Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gratitude, Grief, and Prayers.

.  Long ago when I was much younger and more energetic, our home was graced with a series of tiny foster babys. Most of them went on to be adopted. The mothers were young, 12 or 13 years most of the time. In those days, girls went to "visit" a relative and came back without a child.
  One of our little ones was not well when she arrived. We kept her for a year. A year filled with trips to emergency rooms, wearing pillow splints, caring for eczema etc but she was such a little doll that when orders came to move on to another base, we decided to adopt her. The first few years went well, then she started bruising. We were sent via military aircraft to a wonderful hospital in Denver. Many sick children and returning wounded vets were all mixed together. We found out our babe had in laymens terms, aplastic anemia. This is the failure of the bone marrow to make platelets so she bled easily.  I had been told she might live 6 months.
 We moved into a country setting, grew our own fruits and veggies, had chickens, horses etc and gave her 5 years. This kind of lulled us into thinking she might survive. But when she was ten, we lost her. Like the parents in Conn. this last week, grief was overwhelming. I know first hand the horrid wrench of loosing a child, so symapthize deeply with those parents and families facing this Christmas without the joy on the faces of small ones whose gifts have been planned for months.
  My life changed then, guess I really unraveled.  But as it does, life went on. I had even prayed that God take me and let my baby survive, she had so many years of living to do, and I had been around longer.
  God had given my the three best children in the world, and the little one we lost. All my kids have grown up to be kind, caring, loving adults.  My one regret is that one of them does not keep in touch, and I miss hearing from him very much.
  After life settled down, I remarried and had one more son. He is now the farthest away. And has a new daughter, his second. So I am packing up to travel the thousand miles to meet this new little girl. But this requires a lot of travel on the part of my wonderful kids. My daughter in Illnois will head this way in a few days, and the next day we head back to Illinois. There I will get to visit with 3 of my grandchildren and 2 of my great grandkids. Then on to Nebraska, part way across MO we will meet my son from Crete and I will go the rest of the way with him. I am so grateful to have kids that want to do this, its a great many miles, weather is always a concern, and safety. So many prayers are being sent out for safe travel.
  Having Christmas with the 2 youngest grand daughters will be a treat. And the son here in TN is also invaluable, as he takes care of my companion and friend Miss Libby while I am gone. She is a 6 year old kitty from our local shelter and my constant friend. She knows I am packing and is very upset, knowing she will be alone except for feeding times.
  How could any one be more blessed, I have the greatest kids, grand kids and great grandkids on earth, and I am thankful for every one of them.
  I will not be forgetting the heavy hearts of others this year, and sadness will be taking up a small part of my heart, but God has a way of getting us through tough times. Let us all be grateful for the blessings we have in our lives, even if they seem few sometimes, we likely have more than we realize.
  May your holidays be richly blessed, filled with family, songs, food and happiness.  Take time to give thanks for homes, families, food, and most of all love, it's our greatest blessing of all.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Greetings, ice help, pinwheels for your holidays

  Hi all, time is flyin by and Christmas will soon be here. Hard to believe it's only 10 days away.
  Are you having company? Need a pretty snack to serve?  Here's one to try, easy to make.
1 package sweet dried cranberries
1 8 ounce block of cream cheese, softened
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 large tortillas
Mix first 4 ingredients, and spread on the tortillas. Roll tightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Can be longer so you could make these a day ahead. Slice each into 12 slices and serve. 
  It's gotten colder, and there are now many frosty mornings, ice will be a part of the scene soon. If you have slick walks, porches, decks etc, try this. Mix 1/2 gallon of hot water(very hot) with 1 teaspoon of Dawn dish soap and 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol. Stir or shake well and pour onto icy surface. It will melt the ic e and prevent it from coming back.
  Watched a very interesting Dr Oz show this week. Several doctors doing research on cholesterol have found that people with high good cholesterol levels out live those with low levels. They are concluding after all their research that cholesterol is not a bad thing and should never be treated with drugs. The statins so widely used are so bad for your body, destroy your health in the long run. Instead, learn to eat  sardines, salmon, and foods high in omega 3's and throw in anti inflammatory things like pomegranite and turmeric.  You can add turmeric to your soups and stews etc and its so very beneficial. Also helps prevent arthritis. Nice to know that taking it all these years has given me a lot of bonuses.
  Headed to town yesterday, the weather didn't say a thing about fog, but there it was. Pea soup stuff. Got to town and missed my turn into Walmart, couldn't see any lights, good thing there is a traffic light at the 2nd turn. Navigating the parking lot was a great challenge, visibililty was nil. Didn't improve while I was shopping, and heading home I missed the turn off on to our mountain road. There is another chance down the road, but don't use it often and was unsure of landmarks. Had a guy on my tail that was in a big hurry and sure was glad to find my turn. Nearly missed the road up to our house, was so grateful to get home! Took a long time for the fog to lift. This morning the news said there is heavy fog, guess what, none here. The sun is coming up and it's still frosty but will warm up by afternoon.
  Hope you have your shopping done, your cards mailed and can enjoy the days before Christmas. Rev up that mug of coffee or cocoa, watch. a good Hallmark movie and enjoy your family.! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas

Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter malodies, building your immune system, staying well

  It's unbelievable how many people are ill most of the winter. Our schools here in the area are already closed because of so many absences due to flu. There are a few things you can do to increase the effectivness of your immune system, and if you think about it, why would you want to spend weeks feeling crummy?
  To start with, ditch fruit juice. By the time you get that, it's been processeed down to water and sugar.  Many docs are telling us now to eat the real fruit instead. So add blueberries, or strawberries to your oatmeal, even dates or raisins work. And mid morning, have a piece of fruit for a snack. Banana, apple, whatever is in season and you like.
 Eat as many fresh fruits and veggies as you can, that 11 per day may be a bit difficult, but try working them in. Home made vegetable soup will give you a great boost, use fresh carrots, celery, onions(lots) garlic, whatever you can. If need be, resort to a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.
  If you do get sick, it's recommended now that you alternate aspirin and tylenol every 4 to 6 hours, don't just take one or the other.
  If you feel like a cold is trying to get you, try  mixing 1 teaspoon of honey(raw if you can get it) and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon in a cup of boiling water, cool a bit and drink several times a day so you are having 3 cups at least. Should kick that sucker in a couple of days. You can add a one inch slice of lemon to the cup if you have it, for an even bigger boost.
 There is also a bath which helps draw out toxins of colds,  run your tub full of hot water and add 3 pints of hydrogen peroxide(3%)plus 2 ounces of ground ginger.This will increase your circulation and help draw out the toxins casing the cold. Be sure to drink extra fluids as this is drawing fluid out of your body.
  When I was 20 I started taking turmeric and ginger to prevent arthritis as I aged. It has worked perfectly and now I find out that being antioxidants, they also boost your immune system, so I have been getting multiple benefits. There are also a couple of other things I do, astragalus is a great immune booster and also helps you sleep better so I take one of those every night.I always take 1000 mg of vitamin C, and 1000 mg of D3. During the winter, if you are prone to colds, you may need to take more vitamin D3, several thousand units a day will help. There is a product call NAC or n-acetyl-cysteine which is also a great immune booster, these are available at Swanson vitamins, as are the other things I have mentioned.
  At the very first sign of a cold coming on, grab your saline nasal spray, it cleans out your nasal pasages and kills bacteria. Its like a magic bullet to help you stay well.
  Basically, you are in charge. Cut back on sugar as it breeds a lot of toxins in your body, kick up your fruits and veggies, drink lot of fluids, sleep well and be as cheerful as possible.  If you don't take care of your body, it won't take care of you.
 Countdown to Christmas is on, only 2 and 1/2 more weeks. Time flies. Hope you have found something helpful here, stay as well as you can. Make yourself a priority, after all, you are in charge of yourself.
   If  you are getting ready for the holidays,  find time to spend with family and friends.  Call someone who lives alone and wish them a Merry Christmas, donate what you can to the homeless, poor, and sick. It will make you feel extra good. Til next time , boost your immune system and stay well.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Homemade Chritmas gifts, gratitude

