Fall Colds

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Easy, Natural Cough and Cold Remedy, plus a bonus


Staying healthy in the fall and winter is not always easy. I take Elderberry Tincture and use essential oils to build my immune system. Chicken stock and bone broth help too. In addition, I have relied upon a simple yet effective natural remedy for colds and coughs for many years, and I wanted to share it with you.

This is so easy to make, and it really packs a punch. You probably already have all the necessary items in your pantry. One nice feature about this recipe is that you can make it up quickly, and scale the quantity up or down easily, according to your needs.


  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper*
  • 1 tsp. minced or powdered* ginger root
  • 1 tsp. minced, juiced or powdered* garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (if possible, use an organic brand like Braggs, with the “mother”)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey (local, raw and unfiltered, if possible)
  • 1 Tbsp. filtered water if you feel you need it


  1. Dissolve the cayenne, ginger and garlic in the apple cider vinegar.
  2. Add honey and shake well. Take 1 Tablespoon as needed for cough or cold. Always shake before using.

You can leave this mixture out on the counter if you make small batches, or you can keep it in the refrigerator indefinitely.

*Spices do not spoil but they do lose their strength  over time. If your cayenne, ginger or garlic powder is over a year old, it should be replaced, and it is quite inexpensive to do so. Be sure to always buy non-irradiated spices, since irradiation negates the health benefits of spices. I recommend buying from Mountain Rose Herbs or The Bulk Herb Store.

Properties of Ingredients

Cayenne Pepper (capsicum) – Cayenne stimulates digestion as well as circulation and blood flow to the peripheral areas of the body. In addition, it helps regulate blood sugar and has anti-fungal, immune boosting, and detoxifying propertiesBecause it stimulates digestion and circulation, cayenne is often added to a wide variety of herbal remedies; it improves the absorption and circulation of the other herbs throughout the body.

Ginger – As a stimulant, ginger increases peripheral circulation. It is used for nausea and motion sickness, and as an aid in gastric and intestinal pain, It also has anti-spasmotic, diaphoretic, immune boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.

Before taking ginger it is important to talk with your doctor if you suffer from a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin or aspirin).

Garlic – Garlic is antibacterialantiviral and anti-fungal – in other words, a powerhouse. It works like a broad-spectrum antibiotic against bacteria and viruses in the body. And unlike with antibiotics, no resistance can be built up against it.

Here is what Dr. Joseph Alton has to say about garlic in a 2012 article on the medicinal uses of garlic:

“Unlike most herbs, studies have shown garlic to have a direct effectiveness against viruses. There are no known antibiotics that will destroy a viral infection. Colds and influenzas can cause miserable symptoms, and some flu cases can be fatal. Garlic probably works in a two-pronged attack on viruses, both directly and by stimulating your own immune defenses to fight harder. Ingesting fresh garlic may decrease the duration of a viral illness. It is thought that taking garlic before exposure to a virus will lessen your chance of getting the infection in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Apple Cider Vinegar – Acetic acid is the main active compound in vinegar. This is a powerful antimicrobial, and can kill some types of bacteria. Vinegar is known to promote the secretions of the respiratory mucous membranes. The potassium in it thins mucus, and the acetic acid prevents bacteria growth, which could contribute to nasal congestion.

Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg’s) also contains something called the “mother,” which consists of strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the vinegar a murky, cobweb-like appearance. This is a good thing – it means that your ACV is all natural, and full of healthy amino acids, acetic acid and potassium.

Raw Honey – Raw honey means that the honey has not been pasteurized or heated, which kills off the healthy nutrients. It is full of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals, and is lauded as anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

Why buy local honey? There are lots of good reasons. Buying local supports local farmers and thus the local economy. When you buy local, you are actually getting real honey. Have you read lately that most of the “honey” on the store shelves is not acutally honey? Finally, it is possible that local honey can help combat seasonal allergies.

