Saturday, September 29, 2012

Goats Enjoying Tree Trimming

Mike was working to clear 'weed trees' out of our shelter-belt this morning.

The goats always like when he does this because he gives them branches so they can eat the leaves.

They love it!  The limbs will all be shredded into mulch for next years garden.  We are doing everything we can to reduce weeds and watering needs.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Busy Day Lasagna

Occasionally I look through my frig for what I like to call a Buffet Menu Idea (group of left-overs) or for things that need to be used up.  Today I found a partial jar of pasta sauce and some ricotta cheese. I also had some Italain Sausage in the freezer that I had purchased for a meal that didn't happen and some miscellaneous veggies that needed using.  I hate wasting food!

Here's what I came up with.  This recipe serves 2-4 so multiply it for your family.

12 ounces pasta sauce
1 cup water
2 large cloves garlic, minced (can use three cloves of your pickled garlic)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 cups gluten-free noodles (use penne {tube} or other curly pasta so the sauce sticks to the noodles)
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese  (can substitute cottage cheese)
8 ounces bulk Italian Sausage (ground beef works)
8 ounces vegetables (brocolli, cauliflower, zuchinni, carrots), cut in bite size pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 3/4 tablespoon dried)
3/4 cup Italian cheese blend (or 1/2 cup Mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan)
  1. Crumble the Italian sausage into a large skillet and cook 5 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in spaghetti sauce, water and garlic.  Bring to boil.
  3. Add your vegetables. (if your veggies are pre-cooked left-overs add at the end)
  4. Stir in noodles; cover.
  5. Cook sauce on medium-low heat for 9-12 minutes or just until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat; stir.
  6. Mix ricotta and basil; drop spoon fulls over the noodle mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; cover.  Let stand 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

There is frost on the pumpkin here in Southeast Nebraska this morning.....a full two weeks early.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Daylily Bed Is Now a Currant Bed

Daylily Bed Number Four is no more.  I've moved all the Daylilies out of this bed and into a 'flower bed' in front of the garden squares.  This bed was a bed of pretty pinks, mauves and ivory. I sold quite a few lilies out of that bed, they were a favorite among my customers.  I won't be offering any more of these colors for sale until the new bed gets crowded.

I don't know about you but I get these great ideas and then I tweek them as I go along.  Do you do that too?  My dear hubby doesn't like it when I get the 'let's move it' stage.  I never do it to my living room or any other room inside the house.............just my landscaping.  I think Mike would like it better if I would just move the living room furniture around every now and then.

The above picture is when we first set out the raised beds.  They've grown a lot since then.  There are asparagus in a couple and other perennial herbs in others.  I've renovated them a bit because the soil has settled so I've added manure, compost and more soil from the garden expansion we did two years ago.  Next spring the area that I reserved for the winter squash is going to sprout five new 4' x 28' beds next spring and we are adding a 12 tree orchard and a huge new garden space on the south side of our house.
I'm working on my farm beautification project.........(more grumbling from my hubby) and tomorrow we will till and prep a bed in front of one of our barns that we will grow sunflowers for the seeds in.  The chickens and goats love sunflower seeds and they are very good for them.  Plus the plants will add some beauty to that area.
What did I put in the bed?  My Black Currants did not like the place where I planted them.  So their new home is in the old Daylily Bed Number Four.   We added some manure, layed newspapers down and then mulched them with some pine mulch.  Currants like the soil to be a bit acidic so we'll add some composted chicken manure mulch in the spring and these guys should really take off.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Butterfly Quilts - Flannel Rag Quilts for Children

I have made four of these little beauties.  They are made from 100% Cotton flannel sandwiched with Cotton Flannel batting.  They can be made in a variety of colors. The quilt is approximately 57 1/2" (146 cm) from wing tip to wing tip in length, 64" (164 cm) in width at the top wing tips, 48" (123 cm) in width at the bottom wing tips, and 38 1/2" (98 cm) in length in the middle.

Animal shape rag quilts are an ideal blanket for the home, auto, travelling, school or babysitter, and simply as an extra little something to snuggle up with. Makes a lovely and unique gift.

These butterflies can be made in whatever color combinations I can find in flannel fabrics.

Cost $125 plus shipping  CONTACT ME for details.  Allow two weeks for construction and 10 days for shipping.  I ship the the contential US only.