  It's the time of year we think of how blessed we are compared to others.  I have been blessed all my life, God gave me 5 wonderful children, 6 adorable grandkids and 2 just great grandkids. Along with sisters I love, and parents that I miss everyday.  I have also had 2 husbands in my life, the first was the father of 3 of my kids, for that gift I could never be grateful enough! And the 2nd gave me my last child, and 35 years of happiness. Th e hardest part of being blessed is letting go of those you love and just keeping them in your heart forever. We will never know why things happen as they do in our lives, but God does have a plan, and we are just trying to follow it to the best of our ability. I am grateful to have found a way to be helpful with my church family, by keeping in touch with cards and phone calls, and working with the Agency on Aging, calling seniors who live alone and need a little companionship on a regular basis. Spending a couple days a week talking to them is good for me too.
  Life has not been easy, my parents struggled to keep us going most of our lives. Dad worked as a printer when I was very young, and saved the wooden rollers from the newsprint. He took them home, cut them into various sized slices, painted them and made me building blocks for Christmas one year, they were great. Mom would find a doll at the good will, and fix it up and make clothes. I felt so lucky. Funny how you remember the lean years as some of the best. This year, we are only gifting the smallest, under 8 or so babes in the family and the rest we will give cards, e mails, pictures and maybe handmade things. Means so much more, and it is after all, Christ's birthday so remembering that, going to church and being grateful is more than enough!
  Ok, do you have a special child you need a gift for? Ran across a site on Pinterest that features all kinds of hand made for kids things, and loved this one, home made play dough. If you made a batch in 4 colors, red, blue, green and yellow, and put each into a nice tight closing container, what kid would not have fun with it. And its easy and cheap.
   In a sauce pan put 1 and 1/2 cups of flour
                               3/4 cup salt
                               1 and 1/2 cups water
                               1 tablespoon of oil(cooking)
                               1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
                               food color to suit
   Mix and stir, cook until no longer looks like batter, but sticks together and stays. should take 5 to 8 minutes. cool sightly, knead and place in containers. I would go for ones that have sealable lids, nice gift.
  How about a container of energy bites, pumpkin for this time of year.
    Pumpkin Energy Bites
 8 ounces chopped dates
1/4 cup honey or agave
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon of chia seeds or wheat germ
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 cup of quick oats
1 cup chopped nuts
 Mix first 5 ingredients together in food processor,  move to bowl and add the rest. Chill, make into balls.  Easy.
 I spent some days last week making seasoned salt, hot pepper and paprika, and Herbs de Provence. Plus face cream, body scrub and soap. Being a rather sloppy person, the kitchen took a beating. But now it's clean again and lots of jars of pretties are done.  Still have cookies to make, but waiting til just a few days before Christmas for those, they will be truffles.
  The joy is in the doing and giving. I am praying for decent weather the week before Christmas, so I can travel to NE to see my new grand daughter and of course, my 3 year old grand daughter that I have so much fun with. And the rest of my family, sisters , son and daughter in law , nieces and nephews, daughter in Il and grandsons there. And if I am lucky, my grand daughter and great grand babes in IL.
  Hope your Holiday season is full of love, gratitude and Happiness. Final thought, for wounded warriors recovering  from injuries, address an extra Christmas card to:  A Recovering American Soldier
                               c/o Walter Reed Army Hospital
                               6900 Georgia Ave
                               NW Washington, DC, 20307-5001
 I plan on sending several, we do owe them so much!
  Turn on the Christmas music, get your cards done and give thanks for having a home, food and family. Love to all!
 One last thought. Watched a Christmas movie last night that made me cry, called Christmas Snow. About a father and daughter.  Dad walked out on her when she was 10. She nearly hit him with her car at Christmas when she was grown, ended up taking him home with her. He convinced her that bearing a grudge was such a waste of time and living, turns out he was dead and she got a bonus few days with him, snowed in. She ended up traveling back to see her mom, that she had not seen in years, and forgiving in her heart all the hurts she had carried for so many years. What a great movie, if you find it listed, try and watch it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

More tips for Healthier Living, tooth whitener, house freshener, hand soap

  Are you stuffed with turkey, pumpkin pie and all the fixings?  I had a small lunch, sweet potato, lima beans and some turkey, and a bit more for supper as I was the recipient of a delivered dinner. Part of the meals on wheels program. I helped with it too, got the folks needing the meal contacted before hand. Hope they all enjoyed their dinner. Nice to be part of such a good organization.
  Well, I have never shopped at Williams Sonoma, but this week I read on a blog how they keep the store smelling fab. If you want to try, it's easy. Put a pot of water on your stove, bring to a boil, then lower to your lowest setting and add a sliced lemon,  a few springs of fresh rosemay, or lacking that, a few spoons of dried, and a splash of vanilla. Just let it simmer.
   I ran out of hand soap this week, being quite a few miles from town, a trip in for just one item is really silly. And a container of refill soap runs about $4.00.  So did some looking on line and found a lot of recipes for home made liquid hand soap. So easy and cheap, just grate a bar of soap into 8 cups of water, add 2 tablespoons of glycerin and  a few drops of essential oil of your choice for scent. If it seems too watery, add a little sea salt to thicken it. I used a bar of hand made soap, yogurt and rassouli, plus a little of a bar of hand made peppermint I had left over, so didn't need to add scent. It works well, and cost nothing except a little time. In case I forgot, you do need to cover the pot and let it set overnight before storing in containers, labeled "hand soap."  This can be made using any kind of soap you like, Dove,  castile,  or home made. 
  If you have tried  teeth whiteners and not had much luck, try this. Use about as much of your toothpaste as would cover your brush, put it in a small container and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide. Mix well, use a small amount and brush for a full 2 minutes.  Use this one time per week until your teeth are as white as you want them, then only use once a month to maintain the whiteness.
  I was watching the Doctors this week and they all agree if you are prepping your foods from scratch, you need to add a small amount of iodized salt to your foods. If you use commercially prepared food, they are always loaded with added salt. Of course if you suffer from kidney problems or high blood pressure, avoid that salt altogether.
  And now a spoiler. Did you know that your salad dressings that are white in color, like ranch, blue cheese etc, get that white color largely from titanium dioxide?  That is a product used in sunscreen, can you image just adding sunscreen to your salad? Make your own dressings, they are easy and healthy.
 If you are looking for good ideas and recipes for natural housekeeping, I found two new sites this week, The Farmers nest, and Homestead Revival. Check them out, you can subscribe, if you want their ongoing tips and recipes.
 And now Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the next four weeks until Christmas will go so fast we won't believe it. Most of you are thinking shopping, decorating and all the pre prep for the next big day, Christmas. I am fortunate, our family is trying to get back to the real meaning of the holiday so except for the under 8 crowd, which are only 4 these days, we are not shopping for each other. Cards, e-mails, phone calls, visits and photos are our requests. We all have way more than we need in t he way of "things" so why pile in more ? And we all know we can't take it with us.
  Hoping your holidays are peaceful, warm and blessed. Til next time.

Friday, November 16, 2012

GMO bill defeated? NO! Fall cooking Thanksgiving

  Just found out it looks like the bill to make labeling GMO's a law has been defeated, and the companies that helped buy that vote are some I rely on, Silk, Kashi, Cascadian Farms, Muir Glen, Morning Star, even Orville Redenbacher if you eat popcorn. So now we have to boycott their products until they undo their votes. Here is a website you can use to get more information,  I think we all have the right to know what poisons are being put into our foods, and have the right to choose options for better health.
   If you have never thought of it, the best things to eat to stay healthy are one ingredient products.
  It's been a rewarding week, have been working with a local agency to contact folks needing Meals on Wheels Thanksgiving dinners delivered, made about 100 calls to set these up. talked to a lot of nice folks this week. Last year I went to help fix those meals, we did over 200.  Nice to feel like ya have made a contribution to your communty.
  Found another good use for empty toilet tissue rolls this  week, been wrapping Christmas gifts to mail to my grand kids, and found that if you split the  empty toilet paper roll, and slip it over the roll of paper, it really holds it together. . I have long rolled linen napkins and table cloths around those long wrapping paper rolls to keep creases from forming.
  My son came in two days ago with a huge basket of peppers, and left me a few. I will stuff some, but last night I made one of my fave dishes. In my nonstick skillet I chopped  a couple of peppers, an onion and a few fresh mushrooms. Sauteed til they were a little softened, but not mushy. then I stirred in white beans I had cooked, a sprinkle of brown sugar and a few splashes of worchesteshire sauce. Simmered it a bit til it was well combined, and supper was ready.  Had some Boston brown bread with it.
   Tonight, I am choppng an onion, some mushrooms and will cook them til almost carmelized, then add  my fresh baby spinach and a few chopped cloves of garlic. Yum, can hardly wait.  Nothing like fresh produce,  it tastes so good. Afraid we have finally had enough frost to kill out the remaining tomatoes, still have one ripening in my window, but everything looks nipped now. My sons garden has acquirred  it's winter covers, he has plastic green houses that extend the growing season most of the winter. My little garden area is not worth trying that on, I just grow a small amount, but still, I made a lot of pickles this year and had fresh zucchini to eat all summer, along with herbs and greens and tomatoes .
  Starting to think about a trip to see my new grand daughter at Christmas, it's  a long trip, and the weather is always iffy in the winter, will see what happens by then, would love to see my Nebraska kids and my sisters again. And of course, my daughter is on the way, in Illinois.
  Wishing you a Thanksgiving filled with blessings and family, we do have many things to be grateful for.  I am off to start a jar of face cream, have been making this wonderful stuff for a few years now, has jojoba, and apricot kernal oils, beeswax, rosewater, a tad of borax and essential carrot seed oil. No artificial colors, scents etc, works so well. You would pay around $40.00 bucks a jar for such in a store.  Nice to have a cupbard full of organic ingredients waiting to be made into great products! Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Lib and I have a new adventure, pumpkin muffins, scrub

 It's been cold lately, at night, and I have added my top feather bed which traps body heat and makes a cozy nest to sleep in. Getting up in the morning is tough, know it's going to be cold when I crawl out. So this week, I reached over to pet Lib who sleeps in the small of my back to keep her warm. Something didn't feel right, uh oh, no collar. You may think this is no big deal but she is microchipped, and wears a tag that says so, also rabies tag. The collars they sell for cats these days are pop apart so if they get caught on something, they break open, avoiding choking. We have lost a collar before, usually it's caught under the bed or couch, where ever she has crawled to investigate something.  Well, got up and kicked the heat up, had breakfast then grabbed the flashlight.  Spent half an hour crawling around, taking the storage boxes out from under the bed, checking under everything in the living room, shaking curtains, no luck. It was my day to volunteer call so had to quit looking. But that nagging "where the heck is it" kept haunting me. By late afternoon I had another go at  it, checking all the places I already had, still no luck. Lib was sleeping on the bed, so I went over and sat by her, and scolded her a bit, saying "where the heck did ya loose your collar?" Well, she gets up and stretches, and what the hey, there it is, under her on the bed. All that looking on the floor, never thought to look on the bed. Ok, problem solved, collar back in place.
  Need a quick, probably unhealthy treat for a church dinner or other gathering? How about some pumpkin muffins? Take a box of yellow cake mix and stir in a can of pumpkin. Put in muffin papers in pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. I could see using a spice cake, or other flavors too, and oddly enough, chocolate and pumpkin go well together.
  The peppers got a late start this year, but the past few weeks we have had an abundant supply of them. I have been roasting the red ones and freezing in individual  ziplock bags, just one of me so don't need much at a time, any way, thaw out one, make some scrambled eggs with onions, herbs etc, and stuff into the pepper half. Makes a great breakfast.
  For the first time this season, there is frost on the car. Already into the 3rd cup of coffee, but its time to get busy. Less than 2 weeks til Thanksgiving now, the holidays are upon us.  Still thinking of the folk in NY and NJ, hope their power is restored by now and they are getting resettled. I'm sure many are homeless, prayers stay with them.
 My grandson-in-law has been flown back to the states from overseas as a wounded warrior, waiting word on surgery he is to have to help him recover. For the moment he is in a wheelchair. Good luck to ya Don, thinking of you and praying for your recovery.
  Also have several church members with serious problems they are fighting, so many to think of as we are grateful for our blessings.
  Stay warm and well.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Crazy Night, Face mask, Christmas is coming

