Health


I’m all about doing the natural thing whenever possible.  I love this post from Simple Mom on doing just that—Natural beauty and how to go about it.  Here are the tips from Simple Mom:

by Tsh on November 16, 2009

in green & frugal living

So we’ve talked about going shampoo-free, and we’ve talked about using oil to clean your face naturally. But a few of you have asked — what about the rest? What about soap, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, and the like?

I’ll be the first to admit that going natural with my toiletries and cosmetics is new to me. This isn’t something I’ve done for years, and am just now dispensing my experiential wisdom. Switching to homemade or natural is something I’ve been doing just over the past six months, so I’m learning as I go.

I do know that the more I learn about what ingredients are in conventional toiletries, the less comfortable I am in spreading them on my largest, most porous organ. But I’m not an alarmist, so we’re doing this gradually, as we run out of the stuff we’re already using.

Here are the remaining product choices we make in our family, tweaking and adjusting as we go.

Soap

Typical ingredients for conventional shower gels are detergents, preservatives, fragrance, and foaming agents. None of these things are toxic in very small quantities, but they do enter the bloodstream from our pores, and they’re technically not necessary to get clean. So I figure — why bother using them if I don’t need them? And they’re extremely dangerous in larger quantities.

 

Many people make their own soap, but I don’t. I just don’t have the time right now. So for us, we use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap. It’s concentrated, so just one bottle will last ages. There’s nothing in it but pure castile soap and essential oils (if it’s scented).

Once you start using pure and simple castile soap, you’ll realize the film that traditional shower gels leave. Dr. Bronner’s is cost-effective, long-lasting, and serves many purposes. My husband actually washes his hair with this instead of the baking soda and water rinse that I use.

Not only can you wash your body and hair with castile soap, you can also use it as a household cleaner, as dish soap, as a produce rinse, as laundry soap, and even as toothpaste.

Toothpaste

Most conventional toothpastes have dyes synthesized from petroleum, sodium fluoride, foaming agents (also used in engine degreasers and strong household cleaners), and a myriad of other toxins.

There’s something about the fact that it’s used in the mouth that makes me squirm when I read about the nitty gritty ingredients in toothpaste. If you’d like to learn more, head here for more information.

I recently started making our own toothpaste, and I’m still tweaking the recipe. My husband isn’t crazy about the baking soda flavor, but I like it. Admittedly, if I had access to natural toothpaste brands like Tom’s of Maine, I’d probably stick to buying that. But since I don’t, here’s the recipe I’ve tried.

 

Basic Homemade Toothpaste

  • 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Stevia powder
  • a few drops of pure peppermint extract

Mix it all together until it resembles toothpaste.

Coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees Fahrenheit, which means this toothpaste feels more liquidy during warmer weather. It doesn’t change its effectiveness, though.

The Stevia provides a bit of natural sweetness, making the toothpaste palatable, as does the pure peppermint extract. You could try a variety of flavors to your liking.

Right now, I’ve got this toothpaste in a small lidded jar, and I scoop out a tiny bit with a tea spoon onto my toothbrush. But you can also get empty squeeze tubes, often found among camping supplies at stores.

Lotion and Moisturizer

Caramel Pecan Double Vanilla Bean lotion from Verbena Custom Blends on Etsy.

Body Lotion

Right now I’m using a deliciously divine lotion a friend here made from me. I watched her melt the ingredients together in just a few minutes over the stove, then whipped together in the blender to make a rich, creamy lotion. She used lemongrass and lavender essential oils together, and it smells heavenly.

There are a wide variety of homemade lotion recipes; it just requires the ingredients. Most ingredients are easily found in health stores or online, so don’t let finding these things stop you. If you’d like to make your own, Brambleberry is a popular and reliable source for lotion ingredients.

Lotion is simply a mixture of water, oil, emulsifier (which blends the water and oil together so that it doesn’t separate), a thickener (the most common is stearic acid, found in cocoa butter), and a natural preservative.

You could also support homemade and buy from an Etsy shop — there are thousands of options there.

Facial Moisturizer

In warmer months, I don’t need a moisturizer with the oil cleanser I use on my face. But as the weather cools, I find I do need a touch of moisturizer in the morning. I use straight up coconut oil, easily found in major stores. A tiny bit goes a long way, and since it’s also a common ingredient in other natural toiletries, a jar of this stuff really comes in handy.

