Review: Squeezable Homemade Remineralizing Toothpaste

So I have dove into the world of homemade toothpaste. After much searching, I decided on the squeezable homemade remineralizing toothpaste recipe from Wellness Mama. Many homemade toothpaste recipes made a tooth “powder,” which I was not comfortable using yet. I really like the ease and convenience of squeezable toothpaste, so this recipe was right up my alley. Wellness Mama’s recipe makes two (2) tubes of toothpaste, so I cut the recipe in half since one (1) tube should last my husband and I several weeks, and I did not want to risk the second tube going bad. Here is the halved recipe:

Squeezable Homemade Remineralizing Toothpaste

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons calcium powder or calcium magnesium powder (while a little more expensive, I went with the calcium magnesium powder for the extra mineral) – cost with shipping: $8.99 for 8 oz
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons xylitol powder – cost with shipping: $18.94 for 1 pound
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil at room temperature – bought a Wal-Mart for $10.00 for 12 oz
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda – bought at Wal-Mart for $2.00 for 4 pounds
  • 1 tablespoons bentonite clay – cost with shipping: $9.99 for 1 pound
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons distilled water or slightly more – bought from Wal-Mart for $3.00 for 1 gallon
  • 20 drops of essential oils of choice (I used sweet orange) – cost with shipping: $8.49 for 1 oz
  • 10-15 drops of trace minerals – cost with shipping: $19.59 for 8 oz
  • ONE TIME ONLY 1 3 oz silicone, BPA-free squeezable container – cost with shipping: $9.69

Total of supplies: $90.69

WHOA NATTY BRAT! THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY FOR TOOTHPASTE!

Remember – some of these ingredients are used in other home recipes. Also, you’re only using a small amount in each tube of toothpaste. Let’s break down the benefits of each ingredient and their per-tube price:

  • Calcium magnesium powder – Calcium is one of the most-needed minerals for your body, as it builds your bones and your teeth. As we get older, we lose the calcium in our teeth due to our poor diet habits. Placing calcium in your toothpaste will help restore the calcium to your teeth. Magnesium deficiency in your teeth has been linked to periodontal diseases, so it is important to put magnesium back in your teeth, just like calcium. Both minerals help to whiten your teeth. As there are 2 tablespoons per ounce, it and we are using 1 1/2 tablespoons of an 8 oz container, it costs approximately $0.84 per tube and we will get approximately 10 1/2 tubes out of the 8 oz container.
  • Xylitol powder – This is actually an optional ingredient and serves no other purpose than to cut the bitter taste of some of the other ingredients. You can leave this ingredient out if you feel the price is too much. It costs approximately $0.89 per tube and we will get approximately 21 tubes out of the 1 pound bag.
  • Coconut oil – This will give us our desired squeezable consistency. It cost approximately $0.83 per tube and we will get approximately 12 tubes out of the 12 oz container.
  • Baking soda – Acts as an abrasive to help rub off the plaque but is not too harsh on teeth. Also removes stains. It cost approximately $0.03 per tube and we will get approximately 64 tubes out of the 4 pound box.
  • Bentonite clay – This binds to and pulls heavy metals and toxins out of your mouth. It is also full of tooth and mouth-helping minerals. It costs approximately $0.32 per tube and we will get approximately 32 tubes out of the 1 pound bag.
  • Distilled water – Used to thin out the toothpaste and help make it more squeezable. It costs approximately $0.02 per tube and we will get approximately 384 tubes out of 1 gallon.
  • Essential oil – For flavoring. I used Sweet Orange but you can use whatever flavor you wish. Depending on the flavor, this will change the price of your toothpaste. The sweet orange essential oil costs approximately $0.29 per tube and we will get approximately 30 tubes out of the 1 oz container.
  • Trace minerals – Again, great to remineralize your teeth, help with whitening, and help with plaque removal. It costs approximately $0.05 per tube and we will get approximately 393 tubes out of the 8 oz container.