  We had a very strange night last night. By we, I mean my cat Libby and I. About 1:30 am there was a loud THONK, you know the sound a bird makes when it hits your window? Well, it sounded like that. I thought maybe it was a bat or night bird of some sort. We were all cozied up in or feather bed, which does away with the need for heat on these cold nights. So settled back in, but all of a sudden Lib was hissing and yowling and carrying on. So got up and turned on the light. Yep, in the middle of the floor was a THING. Lib had her paw on it. I couldn't get to the over head light and the lamp was not enough to let me figure out what it was. First thought was mouse. But it really didn't look like that. After a while, it didn't seem to be moving so I got the vacuum out and snarfed it up the hose. Decided to crawl back in bed, but the thing started bonking around in the vauum dust bin. Lib was going nuts. Tried to sleep but kept having nightmares about something being in bed with me. Finally gave up and got up. Needed to go to town this morning so headed out. When I got home my son came down and took the vacuum out on the porch. It was an irredescent blue treefrog.  Good golly, my doors fit tight and the windows have been shut for weeks. Must have come in with the last plant I moved in when it got cold. Sorry it died, would not have hurt anything. Glad it was not a multiplying mouse.
  Got a face mask I think you will like. Was making a pumpkin pie this week and took out 1 tablespoon of the pumpkin(pie never missed it). Added 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, you know me, the organic grainy kind, and about 1/4 tablespoon of olive oil. Mixed it well and put in a container in the frig. Before heading to bed, take some out and massage it into your face, like a scrub. Let it dry at least 5 minutes. Then rinse off. Your skin is soft and glowing. Pumpkin is a great antioxidant. think you will be pleased  with this.
  Thinking Christmas yet? How about some of those fancy flavored coffee mixes we all like?
  1/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup powdered coffee creamer ( I use my vanilla soy powdered milk)
1/2 cup instant coffee. Mix, package. If you want to vary the flavor, you can add a spoonful of cocoa, or a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to make vienna style. In a nice container with a pretty bow, you have a great stocking stuffer.
  How about a body scrub?
1/2 cup brown sugar( yep, the organic grainy one)
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/8 cup olive oil
few drops of essential oil of your choice for scent.  Put in little containers
 Our neighbors up north have had a really bad week, bad storm, lots of damage, no power for many, and lots of lost homes. We are lucky here, had some breeze and misty rain. The higher elevations got 4 feet of snow, but not a flake here. Could see the snow coming home this morning, pretty but not my favorite thing.
  Are you ready for the time change tomorrow? And in 3 weeks the holidays begin. Hope you stay warm and snug and well. Til next time

Friday, October 26, 2012

Please guard your health

  The beautiful red-orange tree in my back yard is now bare,brown leaves litter the ground. We are looking at some very chilly nights ahead, at least for a few days. And a hurricane blowing up the coast may bring some major problems to New England.
   I am a little sad and thinking of several friends who are quite ill just now, one in the hospital, several others facing cancer, blood problems and other health concerns.  Makes me very grateful for my good health. I can't take credit for most of that, God does watch over me. But I have been watching what I eat , drink and do since I was 20 years old and began looking at nutrition as a way of life. It's true you are handed out some genetic probabilites, but if you  look ahead, you can prevent a lot of problems.
    Today I want to give you some harmful additives and processes to avoid. If you can keep yourself and your children from having ADD, ADHD, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, why would you not want to? My biggest fear is becoming a vegetable and needing constant care. I have been that caregiver a few times, and don't want to end life that way.
  Not saying you can never enjoy things you like, that would be dumb. But keep the harmful things in moderation and go for the fruits, veggies and things that enhance your quality of life.
  Lets start with the toxins in your home, and the most deadly ones. Number one are flame retardents. These are a chemical, petroleum based product. Used a lot in kids sleepers. Avoid those, and go for natural cotton. Second, formaldehyde.  This one causes me a lot of grief, if I come in contact with it I break out in a rash, called lichenplanus. Miserable, itchy, and many months to heal. Even in flu shots, which a doc finally figured out when I kept getting sick after shots. This stuff is used in carpets, woods(pressed) and building supplies. Try to choose natural woods and fibers.  Next are Parabans. These are absorbed into the body. They cause cancer and disrupt your hormone system. Look for them in makeup, shampoos and personal products.
  Plastics are also suspect. If you have babys, look for ones(plastic, not babys) that say BPA free, or to be safe use glass or metal cups. Check your containers, they should not be labeled #3 or #7 polyvinyl choride. Never heat things in the microwave in plastic, don't reuse water bottles, you know all that stuff. The stuff that plastics are made of take thousands of years to break down in our dumps.  Avoid cans with white linings, these are deadly.
  Now lets get to food additives, and these are some of the biggest offenders.  Fake sugars and aspartame( yogurts use this a lot) are the worst. Watch out for added colors too, red, and blue are the worst. Stay clear of BHA, butylated hydroxyanisole, and BHT, butylated hydroxytolene. Olestra, a fake fat,  gums, and of course nitrites and nitrates. We are all watching out for the saturated fats too. The good thing is, some manufacturers are catching on to the fact that we want better and safer foods, and are making efforts to help us out.
  There is a bill afoot in CA trying to make it a law that food containing GMO's must  be labeled as such, I hope it passes. Monsanto and other big companies are fighting it tooth and nail. They would rather soak the seeds they plant in weed and bug killers than have to work on the fields more. But those killers are passed right into our flour, corn, soy beans etc and are harmful beyond belief.
  It comes down to making healthy choices as much as possible and limiting stuff that will harm your body, to occasional use. I see now that some bacon  brands and hot dogs are finally being made without nitrates and nitrates. We need to look for these safer brands and thank them for their efforts.
  Got a pot of home grown veggies cooking for soup,  so glad we have had a good growing season. Will miss the fresh tomatos and peppers, but they are about gone now.
  Enjoy life, but protect yourself, no one else will do it for you. And do protect your babys, you are all they have.
  It's almost Halloween, there is a peanut butter scare so watch what the tots get. Have a great fall. See ya next time.
  I would be very remiss if i didn't mention a new blessing, a lovely new grand daughter born earlier this week,  now I have 3 grand daughters and 3 grand sons, and a great grand daughter and a great grandson. Life is good.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reuse, recycle, re-cook, aw heck

  Went to town this morning, the sun was just coming up and the mountains were lit up red and glowing. The colors are here, and beautiful. It's still fairly warm, need to pick some beans today, and kale, and more parsley. The prediction for November is close to normal, maybe a few degrees colder than last year. Guess we can handle that.
  Last week I bought a whole chicken, organic of course, and stewed it with herbs, onion and garlic. Wanted the broth to freeze for future soups etc. Wish I had known this before, don't toss the carcass. Instead, put the stripped bones into your crock pot, with water, onions, garlic and herbs, and turn on low. Let it go for at least 48 hours. The bones will crack open and you will have marrow broth, deep color, rich flavor, and good for you. Keep it in containers in the freezer for soup etc.  Watch it some as you may need to add water as it cooks.
  Got a church meal coming up? Here's an easy dessert, take a box of angel food cake mix and a can of lemon pie filling, mix together and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Has 168 calories per serving, and soooo easy.
    A little more difficult, but here's another great dessert, makes 8 cupcakes.
Start with 2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips, dark chocolate is best, melt in microwave, stir until creamy. Drop a teaspoon full into each muffin cup paper and spread to cover paper. Next, mix 2/3 cup of cream cheese, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/3 cup greek yogurt(plain) and 1/2 teaspoon of zest from a lemon or lime.After the chocolate cups have chilled until set, fill with cream cheese mix, drizzle the rest of the melted chocolte over the top and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  The news this morning was again warning parents with small children about those new laundry "pods". At least 100 children a week are eating them, thinking they are candy. They end up very sick, and in the emergency room. Be sure if you use these to put them where kids can not find them, who wants a sick baby.
   My new grand daughter is due any time now, waiting anxiously for her to arrive. Will let you know about her next week, as if she is not here by Wednesday, inducing takes place.
  Take care, stay well, enjoy this splendid fall. See ya soon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall's Rainbow of Color

 About 2 PM I head for the bedroom, for my daily exercise session. I am on the floor to use my weights and oxygenator. Lying there, I look out my north window at a splendid maple tree just outside the window. The color is a splash of red orange, like a flame shot down from the sun and started a fire. It's a magnificent color. And directly under the bottom branches is a holly bush, with its ever bright green leaves, now colored  in with the bright red berries of fall.
  As I look up the mountain, there is a tree with leaves that are a russet color, like a rich dark wine. And beyond that is a brilliant yellow tree, and in between are green ones, still hanging on to their summer color.
  Looking upwards, the sky behind these glowing colors is that fall blue, bright azure, that seems to almost glow. Occasionally a puffy white cloud slides through, adding one more color.
 When I get up, I look up the mountain behind me, to the east. The top is colored now, with reds and golds. The grass is still a lovely green, we have had a lot of rain lately so things are still fresh. And so far, no frost has damaged our late growing garden.
  Fall might be my favorite time of year, except that it tells me the warm days are leaving and soon we will wake up to frost, chilly mornings, and cool days.  When I was young I liked winter, but now it just tells me I might go sliding and fall, and break something.  One of the perks of being a senior citizen. I tend to become a chicken and stay in when the temps fall below freezing.  Broke a bone last year, not wanting to do it again.
   There is no way to look at the colors and not think how God reaches out and paints the scenery with his never failing accuracy. I am grateful to see each season, and enjoy the beauty of this earth. Hope you have time to do some looking too.
 Take care, open your eyes and enjoy. All to soon, the scenery will change to frosty whites, and snow blanketing the grass.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Facial mask, worth $40.00 for pennies, cold season approaching

