Friday, December 6, 2013

Shake it off, recipe for face cleanser and perfume

  I started reading books by Dr. Andrew Weil years ago, have them on my shelves to this day. Like a lot of other doctors, he got tired of handing out medicine that masked problems but did not cure anything. So he became a doctor who uses natural and alternative healing methods. This week on the Dr. Oz show, he gave us a way to prevent colds and flu if we feel them coming on. It's called, Rag Doll. Stand with feet slightly apart, drop head and let arms dangle at your sides.  Breathe fast breaths and for about 5 minutes, bounce up and down and just become a rag doll. For some reason, this seems to chase away that illness before it starts. Worth a try.
  Do you use face cleanser? I have used one for years made with colloidal oatmeal.  Makes skin so soft and supple, but still has some chemical elements, so here is a very cheap and easy way to make your own.  In your food processor, put 1 cup of warm water, add 1/2 cup of uncooked oatmeal and 1 tablespoon of honey.  Blend on high speed til creamy and smooth.  Put in jar. Use about a dime sized amount and massage well into face, rinse with warm water. 
  If you are looking for your own signature perfume, it's easy to make.  Use 1 cup of vodka or witch hazel, I prefer the latter,  1/4 cup of distilled water, you can just boil some for a few minutes if you don't have  bottled, and then start mixing your favorite essential oils into this mix,   for floral, use rose, geranium, jasmine, violet, lavender, or lilac. For spice  use cinnamon, clove, ginger.  For fruit, use lemon, orange, peach.  You will want to experiment with mixes until you find one you truly like.  I am working with rose, lavender and clove at the moment.  Be creative. I am not meaning that you use them all at one time, pick the ones you like and go well together.  There are many other essential oils to choose from.
  We are getting a lot of rain here, but it's much better than middle parts of the country are fighting. From Texas and points north and east, ice and snow and cold temperatures,  making life tough. So many wrecks, power outages and problems. We will just get rain as the storm hits the west side of Tennessee, causing Nashville problems.  It seems early to be looking at sub zero readings but this may be a crazy winter from the looks of it.
 A week ago as I came home from church, I turned onto our mountain road and there on the edge of the road sat a bird. At first I was thinking it was a chicken, no one was around so I stopped. Not a chicken. Very broad head, and stocky body, shades of brown, turned out to be a rather large hawk. We looked at each other for a few seconds and it decided to go elsewhere., what a wing span.  Incredible the things you see if you are just a bit observant. 
  Planning a jaunt to Del Rio tomorrow to a craft show, some of the folk we worked with in our shop will be there, and we will get a chance to see them again. Miss the craft days, it was wonderful working with all those talented people. We had to stop when the economy took a down turn and travelers could not afford to buy our products, gas got pricy and we were no longer a practical buy. We had lots of fun, in the shop and doing shows on the lawn with all kinds of other crafters coming to share their talents.
  Can you believe that in three weeks Christmas will be over? Seems like it has come very quickly this year. Hope you are enjoying the fun and festivities, and family, and of course, the reason for the season. Take care, stay well.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving snow, blood pressure helpers, this and that

  Two days before Thanksgiving it was dark, low hanging clouds that engulfed us in a fog, and pouring rain. Good amount, over an inch. But then the temperature started dropping and by   the day before Thanksgiving morning, we woke up to a good covering of snow.  Now wait, snow in Tennessee in  November? Just not right. Kind of pretty but really cold temps, down
 in the lower 20's.  Thanksgiving day started out cold, but the sun came up and we got into the 40's. So a little of the white stuff melted. The areas like my back porch (on the north) are still ice covered, we are warming up now as we go through the next week, into the 50's again which sounds wonderful. Hope yesterday found you enjoying visits with family and friends. We all have a lot to be thankful for, sometimes we forget the good things and just focus on the troubles we find in life, but we should all remember where our blessings come from.
  Is your blood pressure a little high? Got cholesterol issues? Some simple help is at hand, 2 kiwis a day for a few weeks will bring both down. And there is a dark grape juice sold in most stores now, in a bottle that looks like a wine bottle but is just juice, that is very high in anti oxidants and does the same thing for you. I like my kiwis in smoothies or just stirred into plain Greek yogurt. Avoid the flavored yogurt, high in sugar and colored with bug parts.
  By now I hope a lot of you have realized that the way we eat, and live has everything to do with your health. From allergies to aches and pains, all those processed foods grown with GMOs are hurting you.  If you have thought you are gluten intolerant, think again. All the countries that have banned GMOs have no such ailment, its not the grain but the poison added to the seeds that causes most of the reactions. Same with your household cleaners, go for soda and vinegar, salt, peroxide and essential oils, effective and safe. In case you are reading labels, here are some ingredients to totally avoid. They cause neurological problems, and are toxic to your system. They also mess up your hormones, so here we go: BPA, bispherol A is in the white can linings, paper products, even the receipts from the cash register, Dioxin, a byproduct of manufacturing, largely in animal products so limit use of animal products, harms your liver and kidneys. Arsenic, found in water and milk. Filter your water. Atrazine, also in water, its a pesticide used to grow grains and veggies so look for non GMO produce.  Fire Retardants, called PBDE also come from the ground, also caused by chemical growing . Lead, well you all know about that, it used to be in paint, and water. Less now  but watch for it.  Mercury, very damaging to your health, found in large fish like tuna and swordfish.  PFC's, the stuff used to coat your non stick skillet, comes off in your food.  I am using a green skillet I love, they work so well. And of course, pesticides, which are neurotoxins, really hard on kids so avoid eating any foods sprayed with them. Glycol ethers, used in household cleaners and paint. And Perchlorate, used in fertilizers for your yard. This stuff contaminates ground water and wrecks your thyroid function, which messes up your metabolism.  So again, its up to you, read labels, go green, help yourself and your earth.
  With Thanksgiving past, there are only 4 weeks until Christmas. Then a new year, this one really flew by.  It has not officially been winter yet, but this last week has me ready for spring.  Stay warm, and well, take care and be safe.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Being Thankful

  In a week, Thanksgiving Day will have passed, and most will be stuffed with turkey and the trimmings. How far away we are from the reason for the holiday. As we are with most holidays now.  We came here to find religious freedom and better tax programs. Do we have either? To some extent, but it does seem we are loosing sight of  our values.   I am thankful for so much,  my blessings never cease to amaze me, and I know where they came from. I have 4 wonderful children, and a little angel who is no longer with me, plus six wonderful grand kids and two great grand kids. Looking forward to seeing them all over the holidays, maybe not the one going to grad school in MD, but the rest I am hopeful. 
  As I have traveled the path of life, it has had rocky places, sad things, and happy days. The happy far outweigh the sad.  I was fortunate to start out life living with my folks and grandma and my aunt, uncle and cousin in my grandmas house.  Lots of people to read to me, teach me life lessons  and firm religious values.  I miss all those wonderful ancestors now, they have been gone a long time. Not in my memories, think of them every day in gratitude. I also have been able to travel a lot and see a good share of this country and parts of other countries.  That alone makes me glad that I am an American. Living abroad really gives one a sense of what we take for granted so often.  Sure, there is beauty where ever you are, but also you do get to see the "under" side of their lives, and you are so glad to be where you are.
  I am always watching as I drive to town, the mountains around me, ever changing, majestic, strong. They feel like the hymn, A mighty Fortress.  , rising up to stop the worst winds and weather from attacking our area.  W have spectacular sunsets, and sometimes sunrises, although the sun has to climb up behind Big Piney behind me before it peers over the top of the mountain. This is a beautiful area, but so are many other parts of our great land.  I am grateful for being able to see parts of so many states in my life. Some I liked, others not so much.
  One of my Sunday school class mates is in her final days of life, her family is facing a tough few days.  She has faced several health problems the last few years,  but loosing a loved one close to a holiday always seems worse, makes that day sad forever after. My thoughts are with her family at this time.
  Onward. Do you have a coffee press?  I do not but ran across an interesting way to make a healthier version of a latte.  Get a canning jar, put a strainer over the top. First put a teaspoon of honey in a cup then grind 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of coffee beans and put in the strainer. Heat 1/2 cup of water to boiling, let cool a bit so it's not boiling and then pour over the coffee beans.  Remove the strainer, add this to your cup with honey, and add 1 and 1/4 cups of heated milk, your choice, mine would be soy, rice or almond, and add this to your cup. Last, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon powder over the top. Sounds great to me. Of course if you have  a coffee press, you can use that.
  Is your medicine chest ready for winter? Not the standard drugs, but herbs and healthy alternatives. Be sure your kitchen is stoc ked with fresh onions and garlic, cook them into everything you can,  they are great for maintaining good health.  If you or a friend have MRSA,  Artemisia flowers can be used to boot that, brew into a tea. and drink.  Juniper berries are great for external  infections, I make a salve with pine needles, juniper berries and orange peel. My sis has been using it on a case of the shingles. Ginger of course is a wonder, synergistic, make tea from a bit of the root, and add a little honey to soothe colds and flu.
  I hope you are looking forward to Thanksgiving with family and friends, have a blessed holiday and take time to give thanks for the blessings your life has. There are days those blessings are hard to see, but they are there. Take care, see you soon.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Are you a toxic kisser? Allergy helps, and great snacks

