Kitchen / Garden / Sanctuary - Urban Homesteading to Nourish Body + Spirit

Month: March 2011 (Page 1 of 2)

Making Time for the Outdoors, Every Day

Today was a lost day, as some just turn out to be! I did almost nothing! But each and every day, I make sure to get out for a walk. It’s a wonder what a brisk walk outdoors can do — feeling the chilly breeze across your face, squinting into the sun, and hearing robins singing in stereo from trees all around you…all while breathing deeply and moving your body.

Today was chilly and refreshing. I walked to a favorite destination, with a bag over my shoulder filled with hot tea in a thermos, mittens, and my camera…

Tea + Nature = Happy!


Look what else I saw!

Natural, Homemade Deodorant That Actually Works

So you don’t want to use the standard grocery store antiperspirant due to its toxic aluminum content, but you’ve tried the health-food-store deodorant and it just doesn’t work — despite its own not-very-natural ingredient list. What to do?

Try this recipe!

I mixed up a batch of this deodorant several months ago and gave it a hardcore test on our hot, muggy trip to Argentina. I was amazed! Never has a deodorant worked this well for me. You still sweat, but it doesn’t smell. Even after being in the same clothes for well over 24 hours of travel down to Buenos Aires, my shirt smelled only of baking soda. My socks were a different story, however…

Coconut Oil Deodorant

1/4 cup coconut oil, at room temperature (not melted)

2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot

2 Tbsp baking soda

essential oils (optional)

In a bowl, with the back of a spoon, mix your cornstarch (or arrowroot — both work equally well) and baking soda (plus any essential oils) into the coconut oil. These ratios are flexible — use more coconut oil if it seems too dry, or more baking soda if it’s too goopy.

This is the consistency I like — still crumbly, but wet enough to easily hold together and get packed into a jar:

Tip: don’t melt your coconut oil to accomplish this task; although it’s easier to mix, the cornstarch and baking soda will sink to the bottom of the container as the deodorant hardens, and the top layer will be coconut oil only — which, by itself, doesn’t work as well at preventing stink.

Scoop into a jar. Store at room temperature. If it’s hot enough in your house that the oil liquefies and the ingredients separate, shake the jar before you use it each time.

To use, scoop some out with your fingers and smear under your arms. I use a generous pea-sized amount for each arm.

Spring Cleaning!

I’ve been a very busy bee! Spring hit me all of a sudden this week, and I’ve been cleaning up, clearing out, sprucing up, paring down, and tackling projects I’ve been putting off for months. Monday I scrubbed the bathroom head to toe, even going so far as to use a toothbrush and Q-tips as cleaning tools. Yeah — mega! And ohh it’s so gloriously clean now!

Here’s a sample of what else I’ve been doing. The tea cupboard needed emergency help, so I transferred most of my herbs out of unruly bags and into clearly labeled canning jars. Didn’t take long, and it’s so much better in there now!

Tea cupboard BEFORE


Tea cupboard AFTER

Have you been bitten by the spring cleaning bug?

Blissfully Oblivious

What day is it? Wednesday? Seems like Tuesday, or maybe it’s even Thursday by now…

This is how my mind operates now that I’m not caged into a cubicle, participating in the rat race. I casually wonder what day it is — and only because I want to be sure the library’s open today!

I love how I’m never really too sure what day it is anymore. I’m focusing on LIFE — not the calendar or the clock.

That feels so freeing!

Gluten-Free Peanut Cookies

I tried out a new recipe today, based on the recipe for my favorite Almond Thumbprint Cookies, and it turned out great! If you like classic peanut butter cookies, you’ll love these.

Check it out:

Gluten-Free Peanut Cookies

1 1/2 cups peanuts (I used roasted/unsalted)

1/2 cup melted coconut oil or butter (I like to use 1/4 cup coconut oil & 1/4 cup yogurt or kefir to make these a little less rich for my tummy)

1  1/4 cups arrowroot powder* (start with 1 cup and add more if needed)

1/2 cup sucanat (or a little more if you like)

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

Place the peanuts into a food processor or blender and pulse to a fine meal (but not into peanut butter).

Transfer peanut meal into a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, and mix well. As mentioned above, start with 1 cup of arrowroot and add more if needed; I always have to add the extra 1/4 cup. The dough should form a nice ball and not be overly sticky.

Form dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on an oiled cookie sheet. On each cookie, make the classic crosshatch pattern with a fork.

Bake at 325° for 20-25 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned on the bottom and hold together when you lift them up with a metal spatula.

You’ll want to remove your cookies from the cookie sheet without too much delay. If they cool down and then seem to be glued to the cookie sheet, place them back into the oven to warm up again, and then they’ll be easier to remove.


*Curious about arrowroot? It’s actually not a refined product despite the look of it. It’s the dried, powdered root of a tropical plant that only grows in tidal flats where sea minerals are available. It’s therefore rich in trace minerals and in calcium ash (calcium chloride), which makes it easily digestible. In addition, the calcium ash in arrowroot is very important for maintaining the proper acid-alkali balances in the human body. The downside is its price — $5.35 for a 1lb 4oz bag at our local health food store; however if you have a local Asian store, check with them — I’ve discovered that our local Asian store carries arrowroot for only $2.95/lb!

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