  I have been readng a blog by Jon Gallagher for some time now, it's a class on learning and using herbs.  Called Learning Herbs, strangely enough. One of the contributors is Rosemary Gladstone. She has been practicing for about 40 years and has a lot of tried and true helps to share. If you go to Mountain Rose Herbs site, you may find their information there.
  This weeks video taught us a simple cough syrup. Slice an onion into thin slices, put in a pot, cover with honey and simmer til syrupy. Long ago, on a wood burning stove, this would have just stayed on the back where it was warm, and you would take out a spoon full when needed. But now, just put the mix into a clean jar and keep in your refrigerator. Take a spoon full when needed. If you want to get fancy, you can add garlic, grated ginger etc, but thats your option. This is much simpler than the stuff I brew all summer on my cupboard, will be doing it soon.
   If you feel a cold coming on, mix equal parts of dried yarrow, peppermint and elder flowers. Steep as a tea and drink a cup several times a day. I have the yarrow and peppermint growing, guess I need to find an elderberry bush. My gram used to have them, made jelly, pie and wine from the berrys.  I am pretty much out of room to add new plants, so maybe just ordering the flowers is in order.
  I love a show called THE CHEW, on ABC. Yesterday Daphne Oz talked about a product she had purchased that cost her $40.00  for a small jar. She read the ingredients and for under a buck, made her own. Very simple, take pumpkin, and this can be canned or one you have cooked yourself  and mashed, add half as much sugar, the grainy organic type, and a few drops of flax seed oil. Mix,  spread on face with your fingers. Let it set about 5 minutes, and gently rinse off. The beta carotene is so good for your skin. Good for you to eat too!
  This time of year there are a lot of squashes ripe and ready, be sure you add them to your diet. The orange veggies are so healthy for you.
  It's dark and gloomy again today, we have had a lot of rainy days lately. Got a little sun yesterday, and may get some later today before it rains on us again by Sunday afternoon. I see the red, gold and orange colors burnishing th e mountain now, driving is a treat as it's a beautiful time of the year. There will be a lot of tourists heading to the mountains to see all this splendor the next few weeks.  I can just look out my window and see the gorgeous trees spreading up the mountain behind me. I love fall, just wish it was not followd by winter, not my favorite time of year.  Mostly because we are unable to be outside gardening. But it will be spring again, just have to be patient. Hope you are enjoying the crisp nights, cerulan blue skys and cooler days of fall. Heat up the cider and stay well.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Old Dog, new tricks, Red peppers, Toner etc

 Yesterday, my son brought me some gorgeous red peppers, one a lipstick. My freezer is full of pre stuffed ready to bake ones, and others cut into strips for stir fry etc, so wanted something different. I love pimentos, and guess what, those pricy little jars are just roasted red peppers. Its so easy, just cut the washed peppers in half, seed and clean out the inside, put them upside down on foil and roast at 450 degrees for about 17 minutes. !5 minutes was not long enough, 20 was too long, so must depend on your oven. Just watch closely, they start to blacken when done. Fold the foil up tightly around them and cool. The skins slip right off and then just chop them and put into a glass jar in the frig, ready for potato salad or whatever , and they taste great.
  There is a web site called They have good recipes for homemade cleaners. Here's one that will clean your shower, tub  etc. Just mix half Dawn and half white vinegar, and apply.  Rinse off and , voila, clean .
   Do you need a good toner for your face? Try this:
 3 tablespoons fresh or dried mint leaves
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup distilled water. Mix all in sterile container, let sit 3 days, strain, and apply to face after washing.
  How about an after bath spray? I love to spritz on after I have soaked myself pruny.
 Mix 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon fresh or dried sage, 1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme 1 teaspoon ground  cloves.  let this sit in a mason jar for 2 weeks, the strain and put in a clean spray bottle.
  Lots of stuff in the news , like peanut butter recalls, and items made with peanut butter. Salmonella again. Also, we are watching closely the products containing arsenic and GMO's . The list of food with GMO's is long, you almost have to stick with organic  to be sure. Anything with corn or soy or wheat is suspect.And of course, rice is being tested for arsenic, so that is a concern too. No wonder we have so much illness, we are eating crap. These things all have such bad effects on our babes, children come up with the worst problems as they are small and absorb too much. Be very careful what you are feeding your kids.
  Cooking from scratch takes a little getting used to , but once you are on to it, it's easy and takes little time. If you buy blueberrys, celery,or potatoes, be sure they are organic. Regular potatoes are soaked in insectisides to keep them free of bugs while growing. And it grows right into the potatoes in large amounts. I had not known that til this week. You can pull up Dr Oz s show and find more information there. It was Thursdays, October 4th.
  Well, it's feeling like fall, but still not really cold, We have hovered in the 50's at night and upper 70's days. Just about perfect weather. Still have the windows open, hate the thought of being shut up for the winter.

      Take care, eat well, and stay healthy.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Great Pumpkin Cookies, a bit of recycling and some health ideas

  I ran across a great recipe last week, it's the time of year we start thinking of pumpkin, crisp nights and a little warmth from the oven on chilly mornings.  So here is a recipe for Pumpkin Ginger cookies I think you will like.
  1/2 cup soft butter        1 teaspoon vanilla
  1 cup sugar                   2 teaspoons baking soda
  1/2 cup pumpkin          2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1/4 cup molasses          1 teaspoon cloves
  1 egg                             1/2 teaspoon salt,  1 and 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  2 and  1/3 cups unbleached flour
      Beat butter and sugar til creamy, add pumpkin, molasses, egg and vanilla.
      In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Mix together and chill several hours or overnight
      Heat oven to  350 degrees.  Use teaspoon sized balls of dough, dip in sugar. I like to use organic brown sugar crystals, they leave a little crunch after baking. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, and cool on rack.
   Know all those toilet tissue rolls you toss? Save them and the lint from your dryer trap. Stuff the lint into the empty rolls and use to start fires in your fire place. Two less items to recycle.
   If you are trying to boost your immune system before the winter weather moves in, here are a couple of ways to help.  Be sure your multi vitamins contain 15 mg of beta carotene, 50 mg vitamin C,  and 400 iu of mixed tocopherol vitamin E.  Also be sure you are using a capsule, "bullets" tend to go through without doing you much good.
   To boost your happiness level, keep a journal.  Each day at the end of the day, jot down one thing you are grateful for.  Check the list often, in a few months this will improve your mood dramatically. This is a valid, proven scientific study which has been done.
  Try doing some deep breathing each day to clear the lungs . Breath in through the nose for a count of 7, hold for 8 counts, then exhale slowly through the mouth.  Do this twice a day, 8 times each.
  If you are looking to up your anti oxidants which are so good for your health, one cup of Matcha tea has  as many antioxidants as 8 cups of green tea.
   If you think you have a sluggish thyroid, you can check it out by taking your temperature by mouth in the morning before you get up. If it runs under 98 degrees for a week, you have a slow working thyroid gland.  To improve function, eat  things high in selenium, like mushrooms,  brazil nuts,  and iodized salt is important.  I love to saute a handful of onion, garlic, mushrooms and herbs and use them over pasta, or grilled chicken. You can likely think of a lot of ways you would eat these.
  Finally, if you are looking for a way to "detox" your body, when you get up in the morning start your day with a glass of warm water, and add a squeeze of lemon and a couple of dashes of hot sauce.  Should help kick start your day.
  Eat healthy, add those greens every day, keep smiling and be grateful for all the blessings you have. It doesn't take much looking around to see others who have so many more problems these days. Stay well.

Friday, September 14, 2012

God's Plan for My Life

  I spent most of my life in the midwest, born in Nebraska, traveled around during a stint in the Air Force, and ending up several times in Illinois. In a little town called Paxton, I met my second husband. He had lived his whole life there, and had been a baker most of his life. He had the assorted jobs when he was a teenager, from pin setter at a bowling alley to working in a glove factory and a furniture factory. But by the time he was out of high school, his sister had bought a bakery and convinced him to be the baker. He spent 25 years there.
   When we had been married about 10 years, my dad was in a car wreck, and the x-rays revealed a kidney the size of a football, cancerous.  They removed it but he never was well after that. We thought about buying the bakery when my hubby's sister wanted to retire and sell it, but the cost of equipment that would make it feasable was so much it never would have been recouped. So we decided after much thought, to move to Nebraska to be near my folks at this difficult time in their lives.
   We stayed through my dad's death and then my mom's. And then it was time to decide what to do with our lives, and retirement.
   After we had been in Nebraska for a time, we sat down one weekend afternoon with a map of the US and looked for a place we would like to end our days. We decided it would have to be warmer than the midwest,  not so many tornados, but still have seasons. We were drawn to Tennessee.  In the center of the state is a very small town, maybe a couple of hundred people, called Bugscuffle. I kid you not, it's real. It's about halfway between Murfreesboro and Fayetteville. Not much there, would have to shop, go to doctors and that sort of thing in the aforementioned towns. Which would have meant a little driving. But all the information we could find, was favorable. So we circled it on the map and put the atlas away.
   Quite a few years after that, one of our sons moved to Tennessee, an area called Edwina, near Newport.  We took  several trips , one by air and several by car to visit, and were awed by the mountains, and the beauty of the area. The Great Smokys are their back yard,  they can look out and see them from the porch.
   On our second or third trip, we looked at modular houses. And when offered a spot of land on my sons acreage, decided to see if we could sell our home and retire to those gorgeous mountains.
   Surprisingly, the house sold in  just a few weeks, we had thought it might take a year or so. So we were told the new owner wanted possesion in 2 weeks, whoa, fast pack and move out.
    Never crossed our minds that we had at one point thought about retiring to Bugscuffle. So here we are, not in the original location, but in a much nicer area. I love the mountains, they are like protective fortresses. The wind blows over the tops, you can hear it, but seldom do we have much here on the ground. The weather is mostly temporate, we get a little snow, sometimes a bit more, but it melts rapidly and never needs shoveling. In fact, a quarter inch will close the schools because the buses can not navigate these twisty mountain roads when slick.  We  grow garden most of the year, have had a good run this summer and my son is starting his covered beds for winter now, planting what will grow in cooler temperatures.
   It's strange to think how close we came to our "ideal" area, when we had really forgotten about choosing it so far ahead of time.
   Guess God really does work in mysterious ways, it's good to trust his judgement.
   I miss seeing my family in Nebraska, but don't regret moving here, have found a church I love, and  a volunteer job, hope I can be able to keep going for a long time to come.  God put me here, and I hope I can continue to serve Him in some way.
   Blessings to you for the coming week.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thoughts on Antacids, home made hair spray, perfume and toner

