Saturday, November 27, 2010

Strawberry Raspberry Kefir Smoothie


After receiving my kefir grains the day before thanksgiving I have been making kefir..

While I have sipped on it I am finding it hard to palate.. hoping as I get used to the flavor I will be able to drink it raw but as of now I have been making it into yummy smoothies!!

Here's my recipe feel free to tweak but I think this is amazing!

Brittany's Strawberry Raspberry Smoothie:

- 1 teaspoon creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey (go local)
- 4 or 5 ice cubes
- 3/4 cup cold kefir
- 1/2 cup mixed strawberries and raspberries ( I do a couple more strawberries then raspberries)

Add everything to blender and blend well until everything is a smooth cremy texture

-Enjoy-

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving filled with love, family, and food!

Please take care and be safe!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

To be one with nature

Have you ever buried your feet in the dirt?

Have you ever reached your hand into your soil and really looked at it?

When was the last time you sat on the ground and really just looked around?

Tomorrow after breakfast walk outside take a deep breathe of fresh air, walk to your garden stopping to smell the flowers as you pass them, the take a seat on one your walkways through the gardens and just deep breathe and look around.. the sun shining, the wind blowing, bees buzzing, the dew glistening on the leaves of your plants, maybe your animals walking around enjoying themself... then reach your hands into your soil feeling the moisture, seeing how it falls from your hand... then bury your feet in it... wriggle your toes around a little, feel its coolness...

Yes this will be the start to reunite you with nature, it seems we have all grown apart so much we don't appreciate her and her beauty that comes in the forms of trees, plants, flowers, weeds, wind, sun, water, almost everything you interact with daily that is not man made...

The next time you pick a fruit or vegetable thank the plant it came from... the next time you cut a tree apologize for its hurt... yes it may seem strange but it seems amazing how connected you will feel to the things around you when we stop taking advantage of it and start loving it again : )

Let's work together to unite the people with nature and stop abusing our planet.

Turkey day otherwise known as thanksgiving

Aw yes thanksgiving... a day of family, good food, giving thanks, and football.

This year I am hosting dinner well I guess a very early dinner or late lunch (2 or 3pm)

On the table:

Mashed potatoes
Turkey stuffed with celery, apples, garlic, and onions
Cranberry sauce
Green beans
Broccoli
Pumpkin pie (made from a real pumpkin) (see recipe in past post)
Stuffing
Salad
And fresh baked bread

Yummmmm.....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nov 21st - Sweetwater Organic Farmers Market

Todays farmers market was a first of many for my family! Filled with good food, fun clothing, and great people!!

I loved today! Made a trip out to Sweetwater Organic Farm for their Sunday farmers market.
Booths of everything you could want. Handmade crafts like garden art, handmade purses, organic cotton and hemp clothing, lots of organic produce, and even some prepared foods like veggie burgers, smoothies, and yummy salsas!!

So today I bought a handstiched patchwork purse, yummy salsa (chipolte), and a dozen farm fresh eggs.

Ah yes there's nothing better then farm fresh eggs... it even encouraged me to make breakfast for dinner!
Bacon, over easy eggs, and some whole wheat toast! Both my daughter and I loved every bite especially the "eyes" (this is what my daughter calls eggs)

Now I'm relaxing before this work week and a busy thanksgiving since I'm hosting this year!

Homemade Laundry Soap

Homemade Laundry Soap

1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap( you can use normal people soap like dove but use a whole bar)

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup borax powder

1 - 2 gallon bucket

1/2 oz of essential oil (optional)

Grate the soap into a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add 4 cups hot water and essential oil to the bucket. Now add your soap mixture. Stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel into something along the lines of egg white. You use 1/2 cup per load.

Today I am using lilac essential oil as my scent.. mmmmm : )

This floridian loves cool weather!

Ah such a nice breeze on this cool day! In about the 70's during the day but with a brisk night in the 50's and 60's I am loving this! Its cool enough to really enjoy the outside without breaking into sweat and warm enough to not have to wear a sweater! Here's what I have been up to this week!!

