Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Many thanks to all who read and help to support my blog!  I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Diaper Changing Technique Reduces Colic

I had to share this fascinating article by about a diaper changing technique that will help to reduce colic in infants.

Infants are born with immature spines that need to strengthen and develop over the next 6-9 months of their life.  Unfortunately, most of us parents do the double leg lift with our children when we are changing the diaper.  This is not good for the spine of infants and can affect the nerve center that controls digestion.

By instead, switching to a side roll diaper changing technique, the nerve center will not be pinched and irritated and should help to stop and/or reduce colic in many babies.

HERE is the full article which includes a link to a video which is so helpful to watch.  Please pass this on to any new parents you know!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Curing Mission Olives

As promised, here is my update on curing my mission olives.  I have about 17 pounds to cure and started the process today.  I'm washing and then drying the olives and packing the 17 pounds in about 25 pounds of sea salt.  I'm using glass Fido jars and layering the olives and salt.  The tops will remain open to allow for air circulation.  The salt is supposed to pull the oil out of the olives which I will pour out of the jars.  Well see!  Hopefully this works!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Mission Olives

It's whole foods Friday and I thought I would feature a brand new project I am in the process of tackling.  We love olives in our home, but don't get to eat them very much as the organic ones are quite expensive and I don't like the fact that many of them are cured with lye.

So, I decided to buy some organic mission olives from Chaffin Family Farms, and try my hand at salt curing these olives.

They arrived yesterday and me and my son packed them into some ziplock bags and put them in the fridge as my bulk order of salt will not arrive until early next week.  We will then pack them up with the salt into 5L glass fido jars and hope they cure!  I received 17 pounds of olives from Chaffin Family Farms and plan to use about 25-27 pounds of sea salt for the curing.  The process is pretty easy, and I read this post to get some guidance.

I will keep you all posted on how it goes.  Aren't they beautiful?!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Early Puberty in Girls - Why This is NOT a Healthy Trend

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving weekend!  We had a very relaxing and enjoyable "Staycation" and it was so nice to spend time together doing fun things (mostly at home) and avoid all the holiday rush!

Today I want to share an article that came out by one of my favorite herbalists (who is also a physician!), Aviva Romm.

In this article, she discusses the alarming new trend of early puberty amongst young girls, where girls, as early as 7, are starting to experience body changes.

This is alarming on a number of fronts, for not only is this emotionally effecting girls, it is having a bad effect on their long term health.  Early puberty puts girls more at risk for hormone related cancers, fibroids, endocrine disruption, and other issues.

Aviva discusses some simple steps you can take to avoid this from happening in your daughter.  Please take a few minutes to read this brief article and pass it on to anyone you know who has a young daughter.

If you do not have a daughter, this is still a good read!  I have a little boy, but still follow the healthy tips that Aviva lists such as an organic whole foods diet and avoiding environmental toxins.  I have always been concerned about the flame retardants that are in children's clothes/PJ's and dress my little guy as organically as possible, including organic bedclothes and mattress.  Keeping our children as chemical free as possible is so important in their healthy development.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - French Onion Soup

We have finally been enjoying some cool, fall weather, here in SoCal, and I am enjoying the brisk mornings and evenings!  We enjoy at lot of soups this time of year, so I am excited to make some French Onion Soup for dinner tonight, served with hot, toasted homemade sourdough bread and a side of Julia Child's Crockpot Boston Baked Beans.

French Onion Soup is a snap to make and my sister, over at Whole Foods on a Budget, has a delicious version using homemade bone broths.  So, hop on over to her blog and check out this super easy, super yummy, recipe for French Onion Soup.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Easy Lamb Roast

It's finally getting cold here in SoCal (I think - I hope!) and I put this delicious lamb roast up to cook in my new crock pot the other day.

By the way, I just have to say how much I LOVE this crock pot.  I bought it a few weeks ago to replace my old one and I have been so happy with it.  It's stoneware and has three different sized pots.  I have had no trouble heating the largest pot and have used it several times, now.  I also like the fact that this company follows lead safety protocols, with no measurable lead in the pots.  You can click HERE to read more on amazon.  Having three different sized pots is very convenient!

For our lamb roast, I simply placed a bone-in shoulder roast, some potatoes, quartered onions, plums, and apples, along with a sprig of rosemary and some sea salt, into the 6 quart pot.  I placed it on high for a few hours, then turned it to low until dinner time.  It slow cooked for about 7 hours total and was SO delicious, with the meat falling off the bone.  This was a fast, simple, delicious winter time meal!