GROSCHE MONACO Glass Teapot with infuser

I drink a lot of herbal teas, and I have begun to use nettle and mullein a lot in the fall and winter. However, here is a simple tea I make when I have respiratory issues, such as wheezing or a moist, productive cough. It has worked very well for me over the years.

Ginger Pepper Tea: Pour boiling water over black tea (either loose tea or a teabag will work fine), and add a thick slice of fresh ginger root and about 1/8 -1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes, strain and sip.

→ Get a pdf downloadable version of these recipes here.

Please note that I am not a doctor or a health practitioner. Please do your own research and due diligence before deciding what is right for you, and consult with your doctor if you have questions.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. That means that if you click on them and decide to buy something I will receive a small percentage of your purchase price. The price that you are charged will not change at all. Thank you for supporting this blog!

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Natural Cures Summit Starts Tomorrow

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Tomorrow is the first day of the Natural Cures Summit. Sign up for free!

They are starting off with some powerful speakers and important topics.

Take charge of your health – learn all that you can.

Start now by registering here.

Sign Up Now for this FREE online seminar

Natural remedies and treatment protocols for specific conditions like hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Join The Natural Cures Movement led by Dr. Josh Axe, October 6-13. Free and online! 

Learn how to naturally heal your body!

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Natural Remedies for Health Concerns

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Restoring and maintaining health is a huge part of the abundant life! I am a big proponent of taking charge of your own health and of natural remedies, including food! Consider this seminar. It starts soon. Can’t beat the price!

Sign Up Now for this FREE online seminar

30 secret cures to naturally heal your body! Natural remedies and treatment protocols for specific conditions like hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Join The Natural Cures Movement led by Dr. Josh Axe, October 6-13. Free and online! 

Hypothyroidism? Autoimmune disease? Arthritis? Inflammatory bowel disease? Join Dr. Josh Axe at The Natural Cures Movement to learn natural remedies for these conditions, and many others! Online for free from October 6-13! 

Learn how to naturally heal your body at The Natural Cures Movement, free and online October 6-13! Register today and watch the first 2 talks of the summit today! 


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Natural Cures Summit – Free Registration

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30 secret cures to naturally heal your body! Natural remedies and treatment protocols for specific conditions like hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Join The Natural Cures Movement led by Dr. Josh Axe, October 6-13. Free and online! 

Hypothyroidism? Autoimmune disease? Arthritis? Inflammatory bowel disease? Join Dr. Josh Axe at The Natural Cures Movement to learn natural remedies for these conditions, and many others! Online for free from October 6-13!

Learn how to naturally heal your body at The Natural Cures Movement, free and online October 6-13! Register today and watch the first 2 talks of the summit today! 



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Gram for Gram, this Little Known Food is a Powerhouse!

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Health concerns? Not getting the nutrition you need? Gram for gram, Moringa is a powerhouse.  Drink it, cook and bake with it, or put it in capsules. Make sure the vitamins and minerals you get are bio-available. My preference is that I get them through whole foods, not synthetic preparations. And make sure your Moringa is pure and from a trusted source. I trust Blue Yonder Urban Farms for my powdered moringa and plants. I am not an affiliate, or paid to say this, I just love their products and the care Karen takes of her customers.

Want more information about Moringa? Click here for a great infographic.

Take Moringa in Capsules

Can’t find a consistent way to get enough moringa in your diet? Besides using it in drinks, soups or baked goods, perhaps you would like to also take it in capsule form. Making your own capsules is not hard at all. I use a capsule filler, which saves lots of time. Use the “00” size capsules, and get your capsule machine here, just type “capsule machine” in the search bar. For under $14.00, it pays for itself quickly. You can use either vegi caps or gelatin caps. This way you know that your are supplementing with high quality, fully bio-available whole food, and you know exactly what is in your capsules.

Don’t forget, you can fill your capsules with other dried whole foods to supplement your diet too. Who can find consistent ways to get turmeric or cinnamon into their diet? Capsules are the perfect way to make sure you are getting enough of what you need. More on this later.