Total cost of a 3 oz tube of squeezable remineralizing toothpaste: $3.27

BUT NATTY BRAT, I CAN PURCHASE A LARGER TUBE OF SQUEEZABLE TOOTHPASTE FOR LESS THAN THAT! 

Let’s take a look at a few things. First, my husband and I used to use Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection toothpaste, so this is the toothpaste I will compare. First, remember that the Crest is not a remineralizing toothpaste. It is a plain toothpaste with nothing in it to help bring your teeth and mouth back to its full health. And it is not natural – it is filled with ingredients. Let’s take a look at them:

  • Stannous fluoride – Can temporarily stain teeth (isn’t this something we don’t want?).  Very serious allergic reactions to this ingredient can occur, which include symptoms such as rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, and trouble breathing.
  • Glycerin – Can cause headaches, dizziness, bloating, nausea, vomiting, thirst, and diarrhea.
  •  Sodium hexametaphosphate – Can cause pale and swollen kidneys, increased kidney weights, bone decalcification, muscle fiber size changes, hyperplasia and severe skin irritations.
  •  Propylene glycol – If the entire tube of toothpaste is ingested (which with small children around, there is always the chance), it can cause metabolic acidosis, lactic acidosis, acute tubular necrosis, allergic contact dermatitis, hemolysis, central nervous system depression, seizures, arrhythmias, and nephrotoxicity.
  • PEG-6 – PEG compounds often contain small amounts of ethylene oxide. Studies have shown that ethylene oxide increases the incidences of uterine and breast cancers, leukemia, and brain cancer. Other cancers related to ethylene oxide include esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer, central nervous system cancer, neoplasms of lymphatic and hematopoietic tissue, and Hodgkin’s disease.
  • Zinc lactate – Again, if an entire tube of toothpaste is ingested, this ingredient can become toxic.
  • Trisodium phosphate – If ingested, this can severely irritate the gastric mucosa. It can also reduce the accumulation of lactic acid in muscles. Excess intake of trisodium phosphate may produce an imbalance of minerals that can lead to loss of calcium from bone and the calcification of the kidneys.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate – Check out my blog post on this ingredient.
  • Carrageenan – Studies have shown evidence of tumor promotion by carrageenan. However, the determination of carrageenan being a carcinogen still remains controversial.
  • Stannous chloride – This is readily absorbed by white blood cells and can cause damage to DNA.
  • Xanthan gum – This may be derived from a variety of source products that are themselves common allergens. This includes corn, wheat, dairy, or soy. A person with known sensitivities or allergies to food products are advised to avoid xanthan gum. However, a person with these allergies may not be aware of the threat of xanthan gum.

  • Polyethylene – This is a plastic, enough said.
  • Titanium dioxide – Has been linked to Yellow Nail Syndrome, a rare syndrome characterized by marked thickening and yellow to yellow-green discoloration of the finger and/or toe nails.
  • Blue 1 lake and Blue 1 – Studies have linked this ingredient to allergic reactions, kidney tumors, and inhibition of nerve-cell development, though these studies have yet to be confirmed.

Second, 5.8 oz tube of Crest cost us around $3.97. At 5.8 oz, the squeezable remineralizing toothpaste will cost you around $6.32, which is more than the Crest. However, remember that the Crest is not a remineralizing toothpaste! A real, manufactured remineralizing toothpaste is going to run you around $23.65 for a 1.2 oz tube! Our homemade squeezable remineralizing toothpaste costs only $1.09 for an ounce. Much cheaper than a store-bought remineralizing toothpaste!

So, how do you go about making the squeezable remineralizing toothpaste? It’s rather easy:

  1. Mix all ingredients except the bentonite clay in a mini-food processor and mix well.  If you do not have a food processor, you can use an immersion blender or a whisk/fork in a bowl. I actually used a plastic fork in a bowl but will be purchasing a mini-food processor for the next batch. I will explain why later.
  2. Once smooth, slowly add in the bentonite clay and mix by hand with a plastic utensil (bentonite clay should not come in contact with metal). I used the same plastic fork as before.
  3. Add the mixture to your squeezable container and you are all set! Use the same amount on a toothbrush as you would regular toothpaste.
One tube of squeezable remineralizing toothpaste!