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for amazon.  By clicking on my links, you help to support this blog.  Thank you!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Buckwheat Hull Pillows

After getting some great reviews from my sister, I finally took the plunge and bought an organic buckwheat hull pillow.  I have been having some neck and upper back discomfort at night and wanted an alternative from the wool pillow I have been using.  I also grind my teeth at night sometimes, probably due to the neck and back pain.

I have been completely happy with my new pillow!  My neck and back pain is gone and I also noticed that I am not grinding my teeth at night anymore, a side benefit that I was not expecting!

Northen Naturals buckwheat hull pillows
Photo credit:
These pillows do take a few nights to get used to, as they are firmer and have a very different feeling than your "normal" cotton, feather, or wool pillows.  But, they do a beautiful job of conforming to your head and neck and providing support like no other pillow I have every tried.

I also love that they are a natural source of filler and there are many places that will sell them organically grown.  You can also make your own, as my sister did.

I bought my pillow at Northern Naturals, and you read more about the pillows and their benefits, here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Chick Broth and Tots

This is a great post to follow up my post from earlier this week, about things you can do to combat colds and flus.  Having a toddler, I know the challenges of getting broth into them!  Here are some tips from my sister Christy, over at Whole Foods on a Budget.  

Have a wonderful, fall weekend!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Preparing for Cold and Flu Season

Well, it's October and I'm already getting emailing from friends and family who are sick - yikes!  Cold and flu season is upon us!!  And, unfortunately, all the candy consumption at Halloween only seems to escalate things.

I'm already preparing our family and working hard to strengthen our immune systems through a healthy diet and various supplements.  Every family will look a little different in terms of what works for them, but I thought I would give you all a list of some of the things that I am doing for our family.

1) Limiting sugar consumption!  I know that it is nearly impossible to keep candy away from kids during Halloween, but we will be limiting the amount of candy my son has and I am working to keep him away from other sweets in the meantime.  Eating sugar lowers your immune system functioning and makes you more susceptible to sickness, especially within the 4-8 hour time frame of consumption.

2) Incorporating bone broths in our diet.  I try to have plenty of homemade stock in the freezer ready to use.  We drink it plain, add it to soups, or cook it up in rice.  If you can find a farmer and have access to organic chicken feet, then add those to your broth.  They add a nice healing boost!

3) Consuming fermented foods (rich in probiotics).  I try to ferment foods on a regular basis to have plenty of probiotic rich foods on hand.  Probiotics are great for helping to strengthen the immune system.  One of the best to have on hand is 10 week fermented sauerkraut.  If you make this anaerobically, you will have an amazing, inexpensive source of probiotics.  If you are not able to make fermented foods at this time, considering buying some high quality probiotics.  I use Udo's for all of us.  

4) Elderberry Syrup.  I keep a big bottle of homemade elderberry syrup on hand through the winter.  We take a dose almost daily.  It's very easy to make, delicious, and a great immune builder.  You can also buy it, but it's much cheaper to make your own.  HERE is the link to my recipe.  This is very kid friendly!  It's a great chaser for fermented cod liver oil.

5) Daily fermented cod liver oil.  Fermented cod liver oil is one of the best supplements you can take in my opinion.  It is an excellent source of vitamins A and D.  Taking it fermented, preserves the maximum nutritional benefits.  You can read more about it HERE, where I order mine.  You can get it in capsules or flavored liquid.  I have had no problems having my son take his, especially when he gets a chaser of elderberry syrup.

6)  Vitamin C.  I like to have plenty of vitamin C on hand for either daily dosing, or dosing when I think sickness is coming on.   I like my supplements to come from natural sources, so I use Dr. Bob Marshall's version.  I have been using his supplements for years and I highly recommend them.

7) Bovine Colostrum.  I keep powdered colostrum on hand for times when we are either feeling sick, under stress, or going to be in crowds.  This is another good immune booster.  It comes in capsules or powder.  For children, small doses can be added to things like applesauce or yogurt.  I use Dr. Bob Marshall's colostrum.

8) Echinacea.  Echinacea is a great general bug fighter.  I always have this one hand.  For my son, I use the Herbs for Kid's version.  For my husband and myself, I have the dried root and leaf on hand to make teas and have also made my own tincture, as it is more cost efficient.  This herb can be purchased inexpensively from Mountain Rose Herbs (link on the right side of my blog).  If we are going to be in crowds or around germs, I give a dose the day before, day of, and day after.  If we are sick, I dose us for at least a week.

