Frequently Asked Questions

I've been answering my email lately. I am, once again, resolving to do better when it comes to email. I only get a few emails each day, thanks to opting out of basically everything possible, so this really should be doable.

Especially if everyone stops asking me the same questions, over and over and over again!

So, I am writing a long over-due FAQ. The questions I get asked regularly, and more. Anything, everything you ever wanted to ask, so that no one ever need email me again!!

Okay, not really. And I would miss hearing from readers if none of you emailed me to say hi! So I won't divulge everything... but here's a start! :)

1. How do I print recipes from your site? What happened to the "printer-friendly" versions?

Right now, the only way to print a text-only recipe from this website is to copy and paste the recipe text into a document on your computer and print that document.

I know it isn't convenient, and I apologize. In the past we had a printer-friendly option, but it also included every single recipe review (and some recipes have dozens of reviews!) and an ad. That feature also posed problems when Google thought I had lots of duplicate content on this site.

So until my wonderful technical support (husband) finishes his Theology degree and has time to do stuff here for me, you'll have to copy and paste. :)

Fluffy Kefir Pancakes, served with homemade apple topping
Fluffy Kefir Pancakes, served with
homemade apple topping

2. My kefir looks funny. My kefir is too runny. My kefir is too thick. My kefir grains disappeared. Heck, my kefir looks, smells, and tastes completely normal but I want to describe it to you and get your permission before I eat it!

Okay, two things.

#1. I am not a kefir expert. Spend 8 hours researching kefir on the internet, buy some grains (not starter), and start making your own kefir. You now know as much as I do about kefir. :)

#2. Whatever it is that you want to drink, you can probably drink it. If you're still unsure, read all the comments on this post and this post.

3. What religion are you?

This is always the hardest question for me to answer! We attend a Messianic congregation. We love Yahweh (the LORD) and His Son Yeshua (Jesus) and seek to obey and serve Him. We've been saved through the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua.

Religion is such a huge topic. Feel free to comment with more specific questions, if you wish.

You can also check out these posts for snippets about our faith:

Special Days -- scroll down for Joshua's comments

Remembering the Sabbath -- tips for Sabbath-keeping and some discussion in the comments

Our "Messianic" wedding -- which was also frugal ;)

Why we don't celebrate Christmas

Challah for 'Erev Shabbat -- I love challah!

Okay, on to a lighter topic. :)

4. Will you help me troubleshoot my homemade bread recipe?

Unfortunately, not unless I had the time to actually experiment with your recipe.

I am very familiar with our favorite 100% whole wheat bread recipe, as I have made it hundreds of times over the past 12 years. If you use that recipe and something's not right, I will gladly listen and offer my ideas as to what went wrong! :)

5. I'm having trouble with my homemade bread. It's hard, or crumbly, or dense, or doughy, or too dark, or not browned enough, or......

Okay, so it could be the yeast is old, the yeast got killed, your house was too cold, the proofing time was too long, the proofing time was too short, you need to add some gluten and other stuff into your whole wheat flour, you didn't knead long enough, you kneaded too long, or you're using a bad recipe!

It could even be that you made perfect bread and then moved to a new location and now homemade bread is one giant disaster!

There is lots of info online, but you're going to have to do some reading, because it could be any one (or more) of dozens of things that are causing your homemade bread to do whatever it's doing. You can search this site for tips on homemade bread. :)

I also recommend the King Arthur's Flour website, which is a wealth of information and recipes. They even have a toll-free baker's hotline, so you can call them to ask what went wrong!

6. How do you eat the kinds of foods you have on your website without gaining weight?

I don't. Actually, it's all about portion control. And we eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies! :)

7. What kind of camera do you use?

I used to use a Konica Minolta. Last year, I got a little Olympus, intending to use it for pictures of the kids. (I got this Olympus on sale for $99 on Like the bread machine, the price on Amazon varies a bit. Watch for a low price!)

Two cameras was too confusing, so I ended up using the Olympus for food photos as well. I just use the auto settings. Some day I'll learn how to really take pictures! :)

8. So how *do* you take food pictures, then?

I divulge my secrets of food photography here. (Ha, ha!)

