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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dental Makeover

No I’m not planning on "making over" my teeth. I’m rather attached to them. But since having kids my cavity-free mouth suddenly is sprinkled with fillings and partial crowns. I have had gum surgery… and I am tired of paying for the dentist’s rent.

I have been doing a little research on what I can naturally do to (hopefully) fix the wanna-be fillings  in my mouth that I can’t afford to pay for and prevent any more issues. What I found out is that part of the problem can be from my diet and/or my toothpaste. I am a huge fan of having a clean-feeling mouth and since the babies have been born I have become that much more fanatical about flossing. I have floss in my purse, car, kitchen and bathrooms. What more can I do?

Go Natural!

This seems to be a recurring theme on this blog…
I found many options on the subject of homemade teeth cleaning. Some people just brush with water, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide. Some make their own tooth paste. I am feeling the later option; however there are some times where I just want a quick clean where I have just used water or peroxide.

This post is the first of two. What I plan to do and if it ultimately helped.

At the beginning of February I began making my own toothpaste. I like the texture and how clean my mouth feels afterward. The ingredients I used include: Baking Soda, Castille soap, coconut oil, olive oil, hydrogen peroxide, and peppermint extract oil. (I didn’t include the portions since this is my first go and I think I added too much baking soda since it’s salty. But generally the coconut oil makes up the majority and keeps the consistency thicker.)

There are two other things I am doing. First, our hygienist raves about the goodness of Listerine so my husband has become quite attached to it. We go through a TON, which means that we spend a lot of money on the stuff! Since we get the giant jugs at Costco, we have a smaller bottle that we refill and keep in our medicine cabinet. Don’t tell him – but I have been filling ¼ of the bottle with Listerine and the other ¾ with hydrogen peroxide. Possible benefit = whiter teeth!

Then lastly—this is where the experiment comes in—have you ever heard of oil pulling? This is a therapy where you swish olive/coconut/sesame/etc. oil in your mouth on an empty stomach and spit it out after 10-20 minutes. It is supposed to have many health benefits and dispose of all the nasties in your mouth. Yes, this is gross. Yes, it is easy and cheap. I figure it is worth a try…

So in order to keep myself accountable and figure out if these changes are making a difference, I propose to keep track of any differences I find. I also have a dentist appointment in a month… so we shall see!

Oil Pulling links to check:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Freezer Beans and Rice

I had great freezer cooking sessions the last couple days. I restocked the brown rice. I made some chicken soup and froze most of it since my husband wasn’t home for dinner. And I am happy to announce that I finally made my own “refried” beans.

I overcooked the rice a little this time around. I didn’t have any chicken stock (in the crockpot at this moment), but the next batch I whip up I want to remember to use some stock to give some added nutrition. I used about a pound of rice and a cup of quinoa and made 4 quart size bag portions. I figure that if the going rate of a ready-to-eat portioned rice is about $1.25 each and my dry rice was only $1. I am saving at least $4 and a bunch of preservatives by making it myself.

I am really happy with the way my beans came out. I soaked the pinto beans overnight and put them in the crock pot with a cut onion, water and my beef stock. It took about 5 ½ hours on low. I took my immersion blender to blend and voila! The flavor is a little different than the canned Rosarita beans I’m used to, but I figure that flavor can be added when I reheat depending on what I am cooking along with it. But they were good! When I reheat them on the stove I can add more unions, garlic and cheese to the mix. It made 4 quart size bag portions. If a can costs $1.20 each and my beans cost me $1.00… Then I saved about $3.80 and a bunch of preservatives and trans fat by making it myself.

I plan on cooking other types of beans and lentils for the freezer too so I can add them to foods quickly. I would love to stop buying canned goods altogether.

All-in-all I like this type of freezer cooking. Love my slow cooker because who has time to stay home and babysit a pot?! Doing a little each week goes a long way in making our meals faster and healthier throughout the week.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Banana Baking Success!

I wasn't planning on writing a post about this recipe going into it. But I can't contain my excitement!

I have been on  a quest to find a recipe using the leftover banana mush once the yummy fruit turns brown, which means that no one in my house will eat them. I have discovered amazing banana bread, banana muffins, cake. I have frozen the leftovers for smoothies and dipped them in chocolate and frozen them. My daughter would eat some of those things - especially if I was eating it. But none of my baking creations have won the approval of my 4 year old boy... until now.

Notice there are some missing already
The big secret is CHOCOLATE. A banana cake/bread/muffin that has chocolate chips in it is just not good enough. It has to look like it is saturated in chocolate. Now this suites my sweet tooth and if I hide some good ingredients in it, all the better.

The original recipe I found made 1 dozen, but when I was finished I had 14.

Chocolate Banana Muffins
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cup Agave syrup)
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1/3 cup yogurt
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup mashed walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 22 minutes or until done.

This recipe is amazingly versatile. I think I changed all but the most basic ingredients. Original recipe called for vegetable oil and no flax, yogurt, or apple sauce (which I added in the end to change the consistency of the batter). It turned out moist and super yummy. A successful experiment that I will be making again.

Shared at: Iron Chef Mom-Eggs