Herbs for Kids Sweet Echinacea 4 fl oz
Photo Credit:

While it would be difficult to cover every herb and supplement I have on hand, these are a few good standbys to start with this fall and winter.

What are some of your favorite standbys?

(I am an affiliate for Mountain Rose Herbs.  I only recommend companies and products that I use.  Using the link I provide helps to support the upkeep of this blog.  Thank you!)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Healing a Muscle Strain Naturally

The other morning my toddler woke up and refused to walk.  He kept complaining of pain in his ankle and refused to put weight on it.  We knew it was not broken (if there is ever ANY doubt, please speak with your health care professional); he had been romping pretty hard the night before and I suspected a minor sprain or muscle strain, which can come on delayed.

Since he is only two, it was difficult to figure out exactly what was going on, but I saw some minor puffing around his ankle and decided to try some treatments that day for muscle strain since I really wanted to avoid using tylenol.

The first thing I did was to give a dose of homeopathic arnica.  I gave a few doses over the course of the day, both in spray form and oral.

I then rubbed some diluted lavender essential oil into the sprain and spent some time icing the foot.  He was not a very big fan of the ice, but since it was slightly puffy, I wanted to get some ice on it.

A little while later we tried an epsom salt bath.  Epsom salts are very healing for muscle strains and sprains, so I made up a little foot bath and let him soak his foot - he loved that!  I think this was one of the best treatments I could have tried for him.

8 oz. Lavender Noni Lotion
Picture credit:
After his Epsom salt bath, I rubbed my all time favorite Noni lotion all over the ankle area.  I cannot recommend this lotion enough.  It also comes in an ice hot version, which my husband loves.  I just used the regular version on my son.  We ALWAYS have this lotion on hand.

I'm happy to say that by the evening, he was walking around a little and by the next morning, he was running.  No need for tylenol!  Gentle, natural remedies did the trick!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Carrot Zucchini Soup

With fall arriving, this Carrot Zucchini soup recipe sounds delicious and is a great way to use some of that last summer squash still floating around!  This soup is easy to make and easy on the wallet, especially if you are using homemade stock.

So, hop on over to my sister, Christy's blog, Whole Foods on a Budget, for the recipe!

Friday, September 14, 2012

End of the Summer Roasted Vegetable Medley

While summer is still going strong here (we will hit at least 100 degrees today!), this roasted summer veggie dish looks delicious and could be done on the grill if you are facing a similar heat wave.  Hop on over to Whole Foods on a Budget to check out this delicious grilled vegetable dish!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cultured Mondays - Curtido, the Pickl-it Way!

Happy Labor Day!  I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend.  Today I am featuring a recipe by Melanie, at Pickle Me Too.  I have wanted to try this recipe for a long time and can't wait until I find the time to squeeze it into my busy schedule.

Curtido is a yummy mix of fermented cabbage, carrots, onions, hot peppers, and cumin seeds.  This kraut will ferment for 8-10 weeks, though some wait as long as 6 months to eat it.  What a delicious way to get your probiotics!

So, hop on over to Melanie's blog for the full recipe, and enjoy this South American style of sauerkraut!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Colorful Double Bean and Veggie Salad

Are you rolling in tomatoes like I am here?  Not that I'm complaining!  We LOVE tomatoes in this house and I love finding all kinds of fun ways to use them.  I found this delicious recipe on my sister's blog, Whole Foods on a Budget.

So, hop on over to her blog and check out this recipe for a delicious double bean and veggie salad.  Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Homeopathy and the Broken Toe

Two days ago, it was a busy morning as usual.  I was packing my husband's lunch and set a pyrex dish with some leftover lasagna in it onto the kitchen counter.  What I didn't realize was that it was not set firmly on the counter and over it went, with the pyrex handle smashing directly onto my middle toe.

Wow - I don't think I have ever experienced pain like that!  I stuck my foot into a bowl of ice water immediately but knew that I needed to do something else right away as my toe was immediately turning purple and starting to swell.

Thankfully, I have a homeopath that I see who is available as needed via email and phone.  I had also bought the home remedy kit that she recommended (pictured below and found HERE).

I took the arnica and hypericum that she recommended and within a few hours the pain was gone (except for walking) and the bruising and swelling were improved.  To look at my foot, you would not know right off that I have a broken toe (well, suspected since I never went in for an xray).  Though I cannot walk on it yet, it is doing much, much better than I ever imagined it would.