    I have been searching  for safe lipstick this week, need some new but have been warned that most of the ones out there are loaded with lead, enough to cause you problems and to be passed on to who ever you kiss while wearing it. There are very few safe ones, and the strange thing is, they are brands that just have one color that is safe, the rest of their line is lead loaded.  Here is what I learned, Avon makes some safe ones, you have to check for ingredients,  Body Shop ones are ok, Estee Lauder makes one, Maraschino, Dior has a replenishing version, Revlon has several colors,  Love that Red, Bed of Roses, and Red Velvet. The rest are not considered safe, with the worst offenders being L'Oreal, Cover Girl and Dior. Funny, lead is not allowed in paint now or in other areas of our lives, but it's still used in our cosmetics.
  Yep, been watching my favorite Guru again, this week was a section on Allergies.  Your body has three Doshas,  Kapfa, Pitta and Vata. Seems usually the Kapha is the one out of line that causes problems. And again, your lifestyle and exercise habits have a large bearing.. Yogi started out using some very potent nose drops that cleared out the sinus cavities, kind of nasty to go through but breathing is eased at once.  He then made nose clearer of mustard oil, 5 drops, to 1 drop of eucalyptus oil, rub into opening of nostrils to improve breathing. Head stands are great to clear the head.  Try putting a little warm water in your palm, mixing in a good pinch of salt, close one nostril and inhale through the other, let it run back out and repeat other side. This helps instantly.  The one big caution is that if you have allergies, you need to avoid alcohol, that just really messes up the sinus problems.
And of course, back to the diet, avoid processed foods,  they are so hard on your body. Here is a recipe to help the allergy prone.  In a skillet, put a teaspoon of ghee, melt it, then add basmati or brown rice and water enough for 2 or 3 servings. Add a good spoonful of turmeric, curry, cumin and black pepper, all powerful un-blockers.  And a pinch of salt. Cook until rice is done, stir in some peas, frozen or fresh.  If fresh, add at the beginning of cooking. Eat a bowl of this for your meal. I am cooking up a batch right now, smells great. 
  I have a recipe for those munchie attacks, healthy of course. In your food processor, put 1 cup each of cashews and almonds, raw.  And 2 teaspoons of chia seeds and hemp seeds. I substituted sesame seeds here as I keep them on hand. Process, til  well ground, add 3 tablespoons of raw honey, 3 tablespoons coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of palm sugar or organic turbinado, 1 tablespoon of xylitol( I would use stevia) and 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint oil. Roll into 18 balls, and keep in refrigerator.
  We had a fire on Stone Mountain near us this last week. The smoke was heavy at times, we could see and smell it. Took a lot of work to put it out but finally it is done, some stumps are still smoldering so a little smoke is still hanging around.  And cold, boy did it get cold, garden is done, everything froze, no more squash this year.  But now we are heading back up into the 70's again. Crazy how it changes so fast. Good thing cold weather does not cause one to catch colds, that is done by germs alone, someone does not wash their hands etc and leaves their  germy virus to pass on to you.  My sis recently got a shingles shot and now is suffering with a case of shingles, that makes a lot of sense, hmm. Kind of like me and flu shots, have quit getting them as I always had the flu every year I got them. Just eating right, keeping the exercising going and getting enough rest is the best way of staying well. My diet is heavy on anti oxidants, and I am picky about eating GMO free and organic foods for the most part. You are what you eat.
 Not long now until Thanksgiving. Are you planning ahead? Don't think I will be doing anything, usually the kids that live here are helping with meals on wheels that day, I did for a while too but was not asked this year.
 Take care, eat healthy and stay well.

Friday, November 8, 2013

FDA is on the job! Recalls recalls recalls. Yogurt cinnamon bread

  If you don't live in a cave, you must have seen the last few days that the FDA is mandating removal of trans-fats from all products by late 2014.  Should save over 20,000 heart attacks a year.   Funny that we are not wise enough to do it on our own, just reading labels would solve the problem but there are still those who will eat what they will. At a price to themselves.  Anyway, kudos to the FDA for deciding to make the change. If you go to  You will get more information.
  I pulled up Food recalls this week, oh my, the list is endless.  To start with, the biggest food chain  in the world, not named,  had a recall but only 50% of its outlets got the recalled stuff off the menu, it took  more time to get to 94% of the bad stuff pulled.  Guess if you eat fast food, you are at their mercy. 
  Some of the recalls this week are on cat food, Innova, EVO, California Naturals and Healthwise among them.
  Walmart on it's own has pages of recalls, not just foods, but here are a few for this last week, of course Reser's salads have been on the news, but also Kraft string cheese, Foster's chicken, Turkey Hill ice cream, Pillsbury's cinnamon rolls, Chaboni Greek yogurt, Nestle Purina dog food, Orville Redenbachers Classic Kettle corn and the list goes on for ever.  Most of these are processed foods, again , go for organic. The one that concerns me is the chicken as that should be a safe brand.
  Buy all my vitamins and a good share of my organic cooking items from Swanson Vitamins, and this week they have a recipe for  Cinna Sweet Yogurt Bread.  Here goes: In a bowl mix 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 large egg, 3/4 cup organic almond milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  In a separate bowl mix 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic whole wheat flour( other brands are available in stores), 1 teaspoon baking powder, (non aluminum) 1/4 cup turbinado sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, pinch of Himalayan pink salt.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray an 8 by 8 baking pan, or oil it, mix dry ingredients into wet, whisk well, pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes, test with toothpick. Let cool 15 minutes before cutting. 97 calories, no transfat, 3 grams protein.
  There is a fire burning on Stone mountain, two mountains over from us. The smoke has been horrific the last few days, had a little rain but not enough to douse the fire. Last I heard, a group called Smoke Eaters are on the way from Texas to help out.  This is on a mountain, no way to get equipment there, steep, no roads etc. Makes it difficult to control. We have had a fire near us every year the last few years.
  When the kids were young, we spent time in the Philippine Islands. They are having the worst recorded storm ever, 235 mph winds, damage extreme. glad we were not there now. Storm is heading on, many in it's path.
  Getting a touch of cold weather, snow in the forecast for next week, but that may change before we get there, I am hoping it will. 
  Have finished my Christmas shopping, have everything wrapped and ready, working on cards. Feels good to be ahead of the curve. Enjoying the Christmas music our tv station is already providing, no talk, commercials etc, just music. My favorite part of the holiday. Hope you are warm and cozy, take care, read those labels, be pro active.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Scary Spices and more on processed foods

   My morning news on ABC talked about spices this week. 90% of all the spices in our stores are imported. 10% are contaminated with salmonella and bug parts.  The only thing you can do to protect yourself against them is to add them early in the cooking process and cook well enough to kill any thing lurking in them.   I grow most of my own herbs, but spices are not something that will grow in our climates most of the time.

   Also this week on CNN and ABC we got some run downs on the hazards of processed foods.  These foods are so rampant in our society. But all boxed and premade foods are frightening if you know what they will do to you. They are processed with phosphates which destroy our brains and organs. They are full of preservatives to make them last forever and these cause kidney failure, rapid aging and weak bones.  They are also very addictive(on purpose) so you will be drawn to keep buying them, they add extra sugar and salt to make them tasty. And most are GMO tainted. This is truly scary as we are ingesting bug and weed killers in large amounts. GMO's eat up your brain and cause dementia, heart attacks, cancer, you name it. These products disrupt your healthy bacteria and mess up your intestines. There are 70 different kinds of pesticides alone grown into these food items.  Most folk think healthy foods are more expensive and take longer to prepare, but that's not true. Buying organic produce and cooking it yourself takes very little time. Instead of opening a can of soup, buy carrots, celery, onions and garlic and whatever other veggies you like and toss them all in your crockpot overnight. I am right now cooking beans(dried) to add for protein to a pot I have brewing. Once you have made your own, you taste the difference, there is a tinny taste to canned soups.  If you are adamant about having cereal, look for Kashi, Cascadian Farms etc, and on the box you will see GMO free and organic.   I like scrambled eggs with chard or kale from my garden. When you think of a meal, bet you see meat, potatoes and small amounts of vegetables on your plate. Well, meat can be abandoned, you don't need it for protein.  And starchy vegetables add to weight gain and allergies.   If you pick a veggie, say carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini etc, chop into small pieces and sauté in a skillet with ghee and water, you have a tasty meal. Adding ginger, coriander or cumin adds to the taste and the goodness for your body.
  I have been trying to come up with a tooth paste that is not OTC, as I am trying to be natural. SO far, no luck. Baking soda, peroxide and clove or cinnamon oil is ok, but I have sensitive teeth and need toothpaste to stop pain. If any of you know a recipe, please share with me.  Yogi Cameron uses sesame oil with a few drops of licorice extract, have not tried it but will. If you have not thought about it, remember to brush your tongue, that's your receptor for taste and needs to be clean.
  My sis is fighting joint pain, and arthritis. I started young to prevent the problem so I am not sure if trying to get better after you have it is possible.  The ginger, turmeric and MSM I have taken since I was in my early 20s has worked well, they are all anti-inflamatory which prevent a lot of ills. There are other ways of adding ginger and turmeric to you diet, ginger tea is wonderful, either organic bags or buy some root in the grocery store and chop it up and brew.  Turmeric can be added to whatever you are cooking, and is great for pain. And here is a recipe to try, a ginger syrup to use for colds, upset tummy, overeating or just a sweet treat.  Just take one large piece of fresh ginger, peel and chop into a pan. Cover just barely with honey,  simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. If you chop the ginger finely, you can just eat it and it tastes good, Straining it out is difficult.
   I wonder sometimes when people cling to their soda pop, potato chips etc if they really know what they are thinking about. Maybe a treat now and then is not too damaging, but think about down the line, do you really want to need someone to feed, clothe, bathe and change your diapers?  I pray that when my time comes its fast, no lingering illness to make care needed. Look around at all the folk who are already in that place, why would you want to go there? Living a healthy natural life just takes some changes, small at first as you get used to it. I am already making my own face creams, medicines and tonics, and cleansers for my home. They are pleasant, no fumes or chemicals and I am happy with them.  And they are cheaper, baking soda and vinegar will clean and disinfect most anything, even takes mold off the north side of your house.
  Try living healthier, hope you feel better. Til next time, take care.