Any more questions that should be answered here? Ask in a comment below! :)


I started on Dr. Ellie's program in Sept. 2008 after reading about her on your blog. I was just wondering how you are doing--did your cavity heal or did you have to have root canal and a crown. I haven't gotten any new cavities but I still need cleanings done every 6 mos.


Hi Alana,

Good question! :) About two years ago I went to the dentist and was told I needed a root canal and crown. We didn't have insurance, and before spending thousands on my teeth, I did some research.

I discovered Dr. Ellie's semi-natural approach to dental care and started using her system (and held off on the root canal since it wasn't infected).

I used Dr. Ellie's system for over a year, completely following her advice. My teeth did very well with it! About 6 months ago I ran out of Closys mouth wash and haven't been able to get more yet, so I haven't been 100% doing "the system". I do want to get some Closys soon and get back to doing every single step!

We all notice a big difference from applying xylitol to our teeth! I try to give the children a small bit of granulated xylitol before bed and naps, and along with proper brushing and flossing (we love the flossers/picks for flossing the kids' teeth!) it REALLY helps with plaque and keeps their teeth much cleaner.

I still haven't had a root canal -- or anything else -- done to that one tooth. I may have one some day when we can afford it. (After all my research, I think a root canal may be the best option for my tooth, as it is beyond repair with a simple filling, not infected, but very weak. Root canals on infected teeth seem to be the most likely to pose health issues.)

I was wondering the same thing the other day - if you were still using that system and how it was working. Thanks for the update!

Looking at the date of your post, you probably have the tooth fixed by not, but if not, here's my take.
If you need a root canal, please don't put it off. Three years ago I was told that I should have a root canal because the root was de-calcifying. I had sensitivity to hot and cold, he said if the tooth was sensitive to hot the root was bad. I too didn't want to afford a root canal. I was able to control it with sensitive toothpaste. He told me to be careful because when I quit having sensitivity the root would have died and I would get infection in it. . A couple years or so later the sensitivity quit, I thought wow that sensodyne toothpaste really works well. Then one night I had a toothache. I had forgotten what he told me about infection. I went back and he checked it with heat and said "your tooth is completely dead". I was forced to get a root canal or have it pulled. I chose to have a root canal. When he drilled into the root he showed me a little drop of puss on his drill bit. he cleaned it out, washed it and said it will be ok your body will take over and repair itself. I have heard about infection pockets under root canals. I sure hope I didn't make a mistake by not having it pulled. Violet

Hi Tammy: I have been a member for almost 20 minutes now I think. So happy I discovered your website.

Young Living oils makes a product called Thieves. A past co-worker was told she had to have a root canal. She could not afford it and started rubbing Thieves on that tooth and gum. It was completely cured within two months I believe it was, applying it two times a day. Right now I am fighting an infection in a pocket between two teeth and tried using a mouthwash that dentist used me along with irrigating it with the same mouthwash--nothing happened. I tried Thieves on that but for some reason did not help. Switched over to melaleuca (Young Living also) and the soreness was gone in a couple of days. I am continuing to use it twice a day along with flossing, brushing and using a Water Pic morning and evening. Also, I needed to have periodontal surgery to the tune of $6,000 which was not going to happen. The assistant at the surgeon's office told me to use WOODEN toothpicks to go up under the gumline as much as I could on each tooth both front and back (awkward). The wood--probably because it is a natural product--removes plaque where floss cannot reach. The Thieves product line is great. Thieves oil is the only thing that will remove mold spores 100 percent. Bleach is 99.99999----percent effective. Also, lemon oil will remove smells from dishcloths and sponges--just put in washing machine or put directly on sponges--much better than bleach.

End of my presentation--sometimes my teaching background just butts in!

Hi Tammy,

I just wanted to tell you that you're great! Thanks for all the hard work you do researching and sharing about recipes and kitchen wisdom and homemaking--so all the rest of us can benefit. :) Loved the FAQ and your sense of humor, too.


Thank you, Roz!