This past week has been wonderful we celebrated my birthday with a nice meal out, drinks, and a vacation!!

Day 1 (Nov 16th): Chilis dinner with drinks and friends to celebrate my birthday : )

Day 2: Downtown disney and a night at a hotel in orlando

Day 3: All day at Magic Kingdom Disney World

Day 4: Home with cleaning, organizing, and eating a pot of chili! Yummm

Day 5: A wonderful harvest of corn, long beans, amaranth, and malabar spinach!

Day 6 (Nov 21st): Cleaning up the backyard, turning the compost pile, cleaning the chicken mini coop, and a wonderful trip to the farmers market!!

Ah yes a wonderful filling vacation of adventure and family!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Homemade Household Cleaners

Shopping List:

Baking Soda and Washing Soda

Vinegar

Rubbing Alcohol

Borax (also near the laundry section)

Mild Dish Detergent (Dawn)

Ammonia
________________________________________

FOR RECIPES SCROLL UP AND CLICK THE TOP PAGE LINK FOR HOMEMADE HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS!!!


~~~DO NOT MIX AMMONIA WITH ANY TYPE OF BLEACH LIQUID... YOU WILL CREATE FUMES THAT CAN BE DEADLY!!!~~~

Saturday, November 13, 2010

BioChar-- Amazing?

After learning about the great power of Biochar I'm holding onto the veggie scraps, branchs, and leaves...

Biochar dates back to pre- cloumbian times where they relized that turning their plant and veggie matter into charcoal and adding it to their soils would great help productivity!

So here's the easiest way to start using biochar in your garden!

Dig foot wide trenchs and about 6 or 7 inchs deep... fill loosley with dry veggie matter and plant waste (dried branchs/leaves/sticks)... set on fire in multiple places using no fire starters (no gas, no lighter fluid, etc)... burn until smoke burns grey... cover with the mounded soil from the sides on trench to put out fire... let smolder until all pieces are small soap sized pieces.. douse with large amounts of water! Done... bio char complete!!!
Congrats

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kefir!

After much exploring and listening I have decided to try kefir.

What is kefir you ask? (From Dom)

Kefir is a refreshing cultured-milk beverage which originated in the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains, believed to date back at least 1,000 years. The tribes-folk of this particular region who possibly developed kefir by shear accident consumed the nutritious beverage in large quantities. These people were renowned for longevity, living long, healthy lives with little to no known disease. An active life span of over one hundred years was common for folks living in the region where kefir was cultured and liberally consumed as part of a staple diet.
Kefir has a uniform, slightly creamy consistency, a sour refreshing flavor, with a slight subtle aroma of fresh yeast [or a very subtle beer-like aroma]. Kefir also has a slightest hint of a natural effervescent zesty tang. Rounding this off, kefir contains about .08 to .1% alcohol is a realistic figure for 1-day cultured kefir.

How to make: (instructions from a fellow homesteader)

What I do is put fresh milk and grains in a mason jar, cover with a
double layer of muslin that has a rubber band around it, and let it sit
24 hours on top of my fridge. The next night I take off the muslin, put
a water tight lid on, give the jar a good shaking, then use a slotted
spoon to fish the grains out of the milk. It takes a bit of fishing, as
they float all over, but I find it easier (less to clean up) than using
a strainer. The grains go directly into a clean jar - pour in milk,
cover and rubber band, put back on top of fridge. Repeat the next
night.

How to take a break! (instructions from a fellow homesteader)

You can take a rest from making kefir by putting the grains in milk and
putting the jar in the fridge. Replace the milk every week or so. You
can also keep back up grains in the freezer, for in case something
happens to your grains (I accidentally poured mine down the sink once, I
thought they were yogurt gone bad and didn't realize what it was until I
saw the bumpy grains in the drain - boy, was I glad I had some
backups!). Put what you want to use as backups in a freezable
container, add some milk, let it freeze, then add more milk and freeze.
The reason to add milk twice is because kefir grains often float, and if
you freeze it, then add more milk, it covers up any parts that might be