Comfort Food For Two In Your Slow Cooker

Use a small slow cooker for this recipe

1/2 - 3/4 pound grass fed ground beef
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup green beans, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 Roma tomato, diced
4 golf ball size potatoes or equivalant (can substitute turnips for low carb)
1 cup beef broth/stock
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 ounces cream cheese

In a heavy skillet brown and crumble beef with onion and celery.  Add the garlic, the last minute.  Add the broth and spices and simmer for 5 minutes.  Now add the cream cheese and stir until cream cheese is melted.

Add the tomatoes, potatoes and green beans to the slow cooker.  Pour the sauce over the vegetables and stir until they are combined.  Cover the slow cooker, st on low and cook for 4 hours.  Serve topped with cheddar cheese.

We got two meals from this recipe or 4 servings, especially if you serve with a salad on the side.

Scheduling a Low Carb Fast

What's all this about a low carb fast.  Typically a 'fast' is a way to cleanse, rest, heal your body and a low carb fast is no different.  What we are trying to accomplish is to remove sugar and high glycemic carbs from your diet to give your body a rest from the on slot of all that insulin rushing through your body which makes your body turn insulin resistant just to survive.

When a fellow blogger suggested this proposition I was very curious.  As a Type 2 diabetic I do not like taking pills and getting the side effects from them.  I wondered..........was it possible to reduce the carbs enough to stabilize my blood sugars?  What I found out was amazing.

First I want to say that I am not a Physician and what I have to say in this article should not be construed as me taking the place of your Physician.  Please see your Dr before making any dietary changes.

I discovered several things about this type of fast.  First of all, after several days on the diet I did see a huge change for the better in my blood sugar control.  It was amazing.  I haven't made it through a complete 21 day fast but I'm going to do some additional research and go for it.

It is important to remember that while weight loss might be a great side effect of this fast, it is not the goal.  The goal of this fast is to cleanse, heal and rest your body systems. Great care should be used when beginning this fast, during the fast and in ending the fast.  If you are diabetic remember to watch your blood sugars carefully.

Some Things I've Learned

Do you know how much sugar the average American consumes?  HINT:  A lot!  One hundred and fifty-six pounds to be exact. That's how much added sugar Americans consume each year on a per capita basis, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Imagine it: 31 five-pound bags for each of us. That's about 36 teaspoons a day!!!!  This just should not be so and it is no wonder that so many americans and even children are becoming Diabetic!

Physical Benefits of Fasting In General
Fasting does not necessarily suggest depriving the body of all food. Sometimes a fast includes a short period of abstinence from eating just certain foods. Fasting does not mean starving yourself. What it does mean to some people is timing when you eat, and then eating specific foods in moderation. However, consuming enough fluids throughout any fast is important to prevent dehydration. Although fasting can be a controversial issue, the value of physiological fasting as a treatment for many chronic health conditions continues to be studied.
  • The possible health benefits of fasting are thought to be many and include improved immune system function, increased energy, and an overall sense of well-being. The physiological benefits of fasting have been known to lower systolic blood pressure, body temperature, and cholesterol, in addition to lowering glucose levels in the blood. The body's metabolic rate also slows during a fast, allowing it to conserve energy, thereby contributing to the healing process.
  • Many advocates of regular fasting maintain that it contributes to a longer life by cleaning the body of harmful toxins. They believe that chemicals absorbed into the body from the environment are stored in the body's fat. When a person fasts, the body must rely on these reserves, as an energy source. As the body breaks down fat, toxins are released and eliminated through the function of organs like the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, and skin. Some people believe that fasting can be used to manage weight and achieve safe weight loss and therefore may be an option to treat obesity and related hypertension.

Spiritual Benefits of Fasting

Exerpt from Christianity
In the Old Testament, God commanded Israel to observe several set times of fasting. For New Testament believers, fasting was neither commanded nor forbidden in the Bible. While early Christians were not required to fast, many practiced prayer and fasting regularly. Jesus himself affirmed in Luke 5:35 that after his death fasting would be appropriate for his followers. Spiritual fasting clearly has a place and a purpose for God's people today.

Fasting requires self-control and discipline as one denies the natural desires of the flesh. During spiritual fasting, the believer's focus is removed from the physical things of this world and intensely concentrated on God. Put differently, fasting directs our hunger toward God. It clears the mind and body of earthly attentions and draws us close to God. So, as we gain spiritual clarity of thought while fasting, it allows us to hear God more clearly. Fasting also demonstrates a profound need for God's help and guidance through complete dependence upon him.

