Sunday, January 29, 2012

Herbs, Herbs, Everywhere

Today was fairly relaxing, but also productive.  Sometimes my non-relaxing days don't feel very productive!  I had no plans for the day when it started, other than I was going to do something I wanted to do, no "work". 

I didn't lounge around in bed very long.  I had a simple breakfast, but I can't even remember now what it was!  I do remember there was a cup of fresh chicken broth hot out of the crock pot, though.  I cleaned up the kitchen after eating, and put on some water to boil for kombucha.  We had two 3-quart batches to bottle, combination of black tea and blueberry herbal tea.  I put some crushed pineapple into half of the bottles, and some frozen blueberries into the other half.  We like to add fruit and let it sit out a couple more days for a second ferment.  I used the same tea combination to start the next two batches.

After the kombucha, I decided it was time to strain the herbs in the mini crock pot and add beeswax.  I was making a congestion chest rub (homemade "Vick's").  The crock doesn't have different temperature settings, so it was probably hotter than ideal, but still perfectly usable; the herbs got a bit crunchy, but weren't used in the finished product anyway.  Hubby said it isn't like Vick's unless it smells like eucalyptus, so I added some eucalyptus essential oil drops, which did give it a nice smell.

So then I had an empty crock, and decided to fill it with something.  I got out my 18-gallon Rubbermaid tote full of herbs and started digging.  I decided to make a glycerin tincture of my Restful Sleep herb blend.  Sometimes I could just use a little bit of help relaxing at night.  It should be ready to be strained and put into a jar in a couple days.

My Mama's Red Raspberry Brew supply was almost gone, so I mixed up quite a large batch of it.  Now I have no real excuse for not making enough to drink every day.  Some of my herbs are now in low supply, so I will have to get more.

The last few years I have started wildcrafting my own herbs whenever possible.  As I went through my box today, I made a list of everything I have on hand, and I was surprised to realize that nearly half are herbs that I picked and dried myself!  Of course, many of those I only have a small quantity, and some I've never even used, but I have them, and my goal is to figure out for what purpose they can best be used, and then start using them.

I know I need to make some more tinctures to have on hand.  Lobelia, Valerian, and Olive Leaf will be some of the first I make when I get a new supply of vodka.  I will probably make some things in glycerin instead of alcohol.  And others, like Jungle Juice, I will make both and then mix them.  The alcohol extracts more of the "good stuff" from the herbs, but tastes nasty, so a combination of that w/ a glycerin tincture, which is sweet, will make them easier to take, or at least not so nasty tasting.

Many people will get rid of their herbs after a year or two, because they lose their potency.  That is probably true; however, I am frugal to the point of ridiculousness in some things, and definitely with my herbs and spices!  I'm sure some of my herbs are at least 6 years old, but I figure if I can still smell them and taste them, then they aren't ready for the compost pile yet.  I would store them in the freezer, if I had space, but I don't.  I have them each in plastic zip-lock bags and in the plastic tote.  Ideally, I would at least keep them in a cool place, but I haven't always had that option.  At least they are in the dark, protected from the sunlight.

It's almost time to mix up some more tooth powder, too.  Each time it turns out differently.  I typically use baking soda and/or sea salt as a base and go from there.  Some things I might use are: black walnut hull powder, activated charcoal, xylitol, peppermint oil, and cinnamon.  I have also mixed it with coconut oil or glycerin a couple times, but a powder seems to work just fine.  Just wet the toothbrush and dip it in.

So now my herbs are packed away again for a while.  I have some sewing projects I need to get to soon, as well as some subjects I have been tasked with educating myself about.

I swept and mopped the kitchen and dining room today, as well.  It was sunny and warm enough that I could shake out all the rugs outside and leave the door open while I did the floors.  But windy enough to shut it again afterward.

The seven hens provided us with five eggs today, which is above average for wintertime.  They are funny creatures, and I find it enjoyable to catch, hug, and pet them, although I'm pretty sure they don't find it nearly as enjoyable.  But they seem to like me; after all, I am the one bringing them food and water and fresh hay in which to scratch around.

I did the T-Tapp Basic Plus Tempo workout today, and also did 10 push-ups before and after.  My body has some muscles that haven't been used in quite a while that were really protesting during that second set!  Some of my crazy friends are doing this challenge of 100 push-ups every day this year.  I may be crazy, but I'm not THAT crazy!  Perhaps by the end of the year I'll be able to do 100 in a day.  Yeah, I think I can handle that goal.

Well, another Sunday is over and done, and my bed is calling to me.  Another day of work awaits me on the morrow.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday ~ January 26

What am I thankful for today?  Hmmm  Maybe I should have decided what to write before starting!  Actually, it isn't that I can't think of anything, it's trying to choose just one for today.  Okay, so I'll name a few!

  • New really cute Smartwool socks.  I got 2 pair on a great clearance sale!  And yes, I got the purple and pink striped socks.
  • My Babylock sewing machine.  I've had it for many years, and I still love it just as much as the day I got it.  And it's been great fun having it out and using it several times a week.
  • Fresh chicken eggs.  Which reminds me that I should go give those little ladies some "fresh" hay in which to scratch around and fling everywhere. 
  • My friends.  I mostly only "see" them on Facebook, but occasionally I get to see them in person, or at least talk on the phone, too. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Roasted Potatoes

Roasted Potatoes

January 25, 2012 at 7:04 pm
Yield: Makes 8 servings
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 1 1/4 hours

  • 4 lb small (1 1/2- to 2-inch) boiling potatoes, such as white, Yukon Gold, or Red, peeled (NOTE:  we used larger potatoes, kept the skin on, and just cut into smaller chunks, and they were delicious)
  • 3/4 cup rendered goose fat, or duck fat (this is a holiday recipe, assuming you are also roasting a goose or duck.  We used olive oil and it was just fine)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper (I used a roasted garlic and herb spice blend; use what you want/have)

  1. Preheat oven to 450*
  2. Cover potatoes with salted cold water, simmer, uncovered, until just tender, 12-20 minutes, depending on type of potato.  Drain in a colander and pat dry.
  3. Toss potatoes with fat/oil in a bowl, Spread potatoes in 1 layer in a large roasting pan and roast in middle of oven, turning once, until golden, about 30 minutes.  Toss with salt and pepper. (I added the seasonings with the oil, and didn't turn the potatoes.)

