I thought our stovetop had scratches on it, not stains.  Since those “scratches” never wiped clean, I figured they were there to stay.  Wrong!  He agitated them with baking soda and a wet rag.  “Scratches” are GONE!  Wowzers!

-White Kitchen Bowls-  I had some bowls that had some rim stains on the bottom of them.  They never come clean in regular dish washing so I figured the stains were there to stay also.  Nope, baking soda, water, and a rag got them white again!

-Counter Tops-  Oh my, I was shocked by this one.  We have those cheap formica countertops.  They were pretty stained.  I was thinking it was time to get new countertops.  Nope, baking soda got ALL the stains out, super impressive!

Moral of the story:  Don’t buy expensive toxic chemicals at the grocery store to clean your home, just whip out the baking soda! 

Baking Powder

I’ve been making my own baking powder for years.  I got the recipe from “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon.

Conventional baking powder contains aluminum, a known neurotoxin.  So unless you’re buying aluminum-free baking powder, this would be an easy health change for you!

Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Baking Soda
2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
2 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder

Simply mix all three ingredients and store in airtight jar.  I make a large jar-full that lasts me a while.

If you need to use baking powder right away in a recipe, you can omit the arrowroot and just do 1 part Baking Soda with 2 parts Cream of Tartar.

Baked Beans

These taste similar to canned baked beans.  Every time I make a batch, they are GONE in no time.  A great way to get your children to eat some pintos!

Baked Beans
2-3 Cups Pinto Beans or some sort of White Beans
3 Tbsp Coconut Sugar (adjust to taste if desired)
2 Tbsp Blackstrap Molasses
1/2- 1 tsp Mustard
1 Onion
2 Tbsp Ketchup
Salt to taste
Little bit of water if needed

1- Dice up your onion into tiny pieces (you can even just run the onion through a food processor).

2- Sautee onion in some Coconut Oil.  Add the coconut sugar, molasses, mustard, and ketchup.  Stir well, this is your “sauce.”

3- Add the beans and salt to taste.  Let simmer for 10 minutes on low heat or until heated through.  Adjust sweetener or salt if needed.

Really Messy, Really Sloppy Black Bean Burgers

If you like to eat perfectly polite with a fork, don’t make these.

If you’re having company over, don’t make these.

If it’s just you and the children, go on ahead!  They are almost as messy and hard to eat as sloppy joe’s.  But, the flavor is THERE.  I’ve made these over and over and over again over the past several years.

I will say, hubby likes them a little different than me, but I think these are perfect.  (I’ll list his variation at the end).

Sloppy Black Bean Burgers:
-About 3 1/2 Cups Cooked Black Beans
-1 Green Bell Pepper
-1/2 of an Onion
-2-3 Cloves of Garlic
-2 tsp Cumin (I actually probably add more than this because I really like to cook with Cumin).
-About 1/2 Cup Oats
-Sea Salt
-Toppings/ Condiments:  Mustard, Cashew Mayo Spread, Pickles, Tomato

1- Partially blend (or use a hand mixer) the cooked and drained black beans.

2- In a food processor, puree the bell pepper, onion, and garlic cloves together.  Blend them till truly a puree.
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3- Add the onion mixture to the beans in a large bowl.  Season with salt and cumin and add in the oats.  Mix well.

4- If you’re not making dinner at the last minute like me, you could put your mixture in the fridge to get cold for 30-60 minutes so they’ll form nicer patties.  Or not.  :-)

5- Pre-heat a frying pan on medium-low heat and coat with coconut oil.  Cook burgers.  Continue to add coconut oil as needed to prevent sticking.

6- Serve with all your favorite toppings, my favorites are listed above and they are the best.  :-)

Okay so here are my tips since I’ve made these several times:
-I don’t know if you have a really great pickle brand that you like, but I don’t eat these without my Bubbie’s pickles.  If you try these burgers without Bubbie’s pickles, you do so at your own risk.  :-)

-You could try adding an egg to help them hold together better.  I don’t, and they are very sloppy, did I mention that already?!

-You could possibly add bread crumbs to the mixture to help them stay together better??  I don’t.

-I use a warm tortilla cut to bun size for my bun.  I like these with a “tortilla bun” better than a regular hamburger bun.

-My husband likes to add ketchup and chili powder and extra salt to the mixture before cooking.  Then more ketchup after.  Or barbecue sauce.  He also uses a regular hamburger bun.
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Sherry’s Cinnamon Cookies

We’ve been enjoying batches of these simple cookies lately.  They are basic and not fancy, but a great little treat for little hands.  They freeze great too so you can pull out of the freezer whenever needed!  The recipe came from my health mentor Sherry, so you know they’ll be healthy!  :-)

Cinnamon Cookies

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups spelt flour (or whatever kind you choose)
1 1/2 Tbsp Egg Replacer
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3+ milk (rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, whichever kind you choose)

-Mix well the oil, honey, and vanilla
-Add the flour, Egg Replacer, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon mix well
-Add rice drink until dough is soft. You may need to add more or less depending on humidity or whatever.
-Drop on to oiled cookie sheets a couple of inches apart or so. They shouldn’t spread too much.
-Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes or until the edges are firm and slightly brown.  Watch closely so they do not start to get too brown towards the end.

