Back to Basics: Homemade Organic Kale Chips

Kale chips are a delicious anytime snack and healthy alternative to junk food & store bought chips. 

It took me a long time of hearing about Kale Chips before I actually took the plunge and made my own.  A leafy green as a chip?  It just didn’t make much sense to me, but I knew it was definitely a healthy snack… and for that reason alone, I wanted to try it.

So I did!  And here’s how:

First, grab a bunch of organic kale:

Wash the kale thoroughly.  Dirt is usually trapped within the leaves/close to stem, so make sure you remove all of the dirt.  Then, rip or cut the leaves from the stem.  After you wash the leaves, it is important to thoroughly dry them! — spin in a salad spinner and pat dry with paper towels.  If you don’t have a salad spinner, toss the leaves and dry well with paper towels.  Your kale should be mostly dry/as dry as you can get it.  If it’s wet, it will not become crispy like it should when you bake it.

After your kale is washed and dried, toss kale with approx 2 tablespoons of olive oil (depending on how much kale you’re using…use your own judgement. You don’t want your leaves to be saturated with oil, just lightly coated).

*somewhere in here, preheat oven to 350 degrees*

Sprinkle salt over leaves to taste.  Don’t go crazy with the salt!  Once the kale bakes, it will shrink and the salt will be more concentrated. You can always add more at the end).  Toss leaves.

Next, cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread leaves in a single layer.  It is best to not allow leaves to overlap.  You’ll probably end up using multiple baking sheets, depending on how much kale was used.

Finally, put the kale in preheated oven for approx. 12 minutes (at 350 degrees, although you can get the same results by playing around with different times & temperatures).  I usually bake let it go for about 8 minutes, then flip the leaves and finish up baking for another 4 minutes.  The leaves should be crisp and dried out.

The kale will be shriveled and darker, as pictured above.  Watch the leaves closely while in the oven and don’t let them burn!

Done!!  Seal in a large, ziplock bag.

Making Homemade Kale Chips is soo easy and literally takes about 15-20 minutes in total.  DO IT!



Raw Milk Vending Machines in France

Because I skipped the Back to Basics post yesterday (Sorry! Busy lately)…here’s an article (by NaturalNews) that I’ve read recently…it’s quite interesting, and I’m quite jealous:

"While California persecutes raw milk farmers, France unveils raw milk vending machines for happy, healthy consumers"

(NaturalNews.com)



Check out this graphic by NaturalNews.com which shows a great & simplified comparison of Raw vs. Pasteurized milk

http://www.naturalnews.com/035130_raw_milk_infographic_pasteurized.html

Check out this graphic by NaturalNews.com which shows a great & simplified comparison of Raw vs. Pasteurized milk

http://www.naturalnews.com/035130_raw_milk_infographic_pasteurized.html



Back to Basics: The Organic Milk Deception

Organic milk (from a grocery store) may not be what you think it is.  It really makes me sad to see people at grocery stores spending double the price of regular, pasteurized milk, because they think they are doing good for themselves by buying “organic” milk.  See, the problem is that organic milk brands such as Horizon and Organic Valley ultra-pasteurize their organic milk, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. (NOTE: Organic Valley DOES sell organic milk that is traditionally pasteurized, & not ultra-pasteurized, but I’ve noticed most stores only stock the ultra-pasteurized variety.  Look out for that and if it’s ultra-pasteurized, don’t buy it.  At least I wouldn’t…what a waste of money.)

"Organic" milk can easily win a consumer over by the USDA Organic stamp alone.  But those won over simply by the idea of organic, ultra-pasteurized milk probably don’t completely understand the process of ultra-pasteurization, what it does, and how.  Here’s the breakdown:

The cows are hormone, anti-biotic, and steroid free.  (This is, obviously, a good thing, and is better than the antibiotic and hormone laced milk we get from conventional store bought milk).  However, ultra-pasteurized organic milk is pasteurized even more than the regular, non-organic milk (which doesn’t make any sense to me!). — The milk is heated beyond what it needs to be heated to in order to sell regular, pasteurized milk (hence the name, ULTRA-pasteurized).  The organic milk is heated to a temperature of 280 degrees (F), in comparison to regular pasteurization temperature of about 161 degrees (F).    The high temp pasteurization kills so much of the natural nutrients & enzymes in the milk itself that the milk you end up drinking is completely dead and nutrition-less.  The milk is so dead that the ultra-pasteurized milk sold by these brands does not even need to be refrigerated.  They have an extended shelf life, and can remain unrefrigerated for up to 6 months — ever see those little individual cartons of Horizon or Organic Valley milk that are sold on the shelves/in the aisles of grocery stores rather than in the refrigerated section?  Yep, that’s why.  And the 1/2 gallons and gallons of ultra-pasteurized organic milk that is sold in the refrigerated section is only to appease the minds of consumers, and to have the product be sold where the other milk products are sold — not everyone feels comfortable buying milk that hasn’t been refrigerated…and rightfully so.

Additionally, milk proteins are very fragile, and high heat such as the heat ultra-pasteurized milk is subjected to, damages milk proteins so badly that our bodies can no longer properly digest or recognize that protein.  Because our bodies enzymes can only properly digest undamaged milk proteins, the milk proteins end up undigested and often leak into the bloodstream. (Since practically all of us who have had been eating a modern day diet have some form of what is called “leaky gut”. - find out more about how this works in the answer segment here). When the proteins enter the bloodstream, your body creates an immune response since it cannot recognize those proteins.  The immune response your body creates turns out as the many symptoms of auto immune disorders, including: allergies, asthma, fatigue, eczema, infections, headaches, etc. The immune response your body creates can possibly, overtime, create dairy allergies and intolerances.

But of course, regular pasteurized, hormone and antibiotic filled, store bought milk from confined cows isn’t healthy either.  So what’s the best option?

Raw Milk fresh from a farm!  Raw milk is the most nutritious milk you can get (talk about getting your money’s worth…), and It’s really not much more ($) than the ultra-pasteurized organic milk you may have been buying already…really!  It may even be around the same price depending on where you live.  There are most likely farm co-ops that deliver to your area, or even to your door, so seek one out (no excuses)!  If farm fresh raw milk is absolutely not an option (maybe your not as lucky as I am to have local farm co-op’s deliver when the nearest farm is way too far), shop for low pasteurized, organic milk!  It DOES exist, but you’ll have to go out of your way to find it.  It most likely also has to come directly from a local farm, but check your local Whole Foods.  Whole Foods stocks local products, so that may be your best bet if you can’t find it at a farmers market.  If I run out of raw milk, I either go without, or buy Natural By Nature organic, grass-fed (grass-fed is also an important factor of any dairy product!…more on this another time), low-pasteurized milk .   And it’s local too!



Back to Basics: Chipotle’s Commercial Gets Airtime During the Grammy’s!

I posted months ago about the Chipotle commercial, which supports going back to basics and sustainable farming.  And tonight, that awesome commercial actually had national airtime during the Grammy’s!!  That is so exciting!!

I love that commercial and everything it stands for. I only hope that the people watching actually understood the strong message, not just in regards to Chipotle, but for all aspects of the farming and food industries.



Back to Basics: Homemade Toothpaste

Here are the homemade toothpaste/tooth powder recipes I’ve promised from last week’s Back to Basics post, regarding why store-bought toothpaste is not as beneficial as you may think it is.

Remember, you want to steer clear of harmful store-bought toothpastes that contain: Fluoride, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Saccharin, glycerin, and any artificial colors (such as: FD&C Blue 1, FD&C Red 3, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Red 33, and Yellow 10 Lake), and any other chemical ingredient. Research the ingredients in your hygiene products! 