One tube of squeezable remineralizing toothpaste!

It is good to note that because of the coconut oil, the toothpaste is thicker in cooler temperatures and thinner when in warmer temperatures.

My first time using the toothpaste, my teeth felt amazing. They felt like I had just come out of the dentist office – smooth and shiny. I could not stop rubbing my tongue across my smooth teeth. The taste was great – just like oranges. I did not taste any other ingredients and the texture was very comparable to a regular toothpaste.

Consistency of the toothpaste.

Consistency of the toothpaste.

However, the next morning, things went a little downhill. I went to squeeze my toothpaste onto my toothbrush and nothing came out no matter how hard I tried. My toothpaste was too thick and dry to come through the tube! I opened the tube and put a dry glob on my brush just to get it done and over with for the morning. The results were still the same as the night before – smooth and clean.

That night, on a hunch, I let the tube of toothpaste sit in a sink full of hot water while I took a shower (approximately ten [10] to fifteen [15] minutes). I took the tube out of the water when I got out of the shower, gave it a really good shake, and tried to squeeze it: perfection! I have had no issues with the consistency of the toothpaste since, so I have a feeling my ingredients may not have been well mixed, thus why I am investing in a mini-food processor for the next batch.

So far I have been using this toothpaste for almost a week and I have no complaints. My teeth feel clean all day, unlike with regular toothpaste. My mouth has never felt dentist-clean for multiple days. I highly recommend giving this recipe a try! It’s quick, easy, and in my opinion, is great for your mouth! I will give another review a month down the line to see how it is working then.

Thanks again to Wellness Mama for this wonderful recipe!

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Recipe of the Week: Flank Steak with Coffee-Peppercorn Marinade

Ever wonder what to do with that left-over coffee in the morning? Why not save it up and use it for dinner! Here’s how:

Flank Steak with Coffee-Peppercorn Marinade

  • 3 tablespoon coffee, brewed, strong
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar, balsamic
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, brown
  • 2 clove(s) garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns, black, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pounds beef, flank steak, trimmed of fat
  1. Whisk coffee, vinegar, oil, sugar, garlic, peppercorns and sea salt in a glass dish large enough for meat to lie flat.
  2. Add steak and turn to coat.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
  4. Heat grill to high.
  5. Remove steak from marinade.
  6. Discard marinade.
  7. Lightly oil grill rack (see Grilling Tips below)
  8. Place steak on grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  9. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
  10. Slice thinly across the grain and serve.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Allergy Warning: Red meat
Nutritional Information: Calories: 230, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 337mg, Dietary Fiber: 0g, Total Fat: 9g, Carbs: 3g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Protein: 23g

Grilling Tips

  • To oil a rack: Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.
  • Do not stick a fork in your steak – you will lose valuable juices and with juices goes flavor. Use tongs with steaks.
  • Do not pat your steak down – again you will lose valuable juices.

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Ingredient of the Week: Hydrogenated Oils

Please note: the Ingredient of the Day segment for the Natty Brat has been turned into the Ingredient of the Week.