I highly recommend this kit.  You will save a lot of money buying all these remedies in kit form.  It comes with a very simple booklet with a list of symptoms and matching remedies.  I also recommend Homeopathy, An A-Z Home Handbook and The Family Guide to Homeopathy.

Washington Homeopathic Products Top 100 Remedies Kit

(I am an affiliate with amazon.  Using the links I provide is like leaving a tip and helps with the costs of keeping up this blog.  Thank you!)

(Featured on GNOWFLGINS)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sealogica on Sale!

Just wanted to let all my readers know that Sealogica is currently on sale!  Take advantage of this sale to try this wonderful, whole food, a vital source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and so much more!

Below are some questions and answers about Sealogica:


Why Sea Vegetables?
Today our foods are loaded with chemicals and preservatives, and our soils are so
depleted of nutrients that our foods are nutrient poor. We must get our food from sea vegetables if we desire nutrient-rich, chemical-free whole foods as nature intended for ultimate health.

What is Sealogica?
Sealogica is a whole food blend of seven wild-harvested sea vegetables, harvested from
  the coldest waters from around the world in their region of origin. TheSealogica synergistic blend of sea vegetables contains every vitamin, mineral, trace mineral, and amino acid in Natureʼs perfect balance—plus enzymes, antioxidants, flavonoids and many other powerful nutrients found in nature required for ultimate health.
Why is Sealogica considered a raw food?
Sealogica uses a special eco friendly proprietary hand-harvested process to select and collect 7
 types of Wild Sea Vegetables from their region of origin. Then it goes through a special cold water scrub, wash and rinse process to insure the purity of the sea vegetables. [No Chemicals are used just pure cold water] Then sun dried for 48 hours and blended into this proprietary rawsuperfood.

Why is "Wild Harvested" important?
Wild harvesting is the act of harvesting natural resources direct from their native environments. Nature imprints our food with more than just the physical substance we need to live. Kirlian photography has shown that there is a subtle energy or "prana" in food our as well. Modern agricultural methods intervenes in this process. Eating foods grown in the wild means that you receive the energy from the plant directly from Nature with no intermediary. All the energetic and vibrational qualities are present as intended. Also wild harvest - assures the products' ecological purity.
What can Sealogica do for me?

We can't say what it will do for you because each person's nutritional needs
 differ. However, 99% of consumers report an increase in energy in just a few days, and many report a significant weight loss, blood pressure normalization, blood sugar stabilization in approximately three months, reduction or elimination of hot flashes, an end to constipation, disappearance of painful menstrual cycles, elimination of headaches, improved sleeping, and an overall feeling of well being.
Do I need to take any multi-vitamin and mineral supplements while takingSealogica?
No. Multi-vitamin and mineral supplements are synthetic and actually do more harm than good for
 your body. Almost all health care professionals recommend supplementing your diet. Sealogica is afar superior alternative, plus it will enhance the effectiveness of other whole foods and whole food supplements such as herbs or herbal combinations.Sealogica is a Superfood and contains a tremendous variety of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, amino acids, and phytonutrients in natures perfect balance. Try Sealogica and Experience Nature's Power!

I’m a vegetarian—can I take Sealogica?
Sealogica is vegan certified and is an excellent source of plant-based whole-food nutritional support.Is Sealogica gluten free?

Is Sealogica raw?
Yes. All of the ingredients in Sealogica have been "cold processed." Many sea vegetables found in the health food store have been heated and dried, a process which harms the enzymes which are senstive to heat above 120 degrees. By cold processing the sea vegetables in Sealogica, we insure that all that Nature intended for you is delivered to you!

Sealogica Sugar Free?
Yes. Stevia is used to sweeten the berry flavor and studies have shown that Stevia is one of the few "sweeteners" available safe even for diabetics as it has a low glycemic index and will not raise blood sugar levels.
What ab
out the bottle—is it BPA free?
Yes, our bottles are free of Bisphenol A and Phthalates (BPA is a high-production industrial
  chemical used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics and epoxy linings of tin cans).
Does Sealogica contain any preservatives?
Sealogica is 100% preservative free because the sea vegetables contained in this product are very high in antioxidants which act as a natural preservative.

(As with any supplement, please consult with your health care practitioner before starting Sealogica, especially if you have a thyroid condition or are currently taking any thyroid medication.)

(Featured on Real Food Renegade)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cultured Mondays - Green Bean "Pickles"

We have been swimming in green beans the past few weeks.  I wanted to make something a little different than just plain salt brine with these, so I added pickling spices and boy, these came out good!

