Crock Pot Applesauce

Fresh Organic Apples

Fresh Organic Apples

When life gives you lemons you make lemonade.  When you go to a beautiful organic orchard and pick 3 pecks of apples….You make apple sauce.  When I was a child my Mother made applesauce on the stove and used her old fashioned hand mill to mash the apples….It was a lot of work!   This recipe for applesauce is so much easier, I used my handy dandy immersion blender (a.k.a., stick blender) and the cooked apples turned into a smooth sauce within minutes.  This recipe requires minimal preparation; core, peel and slice the apples in quarters if you have an immersion blender (make the chunks smaller if you will be mashing by hand…note the size in the photo below).  There is no need to visit an orchard to pick the apples (but it is a lot of fun), simply head to your farmers market or buy the firmest organic apples at your grocery store.  I use a variety of apples to make my applesauce, some sweet and some tart; it’s truly a personal preference.


12 to 14 Medium Sized Organic Apples (I like to mix a variety of apples for a fuller flavor)
3 or 4 Cinnamon Sticks
2 inch piece of Fresh Ginger Root cut into ½ slices (skewer each piece with a toothpick to make removing the ginger easier)
½ Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice from an Organic Lemon (I keep the lemon rind in while cooking)
½ teaspoon Sea Salt

NOTE:  You can also add more spice if you like; extra organic ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice or cloves.

OPTIONAL:  ½ Cup of Coconut Sugar or more if you like it sweeter.

Apples after 45 minutes of cooking.

Apples after 45 minutes of cooking.


Peel and core apples (I use my apple corer/slicer).

Cut into rough cubes (not necessary if using an immersion/stick blender).

Pour water into the Crock Pot.

Place the apple, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, ginger slices and optional sugar into the crock pot.

Place lid on the crock pot and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours, (until apples are very soft).

Stir once an hour while cooking to allow even cooking and for the flavors to meld.

When cooking is complete, turn off the crock pot, remove the ginger slices and cinnamon sticks, as well as the lemon rind (if used).

For chunky applesauce allow the apples to cool slightly in the crockpot, then carefully mash the apples with the back of a large spoon. For a smoother applesauce use an immersion blender/stick blender and Puree until your desired consistency is reached.

Place cooled applesauce in containers.

Store in the refrigerator for 5 days or freeze in containers up to 6 months.

NOTE:  I do not use sugar in my applesauce because I use a variety of apples (sweet and tart).  For those who like a sweeter applesauce, try coconut sugar which is lower glycemic and adds a rich flavor to the finished product.

Homemade Applesauce

Homemade Applesauce

Condiments, Healthy Snacks, Recipes

Sage and Lemon Pesto

Sage and Lemon Pesto

Sage and Lemon Pesto

We know that fresh herbs add a bounty of flavor and complexity to the foods that we create, but many people are unaware that the culinary world places herbs in categories.  Fine herbs are those which are delicate and can be eaten raw such as parsley, chervil, basil, and tarragon. Resinous herbs are stronger, more robust, the type of herb that when handled leaves your hands a bit sticky…these oily herbs are best enjoyed after cooking. The resinous herb family includes sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, marjoram, and savoury.   Sage is one of my favorite herbs, not only does it add flavor to your foods, but it has a nutrient density profile.   This pretty gray green leaf is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin A, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and B vitamins including, thiamin, pyridoxine, and riboflavin.  Add a healthy dose of vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, and copper, and you realize why fresh sage can be incredibly healthy and healing.


1 Cup Fresh Sage Leaves, stems removed
1/2 Cup Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (not cilantro)
1 large Garlic Clove, smashed
1/2 teaspoon Organic Onion Powder
2 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice from an Organic Lemon
1 tablespoon Lemon Zest from an Organic Lemon
3 tablespoons Organic Sunflower Seeds, ground or Sunflower Flour
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt (or more to taste)
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste (I gave it 10 good turns from my peppermill)


Combine the sage, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, onion powder and the ground sunflower seeds in a blender or food processor and process until combined.  NOTE:  if using a blender you may need to stop the blender and mix the ingredients with a spoon or spatula.

Drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream while the processor is running until the pesto has emulsified.  If the pesto still seems too thick, add more olive oil, a tablespoon at a time.

NOTE:  My blender has a cap in the lid that can be easily removed for tasks such as this.  If your blender does not have a removable cap you will need to shut it off before adding the oil in increments of 2 tablespoons at a time.

Add the grated parmesan cheese, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and process 35 seconds or until well combined.

Use the pesto for your favorite gluten or grain free pasta, as a sauce for your pizza, or as a topping for chicken or fish.  Keeps in the refrigerator for 3 days or can be frozen for 6 months.

Condiments, Recipes

Gluten Free Sunscreens, 2017



I first blogged about Gluten Free Sunscreens in 2010, and so much has changed.  The good news; more and more companies are producing gluten free sunscreens! Companies have also realized that we are looking for safer, less toxic products, you will find that many of the sunscreens on the list are Mineral Based.  While the list below provides you with options, it does not contain EVERY brand of sunscreen, nor does it contain every gluten free product that the company produces.   There are also some companies that produce gluten free sunscreens that I did not include on the list.  Some of these brands did not fare well in independent testing, and some contained high levels of chemicals that I would not want you to slather onto your body (or your children’s bodies). Please remember, it is always best to read labels since companies frequently have changes in their supply chain and/or their manufacturing facilities.