Friday, October 25, 2013

We are a sick nation, because of what we eat

  Go back 30 years.  We had hardly any ADHD, much less Alzheimer's and cognitive dysfunction, cancer, arthritis, just general illness.  Why? We ate vegetables and fruits and much, much less in the carb department.  Since then, the amount of processed foods in the stores has almost taken over the store.  We have increased carb consumption by over 30 %.  Fresh, organic produce is the smallest department these days.   I would bet that your cupboards are stocked with boxes, bags, and cans of food.  If you really want to feel GOOD stop buying processed junk and start cooking from scratch.  It really does not involve a lot of time, and you will start to loose the aches and pains, colds and flu and your brain will quit dying.,  Carbs cause brain death. Pictures I saw this week show holes in the brain of those who overdid carbs.   Over 5 million people will get Alzheimer' s, and other brain ailments this next year.  All carbs are equally bad, including root vegetables. Carrots, potatoes and beets, turnips and on and on should all be cut out.  If you want more information, check this out on Dr. Oz's show from the first of the week, maybe the 22nd of October. I wonder if the fact that we now consume mega GMO crops is largely to blame for carbs being so unhealthy, we are putting poison in our bodies at an alarming rate.
  I also have been watching Yogi Cameron again, from Veria Living station. His topic this show was much like  Dr. Oz's show. He was treating a woman who had lived on junk food, cookies, chips, burgers etc until she felt so bad she could barely function.  The ideas he gave her were simple and with in a few weeks, she looked and felt like a different person.   He had her make ghee, very simple, just clarified butter, and mix a spoonful of that with a good sprinkle of powdered turmeric, and take three times a day. Also, a little water with a good sprinkle of coriander 3 times a day. For the first week, the diet lets the gut recover, no digestion. SO the only things eaten were pureed veggies. Like carrots, cauliflower, broccoli etc. No squash. No meat. After the first week, you can cube and sauté your veggies in butter and water, and add rice. And other vegetables. Thing is, most of us way overeat, listen to your body, stop when it says enough,  After that, just eat healthy, and avoid all those processed foods.
 Funny thing, your body can handle the right fats, like butter, olive oil, avocados and coconut oil. In fact, they are healing. You can reverse the damage to your brain and organs by just eating right and exercising.  Yoga is great, doing the Cobra, and the pose where you fold your self over your legs, and a pose called the Pigeon are all good for the gut. You can look these up on line if you want to try them. Yogi suggested eating in silence, and with the hands so you are connected to your food.
  I think being too extreme is not something most of us would try, but easing out the foods that inflame your system and replacing them with nutritious, wholesome foods can really help us feel better, longer and not need a host of medicine to keep us going. That's a whole other kettle of fish, I refuse to go there. If you start with one medicine, you will end up on many, Each has side effects that require something else, on and on.  Just take control of your life and take care of yourself. Who wants to end up sick, needing constant care, being unable to function as a person.
  We have had our first taste of winter, has been chilly the last 3 days. And again tonight, we may set a new record low, in the upper  20's.  But tomorrow we warm up into the 60's and by midweek, near 70 again. My son has covered his  squash crop to keep it from freezing, sure hope it works. Having our own fresh food is such a wonderful way to eat. I am already thinking about next spring's planting, will do a lot different. We had a tough growing season because of too much rain this year, a lot of things like zucchini died out from leaf mold.  Okra failed too, was late starting and had little short, tough okras on the plants.
  I am thinking ahead, wrapping a few Christmas gifts for the grand kids, and thinking about maybe a trip to Nebraska. It will depend on the weather, if we have an early bad winter, may wait til spring. But I love watching the girls open their gifts and delight in the season.  And having time to read, and cuddle with them is so special. They are growing up so fast.
  Hope you are enjoying the changing season, staying warm and healthy, take care til next time.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Way to go Hawaii!!!! Organic or not, rice pudding

  Kaua'i has passed a law making labeling GMO's mandatory. Yeah. One down, 49 states to go.  We do have a right to know what we are eating.  No kidding, all that poison has a bearing on our health.  When you are shopping, there are lots of good safe products, cereals include Kashi, Cascadian Farm, Natures Way and Bear Naked.  There have to be others, but those are in my store.  You can look for organic canned goods too, and of course every other thing you buy. If you avoid things with more than one ingredient, you will find better food. Meat, just beef, chicken, fish, nothing breaded or frozen.  Yogurt, just organic skim milk. Add your own organic fruit. Do you know about produce? Rule of thumb, if it has a thick skin, like bananas or oranges, it's safe  because you peel off the outside. But thin things, like berries , lettuce, potatoes, carrots etc, should be organic.  Be sure you put your produce in plastic bags, I hate doing this as I come home and toss the bag, but one of the scariest places in the store is the conveyor belt at the check out. Maybe the last person had chicken that leaked out of the package, leaving e coli etc on the belt.  And of course when you get home,  put your produce to soak in a vinegar/water bath. Leave for 15 or 20 minutes, then rinse well, drain  and dry.
  How about some real comfort food for these cooler days? Brown rice pudding,  like this: Cook a cup of brown rice according to directions.  In another pan, peel, core and chop 4 or 5 organic granny smith apples, and cook in a little water til just tender.  Drain, combine with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/2 cup of organic brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Add the brown rice, stir and place in prepared baking dish, 13x9 (needs to be oiled).   In a bowl put 1 and 1/2 cups oatmeal, 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar, cut in butter til crumbly, and  add 1/2 cup of raisins, and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, spread on top of rice mix and bake at 350  for 20 minutes, serve warm.  Sounds so good for a crisp cold fall night,
  Are you getting ready for Halloween? Got kids? How about home made glow sticks. Next time you have a Mountain dew( if you are still drinking soda), leave  about 1/4 of the pop in the bottom of the bottle,  add a good pinch of baking soda and 3 bottle caps of hydrogen peroxide.  Shake gently, glow stick.
  I told you about putting egg shells in vinegar and dissolving them last  time, well, it didn't work for me. Left them in the frig for a week and there was no change.  Sorry, thought the source was reliable and it would work.
 I finally seem to have the heater, car and plumbing back in working order, good thing as the weather is turning colder. Tonight we have temperatures in the 30's coming up. Need to get out and pick the end of my green peppers this afternoon. My son is getting the protective cages ready to go around the squash and other fall plants he is hoping to harvest yet. My garden is done except for herbs, peppers and sweet potatoes. I will miss the warm days, do better with heat than with cold, have a problem with keeping a grip on frost or ice. SO glad the winters here are short, usually December, January and February. By the first of March, we start seeing blooming stuff.  So for a while, staying in with something warm to drink and making greeting cards etc will take over bird feeding and watching, gardening and out door pursuits.
  Have you seen the stories of oarfish, and odd giant sharks washing ashore in CA this last week. The orefish was 18 feet long, they get to be 56 feet long and may be what some sightings of the Lockness monster were all about. Wonder why the ocean is spitting out strange dead critters?  And now we wait til January to see if the government has learned anything or will put us all through so much again with their budget. Does seem if we have to make and use a budget, our system should be able to do the same. Something definitely wrong here.
  Hope you are enjoying the changing season, red leaves, bonfires and all the fall colors. Take care, eat well, and stay healthy.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Chicken recall, winter ideas, graham crackers

  Once again chicken is on the chopping block.  Nearly 300 people have  become     ill from salmonella in chicken. Of those, 42 percent have been hospitalized.  Sad fact is, there is nothing medicine wise that fights this strain. And of course, the government shut down is affecting you knowing about this problem.  If you have any labeled Foster Farms, toss it out. Otherwise, cook it well done and it should be ok.  If you would like to check for other recalls, go to http://www.usasatoday and look for recalled items. I saw cucumbers listed there too.
 Interesting week, have learned a few tips to pass on from Dr Oz and his daughter, Daphne. Lets start with egg shells.  Rinse them, let dry and put in a glass jar with an inch or so of apple cider vinegar. Place in frig. In 3 days orso, the egg shells should be dissolved. Shake this mix and use to rub on aches and pains, it's a natural reliever.  If you are having digestive issues, get some oregano oil capsules. 200 mg  3 times a day should help clean out your system and ease gut issues, it cleans out bad bacteria.  If you suspect parasites, try taking graviola.  And of course we get back to ginger, ayurvedic traditions say  that ginger warms the body from the inside and breaks down toxins so brew yourself some ginger root tea if you are feeling a cold coming on.
  Turns out some of grandma's folk medicine remedies are right on track.  Using honey and vinegar to cut a cough, gargling with warm salt water for sore throats,( I still chew garlic cloves,) using steam to open breathing passages, put a towel over your head over a bowl of boiling water and breathe, and this one is new to me, if you have a boil, put a piece of bacon fat over it and cover with a bandage for several days to draw it out.
  I made graham crackers last week, they were not bad but lacked flavor. Think they needed cinnamon or vanilla added. But they are easy, 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, 4 tablespoons of melted butter, mix, mix in an egg, then add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 2 cups of whole wheat flour.  Flatten out to fill your  cookie sheet,score into 2 inch squares,prick with fork and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  I like them with the new greek yogurt cream cheese that is in the market now.
  Fun week around here, the battery in the car died, had to replace that. Then the heater started making really awful noises so had it looked at. Thought is was ok but when I turned it on this am, it was still making weird noises.  And last night the toilet was acting up, that turned out to be an easy fix, so no problem but it does seem things gang up and come in bunches. Or threes. Yesterday I got up and fixed breakfast including something I seldom have, grape juice. Usually I eat fresh fruit and avoid juice, but had a yen for grape. Well, I had paperwork on the table for the place I work as a volunteer, and a stack of cards ready to mail for church and family members, and of course, I knocked over the juice.  What a mess, won't be getting any more, too klutzy After that, I was cleaning the cat litter box, putting the clumps in a plastic bag, but missed the bag and put it all over the floor. Clean up on aisle 9.  Some days I am a real menace, just plain klutzy. But the day got by and better as it went.
  We are having some really nice weather, coolish nights, just under 50 most of the time, but mid to upper 70s during the day.  Really enjoy it, hate to think of winter coming. We should all be out getting the sun and fresh air while it lasts. Hope you have a wonderful week, full of good surprises. Take care, stay well.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dirtiest place in your home. Eating out, processed no no's

