Thursday, May 31, 2012

Supplement order on Tuesday

I am placing a supplement order on Tuesday by noon. Let me know if you need something. Thanks!

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Little Soul Food....

Last night we had a little soul food. It was greasy and fried and yummy. I have only made fried chicken once in my life. I prefer to keep things a little more natural and clean but it was good and we ate it all. I don't feel entirely guilty. It was organic and fried in coconut oil. Finger licking good. I was quite proud of myself. Perfectly golden and crunchy. Miss Paula Deen lent me her recipe. (Courtesy of the Food Network)

I kept on the fried theme and made some fried zucchini because I have seven of them in the fridge (sorry, no picture) and some cajun oven roasted fries (see below). Of course we had to have a fresh green salad and some watermelon to add to the nutrition factor. The crowd was pleased. All 6 of them.

If you would like to have a little soul food yourself, here are a couple recipes to try out. You won't be disappointed; well, unless you burn the chicken or substitute the ingredients for something less flavorful.

Southern Fried Chicken
Paula Deen

First off, make the house seasoning. There will be lots extra to keep on hand for other dishes. It is a great, all purpose blend:

1 cup sea salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix and store in container. Cut up chicken into tender size pieces or buy some tenders to start off with. 
Sprinkle well with the house seasoning.

Make the dredging mixture:

2 cups white flour
1 tsp pepper
1 T. house seasoning

Make the wash by whisking together:

2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup tobasco pepper sauce

Dip the chicken in the egg wash and then in the flour mixture. Lay on wire rack while you are finishing the bunch.

Fry in hot oil, about 350 degrees until crisp and golden. 

I used the same mixture to do my fried zucchini since there was plenty left after I fried 3 pounds of chicken. If you are doing less, just half the ingredients. 

Cajun Oven Fries

8 golden potatoes
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
14 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp tobasco sauce
2 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. mix ingredients above into a paste. 

Cut potatoes into small wedges. Place them in a bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil. Add paste mixture and sprinkle about 2 T. of dried onion pieces and work around potatoes until they are covered well.

Lightly oil a baking sheet. Place fries on sheet trying to keep them in a single layer.

Bake in oven around 30 minutes or until golden. Flip once during cooking. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Phase 2

How can it possible be that this little face will be in the graduation ceremony tonight? (He is a little bigger now, of course!) How can I have possibly been a mother long enough to have a child getting ready to go to college? I never thought beyond little kids. I never thought about them growing up and having their own life. It just came way too quickly. 

I have been thinking a lot about this child. What have i done right? What have I done wrong? Is he ready to be his own person and make his mark in the world? Did I teach him what he needs to know to get through the hard parts of life? To appreciate the good parts? To contribute to the good of society? 

I am sure there are many things that I could have done more of but I think there are a few things I did right with him. He is really an amazing child. He is talented in about every area possible. He is beyond smart receiving a full scholarship. (Hooray for me!) He is handsome. He is obedient. He is funny. He is a hard worker. He is self-motivated. 

I am sure he came this way and I can't take too much credit but what I think helped contribute to this great all-a-round child, is opportunities. I am talking about the kind of opportunities that build talents and develop character. I am talking about the kind of opportunities that fill time where video games often do. I hate video games. Really and truly. They are such a waste of time, time that could be used to develop talents and character. What we gave our children is so much better than the X Box. We never gave in. We chose to give them opportunities instead. It paid off.

His opportunities came in the form of guitars and drums  with music lessons, wood working tools and metal grinders, rappelling gear, skateboards, hockey sticks, art lessons, sport classes, gym memberships, surf boards, service opportunities, hiking trips, family outings, guns with desert shooting, bows and arrows, leather making tools, and on and on. Because he had opportunities he learned to create. Instead of coming home to play a video game, he would come home and carve a bow and arrows out of branches in the back yard (many, many times!). He would cut a knife out of steel and grind it with his tools he asked for for Christmas. He would make a leather sheath for his knife with his leather kit along with a solid pair of moccasins. He would paint amazing pictures or sculpt something out of clay. He would make wooden dog houses for his brother or a bow rack for his many bows. He would research info on the web just for fun. He would spend hours practicing his guitar. He developed talents on top of talents. 

I by far think the best thing we did for this child was to never give in to the video games and to allow him the opportunity to use his time for good. Sure he played them with friends at their house and he has a little hand held game for trips, but all in all, video games were pretty rare. Eye-hand coordination is developed so much better in real life applications!

Who knows what this child will end up doing. The sky's the limit with him. He has the tools to fly. 

As sad as I am to see him grow and get ready to leave me, I raised him to do so. I raised him to be his own person. That person is pretty great. He is ready to great the world. He will miss his mom to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He will miss me when he has to buy his first roll of toilet paper. But, he will be successful. He will be ready to take what life throws at him. 