No-Hydrogenated-Oils

What are Hydrogenated Oils?
Hydrogenated oils are natural oils that have been chemically processed and hydrogenated. Hydrogenation is a rather complicated process but here is the breakdown: hydrogenation is a chemical reaction between molecular hydrogen (H2) and another compound or element – usually in the presence of a catalyst. It is commonly used to reduce or saturate organic compounds, including natural oils. Hydrogenation typically constitutes the addition of pairs of hydrogen atoms to a molecule. Said molecule is typically an alkaline. A catalyst or multiple catalysts are required for the reaction to be usable. However, non-catalytic hydrogenation can be done, but requires a very high temperature in order to be successful. Hydrogenation decreases the double and triple bonds in hydrocarbons. Hydrogenation of unsaturated fats produces saturated fats. When partial hydrogenation occurs, trans fats may be generated as well. Most vegetable oils are derived from polyunsaturated fatty acids (containing more than one carbon-carbon double bonds). The partial hydrogenation of these oils reduces most, but not all, of their carbon-carbon double bonds. The degree of hydrogenation for each type of oil is controlled by restricting the amount of hydrogen, reaction temperature and time, and the catalyst used to create the hydrogenated oil. Hydrogenation converts liquid natural vegetable oils into solid or semi-solid fats, like those found in margarine. Changing the degree of saturation of the fat changes some important physical properties. Some changes include the melting range of the ingredient, which is why liquid oils become semi-solid.

What are Hydrogenated Oils Used In?
Hydrogenated oils produce solid or semi-solid fats, which are preferred for baking because of the way the fat mixes with flour. The mixture produces a more desirable texture of the baked good. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are cheaper than animal source fats, are available in a wide range of consistencies, and increase oxidative stability/shelf life of a baked good. Because of these characteristics, they are the predominantly used fats (used as shortening) in most commercial baked goods.

Why are Hydrogenated Oils Bad for Me?
The hydrogenation process causes the natural oil to reach a physical state that is closer to plastic than to the original oil, with hydrogenated oils being only one (1) molecule away from being plastic. Ingestion of hydrogenated oils cause the human blood to become thicker, thus making the human heart work harder to pass blood through the veins. Because of this, hydrogenated oils can contribute to high blood pressure. The gummy substance produced in the blood by the hydrogenated oils can stick to the arteries and cause scarring. The body then naturally produces cholesterol to help heal the arteries, which can lead to high cholesterol. Because of the scarring that is happening over and over again, the arteries begin to close, causing even more strain on the heart. Hydrogenated oils can also slow down the micro-circulation of the blood through the brain. This can cause various emotional and physical issues, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ADHD and clouded thinking. Also, the digestion of hydrogenated oils is difficult on the digestive system. Because the hydrogenation process requires such high temperatures to create, it also requires said high temperatures to break down the hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenated oils are not substances that the human body is designed to absorb. As the body sends more enzymes (digestive acids) into the stomach to try and digest the hydrogenated oils, the internal stomach temperature rises, which can lead to cancer. It can take thousands of degrees to break down plastic, but the human body is often only partially successful at breaking down and digesting hydrogenated oils as it cannot bring its internal temperature up to the temperature required to break down the hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenated oils can cause false immune responses. These responses put a great strain on the immune system and decreases overall immunity.

The Food Choice Dilemma

The other day at work, one of our vendors came by and dropped off two (2) food items for our firm to enjoy as a thank-you for using their services. Here were the choices:

wch

Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew medley

OR

BB

Brownie brittle

Ok I admit I took a little of both (bad Natty Brat, bad!). I noticed on my way out that afternoon that all the brownie brittle was gone. I assumed the fruit medley was also gone since I did not see it. The next day, I opened the refrigerator at work to put my lunch in there, and to my surprise, not only was the fruit medley still there, the ONLY fruit missing was the fruit I took the day before! I was stunned! Absolutely no one ate the fruit medley while the brownie brittle was scarfed up like people were dying of hunger.

What I believe it basically came down to was this: healthy choice versus unhealthy choice. The choice presented a food choice dilemma for my co-workers. Do you take the gooey, delicious, oh-so-sweet brownie brittle, or the “dull,” “boring”, “way too healthy” fruit medley. Given the choice between pre-packaged brownie brittle and fresh fruit, my co-workers made the choice rather clear: pre-packaged brownie brittle over fresh fruit any day.

