Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cavity Fighting, Remineralizing Toothpaste

And, it's squeezable!  How about that?  :)  I took a recipe from Wellness Mama and mixed it up a bit with some info that I've learned along the way on our Cure Tooth Decay journey.

The first ingredient in the original recipe is Calcium Carbonate Powder.  Or Calcium Magnesium Powder.  These can be purchased at Vitacost for relatively cheap!  (If you've never purchased from them before, may I introduce you to a friendly referral code so we could both get $10 off?  Just click here - Vitacost referral.)

However, what I did was that I used cell salts.  Cell salts are a part of the recommended protocol for healing tooth decay by supplying important minerals that help heal and harden bones.  Is it cost effective for this?  No.  Not really.  But I had then on hand already and I thought they would make a great substitute.  So, using the powder above is a more cost effective route.  I used 1 teaspoon of each of the following cell salts, #1 - Calc Fluor, #2 - Calc Phos, #8 - Mag Phos, #10 Nat. Phos, and #12 Silicea.  To learn more about the importance of cell salts to a healing regimen, check out this link.

Next is xylitol powder.  I use crystals and just ground them up in my food processor along with the cell salt tabs.  While most xylitol is a GMO product because it's made from corn, you'll want to look for a pure birch xylitol. Particularly if you are using it in something that will be ingested.  Vitacost carries both types of products.  The birch xylitol is quite expensive.  So for ME, as long as it's not being ingested, I use the GMO product.  It's usefullness at preventing the bacteria that causes decay is noteworthy.  And as I mentioned, we aren't swallowing or ingesting the toothpaste.  Therefore in this recipe I just used the regular ol' Vitacost brand of xylitol.  For more information on how xylitol is helpful in oral care, this link might help a bit.

Coconut oil is used in this recipe.  I used Vitacost brand of this as well.  Coconut oil helps bring everything together, plus it's just SO good for you!  It has anti bacterial and healing properties all of it's own.

Baking Soda.  Any kind will do.  This is helpful for balancing the pH of the mouth and even to gently polish and whiten the teeth.

Bentonite Clay.  I purchased a 1 pound bag of it from Frontier.  You can also get it at Vitacost as well if you don't have access to a wholesale group to get it a bit cheaper.  This particular ingredient is supposed to help with the remineralization due to the calcium that is in it.  As well as draw out any toxins that may be in the mouth or on the teeth contributing to the loss of minerals.

Distilled Water.  I did not use water.  Instead I opted to use vodka.  As soon as water is introduced to a recipe, you run the risk of growing bacteria, fungus, or molds.  Vodka, is an alcohol (Duh!) and therefore will act as a preservative and prevent bacteria or molds from growing.

Essential oils and trace minerals.  I LOVE (and am an affiliate for) Mountain Rose Herbs certified organic essential oils.  I opted to use a bit of Cinnamon Bark, Clove Oil, and some homemade Black Walnut Hull tincture.  Black Walnut Hull has some amazing healing benefits and is even being researched for use in some cancer treatments!  For this recipe, I'm using it for the purpose of strengthening and restoring tooth enamel.  It also helps destroy germs and bacteria!  Which is a major bonus for any of us doing this journey to heal tooth decay.  Clove oil helps improve blood circulation and also is a powerful pain reliever, as well as being anti bacterial and anti septic and is known to freshen bad breath.  Thankfully, my kids aren't having any tooth aches or pains, but if they were, this would be a great help for that.  And finally Cinnamon Bark.  It is a very strong anti bacterial essential oil.  I would NEVER advise using it 'neat' or undiluted.  In this recipe, I used it very sparingly.  I actually only added it for a hint of cinnamon flavor since it would be used for kids and peppermint is not advised for children's use.

Ok, so here's how the recipe looked in the end after I made a much a smaller amount and switched up some stuff.

5 teaspoons of cell salts (or you can use your calcium powder, etc)
3 teaspoons of xylitol
4 teaspoons of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of bentonite clay
3 teaspoons of vodka
8 drops each of clove oil and cinnamon bark (*optional!  I don't recommend if using for kids!!!)
20 drops of black walnut hull tincture

First, I took all the dry items and crushed them up in my food processor.  The cell salts (or your calcium powder), the baking soda, bentonite clay, and xylitol.