3 Tips To Make Fasting Easier:

From Better is Better
Don’t eat a huge meal right before you start your fast.
Especially when you first start using Intermittent Fasting, it can be very tempting to pig out before a fast. This is part of the psychological fear of “starving,” a fear which has been well reinforced by the food industry. But a huge meal before starting your fast will set off that hormonal imbalance we are trying to avoid, regardless of the macronutrient ( composition.
Avoid sugars before your fast
Obviously, I would recommend you always avoid processed white sugar. But before your fast you might also want to think about reducing other sources of simple sugars such as dried fruits, high GI fruits, such as bananas, and milk. All these will tend to rile up your hormones.
Avoid starchy carbs
There’s nothing wrong with a good sweet potato, some succulent butternut squash, or a nice bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, but before a fast all these things could represent enough of a stimulant to insulin release that they could make your fasting Hormonal Hunger more prominent. As far as grains and potatoes go, I’d try to avoid them most of the time at any rate, but pre-fast I wouldn’t want to touch them with a ten foot pole. And of course, any processed food-like substances made with white flour should be trimmed to a bare minimum at any time.

Low Carb Sugar Fast

So we've gone through the why and wherefores of fasting, what is a high carb sugar fast.  It is what it is.  Typically a person can eat from 300 grams of carbs a day.  Those who have physical limitations, such as diatetees, are exempt from this thought.

For good health, or for weight loss, or weight maintenance, strictly limit refined (processed) carbohydrates (apart from occasional treats). Refined processed carbohydrates are a major cause of weight gain, obesity, diabetes type 2, and many other diet related diseases. Carbohydrates include complex carbohydrates, like starches, and simple sugars such as white sugar, high fructose corn syrup and honey. Choose 100-percent whole grains and fruits and vegetables for most of your carbohydrates. Balance your carbohydrate choices with protein sources such as lean meat, poultry, eggs, or fish, and some healthy fat such as olive oil, avocado or nuts and seeds.

 Do not eat white bread, white pasta, white potatoes, or white rice. These foods are VERY high glycemic and will spike your blood sugar, which will make you hungry again much quicker. Add fiber to your diet (which you will automatically do if you switch to whole grain carbs) and eat 5-6 small "meals" during the day instead of 3 big meals.

According to eHow, if you are diabetic............

"Women should have between 2 and 3.5  carbohydrate servings per meal, while men can have between 3 and 4. A carbohydrate serving is considered 15 grams, meaning that the total number of carbohydrates a woman should have at one sitting is between 30 and 55 grams and for men is 50 to 65. Be sure to read labels carefully to make sure the math adds up. For instance, a serving size of peanut butter is not the same as a serving size of carbohydrates. A two-tablespoon serving size of peanut butter is 8 grams of carbohydrates, making two servings of peanut butter 16 grams of carbohydrates or roughly one carbohydrate portion for meal purposes."

The key if you are low carb and sugar fasting or dieting is two fold:
  • Never take your carbs below 180 grams per day
  • Avoid ALL refined, processed carbs
I am trying to do a 3 week Low Carb/Sugar Diet quarterly through out the year.  I'm not doing this to loose weight (although that might be a side benefit) but am doing it to help my body heal and to get a break from this high carb society.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dinosaur Flannel Rag Quilt

Cuddle up with this huge dinosaur rag quilt featuring cosey flannel fabric. The quilt is approximately 75" x 47 1/2"  and has two layers of flannel sewn together with the seams on the outside sandwiched with a cotton batting. To make this quilt a rag quilt,  cuts have been made along all the seams.  Quilt is pre-washed before it's arrival to your door to make the seems fray which gives it the cute 'rag quilt' qualities.

Animal shape rag quilts are an ideal blanket for the home, auto, travelling, school or babysitter, and simply as an extra little something to snuggle up with. Makes a lovely and unique gift.

I made the above quilt for my grandson.  I can make one for you in similar colors or other color combinations of your choice.

Cost:  $110.00 plus shipping

CONTACT ME for details on payment.  Allow 2 weeks for construction and 10 days for shipping.  I ship only tro the contenintal US

Ways to Build Your Immune System - PART ONE

Wow it's fall already and the little ladies with the needles are out everywhere trying to give you a flu shot.  Good news is that there is a better way to get through the cold and flu season without invaiding your body with toxins.