Grow Your Own

Oh, and while I’m at it, I’d like to show you my Tree4Webone-year old moringa tree that was shipped to me two weeks ago. When I got it it was completely bare; no leaves, roots trimmed. If I hadn’t known better I would have thought it was done for. But look at it now! I just love watching things grow. In fact, I get downright excited about it. I’m not an experienced gardener, but I am learning. Slowly but surely. And the best part is that I am on my way to harvesting my own Moringa on a regular basis. (Patience, Stephanie, patience!) When I do harvest, I will post more about dehydrating and powdering the leaves, and also using them in other ways.

Full disclosure: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. When you click on them your cost to purchase will not change at all, but I will receive a small amount for sending your business their way. This helps support this blog. Thank you!



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Gluten Intolerance and the Thyroid Link

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“Gluten intolerance is no longer a fringe medical concept. Researchers are fully aware there is a very big problem with modern wheat cultivation.”

Decades after being diagnosed with thyroid disease I am just now learning about the link between gluten and thyroid disorders. In fact, if you have been diagnosed with thyroid disease, it is now thought that you probably have gluten intolerance too.

According to Chris Kresser, several studies show a strong link between AITD (both Hashimoto’s and Graves’) and gluten intolerance. [12345] The link is so well-established that researchers suggest all people with AITD be screened for gluten intolerance, and vice versa.

Why is this important? Did you think it was just your thyroid that was making you feel tired or a bit manic? Take a look at what ingesting gluten can cause. Do you have any of the following?

Signs you may be gluten intolerant:

  • Mood issues such as anxiety or depression
  • Joint problems, inflammation,
  • Keratosis Pilaris
  • Exhaustion, fatigue, or “brain fog” 
  • Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia
  • Migraine headaches
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Inflammation
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Neurological Symptoms such as dizziness or a feeling of being “off balance”

If you are having an “ah-ha” moment after reading this list, you may be realizing that gluten is causing a lot of what you thought was simply a thyroid problem. You will also want to know what can be done.

How to test for gluten intolerance? 

Many doctors suggest an elimination diet to test for gluten intolerance. If you are curious about this you can find more information here:



Eliminating gluten from your diet is not easy. It seems to be in everything these days. Even soy sauce. And everything I am reading suggests that you must be 100% gluten free in order to heal. It is taking some serious commitment on my part, and I am having occasional failures too. I did say it is not easy. But I feel so much better when I don’t eat gluten. Really, it is not worth it.

Do your own research, then talk with your doctor about your options, including non-synthetic thyroid medication. Take your health in your own hands.

To learn more, begin by reading this post at the RealFarmacy website.


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Don’t Get Flued In This Season!

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Time to think about how you plan to stay healthy this fall and winter. Elderberry is a great antiviral, and can be used in so many ways. My previous post on making an elderberry tincture is only one way to get prepared. Drinking elderberry tea is another. If you need to buy your elderberries dried, I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs or the Bulk Herb Store. If you still have time and are so inclined, you can forage for your elderberries. The following article has some great information in it.

EB2Foraging for Elderberries (and ideas for using them) | Learning and Yearning

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Toxic Fragrances?… and a Fantastic Giveaway

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NoFragranceIt never occurred to me that my perfume might bother some people. Or that perfume and cologne often contains various chemicals that many people consider toxic. We don’t think twice about using scented products – room air fresheners, lotions, shampoos, shaving creams, fabric softeners, and more. If they smell good they must be good, right? Wrong.

Fragrances used to be made from natural ingredients, like flowers and herbs.  That began to change in the 70s. Today they are at least 95% synthetic, and use crude oil or turpentine oil as the base. When inhaled or applied to the skin these can be dangerous  to those who are extra sensitive.  Children and pregnant women are especially at risk.

Fragrances (synthetic) are often used to mask the odor of other chemicals in a product. But how do you actually know what is in a product? The answer is often that you don’t, because fragrances can be considered a trade secret. But the list of potential hazards in your product is sobering. These include allergens and sensitizers (damaging to the immune system), phalates (linked to hormone disruption) and neurotoxins.