I was rather stunned at the discovery. But then I had a thought: the food choice dilemma is not really a dilemma for people anymore. We have pre-packaged food shoved in our faces from day one (1) (check out the ingredients in infant formula – a blog for another day). We are raised and trained that pre-packaged = convenience and therefore is the better choice. Yes, pre-packaged is convenient, but it is not always the best choice! Lets compare the ingredients in our two (2) items and see which one we really should choose!

Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew medley: Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew

Brownie brittle: Sugar, Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Cocoa, Corn syrup solids, Soybean Oil, Soy Oil, Egg White Powder, Corn Starch, Salt, leavening (Baking Soda), Dextrose, Soy Lecithin, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Non-fat milk.

The first thing we can tell: the fruit medley has 3 ingredients, the brownie brittle has fifteen (15), not counting the sub-ingredients in the flour. If you count those, you’re looking at twenty (20) ingredients compared to three (3). The next thing we can tell: the fruit medley has no additives or preservatives; it is completely natural. The brownie brittle on the other hand has some ingredients in it that are not so desirable. Mainly:

  • Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour: first off, the word bleach turns my nose up immediately. Why would you want to eat something that is bleached?! We all know what bleach does to our favorite dress shirt, so why would we want to put a product with the word bleach in our bodies?
  • Corn syrup solids: check out my post on High Fructose Corn Syrup to read the impact of this ingredient. While corn syrup solids and high fructose corn syrup are not 100% the same, their effects on the human body are.
  • Soybean oil and soy oil: as it does not say “organic” in front of it, there is no way to tell if this ingredient was not made from genetically-modified soybeans. The problem with genetically-modified soybeans is that they have been modified so much that our digestive systems sometimes have issues breaking them down. This can lead to gas pains and bloating, which is very uncomfortable. Soy oil is basically soybean oil, so the two ingredients are basically the same.

It is rather simple to see that if you want to live a natural life, the food choice dilemma is clear: the fruit medley should be your choice. It is natural with no added ingredients. I am rather sad that my fellow co-workers would brush aside the fruit medley completely and only eat the brownie brittle. The fruit medley was even cut into chunks which made very simple to eat, so the argument of “it’s too much work to eat naturally” did not apply here.

Bottom line: we are addicted to pre-packaged items because a) we have been taught that they are the proper choice, and b) they are more convenient. Even when given the choice between the pre-packaged item and a ready-to-eat natural item, people still choose the pre-packaged item because it’s what they were taught and what they are used to. We need to start educating ourselves and our children to make better food choices when we are faced with the food choice dilemma: natural or pre-packaged.

Sorry for the Absence!

Sorry for the Natty Brat being so quiet this week! We were having issues with our daughter; mainly she stopped eating. It took us several days to figure out the issue (she apparently no longer liked her bottle and wanted a different one). But we have a solution in place so things should be going back to normal soon! Hope to have a natural living update tomorrow! Thanks for your patience!

Ingredient of the Day: Quaternium-15

Quaternium-15

What is Quaternium-15?
Quaternium-15  is a quaternary ammonium salt. Quaternium-15 can be found under a variety of names, including: Dowicil 75; Dowicil 100; Dowco 184; Dowicide Q; 1-(3-Chloroallyl)-3,5,7-triaza-1-azoniaadamantane chloride; N-(3-chloroallyl) hexaminium chloride; hexamethylenetetramine chloroallyl chloride; 3,5,7-triaza-1-azoniaadamantane; 1-(3-chloroallyl)-chloride.

What is Quaternium-15 Used In?
Quaternium-15 is used in many cosmetics and industrial substances including foundations and powders, blush, mascaras, eye shadows, eyeliners and pencils, durable press (wrinkle-resistant) fabrics, skin care products such as creams, lotions, and moisturizers, personal hygiene items such as soaps, cleansers, and shampoos, cleaning products, waxes, polishes, paints, electrode attachment gels used in healthcare, embalming and preserving fluids, glues, inks, and toners to name a few.

Why is Quaternium-15 Used?
Quaternium-15 is used as a preservative. It is also used for its formaldehyde-releasing properties.

