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.