Baking with Molasses

There’s one thing that I quite often mention when bringing up food: that I am not very good at sticking to a recipe. I tend to add to, subtract from, and change amounts of almost 99.999999999999….% of the time. My quick reading and doing got me into trouble this time. (Recipes will come after the science. You know the drill!)

Money is very tight right now, due to almost no work all winter, so I have no honey and no maple syrup and no money to buy them with. We don’t use sugar anymore (we’re doing SO great with that!); it’s not an option. However, molasses is extremely cheap when you compare the usage and price of molasses to the usage and price of honey or maple syrup. I can buy a gallon of honey for $50-$90 locally, a gallon of maple syrup for $50, and a gallon of molasses for Continue reading Baking with Molasses

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Yucky, Yucky Dish Soap

When I posted about my kitchen sink, I was in love with my Method Clementine dish soap. Now, I’m so far removed from that love that I believe I could say I hate it.

About a month ago, I began itching while washing dishes. Thinking I was having a sensitive-skin day for whatever reason, I ignored it. As most things do, it escalated. To a rash. The rash would appear a few moments into washing dishes, then disappear thirty minutes later. If you’re thinking it’s a heat rash, you’re missing a key part: I take showers in water as hot as the dish water, so heat rash is a no-go. Very confused, I decided to see what the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) website, SkinDeep.com, rated my beloved Method Clementine dish soap . I tentatively typed “Method Clementine” in the search bar and forced myself to click “go.” The results loaded, and I saw the dreaded rating: 4 for fair.

I was hoping for a 2… 3 at the highest. You see, the lower the rating, the better the product is for you. I decided to delve into the ingredients list to find exactly why it was given a 4.  And I found my problem.Irritation of the skin, eyes, or lungs? Check. Since I am not using a product with a rating above 3, I am going to stop buying Method and begin the search for a “homemade” dish soap. (Yes, I will not use a 4, but may use a 3. “What’s one number?” you may ask. To which I respond: what’s one cigarette? Standards are fences that protect our convictions.) When I find a good soap, I’ll definitely let you know. Right now, I’m a little upset. I love Method, but I will not use a product that claims to be good for the environment but it isn’t good for me.

New Year’s Resolutions

I hate them. But I need them. My resolutions tend to be made with such zeal, then collapse on a crazy day. And after one day is missed, it’s so tempting to take a week off. And a month. Shame tackles me, but I just keep putting off the dreaded day of starting again. Laziness maybe? Danny tells me that I am not lazy, I just have other priorities. I think that’s a nice way of saying I’m lazy.

This year, I have a new perspective: tell you what my resolutions are. The thought of failing in public will keep my going. I think. Here are two of my resolutions. Hold me to them, please!

1- Post on the blog at least once a week. I’m sorry that I have once, again, ignored updating you. I have plenty that I could post, I just haven’t… for one reason or another. But it will be put on my daily to-do list so that I (hopefully) won’t forget again.

2- Cut out 99.9999…% of our sugar consumption. We honestly don’t eat much sugar; we stick to honey and maple syrup. Sugar is sneaky. It tiptoes into our ketchup, salad dressings, cakes, and even taco seasonings! There’s absolutely no reason why I cannot stop buying or making foods that contain sugar. I began our year with whole wheat spice cake (made with 3/4 whole wheat flour and maple syrup) and topped with cream cheese frosting (also made with syrup). And- can you guess?!- it was delicious. I have never had a better spice cake.

Those are just two of my resolutions. What are yours?

On the Road Again

I didn’t die.  I’m not in a coma, and I didn’t lose my fingers in a tragic bowling accident.  I just haven’t gotten around to blogging.

I picked up a Precor 9.10 treadmill from the early 80s yesterday.  I’ve been passively watching for a treadmill on Craigslist, but most of what I found was overpriced, underbuilt, or sold before I could get to it.  I finally found the Precor a couple town over for free.  It was listed “for parts or repair.”  Turned out it was a simple and free fix so I now have a very nice free treadmill that’s older than me.