Germs are everywhere.  The key is to build up your immune system to fight them off so today we are going to share with you 10 strageties that can help build that immune system in to a big mean fighting machine.

VEGETABLE BASKETOne site said, "Eat Like Peter Rabbit".  I like that.  Bad, unwholesome food impairs immune function.  This includes  avoiding French fries, soft drinks and most importantly SUGAR.

The best way to build and increase the action of those action warriors, your white blood cells, is to enhance your intake of fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  It's also important to get an adequate amount of good protein.

If you are a new mother and worried about your infant getting the cold or the flu.  Breast milk is your babies first defense against sickness and disease.

A great way to add fruits and vegetables to your or your child's diet is smoothies.  Who doesn't like a smoothie?

Pumpkin Smoothie (adapted from Healthful Pursuit)

Ingredients (1 smoothie)
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (frozen)
  • 1/2 banana (frozen)
  • 1 tbsp raisins or 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch all spice
  • Whipped Topping (optional)
  • Place everything but whipped topping in the blender.
  • Blend until smooth
  • Pour into your favorite glass and place a couple tablespoons of coconut whipped cream on top.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon if you’d like!

According to Dr Sear's there are eight food substances that can help build your Immune System:

Vitamin C. Vitamin C tops the list of immune boosters for many reasons. There has been more research about the immune-boosting effects of Vitamin C than perhaps any other nutrient. Vitamin C supplements are inexpensive to produce, and it's available naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Also, you can buy a vitamin-C-fortified version of just about anything. Here's what the research shows about how this mighty vitamin protects your body.
You don't have to take in massive amounts of vitamin C to boost your immune system. Around 200 milligrams a day seems to be a generally agreed-upon amount and one that can be automatically obtained by eating at least six servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Check this link out for the TOP 10 FOODS CONTAINING VITAMIN C

Vitamin E. This important antioxidant and immune booster doesn't get as much press as vitamin C, yet it's important to a healthy immune system.

Vitamin E stimulates the production of natural killer cells, those that seek out and destroy germs and cancer cells. Vitamin E enhances the production of B-cells, the immune cells that produce antibodies that destroy bacteria. Vitamin E supplementation may also reverse some of the decline in immune response commonly seen in aging.

You need 100-400 milligrams per day, depending on your general lifestyle. People who don't exercise, who smoke, and who consume high amounts of alcoholic beverages will need the higher dosage. Those with a more moderate lifestyle can get by with lower levels of supplementation.

Check this link out for a great list of 15 FOODS TO BOOST VITAMIN E

Carotenoids. Beta carotene increases the number of infection-fighting cells, natural killer cells, and helper T-cells, as well as being a powerful antioxidant that mops up excess free radicals that accelerate aging. Like the other "big three" antioxidants, vitamins C and E, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by interfering with how the fats and cholesterol in the bloodstream oxidize to form arterial plaques. Beta carotene is the number one carotenoid. Researchers believe that it is not just beta carotene that produces all these good effects, but all the carotenoids working together. This is why getting carotenoids in food may be more cancer-protective than taking beta carotene supplements.

To  much vitamin A can be toxic to the body, so it's better to get extra beta carotene from foods and let the body naturally regulate how much of this precursor is converted to the immune-fighting vitamin A. It's highly unlikely that a person could take in enough beta carotene to produce a toxic amount of vitamin A, because when the body has enough vitamin A, it stops making it.

Check this link out for the TOP 10 FOODS PACKING VITAMIN A

Bioflavenoids. A group of phytonutrients called bioflavenoids aids the immune system by protecting the cells of the body against environmental pollutants. Bioflavenoids protect the cell membranes against the pollutants trying to attach to them. Along the membrane of each cell there are microscopic parking spaces, called receptor sites. Pollutants, toxins, or germs can park here and gradually eat their way into the membrane of the cell, but when bioflavenoids fill up these parking spots there is no room for toxins to park. Bioflavenoids also reduce the cholesterol's ability to form plaques in arteries and lessen the formation of microscopic clots inside arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Studies have shown that people who eat the most bioflavenoids have less cardiovascular disease.A diet that contains a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, at least six servings per day, will help you get the bioflavenoids needed to help your immune system work in top form.

Check this link out for the 9 FOODS RICH IN BIOFLAVENOIDS

Zinc. This valuable mineral increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection and helps them fight more aggressively. While some studies claim that zinc supplements in the form of lozenges can lower the incidence and severity of infections, other studies have failed to show this correlation. A word of caution: too much zinc in the form of supplements (more than 75 milligrams a day) can inhibit immune function. It's safest to stick to getting zinc from your diet and aim for 15 to 25 milligrams a day.