I could write pages on the research done on this subject, but instead let me refer you to a few places your basic questions can be answered:

Here is a good reference article to check out if you want to see common ingredients and potential resulting problems: Twenty Most Common Chemicals in Thirty-one Fragrance Products [based on a] 1991 EPA Study

And here is a timely article on what has now been termed “Second Hand Fragrance”, and how it can impact your health: Is Your Health Being Destroyed by Other People’s Toxic Fragrances?

So what is one to do? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Read labels carefully. Choose products with no added fragrance. Even products labeled as “fragrance-free” may contain a masking fragrance.
  2. Make your own products. There are tons of DIY articles on the internet with recipes for safe, homemade perfumes, soaps, lotions, cleaning products, and just about anything you want to make. It is not hard to do.
  3. Buy from people who make these items without any synthetic fragrances. You can find them blogging on the internet, or by checking out their Etsy shops, etc.
  4. Request that scented cleaning products not be used in places you patronize, such as hotels, car rental companies, and pet groomers.
  5. Use scents that are naturally derived or 100% essential oils.
  6. Do your research. Take responsibility for your own health, and that of your family.

Now let me tell you about my friend’s fantastic giveaway. Thanks to Karen at Blue Yonder Urban Farms for letting me share this with you.


These products are  made with Organic or unrefined, oils and butters. There are no added scents, only naturally occurring scents such as coconut, shea, and cocoa.These products are free of toxic chemicals, which are frequently found in commercially bought items.

Enter to win

$60 Value all natural spa package!

4 – lbs Sonoma Sea Salt
1 – Sisal Sponge
2 – 8 oz Jars Cocoa Butter
1 – Cocoa Butter Bar w/case
2 – 1 oz Jars Unrefined Shea Butter
3 – 3.5 oz Bars Organic Coconut Oil Soap
*3 Spray Bottles are shown but not included in the giveaway…

Can’t wait? Buy these items now if you would like to! 

Exclusive offer: 20% off  purchase of $20 or more. Just use this code over at Blue Yonder Urban Farms during checkout: JWTN1G

Enter the contest here (scroll to the bottom of the page and use the Rafflecopter). Don’t wait, do it now!

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Here’s to a Gallon of Water and Celebrating Life’s Milestones

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Next week she will celebrate her Sweet16sixteenth birthday. But that won’t be the only celebration. My young friend is also eleven months out from a kidney transplant, and now able to live an abundantly full life. Hooray! For years she was too ill to undergo the transplant. When the time finally came for her to receive her sister’s kidney, the girls jokingly named it “Billy the Kid-ney.” Next month is the first “kidneyversary.” Both sisters are well, and we are all thanking God for His goodness.

I recently received a communication from her mother, and was told I could share it with you. Here it is:

“We have learned many things about our amazing bodies and have become more diligent to be in good health. Each of us now drinks 1 gallon of water everyday. It is vital for your body to be hydrated so please drink enough water everyday.

We are trying to eat healthy whole foods and avoid processed foods (reading labels).

Our daughter has just written a paper on kidney disease and found that the three main reasons for kidney disease are: diabetes, high blood pressure and various autoimmune conditions.

Please learn your family history and be aware of the causes of these diseases. Because the symptoms are unnoticeable until damage has been done, most kidney disease is diagnosed in the end stage.

It is our hope that this awareness can save a life or prevent someone from needing dialysis & transplant.” (Emphasis added)

We don’t pay much attention to how much water Waterwe drink. Consensus seems to be that about 75% of us are underhydrated! And who considers water a nutrient? I’ve never thought of it that way. But it is the most important one. Our body is made up largely of water. Different parts of the body contain different amounts of water. For example, “the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.” (http://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html)

So here is a gentle reminder to stay hydrated! (Coffee, tea, and other drinks don’t count, by the way). Courtesy of my friends, who learned this one the hard way.

