Our Favorite Organic Sweet Cornbread Recipe


Fall is in the air and if your house is anything like ours, so is the aroma of a pot of soup simmering in the kitchen.  What goes better with a bowl of heartwarming soup than a good wholesome slice of organic cornbread?  We thought we would share our recipe which we have fine-tuned over the years until we think it’s just perfect.

We use our old Griswold iron skillet for this one so that the bottom crust browns nicely.  The trick for this is to heat the oil in the skillet on the range top before pouring in the batter.

Our Favorite Organic Sweet Cornbread Recipe:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1 Cup Organic Corn Meal
1 Cup Organic Flour
1/3 Cup Organic Sugar
1 Tablespoon Aluminum Free Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Real Salt
2 Eggs (cage free or free range, whatever you prefer)
1 Cup Organic Milk
1/3 Cup Oil (we use organic olive oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil or whatever we have)
+ Additional 1/3 Cup oil for pan (see below)

Pour the 1/3 Cup oil for the pan into an iron skillet.  You’ll want your skillet to be medium hot when you pour the batter in so place the skillet on a burner on medium heat while preparing the batter.  Keep an eye on the skillet while you are mixing and remove from heat when it is medium hot so that it doesn’t become too hot.

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle and add eggs, milk and oil.  Beat the eggs into the liquid and then mix all ingredients together. Batter will be a little lumpy.

Pour batter in the skillet and transfer to the oven.  The skillet will be hot so use a pot holder.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Server with butter and honey, if desired.


Okay, I’ve got to take a minute to show you the tablet cover that my granddaughter made for me.  It’s made from recycled materials and covered with Duck tape!  Now, isn’t that the most awesome tablet case you have ever seen?  But then again, she is an awesome granddaughter : )

Duck Tape Tablet Case

Duck Tape Tablet Case

Is it Duck tape or duct tape?

How to Grow an Organic Garden with Limited Space

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by Ginny Chandoah

I’ve been an organic gardener for most of my life, whether it was my childhood sandbox converted to a flower garden, a small patch of backyard lawn tilled up to grow vegetables, growing vegetables on a sunny patio and deck, growing vegetables in a closet, and larger scale organic vegetable gardening. Even with limited space, as long as there is a sunny spot, vegetables will grow.

Select seed packets that are USDA Certified Organic. It’s best to choose seeds that are open pollinated and heirloom varieties. Avoid those that are hybrid since they’ve been genetically modified, and also avoid those whose seeds have been chemically treated. There are many online retailers selling organic untreated heirloom variety seeds, such as Peacevine, Grow Organic, High Mowing, Wood Prairie, and more. Personally I like to choose seeds from small sellers within my growing area.

Vegetables that adapt very well to container growing include tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash (avoid crook neck yellow squash since that variety has been genetically modified), zucchini, lettuce, spinach, celery, even melons.

The next step to creating an organic garden is to select the containers in which to start your seeds. Any local nursery or store such as Lowes or Home Depot will carry splant containerseed starter trays and pots. Fill the pots with soil, create a hole and plant 2 seeds. This will ensure that at least one seed germinates. If both seeds germinate, when the seedlings have two leaves, remove the weakest looking seedling so there is only one seedling per pot. Another option is to use a small pot and space out 3-4 seeds. There are pros and cons to both methods. A single seedling per plant makes transplanting very easy. With multiple seedlings per pot, the roots need to be untangled when transplanting. I have used both methods and either one works. Transplant seedlings when they have at least two true leaves. The first “leaves” to appear after the seed germinates are not true leaves.

gardening_2For transplanting seedlings into growing pots, choose pots that will hold at least 10 pounds of soil. Vegetable plants need a large pot for establishing a good root system. In larger pots that hold 20 pounds or more of soil will be able to handle 3-4 plants in each large pot. I like to place drip catchers under the pots, but some pots are either too large for a drip catcher, or are an odd shape.

If you want to skip the process of sowing your own seeds, nurseries, stores like Lowes or Home Depot, food coops, or local organic farms may carry organic and/or heirloom seedlings that you can purchase and transplant.

The type of soil used is also important. If you want truly organic vegetables, avoid all-in-one bagged soils that contain chemical fertilizers. Instead, choose soils that are marked as approved for organic gardening. Also look for organic compost from local farms or nurseries. I like to mix my soil in a wheelbarrow and add a shovel full of lobster meal in with my composted soil for added nutrients. Peat can also be added to help lighten the soil and retain moisture, but a little goes a long way. You don’t want the soil to be soggy or your vegetable plants will suffer root rot.

Potted plants on a sunny deck or patio will be subject to intense heat and will dry out quickly. After potting my seedlings, I like to place on top of the soil an inch or two of wood chips (not cedar). These can be purchased at nurseries or stores such as Agway. Some people wrap foil around the pots to reflect the sun, and some people place bricks around the pots to absorb the sun’s heat and it also serves to release warmth around the pots during the cooler evening temperatures. Personally I do neither of these things and always make sure there is water in my drip catchers, and always thoroughly water my potted vegetables late in the afternoon or early evening so the plants have all night to soak up the water and nutrients in the soil.

Even though I have a large ground organic garden, I still like to grow certain vegetables in containers on my deck, including tomatoes, cucumbers, and squashes. Potted gardening 3 tomatoes grown on a deck or patio seem to avoid the leaf fungus that ground planted tomatoes are often subject to. That’s because potted tomatoes with wood chip mulch on top avoid the rain splash that throws soil on the undersides of the leaves.

Another reason I like deck or patio container gardening is because wildlife and pests don’t seem to bother the plants. However, I use regular fence material that I cut and wrap around the entire pot and plant. Not only does this keep foragers away, but it helps support the plants during strong wind and storms.