Lip Balm

Photo from Diaper Ware

There are also lots of easy recipes for homemade lip balm and salve, but I use 100 percent lanolin. Yep, it’s the same stuff you use while breast feeding. In fact, I’m still using the tube I used when I was nursing my son a year ago! This stuff lasts forever.

It doesn’t dry out my lips like manufactured wax-based products, and a little lasts me almost the whole day. Lanolin is simply an ointment secreted by wool-bearing animals to protect their coats from water. So yes, it is essentially sheep sweat. But it’s not gross, I promise.

We’ve got a guest post on the way about making your own deodorant, and later, we’ll discuss using natural makeup, so stay tuned.

Natural Beauty: Clean Skin, Teeth, and Lips

Here was another great article I found that I would like to keep on hand to have this information as we choose whether or not to selectively choose immunizations for our kids.  You can open up this PDF and save it to your computer for future reference A User-Friendly Vaccination Schedule.

Vaccinations can be such a sticky topic, one in which people are so passionate about—and often don’t even want to look at the other side (is it fear they might be wrong??).  I, as most others are, AM passionate about vaccines, however, it’s the alternatives that I’m passionate about- not supporting the pharmaceutical business that hasn’t even been fully tested (nor even willing to do so).  Anyway, I do love to read and learn up on these types of topics— I’m not trying to risk my children’s health or safety for heaven’s sake!  Here are a few sites I recently found that give great info. and even an alternative vaccine schedule (I may after all, choose SOME of the vaccines—do we really need one for chicken pox???—but just at a later time when my children’s systems can better handle them, as well as at a slower pace.)  So here is one from Generation Rescue, and I want to put their entire article here simply because I want to be able to have this information on hand, even if it were to become unavailable in the future–such valuable info:

Questioning the safety of vaccines is a taboo topic in the United States and many other countries. The pressure is on most pediatricians to always counsel that the “benefits outweigh the risks” when it comes to vaccinating children. Yet, most parents have heard about the legitimate concerns many parents have that vaccines may have triggered their children’s autism or other neurological disorders (“NDs”).

 

The growth in the number of vaccines given to our children in the last 20 years is rarely discussed in the media, despite a stunning chart like this one that shows a 260% increase in vaccines administered (were millions of children dying from deadly diseases 25 years ago? No, they weren’t.) Parents should know that vaccines are never tested for their “combination risk”, despite the fact that children may get as many as 6 vaccines in a single visit to the doctor. And, when it comes to vaccines, how can it be possible that one size fits all? What may present as no risks for one child may present enormous risks for another.

 

As a parent contemplating vaccinating their child, we would offer the following 3-point plan to try to minimize the potential risks from vaccines. (Please note that we are parents, not doctors. What follows is not medical advice, it is the opinion of parents. Anything written here should be reviewed with a qualified physician. We are not giving you medical advice nor are we qualified to do so.)

 

1. Take Precaution

 

• Consider delaying vaccines until your child is 18-24 months old.

• Do not vaccinate if your child is taking antibiotics.

• Consider no more than one vaccine per doctor’s visit.

• If you plan to get the MMR vaccine, ask your doctor to give it in three separate vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella.

• Consider giving high doses of Vitamin C (3,000-5,000 mg per day) on the day before, of, and after vaccination.

• With the measles vaccine (MMR), consider high doses of Vitamin A (5,000 IU or more) on the day before, of, and after vaccination.

• If your child experiences any developmental delays, stop vaccinating until you learn more.

• If your child has an adverse reaction to a vaccine, stop vaccinating until you learn more.

• Always ask to see the vaccine insert, and never accept a vaccine that uses the preservative Thimerosal (mercury). For a complete list of vaccines with Thimerosal, see the FDA’s website here. Note: most flu shots today still contain Thimerosal.

 

 

2. Consider delaying vaccines

 

In our favorite article on vaccines, A User-Friendly Vaccine Schedule, written by University of Washington surgeon Donald Miller, M.D., Dr. Miller makes a number of interesting observations including:

 

“Public health officials, however, have not proven that it is indeed safe to inject this many vaccines into infants. What’s more, they cannot explain why, concurrent with an increasing number of vaccinations, there has been an explosion of neurologic and immune system disorders in our nation’s children.”