Check this link out for the TOP TEN FOODS HIGH IN ZINC

Garlic. This flavorful member of the onion family is a powerful immune booster that stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells, boosts natural killer cell activity, and increases the efficiency of antibody production. The immune-boosting properties of garlic seem to be due to its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin and sulfides. Garlic can also act as an antioxidant that reduces the build-up of free radicals in the bloodstream. Garlic may also play a part in getting rid of potential carcinogens and other toxic substances.

Selenium.  Best food sources of selenium are tuna, red snapper, lobster, shrimp, whole grains, vegetables (depending on the selenium content of the soil they're grown in), brown rice, egg yolks, cottage cheese, chicken (white meat), sunflower seeds, garlic, Brazil nuts (2-3 a day), and lamb chops.

Check this link out for the TOP 10 FOODS HIGH IN SELENIUM

Omega-3 fatty acids. A study found that children taking a half teaspoon of flax oil a day experienced fewer and less severe respiratory infections and fewer days of being absent from school. The omega 3 fatty acids in flax oil and fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) act as immune boosters by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. (This is why grandmothers insist on a daily dose of unpalatable cod liver oil.) Essential fatty acids also protect the body against damage from over-reactions to infection. One way to get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is to add one to three teaspoons of flax oil to a fruit and yogurt smoothie.

Check this link out for the TOP TEN FOODS HIGH IN OMEGA 3'S

Monday, September 17, 2012

Adding Basil

The most loved herb of summer, basil adds a bit of magic to just about every kind of dish from appetizer to salad to dessert. The best thing is that Basil can be easily grown indoors in the winter.  It is a member of the mint family and can add a special flavor to many dishes.

How To Chop Basil....what in the world is a chiffonade?

This is a great video on how to cut basil from the plant and then chop it so you don't bruise it.

Everyone knows about Pesto but many of you haven't tried it.  Be brave and give it a try.  Toss it with pasta, spread it on sandwiches, or dollop it into soup. There's just no end to the versatility of the Italian condiment called pesto. A mixture of fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan cheese, this simple spread can be whipped up in 10 minutes.

The Food Network had this great article 50 Things to Make with Pesto with the above picture.  Now you give it a try.

Basil Is More Than Pesto

Basil is most famously added with Tomatoes and Mozzarella Cheese.  In fact you can just slice tomatoes and alternate them with sliced Mozzarella Cheese to a platter, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped Basil.

Try this great fish recipe:  Baked Tilapia with Tomato and Basil  The recipe link includes some great 'how to videos'.


I personally loved OLD FASHIONED LIVING's page on Basil.  Go there for tips on growing and using Basil.

Finally, it's time to preserve some basil.  True to my prediction we are threatening a frost tonight here in Nebraska already.  A bit early as I thought might happen.  The weather has been weird to say the least.  Basil is a tender perinal and needs to be protected from the cold.

There are several ways to preserve Basil for the winter months.  First of all, PESTO can be made and frozen in small containers.

Life On the Balcony offered THREE WAYS TO PRESERVE BASIL which offered the three basic options.

freezing herbs

I liked the Simply Canning site's complete instructions on freezing basil complete with the above picture

If you just can't stand the thought of not having fresh Basil in the winter here's a way to take a piece of your Basil plant and root it to grow indoors in the winter.

Container grown basil does have some special needs over that grown in the garden.
  • Use well-drained, nutrient rich potting soil and check the pH every four to six weeks. Although basil isn't fussy about soil composition, it will grow best in a soil with about a 6.0 to 7.5 pH. Maintain pH with a good organic fertilizer at about half the recommended strength on the label.
  • Keep the earth moist, but not soggy. After watering, drain excess water from the plant saucer.
  • If a sunny window isn't available, grow your basil under artificial lighting. Ten to twelve hours a day under a fluorescent shop fixture is an economical way to provide your plants with the light requirements they need.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rooting Bushes

No rooting hormone but I wanted to root some old fashion spiria bushes to fill in my section easier.
THEN, I ran across this idea!

