Apple “Crisp”

So I really like apples. Lately, though, I’ve been wanting something more than apple slices. I do make baked apples, which I have posted about before, but I really wanted something unhealthy and fattening and disgusting that I would regret eating an hour later when the pains started. Sooooo… enter my version of an apple crisp. It qualifies for Paleo!

Ingredients:
apples
apple pie spice
butter
walnuts

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 350.
2. Slice and peel your apples. Place them in a baking dish.
3. Add apple pie spice to taste and mix well to coat the apple slices.
4. Add several pats of butter over top of the apples.
5. Put your walnuts through the food processor until the ground meal becomes very slightly sticky. Add a little apple pie spice when you do this.
6. Add the walnut meal over top of the apples.
7. Bake for about 20 minutes. After this time, take it out and make sure everything’s going well. Put it back in the oven for another 25 minutes. After 15, I stirred everything together. You don’t have to do that, though.

When it’s all done, eat some. It’s good. It’s not quite crispy, but it works. I’m too cheap to buy Paleo-approved flours (sorry, they’re ridiculously expensive), so walnut meal it is…

All About Body Odor: A Girl’s Journey Into Acceptance

I feel like this needs to go on my cleaning page. I feel like this is an important topic. I see everyone blogging about everything from 256,000 different types of DIY deodorant to body wash to laundry soap to cleaning products. So here’s my two cents, for what it’s worth and for how much anyone cares.

Our bodies sweat and stink for a reason. It’s what they were born doing, it’s what they will always do. We are not helping it any by slathering deodorants and lotions and creams and soaps and conditioners and makeup and perfumes and anything else you might slather on your body all over ourselves. We’re making it much, much worse.

My parents always had me using ivory soap. My whole life, it was terrible, awful, drying, disgusting-smelling ivory soap. And I have always smelled really, really bad. Plus, it’s terrible for your lady bits. So when I moved out, I explored the soap aisle. I got scented body washes, scented deodorants, scented and expensive shampoos and conditioners, lotions, body scrubs, ridiculously strong face cleansers, perfumes, etc. And eeewwww, did I SMELL. Even when I got everything the same scent, I just… reeked.

Until I met Alex, though, no one ever noticed because we all stink the same. We all stink. Really, really, badly. Alex is the best smelling person ever, in the whole wide world. “Well, yeah, duh, you’re in love with him, you live together, you’re around him all the time, of course you think he smells good.” Nope. Not even. I remember when I first met him I thought to myself, he smells really, really good. And then I noticed, no, he doesn’t smell good. He just doesn’t smell. Like anything. Ever.

His secret? I found out he doesn’t use soap. Of any sort, unless he’s really dirty. Sometimes his job has him going out to construction sites to make sure things are going well and he gets covered in mud and I make him take a bath. Then he uses a really mild hemp soap to get clean, and only a little, because a little is all you need. We use Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 hemp castile soap.

Alex does not sweat. I mean, he sweats, of course. Everyone does. But you really wouldn’t know it unless he doesn’t shower for a few days. Which, unfortunately, happens to us now and again since our house is a construction site. We didn’t have water for eight days at one point. We were very stinky. A little soap was in order by the time we got to take a shower. I also had a mountain of dishes spilling from the kitchen into the living room. But that’s a different story altogether.

Back to soap and all it’s evil-ness. Soap is very bad for your skin. It kills all the bacteria and clears your body of all its natural oils. Your body produces these oils to protect itself and keep itself clean. And here we come, washing it all off and ruining its best efforts to keep us nice and happy. So what does it do? Our body starts freaking out and overcompensates by producing even more oil than it needs to so that it can get back on track.

And antiperspirants? Not only do they contain aluminum, which is absolutely terrible for your central nervous system, they block your body from sweating. So your body produces extra sweat to break through the antiperspirant barrier. And then you stink like sweaty flowers or sweaty spices or sweaty baby powder or sweaty whatever. Sweat mixed with antiperspirant is NOT a pretty smell. It smells far worse than just not wearing anything and smelling like sweat.