lf you are a Christian person, read Ephesians 6, it sure pertains to our present situation. Can't help thinking it's not the Democrats or Republicans causing the problems but the president who won't listen to the people of this country. He almost seems like a dictator instead of a president.
  Bet you thought your bathroom was the dirtiest place in the house. Not so, the kitchen wins. And the worst places are your sink drain and dishwasher.  When you put food down the disposal, it may contain e-coli, and fecal matter. Be sure you cover the drain before turning on the disposal to keep the stuff from spraying back into your families breathing space. And to keep the drain germ free, freeze vinegar into ice cubes, bag up and put 3 or 4 down the drain and grind every week.  The other place to watch is your dishwasher. Because it's always moist, it grows mold. Wipe the seal with vinegar every few weeks, and run an empty load with baking soda and vinegar every month or so.
 When I go visit my kids in NE, I love eating at Olive Garden.  Thought by ordering soup and salad I was being smart. Boy was I wrong. Their salad has only 290 calories but has 1,530 milligrams of salt. Wonder if you can get that salad without dressing?  Their entrees, like Alfredo, Chicken Parmesan, lasagna, all are so high in fat, 33 milligrams per serving, and the sodium is awful, 3, 830 milligrams or more.  May want to rethink eating there. And Starbucks, well watch what you get there,  their drinks are like coffee on steroids. 580 calories, and 14 grams of saturated fats , worse than a McDonalds burger. Hagan Daas may taste good, but a serving of that is a down payment on your next round of fat cells.
  Did you know that a can of Campbell's soup is like putting liquid salt into your veins? 1,900 milligrams of sodium per serving. Some are better, look for Progresso reduced sodium and Healthy Choice  if you still need to buy cans. Home made is cheaper and much better, and you can make enough for several days at a time.
  Eat those biscuits in a tube? Full of fat, and hydrogenated fats.  Marie Callender has great tasting pot pies, but  only a part of the pie has 800 milligrams of salt,  1,040 calories and 22 grams of saturated fat. If you eat the whole thing, and who doesn't,  double the amount.
 Let's touch on some things that are good for you. Super foods for better health include sweet potatoes, mangoes, plain Greek yogurt, broccoli, wild salmon, garbanzo beans, butternut squash and leafy greens.  I almost live on these items. We have put out fall squash plants, and are hoping for a good crop before it gets cold.
  A warning about sugar free foods. Some of these promote cancer, and sorbitol may cause diarrhea.  Look for Truvia and stevia, natural sweeteners instead of chemical ones.
  Last evening my son brought me a bag of salad fixings, lettuce, tomatoes, green onions and chocolate peppers. Made a wonderful supper salad and enough for tonight too. Added it to my sautéed red cabbage and  white bean casserole. Will be sad to see growing season end, even if it is  for only a short time. We are usually only looking at cold weather for a few months, and by the first of March it gets warmer again.
  The hummingbirds have packed up and gone south.  Will miss watching them til next spring.
  Final thought, I am enjoying a station called Veria living. Yogi Cameron is wonderful. He taught a lady with eye problems to make ghee and use to cleanse and heal her eyes instead of eye drops. I am going to give that a try. He also adds a little water to his pan, and a spoon full of ghee, then adds veggies chopped small and cooks them instead of using olive oil.  If you don't get this station, you can pull up their website, lots of good information there on organic, healthy living.
 Have a great week, eat well, and pray for our country.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pepsi, Quaker, ah ha, do you trust them?

  There is a great station on tv called Veria.  It shows how organic gardening is much more productive, and safer, than fields using chemicals.  Farmers have been brainwashed into believing they need chemicals for bigger yields. Not so. Go to any of the 30 countries that ban GMO's and look at the differences.  For example, in the Himalayans, one acre will support 4 crops, Instead of being neatly planted in rows as we do here, they are bunched together in groups. And the yield is fantastic, in the TONS for an acre. The only thing used on those fields is cow manure. Oh yes, there are bugs, but they are beneficial ones, lady bugs, honey bees, and those bugs help control the "bad" bugs. The fields with chemicals are killing all the bugs, good ones too. DO you wonder why we are loosing our honey bees? And without them to pollinate crops, we will loose valuable crops too.  I remind you of the tomato crops grown in our area, picked green, ripened in ethylene gas, and packed in cans with white linings, also poisonous. And then, they spray the fields of ripe tomatoes they don't want with a deadly poison that kills the plants in 2 days, putting up signs saying if these are picked and eaten, you will die. And of course, then that poison is turned back into the ground.  If this does not make you think about canned tomatoes, I am shocked. There are organic ones available , look for them instead. The price is not that different. And the taste is superior.  We are lucky, grow our own and can for use.
  Yesterday my son brought me a huge, heavy basket of gorgeous ripe pears. I put up 14 pints, plus 3 more pints of sauce. Will be nice for winter eating.  It takes time to peel and chop them all, but well worth it. My hands and arms are still sore today, but not complaining.
   If you think you are being healthy by eating oatmeal for breakfast, make sure it's not Quaker. Interesting, I got into a live chat with a rep from there last week, checking to see if they are GMO free.  He told me they did not use GMO seeds. BUT _____ Quaker is one of the top 5 companies that support not labeling for  GMO's. Pepsi is in that same  category, along with  Ed Rendel, Rick Perry, Barack  Obama and George Bush.   Don't take my word for it, check it out at  Scary reading , and enough to  make me angry. Why are so many(at least 30) other countries wise enough to ban these harmful products, but not the US?  We are so brainwashed  by big business.  Quaker oats are not grown with GMO seeds but are stored with sulfuryl fluoride, enough  to emit 19,000 pounds per year. And it's in your oats.
  Thinking it might be nice to move to the Himalayans.  In some respects, the US is a good place, but I do not feel we are now a place that is of the people, by the people and for the people.  We have little say in anything these days, guess we just have to stand up and keep yelling. 
  We have had a lovely taste of fall lately, cool nights, upper 40's or 50's, and in the 70's daytimes. The days are shorter, I used to leave for town to shop before 7 am and it would be light, now its almost an hour later, and it gets dark much earlier too,  but love the temperatures.  Fall and spring are my favorite seasons, wish they lasted longer. Planted a squash vine this week, hope we have enough time for growing a crop before winter sets in.
 I have been fighting a gnat invasion, and the pears yesterday drew in a lot more of them, so today I have been swatting and setting out containers of honey water to draw them in. Don't like using sprays and chemicals in the house, hate the smell and it's not healthy.
 Are you seeing red leaves yet? The news this am talked of  snow in Washington state, wow, think CO may have had some already too.  So now we start thinking and planning ahead for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Time has a way of flying by,  that's a good thing, change keeps us on our toes. I have done most of my Christmas shopping and have even wrapped a few things. It's easy because I only buy for the very young grandkids and great grandkids. Otherwise we do calls, visits and maybe share canned goods or consumables. We all have so many possession's we don't want  more.  My faves are always pictures, or coffee or tea. Hope you are enjoying these lovely fall days, with the bright blue skies and crisp air, take care, stay well. Watch what you eat!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Helps to get through the winter naturally, and healthfully

 This is the first week end of fall, it's raining here, and has been lovely the last week or so.  Cool nights, 50s to 60s and around 80 daytimes. If I could pick the nicest weather of all, it would be just this.  Hope it lasts for many weeks before we face winters challenges.  But with this time of year, colds, allergies, flu and all that come along, so I am reminding you today of things to do to stay well, and to help get you better when you are feeling icky.
  Please keep a good supple of onions and garlic in your kitchen and cook  liberally with them. Both of these veggies are considered natural antibiotics, and can help your system stay well. I am lucky to have fresh ones from the garden to use when ever I like. Last night I did a pasta dish ala Mario on The Chew.  Started with a bowl of fresh tomatoes, cored, and an x cut on the bottom, dipped in boiling water about 6 seconds, then plunged into ice water, peeled and chopped and set aside. In my skillet, I chopped  green onions and whole yellow onion, and celery. Sautéed that until soft, then added the tomatoes. Now the pasta gets cooking, slightly less than called for on the package, 2 minutes, rule of thumb. When pasta is ready, drain and add to tomato mix, then add fresh herbs, I have rosemary, oregano and thyme and basil. Add a scoop of the pasta water and cook slightly. Remove from heat, plate, drizzle with olive oil and grate some parmesan over the top. Yum, and takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. So much better than jar stuff.
  When you are shopping in the produce aisle, pick up a piece of fresh ginger. This can be brewed into tea, or added into muffins, bread etc. I made pear ginger muffins this last week. Ginger is good for inflammation and pain, so use as much as you can.  If I have more than I can use, I grate it and freeze in tablespoon amounts for tea or other recipes.
 Menthol, and eucalyptus are great for congestion, you can put a pot of water on the stove, and when it boils, lower the heat and add essential oil of either type, let simmer and breathe deeply.
  I found a blend of herbs a few years back that I make for my daughter and sister, it's equal parts of dried yarrow, mint and elderberry flowers, brew  10 minutes and drink several cups a day if you feel a cold coming on, this needs to be early on to back off the cold.
  If you have a sore throat, chew on a small bit of fresh garlic for instant relief. It coats the throat and gives instant relief.
  Natural aids for aches and pains include feverfew and willow bark, both of these can be had at Swanson Vitamins, or Mountain Rose Herbs.  They are good for headaches, fever etc. No side effects.
 Any one read Woman's Day magazine? There are fall decorating ideas in the new issue, and the cutest frog choir made from acorn squash. Cut them in half, shape out the mouth on both top and bottom half, create eyes from the cut out pieces and toothpick to head, and make a tongue of a bit of the squash flesh. Put the halves back together. Put tea lights inside and sit a row of them on your table, so cute.
  My sons dog is healing nicely from the snake bites, but sure makes us watch for the snakes when working outside. This is the first year since I moved here that snakes were a real problem. I used to have a fish pond in the yard with a fountain, loved the sound of splashing water to sleep to at night, but so did a lot of critters, including snakes so the fish pond, which was a horse tank, got turned into a sweet potato garden. Anyone need a stock tank heater?
have one for sale cheap. The sweet potatoes  should be ready to harvest soon, looking forward to a supply of those.
 The iced tea will soon be replaced with hot tea, and the heater will be used instead of the air conditioning. Seasons change, sometimes I forget to be grateful for each one I get to see.  There is so much beauty in our world, if we just look for it and give thanks for it. Possessions have lost their hold on me, I have far too many things. Instead, I treasure the songs of birds, the grandeur of the mountains, and the beauty of the changing seasons. Take time to enjoy what we have been given, time is an uncertain thing, and tomorrow is sketchy at best.  Have a great fall, and start now to stay well!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Gluten free or chemicals , home made suasage, tuna and snakes

