Saturday, February 23, 2013

It WILL be Spring, soon

  Driving to town yesterday I was happy to see daffodils poking up all along our back mountain roads. Maybe some crocus's too, couldn't tell for sure. We have had a lot of rain, should be good for spring planting. My pots with seeds are all sprouted, and growing nicely.
  Have a kettle of split pea soup simmering for lunch, heavy with onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and of course herbs, Tossed in some cumin to add some smokiness to it, can hardly wait for lunch time.
  So many of my friends and family are coping with lots of snow and ice and winter weather right now, and our weatherman has the audacity to suggest we are due for a major amount of snow the entire first week of March.  So far this year, we have only had very small skiffs, just enough to close school as the buses can't safely run these twisty steep mountain roads.
  However, it is approaching the time when we want the winter sludge cleaned off the windows, fresh air coming in and a nice clean smell to our homes.  If you have 5 ingredients in your house, you can clean anything. These would be lemons or lemon juice, salt, white vinegar, tea tee oil and baking soda. In combination these can just about do anything. If you go back a ways you will find a wonderful mattress refresher made with home made fabric softener and soda, dry sprinkle over mattress and let set an hour or so, then vacuum. Lovely clean smell!  Mix one part water to one part white vinegar, put in spray bottle and use for counter tops, sinks, even safe on granite, and it disinfects. Toilet bowl cleaners are very toxic, so pour a cup of vinegar, and a sprinkle of soda in toilet, let sit an hour and brush. Baking soda can be used to remove black marks from floors, to scour pots and pans, and if you add equal amount of salt, you have a great scouring powder. Tea tree oil is a disinfectant and a few drops added to your potions will kill germs. Swish out your garbage cans with a little soda and water, add some to your laundry to boost cleaning power.
   If your oven needs a good cleaning try this instead of toxic oven cleaner:
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup washing soda,(laundry isle)
1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
hot water
few drops white vinegar.
Be sure oven is off and cool. Wipe off any surface debris.  Combine first 3 ingredients and slowly add hot water til you have a thick but useable paste, add a few drops of vinegar. Spread on surfaces of oven, let sit overnight and wipe off.
   Have you used tapinade in your cooking? I am guessing if you bought a jar in the store it would be pricy, but it is soooo easy to make. Its used as a garnish for soups, salads, meats, you name it and here is how to do:

1/2 cup green olives(seedless)
1/2 cup black olives(ditto)
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
sprinkle of black pepper.
Place in food processors and pulse, don't make it smooth, its meant to be chunky.
See, just saved a bundle. Another good recipe is for ranch dressing, avoiding all the icky stuff they use for preserving, check out their label to see for yourself.
1 cup buttermilk or greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayo
3 tablespoons of sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped chives
4 teaspoons white vinegar
1 clove chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt and a sprinkle of black pepper.  Whisk all til smooth, keep in container in fridge. You can add other herbs, like parsley, or dill, and a splash of worchestershire sauce if you want a little more flavor.
  Hope this finds you inside , warm and well, and hopefully not far from some lovely spring days. See you soon.


Friday, February 15, 2013

WHY avoid GMOs, WHY are they so bad for you

GMO's are in the news constantly, and no wonder. We keep finding out more and more how bad they are for us and our children.Big companys like Monsanto, Kellogg, Pepsi, ConAgra, Coca cola, Dow, Bayer, Heinz Welchs, Smucker and many others do not want a bill passed that will allow labels to identify foods containg GMO's. What are they? The seeds planted are being treated with Round up to prevent weeds, and other weed and pest killers to make less work in the fields. But they infiltrate the seeds and grow into your food.
  These GMO's cause health problems such as reproductive disorders, stomach lesions, especially from tomatos,  they cause allergies, make you resistant to antibiotics, and cause prostate, colon and breast cancer. Altzheimers and diabetes are now linked to them also.
  In your super market, dairy and meat rows are100 percent affected, cereals, cookies, ice cream, condiments, canned soup, and bread and crackers are all 80 percent or more affected. Produce is better, you can pick organic. Sure it costs more, but if it keeps you from dying a long, lingering, painful death over a period of many years, is it not worth it?  Pasta, rice and beans are also fairly safe.
  I have a first hand knowledge of these effects. My daughter was diagnosed with a blood disease when she was 5. We fought for 5 more years to get her better but did not succeed. The doctors told us her problems stemmed from chemicals used on fields around us growing crops. Watching a child bleed to death is not something I recommend. A few years ago, my husband developed a blood problem, and it is unknown what caused that, but maybe the same kind of thing. Since then I have become very aware of what we eat.  I do not want to spend the end of my life in a vegetative state, with some one else caring for my every need. Its dehumanizing. And we do have some say in the matter.
  If you  plan a garden , watch the seeds you buy. Try and get ones from an heirloom company that does not treat the seeds.
  For more information, the new issue of Mother Earth Living has a great article, and you can find tons of good info on these websites: Center for Food Safety,The Cornucopia Institute, Organic Consumers Association, Non GMO Project. Do a little research and get yourself in the loop.
  A few less scary thoughts. Some great white foods to add to your diet are mushrooms, cauliflower, macadamia nuts,  white beans and onions. Organic of course.
  Skin need a spring lift? Try mixing1/2 cup of distilled water,2 teaspoons of vegetable glycerin, (can find this in the health and med sections of most stores,) and 5 drops of essential oil, lemon, grapefruit, rosemary etc. Your choice. Mix all together, apply with a cotton ball to clean face and let soak in.
  Driving to town this week I saw some daffodils blooming, and the robins are coming back. Spring can't be too far away.
  Started my seeds inside, they are all coming up. Will be good to get outside and work again. Turned out the thermogenic tea I made up works very well for warding off colds and flu, used all my herbs so know this next summer to save a whole lot more. If you have not tried it, it's mint, yarrow and elderberry flower mixed in equal parts, steeped a spoon ful per cup for 20 minutes, make 3 cups a day if you even think you have something coming on, and in two days it will disappear.
  Lent has begun,  hope you are looking forward to sunny, warmer days. take care of your health, its your most important asset. Til next time.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Living More Naturally: Birthday, Sinus Tea, Foaming Face Cleanser