 

And:

 

“New knowledge in neuroimmunology (the study of how the brain’s immune system works) raises serious questions about the wisdom of injecting vaccines in children less than two years of age.”

 

Dr. Miller’s recommendation: don’t start vaccinating your child until they turn two years old.

 

 

3. Consider an alternative schedule to the CDC’s current schedule

 

It really is shocking to look at the 1983 recommended vaccine schedule and compare it to 2008. Does a child really need so many more vaccines today? Quiz your doctor by asking them how many vaccines were on the schedule in the 1980s. We have found that most have no idea. Three potential alternative schedules to consider:

 

I. Listen to the Doctor (Our favorite)

Comment: Donald Miller, M.D., is a surgeon at the University of Washington. His article, A User-Friendly Vaccine Schedule, is summarized into this schedule.

II. Turn back the clock

Comment: This is the schedule from 1983. If it worked for kids then, why doesn’t it work for kids now?

III. Go Danish

Comment: Denmark is a first world country based in Western Europe. Their schedule appears far more reasonable than ours. They have also been reported to have a much lower rate of autism than the U.S. Do they know something we don’t?

 

 

A second disclaimer: Please note that we are parents, not doctors. What precedes is not medical advice, it is the opinion of parents. Anything written here should be reviewed with a qualified physician. We are not giving you medical advice nor are we qualified to do so.

 

Final thoughts and resources

 

The parents of Generation Rescue were once just like you. We trusted our pediatricians. We vaccinated our children according to the latest schedule from the CDC. Then, often times immediately following a vaccine visit, we watched our children change and descend into autism. The reason this organization and website exists is because we don’t want the same thing to happen to you and your child. Some things that we have learned that we want you to know include:

 

1. Vaccines are big business

 

As this recent Wall Street Journal article reported, Merck stands to generate as much as $2 billion in revenues per year for their new Gardasil vaccine for girls targeting Cervical cancer. For a company beaten down by the Vioxx scandal, Gardasil’s success is a very important initiative, which according to the article has caused the company to push the vaccine out the door using questionable marketing techniques while legitimate concerns about safety and efficacy still exist. (A January 2008 story that made headlines across Europe reported on the deaths of two teenage girls immediately after getting the Gardasil vaccine — we couldn’t find any U.S. media outlets that covered the story.)

 

Vaccine manufacturers are no different from other corporations: they want to sell more of whatever it is they make. Unfortunately, there is a revolving door between the policy-makers who determine the vaccine schedule and the pharmaceutical companies who make vaccines, as our own Congressional Committee on Government Reform reported in this document titled Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Policy Making.

 

2. Vaccines have real documented risks and the U.S. Government knows this.

 

Vaccines have risks and parents are rarely told about these risks. Any pediatrician who represents that vaccines are “completely safe” is not presenting the facts. Many vaccines contain other toxic substances including ethylene glycol (antifreeze), phenol (a disinfectant dye), benzethonium chloride (a disinfectant), formaldehyde (a preservative and disinfectant), and aluminum (another known neuro-toxin). Further, some viruses used in vaccines are cultured in animal tissue including chicken albumin and monkey liver. Click here for a complete list of the foreign substances found in vaccines, and here for a sample of a poster made and sold by Dr. Tedd Koren summarizing vaccine ingredients.

 

The CDC maintains a database called the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System or VAERS. This database keeps track of publicly reported adverse reactions to vaccines. In a ten year period (1991-2001), VAERS received 128,717 reports of adverse events, of which 14% were described as “serious” which means “death, life-threatening illness, hospitalization or prolongation of hospitalization, or permanent disability.”

 

The Federal Government maintains a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Between 1990-2004, the VICP paid more than $900 million in restitution to persons injured by vaccines, and they provide a list of possible injuries by type of vaccine.

 

3. There are legitimate concerns over the efficacy of some vaccines.

 

Consider the flu vaccine as just one example of where there may be evidence that the vaccine does not work:

 

A recent study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association touting the safety of flu vaccine. Nine of the studies authors had stated financial ties to vaccine manufacturers, and an additional four authors worked for the CDC. The study also stated: “It is also important to note that there is scant data on the efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccine in young children.”