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Preparing for the Flu Season Now with Elderberry Tincture

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Prepare4FluI was getting desperate. The flu bug I had contracted had held on for 2 1/2 months. It didn’t help knowing that my grandfather’s mother died at the age of 36 in the 1919 flu pandemic. She nursed her 7 children through the flu, then succumbed to it herself.

Because of my own past experiences with the flu, I kept thinking it would be over any day. But finally I found myself in the doctor’s office, begging for a prescription of anti-viral medication. Because I didn’t have insurance at this time, cost was going to be an issue. But it couldn’t be helped. Or so I thought.

My doctor’s answer to my request was “No, but I will prescribe something better than an anti-viral drug. I’m going to prescribe elderberry tea. This is far better than any pharmaceutical I could give you, and the best anti-viral medicine there is.”

How had I not heard of this before? And how likely was it that a traditional M.D. would give this advice? I am so grateful that he did.

I bought elderberry tea that afternoon and started drinking it like crazy. All I could find was an echinacea-elderberry blend. It seemed to have more echinacea than elderberry, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I decided to get some dried elderberries to add to the tea. The cost? Less than $10. Within two days I was feeling right as rain. Herbs are amazing! I knew that. Honestly, I did. I just didn’t know enough about them.

Although I had used natural remedies in the past, this experience caused me to realize how little I knew about dealing with health challenges by using herbal remedies and food, and just how high the stakes were. I wanted to know more, and to be prepared for the following year, just in case. This was the first time the flu had hit me so hard and for so long.

EB3At first it was all about elderberries. They are so amazing. They don’t prevent the flu, but they do greatly reduce the time you are ill.¹  I learned to make an elderberry tincture for use the following winter (they take time – 6-8 weeks – so you need to think ahead). Dried elderberries became a pantry staple. I didn’t know that I could get powdered elderberry too. Boosting my immune system² with an addition to my morning smoothie sounded wonderful. Then I learned more about making syrups and oxymels (preparations using acid and honey), and lozenges. I discovered that the home remedy for sore throats that I had been using for ages was actually an oxymel. Who knew?

The Experience Continues

Next came a small herbGardenPlants garden. I’m not growing elderberry or nettles yet, but plan to do so in containers next year. In the meantime, I do grow some vegetables, kitchen herbs, and chamomile for tea. I started small, because it had been a long time since I had a garden. Can’t wait to expand. OK, I am chuckling here, because what really happened is that I started small, then couldn’t help myself, and kept adding and adding different plants within the first month.

MoringaTreeMoringa came next. I bought a little seedling from Blue Yonder Urban Farms. Boy has it grown, but until it is big enough to harvest the leaves I am ordering their Moringa powder for my smoothies. Another whole-food, packed with vitamins, protein, calcium and phyto-nutrients. And one package seems to last forever.

Watching plants grow can be an exciting experience. At least it is to me. And walking out my kitchen door to clip basil or rosemary, or to gather tomatoes or strawberries, is such a wonderful thing. I don’t have a big garden now, but it provides me with quite a feeling of abundance. There is such a richness in working in the earth. And I feel “rich” too, knowing that I am eating what I have grown myself without pesticides.

Organic food costs very little when you grow it yourself, so I’m on my way to being more self-reliant. I grow very little of what I eat now, but it is a step in the right direction. I began by taking baby steps, as we all do. The more I learn and the more I do, the more I want to learn and do.

Who knew that a bad case of the flu would turn out to be such a blessing in disguise?


(to download for printing simply click on the title)

This is so very easy to prepare. You will need the following:

  • A clean mason jar
  • Fresh or dried elderberries (I get my herbs at Mountain Rose Herbs or Bulk Herbs)
  • Vodka*, at least 80% proof  (If you are glutten free, use Smirnoff Vodka, as it is not made with wheat)
  • Amber or cobalt blue tincture bottle(s) with dropper
  • Mesh strainer
  • Funnel


Place the elderberries in the jar so that it is approximately 1/2 full. Then fill the jar with vodka. Leave about an inch of headspace at the top. Now close the jar and give it a shake. Label the bottle with the contents and date, and if you want, include the date it will be ready.