Notes: You can use one egg in place of the egg replacer and probably be able to skip the rice milk at the end.

Black Bean Soup

I snagged another recipe from the super-resourceful Money Saving Mom, surprise, surprise.  A really yummy black bean soup!  I made it once last week and once this week, a total of 4 pots full!  I quadrupled the recipe both times.  Yup, it’s good.  :-)

Black Bean Soup

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder (I used a little less as this can make it kind of spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (I used extra, mmm, cumin!)
  • 6 cups veggie broth (MSM used chicken broth)
  • 6 cups cooked and drained black beans (or 4 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed)
  • Salt and pepper

I put all of these ingredients into my super handy pressure cooker and call it a day!  Once up to pressure, I cook for about 13 minutes.  (What?!  You don’t own a pressure cooker?  You are missing out!)  :-)

Or you can do it MSM’s way…
Saute onion, garlic, pepper, carrots, and celery in oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally and cook until softened. Add chili powder and cumin and saute for a few more minutes.

Stir in broth and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Remove a few cups of the soup and puree in a blender. Stir pureed soup back into the soup, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for about 5 more minutes.  (I didn’t puree mine and we really liked it that way, I’m all about the shortcuts come dinnertime hour).

Serves 6.

Raw Applesauce

I got this recipe from a Vita-Mix e-book and we tried it out.  It was a hit with all the children!  And Mama liked that it was raw food, uncooked!

Raw Applesauce:
1- Take 4 apples and remove stems and seeds (pssst… eating the seeds of organic apples is a great source of Vitamin B 17, which fights cancer!)

2- Add apples, 1 tsp Lemon Juice, and 1/4 tsp Cinnamon (if desired) to blender (I have a Vita-Mix and it did well).

3- Blend until desired consistency.  Done!

Blueberry Crisp

Money Saving Mom recently posted this recipe and I tried it out.  It’s really good!  We ate it plain, but would go good with a healthy icecream.  :-)

Here’s how I made it, but feel free to click on over to see how MSM makes it:

Blueberry Crisp
1 1/2 Cup Oats
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 – 3/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1 1/2 Cups Frozen Blueberries

Mix all ingredients together, except for the berries. Sprinkle half of the oat mixture on the bottom of an 8×8 pan. Sprinkle berries over. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubble and lightly browned. Serve warm or cold.

Not Shopping At Target Anymore!

Uh oh, see you later Target, I won’t be shopping with you!  They take their stand, I’ll take mine!

From AFA.net

“Target has filed legal briefs in two court cases intended to win marriage rights for homosexuals and lesbians. The cases are being weighed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh District.

“It is our belief that everyone should be treated equally under the law, and that includes rights we believe individuals should have related to marriage,” Target Executive Vice President of Human Resources Jodee Kozlak wrote on the company’s blog.

While other companies are choosing to remain neutral in the culture war, Target is going all out to support homosexual marriage.

This is a company whose leaders make a mockery of marriage. They make a mockery of God’s Word – and every Christian in this nation  should let Target know it is out of step with the majority of Americans who support natural marriage.

Are you going to give Target your money, knowing they’ll use it to undermine your deeply held beliefs?

TAKE ACTION

Target doesn’t think you care enough to speak out. In essence, they are saying they don’t think you will take your business elsewhere. I think they underestimate the Christian community.

Send your message to Target, urging them to withdraw their support for homosexual marriage and stop undermining long-held American values that marriage is only between one man and one woman.
Read more at http://afa.net/action-alerts/target-goes-to-court-in-support-of-gay-marriage/#WQPzz2B7PEx2Hkje.99
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This is a post I wrote a while back, definitely worth revisiting…
The Ins and Outs of Boycotting
I wish more Christians would realize the huge effect their wallets have on society.  Money speaks LOUDLY.  With every dollar I spend, I’m placing my vote, dollar after dollar after dollar.  I choose to vote for family friendly businesses that are not contributing to the moral decay of our nation.  I choose to vote for companies that are at least remaining neutral in the culture war that’s raging.  It’s that simple, and every vote counts.

Boycott’s work well with conservative agendas, because the majority of Americans are not in agreement with homosexual and/or abortion zealots.  When large numbers of us start speaking up by choosing where we spend our money, most companies (at least the ones that want to stay in business) listen.  It’s time we start taking our nation back, one dollar at a time.  By signing petitions, sending emails and letters, making phone calls, and most importantly redirecting our dollars, we send LOUD messages to these companies.

“But where does the boycotting end?  How can you avoid shopping at them all?”  For me, the boycotting ends when businesses stop being anti-God. I will boycott any business that has an outspoken anti-God agenda. Period.  As consumers, we literally have HUNDREDS of choices on where to shop. There are DOZENS of places to buy coffee.  So, I’ll see you later Starbucks!  There are non-pornographic places to buy undergarments, so see you later shopping malls.