Green Bean Pickles

*5 L Pickl-it
*4-5 pounds green beans
*2-3 fresh stems dill
*1 T yellow mustard seed
*1 T brown mustard seed
*1 T coriander seed
*1 T peppercorns
*1 tsp cardamom pods
*10 cloves
*3 cinnamon sticks
*4-6 dried bay leaves
(If you do not have these individual spices, you can use 4 T pickling spices.)
2% brine (19g salt to 4 cups water)

Wash off the green beans and remove the stem end.  Pack densely into the pickl-it.  Add spices, and lastly the brine.  Place airlock and leave in a dark, cool place for about 3 days, or until bubbling stops.  The ideal fermenting temperature is around 70 degrees, so in warmer weather, they may be done sooner and if it is cool, then leave out for an extra day.

Enjoy!  These are great for dipping, chopped on salads, or just plain!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Creamy Roasted Tomato-Eggplant Soup

When I saw this recipe on my sister's blog, Whole Foods on a Budget, I decided I just had to make this!

What a delicious way to use the bounty of summertime tomatoes that we have right now!  So, hop on over to Whole Foods on a Budget and try this delicious recipe!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Raw Honey for Wound Healing

I recently had a little benign growth removed from my leg.  It was a bit of a deep shave where it was taken off and after a couple of days, I noticed it was getting a bit red and sore.

I remembered reading in the book Gentle Healing for Baby and Child about the antibacterial properties of honey and how raw honey can be applied to wounds to help heal and prevent infection.  I opted to give this a try rather than use a topical antibiotic cream.

Picture Credit:

I applied a dab of raw honey (the honey must be raw - this will not work with pasteurized honey) to my wound and right away I saw the white foaming action of the natural peroxide at work from the honey.  It was pretty cool to watch - similar to pouring hydrogen peroxide on a wound.  I simply covered it with a piece of gauze and changed the dressing with new honey every 12 hours.  Within a couple of days it was free of redness, soreness, and had scabbed over nicely.

This is a great wound healing remedy you can use for minor wounds on children (would wait until child is two) and adults.  If the wound is serious or you have any questions about infection, please consult your health care professional.

If you would like to read more about the wound healing properties of honey, read HERE.

Raw honey can often be found in health food stores and I have also enjoyed the raw honey I have purchased at Tropical Traditions.

(Featured on GNOWFGLINS, The Healthy Home Economist, Real Food Renegade)

Please note that I am an affiliate for amazon.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cultured Mondays - Dilly Green Beans and Radishes

The summer produce is rolling in and I have a number of ferments going with about 5-6 more to put up this week!  We will be enjoying all the cultured veggies through the winter this year.

Of all the veggies my son could love cultured, he is a HUGE fan of radishes.  I'm trying to get some in bulk from my co-op, but until then, I picked up a few at the farmer's market this week to throw into my batch of dilly green beans.

Dilly Green Beans:

*1 5L pickl-it
*1 large bunch radishes
*3 large stems of dill
*4-5 pounds green beans
*2% salt brine (19grams fine pink salt to 4 cups of water)

Thoroughly wash the radishes and green beans.  Cut the radishes into halves or quarters depending on size.  Snap stem end off green beans.  Avoid using ones with blemishes.

Place the radishes on the bottom so they do not float to the top of the jar.  Pack in the green beans as tight as possible.  Fill to the shoulder of the jar.

Pack dill into the bottom the jar - I forgot to do this and it's easier to have this packed in the bottom where it will not be floating on the top above the brine.  Add enough of the 2% brine to fill 1/2 inch above the green beans.  Add glass dunkers to keep the beans under the brine.  Place on the pickl-it lid and put in a dark, cook spot for 3 days, then place in fridge.  In this hot summer weather, I am keeping my ferments in my pantry on our cool ceramic tile.

This is after about 24 hours.  See all the active bubbling!  This means the fermentation process is working.

You can see the bubbling at the top of the jar as well.  Enjoy these yummy beans over the next months. They should be stored in an air-tight Fido.  The great thing about pickl-its and Fidos are the lids are interchangeable, which means, once you are done fermenting you can pop off the pickl-it lid and place the Fido lid on the jar.  This helps to keep the integrity of the ferment.

