Archive | July 2013

Ingredient of the Day: 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


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!



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

Coming Soon: New Product Reviews!

Ah!! So excited! Tonight I will be purchasing ingredients to make the following items:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Dish soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Baby wipes

I have really been looking forward to creating these items all on my own. I have been waiting for these items to be used up in our house before making them. Thankfully, the chemical-laced items are on their last legs, so it is time to grab the necessary ingredients and start combining!! I will start with the dishwasher detergent and dish soap first, as those items are the ones that are the closest to being done, so look out for recipes and reviews on these as early as the weekend!

Have you made any of these items? Any suggestions for ingredients or recipes? How about suggestions for items you would like to see me make and give reviews on so you can determine if you would like to take the plunge into making your own natural, homemade items? Let me know below!

Ingredient of the Day: High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup

What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?
High fructose corn syrup is any group of corn syrups that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce sweetness. It typically consists of 24% water with the rest being sugar. The most widely used varieties of high fructose corn syrup are high fructose corn syrup 55 (mostly used in soft drinks – approximately 55% fructose and 42% glucose) and high fructose corn syrup 42 (used in beverages, processed foods, cereals and baked goods – approximately 42% fructose and 53% glucose). High fructose corn syrup 90 (approximately 90% fructose and 10% glucose) is used in small quantities for specialty applications, but primarily is used to blend with high fructose corn syrup 42 to make high fructose corn syrup 55.

What is High Fructose Corn Syrup Used In?
High fructose corn syrpup is among the many  sweeteners that have primarily replaced sucrose (table sugar) in the food industry.  It is commonly used in breads,  cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soft drinks, soups, and condiments.

Why is High Fructose Corn Syrup Used?
Governmental production quotas of domestic sugar, subsidies of U.S. Corn, and an import tariff on foreign sugar combined to raise the price of sucrose to levels above those of the rest of the world. Thus, high fructose corn syrup is cheaper for many sweetener applications. The relative sweetness of high fructose corn syrup 55 is comparable to table sugar (sucrose), a disaccharide of fructose and glucose (high fructose corn syrup 90 is sweeter than sucrose and high fructose corn syrup 42 is less sweet than sucrose) Because it is a liquid, high fructose corn syrup is easier to blend and transport than sucrose.

Why is High Fructose Corn Syrup Bad for Me?
It has been alleged that high fructose corn syrup contributions to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Critics of the extensive use of high fructose corn syrup in food sweetening argue that the highly processed substance is more harmful to humans than regular sugar, contributing to weight gain by affecting normal appetite functions.The use of food grade hydrochloric acid in the processing of corn syrup has given rise to speculations that high fructose corn syrup can be a source of inorganic mercury depending on how it is manufactured. A 2009 study found that out of 20 samples of high fructose corn syrup collected from three separate manufacturers, 11 did not contain detectable levels of mercury while 9 of 20 samples did contain mercury. The samples of high fructose corn syrup that did not contain mercury “were likely manufactured using caustic soda produced by a membrane chlor-alkali plant which does not use mercury in its manufacturing process.” While some high fructose corn syrups may claim that their product contains all-natural ingredients, the processing sequence may involve the use of artificial and synthetic agents.


Recipe of the Day: Gingered Cranberry-Pear Cobbler

Looking for a crisp and refreshing dessert to take to a summer picnic that will not take all your free time?? Try this recipe!

Gingered Cranberry-Pear Cobbler

  • 1/3 cup(s) pear nectar, or apple juice or water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 8 medium pear, bosc, or Bartlett, slightly underripe, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 3/4 cup(s) light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, fresh, finely minced
  • 2 cup(s) cranberries, fresh or frozen, thawed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup(s) reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon natural lemon juice
  • 1 1/3 cup(s) whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoon natural sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup(s) olive oil
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 400°F. Coat a 3-quart nonreactive baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. To prepare filling: Combine pear nectar (or juice or water) and lemon juice in a large bowl. Toss pears with the juice.
  3. Whisk brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and ginger in a nonreactive Dutch oven until combined. Drain the liquid from the pears into this mixture; stir until well blended. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring, just until it begins to boil, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the pears and cranberries and cook, stirring, until the mixture is steaming, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Spread the fruit in an even layer in the prepared baking dish.
  5. To prepare crust: Combine sour cream and lemon juice in a small bowl. Place flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, salt and baking soda in a food processor fitted with a dough hook or chopping blade; process to combine. Drizzle in oil and process in quick pulses just until the mixture is the consistency of very fine crumbs, stopping and scraping the bottom and sides several times.
  6. Add the sour cream mixture; process in quick pulses just until incorporated and the mixture holds together when pressed between the fingers; do not overprocess. If the mixture seems dry, gradually add a little cold water, a teaspoon at a time, and pulse briefly several times just until the mixture is moistened and holds together.
  7. Lightly dust a 14-inch-long piece of parchment or wax paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the paper and let rest for 5 minutes. Knead briefly until the dough just comes together.
  8. Lightly flour the top and cover with a second sheet of paper. Roll or press the dough into the same shape as your baking dish, just slightly smaller. Discard the top sheet of paper. Invert the dough, centered, over the fruit. Discard the paper.
  9. Using a greased sharp paring knife, cut large decorative slashes in the dough to vent steam. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any overflowing juices).
  10. Bake the cobbler until the top is golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 53 minutes
Rest Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 38 minutes
Servings: 10
Allergy Warnings: Gluten, Dairy
Diet Sensitivities: Vegetarian
Nutritional Information: Calories: 321, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 160mg, Dietary Fiber: 7g, Total Fat: 7g, Carbs: 66g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Protein: 3g

Gingered Cranberry-Pear Cobler

Natty Brat Where Have You Been?!?!

I’m sure this is what some of you have asked yourself! Ok maybe not…but here is the answer to that question!

Since my last post in June 2012, I have had a TON of things come down the line: I had to prepare for our wedding in August, which took up much of my time in July and August. Then there was the actual wedding and honeymoon in August. Then I became ill, and had no time when I got home from work to do anything because I was sick every evening. Come to find out I was PREGNANT! Once the “evening sickness” died down in December, we ran into the holidays and also acquired our first home! January was filled with working on the house to make it move-in ready, as well as packing. February through April was packed with working on our new home and preparing for the birth of our first daughter. Elyse came in early May, and we have had our hands full since. BUT! It looks like I will finally start having some time to continue the blog and provide you all with my thoughts and opinions on natural living, including products and recipes! And don’t forget the ingredient reviews!!

I hope those who used to read the blog will come back and participate once again, and hope that new people will come and share in our adventure into natural living together! Cannot wait to get going once again!