  Yeah, tomorrow we get a cool down, only 75 for a high temp and clear down into the upper 40s at night, sounds so good. It was cool this morning for a long time, very refreshing.
  Okay, some thoughts. If you are taking any medications for heart burn, or reflux,  did you know they cause B-12 deficiency?  And this can cause your hands and feet to tingle and get numb.  Your body quits making RNA and DNA when you take these. Also you can become anemic and develop bone loss problems. If you are taking them, keep checking with your doctor on side effects, and be aware they are not advised for more than a few weeks. You can develop neuropathy and  fibromyalgia from overuse. More information is available on Jordan Rubins website.
    Recipes. How about a facial toner ?
 3 tablespoons of mint leaves, fresh or dried
 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
 1 cup distilled water
Put all in a clean, covered container and steep for 3 days. Strain and store in a tightly covered container. Splash on face after washing.
   Hair Spray
 zest of one lemon or lime
 1 cup boiling water
 1 tablespoon witch hazel
Put zest in ceramic container, pour boiling water over and let set overnight. Strain and stir in the witch hazel. Put in spray bottle and use to style hair or set your style after its done.
  About zest, if you zest your citrus and dry the zest, run it through your coffee grinder or food mill and make it into a powder, much easier to work with, and you will find a lot of uses for it. Even cooking. You can dry it in your microwave, regular oven or dehydrator.
 1 teaspoon orris root powder
 1 tablespoon cornstarch
 1 tablespoon citrus peel
 2 drops lemon essential oil
 2 drops bergamont oil
  Mix all together and put in food processor.  Process til you have a smooth, fine powder.  Put in a container with a tight lid and rub small amounts on your skin where you would apply perfume. This is a recipe you can alter to suit your sense of smell, so many oils are available, so do some experimenting and find a scent you love.
   After bath spray
 2 cups apple cider vinegar
 1 tablespoon dried sage
 1 tablespoon thyme, fresh or dried
 1 teaspoon ground cloves
 Mix in a clear , clean jar and let set 2 weeks, shaking daily. Strain and put in spray bottle. Use after bath or shower.
  Have you ever heard of Bugscuffle Tennessee? Next time I will be sharing a story about it with you. Have a great week, hope the cool weather is heading your way. Stay well.
  A final reminder, all these products are easy to find at Mountain Rose Herbs, or on Amazon.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fall Cleaning recipes, great herbs, Nutella cookies

  How quickly things change! Got up and dressed this morning, turned out the bedroom light and headed down the hall to the kitchen. Total darkness. ran into the wall a couple of times and turned on the light when I got to the end of the hall. Before today, had been able to see where I was going. Must be fall. So it's time to get ready to close up the house.
  Decided this week to refresh and de-mite my mattress. Looked long and hard for recipes and found a couple I will share with you. For the mattress try this:
  1 cup of baking soda
  1 tablespoon fabric softener
  4 drops of  lavender essential oil, or oil of your choice. Mix throughly and sprinkle over mattress. Let set for 1 hour and vacuum off.
  I don't use fabric softener so went looking for a recipe for that. It turned out so great! Had a bottle of honeysuckle conditioner under the sink that had been there for years, so a good way to use it up. And here is that simple recipe, courtesy of You may want to check their web site, all kinds of good stuff there.
    2 cups hair conditioner
    3 cups white vinegar
    6 cups boiling water. Mix all well and store in container. As I often do, I cut this recipe to a quarter of the original amount and still have a good sized container. It smells wonderful. The honeysuckle is very nice, choose a conditioner you like the smell of and you will like it.
   Made some easy and pretty good cookies first of the week.
           Nutella Goodies
1 cup of flour,
1 egg
1 cup Nutella
  Mix well, roll into teaspoon sized balls, flatten slightly, bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. You know me, I swapped out half of the Nutella for natural chunky peanut butter. Still came out very tasty.
  Last this week, courtesy of the Dr Oz show, I have a list of herbs and spices that promote your good health.
1. Turmeric, great anti-inflammatory
2. Cloves, considered cinnamon on steroids
3. Cinnamon, super star, lowers blood sugar
4. Allspice,  great for digestion
5. Apple pie spice , great combo
6. Oregano,  this one is antimicrobial
7. Marjoram,  good for digestion and sleep aid
8. Sage
9. Thyme
10. Italian Spice mix
 Add lots of these to your cooking and enjoy their benefits. Need less salt that way too.
   One last thought. If you have silver fillings in your teeth, each one has about 1000 mg of mercury in it. So your body is fighting mercury poisoning and you can help by taking something called chlorella.   Start out with 100 to 200 mg per meal and work up to 500 mg as your body accepts it. The bigger dose to start with might cause problems.
   Dr Oz also had a help for skin cancer, non-melanoma.  Its a cream made of eggplant. By using for about 3 months, the cancer will go away. You may want to check with your doctor before using. It's marketed as  BEC 5 or  Curederm.
  Labor day week end is upon us, the long hot summer draws to an end. I am not a winter person but the cooler weather is very appealing this year. Picked zucchini, tomatoes and beans this morning but the garden is looking sad so need to start taking it out.  Hope you have a safe weekend and a good holiday. Til next time, stay well.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tinctures, Rice cassarole, Headache help

  It's a beautiful morning on the mountain, cool and very still, not a leaf stirring. There are birds singing and a dog adding it's comments once in a while. The sun is just beginning to peak up over the mountain behind my kitchen window. It's been daylight for some time, but it takes a while for that lazy old sun to get high enough to see it.
  I'm sitting here with my second cup of coffee, finished vacuuming while it was cool. We have enjoyed a couple of nearly perfect weeks now, in the upper 50's at night and around 80 during the day. I could take this forever, but it will change.
  I have been collecting lavender buds, and calendula flowers, this latter one is slow going, and now, thanks to my sis backing me up, made a trip to a liquor store for a bottle of vodka to start brewing some tinctures. A tincture is just brewing your herbs or flowers in a closed container for 2 weeks, with vodka or 90 grain alcohol, shaking daily, to extract the oils and healing properties of plants. I am starting with lavender, then will do sage and whatever else my recipes call for. Mostly, I want to make healing salves.  Will keep you posted on results and recipes.
   Do you suffer from headaches? I have some ideas that are natural for you today. Shades of Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman. Willow Bark is great for tension headaches,  brew 2 teaspoons  of powdered bark in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes, and drink up to 3 cups per day. Simple, and no side effects. For migranes, use powdered feverfew,  an 82 milligram capsule as needed through the day. These can be found at Mountain Rose Herbs, and I have found that my local health food store has a wall of herbs in containers, you can buy as little or as much as you need, and they are very reasonable, in fact the hyssop I bought  a few weeks ago cost less than 25 cents for several ounces. And of course, no postage. 
  A friend in Maryland sent me a book this last week,  called "For The Love of Stray Cats," by Father Joe Breighner. It's a very sad, and funny  and insightful read, well worth checking out. Amazon sells it, it seems pricy but I think it's because the money goes to charity. Maybe your local library could find it, maybe not. It might be a Kindle thing too, have not checked that. But if you can find it, do take time to read it, you will learn a lot.
  Still picking zucchinis and trying to use them up. Found a good recipe I am sharing. If you are not a zucchini fan, you could use broccoli, cauliflower, mixed vegetables etc instead. And I substitute feta cheese for the cheddar, so you can tweak this a lot of ways, I would add sauteed onions and garlic too.
   Start by putting  1 tablesoon of olive oil in a skillet, heat, then add 1 cup of brown rice. Stir until the rice toasts and turns a golden brown. Add 2 cups of broth, chicken or vegetable, your choice. Cook about 20- 25 minutes, til most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in one smallish grated zucchini(or something you like) , along with salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1cup of grated cheddar(?) cheese. Stir well, cover and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Supper is ready.
   Wishing you a good week, filled with family and friends.Take care, stay well. Read those labels and contact companies with your questions. How else can we get them to make changes?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Are you proactive about your life? Do you let FDA and Big Pharma rule you?