exposed. Both refrigerating and freezing will cause your grains to
"hibernate" and it will usually take a couple of 24 hours cycles before
you get nice, creamy kefir again. If it has been very cold when they
are mailed, it may take them a little while to wake up as well. As far
as I know, you can use the kefir that is made while they are waking up,
but it won't be as nice a texture.

So instead of buying those over priced online grains that may or may not be good, i found a fellow homesteader who had plenty to spare. I sent 5$ (just enough to cover express shipping) and i will be receiving my grains after my vacation around the 20th-25th! I'm excited!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A midweek adventure

As my birthday is fast approching (Nov 16th) I had some stuff I wanted to get done around the house.
I took today off work to spend with family and a breather... so around the house I cleaned and organized as well as started cleaning out my daughters toys and somehow everytime we go to a thrift store she ends up with something new.
I will be donating these to a shelter for christmas for kids who have nothing..

I also received a large metal dog crate from my dad that I placed on a tall table out on our porch lined with hay and moved the chickens in.. this will serve as a 2nd larger brooder before the final move out to the coop at about 6 - 8 weeks old. I'm doing this since as my readers know I lost my last 3 chicks to some predator. My last chicks were moved to the coop at 3 weks of age so now I want to wait doubly as long so they are bigger and it gives me more time to make sure their coop is very safe.

My neighbor in the back has decided on getting a big mean dog who loves to bark and growl. Using a temp fix I put up reed fencing to try to block some of the vision so maybe it won't scare my daughter as much..
It was awful we went out to harvest a corn and the stupid dog started jumping up on the fence, gnashing his teeth at us, and barking/ growling so loud my daughter ran screaming and crying inside... *sigh* oh the joys of urban city living...
As soon as christmas is over (currently taking all my extra $$) I will be buying plants the serve as hedges as I know the reed will last for about a year...

We then went to busch gardens theme park where my daughter met and hugged the seasme street cast and rode some rides...

Came home and ate dinner of italin sausage sandwhichs... now listening to the train in the distance as I finish up and head to bed... another 2 days of work before the wonderful weekend!

Hope everyone is having a great week so far!

Monday, November 8, 2010

do NOT toss out that milk..

Don't throw out that unused milk... maybe it was left over from dinner, or stuck in your fridge for to long?

Well feed it to your house plants, compost pile, or just pour into your garden... same thing with your left over whey from cheese making : )

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gardening by the moon Nov 7th-13th

Today's Moon Information
Date: 07 November 2010

Synodic:
Sow leafy vegetables and annuals that produce above ground. Lettuce, Spinach, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Sprouts, Sweetcorn, Cucumber. Grains are also good to plant now. This is a good time to pick vegetables if they are to be stored.

Biodynamic:
Moon in Scorpio: This is a Water sign. It is a good time to sow Leaf plants like Cabbages, Lettuce, but it would not be a good time to sow Fruiting plants like Broad Beans (Fava), Peas, Fruits Harvested now will store for longer.

Sidereal:
Moon in Scorpio: An excellent time for planting, germination and strong sturdy growth will result.




Date: 08 November 2010
Synodic:
Sow leafy vegetables and annuals that produce above ground. Lettuce, Spinach, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Sprouts, Sweetcorn, Cucumber. Grains are also good to plant now. This is a good time to pick vegetables if they are to be stored.

Biodynamic:
Moon in Scorpio: This is a Water sign. It is a good time to sow Leaf plants like Cabbages, Lettuce, but it would not be a good time to sow Fruiting plants like Broad Beans (Fava), Peas, Fruits Harvested now will store for longer.

Sidereal:
Moon in Scorpio: An excellent time for planting, germination and strong sturdy growth will result.



Date: 09 November 2010
Synodic:
Sow leafy vegetables and annuals that produce above ground. Lettuce, Spinach, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Sprouts, Sweetcorn, Cucumber. Grains are also good to plant now. This is not a good time to pick vegetables if they are to be stored.

Biodynamic:
Moon in Scorpio: This is a Water sign. It is a good time to sow Leaf plants like Cabbages, Lettuce, but it would not be a good time to sow Fruiting plants like Broad Beans (Fava), Peas,

Sidereal:
Moon in Sagittarius: Dry and barren. Good time to plant onion sets and bulbs.



Date: 10 November 2010
Synodic:
Sow leafy vegetables and annuals that produce above ground. Lettuce, Spinach, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Sprouts, Sweetcorn, Cucumber. Grains are also good to plant now. This is a good time to pick vegetables if they are to be stored.

Biodynamic:
Moon in Scorpio: This is a Water sign. It is a good time to sow Leaf plants like Cabbages, Lettuce, but it would not be a good time to sow Fruiting plants like Broad Beans (Fava), Peas, Fruits Harvested now will store for longer.

Sidereal:
Moon in Scorpio: An excellent time for planting, germination and strong sturdy growth will result.



Date: 11 November 2010
Synodic:
Sow leafy vegetables and annuals that produce above ground. Lettuce, Spinach, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Sprouts, Sweetcorn, Cucumber. Grains are also good to plant now. This is not a good time to pick vegetables if they are to be stored.

Biodynamic:
Moon in Sagittarius: This is a Fire sign. This is a good time to sow Fruiting plants like Broad Beans (Fava), Peas, but it would not be a good time to sow Leaf plants like Cabbages, Lettuce,

Sidereal:
Moon in Sagittarius: Dry and barren. Good time to plant onion sets and bulbs.



Date: 12 November 2010
Synodic:
This is a good time to sow vegetables that produce internal seed bearing fruits. Tomatoes, beans, peas, peppers, chillis, pumpkins, courgettes.

Biodynamic:
Moon in Capricorn: This is a Earth sign. It is a good time to sow Root plants like Garlic, Horseradish, Jerusalem Artichokes, but it would not be a good time to sow Flower plants like

Sidereal:
Moon in Capricorn: Potatoes and tubers planted now will have a strong growth.




Date: 13 November 2010
Synodic:
This is a good time to sow vegetables that produce internal seed bearing fruits. Tomatoes, beans, peas, peppers, chills, pumpkins, courgettes.

Biodynamic:
Moon in Capricorn: This is a Earth sign. It is a good time to sow Root plants like Garlic, Horseradish, Jerusalem Artichokes, but it would not be a good time to sow Flower plants like

Sidereal:
Moon in Capricorn: Potatoes and tubers planted now will have a strong growth.

Scary article on food inflation...

(NaturalNews) Within a decade, a loaf of wheat bread may cost $23 in a grocery store in the United States, and a 32-oz package of sugar might run $62. A 64-oz container of Minute Maid Orange Juice, meanwhile, could set you back $45.71. This is all according to a new report released Friday by the National Inflation Association which warns consumers about the coming wave of food price inflation that's about to strike the western world....

http://naturalnews.com/030309_food_inflation.html

Stocking up...


This weekend as a early birthday gift my grandmother and I went stock up shopping...

2 large packs of hot Italian sausage, a huge package of lean ground beef, a huge package of porkchops, beef stew meat, a large tub of ice cream, and a assortment of veggies like broccoli, Asian stir fry veggies, and soybeans.. also fresh fruits to freeze... my new floor freezer is 3/4 full with enough room for me to freeze to upcoming harvest!



The best way to freeze fresh fruit is the lay it all on a tray and freeze it flat before putting it in a bag.. this makes it so all the fruit freezes separately instead of a big fruit block : ) There is nothing like a smoothie of freshly frozen raspberries and strawberries!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

First homegrown corn... and a cold snap...





Today I woke up to a chilly 49 degrees and got bundled in my skirt and comfy sweater made some hot cocoa and went out to the garden! My carrots and onions have sprouted, my beans and tomatoes are about 6 inches to 1 ft high, my broccoli has sprouted up and so has my rainbow chard!