(Featured on the Healthy Home Economist, Homestead Revival, Real Food Forager, The Nourishing Gourmet)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Sweet Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Papaya, and Tomato

This is the perfect quinoa salad for the last of these hot summer days.  A great way to use up some of those summer time tomatoes.  My sister, Christy, at Whole Foods on a Budget, shares this recipe.  So, hop on over to her blog for the directions!  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Healthful Benefits of Dandelion Leaf and Root

Photo Credit:

Dandelion is often one of my "go to" herbs.  It has so many benefits and can be bought inexpensively in dried form (you can find it HERE).

The two forms we use the most in our house is the dried leaf and the dried root (not in powdered form).  I use these two forms to make herbal teas.  With the leaves, I make an infusion and with the root, I make a decoction.  I have written posts about how to make and infusion and decoction and you can read more about infusions HERE and decoctions HERE.

Dandelion is one of the key herbs that is used to purify the blood and support the kidneys and pancreas.  The leaves are particularly helpful as a diuretic and helpful for cellulite and fluid retention.  A combination of root and leaves has been known to be helpful in dissolving urinary stones and gravel.  In relation to the pancreas, this is a key herb for helping to increase insulin secretions, which is beneficial for diabetics.

It is also known as a "bitter", which means that it helps to activate the entire digestive tract and liver, thus helping to ease digestion, increase appetite and the flow of digestive juices, and cleanse the liver.  It is also known to help treat liver disease and sluggish liver as well as help to dissolve gallstones.  The root is also a mild laxative.

Not only does dandelion have many healing and cleansing properties, but it is high in minerals.  It is high in minerals like iron, phosphorus and manganese, and also has significant levels of potassium, calcium, zinc and more.  It is also very high in vitamin A and a good source of B vitamins an vitamin C.

For all you breastfeeding moms, this herb is also a galactogogue, meaning that it helps to increase milk supply.

Dosing with herbs can be tricky.  You will often find different dosages on the internet.  I recommend that you use a resource that you trust.  One book that I have found helpful is Nutritional Herbology.  He includes doses with his herbal descriptions.  I also recommend finding a trained herbalist in your area, as they can be an excellent resource and can help you determine the dose your body will need.

As with any herb, you should check with your health care professional before taking.  Be especially cautious with dandelion if you have a history of gallstones.

Please be aware that I am an affiliate with Amazon and Mountain Rose Herbs.  Any use of the links in my posts is much appreciated and like a tip to help keep this blog going.  Thank you!

(Featured on GNOWFGLINS and The Nourishing Gourmet, Real Food Renegade).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's Going To Be Busy Around Here!

I wanted to let my readers know that posts will be going down to three times a week instead of my usual four.

I am going to be busy over the next few months, working on the cookbook that my sister Christy at Whole Foods on a Budget and me will be releasing sometime later this year.

I am also continuing my studies to be a Clinical Master Herbalist and Advanced Aromatherapist.

Yup, I have a lot on my plate.

If you would like to read about our cookbook's sneak peek, you can do so HERE.  Our focus will be simplicity; a great cookbook for those who are just getting started with whole foods, but also full of recipes for the seasoned whole foods cook.  We will also have plenty of tips on how to stock a pantry, what kitchen equipment to use, and how to store food.  We have even included a section for the kids!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fermented Foods Link Love

This week I am going to post some links to recipes by some of my fellow Nourished Living Network bloggers.  These all look delicious and I can't wait to try them out!

In case you missed this recipe last week, here is my post about culturing watermelon rind, using my friend Melanie's recipe, from Pickle Me Too.   It is so yummy - my toddler is a big fan.

KerryAnn from Cooking Traditional Foods, discusses the importance of how to use salt in your ferments.  This is an extremely helpful post for all fermenters to read.

This recipe for Beet Kvass, is next on my list to try along with Water Kefir!  Lydia, a wonderful nutritional therapist, gives us her recipe for this healthy, probiotic rich drink on her website Divine Health from the Inside Out.  

I can't wait to get my fresh water kefir grains from Lydia (above!), so that I can use this recipe from Patty at Loving Our Guts for making water kefir.  This fermented drink is delicious and I am looking forward to getting my family drinking it every day!

Melanie at Pickle Me Too, has this delicious looking recipe for red onions.  I can't wait to try these as we are big onion lovers in our home.

The Hybrid Rasta Mama has a humorous, but informative post about safe practices when it comes to fermenting.  This is an excellent post to read whether you are a fermenting pro, just getting started, or just want to know what it's all about!

If you love carrots, you have to try this fermented garlic and dill carrot recipe.  This looks delicious and I am looking forward to trying this one out as a snack food for the family.