Why is Quaternium-15 Bad for Me?
Quaternium-15 can cause contact dermatitis, a symptom of an allergic reaction. Those with sensitive skin, infant’s skin are more susceptible to contact dermatitis Sensitive areas such as the genitals can also be affected. Typical symptoms include redness, swelling, itching, and fluid-filled blisters. Many of those with an allergy to quaternium-15 are also allergic to formaldehyde. It is the single most often found cause of allergic contact dermatitis of the hands (16.5% in 959 cases). Allergic sensitivity to quaternium-15 can be detected using a patch test. A patch test is a method used to determine if a specific substance causes allergic inflammation of the skin. The European Union has determined that quaternium-15 ‘may not be safe’ in cosmetics.

Recipe of the Day: Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

Remember Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house? How about her homemade chicken and dumplings, the recipe passed on from generation to generation. Bring back the memories with this recipe!

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

  • 1 3/4 pounds chicken, thighs, boneless, skinless, trimmed and cut into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup(s) whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 2 large carrot(s), diced
  • 2 stalk(s) celery, diced
  • 1 large onion(s), diced
  • 1 tablespoon preservative-free poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 28 ounce(s) reduced sodium natural chicken broth (2, 14-ounce cans)
  • 1 cup(s) water
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) peas (fresh is best but thawed frozen can be used)
  • 1 cup(s) whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup(s) whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon preservative-free poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup(s) buttermilk, fat-free*

*If you do not have buttermilk, you can substitute buttermilk powder prepared per the package directions. You can also create “sour milk” by mixing 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup of milk.

  1. Toss chicken with 2/3 cup whole-wheat flour in a medium bowl until coated.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  3. Reserving the remaining flour, add the chicken to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot.
  5. Stir in carrots, celery, onion, 1 tablespoon preservative-free poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and ground black pepper.
  6. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle the reserved flour over the vegetables; stir to coat.
  8. Stir in broth, water, peas and the reserved chicken. Bring to a simmer, stirring often.
  9. To prepare dumplings: Meanwhile, stir whole-wheat flour pastry flour, 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour, 1 teaspoon preservative-free poultry seasoning, baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt in a medium bowl.
  10. Stir in buttermilk.
  11. Drop the dough, 1 tablespoon at a time, over the simmering chicken stew, making about 18 dumplings.
  12. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and cook undisturbed until the dumplings are puffed, the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Allergy Warnings: Gluten, Dairy
Dietary Sensitivities: GERD-friendly
Nutritional Information: Calories: 463, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 629mg, Dietary Fiber: 6g, Total Fat: 15g, Carbs: 45g, Cholesterol: 91mg, Protein: 34g

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The Natty Brat Has Been Awarded the Liebster Blog Award!

Liebster Award

 

Ok, so maybe it is not an award that I can sit on a shelf on my wall and stare at all day, and maybe it’s not a “real” award, but to know that someone enjoyed my blog enough to pass on this award to me makes me feel good about what I am doing with this blog and the direction I am heading with it. I was awarded by Dolly of Substance AND Style, and have been informed that this “award” is more like a game in which helps to connect blogs and allow bloggers to get to know each other better while promoting each other’s blogs.  A huge THANK YOU to Dolly for feeling that The Natty Brat Blog was worth this award and worth promoting!

As part of this award, I must give ten (10) facts about myself, answer the ten (10) questions that Dolly has posted to her award winners, and then post ten (10) questions of my own to the ten (10) blogs that I nominate (I was able to nominate nine [9] so I came close!). So, let me begin!

Ten Random Facts About The Natty Brat!