  Let's start with snakes, my son has a big dog, 90ish pounds. Actually he has 2. Last Sunday night the dogs were raising heck just before bedtime, they were tethered for their last outside visit before night. When  my son flipped on the porch light to see what was going on, there was a copperhead on the porch between the dogs. It bit  one of the pups on the face and mouth several times. Oh sure, it's night, vets are closed etc. So he got in touch with a friend of his that works at the animal shelter, and followed her instructions til morning. Dog's face and tongue got really swollen causing problems eating and drinking, but after treatment and a course of anti biotics, he seems to be recovering., This does raise some odd thoughts, why are snakes right up on the porch, and how likely are we to encounter them in the yard while working. It's been a wet, snaky summer.  I am not fond of the critters, so will be glad to see them slither off to their dens for the winter.
  We had a discussion this week about a lady who is gluten intolerant. She was on vacation in a European country and salivating over their gorgeous fresh baked breads. Finally decided to taste even if it made her sick. No bad results. She ate more, and then tried other kinds, no problems. After questioning the baker, she found that GMO's are banned in most foreign countries so all goods are wholesome, and non poisoned. Back in the states, she can  not eat the breads, grains etc. We have such a strange way of treating people here. Go ahead, feed us bad stuff, make us sick, then hand out mega medicines that cause more trouble. And cost a lot.  Our country is run on greed, by manufacturers and our government. People don't seem to count for much. Of course, there are millions of people who don't read or know about our food chain, and continue to eat what they like, at the cost of their health. I am grateful that we grow most of our own veggies, and fruits too.  I volunteer for the agency on aging here, and call and chat with people who are alone and not well, so many are so much younger than I am and in such bad shape, bad backs, arthritis, cancer, aches etc. My constant hunger for knowledge on foods and health has been good to me.
  Have you ever thought about making your own sausage? Buy a pound of lean ground turkey, and add to your taste garlic powder(or fresh finely chopped), oregano and fennel seeds to taste. No salt needed. I would put the seeds in my mortar and pestle and smush them up , not fond of the whole seeds in stuff.  You can shape this into patties, or sauté loose for use in casseroles, soups or eggs etc.
  Instead of the usual burger, try a tuna burger. I look for the bags now, no water or oil, and there are organic ones in the store. Anyway, mix 4 chopped green onions, 3/4 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon of chopped dill, a splash of lemon juice and a little salt and pepper. If you like spice, a little hot pepper sauce can be added. Shape into patty's and sauté in a little oil. Use on whole wheat buns with lettuce, onion slices, tomato slice etc, whatever you like and have a great tasting, healthy burger. This for me would require at least 2 bags, maybe 3 of tuna. Recipe calls for 2  5 ounce cans. I would also add an egg to bind ingredients together, this recipe does not add that. Topping with cabbage slaw sounds good too.
 Halloween is fast approaching.  My magazines are full of creative ways to make a pumpkin festive, most are no longer carved, but stenciled, decoupaged or painted. Some in stacks, some are white, just use your imagination, maybe create a theme and run with it to decorate your porch or windows. I fancy the white ones with green designs, fresh.
 Our pears are golden on the trees this year, usually they fall off while still green.  It's been about 5 years since I did a lot of canning with them, but looking forward to making pear butter and canning up some for the winter again, I like adding cinnamon to mine.
  A while back my son told us how to use the tomato skins to create a dry  tomato paste powder, so I have some of that set aside. Now I find you can take the peels and cores of your apples and make your own apple cider vinegar.  It's fairly simple but takes a while, if this appeals to you, a lengthy set of instructions can be found on Grit magazine's site. Mostly it's easy, just letting the peels sit until they process,  changing out the tops on the jars once in a while. It's nice to know that so much of what we normally toss out can be used to make healthy products.
 We had a few cracks of very loud thunder last night, some lightening and rain, didn't last long and was not severe, but it ushered in a cold front. The air is cool and fresh this morning, sitting here by the window and my bare feet are chilly. Feels so good! The next week will be much cooler, near 80 days and in the 50's at night. Plan to leave the windows up and pull up a blanket. My cat went under the bed at the first crack of thunder, and stayed til the storm had passed by. After that she was tucked in next to me for the night. She is good company, and if I talk to her I am not crazy, like being alone and talking to the walls.  She is always close by, sitting by my feet or waiting to chase a string.  Pets are good for your health, keep your blood pressure down and make good companions. It's sad the world is full of abused unwanted pets, much like kids.  Compassion people, find some. Look after others, help those you can, make our world a better place.  Sometimes a kind word or a smile can lift some one's dark mood and make the day better for them.
  Change the world this week, do a good deed of some sort, anything helps.  AHave a good weekend and a safe week, see ya next time.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Truth in Advertising? Lets pick on some. Gentle face cleanser recipe

 Ever see those ads on tv for mascara? Your lashes go from blah to fab with just an application of this wondrous mascara. Well, guess what, they fake you out, the models are all wearing fake eyelashes to get the effect.  I fell into the trap, have bought the ones that say you will have triple the lashes, etc. We will never get the desired look unless we glue on false lashes before applying the mascara. I think that sucks.  You are not getting something they promise in the ads. Guess that's why mine are all in the back of my make up drawer. 
  I had a yen for lemon pudding last week, so while in the grocery store picked up a package of instant lemon pudding. This is way out of character, usually I do not buy processed foods, but had made this for my diabetic husband years ago. Well, AFTER I got home, I read the ingredient list. Aspartame. Jello, shame on you for using a poisonous substance in your mixes. It went in the trash. You could use stevia or agave. There are companies that listen, one brand of yogurt quit using corn syrup, some hot dogs no longer have nitrates, but you sure have to read labels to find ones that are better. It does show that we have a say in our foods, and make a difference if we stand up and complain.  It takes a lot of people but we can cause good changes.  In the mean time, if you put 2 cups of milk in a pan, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, then choose the flavor, vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch, just add the flavor and sugar etc and stir til thickened, what could be easier and better for you. And they taste so much better.
 Back to the processed foods, are you still on the bandwave that says, I will eat what I want, the heck with what happens to my body?  Well, processed foods are well know to contain  transfats and those cause inflammation(yep, sinus, arthritis, all those things that make you feel yucky).  If you still buy processed, read the label, there should be no hydrogenated anything.  The label may read 0 transfat, but the law, allows it, under a certain amount, be sure it does not list anything hydrogenated,  even 1 teaspoon of this a day can cause heart attacks, inflammation and lots of illnesses. You really are what you eat.  It sure beats me why people choose to be sick.  All that pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers will get you sick fast. The first rule of good health is to eliminate  the 5 whites.  Flour, sugar , salt, rice and shortening.
  Heard a couple of good tips on The Chew this week for laundry. Like the show, but they are way too heavy handed with salt.  I use more herbs and less salt and find the recipes still work. Anyhoo, the wash, if you are doing colored clothes, turn all inside out and add 1 teaspoon of salt to the wash water to keep colors bright. When it hits rinse, add 1 cup of white vinegar to soften clothes, and when you get to the dryer, take about an 18 inch strip of aluminum foil, crumple it into a ball and toss in the dryer. It will come out much smaller, but you can use this sameball for about 6 months, to eliminate static cling.  If you use the 7 cents a load laundry soap I gave you the recipe for, this makes electricity(or gas) about the only cost.  Saves big bucks over a years time. And of course nothing to make you itchy.
  The debate goes on over safe storage containers. Plastic is not the best, and please don't microwave in it. There are some good products, Nordic ware makes some with silicone lids, can freeze, or microwave.  Pyrex glass is wonderful, goes in the oven too.  These all go back to the good old days, before plastic.
 I don't usually remember dreams, once I wake up there are fuzzy ideas, but mostly they disappear. Except the first of this week, I woke up remembering  clearly details, with images  in my head. I had been with my mom, helping her clean up her floor that was littered with gritty red sugar. The kitchen was large, high ceilings and cupboards that went way up.  I remember telling her I was moving closer and would be able to help her more, as I could just pop in without it being a long trip. And there were images of my home, also with tall ceilings, and big rooms.  That's all I remember, but it's odd because except for one house, my folks never had a big house, and mostly I have lived in small, cozy homes, so the space is making me wonder. Why is this sticking in my head. Mom passed on in 98, so has been gone a long time now.
  Can't leave without one recipe, let's make some Gentle Face cleaner. In a blender, put one cup of milk(mine would be soy or almond) 1/2 cup whole oats, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Blend until creamy. Keep in clean jar in frig, and use a small amount in the palm of your hand, massaging into your face well, then rinsing with warm water.
  Saw a cute thing from my son this am , we are now into hallothanksxmas season.  Summer is coming to an end. I actually have begun Christmas shopping. Little by little, bit by bit I am getting ready. Hope you  are doing well, take care until next time.

Friday, August 30, 2013

BUGS in your Yogurt? Yuck! Roasted tomatoes, face cleaner etc

  If you have had your tv news on at all the last week, you would have caught the blurbs about yogurt. If you are still buying the flavored type, shame on you. And now another reason to skip them, they use bugs to get the color for the red ones, strawberry, cherry etc.  Plus you know they have as much sugar as a can of soda, or use bad stuff like aspartame.  So glad I switched to plain Greek yogurt several years ago, its so good, and I control the add ins, put strawberry's or blueberry's or honey and vanilla. Oh, another point, if you buy regular honey at the store, many of them have corn syrup added to them, did not know that til this week. Try and find local brands, they help your immune system too, could keep those allergies at bay if you eat a spoonful a day.
  My son's garden is producing a ton of cherry tomatoes, and after so much sauce, we start looking for other ways to preserve them. Yesterday, I split a cookie sheet full of them, cut in two, and mixed about 3 tablespoons of olive oil with a teaspoon of lemon juice, a splash of balsamic vinegar and a bit of fresh thyme and basil. Drizzled the oil over the tomato halves, added a touch of pink salt and put them in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes. They do brown a little. I let them cool, and put them in containers in the freezer, they will add a great flavor to soup, stew and other dishes this winter.  While that was going on, my box of fresh mushrooms got chopped and sautéed and put in the freezer too, love having those ready for making homemade mushroom soup to add to casseroles., and for other dishes.
  Let's create a natural first aid kit.  Here are the items to stock:
Bandages, various sizes
Vitamin E capsules or oil
Tea tree oil(Walmart has)
Lavender oil
A potted Aloe plant
Unprocessed Honey
Ginger capsules( I keep fresh Ginger root, grated , in the freezer)
Peppermint tea
Baking soda
  And what do I do with these? If you get a kitchen burn, run cold water over it at once, for 10 minutes or more. Then grab an aloe leaf, or a bit of the vitamin E. My daughter badly burned her face when she was young, we took her to the hospital where they treated the burn with salt water, it made it hurt so much worse, I went down the street and bought vitamin E caps and squeezed them all over her face. At first the doc was mad at me, but as he watched her heal with little scarring, he became convinced  that they worked better than salt water. Ok, on to minor cuts, not needing stitches, wash with soap and water after you have stopped the bleeding with pressure,  use the tea tree or lavender oil to disinfect, and bandage.  Stomachache  -- try ginger tee, or peppermint. If you have gall bladder problems, enteric coated peppermint oil capsules  will sooth that and indigestion as well. I also keep DGL(de glcerized chewable Licorice) caps on hand, they work wonders. Tried Tums etc, but even those all have an effect on your body if used long term.  If you are stressed, try rubbing your temples with lavender oil. There are also herbs, like Ashwaganda, gensing, valerian root that help you stay calm. And the soda is for grease fires in the kitchen, or adding to your  bath water. Mine is mixed with Epsom salts and lavender oil for bathing, very relaxing.
  Want a gentle, effective facial cleanse, sans chemicals and additives? And cheap  too?  Try this. Put a cup of soy, rice, almond etc milk in your food processor, with 1/2 cup of whole oats and a tablespoon of raw honey. Blend well. Store in clean jar in refrigerator. To use, put small amount in the palm of your hand and gently massage into your face. Rinse well.
 Watching the leaves on the maple tree turn red, seems early. Also sweeping lots of leaves off the porch lately. The pears are getting ripe so will be time for pear butter and canning soon.  Not a fan of winter, hope this is not telling us it will be a long, cold one. We are having some very humid weather now, but next week looks good, only upper 70's and dryer.
 Hope you are enjoying your days, take care, stay well.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Heal yourself with diet