The wonderful thing is that these are all recipes using safe, anaerobic fermentation practices that will protect your ferments from molds and produce delicious tasting ferments every time!  If you have any questions about why I use the pickl-it for my ferments, feel free to leave a comment below.  You can also read THIS post I wrote a couple of weeks back about why I have switched over to using the pickl-it exclusively.

(Featured on The Healthy Home Economist)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Sunflower Radish Pasta

This is an unusual pasta dish, but looks so yummy!  I have always struggled with finding good recipes for radishes.  I can't wait to give this one a try!  So, hop on over to my sister, Christy's blog, Whole Foods on a Budget, and try her delicious pasta dish...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Some of my Favorite Herbal Resource Books

Over the past two years, I have slowly been building up my herbal/aromatherapy/nutritional library.  It's been a lot of fun and I have found some very helpful books that are my go to books these days.  I thought it would be helpful to list some of these resources for those who are looking to learn more about herbs and want to incorporate them more into their lives.

For those of you who would like to go a step further and do a little bit of home study, Vintage Remedies (where I am getting my Clinical  Master Herbalist Degree) has a wonderful program geared for those who want to learn more about giving herbs to their families, but don't want to invest a lot of time into study.  It's called The Family Herbalist Program, and you can read more about it HERE.  This program is excellent for learning more about real foods, herbs, vaccines, safe cleaners, and more.  It inspired me to continue my studies as a Holistic Wellness Practitioner and Clinical Master Herbalist. 

Here are a few books that I have found to be particularly good resources:

For children, I like Naturally Healthy Babies and Children and Gentle Healing for Baby and Child.  I have used these books time and again for my son.  It's been wonderful to see how healing herbs can be and for little guy is almost 3 and thankfully has never had an antibiotic or even tylenol.

Naturally Healthy Babies and Children: A Commonsense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition, and Health

To help my family avoid antibitoics, this book has been a helpful resource; Herbal Antibiotics  (though I see that he just came out with a second edition, which I don't yet have).

And some general all around good books are The Green Pharmacy Handbook, Nutritional Herbology, and Practical Herbalism.

Nutritional Herbology : A Reference Guide to Herbs

Disclaimer:  I am an affiliate for amazon and vintage remedies.  Buying through my links is much appreciated and goes towards the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thank you!

(Featured on The Healthy Home Economist)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coconut Butter Cake

I tried this recipe a few weekends ago as a breakfast treat for us and it was SO yummy, I just had to share.

My fellow Nourished Living Network blogger, Patty, at Loving Our Guts, has this delicious recipe.  It is perfect for everyone, and especially those who need to be gluten free.  Very kid friendly!

This cake came out light and fluffy; I could not believe that it was grain free!  I happened to have some lemon curd on hand, so I did not make her frosting recipe, but instead topped it with lemon curd and frozen blueberries.


(Featured on The Real Food Forager)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cultured Mondays - Cultured Watermelon Rind

I found this recipe for cultured watermelon rind from my fellow Nourished Living Network blogger, Melanie, at PickleMeToo.  Since we love watermelon so much in this house, I just had to give this one a try.  I followed her recipe, except that I had enough rind to fill a 5 liter Pickl-it and I added about 1 inch of fresh ginger root, a couple of cinnamon sticks and 10-15 cloves.

This came out so yummy and my toddler and husband both liked them.  These are not sweet, but have a salty, spicy tang to them.  Nice and refreshing snack on a hot day.  The brine is delicious and healthy to drink.  If you are new to fermenting in a Pickl-it or new to fermenting in general, I would recommend starting slowly with how much brine you drink.  A 1/4 cup serving for the day would be a good place to start and give your gut some time to get used to the new good bacteria you are introducing to it.

This is a great way to get some bang for your buck from your watermelons!  I do highly recommend that you use organic watermelons.

(Featured on The Healthy Home Economist, Homestead Revival, Real Food Freaks, GNOWFGLINS, The Nourishing Gourmet)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Second Fridge...

I SO wish I had done this a couple of years ago.  With a growing family and eating and preparing whole, traditional foods, a second fridge really is a necessity.  I was thrilled to find mine this week on craig's list for just $100 and the people delivered it for me!

It's no shining beauty, but it works well and I hope it will last me 4-5 years.  It should pay for itself very quickly just from all the food that I will be able to save from going to waste.  My kitchen fridge and freezer have been so full that I have had trouble keeping track of what I have and often fresh produce has gone bad before I could use it.

Now that I am doing more fermenting and dehydrating, I have needed room to store all these yummy fruits and veggies.  So, now I can buy even more in bulk and be able to save grocery dollars that way as well.