On to shampoo. I am guilty of still using this. But I wash my hair about once a week. I trained myself to do that, I wash scrubbing the hell out of it with SLS-laden nasty stuff every day for my entire life. Then I decided that’s probably not a good idea. I also no longer condition, so there’s a plus. I’m stopping using shampoo. I have tried a few things, and I think I may have hit on the right one. If not, I’m probably going to shave my head to match Alex’s. Washing hair is overrated and annoying anyway. Not nearly as fun as they make it look in the commercials. And it never looks that great, either. So what’s the point?

Look, my point here is, enough with the soap and antiperspirant and shampoo and lotions and creams and makeup. We’re not doing ourselves any favors. We’re ruining our skin and making ourselves stink. Just turn the shower on as hot as you can stand it, get a coarse washcloth or body brush or scrubber of some sort and go to town. I like the washcloths because I scrub my face first then do the rest of me. For shampoo, mix coconut milk (don’t use Thai coconut milk, it contains guar gum which makes your hair icky), castile soap, and some essential oils and use that. And for conditioner, mix apple cider vinegar with some water and use that. It works, we’re all just scared to do it because we’ve been taught that we need to use harsh chemicals on our bodies. Ugh. Anything for money, I’m telling you. ANYTHING for money.

Gentlemen: skip this paragraph
The only way this will be an issue is when we bleed. Now. You may ask why. Well, that’s because you shouldn’t be using tampons, either. They aren’t good for you. There is a reason why that little toxic shock warning is on the box. I have dealt with that and I am here to tell you that toxic shock is very, very painfully and scarily real. I’ve dealt with that a few times, and Alex told me I should probably stop using tampons if they made me so sick then and wanted to know why I was being such a dork about it. So I listened. no, I don’t like pads, yes, they smell weird, yes, they look a little funny under certain clothes, but Alex doesn’t care so why should I? Who am I trying to impress? I already have my very own dorkface. Not trying to catch another one. Yes, using pads smells a little funky. But isn’t a little funk better than jeopardizing your health/life? Just a little tip: use an overnight pad. I know, I know. They’re “overnight” pads. They’re for overnight. Yes, of course they are. But they also provide lots of coverage and protection and absorb a lot more than the daytime ones. Now. I do use a feminine wash. It is soap free, pH balanced, blah blah blah. I’m considering trying not using it. Once I’m done bleeding. I do recommend using a feminine wash when you bleed. Just for sanitary reasons. Making sure it’s really all out of there. Anyway.

Gentlemen: it is now safe
Now, antiperspirant. Is evil. Very evil. Just use a deodorant. I’m about to go scrub the pits out and apply some coconut oil with peppermint essential oil in it. I use that as chap stick once in a blue moon when I remember I have it. You do need to keep coconut oil in the fridge for this, though. That’s why I forget I have it. Apparently this deodorant works really well. I’m going to try it. But for now, I’m going to try the coconut oil and peppermint. Not sure how I feel about walking around smelling like Christmas. Guess we’ll find out.

Aaaannndddd. Finally, makeup. Ladies. Please. Just throw. It. Away. You don’t need it. You know what you need? To scrub your face with hot water and put coconut oil on. Rub it in real good, all over your eyes, face, nose, mouth, neck, arms, hands, feet, knees, elbows, head shoulders knees and toes. It is the only makeup and moisturizer you will ever need. Makeup ruins your skin, no matter how natural it is, no matter if it’s Physician’s Formula, it’s B-A-D. Ever wonder why you’ve got acne? Don’t lie, you do, that’s why you wear so much. Umm, it’s the makeup. And the soaps and ridiculously strong cleansers.

Oh, and perfumes. Sure, they smell pretty. For a little bit. Then they don’t, because they’re nothing but chemicals. I will admit, I am quite partial to CK One and D&G’s Light Blue. Love them. But… I think I like just wearing a drop or two of essential oil on my hot spots even more. Alex prefers I just don’t wear anything, but, I’m a vain little bitch and I do what I want. I also paint my toenails because I think bare toenails look nasty.

I think I’m done here. Completely forgot what I was going on about. And this is why Alex calls me Gnat Girl.

Vietnamese-Style Beef Soup

Alex and I like beef. Like, a lot. I haven’t made this in a while and I really need to because it’s good, and it’s simple. There’s like, practically no cooking (hooray!!).