 

On October 27, 2006, the British Medical Journal published an article also questioning the efficacy of the flu vaccine. The article noted: “Evidence from systematic reviews shows that inactivated vaccines [flu vaccines] have little or no effect on the effects measured. Little comparative evidence exists on the safety of these vaccines. Reasons for the current gap between policy and evidence are unclear, but given the huge resources involved, a re-evaluation should be urgently undertaken…The optimistic and confident tone of some predictions of viral circulation and of the impact of inactivated vaccines, which are at odds with the evidence, is striking.”

 

4. You can’t be forced to vaccinate your child or follow the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule.

 

Parents are often told that vaccinating their child is “required by law”. It is important for parents to understand what their rights are as all states offer either a philosophical or religious exemption from vaccinations. You have the right to design a vaccine program that is right for you and your child. Click here for more information.

 

5. AAP and MercuryThe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been perpetuating untruths about mercury for some time.  They have in many cases told the public that mercury has been taken out of vaccines since 2001.  This is not the case.  Today, 8 years later, there are still mercury containing vaccines in the pediatric and prenatal schedule.

In February, 2008 a great example of how the AAP attempted to manipulate the public into believing that vaccines did not have mercury in them was a letter to ABC trying to cancel the Eli Stone television show for wanting to tell a story about a family who won a vaccine-autism case in court.

 

The letter, written by the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (you can view the letter here) ([ink to lettertoabc.pdf attached] calling for the cancellation of the show said:  “If ABC persists in airing the show, the AAP urges the network to include a disclaimer emphasizing: No mercury is used as a preservaitve in routinely offered childhood vaccines.”

 

At the time there were 5 vaccines commonly being used in the pediatric schedule as well as mercury containing vaccines in the prenatal schedule.

 

The AAP letter was false and even after direct communication from Generation Rescue the AAP would not retract or correct the information.  These tactics are common in communication from the American Academy of Pediatrics.  It appears they are more concerned about how to get the public to vaccinate than the actual truth.

 

Our letter to the AAP can be viewed here and the part about the mercury in vaccines is also below:

 

AAPs position about mercury in vaccines is not accurate.

In the letter to ABC the AAP wrote: “No mercury is used as a preservative in routinely offered childhood vaccinations.”

 

Mercury is still in 16 vaccines including 5 pediatric vaccines such as 3 flu shots, the HEP-B and the DtaP.

 

At best, this is similar to saying:

 

“No caffeine is used in coffee as a preservative.”

 

It is in there, just not as a preservative.  Parents are not concerned if mercury is in there as an adjuvant, or as manufacturing residue, or as an inexpensive antibacterial –they just want to know if it is in there.  Not stating that mercury is in 5 vaccines used for pediatrics is considered, by many, as deceitful.

 

What could have been written is something like “Mercury has been removed from many routinely offered childhood vaccines.” Or “Childhood mercury exposure from vaccines has been reduce by 65%”

 

The Truth About Mercury In Vaccines 

 

According the FDA’s website outlining vaccine administration for children (1) there is up to 300 picograms of mercury in the DtaP shot (Tripedia by Sanofi Pasteur, listed as the third item from the FDA website screen shot below)

 

and 25,000 picograms of mercury in one of the pediatric flu shots (Fluzone by Sanofi Pasteur)

 

and another pediatric flu shot has 12,500 picograms of mercury (Fluvirin by Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Ltd)

 

and a third pediatric flu shot by the same company under the same name is said to be preservative free but has trace amounts of mercury.  The exact amount does not have to be published if they are under 100 picograms but in this case but trace amounts of mercury are higher than trace amounts allowed in orally ingested items but  in this case is being injected in a child.  How toxic this is may be debatable, but what is not debatable is that there is still some mercury in the vaccine.

 

Additionally the Hep-B vaccine has up to 500 picograms of mercury (Published in table 2 outside the pediatric section in of the FDA document but labeled for use for “pediatric/adolescent” use).  This vaccine is used in pediatrics as well.

 

If I was responsible for public relations and messaging for AAP I would be concerned that saying there is no mercury in vaccines would cause a liability to the AAP if the child gets hurt by the mercury in the vaccine.