 Open your kitchen cabinet and grab some cinnamon. Plant stems dipped in it will kill fungus and bacteria to help keep those new cuttings free of disease while rooting

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Did you know that sweet potatoes can be baked in a crockpot? Simply wash several sweet potatoes, drain but don't dry them (you will need some moisture) and place in the crockpot. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 to 6 hours, depending on the size of the sweet potatoes. That's all there is to it.

It only costs a few pennies to run a crockpot vs the amount it costs to heat up a whole oven.  Our sweet potatoes cooked in the crockpot was perfect especially since there it only the two of us.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cold & Flu Tincture From Your Garden

This is made from a group of herbs easily grown in your garden or landscape, all of which are said to have healing/immune building properties.  This recipe is for informational purposes only and is not meant to take the place of  your doctor.

Supplies needed:

-Solvent (i.e. 100 proof distilled alchol or vegetable glycerin)
-quart sized glass mason jar
-fresh and dried herbs below


-2 ounces dried Echinacea root (how to harvest)
-1 ounce fresh lemon balm leaves
-1 ounce fresh horehound leaves
-1 ounce fresh sage leaves

  1. Measure your herbs using a small kitchen scale
  2. Chop fresh herbs, until fine
  3. Add all herbs to glass jar
  4. Pour solvent over herbs to fill the jar.  The solvent should rise 1-2 inces above the herbs
  5. Place the lid on the jar and shake until the herbs are well combined.
  6. Label the jar with contents and date
  7. Set in a warm, sunny window and steep for 2-6 weeks, shaking daily
  8. Strain with a cheesecloth, compost the plant material, and place tincture in dark colored bottles for storage in a cool, dark place.  The tincture should keep for up to 5 years.

Adult Dosage
At the sudden onset of cold and flu symptoms, begin taking 1/4-1/2 a teaspoon of the tincture every 30 minutes to an hour until symptoms subside.

Child Dosage
I recomment calculating a child's dose by using the "Young's Rule."  Add 12 to the child's age then divide his/her age by that number.  For example a 6 year old would calculate at 6/18 or .22 I would give her 33% of an adult dose.

** Information on the traditional uses and properties of herbs are provided on this site is for educational use only, and is not intended as medical advice. Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Many traditional uses and properties of herbs have not been validated by the FDA. If you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs. **

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thinking About The Holidays

There are just 73 days until Thanksgiving, just 90 days (actually the evening of 12/8) until Hanukkah and 106 days until Christmas!

Do you long for a stress filled holiday season?  I've been working on Holiday gifts for several months now.  I have to.........I have 18 grandchildren!  What a Blessing!

It's not to early to plan.  What day will you celebrate with who?  What gifts will you give?  How much will you spend?  Will you create your own gifts this year?  What will you cook?  Who will come?  Planning ahead leaves stress behind.  I used to tell my 4-H kids, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

I ran across this site that I subscribed to that hopefully will remind me to do certain tasks that I never thought of and that will help me to get things done.  I have never recieved the emails so I can't totally say I agree with everything that is posted but I'm hoping it will help.

101 days to christmas

101 Days to Christmas  is a focus site from Organized Christmas, day-by-day Christmas organizing site 101 Days to Christmas is designed to help you prepare for the coming holiday season, one day at a time.

Beginning on September 15, 2012, they'll post daily holiday tips for a simpler, stress-free Christmas season. So go there and sign up to get a daily reminder that will help you have an organized Holiday season.

Friday, September 7, 2012

How To Care For Your Backyard Blackberries

Blackberries are probably the easiest plants to add to any edible landscape and delishious too!  It is a good thing to know the differences between varieties of blackberries that are available.  The basice difference is thorns--some blackberry plants have thorns and others are thornless.  In Grandma Farmer's garden we have the thornless variety which makes them safer for my grandchildren's little hands to reach in and harvest.

Erect blackberry plants grow upright and tend to stand on their own without needing any additional support. These are ideal if you are hoping to grow these plants in containers or if you are adding them as a point of interest in your home garden.

Semi-erect blackberry plants have a spreading nature and will require a little support, in the form of a trellis, to continue to grow up and off the ground.

You can also find illustrations of different kinds of blackberry trellises from the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service if you want to try your hand at constructing your own!

Homemade Berry Trellis
Homemade Trellis
via DeWayne Harrell of HobbyBerries
Mulching Blackberries is an excellant idea.  The recent drought in our area has convinced me that even the toughest of blackberries are not immuned to the horrible effects of drought and extreme heat.  When I'm pruning the bushes this season (see below) I will add 1-2 inches of compost and 2-3 inches of wood/leaf mulch combination.  This will not only feed the plants but add a cover to retain moisture for the plants.