  The first book I ever read on caring for your health was Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss. I was about 19 and had 2 babies. I wanted to bring them up with as little illness as possible, so started studying anything I could find on being healthy.
   His one statement that has stuck all these years was to avoid the 5 whites. Sugar, flour, rice, shortening and salt have no food value and do nothing good for your body. In fact, they cause inflammation and nearly any illness is caused by that inflammation. From cancer to sinus, you can prevent it.
  My sis was here visiting last week and we stopped at the local Health Food store for some herbs and information. She mentioned her hubby's asthma and the first thing the owner asked was if they used milk. She said yes, but they had changed to organic. No good, he said, any milk causes mucus and swelling so sinus, allergies and that kind of thing are common in people who use dairy products. I was feeling a bit smug as I have used soy milk for over 40 years now, but guess what, it's not good either, too much estrogen type stuff. His recommendation was almond milk only, maybe rice milk. So I am making that change.
   You need to learn to avoid foods that cause inflammation, here are a few: bagels, bread, candy, cake, cookies, cereal, (except old fashioned or steel cut oats), cornstarch, cornbread,  corn syrup, crackers, donuts, fast food, fried food, hot dogs, ice cream, margerine, muffins, noodles, pancakes, pasta, shortening, soda, sugar, tacos, tortillas, waffles. The list is much longer but that gives you an idea.
  I recently went on a quest to see if I could find GMO free, organic cereals. It's not easy. When I contacted the big companys, the standard answer was, no , we don't have that, but the FDA says our ingredients are safe. Well, that's a crock. The FDA is in big pharma's pocket, and they want you on as many meds as they can push on you. And you must be aware, that one, leads to 3, to 5  etc. I needed something for heartburn a while back, but after checking, found out that Nexium, Prilosec etc, cause bone loss and anemia. So in a short time you will need more meds for those problems, and that becomes an ever widening pool. I learned to eat less, earlier, and chew deglycerized licorice if needed. Not going into that trap. There are two cereal company's that meet my needs, Cascadian Farms, and Kashi.
   If you do not know about GMO's, they are genetically modified organisms, Seeds that are shot full of chemicals to kill weeds and bugs. And they are in the food you eat. 93% of all babies born now test positive for GMO's.
  One of the things I learned very early was how to avoid my folks health problems, the big one being arthritis, the crippling, hand knarling kind. I was told to take ginger and turmeric. They are both anti inflammatories and have done an excellent job. They also keep your body from developing other inflammatory problems. Well worth knowing, cheap and effective.  I only recently learned that if you start taking zeaxanthin when you are 30 to 40, you can prevent cataract's. I am taking it now, and have reversed the beginning Cataracts I did have.
  Not saying you can never have a cookie, or ice cream, but you sure need to limit them and stick with fresh fruits and vegetables, organic if possible.  I am so happy we grow so much of what we eat. Have canned and frozen a lot for the winter, will be good to fall back on when its cold and nasty outside.
   One last reminder, the tomato products, all those tomatoes are picked green and ripened in ethylene gas, so you are eating that poison if you open a can of pasta sauce, tomato paste or sauce.
  Just so you will know, I am 75, live alone, garden, volunteer, and am happy with life on my mountain. No smog, fumes etc. Have a problem getting around those, or people who smoke. Sure does choke one up quickly.
   You are able to take your life, and your family's, and improve it by what you do every day. Make smart choices, READ labels, be that proactive person that has the final say about your health, and your familys.
  If you are interested in more information, check out Jordan Rubin's website, or find books by Doctor Andrew Weil, Dr Joe Mercola, or just turn on The Doctors or Dr Oz. A lot of doctors are now questioning taking medicines with harmful side effects, and trying to teach us to live healthy.
   Have a good week!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sadness on the mountain, loss of a pet

  This is not my usual day, or topic, but sometimes, things need saying.
  Shortly after my son and his wife moved here, a starving, scared blue tick coon dog was seen up the mountian behind their house.  It took time, but  they finally persuaded her to come and eat. After a lot of patience and coaxing, she became their  girl.  They named her Dolly. And she had the sweetest disposition. She was a good watch dog, but loved her keepers. And when my husband and I moved here, she took us under her wing and guarded our house too. Many a morning she would look in the back door to see if we had a treat for her.
  She has lived here over 10 years, and best guess is she was about  2 years old when she wandered in. The  last few months, she has been plagued by a couple of sores that would not heal, the vet said they were cancer and he could take them off. So yesterday morning was the day of her surgery.
   Just a few months ago, the second dog who had adopted the kids, had chased something up the mountain and did not return. Fear was that a bear was up there. We will never know that for sure. But the kids decided to get into a foster dog program. A lot of cage building and preparation later, a big bull type of dog named Cochise, who is suffering from heart worms came to recuperate.  He has quickly adapted to the family, and to Dolly who watched over him like a mother hen.
  Yesterday when the truck with Dolly in it pulled out, Cochise began barking. Very incessant and demanding, like "come back, come back!"
When the truck did come back, he wanted out and went to check  things out, circling the truck, looking for his buddy.
  A short time after the surgery, the vet called my son to come get Dolly. She was still mostly out from the anesthetic. Being large, around 90 pounds, she was hard to move around but was taken into the shop to stay by my son while he worked. Cochise checked her out and promptly left the room going to the other end of the shop. Not long after, Dolly died. 
 Guess the vet thought heart failure.  But now we get the days of what ifs, and whys, and should it have been done otherwise,  and will never know all those things.
  There is a gentle rain falling, maybe it's in sadness for the loss of a special girl who lived on the mountain and made friends with all of us. We will surely miss her.
  It's a known fact that animals have a sense of life, death and things going on around them. Too bad we are not as in tune with the people we know.  The world would be a better place if we all had such compassion for those around us.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Visiters, Family, and a few ideas for your health

  It's been a great week here, my sis and brother in law from Neraska came and spent the week. We bummed around a little and ate out, but mostly visited and caught up, kind of a rare occurance. They left this morning for home, sure is quiet. I also saw very impressive pictures of my grandsons new apartment, he has started grad school in MD, he is such a great wonder, so smart. I have been blessed with a remarkable family, there is no way it could have been better! I thank the Good Lord every day for blessing me so greatly.
   My mind has been elsewhere this last week so just have a few ideas to share this time.
  Hope you are not encountering colds, but if you have one, or a sinus problem, try this. Fill your tub with good hot water, add a cup of epsom salts, and a few drops of  eucalyptus, thyme and rosemary oil. If you don;t have the rosemary oil, tie up a good spoonful  of dry herb in a little  cloth and drop in. Sit back and soak, inhaling the scent. Will help clear your breathing passages,
 the epsom salts is absorbed by your body to relax the bronchial passages.
   Did you know artichokes are helpful if you have heart burn or digestive issues? I have tried artichoke tea but don't much like it and didn't see that it helped me. Maybe instead just eating a "choke is better, it helps your bile flow and your digestive system.
   If you are fighting diarrhea,  peel an apple, chop it a little and toss in your blender with a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice, a half dozen drops of honey and a tad of cinnamon. Should help before long.
  Papaya's are great for acid reflux, and most of the stores I have been in carry them. Add a few slices to your meal and see if they help.
  When my oldest son was in high school, he developed an ulcer and was pretty miserable We found that if he drank several glasses of cabbage "water" a day, it helped. Roughly chop a cabbage and cook a few minutes, cover and let sit overnight. Guess it might help if you add a cup to two cups of water. Strain out the liquid and drink  a couple of glasses during the day. It seems to be a wonderful soother, and so inexpensive so worth a try.
  If you are a headache sufferer, try making tea with a ginger teabag, a little feverfew, this is easy to buy as a herb,  and some lemon balm, about a teaspoon each of the feverfew and lemon balm. Brew and drink. I grow lemon balm and have been looking for good ways to use it, glad to know this one.
  Summer is nearly over but we will likely have a few hot days yet, so if , like me, you are a coffee person, here's a great treat to try. Save 2 cups of your morning coffee, put in a pitcher, add 2 to 3 packages of stevia, the small ones, 2 cups of almond or soy milk, 2 tablespoons of cocoa and a splash of vanilla. Mix well and serve over ice. Yummm!
  Hope you have a wonderful week end, school has started here so know fall is on the way. Take care, be well!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Let's save $$$$$ Ideas for great , natural cleaning

  This week I have been trying some new cleaners, always liked a scouring product thats soft and creamy, and have found a very cheap replacement, that  I like better. Grab your box of baking soda, I used 1 cup but you can use 1/2 or whatever suits your needs to give it a trial run. Next grab your dish washing liquid, and add to the soda, stirring til you have a soft, almost pourable paste. I love the smell of lemon so added some essential lemon oil, but thats optional, you can stop with the soda and dish soap or add whatever scent makes your warm fuzzy place.  I put mine in an empty olive oil bottle, but a squeeze container like a plastic ketchup one would work fine, or just a covered plastic bowl of some sort, dip your paper towel, or cleaning cloth, into it for as much as you need. Don't use too much, it takes a very small amount to work.
  I have also been trying home made laundry soaps, and checked on the ingredients at Walmart this week, they carry everything needed to make a great, super cleaning detergent.  In the laundry aisle, find Fels Naptha bars of soap, washing soda and borax. Borax has a lot of other uses we will explore later. You also need a big box of baking soda. Mine cost just over $2.00. The borax and washing soda run about $3.00 and the Fels Naptha is 97 cents a bar. So get a big container, a covererd bucket etc, and mix 3 bars of grated Fels Naptha, with a box of washing soda, a box of borax, a box of baking soda. My baking soda is 4 pounds, the others are similar in size. That's all there is to it, mix well, keep in covered container, add 1 tablespoon for normal loads or 2 tablespoons for heavy soil. This makes about 384 wash loads, at 4 cents per load. I looked at the amount of loads and figured I would not live that long so  here is a smaller version, 1 bar Fels Naptha grated, 1 and 1/2 cups of borax, 2 cups of washing soda, and 1 cup of baking soda.
  I also made a spray cleaner for my counter tops, stove, frig etc.  Very simple and works well. Put 1 teaspoon borax, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap into 2 cups of hot water, in a spray bottle. I added my fave, lemon essential oil, just a few drops. This cleans, shines and leaves a nice scent.
  Last thought for today, my son has a blog called Simplelifeprattle, and he shared this with me this week. We have been canning tomatoes, and making sauce and usually the skins get tossed. But stop, this is great! Save those skins, let them sit in a colander until they have dried out some, then spread them on trays of a dehydrator, or cookie sheets  and dry thourougly. Put them in your food processor and pulse til you have a fine powder. This will keep in your pantry in a tightly closed jar for a long time. If you add a little water, you have tomato paste, more water, sauce. or just add the powder to soup etc for the tomato flavor. Can't believe no one thought of this sooner, great idea!
  Hope you have a happy, healthy week, how can it be back to school time already. See ya soon.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pine Salve, winter malady helps, stock up now