Ingredients:
bok choy, or baby bok choy (can use Napa Cabbage)
veggie broth or spiced water
onion
ginger
some form of lean sirloin or other tender, lean meat
3-4 whole cloves
cardamom
minced garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 small chile, sliced thin

For Spiced Water (if you want to use this)
drinking grade water
black pepper
sea salt
cumin
paprika
white pepper
garlic salt
onion powder
ground cloves
cardamom

Method:
1. Pop the meat in the freezer for about ten minutes. This makes it easier to cut.
2. Slice your onion thin. Peel and cut the ginger into thin slices. I generally use about three inches of ginger.
3. Put the onions, cloves, ginger, few good shakes of cardamom (or two very lightly crushed pods, if you have pods), and minced garlic in a large saucepan. Cook on about 5-6 for about five minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add the broth or spiced water. I prefer spiced water to the broth. Let it hang out in the pot for a while and warm up with all the other goodies in there.
5. Get your meat out of the freezer, and start slicing it as thinly as possible. Do the slices in little bite-size strips. As you slice, put the meat into the bowls you will be serving the stew in.
6. Slice that chile really thin (I use a jalapeno) and put maybe two slices in each bowl. I put more than that the last time I made this and Alex was dying. And we’re talking about someone who likes jalapenos in all their spicy glory.
7. Chop your bok choy or napa cabbage. I have made this with both, both are fine. Bok Choy is more interesting of a flavor though. Slightly oniony in the stems, and slightly spinachy in the leaves. It’s yum-delicious. Put some in each bowl.
8. Bring the broth to a boil, add the teaspoon of sugar, stir, and boil again.
9. Pour the hot broth into the bowls over the meat, chiles, and bok choy/napa cabbage. Don’t worry about cooking the meat, or it being raw. The boiling hot broth cooks it.

Serve immediately.

THE Perfect Chicken Marinade

I’ve mentioned before how much Alex and I hate chicken. As in, absolutely hate it. As in, if there’s a chicken breast walking down one side of the road, we’re running to the next county over to use a road there. Chicken is just… awful. It probably has something to do with how much I had to eat dry, disgusting chicken as a child. It was cheap, my parents always kept us fed no matter what sort of financial hardship we were experiencing, but… it was chicken, and it was nasty.

Unfortunately, Alex can’t afford to buy 5-6 days worth of beef from Whole Foods every week. We can only get 3, and lamb and goat is always seriously expensive. So the other 2-3 days per week (we usually end up at either his mom’s or dad’s for dinner one night per week) we’re stuck with chicken. I do my very best, but we tend to throw a lot of chicken dishes out. Or, we did, until I discovered THE marinade. It works with everything, because it just covers the chicken rather than making it taste a certain way, and it’s a fully customizable marinade. Just put the base ingredients in, and then add whatever else you want.

Ingredients:
lemon juice
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper

Method:
1. Thaw your chicken in the fridge. Don’t thaw it in hot water unless you’re absolutely desperate and must have food ready in the next hour, and don’t thaw it on the counter all day. Chicken is finicky like that.
2. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. I generally cut my chicken while it is still slightly frozen. It cuts easier and isn’t as slimy, and also makes less of a mess. I also tend to cut it smaller than bite-size, just so it hides the chicken flavor better.
3. Put the chicken pieces in a ziploc-like freezer bag. Do not put it in a regular sandwich bag, as it will leak. And taste funny.
4. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper.
5. Close the bag without pushing the air out. Shake around.
6. Squeeze the air out of the bag, reseal, and shake some more, rubbing the chicken a bit to move the marinade around.
7. Pop in the fridge.

This marinade will do some serious chicken flavor damage in a few hours, but it’s really great left overnight. Just cook your chicken as normal. I still recommend butter or ghee for cooking. You could leave your breasts whole for this, but then you would really have to leave them overnight for the marinade to fully penetrate.

Paleo Fat Bread

Alex and I have been looking for bread for quite some time. As mentioned before, we eat no wheat, no grains, no refined sugars, etc. So we really weren’t sure what to do. We tried flourless “crepes”, but there were really just glorified omelets. Might as well have just made scrambled eggs, since it was the same ingredients I use for that anyway (egg yolks, heavy cream, salted sweet cream butter). Alex found this recipe and we decided to try it. It’s really simple. We changed it only slightly, and only because we didn’t have/couldn’t find everything we needed and didn’t want to order large quantities of stuff online without first knowing what this bread would be like. And, amazingly enough, it’s good, and it really is… bread.