First, let’s look at the ingredients I choose to use to make homemade toothpaste & why:

  • Baking soda:  Cleans teeth, whitens teeth, and freshens breath. Going “back to basics”, baking soda has been used as a teeth cleaning agent for years, and is still used in today’s commercial toothpastes.  Baking soda is also alkaline and will neutralize the acids that are lingering in your mouth & on your teeth from consuming acidic foods/drinks.  Acidity can erode enamel & causes cavities.
  • Sea Salt: Natural anti-septic, used for years.  Kills bacteria that cause plaque, and cleanses teeth & gums.
  • Xylitol:  A natural, non-fermentable sugar that not only sweetens the toothpaste, but protects against cavities as well. Xylitol has the opposite effect of traditional sugar.  While sugar helps bacteria grow & thrive by creating an acidic environment, Xylitol cannot be fermented, and therefore protects against the growth of bacteria and helps to prevent cavities, helps with the re-mineralization of teeth, & eliminates plaque.
  • White Kaolin Clay: Earth’s clay has been used for years by our ancestors for various cosmetic and healing purposes.  Clay has been known to cleanse & purify the skin by pulling toxins and pollutants from the skin when used as a mask, and have also been used in toothpastes and mouthwashes for the same purpose.  When clay is used in the mouth, it purifies, cleanses and rids the mouth of bad bacteria. Kaolin clay is also known to polish the tooth’s surface, while gently removing surface stains and plaque.
  • Eggshells: Probably the best natural source of calcium, since eggshells are calcium & other trace minerals.  The composition of eggshells are very similar to our bones & teeth.  Eggshells are easily absorbable.  Finely ground eggshells make calcium powder.  However, only use organic, pastured-eggs, not store bought (factory farmed) eggs.  Factory farmed/store bought eggs are not very nutritious…if the chicken does not get proper nutrients, the eggshells will not be filled with all of the nutrients we need, and instead will be weak & easily breakable (therefore, have less calcium).  If you don’t have healthy eggshells available, use calcium powder instead.
  • Coconut oil: Great for the gums and is anti-bacterial.  Coconut oil kills bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Aloe Vera gel (in it’s pure, liquid form): Aloe has been used for centuries as a home remedy.  For toothpaste purpose, it cleanses and soothes teeth and gums, as it is also anti-bacterial.
  • Myrrh Essential Oil:  Great for the mouth & gums!  This oil has been used for cleaning and purifying since ancient times and is known to keep gums healthy & eliminate mouth sores/infections. It is antiseptic by nature, and also stimulates circulation, which is great for the mouth and gums.
  • Peppermint Essential Oil:  Anti-bacterial and provides a minty fresh scent to breath, and a minty taste to homemade toothpaste.

After much research and thought, here is the toothpaste recipe I like to use: (you can feel free to add or remove ingredients based off of your own research, and change measurements as you see fit.  I use measurements of my own based off of research and personal wants/needs, and personal opinion).

1/2 cup baking soda (finely ground*)
1/4 cup finely ground* sea salt
1/4 cup finely ground* xylitol
2 tablespoons Kaolin clay
2 tbs finely ground* eggshells (organic, pastured-eggs from a farm.  I wouldn’t do this with factory farmed, store bought eggs.  You can replace the eggshells with calcium powder if necessary).
Essential oils (I use myrrh & peppermint)

To use as a toothpowder, use recipe above and sprinkle onto toothbrush & brush gently.  If you’d rather have more of a paste consistency like I do, use the following:
A few tablespoons coconut oil (I used 2 tbs)
1-2 tsp aloe vera (pure aloe vera, in it’s liquid form/aloe vera juice)

Store in small glass jar or bowl if you made paste (the wet Kaolin clay CANNOT be stored in plastic, as it will absorb the toxins from the plastic.  As a tooth powder (in dry form), it can be stored in plastic).

*For ingredients marked “finely ground”, I literally grind these ingredients (in small portions) into a fine powder in a small coffee grinder (Krups Electric Coffee Grinder, $19.00).  It works fabulously.  The reason for grinding these ingredients is simple:  They’d be too abrasive on the tooth’s enamel otherwise.  Although some people do use baking soda whole and brush strictly with baking soda alone, I feel that it is too abrasive to use on a daily basis (in it’s whole, un-ground form).  Some dentists say it’s fine and good for your teeth, others say it’s okay to use, but maybe only once a week instead of daily, while other’s disagree completely and say it is too abrasive. Well, to be safe, I grind all of my “too abrasive” ingredients, including baking soda, to a fine grind.