  Quite a few years ago, one of our children, a baby we adopted , was quite ill with a blood problem.  We moved to a small acreage in the country, planted a very large garden and learned to eat natural foods.  We dumped the sugar totally, used honey, and bought wheat from farmers that didn't use chemicals on their farms. We ground it and made bread from scratch. All our fruits and vegetables were home grown.  We bought goat milk for the sick child, and used it for ice cream and baked goods. From this venture, we found out a lot of things. None of us had a cold, or flu etc for all the years we ate this way. Sugar, is like poison in your system, leaving you open for  all kinds of illnesses. Oh, I know, what good is life if you can't eat what you like. But what good is life if you are sick from doing just that? As we get older, our body's  work less well and we need to protect ourselves from aches, pains, cancer etc. 
  Yesterday for the first time in a long while, I watched Dr. Oz.  Because my favorite doc was on the show, Dr. Andrew Weil.  He was a regular medical doctor at one point, but became aware that the meds he was handing out did not cure anything, and often added more problems. So he has traveled around the world, finding cures for illnesses, not just band aids.  We are an impatient people, who go to our doctors with a problem and ask for a pill to instantly make what ever is wrong better. Fact is, those pills just mask symptoms and often cause another problem, thus another medicine. Like ripples in a pond where you toss a pebble, it goes on and on. And you don't feel better.
 Again, Dr. Weil stressed that almost all illness is caused by inflammation in the body. And inflammation comes from diet. Processed foods and trans-fats are the worst offenders.
 Here are 5 rules to get you back on track and help yourself to glowing health.
 1. Be sure you eat  5 to 7 vegetables and fruits a day, the brighter the color, the more anti oxidants.
 2. Eat only whole or cracked grains,  no chips, crackers or cookies  unless they are 100% whole grain. Those white ones with all the fat and ickies in them cause sugar spikes. Eat 3 to 5 servings of whole grain per day.
 3. Oils . Good oils are like olive oil, nuts,  avocados. The Mediterranean diet is the best one to follow.
4 . Sea food.  Black cod is best, but I sure never saw that in any store.  Look for good quality salmon or tuna, the safe ones.
 5. Herbs and Spices. These are truly wonder foods, that help your body heal many problems. Some to try and use on a regular basis are rosemary, basil, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and ginger.  People who eat these have the lowest rate of Alzheimer's.
 Now a recipe, for soup that will help heal aches and pains. Its made with cauliflower. Dr. Weil uses yellow, but I have not seen that in the store. Regular will work. In your food processor, put 1/2 cup of raw cashews, and 1 cup of cold water, blend until creamy and smooth. In a skillet, sauté a sliced onion in olive oil until caramelized.  In a pot,  put your chopped up head of cauliflower,  add 1 Tablespoon each of turmeric and curry powder. 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and cumin, a touch of salt. Cover with water and simmer until soft. Add a small pinch of organic sugar.  Then with an immersion blender, blend until smooth, add the cashew milk, blend again, and serve with the onions on top.  I don't have an immersion blender, use my Magic Bullet and get the job done, you can always just work with what you have some way or another.
  A new secret elixir for pain is sea buckthorn, interesting fruit, ages old in other countries, but just now becoming known here. Again we are behind in natural helpers.
 It's been a difficult week here on the mountain, my lovely daughter in law became very ill last Thursday and ended up in the CCU at the hospital. She is home now, but still weak and tired and trying to recover from this serious illness.  Will be so glad to see her on her feet, her old smiling self again, hope it's not a long time coming, take care dear one, want you better.
  Some of the Maple trees have a few red leaves already. I took out a good share of the garden last week, the constant rains caused leaf mold on a lot of the squash and big leafed plants. Still have okra, tomato and pepper plants, and of course herbs. School has started, which always makes it seem that fall is near,  and sadly winter follows. At least the winters here are not as cold as the Midwest ones I grew up with. 
 Hope you have had a good week, please listen to your body, feed it nourishing food and feel better. We are the most overfed, under nourished country in the world. Looking at the grocery store products you can see why, most of our foods are over processed and not healthy.  Try cooking from scratch with real food, your body will love it. Til next time, take care.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Taking back a recipe, news on soda and new recipes

  First, I gave you a recipe for bubble bath a few weeks back. Don't make it. It doesn't bubble. I will keep looking for a better recipe.
  On the GMA news this week, Pepsi and other soda brands are trying to resell customers on the safety of Aspartame. Sales are down and they are worried. Well, they should be. You are finally aware that Aspartame is as good as drinking poison. If they want your business, company's need to learn to make products that don't add to weight gain, and don't kill you off at the same time.  We have put up with poor quality stuff for far too long.  Regain your health, read labels, be aware of what you put in your body, it does matter.  You really are what you eat.  If you make it a habit to eat things that do only something good for your body, you will get rid of a lot of your health issues.
   There is a new ingredient to add to your "I won't use this" list.  It is Brominated vegetable oil. It's in sweetened drinks, sodas, PowerAde, Mountain Dew etc. Studies now show that using over a period of time causes skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders.  While I am on this subject,  NIH researchers that studied 264,000 drinkers of soda found that it makes you 30% more likely to depression, and  other sweet drinks are worse .The link seems to be the sugar.
  Recipe for a healthy wrap.
 There is a company called  Once Again that makes organic, safe products.  Their peanut butter and honey are used in this recipe.
 Start with a whole wheat  tortilla. Spread it with peanut or almond butter. Drizzle the honey over that. Then mix  1 tbsp. mayo, 1 tsp orange juice, 2/3 cup small dice apple, 6 grapes, quartered, 1tbsp raisins and 1 tbsp. chopped almonds, or nuts, stir and put in center of wrap, roll up and enjoy.  Bet even the small ones in the family would like that. 
   How about new uses for old stuff, lets do Olive Oil today.
  Makes a great furniture polish, mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 4 tbsp. vinegar and 2 tsp lemon juice, spray on rag and dust away.  Got a stuck zipper? Try rubbing a bit of oil on it. Oil your squeaky hinges on doors and cupboards with a drop or two. Use to help remove residue from labels on objects.  Helps shine your shoes, just rub in and buff. Great for your skin and hair,  just rub in a little either place and leave on. Guys, if you run out of shaving cream, use a little oil instead, leaves your skin silky. And of course, use it on your salads, its good for you.
   Saw an ad for a book this week, some of the tips were interesting, if you have mice, put peppermint oil on a cotton ball and leave it where  the mice are, they hate it and will leave., Also, if you have ants around your pet bowls, draw a line with chalk around the area, ants will not cross chalk.
 My lovely daughter in law got really sick yesterday, her BP shot way up, she has had a rough day or two. Just got a call from my son saying they had her pressure down, and she is doing better, but will need meds to control it.  Hope we can keep her in our prayers and avoid a repeat, she will need some recovery time and a lot of prayers and good wishes.
  This week brought some really refreshing cool temperatures, in the 50's a couple of nights, really felt good. Some of the leaves on the maples are already turning red and if we have a little breeze, leaves are swirling and falling. Hope this isn't an indication of an early winter, and a cold one, some folk are saying they are seeing big fuzzy caterpillars already.
  Hope you have a good week, do something healthy for yourself, take care and stay well.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Want Cancer? Arthritis? Heart disease? Aches and Pains? Try these

 Today I am going to tell you about 10 things in our "advanced" world that cause nothing but grief.  There would be a lot fewer people that don't feel well if these were avoided.
1. Phthalates.  These are endocrine disrupting  chemicals that cause breast cancer, and they are mostly found  in PVC pipes,  if you are building a home, avoid those. And in your kitchen, use glass containers for storage, as they are much safer.
2. BPA's  These are also endocrine disrupters,  causing cancer and heart disease. Found in the white lining of cans(are you still buying processed foods?) bottles that you get water in, and other plastic containers. Look for unlined cans if you must buy them. Avoid bottled water, just filter your tap water
3.Chlorine.  Of course this is mostly in your drinking water, or maybe the pools you swim in.  Use a filter at home that removes as much as possible, but don't go to bottled water.  This item causes bladder, colon and rectal cancer.
4.Radon. This gas seeps into your house from the ground, there are test kits you can get to determine the level in your home. Radon causes lung cancer.
5.PFC's. (perflourochemicals) These are found on stain resistant clothing upholstery, pans, and fast food wrappers. Also microwave popcorn bags. Some brands to watch out for are Teflon, Scothguard,  Stain Master and Gortex. They cause liver and thyroid problems.
6. Lead. Mostly this is in paint in old houses, and older plumbing, hopefully we are not having a lot of that to deal with now.  It causes headaches, joint pain, high blood pressure, is a neurotoxin.
7.Pesticides and Fertilizer. Don't use these in your yard or garden, find alternative ways to cope, they are out there and effective.
8.Formaldehyde. This one I know about, caused me a lot of grief. Rash called Lichenplanus for years until my parents finally figured out what was causing it. It is found in building materials, and used to be in new shoes, and clothing was treated with it. Also a lot of wood used in building, and  melamine dishes etc. Causes brain cancer and leukemia.
9.Parabens. This is a preservative used in cosmetics, shampoos, personal products, and medicine. Read labels carefully find ones that don't have this. It mimics estrogen and causes breast cancer.
10. PBDE(polybromatediphenol ether) and PBB(polybromatedbiphenols) This is used in foam cushions, electronics and textiles. It alters brain function, reproduction,  and causes learning and behavioral problems.
 You can get more information on any of these substances at sites for EPA, American Lung association, or Breast cancer site. Take them seriously.  This is one of the reasons my home has become free of store bought cleaners, bath products, laundry soaps etc. I have found recipes to make every thing I need on line, from Green source sites. Mostly using really cheap stuff like vinegar, baking soda and essential oils,  no need to buy anything toxic, and the time it takes to make these items is short,  I even got rid of the green mold on the north side of my house by spraying it with vinegar and soda in water, leaving it on and letting the rain wash off all the green gunk. If you go back through my past blogs, you will find recipes and websites for almost anything you need. I even make my own face creams and toners, slaves , lotions, lip balms etc.
  Had an interesting oil change visit this last week, was reading a magazine when the head guy came in with my air filter, and asked if I crochet or knit. I don't, but he showed me a nest of green yarn in the air filter, and mega mouse droppings also, seems  someone decided to live there.  Hope they have been displaced.
 The mountain is gorgeous with Crepe Myrtle trees, so many colors, from white to pink, purple and red.  We have  has been a very wet summer,  less rain lately, and need to water a bit more, but that's ok, we need some sun and dry for a change. Seems the rain is now in other parts of the states, causing flooding.  We do seem to go from one extreme to the other. Have a good week, look for healthy choices, feel better.