Original Recipe:
five eggs
one cup raw macadamia nuts
one cup coconut butter
.5 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 rounded tsp baking soda

Our Recipe:
five eggs
one cup dry roasted macadamia pieces
nearly one cup creamed coconut
.5 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 rounded tsp baking soda

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 350. Dump the macadamia nuts into a food processor/blender. Process on high, or if you have a pulse blender just hold it down so it runs continuously. Continue processing until the macadamias are chopped fine, starting to cake/clump.
2. Add one egg to the blender, and process until the machine begins running smoothly. You will be able to hear the difference.
3. Add the second egg, and repeat until the machine runs smoothly.
4. Add the remaining three eggs and process a bit more. Everything should be very smooth.
5. Add creamed coconut/coconut butter and sea salt. Mix 20 seconds.
6. Add lemon juice and baking soda, mix a few seconds more.
7. Pour into a prepared loaf pan. Toss the pan into the oven for 35 minutes.
8. Dry not to drool all over the stove/floor while you watch it bake.
9. Let sit 30 minutes on a cooling rack before cutting it. Do NOT attack it as soon as it comes out of the oven like Alex did.

If you’re used to regular bread, you probably won’t like it. Get un-used to regular bread because it’s just going to kill you anyway, and get used to this one, because it’s awesome. Makes some fabulous toast. Put a healthy amount of salted sweet cream butter on it when it comes out of the toaster oven, and there you have breakfast. This bread is pretty much nothing but protein and fat, so it is very healthy and very filling.

It’s also really good dipped in chili.

Now, for the things we will change when we make it again. Or, when I make it again. Whatever. We will use raw macadamia nuts. The dry roasted taste funky and impart an odd flavor to the finished bread. We will probably keep using the creamed coconut, but may use unsweetened coconut flakes. To use those, you just add the coconut flakes (make absolutely certain they are unsweetened… you will probably have to buy them off Amazon) in with the macadamias before you start processing, then add the first egg, the second egg, and do every egg separately, at least through the third. This is a tip directly from the creator of this bread. Use a cup and a bit of coconut flakes.

And enjoy!! This bread is non-addictive, not at all like the addictive crap they pass off as bread in stores… or that uses real flour or grains. And this bread won’t let you overeat. You get FULL. Do not let your children eat a nice, thick slice of this fifteen minutes before you serve dinner or they will not eat their dinner. But, by all means, do allow your children to eat this bread. It’s delicious and it’s very good for them.

Cleaning Closet Contents

So you may be wondering exactly how this crazy girl expects you to clean everything on the lists, and what exactly I mean by orange cleaner.

What’s in my cleaning closet?
-broom and dustpan
-mop – rectangular head with microfiber cloth cover
-shop vac with all the extension poles and head attachments
-assorted steel wool
-non disposable yellow latex cleaning gloves
-disposable vinyl gloves
-clorox wipes
-TSP (trisodium phosphate)
-denatured alcohol
-“odorless” mineral spirits
-ultra concentrated dish soap (any old brand will do, it’s not for dishes)
-an assortment of scrubbing brushes
-sponges
-spare sponge head for my shower cleaner
-giant bottle of bleach
-spray bottle of diluted bleach
-peppermint spray (water with about 15 drops of peppermint oil added)
-giant box of baking soda
-Arm&Hammer free and clear laundry detergent
-borax
-Greased Lightning
-ammonia free Windex
-large pack of paper towels
-spare air filters
-Goo Gone spray
-steel fiber scrubbers – different from steel wool
-orange cleaner (orange peels soaked in vinegar for 2-3 weeks, resulting liquid cut with water)
-Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Castile Soap
-peppermint essential oil
-giant bottle of cleaning vinegar (not the same vinegar you buy for cooking)
-Nature’s Miracle just for cats solution
-carpet shampooer and solution
-hydrogen peroxide
-Murphy’s oil soap
-Pumie heavy duty scouring sticks
-Goof Off wipes
-Barkeeper’s Friend
-Seventh Generation disinfecting multi-surface cleaner (I don’t think I’ll be getting another)

So, now you’re all completely convinced I’m a nut.
Alex sure thinks I am.
And you also now know why I have an entire closet dedicated to my cleaning supplies that needs to be organized once a month.