Alternatively, you could use the Birch Xylitol.

This is what it all looks like as a powder before you add in the liquids.

Ok, then dump all of that out into a bowl and add you coconut oil and vodka.

Then add in your essential oils of choice.

Mix it all up together really well.

I picked up a 3 oz squeeze tube at Walmart in the travel container section for 97 cents.  It is NOT BPA free however.  For some, you may want to invest in something other than the walmart one.  That's totally cool!  I get it!  But since BPA is most often the concern for when the plastic is heated and this toothpaste is not warmed for any reason, I am not too overly concerned about chemicals leaching, and I'm trying to work on a tiny budget.  So, this worked for me.

And the final product.

It's a nice consistency and squeezes out really easily.  This recipe only filled the tube about half way so realistically it could probably be doubled for a full container.  It doesn't bubble like store bought toothpaste, but it does a good job of cleaning our teeth.

So there ya go!  A homemade toothpaste recipe.  :)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Making Beef Tallow

Beef tallow is one of those things that unless you're a whole foodie like me, that you'd probably never even THINK of using!  I mean, a few years ago the very thought of cooking in animal fat was a huge no no in my mind!  The very idea that people cooked in or consumed any amount of fat was just appalling to me!  Didn't they know that's how you got fat!?

Ha ha ha!  Oh how I've learned differently!  Of course!  I mean, I make my own butter now too and you couldn't pay me to buy margarine.  So, why not find animal fats useful for cooking as well?  Not only is it good for cooking, it's also useful for making soap!  Beautiful, wonderful, lovely soap!

So today, I'm going to show you how incredibly easy it is to take a humongous slab of cow fat and turn it into something useful.

I'll start by saying that if you choose to use your tallow for food consumption, PLEASE be sure that it is from 100% pure grass fed pastured beef.  Know your farmer, know your food.  ;)  However, if you only plan to use your tallow for soap, then you can utilize any beef suet (fat) that you can get a hold of.

I called around to see what I could come up with.  My local farmer that we buy our bulk beef from was willing to sell me some grass fed suet for $1.50 a pound.  When we buy our 1/4 cow, he always throws in the suet as part of the package deal anyway, but if I were to buy it separately, then that was has asking price.  Not a bad deal for high quality suet that I'd feel good about frying up some potatoes in!

A nearby meat locker was willing to sell me their grain fed beef suet for $1.20 a pound.  And better still, the little butcher shop right down the road from me was willing to GIVE it away!  So free, of course, is always better.  :)  I was able to pick up 15 pounds of beef fat for nothing.  Most places simply throw away the fat anyway, so they truly aren't out anything by giving it away.  However, because it is not grass fed, this will only be used for soap. I'm not a big bird person, but of course this could also be used for suet bird feeders as well.

So of course your first step is to obtain some beef fat. AKA suet.

Cut it in some chunks or cubes.  The smaller it is, the faster and more efficiently it will melt down.  Leaving it in large chunks makes for a much longer process.   I did get lazy towards the end and make bigger pieces cause my arm was about to break and I physically could not cut any more.  But smaller is better.

Throw it in a large pot and turn it on Medium - Medium High and just let it melt.  

Let it melt, simmer, cook down until the remaining pieces of fat turn brown and crispy and all of the oil that is usable is out of it.  Then you'll strain it.

I forgot to take a picture of this step.  Sorry!  I used my large mesh over-the-sink strainer with a large piece of an old clean t shirt cut to line it, then sat it over the largest stainless steel bowl I had and just let it strain.

Once that was done, I put it in some baking dishes I'd lined with wax paper.  Previously when I did this I just poured it straight into some glass mason jars, but it was incredibly difficult to get it out once it was hardened. This time around,  I put it in the baking dishes, and let it set on the counter until it had slightly hardened and then put it in the freezer to continue hardening.

When it was fully hardened, I turned it over dumping it out, breaking it into pieces, and then froze it in Ziploc baggies in 1 pound portions.