Friday, August 2, 2013

WARNING! Vitamin water and Tylenol. Plus thoughts and recipes

  The news on GMA this morning included a warning for those who take Tylenol type products, in extra strength doses. It can cause blistering and rashes that can be fatal, which takes us back to the fact that no medicine, be it prescription or OTC is without side effects. I laugh when I listen to ads on tv that give all the side effects at the end, why on earth would you take things that cause so many other problems?  Going holistic or alternative is a much safer way to treat your body. If you can find and fix the root of the problem, you are so much better off. A lot of foreign countries go this way, learning to treat the whole person, and not a symptom. We are far behind in this country.
  The second warning was on Pepsi's Vitamin Water, it has as much sugar as 8 lollypops per bottle, of course you get energy, a real sugar high. Pepsi is being hit with false labeling on this item. Most of you are aware that pop and bottled water is not only not good for you, but not safe for your health. My favorite way to hydrate is plain water, and I am lucky to have water that comes from a 400 foot deep well, into a mountain spring, so no chlorine, fluoride or chemicals are in it. If I want it flavored, I do it the easy way, just put a flavored tea bag in my glass, let it set a few minutes then add ice. Lipton has a White tea with peach and mango that is wonderful, and I get organic tea from Swanson in ginger, peppermint and chamomile.  Quick, tasty and good for ya. Put a filter on your faucet or water system and your water is better than any in a bottle, which is just someone else's tap water.
  One of my vices is a long soak in my big spa tub once a week, and I love bubble bath. Have a recipe for you to try.  In a container, put 1 and 1/2 cups liquid castile soap(Swanson has this at good prices) 2 Tablespoons liquid glycerin, 1/2 teaspoon organic sugar, and 5 to 15 drops of essential oil of your choice. Shake and add to bath, not all of course, just a little. I keep lavender, rose, citrus etc oils on hand and make what smells nice to me, rose and lavender are my favorites.
  Foods can be healing, ran across some great ideas in a new magazine last week. If you have achy muscles, try adding a good quality olive oil to your daily diet. It has a similar effect to Ibuprofen, without side effects.  3 and 1/2 Tbsp taken throughout the day will help, add to salad, or use in place of butter on veggies.
  If you are fighting bloat, try good old chamomile tea, it improves your digestion and soothes a bloated stomach. Look for an all chamomile one, no mixed blends.
  When you are stressed, you retain more salt and water, a cup of hot tea can help control this problem plus the bloating.
  Need an afternoon pick me up? Find a brand of crackers that  lists 100% whole grain as the first ingredient. Have about 8 of them with a good cheese on top. It helps your serotonin level and is only about 200 calories,
  Headache? Watermelon to the rescue.  This fruit gets key nutrients to your brain, and keeps you hydrated.  It's natural sugar fuels your brain cells and makes you more alert.
  If you are looking for things that improve  your looks, try foods high in vitamin C, like oranges, kale, strawberries,  broccoli, red peppers,  they all help your body make collagen, and that keeps your skin plump and elastic.
 We continue to have rain, but not as much at a time as before. The garden is winding down to some extent, needs more sun and less rain. The squash vines have pretty much molded. Been cutting back all the icky leaves.  Right now the Crepe Myrtle trees are in bloom. They range in color from white to pink to fuchsia and red,  lots of pretty colors.  We seem to have something in bloom most of the summer, starting in March and on into fall. Speaking of fall, school started here yesterday, have to get used to the sound of the school bus wending it's way up our mountain road every morning about 7:20 am. This is kind of a herald of end of summer, it has really gone fast. Been an odd year, my son has found quite a few copperheads as he worked in the yard. Some are really fat, have had good eats obviously.
  The tomato fields in our area are being harvested. Which is what started this blog. I wondered why they were picked green. It's because they would rot in shipping if they were ripe. So they are picked green and ripened in an ethylene gas chamber. then they are processed and canned in white lined cans containing BTU's, so you are getting a double dose of poison.  There are some organic brands that are safer, and omit the lined cans, but if you can get fresh ones you are better off. I am blessed that we can grow so much of what we eat these days, and we have friends at church that way over produce and share their bounty with us. We all kind of swap if we have more than we need.
  Have a good week, enjoy as much summer produce as you can, it will be gone soon and we will be back to imported stuff. Take care, stay well.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mango, mint, vinegar, and presciption drug deaths

    I have been reading an interesting  book this week by Kathy Garber called A Mother's Guide to Herbal Extracts.  She gave birth to a little boy with serious lung problems. Surgery and traditional medicine did little to help him so she studied herbal healing and today he is a healthy normal teen ager, due to her efforts to help him in a natural way. Along the way she found that 32,000 people die every year due to unreported prescription drug use.  The FDA approves drugs that are not safe, they are handed out and people die. So many other countries are far advanced over the US, their doctors learning to treat the whole person, fix the problem, not mask it with drugs. Why are we so behind the times? I think because we are a nation of people who enjoy being sick. Too lazy to eat right and exercise and be proactive.  If you are taking any prescription drugs, read all the fine print, know the side effects. If you ,like me, have a problem with small print, ask your pharmacist, they know all the reactions. They can tell you alternatives and better options, doctors don't really know all they should about drugs. I laugh every tine I see a drug ad on TV, they tell you the side effects, ending with "and death" at the very end. Yep, they have warned you, Sure, you have to be cautious with herbs too, and know what they do for and to you.  But they have far fewer risks than drugs.  The last 3 or 4 years I have been learning all I can about herbs for health, have learned to make teas for coughs, colds, flu and make my own cosmetics, cleaners, household items like air spray, all non toxic and much better for you. Its so easy, and mostly cheap.
  I learned when I was an 18 year old bride that there are doctors out there who have become disillusioned  with standard medicine and have gone holistic. I have met some very knowledgeable ones in health food stores, who can tell you alternative ways to improve your health and prevent problems. If you have such a store in your area, get to know the owner, you will find their insights soooo valuable.
  Mango. Hmm, tastes very good, almost like candy. It can improve your glucose levels, maybe because its high in fiber. It slows sugar absorption so is very good for diabetics to eat.  It's high in polyphenols and carotenoids as are most of the orange colored foods. Try adding it to your diet. I like it chopped and stirred into my one ingredient Greek yogurt.
 One of the herbs I grow is mint.  I love it brewed into iced tea or added to salads etc.  There are many uses for it,  it destroys bacteria that cause sinus, bronchitis and walking pneumonia. Add some to boiling water, steep 5 minutes and drink a cup. Can be used in your pesto to add a fresh note,  or you can toss it into your smoothie in the morning.  It regulates bacteria in your tummy so soothes  discomfort by relaxing tummy muscles.  TO make a great garnish for meat,  chop 12 fresh mint leaves and combine with 1/2 tsp each of dried rosemary, thyme and cinnamon, 1/4 tsp each of sea salt and oregano,  1 and 1/2 tsp honey, 1/4 cup lime juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Use as a marinade for your meat to grill. The last few years I have been making a thermogenic tea for use to stop colds, flu and bronchitis, using equal parts of dried mint, yarrow and elderberry flowers. My daughter has had bronchitis since she was little due to a bout with pneumonia, and she says it helps her ward off a full blown attack if taken early on.
  Vinegar again, a few more uses for it, put in a spray bottle and have at the weeds in your driveway, or sidewalk cracks.  If you have hard water, use it on a cloth to wipe away hard water stains on your dishes and glassware.. Sanitize you kitchen sponges by soaking in a bowl  of it for at least 5 minutes, and if your kitchen has unwanted odors, pour some in a bowl and leave on the counter to absorb those odors. I should own stock in a vinegar company, buy a gallon every couple of weeks these days.
  I am working on a yard problem, we have had more than our average amount of rain for the year already, and my yard is a scooped out area on the mountain, leveled out to build my little house on. This year the rain has been relentless. And my back yard is a mucky puddle. The side walk I had been using, made of  pressure treated lumber, has been washed out  so many times it's not going to get put back. Have been working on a new walk, with landscape timbers raising it up and boards screwed onto them making a one piece, too heavy to float down the road walk.  This week I have used a crow bar and pried the boards out of the mud. Yesterday I sat them on end and washed the mud off one side. Need to flip them over today and do the other side. There is still standing water so no way of working on the new walk yet, and worse, more rain is due in tomorrow.  At least it has not been too terribly hot this summer, mostly just humid. Some days you sweat just standing still. The weather girl says next week our nights will slip down into the 50's, that will be great sleeping weather. I leave the windows up and pull up my blanket and enjoy the coolness. Early this summer, some of the stones my daughter and grandsons used to build a retaining wall slipped out, and when I pulled them out to redo, found a new resident in my yard. An orange lizard guy with black spots., He or she just sat there and looked at me. I beat a hasty retreat. When my NE kids were here, they went looking for the critter who was of course, long gone. It was a salamander, very bright. Not harmful but I am not into that kind of creature. My son who lives here is a wood worker and has been re stacking lumber piles this last week. He has found copperheads in the stacks. Today he is working on another pile, I can hear the boards as he re stacks them. Hope it's a snake free day for him.
 Seems so odd to think that summer is winding down already, our kids start back to school Aug 1. Wow. That's only a week away. So mom, you get a little time to yourself for morning coffee again. Take care, read labels . Be healthy!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Inflammation info, disposal tabs, watermelon uses