Not only can I now see what I have much, much better, but I am finding that I can do meal prep throughout the day that I could not have done before, as I had no place to put it.  I prefer to do meal prep earlier in the day, as the dinner hour can be a tough one sometimes with a toddler.

Another time saver is being able to make and store my herbal tea in batches instead of having to make it each day.  Most herbal teas are generally able to be stored in the fridge for two days, so I can make a double or triple batch of tea, which is a nice time saver for me.

So, my cold storage now includes two side by side fridge/freezers, one chest freezer, and if needed (I have it turned off right now), and small compact fridge that is build into our outdoor grilling area.  I never thought I would fill that much cold storage, but each unit is being very well used!

(Featured on GNOWFGLINS, The Nourishing Gourmet, Food Renegade)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Co-Sleeping Experience

Co-sleeping...not exactly what I had pictured when I brought my little boy home from the hospital!  I started out as the typical mom reading all the typical books and hoping for the happiest baby on the block!

But, it didn't happen.  Within a month or so, my son was settled in his crib and I would drag myself out of bed twice a night to breastfeed.  This was exhausting to say the least.

My son was not a big napper either.  He took about three 45 minute naps a day as an infant, which also left me exhausted.  Those naps soon became two 45-60 minute naps.

I breastfed my son until he was 18 months old, still doing a nighttime feeding up to about 14 months.  Despite all my hopes, he would never sleep through the night, even after the feedings stopped.  He was up at least once and sometimes twice a night, crying and needing some comforting.  As much as my reading encouraged the "cry it out" method, a few tries of that left me convinced that that was not normal.  I could not bring myself to ignore my son's screams.  So, I was stuck, getting up once or twice a night to comfort my son and then trying to go back to sleep.

When my son was about 6 months old, I started my journey to become a Clinical Master Herbalist with Vintage Remedies.   A number of months into the program, I had to read a book about co-sleeping with your baby, called Sleeping with Your Baby by James McKenna.  That was eye opening at the least and I started to seriously consider whether we should give it a try, though by this time, my son was a year old and I felt like it might be too late to start.  My husband was not super thrilled with the idea, so I just continued on as we had been doing.

Sadly, last October, I suffered a miscarriage at the end of my first trimester.  After a D&C, I had lifting restrictions for six weeks.  This left a dilemma for nap time.  My son's naps were now down to one nap and that typically lasted one hour - an hour and a half if I was lucky.  Since I really didn't have a choice, I started having him nap on the sofa in our great room.  Imagine my surprise when he started to take better and longer naps, soon stretching to two and three hours at a time.  He was never bothered by me puttering around in the kitchen or doing whatever other things needed doing.

My little guy sleeping on the sofa

It was at this time as well that we took the plunge and started to co-sleep.  My body needed rest so badly to help my recovery and me and my husband really wanted to start to get a full night of sleep, as he still was not sleeping through the night.

We tried sleeping on our queen sized guest room mattress on the floor (our bed was only a full) for a few months to see how things went.   My husband and I like to sleep next to each other, so I would sleep in the middle of the bed.  Our little guy finally started to sleep through the night!  We would start him off in his room, then when we went to bed, we would bring him into bed with us.  This worked great, as it gave us time to be alone at night when he went down.

We soon realized that a queen sized bed was not what we wanted, so we did end up buying a king sized bed.  Because we have a little one sleeping on it and I hope to get pregnant again, we bought an organic wool and latex mattress.  We LOVE it!  It is so comfy and I loved having no chemical smell when it was delivered; no off-gassing worries.  We have a cotton and then wool cover on it and I have to say that when we potty train, we will probably use a plastic liner until we are free of night-time accidents, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it!

I know that co-sleeping may not be for everyone, but we have all come to love it.  My son's naps doubled in time and he is sleeping through the night for the most part.  But, when he wakes up for a drink of water or a bad dream, we snuggle together and he is able to go right back to sleep - and no getting out of bed for mommy and daddy!  It was also very healing to me as I was recovering from my miscarriage to have my son right there with me at night.

I hope our story encourages those of your who are considering co-sleeping.  If we have another baby, we will co-sleep (not in the bed for the first number of months, but the baby will sleep next to our bed) from the start.  I have loved seeing how much our whole family loves co-sleeping and it has certainly met a need my son had.  Once he started to co-sleep with us, those naptimes doubled in time and he was finally able to sleep through the night.  That is all my mommy's heart needs to see to know that we did indeed make the right choice for our family.

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