  • I have a Bachelors of Fine Arts – Fashion Design even though I’m not huge on designers or clothing in general. I just love to design and create clothing, especially costume design and production.
  • I am a costumer! You can check out my costuming page over on Facebook: Xandria Morgan . I am on sort of a hiatus with costuming at this time because of our new baby but hope to be back in action by next year!
  • My husband and I just bought our first home together back in December after waiting almost a year and a half on a contract!
  • Natural living has not always been part of my life. In fact, I used to laugh at those who lived naturally and called them hippies. Now I realize how wrong I was and wish I had started living naturally a long time ago.
  • I grew up in a very rural area of Maryland, but when to college for almost four (4) years in Chicago, Illinois.
  • I have four (4) cats. No I am not a crazy cat lady. And my husband says no more.
  • I also have two (2) turtles. Again, my husband says no more.
  • I am addicted to chocolate, but what woman isn’t??!!
  • While my degree is in Fashion Design, I have been working as a paralegal since graduating college in 2009.
  • I moved back home to Maryland after graduating college in order to help take care of my grandparents. Family is very important to me.

Ten Questions from Dolly!

If you could write a book about your life what would you call it?
I think I would call it Mish-Mash: The Crazy Unorganized Life because that’s literally what my life has been like for the past twenty-seven (27) years!

What is the most interesting beauty treatment you’ve heard of and want to try or have tried?
Probably a chocolate bath! They give them at a spa in Hershey, Pennsylvania and I have always wanted to try it. My love for chocolate combined with pampering: yes please!

Do you think standard working hours are too much or too little for the average person and is 10-25 days annual holiday entitlement enough?
I work a standard forty (40) hour work week and I believe it is too much now that I have a family. I resent that my daughter spends more of her waking time with a stranger than she does her own parents. Not a huge fan of that. As for the annual holidays, I get seven (7) holidays while other people working other jobs (mainly government jobs) get much more than me. I think there should be a standard set of holidays that EVERYONE gets off for and no more. It is only fair in my eyes.

Is there a craft or skill you’ve always wanted to learn but never had the opportunity? E.g. glass blowing or abseiling?
Hand embroidery! I would love to know how to do that so I can incorporate it into my costuming and clothing construction.

Do you believe in aliens?
I believe there could be life on other planets. Whether they actually do exist or not, I’m not sure.

If you were a fictional character (from any media e.g. books, comics, cartoons) who would you be?
Maurynna from The Last Dragonlord. She is a strong woman who is still very feminine in her ways and does not allow one side to overshadow the other.

Are caravans/mobile homes a practical solution to the lack of affordable housing?
Around here, I think not. While my husband and I were searching for a house, some mobile homes came up in our price range. When I checked their listings, they all included a hefty fee that had to be paid to the park on a monthly basis. When you added that to the monthly mortgage payment, it came up to more than what we are currently paying per month for our single-family stick-built home. That’s the only knowledge I have on them however, and maybe not all parks have that monthly fee, I do not know.

Would you prefer a coastal, countryside, suburban or urban residence? Or something totally customized (e.g. tree house, mud hut, cave, inside a piece of modern art)?
I would prefer a countryside home. Coastal brings with it the possibility of storm damage. Suburban is too compact. And I have lived in urban and would not want to raise a family there. In the countryside, you truly feel like you own a piece of land and it is YOURS. Plus you have more privacy and peace-and-quiet. And if you do not want neighbors, you can buy enough land so you never have to see them!

Pick a movie you think is closer to reality than we acknowledge e.g. a film labelled as fantasy but features the cold hard truth.
Atlas Shrugged. Yeah I’m probably crazy but I’m ok with that 🙂

What would be your ideal theme park (different to the ones you’ve heard of or been to)?
I’m a big gamer so a gaming-themed theme park would be awesome. I’m sure the Japanese probably have one or at least have one in concept but that’s what I would love to see.

Ten (10) Questions for my Winners:

  1. If you had a son and a daughter, what would their names be and why? If you already have a son and a daughter, what are their names and why?
  2. If you could pick any country to live in, what would it be and why?
  3. Name one law that you feel should be changed in this country and why.
  4. Out of all the award shows, which one would you like to attend and why?
  5. Which food item would you like to see grow in popularity in restaurants and why?
  6. If you could do one thing to help better the world, what would it be and why?
  7. If you were given a million dollars and told you had to spend it all in one year, what would you do?
  8. If you took in five strangers to live in your home, what would your house rules be and why?
  9. If you could create one item to sell to the world, what would it be and why?
  10. If you had to choose between a significant other who was beautiful but did not have much of a personality, or one that was a little hard on the eyes but had a huge personality, which would you go with and why?