Pruning blackberry bushes can not only help keep blackberries healthy, but will also help it to have a larger crop. Blackberry pruning is easy to do once you know the steps.

One of the most common questions about blackberries is “when do you cut back blackberry bushes?” There are actually 2 different types of blackberry pruning you should be doing and each must be done at different times of the year.

  1. In the early spring, you will be tip pruning blackberry bushes. In the spring, you should be doing tip pruning on your blackberries. Tip pruning is exactly what it sounds like, it is cutting off the tips of the blackberry canes. This will force the blackberry canes to branch out, which will create more wood for blackberry fruit to grow on and therefore more fruit. While you are tip pruning, you can also prune off any diseased or dead canes.
  2. In late summer, you will be doing clean up blackberry pruning. In the summer, after the blackberries are done fruiting, you will need to do clean up blackberry pruning. Blackberries only produce fruit on canes that are 2 years old, so once a cane has produced berries, it will never produce berries again. Cutting these spent canes off the blackberry bush will encourage the plant to produce more fist year canes, which in turn, will mean more fruit producing canes next year

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Salmon Cakes

Serves Two -  Serve a Salad on the side.  These are also wonderful served in a bun with sweet potato fries on the side.

  • 7 ounces canned, wild caught salmon, drained
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup small-diced red onion
  • 1 stalk small-diced celery
  • 2 Tablespoons cup small-diced green bell pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons shredded carrot 
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Dash hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 1/2 slices stale bread, crusts removed OR 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Drain salmon and flake.  Place in refrigerator to chill.
  2. Place 1 tablespoons of the butter, 1 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery, peppers, carrots, parsley, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Break the bread slices in pieces and process the bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. You should have about 1/2 cup of bread crumbs. Place the bread crumbs on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly browned, tossing occasionally.
  4. Flake the chilled salmon into a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the vegetable mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into 4-5 (2 1/2 to 3-ounce) cakes.
  5. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
  6. Add the salmon cakes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven and serve hot.

Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

Here's a great low-carb dish to serve when you need to reduce your carbs.

8 ounces Thinly Sliced Roast Beef
8 slices Provolone Cheese
1 medium Sweet Onion
8 ounces Baby Bella Mushrooms
2 Green Peppers
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Slice peppers in half lenthwise, remove ribs and seeds
  2. Slice onions and mushrooms.  Saute over medium heat with butter, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper.  Saute until onions and mushrooms are nice and caramelized. About 25-30 minutes.  Add the minced garlic the last minute.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  4. Slice roast beef into thin strips and add to the onion/mushroom mixture.  Allow to cook 5-10 minutes.
  5. Line the inside of each pepper with a slice of provolone cheese
  6. Fill each pepper with meat mixture until they are nearly overflowing
  7. Top each pepper with another slice of provolone cheese.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown.
  9. Make 4 servings - 6 carb per serving.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pickled Garlic


12 large heads garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons sea salt
2-4 tablespoons whey

**The quickest way to get whey is to place a cup of plain yogurt in a cheese cloth and hang in a jar.  Let the whey drip from the yogurt overnight in the frig.  You should have about 1/4-1/2 cup of whey and what remains is yogurt cheese which is a low fat version of cream cheese with all the goodies (probotics and enzymes).


  1. Set the garlic heads in a 300 degree oven and bake until heads open and cloves can be easily removed.  This doesn't take long so watch then carefully!
  2. Remove garlic from skins and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar.
  3. Mix oregano salt and whey with 1/2 cup water.  Pour over garlic, adding more water if necessary to cover the garlic.  The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.
  4. Cover tights and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.
This garlic will keep in  your refrigerator for several months.

Eat two a day to keep Colds and Flu at bay or use in any garlic dishes as you would regular garlic.  This fermented garlic will be milder that normal garlic.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pincushion Gifts

I was looking for a Pincushion to make for a gift exchange at my quilt group and found this cute idea.  I think I'm going to use the tiny 4 ounce canning jars and fill it with old buttons.  Maybe I'll use this idea for gifts for all my sewing friends!

Supplies you will need:• Mason jar (complete with ring and lid sealer)
• Fabric
• Cardboard
• Batting
• Glue Gun
• Scissors
• Pen

Step 1:• Trace lid sealer onto cardboard and cut out.
• Cut a circle out of fabric that is approximately 1" in diameter larger than the lid sealer. Don't worry about it being perfect because your edges will soon be tucked away and out of site.