I've always wondered about your faith tradition, but hesitated to ask. I appreciate you sharing about this aspect of your life; it helps me to put the tidbits in context. And now I really want to read Lauren Winner's book Mudhouse Sabbath, which has been on the shelf here for years!

Hi Tammy, I am new to your website and love looking at all the info on here.I could spend all day on here! I just wanted to know if you know anything about Artisan Breads or Sourdough bread, and if you have any recipes? I know you are busy so any thoughts would be great. Thanks so much for your time!

Becky Howlett

Becky, I actually have not really done any sourdough or artisan breads -- yet! :)

Hi my name is carol and I tried your cherry pie filling. In your ingredence you have something called clear jell. What is it and where can I find it? I've looked in a couple of stores, no one here knows what I'm talking about, please send a photo of what it looks like to help me better in finding it or could you send me an e-mail address where I can order it. thank you my e-mail address is by the way the filling for cherry pie is very good using cornstarch and tapioca. My mother has a jellitin called Knox Jellitin which is clear can this be used for the clear jell? or is this what your calling clear jell? again thank you sincerely carol

Hi Carol,

Clear Jell looks like cornstarch. It is not the same as Knox gelatin (unflavored gelatin). You may be able to find it in bulk food stores!

I like that the Clear Jel is thick when hot or cold, so it's easy to get the right thickness, and pies don't run over as easily! :)

I have used Clear Jel in the past, but as we are trying to veer away from altered/modified ingredients, I have stopped using it.

Here is a website that might help you understand what it is....


Hi Tammy,

You are to be commended for the website and it's content. I am thoroughly enjoying it. So many recipes, so little time. I do plan to try as many as I can.

I am particularily interested in some of your breads. I only have 'active dry yeast' packets on hand and would like to use them up. What is the equivalency of '1 teaspoon dry yeast' to one of these packets, as in the 'Thin-Crust Chicken Bacon Artichoke Pizza' recipe?

I looked for an existing question regarding this, but didn't see one. I hope this is not a duplicate and apologize if it is.


According to King Arthur's Flour, a packet of yeast contains 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. You can just measure what you need out of your packet, tightly roll it up, and store it sealed in a small jar in you freezer. If you don't use it pretty quick after you opened it, be sure to proof the yeast before you make something the second time.

If you start baking even more than just a little bit, you will be better off buying your yeast from Sam's or Costco's. Stored in a canning jar, in my deep freezer, I have kept yeast for as long as 10 years. It worked great right to the end.

I hope you enjoy baking! I have been baking for over 35 years, and still enjoy it!

Why, thank you Debbie. Much appreciated!

Yes, thank you Debbie! :) So lovely to take a couple days "off" and come back to see this. :) I appreciate it! :)

Hi Tammy,
can you tell me about your food photos? Do you photograph your dishes you make with your own camera or is someone in your family a pro? Thanks.

I do take all my own photos. I currently use a compact camera and just use the auto settings (and Macro and Super Macro modes).

I started taking food photos when we began this website nearly 5 years ago. I wanted every recipe to have a photo, because I really like being able to visualize a new recipe before trying to make it! :)

Our first photos (both Joshua and I took them) were pretty pathetic, but, we learn by doing. I quickly became the sole food photographer and have continued practicing and learning! :) Now, I can take food pictures, but the pictures of my kids always turn out wrong... ;)

I have four young children at home like you. You say that you exercise, but how and when?! I'd love to hear!

When it is warm enough to go outside, we go out (there are parks nearby, a grocery store .5 miles away, or just sidewalks...). We have walked a lot!
Geocaching is a fun excuse to walk to parks further away than we normally would (we do up to 4 miles round-trip). :)
We also *try* to get outside or to a park when we have friends over.
This past winter, we got a Kinect for the Xbox, and the kids and I have gotten a LOT of indoor exercise from Kinect Adventures (came with the Kinect) and Kinect Sports. There are some very fun games that are a lot of exercise (at least for me, I'm no fitness trainer) and I can tell it has given us a LOT of physical fitness during the dark, cold, rainy months of winter in Seattle. :)

Where do you go to rate the recipes. Thanks You, Karen

Hi Karen!