Well done, my son. Enjoy this new beginning.

This is the beginning of phase 2 in my life. Phase two will bring me daughter-in-laws, a son-in-law and grandchildren. I won't be loosing children, I will be getting more. I still want to slow down time but it is great to see these little ones grow. Life is good. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

So many peaches, so little time.

I don't think there is anything else that can really fit into this week. We have class parties, two preschool water days at my house, my oldest graduation, my 9 year olds birthday, a grandma's funeral, two baseball tournaments, a cabin trip, a friend's birthday luncheon, and on top of it all, tons and tons of peaches that need to be processed this week. They are late this year and really it is just not a good week for them to become ripe. 

However, because I hate to waste and I love peaches, I am determined to get as many of these bite-sized peaches into the freezer. Because they are so small, by the time you peel them, there is hardly anything left. I decided to make it a little simpler this year and guess what? It worked! I will share my little secret with you in case you have  a million bite-sized peaches on your tree also.

All the google searches will tell you that you have to peel your peaches, soak them in lemon juice and put them in a syrup to freeze them. I believed them but guess what? Not true. If your intention is to freeze peaches for smoothies, you can leave those healthy little peels on and skip the syrup solution. Here is what I did and they didn't brown whatsoever:

Washed those cute little peaches.

Cut them into chunks right around the pit. 

Laid them cut side down onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Put them in the freezer with plastic wrap  covering them tightly. 

Within a few hours, they were frozen solid and 
ready to go into freezer bags. 

They separate real easily since they are frozen in a single layer. You can then just put as many as you want in your smoothie. So far, they have been in my freezer for a week and they haven't browned at all.

If you are freezing peaches for a pancake topping or pies, you would want to stick with the peeling and syrup recipe but this works like a gem for smoothies. It takes minutes compared to hours for the other method. 

I am even recruiting my husband to help today. I will have a freezer full come heck or high water. Have you seen the prices of frozen organic peaches? These are gold, baby.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Healthy, Soaked Artisan Bread.

Grains get a bad wrap these days and it really is unfair. I mean, they have been around since the beginning of time and have been deemed for the use of man. Why are they now on the naughty list? It isn't the grains, it's the people. 

Grains are full of wonderful vitamins and minerals. They are so good for us and people have lived off grains for years. The problem is that we have ruined our stomachs from all the junk in the world and the grains themselves have even been ruined in part by the GMO's and pesticides. Our bodies now have a hard time digesting these super grains and getting the goodness out of them. For many, they are now even harmful. We mustn't look at grains as the evil. We need to work towards healing our bodies so that we can use the goodness of grains and seek the grains that are uncorrupted by the GMO industries. 
Grains should be a part of our diet. There will be times when people need to steer clear of them while they are healing their systems, but after that, they should be included, with prudence and correct preparation.

Soaking and sprouting, as I have talked about before, help break down the proteins and phytates in the grains which make them much easier to digest. You can use my search box to find out more on that subject. This post is about an easy way to healthify your bread with as minimal amount of work as possible. We all need that. Many get overwhelmed with the whole soaking, sprouting and drying routine. I know I did.

Last month, I bought some delicious homemade Artisan bread from a friend's daughter for a fundraiser. It was soooo yummy. We devoured it. I immediately asked her for the recipe. I was delighted to learn in was one of those no knead recipes that sits overnight and takes only minutes of prep time. I dove in and made a loaf and it was good. It was white flour and not so good for you but nonetheless, delightful. I decided that I would take this method and healthify it a bit to remove the guilt of eating it. The end product was delicious. Not as fluffy as the white version on the outside but delicious on the inside. The best part is that it is 100% whole grain, soaked bread with very little yeast! It took minutes to make! No excuses now, ladies! I didn't have that bloated feeling when eating it like I do with white bread. I just felt good.

I kept this loaf as more of a flat, rectangular shape. When cut, it resembled more of a Biscotti which was perfect for soup-dipping! It was moist and chewy and spongy. Just how an Artisan bread should be. I used 100% Kamut grain which will usually not work in a bread. It has low gluten and is usually very crumbly in bread but not made this way. I love Kamut for the protein content and low gluten but I usually keep it to muffins and pancakes. I decided to try it out and it worked perfectly. It has a very mild taste so you get that white bread taste. I served it with a light summer veggie soup, see those zucchini's again? I think we have had them every night this week. I had a bowl full of fresh picked green beans to add as well and some tomatoes that needed to be used. I even threw in some tomatillos that were on the counter. Veggie soups are a great way to use up what is in the kitchen. I add some quinoa while cooking for health benefits and to thicken the soup. It only takes 3 minutes in the pressure cooker!