   The pine salve that has been brewing on my cupboard for many weeks has been finished. It says it's good for aches and pains but I found a different use for it. In February I broke out with a rash I get off and on, stress mostly, and have not been able to get rid of it. Until this week. The salve is wonderful, all but a few bumps have gone away. Here is how to make it, its fairly easy. Gather a pile of pine branches, Douglas Fir, Cypress, or any kind of Pine. Cut the needles into smallish pieces until you have about 3 cups, no branches. Put these into a quart jar, filling about 2/3 full. Add 2 tablespoons of juniper berrys(found on facebook) and a couple of tablespoons of grated orange peel. Cover this with oil. I used a mix of apricot kernal, jojoba and olive oil. Cover and set in a dark corner somewhere and leave for 4 weeks. Strain the oil out of the jar into a pan, discard the solid stuff.  You should have 3 cups of infused oil. To this add 4 ounces of grated beeswax and melt the wax over low low heat. Remove from heat and pour into containers. I used tins, but little jars would work too. It sets up fast, and is great stuff.
   Its so hot that thinking about cold and flu season now is difficult. But it will be here soon, school starts in a few weeks and that always heralds the first colds of the season. There are things in your pantry that can help. 
  To unstuff stuffy noses, peppermint or eucalyptus oils are invaluable. Put a few drops in a pan of warm water, towel over head and inhale. You can add a few drops of eucalyptus to a vaporizer too, and fill the room with easing steam.
   Licorice is a great throat soother, just eating licorice(black) candy is helpful. If you have high blood pressure, avoid this, it will raise it. To make your own throat lozenges here is a good way:
   2 Tablespoons of licorice powder
   1 teaspoon honey
   cocoa powder
Put the powder(licorice) in a bowl, add the honey, and unsweetened cocoa powder to make a thick paste. Knead until smooth. Make into pill sized pieces. These need to dry, in a dehydrator or in a 150 degree oven on a cookie sheet til they are dry. Put them in a glass jar and they will keep for a long time.
  To soothe a sore throat, mix 1/4 cup of local honey with 1/4 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of chopped or dried sage. Mix well and keep in the refrigerator.
  My fave quick kicker for sore throat is to just chew a clove of fresh garlic.
  Licorice, black pepper and ginger are all forms of antibiotics, keep these in mind and make ginger tea for flu or colds, add pepper to your food. And if its ok for you, eat licorice. Other forms of herbal antibiotics are juniper,honey and goldenseal.
  How about one recipe for the road, a sweet treat.
  Almond Anise Brittle
  1/2 cup sliced almonds
  1 cup sugar
  1/3 cup water
  pinch of cream of tartar
 2 tablespoons anise seeds
  In a 250 degree oven, toast the almonds on unlined baking sheet until golden. In a medium pot, combine sugar, water. and cream of tarter. Heat til sugar is dissolved. Cover pot and boil for about 5 minutes.  Remove lid an look at color, should be amber. When it is, quickly add almonds and aniseseeds and pour onto a buttered cookie sheet or foil.Spread thin so it will end up with a glass like texture. Break up after set and store. This is so pretty, could make a nice Christmas gift.
  Hope you are bearing up under the heat, take care.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Fresh Herbs, mixed for cooking, more chia recipes

  In our area, we have had a long stretch of frequent rains lately, things are in need of drying out. But one thing has come of it, the garden is producing lavishly. I have been shredding, cubing, pickling and anything else I can think of, zucchinis and cucumbers the last few weeks. the cupboard is now full of pickles. I might consider relish in the future, but no more pickles.
  The herb beds have also been growing abundantly so a lot of my herbs are being dried or frozen or refrigerated for future use.  A good way to keep your herbs ready for cooking later is to put a few leaves in an ice cube tray, fill each area with water and freeze. Then pop them out and put in bags, labeled, for use another time. They are like cooking with fresh because they keep their color and flavor.
 Many times a recipe will ask for a combination of herbs, and sometimes the recipes are hard to find, so today I am going to gve you some ideas for combinations.
 This is a French combination  of :
  Bay leaf
Tie these together in a bundle and add to your cooking pot. You can adapt this to other herbs if you have some you like to use, but this is the classic version.
  1/4 cup of chervil
  1/4 cup of chives
  1/4 cup parsley
  1/4 cup of tarragon
This is a mix of fresh herbs thats good in salads or sprinkled on melons. Not good made of dried herbs.

  1 tablespoon of basil
  1 Tablespoon marjoram
  1 Tablespoon savory
  1 Tablespoon thyme
  1 teaspoon lavender flowers
  1 teaspoon cracked fennel seeds
This is very flavorful, use in small amounts.  Good on eggs, pizza, fish and in stew.

  3 cloves of garlic
  1/2 cup parsley
  1 tablespoon of lemon zest
Ususally served over meats, or as a garnish on pasta and great on baked potatoes or squash.


  2 and 1/2 tablespoons oregano leaves
  2 and 1/2 tablespoons basil leaves
  1 tablespoon marjoram leaves.
This can be used fresh, or dried.  If added to olive oil, you can use it as a dip for bread, maybe adding a little crushed garlic too.
 A few times ago, we talked abou chia seeds and all their uses and benefits. I have a drink for you to try.  A  Berry Chia Cooler.
  Put a tablespoon of dried hibiscus tea, made with peppermint and orange peel,  plus a handful of dried hibiscus flowers, into a tea pot of hot water. Stir in 2 tablespoons of raw, local honey, stirring til mixed. Set this in the refrigerator overnight. Next day, add a handful of fresh or frozen berrys, your choice. Then stir in 4 tablespoons of chia seeds. Let sit for an hour, so seeds  produce gel. Strain and drink chilled. Ah yes, crush the berrys before adding. The tea I use is called Good Nature(brand) and is an organic mix of hibiscus, rose hips. I bought it from Swanson Vitamins.
  Hope you have a good week, a little rain, a little sun, a little breeze to cool you. Take care, stay well.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hair Help, Bug deterrant, produce cleaning

  It's been a nice break, cool and rain this last week, but as it always seems, too much rain. The garden is not likeing being so wet, needs a little sun. We are sure to go from cool and wet to another hot and dry spell, isn't that life!
  Today I have some ideas for home made hair rinses to make your hair soft and super shiny, and very inexpensive.
  These are all made the same way, depending on your hair color, pick what works for you.
  Brunettes,  boil 2 cups of water,  add 1/4 cup fresh or dried sage, and steep for 15 minutes. Strain, put in container. After washing hair, pour over as a final rinse, do not wash out.
   Blondes, use same thing but  put 1/2 cup of chamomile flowers into the boiling water. (omit sage)
  Red heads,  substitute 1/4 cup of hibiscus flowers.
  If you want a home made shampoo that will make your hair shimmer, try mixing 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup of castile soap and 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil together, suds away. Castile soap is easy to find on line, just type it into your search engine, it's not very pricy and good for a lot of things. Have not been able to find it in stores, used to be used for babies all the time as it's so gentle.  If you want to add herbs to this shampoo, dried chamomile, lavender, etc can be added as you like.  To add body and bounce, add 1 cup of beer, this needs to be reduced from 1 cup to 1/4 cup by simmering. When we were stationed in the Phillipines, the beauty shops all used a beer based shampoo on our hair, made it look great.  How about some home made bug repellant? 
  1/2 ounce citronella oil
  1/4 ounce lavender oil
  1/8 ounce tea tree oil
  1/8 ounce jojoba oil.
 Add 16 ounces of almond or oil of your choice, blend and put in spray container.
  Or try 3 and 1/2 ounces of witch hazel
            1/2 ounce lemon juice
            1/2 teaspoon eucalyptus oil
            1/2 ounce citronella oil   combine all in small spray bottle.
 On to fruits and vegetables. If you are buying them at the store or local farmers markets, they need to be cleaned. A great wash is made by combining the following:  8 ounces purified or distilled water, 1 cup vinegar, juice of 1 lemon, 2 teaspoons baking soda and a drop of orange extract, which I think could be omitted, mostly for scent.  Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out juice into a bowl, add soda, oil and if using, extract. Mix well then add vinegar. Whee , fizz all over the place, kids will love watching this. Pour this into a bottle, and when cleaning your produce, spray it well, let sit at least 30 seconds then rinse thoroughly. Some of the dirtiest produce includes potatoes, apples, peppers, celery, peaches, blueberrys, strawberrys, grapes, spinach, lettuce, green beans, kale, avocados, cantalope, eggplant, kiwi and watermelon. Just wash them well and they will be healthy additions to your diet.
  Hope you have a great week, stay well.
  By the way, any of the ingredients I use  in these recipes are available at Mountain Rose Herbs, or on Amazon.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Home made Sunscreen, recipes to cool you off, summer storms

  The country is caught in a heat wave, and a lot of severe storms have plagued the whole area lately. we had our turn last night. We were lucky here on the mountain, the wind went screaming across the peaks for a short time but all we got was needed rain. Our neighboring cities were not so lucky, wind damage, trees down, power out in a lot of places and 2 deaths in the Smoky mountain park area.
  So lets look at some ideas to keep us cool and snack healthy. One of my everyday pleasures is Greek Yogurt, made with one ingredient, organic skim milk. No sugar or other stuff added. This allows you to add what you want, fresh fruit, honey etc. If you are a chocolate person, this is a great recipe. To one cup of yogurt, stir in a heaping teaspoon of cocoa powder, a teaspoon of honey and a splash of vanilla. Stir well and enjoy. I am thinking of tossing in a few nuts next time. Chopped pecans would be my pick.
  How about some chips? Banana chips that is. Slice some bananas thin, can't be over ripe, dip in lemon juice, place on a cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours. Flip them over and bake another 1 and 1/2 hours or til crisp. Store in baggie or other container to keep fresh.
  Something really cold? How about Frozen Spiced Chai?  In a pan put 1 pint of half and half, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 4 chai tea bags and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, let sit 5 minutes and remove the tea bags. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then pour into a blender with 2 cup of ice cubes. Blend until smooth. Serve in dishes with whipped cream and shaved chocolate, or just plain.
  How about some quick cookies?   Try mixing 1 cup of Nutella with 1 egg and 1 cup of flour. Mix well, shape into small balls and bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes.
   Here's an idea I heard this week, if you are avoiding eggs or don't have one and need one in  a recipe,  soak 1 tablespoon of flax seeds in 3 tablesoons of water until gelatinous, and use in place of one egg.
  On my Grit site this am I was given many ideas for the abundant supply of zucchini we are having this year, one of my favorite dishes is Eggplant Parmesan, but I found out you can use zucchini the same way. So I just sauteed up a batch of them, breaded, and when they are cool I will freeze them in suitable sized containers for future use. The article assured me they are good keepers fixed this way. Of course, will have to try some for supper tonight. Their idea was to put spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a baking dish, then cooked sausage, then layer the zucchini and more sauce, bake adding cheese toward the end of baking.
  If you are watching labels and finding stuff in sunscreen you do not like, you can make your own. Some of the bad for you ingredients are  Oxybenzone, Retinol Palmitate, Methoxycinnamate, Padinate or O/Paba, and any kind of Nano particles. So lets start. In a heat proof bowl, that you will put over boiling water, like a double boiler, put 4.05 ounces of beeswax, 4.25 ounces of shea butter, and 5.25 ounces of coconut oil. Heat til the beeswax is melted. Remove from heat and use an immersian blender or just a regular mixer and beat til whipped. Store in jar. This is a SPF 30 sunscreen, goes on a bit milky but soaks right into the skin.
  Hope you have no bad storms this next week, just gentle rains and maybe less heat. Stay cool and healthy!

