balance, beauty, good marriages, goodness, grace, great marriage, great marriage secrets, haPPY, health, pure goodness, wellness

visions of sugar plums…

sugar plumsVisions of sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free plums danced in their heads.  (just kidding)

Right smack in the middle of the hustle and bustle that seems to hover over this month, have you taken time out for you and your person?  In between signing cards, wrapping boxes, baking treats, have you taken a few moments to bathe your master bedroom in grace & goodness?

Have you announced to the universe that your sanctuary is of value and importance?

Does your better half know without a shadow of a doubt that you hold your relationship in the highest of regard and continue to lift it up on a daily basis?

Have you taken 30 minutes to quickly deep clean, de-clutter, dust, vacuum, and gussie up your sanctuary? Are there fresh, ironed (yes, ironed) linens on your bed?  Have you brought in fresh flowers or greens or even a tree?  Have you brought in beautiful candles, a soft, cozy throw for the bed?  Did you place that festive pillow you found in your decoration box, just so,  to add a little something-something to your bed?  Have you sewed new, softer than mink, white pillow covers that look like they are covered in mini snowballs?

Or has it become the catch-all?  Wrapping paper leaning behind the door.  Gifts secretly crammed beneath the bed.  Clean laundry waiting to be folded.  Does your dresser top hold odd change, one stray button, and a broken necklace?  Is the room filled with stress?  Do you close the door to avoid looking in there?

Or the moment you step into your private sanctuary, does it fill you with calm and beauty? Can you feel it? Does it feel like goodness?  When you spy that bed, do just want to burrow in and surround yourself with fluffy coziness?  Just by walking into that room, do you feel fortunate, harmony and peace? 20171215_094358-1_resized

A gentle suggestion?  Take 30 minutes and create a little beauty.  Our world is harsh, tricky and can be brutal.  Some days it feels like more bad news than good.  We all need a place that we can go to breathe and feel the solitude and safety.  No electronics, no ugly noise, no demands.  We all need and crave a place to restore our spirit & soul.

May you make and enjoy a small corner of peace this season.

Sweet dreams.please do not disturb

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

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health, mom's soap box, wellness

vinegar & nuts

Vinegar and Nuts.

What am I talking about?

Laundry of course.

In my ongoing quest to have sparkling clean laundry as well as NOT use chemicals…. I have a couple of new tips I want to share.  Of course, I would love to hear your all your ideas, please share your tips and suggestions.  I am always willing to try something new that aims towards good health.

Let’s jump in?

Yes, we all know that dryer sheets contain 9 Toxic chemicals and 3 of those known carcinogens (that means they cause cancer).   However, those little sheets of chemicals do a mighty good job at reducing static and that annoying cling.

Big sigh along with a sad face.

Alas, my friends, I have solutions galore (maybe not galore, but at least 3)!

Here is what I do instead;

One trick I figured out is that I use wool dryer balls.  They do an excellent job 3 seasons outdryer balls of the year.  That leaves us with those cold, static-filled winter months.

20171108_160244-1_resizedNext, I’ve added this little beauty.  Now, don’t get your fancy panties in a tangle, I used a bright-colored piece of fabric so I could find it easily when sorting dry clothes.  However, you can just as easily use safety pins on a single sock or an old washcloth.  The pins act as a lightning rod inside your dryer.  (Gentle note to readers: if by chance you don’t have any or you are saving your “fancy panties” for good and right this minute wearing old, dingy, faded, boring undies ………………for the love of everything wonderful in the world, throw your un-fancy undergarments to the curb (what I really mean is:  in the trash, no one wants to see a bunch of faded, broken elastic, sad-looking undergarments near the curb, no one. )

The next thing I did was order some makeup cloths from Amazon.  YouTube has several20171113_122106-1_resized (1) 20171113_114848-1_resized(thousand) I am sure, quick videos about how to make your own dryer sheets.  Here is what I do:  roll the makeup cloths (so they equally absorb the magic elixir), Add magic elixer….. better known as 1/2 cup white vinegar and 20 drops of essential oils, put cloths in a jar with a lid, make fancy label if you wish.  Done.  Just as you would with the chemical-laden dryer sheets, toss one of these gems into the dryer along with your load of clothing.  (Gentle Note to the reader:  Doesn’t magic elixir sound better than white vinegar and good smelling oils?  Also, when I say to toss one of these “gems” into the dryer…. I am referring to the dryer sheets, not actual gems.  That would be ridiculous. )

Now to the nuts part of this post.

laundry balls 1Again, yes, we all know that laundry detergent has some mighty powerful chemicals (yes, some are carcinogenic, yes, we all know what that means).