To make the Artisan bread, you need some sort of dutch oven or for the best effect, a clay baker. I used the deep oval baker from Pampered Chef. It creates a good steam which gives it the chewy texture. You can use any clay, enamel, cast iron or glass bakeware that goes in the oven with a lid. You start the night before.

3 cups flour (fresh ground or sin and use white)
1/4 tsp. yeast 
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 T. kefir or buttermilk (needed to remove phytates)
1 T. favorite seasoning (optional)
       I didn't use seasoning this time but use Herbs de Provence in the other batches. 

Mix the flour,yeast  and salt in the bowl. Add the hot water and mix a little then add the kefir. Mix until all blended. It will be sticky and shaggy looking. Leave it in the bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Let sit up to 24 hours. There will be a bubbly appearance when ready.

When the dough is ready (for me, I usually start it at around 9 at night and by 3, I am ready to form it to a loaf although it is ready earlier), turn it onto a floured mat or counter and sprinkle it with flour. Fold it about 3 or 4 times to form a rounded loaf. Make 3 diagonal cuts on the top. Put it into your clay baker or pan with parchment lining the bottom. Cover and let rise 30 min to 2 hours. I have even forgotten mine and let it go for 4 hours and it was the best loaf I had! The less time, the more dense your bread which is sometimes preferred depending on the meal. 

Preheat oven to 425. Put the pan in, covered and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid after 30 minutes and bake another 10-15 more or until lightly golden on top. Remove from pan and let cool. 

It is so good warm but if you are eating it after it is totally cooled, I like to toast it in the broiler with some olive oil or butter. Artisan bread isn't the best cold. I love this bread with some Bruschetta, especially the batches with the herbs in the dough. 

Because this is soaked for 24 hours with the kefir, you don't need to sprout your grains first. Soaking will do the work for you. 

Thank you, Rachel, for giving me this recipe and for your daughter for her fundraiser! I am addicted! 

If any of you need that clay baker from Pampered chef, you can check out Rachel's website here.

Some time, be a little naughty and try the recipe with the white flour. Holy moly. Just keep that to a minimum. 

supplement order due Tuesday

Supplement orders due Tuesday by noon. Thanks! Ladies, if you haven't tried the B complex, give it a try! Want to detox your liver? Try the Milk Thistle!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Coconut Zucchini Bread.

I am overloaded with zucchini right now. It is just the season. If you are picking up supplements, chances are you have a squash of some sort in your bag. Many of my favorite zucchini recipes include cheese. That is hard for us cheese less kids. You can adapt many recipes to be dairy free but not these. Darn. I will miss you, zucchini Italienne! 

You can only make zucchini bread so often. Yesterday I decided to change it up a bit and add some coconut. It made it a little more hearty. It went well with the peaches and berries I picked in the backyard. We even had some of our fresh chicken eggs to go with it. I had to smile at my plate as I realized my dreams of being self sufficient are coming to fruition. We are getting there. 

If the neighbor is leaving zucchini on your doorstep or you too are overloaded with the green squash, here is the recipe to try:

Coconut Zucchini Bread

3 cups whole grain flour (sprouted is best)
2 cups coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup coconut oil
3 eggs
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 cups raw grated zucchini
1/2 cup kefir or buttermilk ( I used coconut kefir)

Preheat oven to 325.  Combine all dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients. Batter is really thick. Pour into two loaf pans. Bake for about 1 hr 15 mn or until done. Do not over bake!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Twice  a week I pull weeds in my garden. It is me and my cute little pink bucket. If I don't do this a couple times a week, the weeds will overtake the garden and my plants will be strangled. 

If I don't check my plants on a regular basis for bugs or general ill health, it may be too late. I might not be able to save them.

I guess we are just a lot like plants. We wait until we are taken over by disease (weeds) and the germs (bugs) are eating away at our healthy cells. We need to also do the daily maintenance and routine care so that we can keep our bodies in check before it is out of control. 

This really is going to be a gardening post but I have had an enormous amount of calls and emails this week from women who are struggling with health. We give so much to our families and others that we forget to take care of ourselves. We don't get enough sleep, we don't feed ourselves right, we demand that we are perfect and let ourselves know when we are not and we plain run ourselves down.

Since it is Mother's day tomorrow, I just wanted to give a little shout out to my favorite ladies out there: Take care of yourselves. It isn't selfish. It is vital. If we don't, we will wither and won't be able to nourish others just like a healthy garden. 

There. I hope you all paid attention.

Now on to gardening. I promised a few of my best , and not original tips. 

Here is my jungle. It is flourishing and this is why; fish emulsion, sea kelp, fertilizer from The Backyard Farmer and lots of love. 

Here is the basic routine:

Fish emulsion/sea kelp every two weeks. I fill a gallon jug with 2 T. of emulsion/kelp mixture and dump some on each plant. You can also spray it but do so only after the sun is down. Be very careful of blossoms. 