My winter spaghetti squash plant has started to die off except for the vines that now have 3 spaghetti squashes on it... 1 large, 1 medium, and 1 small... the large one has started to turn yellow! Then was the corn where its just popping up on my dwarf 4 ft tall silver queen plants! Then I noticed on my first corn plant had a corn that had shriveled brown silks... it was time to pick!!! I broke it off and pulled down the husk about 2/3rds of the kernels were developed. I had read this means there was poor pollination which makes sense seeing how it was the first corn on the plant and a 2nd only developed about 2 weeks after this first..


Well I filled up a microwave safe container of water and cooked it for 13 min...
Stuck the corn holder in the sides and waited for it to cool.... yummmmm... it was sweet and crunchy packed full of flavor... its amazing just how much more flavor it had then the stuff in the store... I have fallen in love with corn : )

But now as I turn on the news and hear all the bad news while I was waiting for the weather
... but the weather is not good news.. dry and cold... cold meaning it can get into the 30's... now I'm wondering if I should cover my corn, squash, and tomatoes... hmmmm.... off to the thrift stores to get cheap sheets to work as covers!

*sigh* I love the cold weather for the hot cocoa and chance to use our fireplace but I want more corn and tomatoes darn it... : )

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gardening in FL Dirt

Florida dirt is more like... well sand!
The best bet for starting is to create a raised bed this works for gardening small spaces.

Raised Bed Gardening: Screw 4 pieces of wood together to make a box... please for yours and the earths sake use untreated landscape wood. The best size for a veggie garden bed is 4 x ?.. this is because you will need to be able to reach the middle of the bed from both sides and the average person can reach about 2 feet... the question mark is because really you can make this bed as long or short as you feel is right. most of my gardens are 8 or 10 ft long! After you make your secure bed dig all grass/ weed from in and around the area. Lay your wood in the perm position and fill with a mixture of garden soil and compost.... lots and lots of compost!!

In ground gardening.. will take some work as you must spread compost and work well into the soil... over and over and over... its takes years to get good rich soil and not the sand crap we have... spread manure and straw and newspapers and let rot for about a season... turn and work into the soil after 4-5 months and start again a thick layer of manure and straw and newspaper keep layering on (Bottom: Straw ~ Middle:Newspaper ~ Top: Manure) for about a year or 4 full cycles of rotting and adding and mixing... then plant... all around those plants add straw and already rotted and aged compost and newspaper when those plants die turn everything under and continue.. a couple years later you will start to have the rich soil the northern states are blessed with... though it will never be the same we must work with what we have!!!

Hope you enjoy and start gardening!! (Hint: Right now is peak growing season here in FL)

Monday, November 1, 2010

What it means to grow up in this day and age..

At work today I relized something scary...

It seems we are growing up and rasing children in a world that wants everything right now...

We don't want to cook dinner so we go grab some fast food
We don't want to wait for a veggie or fruit to grow so we head to the market
We don't want to know the animal that is our food so we buy pre packaged processed overly frozen meat
We don't want to admit our faults so we blame someone or something else
We would rather spend $4 on a gallon of tea instead of taking the 3 hours to make sun brewed tea that costs like what 50 cents a gallon??
We would rather buy fancy $5 coffees instead of getting a good nights sleep
We want a simple quick easy life...

Example: Today a patient came in asking what she should take for a upset stomach. When asked how long it has been going on she said about a month on and off, when asked why she thought this was happening she responded she gets terriable pains after eating greasy food. When she was told maybe she should think about changing her diet she sneered and laughed and said no I just need some pepto or prilosic.....

Excuse me but this seems just dumb but this is how life has become... we all just want a quick fix

Thank you for allowing me to rant today after my stressful day! And maybe we can take a step back and look at our own life...