I hate running in the cold, so this treadmill might push me to run with a little more regularity.  As in, more than once every 3 months.  Mornings have been so cold lately that I haven’t had the motivation to get up and go, and the daylight in the evenings is so short I’d rather spend it doing other things.  But thanks to Craiglist, no more excuses.

I’ve been mostly running barefoot when I do run, but my form still isn’t correct.  I get pretty bad blisters after about a mile.  I know I’m over-striding and pushing off with my back foot, but knowing the problem and correcting it are two different things.  Once my 6 blisters heal, I’ll be back at it.

Whole Foods and Your Health, Part 7: Saccharin

       A. Additives
             1. MSG
             2. Preservatives
                 a. BHA and BHT
                 b. Aluminum
                 c. Nitrates and Nitrites
            3. Food Coloring
            4. Sweeteners
                 a. High Fructose Corn Syrup
                 b. Sugar
                 c. Artificial Sweeteners
                      1. Saccharin


I’ve talked about High Fructose Corn Syrup and sugar and just how much Americans consume in a year. But there are also artificial sweeteners competing for the spotlight. We’ve heard many things about artificial sweeteners over the years, both good and bad. We’ve heard that they are healthy; they help you lose weight and they don’t raise your blood sugar. We’ve heard they cause cancer. So what is true and what isn’t?

When I was pregnant with Bella, my doctor told me to stay away from artificial sweeteners. I agreed, and didn’t think any more about it… until I researched the sweeteners.

Saccharin was discovered in 1879 at Johns Hopkins University. It is seen as an excellent alternative to sugar because it contains no calories. Diabetics can use saccharin without worry; saccharin does not have the same effect on blood glucose levels as sugar does. Saccharin.org states,

Indeed, the future looks bright for saccharin. With the growing popularity of light foods and beverages, saccharin will continue to have a significant role. All of which confirms that although it is the world’s oldest artificial sweetener, it still has plenty of “new” in it, even after all these years.

Is saccharin safe?

After a study conducted by D. L. Arnold and published in 1977, the FDA proposed a ban on saccharin. The study showed cancerous tumors in male lab rats who had consumed saccharin. Continue reading Whole Foods and Your Health, Part 7: Saccharin

Cancer in Lab Rats linked to Cancer in Humans?

This post is a side note to Whole Foods and Your Health, Part 7: Saccharin, in which I mentioned saccharine being declared “safe” in 2000.

Results from subsequent carcinogenicity studies (studies that examine whether a substance can cause cancer) of these sweeteners have not provided clear evidence of an association with cancer in humans.

In other words, there’s an association between artificial sweeteners and cancer in lab animals. Do humans experience the same side effects to foods as mice and rats? Continue reading Cancer in Lab Rats linked to Cancer in Humans?

Why the Breakfast Most Americans Will Eat Today Is a Corporate Scam

Ah, an article that goes perfectly with my just-posted Whole Foods and Your Health, Part 6: Sugar.

Why the Breakfast Most Americans Will Eat Today Is a Corporate Scam

Wake up and smell the McCafé: Cold cereal, donuts and orange juice are breakfast staples because somebody somewhere wanted money. Breakfast in America is a Scam.

Not all of it. But nearly every breakfast staple — cold cereal, donuts, yogurt, bagels and cream cheese, orange juice, frappuccino — is a staple only because somebody somewhere wanted money. Wake up and smell the McCafé. 

Seeking to provide sanitarium patients with meatless anti-aphrodisiac breakfasts in 1894, Michigan Seventh-Day Adventist surgeon John Kellogg developed the process of flaking cooked grains. Hence Corn Flakes. Hence Rice Krispies. Hence a rift between Kellogg and his business partner/brother, who wanted to sweeten Kellogg’s cereals in hopes of selling more. Guess who won.