I feed with the Backyard Farmer fertilizer every month. 

The love part is the regular weeding and watching. I check the plants for bugs to catch them early before they overtake them. If a plant looks a little less green, I give them a little extra fish emulsion to boost the nitrogen level. If a plant looks a little wilty, he gets more water. Temperature changes daily so a watering schedule might need to change as well.

I put extra mulch around the plants as needed to protect the roots and soil balance. 

I trim dead leaves off plants and harvest daily so that it will stimulate more blossoming.

It sounds like lots of work but it really is just a little time each day. I would really spend the entire day out there if I had no other responsibilities. It is my happy place. 

The peach tree is out of control. The branches are literally breaking because there are too many peaches. I even thinned them out but obviously, not enough. They are small but delicious. The freezing begins.

The boysenberry plant that was supposed to be a blackberry plant is full of berries. I pick a couple when I go out to check on my plants and love their beautiful color. I can't wait to come in with a bowl full.

The cantaloupe trellis is working splendidly. Thank you , Pinterest. Underneath them are herbs and little potato plants. I have some pinto bean plants that popped up from the little preschoolers who planted them there. I didn't intend on growing pinto bean plants. We will see how that goes. 

I pick at least one cucumber a day. Soon I will have several bushes ready to pick from. The key to a good cucumber is lots of water. Melons and cucumbers love lots of water. I water them daily.

If you have bugs, spray them down with a mixture of about 1/4 cup natural dish soap or charlie's soap and the rest water in a 32 oz spray bottle. Spray them in the morning before the sun avoiding the fruits of the plants. It will smother the bugs. Pick worms off as you find them. I don't really get bugs anymore. If you keep your plants healthy and green, bugs don't like them. Just like germs, they come to the unhealthy plants. They are part of the natural decay process. This isn't all the time but I have only had bugs when my plants weren't healthy. Worms come regardless but they are easy to get rid of. 

If you want to be a gardener, be a good gardener. Otherwise, you are just wasting water and money. 

Happy Mother's Day! Hope you get spoiled.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cinnamon Cream sauce and garden talk.

Living dairy free at home is mostly easy but we do miss a little cream now and then. I found this Cashew based cinnamon cream sauce in the Green Smoothie girls cook book. It is quite tasty as a fruit dip or a topping. It is amazing how soaked cashews can actually turn into a cream. It is so easy to make and light for summer fruits. 

Cinnamon Cream Sauce

1 C. cashews, soaked overnight
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
3 T. maple syrup
1 T. vanilla
appx. 1/2 cup water to desired consistency

Drain and rinse cashews. Blend all ingredients and chill. For a sinful dip, use brown sugar. Yum.

I love this time of year. There is so much great produce available. My children aren't as excited since it means lots of zucchini, tomatoes and peppers. I can dress them in so many ways. Today, my husband and I shared a lovely Bruschetta for lunch with some fresh squeezed lemonade. It was divine. 

(Fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper and Balsamic vinegar)

I have made a goal to pick something every single day from the garden. I have been doing this at least since October. I am going to see if I can keep this going year round. Right now I am coming in with a basket full daily. Thanks to the Backyard Farmers fertilizer and some fish emulsion, my garden is exploding. Here is today's picking:

Super yummy. I wish I could share.

I hope you are having gardening success. Stay tuned in the next couple days and I will give you a few more tips. Sorry for those of you who don't like the garden talk. It's what I do this time of year. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Want more plants?

I had a few extra spaces left in my garden so I called up my friend and the Hatching Bunnies Farm to see what she had left. She does have a few things and is starting some more squash and tomatoes. If you would like something, let me know by Friday. First come, first serve. Here is the list from her, they are $3 each:

List of what I have right now:
Cocozelle (striped Italian zucchini)
Lemon cucumbers (yellow, lemon-shaped, sweet cukes, only a few left)
Diva cucumbers (bush cucumber, few left)
Armenian cucumbers (these can get bigger than regular cukes without getting bitter, stand heat better) quite a few left
Butternut squash
Howden pumpkin-good for eating or fall decor
Spaghetti squash
Sweet potatoes
Cinnamon, lemon, lime and spicy globe bush basil (smaller leaves, stays more compact)

I can start more yellow squash, Coosa squash (middle Eastern variety-I like it better than zucchini), and several other varieties of pumpkins (Small Sugar, and Cinderella).  I am also about to start some tomatoes for fall that will produce in cooler weather if you or your contacts are interested.  If there's a lot of interest,  It would be nice to have a count beforehand so I start enough.  Varieties are Moskovich (Siberian, early, can take some cold and keep producing), and Gold Nugget, an early gold cherry tomato.  Tomatoes can be planted for fall in early August.