Saturday, August 27, 2011

Peach Cobbler Cookin'

Fresh ripe peaches, so good!
Today I was supposed to clean my room after I went to work for a couple of hours. It is a horrendous mess. Guess what I did instead. If you guessed "baked peach cobbler" then you are correct. =) We have a large bowl of fresh peaches that need to be used so that they don't turn to mush.

I adapted the following recipe from one I found on

1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 Tbs cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 cups fresh peaches - peeled, pitted, sliced (around 5 to 6 peaches)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup gluten free flour mixture - I used 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup coconut flour, and 1/2 cup almond flour
1 1/2 Tbs coconut sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs organic non-hydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Peach filling: In large saucepan combine 1/2 cup coconut sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Stir in peaches and lemon juice, tossing until peaches are evenly coated.
Cook filling over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute. Pour mixture into an ungreased 2 quart casserole dish. Keep mixture hot in oven while you make topping. 

Topping: In a medium bowl combine flours, 1 1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix thoroughly, then cut in shortening until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add coconut milk and stir until mixture is evenly moistened. 
Remove peach filling from oven and drop dough onto peaches in 6 equal-size spoonfuls. (I also sprinkled cinnamon and coconut sugar over top of the dough).

Return cobbler to oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Before and After
The changes I made to the original recipe were replacing the refined white sugar with coconut sugar and using coconut milk instead of dairy milk. The gluten free flour mix I used was 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup coconut flour, and 1/2 cup almond flour.

My only complaint with this recipe was that the cobbler topping browned on top but did not bake all the way through. Technically it was okay because there are no eggs in the batter, but since the peaches are so soft I would have liked a more fully cooked, partially crispy, crust. But some of my family members actually said that they preferred the undercooked softness of the topping, so maybe there's no no way to win. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

No Shampoo Snafu

First of all don't you like my title? It kind of rhymed but snafu is a funny looking word. But anyways I really want to begin by saying that I am sorry I haven't blogged in a couple of months. The main purpose of this blog is to share my experiences to help others, but I can't help anyone very well if I never write now can I? Now to the good stuff...

Lately I have been having issues with the shampoo free hair washing system. My hair has been really frizzy, something I have never really had a problem with since I have straight hair. Maybe my hair is dry due to the baking soda. I try not to use it too much, or rather, when I use it I try to use as little as possible. Every two or three days I wash my hair with the baking soda mixture and follow it with the ACV rinse. This seems to be more often than many non-shampooers but my hair gets greasy in two days. I can only use so much cornstarch! While my hair gets oily my scalp is dry and flaky. Obviously I have an imbalance going on. Ideally I would leave my hair for a few months only rinsing it with hot water so that everything could balance out naturally. However, I have to go out in public and I cannot look like a greasemonkey. Even if the saying goes "greasy hair isn't dirty hair", an oily head is not socially acceptable.

In the face of the challenges my scalp has (always) offered me I am on the search for a natural alternative to chemical filled shampoos, an alternative other than baking soda. I had read about castile soap being used as shampoo so I purchased some. Before using it for the first time I researched how it should be applied. Good thing I did because it needs to be diluted a lot. I ended up doing 1 part castile soap to 40 parts water (1 teaspoon to a little less than 1 cup). I didn't use the whole cup of liquid on my hair, I tried using it sparingly and applied it the same as I would my baking soda mixture following with the ACV rinse. I ended up with shiny hair that day, a little too shiny. The castile didnt seem to remove all of the oil from my hair. I was in a rush to get to work so I just threw it in a ponytail like it was. The next day I washed my hair with baking soda and blew it dry. My hair looked light, fluffy, and great! But by days end my hair turns out flat and sometimes stringy looking. Baking soda does clean my hair but lends hit or miss results. I never how my hair will look or feel. If I use a tad too much or a tad too little baking soda the final head of hair is drastically different.

All that said, I would like something that is sure and will deliver results that can be anticipated. I like surprises but not when it comes to my hair. Is that too much to ask for? I hope not. While researching about castile soap I saw many rave reviews for CV shampoo bars. I think that might be the next step in my search. If the baking soda/ACV treatment is working for you I encourage you to stick with it, I have heard many success stories using that method. Every head of hair is different (I feel like I have said this before but it is so true!), so what doesn't work for me may work for you.