Friday, June 29, 2012

What's your purse hiding, natural fertilizer and Air Spray etc

  I have a site I follow that gives me classes on using herbs. It has so much to offer, love reading their information. There was a quote this week I would like to share with you. Credit goes to El Corazon, who said " No medicine cures what happiness can not."
  Do you know what's lurking in your purse? I found out some things this week, one I don't like too much,  if you use emery boards, they are meant for one time use then toss them out. Now who of us would do that, we all tuck them into our purse, or keep them handy for smoothing off rough nails. Fact is,  they breed fungus germs. Recommendation is to get a metal file and clean it often.  I never really liked metal ones, and I hate tossing an emery board after one use, hmm, dilemma.
  And that lipstick we all use, it contains lead. If you lick your lips, you are ingesting it all the time. The big brands are leaders of the pack, Cover Girl, L'Oreal, etc. Back to reading labels.
  Your cell phone can carry MRSA and other nasty stuff, be sure to clorox wipe it every few days, and if you have a flip phone,open it and clean the inside too.
  And of course, the purse itself. You take it with you and set it down on tables, floors, ( in restrooms sometimes) and who know what else, so be careful where you put it when you get home, you can bring all kinds of stuff in with it. You may need to wipe it off or wash it if it's fabric, often.
   Are your plants in the garden needing some fertilizer? Here is a recipe for a very simple, natural one. Place a bunch of roughly chopped fresh herbs in a bucket.. Add water, four parts water to one part herbs. Set aside and let brew for three days,stirring once or twice a day. Strain out the herbs, toss them into your compost or put them around needy plants. Spray the full strength liquid onto your plant leaves, or use a watering can and pour around the roots.
  And last today, a recipe for safe, home made air freshener. I have lavender and rose made up, like them both. 
   Put 1/2 cup of white vinegar, 1 and 1/2 cups of water and 12 to 15 drops of essential oil of your choice into a spray bottle. I make half a recipe, this is a lot at one time. Oils that work great are  grapefruit, lemon, orange, all citrusy, or your choice of floral ones, lavender, rose, etc.
  The US seems to be cooking this week, so many places suffering from extreme heat. Hope you all find a way to keep cool. Also saying a prayer for the folk in Colorado, facing that huge fire, and those in Florida, recovering from the hurricane. Too bad the excess rain from that didn't go help Colorado's fire. Funny  how we can't control those things.
   Take care, stay well and cool!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Weeds, sprays, salves and more

  It's been an eventful week. had an award picnic in the park Tuesday, where volunteers in our community were recognized. There were a lot of us, my daughter in law got a well earned award too. The food was good, and so was the company, met the mayor, news paper people etc.
  Today started with a 2 hour battle on a flower bed I have ignored for many years, out on a slope at the front of the house.  It was a good fight to tame the overgrown area. I have a good stand of yarrow and tulip bulbs that might stand a chance now.
  I started the week sitting on my porch and cutting up pine needles.  My son brought an armload of branches down and after much cutting, I ended up with 3 quart jars full of snipped needles. And a lot of bare branches.  to the jars I added a couple of spoons full of grated orange peel, and a couple of tablespoons of juniper berrys. That was covered with oil, some olive, some apricot kernal, some jojoba and some grapeseed. I was using up bits of leftovers and combined them. After stirring, the jars have been set aside, and will brew for a month. At that point, we will talk about the rest of the recipe, it will end up as a salve for sore muscles, achy joints etc.
   I have a recipe for you today for your garden and flowers, an insect spray.
   In a blender, toss 12 large cloves of garlic, 6 hot chili peppers, fresh or dried, 2 cups of water and puree til foamy. Let this stand overnight. You should have a coral colored mixture with stuff at the bottom. Strain this through a coffee filter or cheese cloth or fine mesh strainer, no stuff left or it will clog your spray bottle. After its strained, pour it into a jar, add a tablespoon of  liquid castile soap, I think dish soap might also work, and a few drops of cinnamon or eucalyptus essential oil.  This will keep for most of the summer. When you use it,  add 2 tablespoons of mix to a quart of water in a sprayer. U se in the late part of the day so sun won't burn your plants. Reapply as needed.
   I am getting ready to brew up some lemon balm leaves and see if they' re strong enough flavor wise to make some lemon jelly  out of, if it works, I will share my recipe next time.
  Find some shade, stay cool. I am going back to work on a baby blanket for my coming grand daughter, catch ya later.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

From Chia Pets to Chia wonder Seeds

   Remember when your mom had a Happy Hank, or some other  form that was covered with growing chia seeds, and looked like grass growing inside the house? My Mom had Happy Hank but lately, there must be dozens of different chia pets available.
  Maybe it would be healthier to start eating these seeds. I have become quite fond of them, add some to cereal or make pudding with them. It is a new food to me so still in the experimental stage, and I wonder how come I didn't know about them sooner.
 Lately there are articles and recipes in magazines, and on tv with all the information about their health benefits. Here are a few of them.
  They help you loose weight because they keep you feeling full for a long time, and are much cheaper and healthier than diet pills.
  They help balance your blood sugar so are good for diabetics, no sugar needs to be used in their preparation.
  They prevent diverticulitis. The outer shell is insoluble so helps them to pass through your system, cleaning out debris. They are kind of slick and slimy so move easily through your system.
   They contain lots of healthy omega 3's.  Also antioxidants to slow aging. Because they fill you up, you have fewer cravings. They are loaded with fiber, protein etc. Chia was used by the Aztecs and Mayans, considered to be a staple in their cultures.  They have a minimum amount of calories , 11 grams of fiber per ounce, and 18% of your daily calcium needs.
   Recipes, these are so easy it's ridiculous.

    Chocolate peanut butter pudding

2 cups milk  (I use soy or rice)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
3/4 cup splenda, or stevia or agave to your taste. The latter 2 take small amounts.
Combine all in a food processor and chill at least 45 minutes. I like to put mine in ramekins or individual dishes.

   Pomegranite Chia Pudding

1 ounce chia seeds
3/4 cup pomegranite juice.
Let set 45 minutes after combining. This can be run through a processor or left as is.
  I am thinking apricot nectar, apple sauce, the combos would be endless, rev up your imagination. Personally, I like the chunkyness of unprocessed seeds, its a personal thing I am sure.
  Chia seeds are easy to find on line, I get mine from Swanson Vitamins, they have their own brand for $9.89 a 16 ounce container, or a Nutiva organic brand for $6.85 for a 14 ounce package.
  Hope you give these guys a try, they are soooo good.
  See ya soon.

Friday, June 8, 2012

E-coli again, Pink Slime, clorined Chicken

  The news this morning is telling of an outbreak of e-coli again, in the southern states. A little girl has died and many more are ill. So far the source is not known, but usual ones are lettuce, sprouts, and of course hamburger. If you are buying produce, be sure to wash it well.
  I watched an interesting show on the Doctors this week. Let's start with Pink Slime.  A gooey mixture containing amonia hydroxide. At least 70% of the hamburgers consumed in the US are made from parts of animals not otherwise used. Bone, gut, whatever is leftover. And combined with the slime to make it look edible. Sounds tasty, yeah?Wait, there's more.  The buns, along with breads made in the US contain Potassium Bromate. This substance has been banned in the UK and Canada as it's highly carcinogenic. There is another bread aditive called azodicarbonimide. Check labels when buying bread and avoid those. So now put the Pink Slime and carcinognic. Put slime and buns together, you have such a wonderful meal!
  I gave up on hamburger years ago when it kept being recalled for e-coli.Instead, I started buying more chicken. Well, I am going to upset you even more. The chickens, even organic ones, are killed, cleaned and tossed into cold water as if they are not chilled at once, e-coli starts growing. But the cold water contains a solution of up to 50%chlorine. Yep good old bleach. And because it leaves a bad taste, salt water is injected to kill the chlorine taste. So you are getting salt in your diet you didn't know about, and bleach too. Tests run in a lab in CA have proved this method doesn't kill salmonella, so may be worthless. Reputable chicken companies air chill their chickens. You can tell by checking   thelabels for salt what you are getting. The best option is free range organic chicken.
  Well, that gets us to dessert. Who doesn't like ice cream.  Did you know that because real vanilla is so expensve, pipronal, used to kill lice, is used instead. And if you are going for fruit, or pineapple flaver thats made from ethyl acetone,a substance in nail polish remover. And the topper, any red dye (40 in particular) is known to cause ADD in children and yet the FDA has not banned it's use. Natural color, like beets could be used. The safest ice creams are the ones with the fewest most natural ingredients.
  This is only a partial listing of harmful ingredients, go to to get more, and some safe options.
 If you would like to make a safe dessert try mixing frozen strawberrys, stevia or agave,  a little lemon juice andwater and eating that.
  Hope I haveleft you something youlike to eat, I am cooking a pot of beans that will be mixed with fresh peppers, onions andmushrooms for supper.
  Have a good week.