 

A family was recently awarded millions of dollars in one of the first cases in federal vaccine court related to vaccines and autism.  That is just one case.  (It is not publicly known but there are 12 other cases.) I do not believe the AAP wants this type of liability for inaccuracies or not telling the entire truth about vaccines.

 

According to the FDA, other mercury containing vaccines (some of them used in children and pregnant or perspective mothers) include the DT vaccine (two of them by Sanofi Pasteur, Inc.), the DtaP vaccine (Tripedia2 Sanofi Pasteur, Inc), two TD vaccines (Mass Public Health and Sanofi Pasteur), the TT (Sanofi Pasteur), the Hep B (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals), the Hep A/Hep B, (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals), the Japanese Encephalitis (Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University), and the Meningococcal (Sanofi Pasteur) (1)

 

In summary, there are 16 vaccines with mercury including 5 commonly used in pediatrics and all of them commonly used multiple times throughout the lifetime of the individual.

 

Many of these vaccines are also injected into perspective mothers who, studies show, can pass mercury down to the child through both her umbilical cord and mother’s milk.

 

Pregnant women and breast-feeding women are also marketed the flu shots and that mercury can be considered a pediatric exposure (at least prenatal) since it is passed to the gestating or breast fed child.

 

 

 

 

Articles:

 

1. Attempts At Eradicating Infectious Diseases Are Putting Our Children At Risk

National Vaccine Information Center

By Barbara Loe Fisher, President, National Vaccine Information Center

 

2. MMR and the Simple Truth about Autism

Age of Autism Blog

By Dan Olmsted

February 7, 2008

 

3. What Did the CDC Know and When Did They Know It?

Age of Autism Blog

By Mark Blaxill

December 13, 2007

 

4. The Age of Autism: Pox — Part 1

By Dan Olmsted, UPI

April 19, 2006

 

5. In the Wake of Vaccines Mothering

By Barbara Loe Fisher

September-October 2004

 

6. Vaccines: The Overlooked Factors

Autism Research Institute

Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., President, Autism Research Institute

 

7. DAN! Vaccine Guidelines

Autism Research Institute

 

8. Putting Toddlers At Risk With Mandated Vaccines

American Association of Physicians and Surgeons Online

By Jane Orient, M.D., Executive Director, American Association of Physicians and Surgeons

9. Congressional Investigation of MercuryUS Rep. Dan Burton is the Senior Member on the Government Oversight and Reform Committee.  He has led a congressional hearing on the safety of vaccines with a focus on mercury in health care products including vaccines. 

The link below is to the report his committee published after a three year investigation about how vaccines and mercury in vaccines is likely to play a causal role in neurological disorders including autism.

Mercury in Medicine: Taking unnecessary risks

 

 

Books

 

1. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations

By Stephanie Cave

 

2. A Shot In The Dark

By Harris Coulter

 

3. The Vaccine Guide: Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults

By Randall Neustaeder

 

 

 

Links

 

1. National Vaccine Information Center

2. Vaccination News

3. Vacinfo.org

 

I found a great blog from The Whole Child: An Integrative Pediatrics Blog today and LOVE this idea.  With cinnamon having natural antibacterial properties (see Care2 for even more details), and the cold and flu season coming, our family needs all the help we can get.  I will definitely try this out.  See an excerpt from the blog below:

The Secret of Thieves

The NY Times “Really?” column today profiles cinnamon oil as a natural antibacterial, part of my home-made essential oil hand sanitizer recipe modeled on the infamous “Thieves” blend.  What is this “Secret of Thieves”?

Props to Young Living Essential Oils (YLEO), the company that has popularized “Thieves” as a natural alternative to chemical alcohol-based sanitizers.  Their blend is a patented mixture of cinnamon bark, clove, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus oils.  I have adapted this blend of oils for use as a DIY hand sanitizer, adding 1-2 drops of each oil (but 5 drops of the lemon oil – or grapefruit or orange, if you prefer) to a small dispenser bottle filled with filtered water and 1 tsp aloe vera gel.  We use it at the Whole Child Center and it’s been the feature of my last 2 Earth Day presentations at my children’s school.   We even made a cute how-to video.

I was looking at sandwich recipes (uninentionally) and saw one with a croissant—my WEAKNESS!  I am trying to try out the gluten-free diet to see if it helps my son and myself, however it is SO difficult and life changing.  Well, I started to wonder if there was such a thing as a gluten-free croissant and I came across this AMAZING blog, I’m sure I will be using a lot.  Below was her post—great photos!  Thank you so much Gluten Free Gobsmacked!