Living More Naturally: Birthday, Sinus Tea, Foaming Face Cleanser:   Long ago(ha) on February 8, in a galaxy far away called Texas,  a baby boy was born in the midst of a snowstorm. Amarillo is in the panhan...

Birthday, Sinus Tea, Foaming Face Cleanser

  Long ago(ha) on February 8, in a galaxy far away called Texas,  a baby boy was born in the midst of a snowstorm. Amarillo is in the panhandle, and has some strange weather. From red dust storms to deep snow, enough to cover a car, it runs the gamut.  When my first son was due, we had a huge snow storm . His dad was frantic and wanted to shovel the road from our home to the Air Base. However, being a wise child, he waited until the snow plows had cleared the roads.
  One of the gifts he received was a pair of tiny white cowboy boots. I did so wish they made tiny jeans and cowboy shirts.  Being inventive, I took a pair of dad's worn out jeans, cut  part of a leg off and fashioned it into a tiny pair of jeans. A bit of white satin and some fringe became a cowboy shirt, Somewhere there is a picture of a barely over 6 pound baby, all dressed up like a tiny cowboy. Great memories. And now this young man is a writer, farmer, woodworker, foster dog parent, and active in his comunity and church. Time flies, can't believe I am a great grandma.
   My travels to see family in Nebraska left me with a few assorted problems, frozen septic tank lines, heat pump doing something weird, and the car has a new wrinkle, the indicater on the ge ar shift is not working, though the shift itself does work. Means taking time to count changes and be sure its in the right gear. This car has strange periods, the electric system went out for a good 3 years, but came back, the windshield wipers quit for a couple of months then started up again, now this. I don't panic nowdays, figure whatever is ailing will mend, and if it doesn't. so what.
   How are you doin? Staying healthy? Had any sinus woes this winter? Try going to your spice shelf and putting a tea egg full of thyme leaves to brew in a cup of boiling water, let it brew 10 minutes, and drink. Simple, but should help  unblock the sinus cavities.
 Is your skin dry from the winter weather? Try mixing 1/2 cup of oil, olive, safflower, jojoba etc, whatever you have, with 3 drops of essential lavender oil and open a vitamin E capsule and add. Keep by tub and put on after bath or shower.
  If you would like to make your own foaming face cleanser,  try this:
1/4 cup of liquid castile soap
1/4 cup of water
2 teaspoons almond or jojoba oil
2 teaspoons liquid glycerin
8 drops your fave essential oil
 Blend all but soap in blender, add soap last. Put in pump bottle.
 I started spring seeds for the garden last week, the arugula is already quite large, may be eating it before it ever gets planted outside. Nice to think in another month we will be doing some outside garden prep again. This winter has given us a more than ample amount of water in the soil, January had a period that left 7 inches of rain, and even today we are getting more rain. Twice this winter the copious amount of rain left our well with mud in it, and lovely red water to cope with. Learning to keep jugs of water stored now for the days we can't drink the well water. At least it doesn't happen often.
  Super Bowl is over, football has ended. Soon baseball will be the sport of the moment.  Spring is my favorite season, watching everything bloom and green up again, here on the mountain by early March the daffodils and forsythia are in bloom. There are already new calves in the fields.
  Hope you are ready to spring clean, break out the vinegar and soda, leave the chemicals in the store, and freshen up your home for the new summer coming. Will be good to have fresh produce growing again.
  Take care, stay well and look forward to spring.