It is as simple as that! Now comes “the waiting game”. Place the jar in a dark cupboard, or simply cover it with a paper bag to keep out the light. Try to shake it each day if you remember. The tincture will be ready in about 6 weeks’ time, so you will need to be patient.

When the time is right, strain the liquid into another clean jar or even a Pyrex measuring cup, using the mesh strainer. If you lay cheesecloth over the strainer before you dump the elderberries and liquid in, once the liquid has passed through you can wrap it around the elderberries and squeeze out all of the remaining goodness. You can now discard the berries. Using a funnel (or not) the tincture is now ready to be poured into the tincture bottles. Use amber or other colored bottles to protect the tincture from light. Be sure to label the bottle(s), including the date prepared, and store either in the cupboard or in the refrigerator.


If you are feeling ill, take tsp. three times a day. You can take it straight, or in a glass of water, fruit juice or tea.

*Why use vodka for the tincture? It will last a long, long time. At least a year. Also, a tincture made with vodka, as opposed to vegetable glycerin for example, is much

¹ http://grapesdoc.wpengine.com/superbugs-are-killing-us/ – “In a double blind clinical trial on patients infected with the influenza virus, 90% of the group taking Elderberry extract recovered completely from the fever, chills, body aches, and cough twice as fast as the group receiving the placebo (within 3 days rather than 7).” 



Disclosure: Some of the links on this site may be affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link to a company or product and then end up buying something, I get a small percentage of the sale for referring you. Your price is unchanged, and buying stuff you were going to get anyway through affiliate links is a great way to support this blog.

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Me, Give Up Gluten?

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GivingUpGlutenSo, at the beginning of summer I learned that I must stop eating gluten. Oh no! It is simply too hard to live without bread. I’m the kind of person who will have a slice of bread and butter at the end of a meal instead of dessert. What to do?

Store-bought gluten-free bread just didn’t work for me at all. Found that one out fast. Researching gluten-free recipes yielded some great finds, but without air conditioning I was not about to bake my own bread during the summer. I needed a sandwich fix!

Then  an amazing solution appeared in my inbox. I had signed up to receive emails from a favorite blogger, and this particular email saved my sanity. Thank you Jillee, at One Good Thing. I had no idea that it was possible to make bread in the microwave. Gluten-free bread that I would actually like. Or that I could make it in under 90 seconds! In no time I was eating cream-cheese and cucumber sandwiches again, and more. Guilt free. In my warm, but not oven-heated, home. And with no waste – when you only make two slices of bread at a time it doesn’t have a chance to go stale!

So I ordered my bread-shaped, microwave-safe containers and never looked back. I was so excited when they arrived that while making the recipe for the first time I modified it a bit (really not on purpose – I was just having difficulties measuring and following directions). I liked how it turned out so much that I have continued to use it as changed. Here is the recipe:

Microwave Bread for One (Adapted from One Good Thing)

Makes two slices


  • 1/3 cup gluten free baking mix
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar (can use 1 tsp. honey, agave or molasses as a sweetener instead)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar


Mix together the egg, milk and vinegar. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into microwave safe container and level out mixture by tapping the mold on a table or counter a few times. Cook in microwave on high for 85 seconds.

Place container upside down on a cooling rack. I found it helps to run a kitchen knife around the edges first so that the bread slips right out. Let cool on rack for a few minutes, then slice horizontally with a serrated knife. Enjoy!

Want to have the dry ingredients ready to go so it is easy to use? I did, so I used the small, half-sized baggies, printed some labels so I would know what was in them and what to add to the mix when I used it, and I was all set.

The plastic microwave safe sandwich containers I purchased were inexpensive and worked well, but if you want to use glass you can get square or round containers that would work as well.

For the step-by-step tutorial just click on this link to the One Good Thing site.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link to a company or product and then end up buying something, I get a small percentage of the sale for referring you. Your price is unchanged, and buying stuff you were going to get anyway through affiliate links is a great way to support this blog.




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