And there we go! Here are the blogs that I have awarded the Liebster Blog Award!

 

GeekilyGFGeekilyGF

Scully Speaks

 

Gluten Free Gus

ajhepicure-2The Unorthodox Epicure

My Summer of Weight LossMy Summer of Weight Loss

Sleeping BootaySleeping Bootay

Maggie's One Butt KitchenMaggie’s One Butt Kitchen

A Lot On Your PlateA Lot On Your Plate

L-Jay HealthL-Jay Health

Ingredient of the Day: Butylated Hydroxytoluene

Butylated Hydroxytoluene

What is Butylated Hydroxytoluene?
Butylated hydroxytoluene is a lipophilic (fat-soluble) organic compound that is a chemically derivative of phenol. It is used for its antioxidant properties. European and U.S. regulations allow small percentages to be used as a food additive. Butylated hydroxytoluene is prepared by the reaction of p-cresol (4-methylphenol) with isobutylene (2-methylpropene) catalyzed by sulfuric acid. It can also be prepared from 2,6-di-tert-butylphenol by hydroxymethylation or aminomethylation followed by hydrogenolsis.

What is Butylated Hydroxytoluene Used In?
Butylated hydroxytoluene  is primarily used as a food additive and is exploited for its antioxidant properties. It is also an antioxidant additive in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, rubber, electrical transformer oil, and embalming fluid.

Why is Butylated Hydroxytoluene Used?
Butylated hydroxytoluene behaves as a synthetic analogue of vitamin E, primarily acting as a terminating agent that suppresses autoxidation.

Why is Butylated Hydroxytoluene Bad for Me?
In 2005 the National Toxicology Program listed butylated hydroxytoluene as a “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” on the basis of experimental findings in animals. However, studies are still inconclusive as some studies show a potential to increase the risk of cancer and some show a decrease in risk.

Recipe of the Day: Chicken-Fried Steak with Spiced Gravy

Love southern cooking but hate having to go to a restaurant with questionable ingredients in order to get it? Bring the South into your kitchen with this quick and delicious recipe!

Chicken-Fried Steak with Spiced Gravy

  • 1 pounds beef, lean top round steak, cut 1/2 inch thick
  • Natural olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup(s) whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon cheese, Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper, cayenne
  • 1 egg white(s)
  • 1/3 cup(s) buttermilk
  • 1 cup(s) natural corn cereal flakes, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon real butter
  • 3/4 cup(s) milk
  • 1 dash(es) nutmeg, ground
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Cut steak into 4 portions.
  3. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  4. In a shallow dish, combine the 1/4 cup flour, the Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, the 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, the cumin, coriander, and pepper.
  5. In another shallow dish, combine egg white and buttermilk; beat with a wire whisk until mixed.
  6. Place crushed cornflakes in a third shallow dish.
  7. Dip steak pieces into flour mixture to coat.
  8. Dip into egg mixture.
  9. Coat with crushed cornflakes.
  10. Arrange coated steak pieces on prepared baking sheet.
  11. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until steak coating is crisp and steak is well done, turning once.
  12. In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.
  13. Stir in 1 tablespoon  flour; cook and stir about 3 minutes or until flour begins to brown.
  14. Slowly whisk in 3/4 cup fat-free milk, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a dash ground nutmeg. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
  15. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 1 minute more.
  16. Serve Spiced Gravy over steak pieces.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Allergy Warnings: Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Red Meat
Diet Sensitivities: Diabetes-friendly
Nutritional Information: Calories: 279, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 627mg, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Total Fat: 6g, Carbs: 23g, Cholesterol: 75mg, Protein: 31g

Chicken Fried Steak