Placement of potted vegetable plants is also important as some require maximum sun while others do better with a little shade. I like to mix potted tomato plants with the potted lettuce and cucumber plants because tomatoes need maximum sun, and the lettuce and cucumbers receive dappled sun.

pic4Growing potted vegetables on a sunny deck or patio makes organic gardening easy. You don’t have to weed, most pests seem to avoid potted vegetables, and they are easy to harvest.

If you have a sunny area in the house, the growing season can be extended by moving potted plants inside when the weather turns too cold. I live in a northern area where nights start to turn cold in September. I’ve moved potted tomato plants into an unheated sunroom and harvested ripe tomatoes well into December.

After the growing season I empty the pot contents (plants and soil) into a composter and add to it my kitchen vegetable scraps. In a year or two I can reuse that soil instead of buying new soil. I wash out and store all of my seedling starter pots and the growing pots and reuse them the following year. With a little initial investment, every summer you can have fresh organic vegetables you grew yourself.

About the Author
Ginny Chandoha is a published writer whose short stories have appeared in The Staying Sane book series by DeCapo Press.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Recipe

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If you’re looking for a recipe for ranch dressing made with natural ingredients, here’s my homemade ranch salad dressing (or ranch dip) recipe that I came up with several years ago and have been making and tweaking ever since.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Recipe

Homemade Ranch Dressing


1 cup organic mayonnaise
½ cup organic sour cream
¾ cup organic milk (use more for a thinner dressing or less to make a thick ranch dip)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I use more sometimes)
¾ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (*see note below on herbs)
2 tablespoons chives, sniped finely
3 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar

Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream and milk with a wire whisk until smooth.  Stir in all other ingredients.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

*Herb variations:  I use a variety of herbs when they are in season.  Parsley, chives and dill are good choices for this recipe.  You can also use dried herbs if you don’t have fresh on hand.  Just add a little at a time until you’re satisfied with the amount of herbs and refrigerate overnight.

You can also stir in blue cheese for a creamy homemade blue cheese dressing.

This ranch dressing recipe is good on salads and baked potatoes or to douse your daily veggies into. Serve the dip version up with crackers or veggies.  Which remind me,  the kale is ready in the garden and I’ve really wanted to make some kale chips.

Enjoy!  ….and don’t forget to pin!

Natural Makeup Tips


Makeup tip for long lasting lip color: Outline lips with a lip pencil then fill in the center with the lip pencil. Cover with lip gloss or lip balm.

For a sexy lip look – Outline lips with a deep color lip liner pencil and fill in with a pinkish lip gloss.



Shown here: Island Spice Lip Liner and Hollywood Natural Lip Gloss




Makeup Tips for a sexy sun-kissed look – Brush Miessence Bronzing Dust gently across the bridge of nose, cheeks and across forehead.

Miessence Bronzing Dust

Miessence Bronzing Dust

For contouring – Miessence bronzer is great for contouring too. Emphasize cheekbones by brushing a little beneath checks. Contour nose to look more slender by brushing bronzer lightly onto sides of nose. Brush a line of bronzer just under the jawbone to accentuate the jaw line.




Mascara Application Tip: Apply a light coat and comb lashes with a mascara comb and let dry. Repeat as necessary applying only to the ends of lashes until desired result.

applying mascara

Applying Mascara

Natural Mascara

Natural Mascara

Real Hot Chocolate

Real Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate recipe

Hot Chocolate

With the beginning of winter and snow in the forecast I’m conjuring up ideas like a cozy fire in the fireplace, flannel pajamas and a really good cup of hot chocolate.

But it  just took one glance at the list on the instant hot cocoa with ingredients like modified whey, hydrogenated coconut oil, calcium carbonate, dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglycerides, acesulfame potassium, sucralose and artificial flavor (really?!?)  to quickly decide that I didn’t want to go that route.  What, all those unpronounceable things in a simple cup of hot chocolate? Throw it away! I decided that a good cup of hot cocoa needs to be made from scratch like real food made with real ingredients! It was pretty easy too.

So, this is how we did it. We also opted for organic fair trade cocoa powder, organic sugar, organic milk and our homemade vanilla extract.

Real Hot Chocolate Recipe

1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/3 Cup Sugar
Dash of Salt
4 Cups Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

In a saucepan, combine the cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Add milk and whisk often while cooking over medium heat. Heat to scalding but do not boil (once it starts to steam is usually good). Remove from heat and add vanilla. That’s it!  Serve.

If you have any left, you can pour it into a jar with a lid (once cooled) and refrigerate.  Next time I may opt to add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg!

Soap for Goodness Sake
Natural and Organic Bath

Café Olé – A Favorite Holiday Coffee at Our House

Here’s a gourmet coffee recipe that we’ve made many times during the holidays. There’s nothing quite as good as a houseful of family waking up to this special coffee treat.

Café Olé

Café Olé

Café Olé Recipe:

1/2 Cup Coffee* (We use freshly ground, fair trade, organic, French roast)
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
4 Cups Cold Water
4 Cups Milk, heated to scalding
1 Cup Organic Sugar or Brown Sugar
Cinnamon Sticks

*Use up to 1 cup ground coffee if you like a stronger coffee.

Combine the coffee and the cinnamon. Brew the coffee in a coffee maker with the 4 cups water. When brewed, stir in the sugar until dissolved. Add hot milk. When ready to serve, place a cinnamon stick in each cup and fill with Café Ole.

I have also transferred this to a pretty chafing carafe to keep warm which also makes a nice holiday breakfast center piece.