Gluten Free Homemade Croissants!

with 50 comments

Dear reader or fellow gluten-free lifestyler,

Do you know what I ate two nights ago for the first time in eight years? Something so delicious and delectable that I practically made myself ill because I couldn’t resist and I ate THREE of them! I’m talking about homemade gluten-free chocolate-filled Croissants. Yeap. Catch you breath. I said the magic word – CROISSANT and GLUTEN FREE in the same sentence.

Last December, I was emailed a recipe that I just wrote about for Crescent Rolls. I had been wondering for VERY long time how I could make croissants to eat with my morning latte filled with chocolate (or not) or fill with turkey and cheese or whatnot for lunches. Typical croissant recipes require yeast, milk, the gluten of flour to create the flaky layers, and resting/rising time that most gluten free recipes cannot duplicate. However, with super slight modifications from the recipe I posted for crescent rolls, I have been able to make croissants the last few nights that I have been enjoying for breakfast and lunch.

Homemade Croissants

It is a welcome change of pace for my taste buds.

The beauty is that this same technique (the rolling, turning, frozen grated butter) that has made the most tender and flaky pastry can also be used for filo dough. In fact, I have a little part of my mind planning to make some more baklava this weekend – oh babee! I’ve made baklava before following Rebecca Reilly’s recipes (Delish, by the way. This is a cookbook to own if you like to bake and also have to bake gluten-free. However, I was truly missing the flaky and tender pieces of filo dough that you normally have in baklava. I was curious about whether this dough would work for that – but was only convinced after my can-eat-gluten-but-doesn’t husband gobbled up a couple mini-croissants and exclaimed “Wow, Katie, you could make the best filo dough and baklava with this stuff.” Done. That’s *so* next on this baker’s agenda.

In the meantime, if you have some time on your hands and plenty of butter on hand, please make some croissants! You won’t regret it, I promise. You can fill them with whatever your heart desire. And trust me, you will want more of these buttery, flaky, tender croissants. I wish I could tell you what they are like on Day Three, but the ones I’ve made have yet to make it past Day Two!

In fact, for the first time ever, I’m rather bummed that my colleagues aren’t wondering what I’m eating for lunch because it looks so “normal” to them. It surprised my last night when that thought crossed my mind. Then I realized, they are usually curious about what I’m eating because they haven’t often seen quinoa salads or eaten homemade risotto or rice balls with smoked salmon. For once, when I want them to jump up and down with me on the desks at lunch, they are painfully unaware of my triumphant, scrumptious lunch. Meh. It’s for the better. They would all just want a bite anyway. LOL

My lunch today includes a croissant filled with turkey/white cheddar and one filled with broccoli/white cheddar cheese. I’m in heaven, don’t ya know. In fact, breakfast? Yeap. A croissant dunked into my coffee. Man, I’m bad! I have definitely had my butter intake for the next – oh – month or so, lol. But that’s okay. I am enjoying exploring the kitchen again.

This recipe takes time to prepare (more like time to roll out repeatedly and refrigerate), but after reviewing many gluten recipes for croissants over the last several years, the time is actually less involved than for traditional croissants.

I’m not good at rolling them up to look perfect, and have decided to stick with the mass-rolling technique of keeping them straight. Or, in the case of the ones filled with cheesy goodness or chocolate, I actually rolled them up a bit more like an egg roll + crescent to keep the filling within the croissant and not all over the baking pan. You can even seal in the goodness by filling, rolling over one flap over the top of the filling and brushing the edge with some beaten egg and folding up a *bit* (like 1/4″). Once you’ve done that, you can roll it like a crescent/croissant.

I do hope you try this recipe, please tell me if do! I’d love for us to keep this one on the exploration front – it’s worth it! Here are the basic steps I followed. Keep in mind that the croissants will NOT puff up/rise (there’s no yeast here) nor will they be as large as the ones you see at the market.

First, prepare batch of the crescent dough with the modifications I used plus a few others. I have retyped the recipe here because I have added a bit more of a few ingredients like cream of tartar, xanthan gum, baking soda, sugar and an additional flour (sweet rice flour).