Potatoes may be boiled ahead, cooled, and chilled, to be cooked later.

They could have baked a little longer, to get crispier, but we were HUNGRY and tired of waiting :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Starting Over With Weight Loss

I am frustrated and slightly disgusted with myself right now.

Last winter I was walking a lot, and had cut out sugar, and I was getting thinner and feeling great.  Then I kind of went on vacation and started eating as much junk as I wanted and very few walks for a couple months.  In the fall I tried to get my act together with regular exercise, but I failed.  I'm great at short-term goals, but once those are over I just go back to normal.

Well, here I am a year later, weighing and measuring bigger!  I refuse to continue this way, though.  What am I going to do about it?

I've been "mostly" sugar-free since last Sunday.  What that means is 1) No sugary desserts; 2) If I need to sweeten my oats or whatever, I will use stevia or honey; 3) I am not worrying about sugar in bread at this time, but I will try to cut back on bread consumption (only b/c I love it so much and eat more than I should); 4) Fruit is okay.

I am also starting T-Tapp.  I'm going to do the "boot camp" again, and then try to get it in every other day.  It's only about 20 minutes of my time, but if I don't get it done first thing in the morning it is really difficult to get to it later.  A mental thing, I know.

I also am going to do a Coconut Oil Cleanse soon.  I'll have to get stocked up on some good coconut oil first, though!

Hopefully this will be the year that I finally lose all that "baby weight" I've been carrying around.  50 pounds is the goal, and/or 3-4 sizes.  My first baby turned 20 yesterday.  It's about time I worked on looking like I did before I had children!

My wonderful husband loves me no matter how I look, but I want to look good for him.  He is mainly concerned about my health, and I'm certainly not getting any younger!  I want to be healthy and strong and active.  I know my current (and years-long) habit of inactivity has not been good for me.

Help keep me going!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday ~ January 19

I thank God for this day, for the chance to play outside
For the birds in the trees, for his love that's deep and wide.
For the air that I breathe, for my friends and family.
That's why I say thanks everyday.

'Cause a thankful heart is a happy heart.
I'm glad for what I have, that's an easy place to start.
For the love that He shares as He listens to my prayers,
that's why I say thanks everyday.

I thank God for this night, for the stars in the sky.
For the hug from my mom, for my special lullaby.
For the chance to have rest, for the reasons I am blessed.
That's why we say thanks everyday.

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart.
I'm glad for what I have, that's an easy place to start.
For the love that we share as He listens to our prayers, 
that's why we say thanks everyday.

That's why we say thanks everyday. 
~ Song by Phil Vischer

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Whole Wheat Buns (which are actually Rolls)

Whole Wheat Buns (which are actually Rolls)

January 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm
Recipe from Zoar ALCW Cookbook 1982, Minnesota/South Dakota
Contributed by Arlene Harstad Woolery

1/2 cup warm water
2 cakes yeast (1 cake=3 pkg) (1 pkg=2 1/4 tsp), so 2 cakes=rounded 1/4 cup
2 teaspoons sugar

1. Mix together and set aside. 
a 1-quart container isn't large enough for the yeast mixture. You have been warned!

4 cups scalded milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup molasses
3/4 cup shortening (I used butter)
3 eggs, beaten
4 cups whole wheat flour
9 cups white flour

2. In large bowl, pour scalded milk over sugar, salt, molasses, shortening.
3. Cool to lukewarm, then add some (2 cups) of the flour and beat; add yeast mixture and beat.
4. Add more flour (2 cups) and beaten eggs and beat well.
5. Stir in rest of white flour.  Let rest a few minutes.
6. Put on floured board and knead well.
7. Let rise twice. (I put in greased bowl in warm spot)
8. Shape and bake in 350* oven.Cookbook says "Makes about 75 buns."  LOL  I think they meant small round rolls to get that many :)  I made large rolls, about 25, and it took 18-20 minutes to bake.

Baked for 14 minutes

And the jury votes it's a winner! Especially with butter :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

June 9, 2008: The Beginning

Here I am once again, starting a blog. I started my first one 3+ years ago at modblog, but that site eventually disintegrated. Before it completely went away, I started one at Yahoo!360, and rescued most of my postings--yea!. My blog settings are set to "friends of friends", so if you don't have a yahoo account, then you won't be able to read them (plus, you might have to ask to be my friend!) I might change it to public again at some point in time. We'll see. I have one at Xanga, but decided to limit that one to my sewing exploits...which haven't been too many! I also tried one at EFx2, but that, too seems to have gone away. (You can tell I don't do much blogging!)

! I don't know how often I will get on here, but I hope it can be a safe place for me to vent my frustrations, share my sorrows, and more importantly to celebrate the joys and pleasures that come my way. I hope my new friends will feel free to comment at will. Join me in my journey!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How Many Times Can One Start Over?

It's been over a year since I last posted.  Again.  Ugh.  I really do seem to lack consistency, at least in this area.  Well, since it's a new year, maybe - just maybe - I can start writing.  Consistently.  At least once a week.  Yeah, that would be great.  We shall see :)