 I had a very nice visit with my sis and her hubby from NE last week. We went to SC to visit my son and daughter in law on Saturday, they have purchased a pretty much wrecked house and are restoring it. Its lovely, and the yard is to die for, wish I could do just a few of the things he has done. Was good to share time with family, and now my sis is traveling on, should be in New England by now.
 We had a few dry days, was getting to the point of working in my back yard swamp, but the last few nights, we have again had thunderstorms, complete with some rather nasty lightning.  The first night we got an inch of rain, have not checked yet this morning but don't think it will be as much from last night. This pattern is due to continue most of the week. At least the temperature is less, the humidity is fierce though. Sweat happens pretty fast ,
  You know I have spent most of my life trying to stay healthy. Both my folks had arthritis, mom's hands were knarled in her 50's.  When I was 18 and newly married, I started talking to the owners of health food stores, getting their views on preventing problems. I learned a lot and started taking ginger and turmeric early on. I am 76 now, and have no aches or joint pain. Or any other Pain. And now they are finding that the ginger and turmeric are good for a host of things. Your body reacts to inflammation by causing various ills. Most inflammation is caused by what you eat. Learning to avoid the bad stuff, like the 5 whites, flour, sugar, salt, shortening and rice, gets you started on a better lifestyle. Chronic inflammation is damaging, causes arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer's,  cancer and many other problems.  Its so easy to check out foods on line now and find things that are better for you. To tackle some of these issues,  requires life style changes,  managing stress,  exercise, better diet and many herbs are helpful. Herbs are cheap and healthy. A few to add to your diet are Devil's Claw  which reduces osteoarthritis pain, back and neck problems.  Boswellia, for arthritis, Crohn's,  Cayenne, for diabetes and obesity, use liberally  for those, Ginger,  for heart disease, aches and pains, this really stops inflammation, you can use the root which is available in your produce section, or buy powdered or capsules.  And of course, good old  Green Tea which is good for many things, including arthritis, heart disease, hepatitis, IBS, stomach cancer and more. It's hot so brew a bit and ice it to stay cool. And healthy.
 If you have a garbage disposal, and it needs a little smell help, here is an easy way to fix.
In a bowl, mix 3/4 cup of baking soda
                         1/2 cup salt
                         stir to remove lumps, then grate a lemon, stir in the peel, cut lemon in half and add the juice. Stir all this til it resembles sand, then using a small scoop, put half scoops onto a pan lined with parchment paper. Let set overnight or until dry. Place your half balls in a jar, and when you want to fix smell in disposal, put a couple down there and grind them through.
  It's watermelon season. Besides just eating it, there are lots of things to do with it, including  granita's, salsa, ices etc. And a good thing to do for your face.  Puree a couple of spoonsful til smooth, spread on your face and let sit 20 minutes. Rinse well. Watermelon is full of vitamin A and C and makes your skin soft and smooth. So set aside a bite or two next time you are having a slice.
 Made up some eczema salve this morning, the stuff has been brewing on my cupboard for 6 weeks, it's simple, just dried plantain and comfrey, half and half, covered with organic oil and steeped six weeks, warmed and beeswax stirred in to form a salve. My next  quest today will be to refresh my supply of cream soup base, so nice to have handy for casserole's, soups and other dishes. Have had the recipe on this blog before, look in archives if you want to use it.
 It's still cool this morning, so another cup of coffee is in order.  Hope you are enjoying your summer, not long until you will be getting the kids ready to go back to school. Somehow, time just slips away faster every year. Always have things to get done, but that makes life interesting. Stay cool, brew some green tea and take care til next time.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Oh Oh, long standing stuff must go. Chia pops

  I received a package last week, with a bottle of dish soap I was to test for a company I do surveys for. When I was very little, my mom washed me with Ivory soap and I broke out in a nasty rash called Lichenplanus.  It took over a year for it to go away, and along the way we found out I was allergic to coconut in any form, and later formaldehyde was added to the list. The rash is nasty, and itchy and something to avoid, so I have learned to read labels and avoid any allergens.  The bottle had nothing on it so I took to the web and did an ingredients search. Holy bedsheets Batman, the stuff is full of hazardous  things. And I didn't stop there,  I also looked up the soap I have used for years. Guess what, more bad stuff. So I started looking for homemade recipes for dish soap. It' s easy, and will be a little different as there will not be suds like we are used to , but it cleans and disinfects. The best, easiest recipe was on a site I use often, DIY, with Matt and Betsy Jabs.  Here goes, it's fast . In a pan put 1 and 1/2 cups of water, heat to almost boiling, remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of grated castile, or Fels Naptha or home made soap plus  1 tablespoon of borax and 10 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil scent. Like maybe 10 drops lavender and 10 drops lemon. You could leave the essential oil out, but both lemon and lavender are antibacterial so valuable, Put the well stirred potion in a clean , empty squeeze bottle and use as any other dish soap.  Once again, reading labels is so important, who would have thought a common product would contain such bad stuff. Live and learn.
  I also ran across a  recipe for Chia pop cycles.
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup orange or juice of choice
1/4 cup water
Mix well, pour into molds and freeze.  Lots of options for change here, use your imagination.
  Did you know if you are stuffed up with sinus or a cold, mustard has great unstuffing properties? You could just buy a spicy type at the store, but hey, why not make your own? Its  not hard and you know what 's in it that way.  Just snarf down a spoonful when you need unplugging.
1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds( you can just use yellow, I can't find brown)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon lavender flowers
1 teaspoon salt.
 Put seeds in a glass bowl and cover with vinegar. Cover and let soak for 2 days. Put this in a food processor, add the rest of the ingredients and process til smooth. Keep in jar in refrigerator.
  It's been a frustrating week, the carrier for my cell phone cut me off, despite not being due for payment and knowing this is a bank draft payment. Took 2 of my kids and a lot of work to get it working again. Felt kind of lost without it. My Windows 8 is causing me problems getting into my online bank account, somehow the bank and I just can not get things in sync.  Ended up with a major headache several times lately, and still have no access. The bank is trying, think we are just not compatible. Not sure what to do, but may have to move to a new bank to resolve the issue.
 And still it rains, it's off and on but still coming down. Out west they need it so badly to help with the fires, too bad we can't share.  What a shame about those fire fighters that died fighting the big fire in Arizona.  My heart goes out to their families.
  We recently passed some new laws in this country, and right off the bat a lot of strange things happen. Today a woman legally married a bridge, check it out, I found it on my MSN news page.  Wonder what all people will decide to marry in coming years, may get more than a little weird. To each his own, not my place to say what any one can or can not do, but things sure do change.
 Making pickles again, need to go see what's going on, have a great weekend, hope you celebrated the 4th with friends or family. Take care!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Grandkids, Ginger Ale, Bottle planters

 Yesterday I got to watch a video of my youngest  grand daughter, doing her first crawling. Aw.  The notes said she had also fallen off the couch and pulled dad's computer off the arm of the couch. Shades of Deja Vu, I remember her now almost 4 year old sister doing the same things when I was visiting 3 and a half years ago.  These are my youngest grand babies, I miss them a lot. My oldest grand daughter is married, and has two adorable kids, and her hubby is recovering from back surgery in a military hospital in Texas, due to an injury sustained in Bahrain. I hope he is recovered and able to return home soon, he has had a long time away from his family. This Grand daughter is raising the two  kids and has established her own business, the most creative cakes I have seen! Ones with mermaids, bears, just so imaginative and wonderful. She is super busy designing and creating cakes for customers. My next grandson is working at McDonald's corporate office, will be getting married soon. His brother has just started a new job at a store in Illinois, hope that goes well for him. He is so good at fixing cars and painting them. A grandson in between those two is a grad student, doing post grad studies in  forensics, very smart and studies very hard.  I am so blessed to have such a great family, my kids have done a remarkable job raising their children. I wish I could see them more often but they are between 500 and 1000 miles away, so makes that very hard to do. There are some rifts in the family I have prayed would be healed before I die, but that does not seem to be in the cards. Never the less, I feel truly blessed by all my family.
  I found a great recipe for your own home made ginger ale on a web site this last week. Ginger root is available in grocery stores in the produce section, you need to peel it and then can chop or grate it for use. I keep it in my freezer ready to go. Here is the simple recipe:
 2 lemons, cut one in half, cut the other with a thick slice out of the center, save the slice. Juice the other two parts into a pan. Add 1 cup of chopped ginger and 1 and 1/2 cups organic cane sugar. This
is is in the baking section , in a plastic jug, not hard to find.  Add 2 and 1/2 cups of filtered water and  bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain. Measure so you know how much you have, then simmer to reduce by half. Put this syrup in a jar in your refrigerator. When you are ready to drink, add 2 Tablespoons of the syrup to a glass, and pour in  1 cup of seltzer or sparkling water, stir, ice and enjoy.
 I can only do this idea if someone comes to visit and leaves water or pop bottles behind, but it's a nifty craft. You can use large size pop bottles or smaller water bottles. Cut off the top 1/3 as smoothly as possible, insert cotton cord tied in a knot so it won't slip through into the neck of the bottle, put water in the bottom of the cut off bottle, upend the cut off top half with the wick in the water, fill  the top with potting soil and plant your herbs, flowers etc . Self watering pots. You could decorate the bottles if you wanted.  A good way to recycle  some bottles that might end up I the land fill.
 I am making my first round of zucchini pickles this am, I sliced 3 medium sized zucchinis, and a medium onion, put  them in a bowl with2 tablespoons of kosher salt, ice and cold water and let them soak for 2 hours, now they are simmering in a brine of 1 cup of sugar, 1 and 1/2 cups of white vinegar, 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon of turmeric. They simmer for 5 minutes, then are packed into canning jars and water bathed for 15 minutes. These are really good pickles, and easy to make. Have a great week,  we are looking at more rain, but it does keep the garden producing heavy, Take care til next time