I have also uploaded pictures of the steps (rolling) for you if they will help as well. Although, let me just say this, photography + massive amounts of sweet rice flour….. well, they just don’t always mix. LOL

Here’s the overall step-by-step picture. You can find details that explain each image on Flickr too. Just click on the big picture and it will take you to the Flickr page where you can read more.

Making Croissants

GF Croissants
Recipe makes 14 small-medium croissants.

Ingredients:
1 stick of butter, (8 Tablespoons) slightly softened
1 stick of butter, frozen
1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon GF cottage cheese
1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon GF cream cheese
1 cup GF Flour Mix (rice-based or sorghum-based)
2 Tablespoons of sweet rice flour + 1 ½ cups sweet rice flour for rolling
1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ Tablespoons sugar
1 or 2 eggs, beaten (to seal the croissants closed and brush on the croissants before baking)

Directions:

  1. Cream together softened butter, cream cheese, and cottage cheese until whipped, creamy and semi-yellow in color (about 3-4 minutes)
  2. Add GF Flour mix, 2 Tablespoons sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda and sugar. Mix together until the dough comes together – mostly away from the sides and begins to form a ball or lump in the middle of the mixer (about 3-4 minutes).
  3. Shape into a disk and place into a Ziploc bag. Refrigerate at least two hours, overnight preferred.
  4. Grate the frozen butter (I used my food processor) and put it into a freezer-safe storage container/bag. Return grated butter to the freezer until you are ready to use. (By the way, it will store indefinitely like this.)
  5. Work in a cool place or consider refrigerating the dough after Step 9). Place parchment paper, sweet rice, grated frozen butter, and the rolling pin on a large surface that you can easily reach to roll the dough thinly.
  6. Remove dough from the fridge and divide into fourths. Return 3 of the 4 to the Ziploc bag and place in the refrigerator.
  7. Reshape this ¼ piece into a disk quickly. (Try to touch the dough as little as possible in order to keep it as cold/cool as possible.)
  8. Generously dust the top of the parchment paper. Place the dough disk into the center on a generous amount of sweet rice flour. Generous dust the top and side of the dough. Cover with another piece of floured parchment paper. Roll the dough as thinly as possible (about 1/8 of an inch or so). You should be able to see through the dough partially. I was able to roll the dough about 22” long and about 15” wide.
  9. Turn the dough lengthwise. Generously sprinkle the middle 1/3 of the dough with the grated, still-frozen butter. Fold up the bottom third of the pastry over the top of the middle third. Sprinkle the grated, still-frozen butter over the top of the part you just folded on top. Fold down the top third of the dough to cover the center/butter again.
  10. Turn the dough and fold in any edges that are thin or not part of the folded center. Generously dust the top, sides, and bottom (lift the dough gently to push flour underneath) of the dough. Repeat the rolling and butter sprinkling (Steps 8 and 9) one more time. You will sprinkle the butter on twice and roll out three times.
  11. After the second sprinkling of butter and folding, turn the dough again and roll the dough out for it’s final time, once again rolling it as thinly as possible. Work quickly at this point as the dough is beginning to warm up again.
  12. Lift off the top parchment paper and divide the dough in half with a pizza cutter. Leave the dough lying flat along the parchment paper.
  13. Divide each half into long triangles with the pizza cutter. You will end up with 4 large triangles for each ¼ of the dough. At this point you may fill your croissants with pieces of dark chocolate or turkey/cheese, etc by placing your filling on the wide end of the triangle.
  14. Roll the croissant up from the wide end carefully (as the layers are thin). Seal the end (to keep it together during baking) by brushing beaten egg onto top ½ inch before finishing the roll. Shape into a crescent moon shape or leave in a roll.
  15. Brush the completed croissants with beaten egg (this provides them with a golden brown or they will turn a dark brown while baking).
  16. Lay the complete croissants on parchment paper and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. Repeat steps 7 through 15 with the remaining dough. OR bake the first batch, see what you need to adjust and then bake the others. The dough will keep refrigerated for two days.
  17. Bake the croissants at 375F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!
-Kate

I love, LOVE the show 18 kids and counting on TLC (although they have 18 kids now)—and in one of their first episodes they showed how to make your own laundry detergent and save HUGE, plus you eliminate those harmful chemicals—That’s exactly what I need, especially in this economy!