Step 2:
• Form batting into a ball and place between fabric and cardboard circles. Push through bottom of ring until fabric and batting pop through the top and cardboard hits the rim.

Step 3:
• Fold edges of fabric around the cardboard and tightly glue into place. If it's too bulky the lid will not screw onto the jar. I learned this the hard way. Thanks again sis for bailing me out ;)

Step 4:
• Line inside rim and center of cardboard with glue. Push Sealer through rim and hold firmly until glue is set.

Step 5:• Stick pins into cushion, screw lid onto jar and fill with all types of sewing goodness.

Used by permission from the LITTLE PAPER DOG

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Surrendered In Praise

Whenever I'm low and sinking down
When I'm overwhelmed and doubts abound
When I've lost all heart and the will to fight
When despair sets in and my day is night
Lift up my head, make steel my gaze
Cast out my fear, move me to faith
Surrendered in praise
To Your glorious grace, Jesus

Whenever I'm tired and I feel alone
When oppression mounts and trials come
When the father of lies, his arrows fly
When there are no answers
And my dreams, they die

In my heart of hearts where these battles rage
My strength it fails and my courage fades
In my distress I cry aloud to You

You lift my head, and You steel my gaze
You cast out fear, and I'm moved to faith
Surrendered in praise
To Your glorious grace, Jesus

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Day 7 Low Carb Fast Day 7 Menu

2 eggs scrambled in 2 teaspoons coconut oil, with 1 ounce diced ham, 2 tablespoons each diced zucchini, onion, mushrooms. (heat oil in skillet, saute the veggies first then add the beaten eggs to scramble.  Use medium heat)

Green Vegetable Juice

Large salad with chopped romaine, raw mushrooms, red pepper (can use green), shredded carrot and chopped broccoli.  Add 4 ounces meat of your choice.

1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1/2 cup diced fresh peaches or pineapple or 1/8 of a canteloupe

Unstuffed Cabbage

Low Carb Fast Day 6 Menu with recipes


Three Hard Boiled Eggs
Low Carb Blueberry Muffin

Green Vegetable Juice

Chicken Club Salad

1 cup strawberries with 1/2 cup yogurt

Chinese Five Spice Chicken
Asian Broccoli Stir Fry


Low Carb Blueberry Muffins
  • 2 cups almond flour/almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup blueberries (if frozen thaw first)
1) Preheat oven to 350 F.

2) Butter a muffin tin. You can really do it with any size, but I'm basing the recipe on a 12-muffin tin.

3) Mix dry ingredients together well.

4) Add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly (You don't want strings of egg white in there and you don't have to worry about "tunnels" when you are using almond meal).

5) Put in muffin tins (about 1/2 to 2/3 full) and bake for about 15 minutes.

Chicken Club Salad
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1 heart of Romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons  mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • pinch pepper
  • 2 cooked bacon strips, chopped
  1. Roughly Chop the lettuce into a large bowl.
  2. Combine the chicken, bacon, celery and onions, add to the bowl. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour over chicken mixture and toss all together.
Serves Two

Chinese Five Spice Chicken

  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken (any combination -- ideal if they are similar sizes -- works great for thighs, but I've done a variety)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry sherry
  1. Combine all ingredients except chicken, and use as marinade. Then, marinate chicken at least an hour, but can marinate overnight.
  2. Bake in a 375 F. oven (baste once or twice), or grill, for about 45 minutes or until done.
 This recipe has no carbohydrate.  Serves 2-3
Asian Broccoli Stir Fry
  • 1/2 bunch broccoli - cut into florets, stem peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, grated, or pressed
  • 1 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
  1. Lightly steam broccoli, or microwave in a covered container in small amount of water for 3 minutes.
  2. While that is happening, if the almonds aren't toasted, you can do that in the skillet you're going to use for the broccoli - either in a dry pan or a small amount of oil.
  3. Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, sherry, and sweetener.
  4. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet.
  5. Stir-fry the broccoli in hot oil for 1-2 minutes, until almost tender. Push to the edges of the pan.
  6. Put ginger and garlic in the center of the pan (add a little more oil if need be), and saute 30-60 seconds, until fragrant.
  7. Put sauce in the pan, and toss all ingredients together. Top with almonds.
Makes 3-4 servings.