How can we keep track of each and every company?  While we may not be able to know where each and every company invests its money, we can definitely know about the outspoken ones. And those are the ones that are most important to boycott, because it sets an example to other companies that consumers still have the upper hand and we have the power to put them out of business.  Money fuels their operations.  Companies are very afraid of losing massive amounts of customers.

I’m just one individual, how could I possibly make a difference with my measly $5 purchase?  Our individual purchase might not make a dent in their overall profits, but if 100,000 of us do that, there will surely be a dent! There’s power in numbers! That’s why it’s so important for Christians to start actually caring about where they are spending their money.

As stewards of money that God has entrusted to us, it’s also our Christian duty to not support businesses that are anti-Bible.

Support the good guys!  I choose Christian book companies instead of amazon.  I’m able to find anything I want without doing business with the companies that are outspokenly anti-God.

I know most of us are on tight budgets, but if I could spend $10 on an item at a place that gives millions to support homosexual ‘marriage,’ or spend $15 at a place whose morals aren’t in the gutter, I’d choose the latter.  And I hope you will too.  It’s not worth it to save a buck or two while contributing to the moral decay of our country.  Let your money cast a vote!  Let your money talk!  Our wallets can speak louder than our words!

If you’re a Christian and you care about the direction our country is headed, please sign up for American Family Association’s (AFA) Action Alerts.  They have done an amazing job of banding together thousands of Christians to sign petitions and send emails and have been very effective in getting a lot of companies to stop supporting anti-Biblical issues.  I take action on every single email alert they send out.  It takes about 20 seconds of my time because they pre-write the emails and fill in all the information.

I still believe our nation can get back on track to upholding Biblical values.  We can CHOOSE who we do business with!  Switch banks if you need to, change your search engine if you need to, search for small business retailers if you need to.  We don’t have to sit by and let our country go to waste.  Vote with your dollar and make your vote count!

July/ August Goals Update

I haven’t nailed all my goals the last two months, but better than having no goals at all! 

Mothering/ Marriage/ Homemaking:
Make a Proverbs list.  We’re working on this, a little slower than I thought though.

One handwritten note per month to someone in family (husband, child).  Done for July and August.

Two read-a-loud chapter books per month with older children.  We completed 5 in July and 3 in August, so we’re at 21 for the year.

Bible with children- Read at mealtimes, Continue to add new memory verses, Read Bible story book and role play.  We finished the book of John and are now reading through the book of 1 Corinthians at mealtimes.  We’re still adding new Bible verses weekly and working our way through our 101 Favorite Stories from the Bible book.  So we’re on track!

Do at least 25 Children’s Crafts/ Activities with my children.  My children really like doing crafts so I want to make sure I do this for them.  We did a whopping nine in July but only one in August, so we’re at 35 for the year.

Every Saturday, have a planning session for each day of next week.  Done.

Personal Growth:
Read 1/2 the Bible- Going to be able to finish the whole Bible this year! 

Read 24 books- For July I read three books, in August I finished two books.  So I’m at 42 books so far for 2014.  

Record 1,000 Gifts- things I’m thankful for.  I’ve recorded over 1,200 things I’m thankful for so far this year! 

Try to live more minimalist and keep clutter to a minimum by getting rid of 7 things per week.  There’s an ever-growing give-away pile in my garage, on track with this!

Ministry:
Pray genuinely for the needs of others at a set time each week (10 minutes, morning time).  I’ve got a prayer wall with lots of people’s names and needs from around the world up on the wall going up our stairs!  On track!  You are loved, friends and family!

Witnessing x12- Share the Gospel with at least 12 strangers in 2014.  I’m going to change this goal to passing out tracts at least twice per month.  Started this in June after realizing what a failure I’ve been for January thru May.  And I’m not doing much better.  =(   We passed out tracts once in August, none in July.  I always forget to take them into stores with me.  Got any ideas to help me remember better? 

Pray for the entire world using online calendarOn track with this!

Health:
Do 3 months no sugar.  I’m still allowed to have my natural sweeteners- honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, and coconut sugar.  I use no other sweeteners.  Done in Jan/ Feb/ March

Do a separate 3 months with only 1 sugar insult per week- Did this for April/ May/ June.

15 salads per month- I’m so glad I set this goal because if I do it each month,that will be 180 double-sized salads that I eat in 2014!  Wow!  I’ve met this goal every month this year so far!  This has probably been my most favorite goal of all!! 

Briskly walk on treadmill (or outside) at least 4 times each week for at least 49 weeks of the year, at least 30 minutes each session.  On track.  But I think I need to be walking 5-6 times per week, my body needs it.  But at least I’m hitting this minimal goal.  As well as rebounding some also.     

How are you doing on your 2014 goals?  Still kickin’ it?  It’s not too late!  There’s still 1/3 of the year left!  That could equate to 50 exercise sessions or more, 40 salads or more, a few books of the Bible or more.  You can do it!!