Cheap, and safe for my family.  It’s not often that the cheap stuff is also the stuff that’s good for you.  But THIS is!!!  So here’s the recipe, thank you Duggar family—God bless!

Introduction

Whether you have sensitive skin or just a desire to save money on household necessities, making your own laundry detergent like the Duggar family does is a simple project that you can whip up in your own kitchen. When you make your own detergent, you leave out the chemicals that manufactures use in theirs, AND your savings will be astronomical (I know one lady who spent less than $10 for an entire year’s worth of laundry detergent because she made her own). Here’s a simple-to-follow recipe that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar use to make their own laundry soap.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need

Steps

1

Step One

Grate your bar of soap. (It’s easier if you use a crank grater. If you use a regular box or flat grater, watch your fingers!)
2

Step Two

Mix the grated soap and 3 pints of water in a sauce pan on low heat, until the soap gratings have dissolved.
3

Step Three

Stir in washing soda.
4

Step Four

Stir in Borax.
5

Step Five

Stir until thickened.
6

Step Six

Remove from heat.
7

Step Seven

Add 1 quart of hot water to the 2 gallon container.
8

Step Eight

Add the soap mixture to the container.
9

Step Nine

Mix well. (If your container has a wide mouth, use a stirrer. If it has a narrow mouth, put the lid on and shake it.)
10

Step Ten

Add more hot water to the container until it’s almost full, leaving just enough room to mix it.
11

Step Eleven

Mix once more.
12

Step Twelve

Let the mixture set for 24 hours, or until it has thickened.
13

Step Thirteen

Use to clean your laundry, using 1/2 cup per full load.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add a few drops of essential oil for scent, if you’d like.
  • 4 cups = 1 quart

    1 pint = 2 cups

    I am always looking for an outstanding granola recipe—I’m a huge fan, but have not yet mastered this one.  This one sounds promising, and excludes some of the oil you find in others—yahoo!  So lets tryi it out…

    ow fat granola with millet

    Didn’t I mention something about cake? Cookies? Something toothsome, gooey and sweet? I swear this isn’t turning into a breakfast/vegan blog (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but this is how I’ve been eating lately. It’s spring outside…or at least it’s trying to be and I think it’s time for a dietary shake up for a bit. The cake and cookie recipes will come, I promise! Last week I picked up Mark Bittman’s hefty cookbook, How to Cook Everythingand found myself at his granola recipe. It intrigued me since it required no oil and there was a suggestion to throw quinoa or millet into the mix. It got me thinking, and just a few minutes later I found myself heading to the cupboard making up a low fat granola recipe.

    Now, I’m no slouch when it comes to making granola. My recipe archives contain recipes for peanut butter granola, cocoa-coconut granola, vanilla almond granola, and my no-fail granola. But despite my granola cred, I’ve never added millet. And dear readers, millet is a granola god-send! It adds such a snap, crackle, pop for the perfect bite of crunch. As for the no-oil, I couldn’t detect much difference between this one and my normal granola, so why not choose the low fat version instead? It’s delicious, filling and healthy breakfast and if you prepare a batch every Sunday evening then you have something to look forward to all week long.

    low fat granola with millet
    (Inspired by Mark Bittman)
    6 c organic oats (not quick)
    1/2 c millet (regular, uncooked millet)
    1 c dessicated coconut
    1/2 c sunflower seeds
    1/4 c flax seeds or ground flax
    1/2 c wheat germ
    1 c pecans
    1 generous T cinnamon
    1/2 t ground nutmeg
    1/4 t ground cloves
    1/2 t ground cardamom
    dash of salt
    1/2 c dried cranberries
    1/2 c raisins
    1/2 – 1 c maple syrup
    orange juice

    Heat oven to 300F. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients from the oats down to the salt. Drizzle in the maple syrup and stir well with a wooden spoon to get everything coated. Needs more liquids? Add in some more maple syrup or a bit of orange juice.

    Spread the mix out into a large baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally so that nothing burns. Add in the raisins and cranberries and bake until the granola turns golden and crisp, again making sure things don’t get too “golden”. Remove from oven and cool. Store in a sealed container. Serve with fresh fruit and yogurt.

    Thank you to Everybody likes sandwiches for this recipe!

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