Friday, May 13, 2011

Crockpot Yogurt

I love my crockpot. It is the mother of all kitchen electrics so I was ecstatic when I learned how to make yogurt in the crockpot! You can make crockpot yogurt with whatever milk you prefer. We use coconut milk, but you can also use almond, rice, cow, hemp, and soy. It could not be easier and it saves counter space by not having an additional yogurt making machine.

1. Pour 1/2 gallon of whatever milk you have chosen into your crockpot (we use organic coconut). Turn your crockpot on high and and leave for 90 minutes, until the milk almost starts to boil and reaches about 180 degrees (we use a meat thermometer to check).

2. Turn off your crockpot and leave it alone for 2-2.5 hours, until it reaches 115 degrees. Anywhere from 112-115 is good, but too hot will kill all the cultures and too cool will not them flourish.

3. Once your yogurt has reached 115 degrees, add your starter yogurt. You can either use 3 ounces of store bought plain yogurt or a yogurt culture packet (found in most local health food stores). Mix very well and put the lid back on your crockpot. Wrap the ceramic insert of your crockpot in a heavy duty towel and put the whole thing in your oven with the light on. Leave alone for 8-10 hours. I usually go to sleep for this part so I don't get tempted to mess with it. The more you mess with it the worse!

When you wake up you will have yogurt! Add fresh fruit or honey with each individual serving (not in the whole batch!) and enjoy your delicious, homemade yogurt.

If you prefer to have a thicker yogurt it can be strained! Just put a cheesecloth in the bottom of a strainer and pour in your yogurt. Let it sit there for 2-3 hours or until it reaches the consistency you desire.

Make sure you save a little of your new yogurt to use as a starter for the next batch.


Homemade Deodorant

I really loved my store bought deodorant. I loved all the scents I could try out! I did not love the stinging I felt when using it after shaving my pits, though! Nor did I love the expense of it. It may only be $3 per pack but that adds up quickly when you go through 1-2 sticks per month. If you are my husband you could even go through 2-3 sticks per month. I'm not sure what he's doing with his deodorant but he ALWAYS needs more! Even with the stinging pits and cost I preferred it over the massive B.O. would could accumulate living in the deep south.
Two weeks ago that all changed though. I wasn't just worried about the stinging pits or the cost. Cooper, my chemically sensitive little man, decided that deodorant tastes absolutely delicious. I found him clutching my entire stick with a huge, defined bite mark in the middle (if you have no mental image, think of all those pictures of sharks who have bitten through a surfboard. Got it?). I made my first call to poison control who told me he would start vomiting, which he did while I was on the phone with them. I felt so awful. So that incident led me to good ole' Google and I found out there were so many awful chemicals in deodorant that I was ready to switch (including aluminum being linked to breast cancer). Here is my new deodorant:

5-6 TBSP coconut oil
1/4 C baking soda
1/4 Arrowroot powder or cornstarch
Your choice of essential oils (only a few drops!)

Now, here's the amazing part... all you do is mix it together. That's it! It takes less than 5 minutes to put together and is so much safer. For my essential oils I used tea tree oil for it's antimicrobial and antiseptic properties and lavender oil for it's amazing smell. You don't really need oils, but I love my smelly girly products. Once I bring my hubby over the dark side I'll probably have to leave out the lavender oil. You can store it in a glass jar or even press it into an old deodorant tube for easier application.

And the best benefit... Coop will only have a mouthful of coconut deliciousness the next time he gets hungry while in my bathroom.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Oil Cleansing Method

I was not graced with gorgeous, glowing skin. My skin is very acne prone, oily, and dull. I have battled my whole life with trying every cleanser, toner, and moisturizer on the market. I don't want to even think about the amount of money I have spent over the years... and a lot of those lotions and potions are just sitting under my sink. I decided to start researching natural ways to improve my skin when I came across "The Oil Cleansing Method". It is AMAZING!!!!!

The cleansing method basically consists of combining different oils together and using it solely as your skin care cleaner and moisturizer. I was very skeptical at first. Was I really debating putting oil on my already oily skin?? What kind of insane woman would do that?? Apparently oil disolves oil (the old addage like disolves like?!?!) I found the two different oils my skin required in the kitchen (Castor and EVOO in my case) and put it together. I started with a 50/50 mixture. After the first time I washed my face my skin was GLOWING. It felt so soft and smooth. It did not feel oily. I went to bed and woke up and my skin wasn't insanely broken out like I thought it would be after smearing oil all over it. Within a week my skin was better than it had ever been. There's no need to even wash your make up off first since this mixture will clear everything away.

I have now been doing the Oil Cleaning Method for a few months and will never go back. Not only is it cost effective and natural, it is amazing! I have also started to incorporate using tea tree oil on any pimples that like to pop up. I just add a dab after my normal washing routine and go to sleep. Voila!

I'd love to hear if any of you have used this or if you're planning on trying it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why "Bring on the Green" was created

I was never going to be crunchy. Ever. When I found out I was pregnant with my son Cooper there was never any questions as to what type of diapers I was going to use. Bring on the disposables! I registered for and recieved hundreds and hundreds of disposable diapers at my baby shower. I had stockpiles of disposable wipes. Goodness I was so excited about modern conviences like these. How did anyone ever use cloth diapers? Yuck! Not long after my shower, my amazing and beautiful little boy was born. He made every part of life more enjoyable. The grass was greener, the sky was bluer, the air was sweeter. He was perfect! When he was five months old my husband and I noticed he loved to give us these adorable little "coy" glances. How cute was he?!?! He loved to play shy! He would drop his adorable little chin to his chest and look up with his eyes through his big eye lashes. Then he would do it again. And again. And again. He would do it 5-10 times per day! I felt like something was off and researched endlessly. I looked at youtube videos for hours. One day he had 10 of these episodes in about an hour and I rushed him to his pediatrician. He was sent to the neurologist where he was eventually diagnosed with epilepsy from one doctor and cataplexy from another. I was devestated. My five month old has epilepsy?? Not possible! The pediatric neurologist wanted to put my precious little 5 month old Cooper on some of the harshest medications around. We live in the south and one medication he was prescribed would not allow him to sweat properly. That is not acceptable. You want me to risk having my child overheat? The doctor told me the medication was not necessary since the siezures were not harming Cooper but that I could give it to him since the seizures annoyed me. I opted out. I had a group of friends who all cloth diapered (how weird are they???) and I started asking questions. I found out that disposable diapers have tons and tons of toxins in them. Toxins including dioxin. Dioxin is the highest known carcinogenic chemical. And they put this in diapers for our children to wear 24 hours a day. Dioxin used to be in tampons in the 1980's and caused toxic shock syndrome in women. It is now banned from personal hygiene usage. But it's not banned from diapers! Dioxin is also known to cause neurological effects, including seizures, in people are exposed to it (including children in diapers!). I decided it would not hurt anything to order a few cloth diapers and try them out. Within 4 days Cooper stopped having seizures. Let me say that again. After having 5-10 seizures per day, Cooper stopped having seizures. It was a miracle! We put him back in disposables to see if that was really the culprit. Within 2 days of wearing disposables he was back to having seizures again. Back to cloth one more time and he was seizure free. We've been in cloth ever since. Finding out about all these chemicals made me slowly start embracing the green lifestyle. I wanted to do what is best for my son! I want to give him the best chance in life! Now I want to bring my expierence and help people who need that gentle nudge to help them cut out chemicals in their life too! I'm still in the learning process and still trying to find ways to Bring On The Green in our life. I was never going to be crunchy. Ever.