To rate a recipe, you will need to create a user account and log in. It just requires an email address, user name, and password (all other info is optional).

Go here to create your account and get started! :)

When you log in, just go to the recipe you want to review/rate, and at the bottom of the recipe page there will be a review box. You can leave a review/rating, which you can edit or change (if you are logged in).

Let me know if you have any other questions! :)


I use your site all the time and I have to say thank you!
The information you provide is helpful and you obviously take great care and time to make this site as handy as it is.
Your family is beautiful!
I just want to encourage you because you have realized the gifts that God has given you and with wisdom you are blessing so many. I know it takes a lot, but I pray that God refreshes and empowers you beyond your dreams.
I will be in touch,

You can find me at

Tammy, I belonged to a Messianic church and loved it. Half were Jewish converts and the other half were born again Christians. The presence of the Holy Spirit was so strong! I worked the altar and the miracles were amazing. Was you and/or you husband Jewish converts? Just courious. Agape.


I only have two children (2.5 and 16 mos.), and I do not cook dinner for me and my husband because I can't seem to find the time (I just throw kid food into the microwave for the litles). I'm trying to balance kid care, housekeeping, laundry, yardwork, and personal time, and dinner gets lost in all of that. I know that most women think I'm a total wimp. I can accept that. At any rate, I want to change. I want to welcome my husband with a home-cooked meal every night. I actually LIKE cooking. And soon the kids will be staying up later and will be able to eat with us. How do you do it all? And how do you take care of yourself, i.e., do you take personal time away from everyone just to focus on your interests?


Based on the pictures you have of your homemade bread you have wonderful sized perfect slices! My question is what bread slicer do you use, or how do you slice? Also when? Still hot, warm, or cold? Any advice is helpful. Thanks!

I love your website. I am a Muslim but I find your website very useful since our faiths share similar dietary laws. Halal and kashrut seem to be quite similar. I like your recipes because they are very Muslim friendly and they don't contain any pork. Living in America it is hard since many products are pork based or contain gelatins that derive from pig. It is nice to find a website that has muslim-friendly recipes that aren't solely arab or middle eastern.
Thank you again and God bless.

Curious if you attend Beit Hallel in the Tacoma area? We attend there webinars. It is always hard to explain your faith when it isn't main stream. Good for you.

Good Morning I hope this day finds you well. This morning I awaoke to a couple of stickley tomato and pepper plants. After research and close hunting I found the perpitrators. Along with them I found a good amount of droppings. Do I leave in the soil or sift them and throw the dropping away? I cannot find a site that answers this question so I thank you for your help.


Dear Tammy
I just found you page and as I looked through it i noticed that you are always in a skirt and head covering and I was just wanting to ask if you always dress modestly. I am part of the United Pentecostal Church and at one time I was studying the Messianic faith I have a deep love for people who keep modest like Messiah asks

I would like to know if milk kefir could be made using part nut milk and part whole milk to keep the cholesterol down. I drink kefir daily and I'm afraid all the whole milk would raise my cholesterol levels.The whole milk could still feed the kefir and keep it alive but the nut milk won't have any cholesterol Do you think this would work?

Hi Tammy,

Thank you so much for sharing your love for cooking and baking and your wonderful recipes online. i have tried many, as I also bake with freshly ground/milled whole wheat flours. They are fabulous!

I do have a question about muffins. Do you ever have trouble with flat muffin tops? I am not sure if it is because of the flour, but my muffins never seem to "crown" any more. I was just wondering if you had the same problem.

God Bless you and your family!


I am new to using kefir. Can I use a ceramic, waterproof container, with a loose fitting lid?

Hi Tammy, I just love your website and I am very impressed with all that you do and I really love reading your stories and trying out your delicious recipes. I was just wondering if you could tell me what kind of camera and lens you use, do you take the photos yourself or do you have a professional come in to take the pictures?

God bless you and your family,


I have not received a email recipe in years, are you still doing them? I loved them and still use some of your recipes. thanks and Lord Bless you.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

User login

Subscribe for free recipes, menu plans, and kitchen tips!