I make this recipe, which allows me to have more than I need for one small jar (think baby-food jar), which is probably about 2-3 tablespoons of the tooth powder (dry) mixture.  Then I mix about equal amounts of coconut oil, and 1-2 teaspoons of aloe vera to form a paste.  I store the extra dry ingredients that are already mixed together in a zip lock bag so when I run out of toothpaste in the future, I just have to mix together a few tablespoons or so the dry ingredients with the coconut oil and aloe vera, and I’ll have a new jar of toothpaste.  Quick & easy.  I could also always use the dry ingredients as a powder, of course, but for now, I’m sticking with the paste.

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*I obviously am not a dentist or a professional of any kind, & all of the information I have is based off of my own research & opinion and is not meant for treating or curing any hygiene disease.  I simply make homemade products for my own personal use, and I’m offering the recipe for my homemade toothpaste for those who would like to make and use their own all natural toothpaste.  That doesn’t mean you will be cavity-free!



Back to Basics: Homemade Granola Bars (Recipe #2)

This weeks Back to Basics post is a homemade, no-bake granola bar recipe.  I’ve previously posted a homemade granola bar recipe here, along with a short explanation on why it’s important to make your own rather than continue to eat store bought granola bars.  Also, it’s important to remember to soak and dry all of your ingredients beforehand (I mentioned how I do this at the end of my previous granola bar recipe post).  I always soak my ingredients in large batches so that I can have already soaked ingredients on hand for whenever I need to make another batch of granola bars (we need to have a constant supply of granola bars at all times in our house). 

I decided to post a new granola bar recipe for this week’s post since I’ve been making different kinds of granola bars, and this one has become one of our favorites:

INGREDIENTS:

2.5 cups rolled oats  (soaked & dried)

1.5 cups nuts and/or seeds (I used equal amounts of sunflower & pumpkin seeds - soaked & dried)

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup raisins

6 tablespoons salted butter (organic, grass-fed!)

1/2 cup sugar (I use Sucanat or Rapadura)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons honey (I use raw honey)

2 tablespoon molasses

DIRECTIONS:

1. Mix oats, raisins, coconut, and nuts/seeds in large bowl.

2. Heat butter, sugar, cinnamon, honey and molasses in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is heated evenly (slightly bubbling)  and all ingredients are well incorporated.

3. Remove from heat and stir into oat mixture until evenly coated with large spoon. press and fold until all dry ingredients are covered in liquid mixture.  Mixture will be sticky, keep folding ingredients until everything is moist.  Let sit just until cool enough to handle

4. In the meantime, line a 9×11 (or 7x11) inch pan with plastic wrap/wax paper. Spoon mixture into pan, pressing down with spoon to compact. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm granola. Remove from pan, peel away plastic wrap/wax paper and slice into bars. Wrap individually in plastic wrap or wax paper, if desired.

I store mine in the refrigerator, but these can be stored at room temperature as well.  As you can see from the picture above, I choose to wrap this batch in small plastic sandwich bags for convenience since we use them as snacks on the go.

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***NOTE:  FUTURE BACK TO BASICS POSTS WILL BE ON SUNDAYS, STARTING THIS UPCOMING WEEK!!  I WILL TEST SUNDAYS OUT FOR THE TIME BEING, BUT MOST LIKELY WILL STICK WITH SUNDAYS.  I WILL MAKE A NOTE OF ANY CHANGES, IF FOR SOME REASON I DECIDE TO CHANGE THE DAY AGAIN IN THE FUTURE (UNLIKELY).  I will post a reminder about this again when I make a post tomorrow (the day of my Tumblr anniversary!) ***



Eat REAL food!

Nina Planck talks about real food vs. industrial food, & the myths we’ve been told (and mostly still believe, unfortunately).



"Top 25 Ingredients in Taco Bell's 'Beef'."

What’s really in that Taco Bell Beef ______ you love? Find out by clicking the link above.

As it turns out, Taco Bell “beef” is actually only made up of 36% cow meat, aka: beef.

This means the other 64% is all filler.  Yuck.  Check the link for the top 25 ingredients list of this highly processed “food”.