My Methodology:  I gathered most of my product information from the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep Database. They have been testing sunscreens since 2007 and their focus is on the safety and efficacy of products.  Each sunscreen they test is given a score, 0-10, the lower the number the better.  You can review the Environmental Working Groups 2017 Guide to Sunscreens here:

The list below is in alphabetical order to make it easier to read, it is not by ranking.  I also researched companies through the internet, read reviews, and finally, I made phone calls to customer service representatives when website information was not available or clear.  Many of the companies were very forthcoming, others, not so much.  Several companies said they did not have a “Gluten Free Certification” although their products contain no gluten ingredients (example:  All Terrain).  Obviously, purchasing products that are not labeled gluten free is a personal decision, but you have many more choices for Gluten Free Sunscreens in 2017 than you did when I first blogged about sunscreens in 2010. I hope the list is helpful and that everyone has a great summer!

Adorable Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+

Alba Botanica Sunscreens (check package for gluten free statement)

All Good Sunscreens

All Terrain KidSport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 (no gluten ingredients but not certified)

Australian Gold Kids SPF 50 Lotion Sunscreen, Hypoallergenic Formula,

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30 plus Fragrance Free

Babyganics Mineral-based Sunscreen Spray – SPF 50

Babytime! by Episencial Sunny Sunscreen, SPF 35

Badger Sunscreens

Bare Belly – Natural Sunscreen Body Stick, SPF 34

Bare Republic Clearscreen Products

Beyond Coastal Active Sunscreen, SPF 34

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Baby, SPF 30+

BurnOut KIDS Sunscreen, SPF 35

Butterbean Organics Simple Formula Healthy Sunscreen, SPF 30

California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen, SPF 30+

Carefree Naturals, Zinc Blend SPF 40 Invisible Traditional Sunscreen Face & Body

Caribbean Sol Sol Kid Kare, SPF 30

CeraVe Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50

COOLA Suncare Baby Mineral Sunscreen Unscented Moisturizer, SPF 50

Coppertone Sunscreen Stick Water Babies Pure & Simple, SPF 50

Cleure Sunscreen: Natural Mineral, Sensitive Skin, Sunscreen, SPF 15

derma e Antioxidant Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30

Elemental Herbs All Good Kid’s Sunscreen SPF 30

Goddess Garden Organics Baby Natural Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30

Grahams Natural – Sunclear, SPF 30 plus Sunscreen

Green Screen Organic

Headhunter Sunscreen Natural, SPF 30

Jersey Shore Cosmetics Anti-Aging Sunscreen, SPF 35 and Jersey Kids, SPF 30

Kabana Organic Skincare, Green Screen® Organic Sunscreen, SPF 32

Keeki Pure & Simple UVA Protection Sunscreen Lotion – Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Keys Solar Rx Broad Spectrum, SPF 30 Sunblock 3.4oz lotion by Keys Care

Kiss My Face Organics Kids Sunscreen, SPF 30, Kids Defense Mineral SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion, Sun Spray Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30, Sunscreen Face (SPF 30 and SPF 50), Sunscreen Lip Balm, Cool Sport Spray Sunscreen

Loving Naturals 100% Natural Clear Body SPF 30+ Sunscreen

Majestic Pure 100% Natural,  SPF 30+

Maui Sun Water Resistant Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum, SPF 30

Miami Gorgeous SPF 30 Sunscreen Stick

Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 50

Nurture My Body Organic Sunscreen, SPF 32

Om Botanicals, Skin Soft Organic Moisturizer with Natural Sun Screen

Replenix Ultra Sheer Sunscreen SPF 50+,

Rocky Mountain Sunscreen, SPF50 Sunscreen Mist, Face Stick SPF60, 1.5-oz SPF 30 (and SPF 50)  Broad Spectrum Sunscreen w/carabiner, 6 Ounce Spray Sunscreen SPF 30 and SPF 50

Rubber Ducky Traditional Sunscreen, SPF 44

Secret in-a-Tube Organic Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Moisturizer, SPF 32

Sonage Protec Plus Natural SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen

Sunblocz Baby & Kids Sunscreen Creme, SPF 50+

Sun Bum and Baby Bum Products

Sunology Natural Sunscreen Kids, SPF 50

Suntegrity Skincare Natural Mineral Sunscreen For Body, SPF 30

Sunumbra Sunkids Natural Sunscreen, SPF 40

Tender Sprouts Organic Zinc-Oxide Baby Sunscreen, SPF 35

ThinkSport Kids Sunscreen, SPF 50+

True Natural, SPF 30

TruKid Sunny Days Sport Sunscreen, SPF 30

Waxhead Tinted Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30

Waxhead Zinc Oxide Sunscreen, SPF 35

Zebs Organic Sunscreen, SPF 20 and SPF 30

NOTE:  Alba Botanica Gluten Statement:  Our plant-based ingredients come from a variety of sources which we don’t currently screen for traces of gluten. If a product is not specifically labelled Gluten-Free, it hasn’t been tested and cannot be guaranteed as such.

Health, Personal Care