Now, whenever I'm ready to make some soap, I've got my beef tallow ready too!  :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Stuffed Spinach Rolls

This is quickly becoming a new favorite in our home. Stuffed shells have been a favorite of my husband's ever since we first met.  In fact, that was the dinner I had made for him the night he proposed to me!  So giving up grains and pastas have been pretty difficult for us in finding a good use for the dozen or so jars of homemade pasta sauce stored away in the basement.

This is a really simple idea and like most of my recipes, I don't have exact measurements.  I don't really measure stuff unless I have to and I'm a throw it together kind of gal, but I'll do my best here with approximate amounts.

A run down of ingredients:

Mozzarella Cheese
Ricotta or Cottage Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Cheese can be made with raw milk for extra nutritional value.  I recommend Cultures For Health starter cultures, as well as their recipes linked on their website for lots of great homemade cheeses.

Ground Beef
Small Onion
Fresh Spinach Leaves
Spaghetti Sauce

You could also add in some dried basil, or other herbs.  You could mix half sausage and half beef.  There are tons of variations on this.

Brown up a pound of grass fed hamburger along with 1 small diced onion.  While that's cooking, sort your spinach leaves.  Find the biggest and best ones you have that don't have any holes or tears in them.  Preheat the oven for 350.

When your meat is fully cooked, drain, and let slightly cool.  Then add in about a cup of cottage cheese, or ricotta cheese, and about a 1/4-1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Mix thoroughly.

Put a small amount of your sauce on the bottom of  pan to coat.

Take one spinach leaf and place a spoon full of your filling in it.

Wrap your leaf around the filling and then place in your dish seam side down.

Top with sauce and freshly shredded mozzarella cheese.

Place into your preheated 350 degree oven and let bake until the cheese is brown and bubbly.  About 45 minutes.

This recipe actually makes about a 9 x 13 inch pan.  I split it into 2 dishes so I'd have enough for another meal.

I recently took this to a potluck type dinner and to my surprise, it was gobbled right up by others and I got complements on how good it was, so I guess it's a keeper.  :)  We sure like it!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

One Dish Chicken & Vegetable Bake

This is one of our FAVORITE family meals!  It dates way back to our pre children days when we used to cook this up in aluminum foil on the grill.  We never seem to make enough.  Ever.  As I've evolved in my "crunchiness", I no longer use aluminum foil, but instead bake it in glass in the oven.  I can make a lot more at a time this way too.  :)  AND all year round!  Not just when it's nice outside.

Hot and steamy from the oven.

So the first thing I did was to gather all my ingredients.  I'm one of the lucky people that gets to have an amazingly large garden in the summer so this meal was completely home grown, except the chicken.  We did not use our own chickens on this.  :)

This is the really fun part.  You can use whatever you like, or have on hand.  You don't HAVE to use my ingredients at all!  This is just an idea to get you started for a great meal that everyone loves.

What I added in were some red potatoes*, carrots, broccoli, onions, sweet banana peppers*, and a bunch of herbs.  I just went out and pulled whatever was ready.  The herbs I threw in were fennel, basil, oregano, marjoram, sage, and thyme.

*Potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes are part of the night shade family.  According to the Cure Tooth Decay book, it says that if you are having problems getting decay to halt after all other diet eliminations, you may want to consider removing these from the diet as well.  Sweet potatoes are a better alternative to regular potatoes if you have them.

Cut up the chicken and put it in the bottom of your baking dish.

Then layer in the vegetables according to the ones that need to cook longest.  Carrots, then onions, then potatoes, then broccoli.

Top with herbs.  Dried herbs work really great here too.  They don't have to be fresh.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Then drizzle with some coconut oil and a bit of HFCS free Teriyaki Sauce**.

**If you make a homemade Teriyaki, it will have a small amount of honey or other sweetener.  While we want to stay away from sweet stuff when healing decay, the amount in this is minuscule, really.  But use your discretion and you could always simply leave this ingredient out.  :)

Ok, once it's all assembled, cover and put in your preheated oven at 350 for an hour.  Check your carrots after that to see if they are done or if they need a few more minutes.  Then serve!  Delish!