No, I do not use detergent.  Sure, I make my own laundry soap, however, 95% of the time I use laundry balls (about 4 years now.)

Enter my ongoing quest to do better. Trying something new to me.

Soap Nuts. 20171114_084640-1_resized

Soap Nuts are a berry shell that naturally contains soap. They grow on the Sapindus Mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas.

When agitated with water they release soap. ( Yes, safe for septic systems, yes, completely nut allergy safe.  Soap Nuts are actually a berry fruit related to the lychee and are not nuts at all.)

You add 3 or 4 soap nuts to the muslin bag and toss into the washer.  No chemicals, and yet somehow (magically) the laundry gets cleaned.  Yes, yes, I know the soap actually does the work, I just like using the word magical.

In this together, friends.

Here’s to our health & wellness, even in the laundry room. (insert happy face here!)

Chat soon.

 

blendtec, fresh, garden, gardening, grateful, pure goodness, recipe, summer, vegetables, wellness

tomato round up, yeehaw

20170913_132317-1_resizedThis year, the first weekend in May,  we planted 2 tomato plants.  The varieties were Early Girl and Big Boy.  One we purchased and the other was a free start!

Boy Howdy did we have a good year!  Gorgeous color, amazingly rich, bold flavor.  These beauties made some of the best sauce to come down the pike.

Sad side note:  Because of the wildfires in Canada and Eastern Washington and wind,  our tomatoes had a light covering of ash.  While good for the soil, we did rinse them off before bringing them inside.

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Once ripe, we ate fresh tomatoes almost daily.

20170907_180035_resizedOne older neighbor wanted one, plump, beautiful tomato to enjoy.

We gave away 3 bags full along with fresh picked Basil.  (I save those small gift bags through the year, then use them to nestle fresh picked produce in to share with the neighbors. So much cuter than filling a used grocery bag.)20170919_172531-1_resized

Then I kept track of how many pounds we picked & brought inside for us to process and use.  Are you ready?  Hold onto your cowgirl hats!

We had a grand total of 27.4 pounds!  That was from just 2 plants!!!!!

After I make yard sauce, which I use as a base for other sauces (rough chop a pan full of tomatoes, onion, and basil, sometimes Rosemary… olive oil, S & P, roast for 50 minutes on 425*, plop in Blend-Tec and push the button)

 

or spaghetti sauce, I freeze the bags flat.  I can stack the frozen packages book style, save oodles of space in the freezer and can easily see what each package contains.

 

 

Our evening temperatures are dipping into and below the 50* mark.  That means our on the vine tomatoes will not ripen any longer.

We do have a couple left ……………

I spy with my little eye………………something green.   I have a wonderful feeling that Fried Green Tomatoes will be making a debut on our plates in the very near future! 20170921_112458-1_resized

We are so grateful to have grown such a beautiful, lush, prolific garden with enough bounty to eat, share, process and freeze for later.

Already planning on what to plant next year and where.  Yes indeed, we will be rotating where we plant things.  We will nourish and feed our soil this winter.

How did you do?  Did you have extraordinary success this year?  I would love to hear how your harvest turned out this year and share any tips/tricks or common sense ideas you figured out from this season.

In this together, friends. Happy Harvest.

Chat soon.

cooking, haPPY, healing, health, wellness

life of the party, hello parsley

Parsley.

Yesterday, I shared a picture of one of my herb gardens.  A friend asked, “what on earth are you going to do with all that Parsley?  I answered, ” We are going to eat it.

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You know, that itty bitty piece of sad green on your dinner plate?  That’s parsley.

Hello!  Nice to meet you.

When you went to aGerman Schnitzel with garnish restaurant in the 90’s more often than not you got your meal presented with a flourish.  As a last minute garnish, one cherry tomato or slice of lemon was getting friendly with the 1 inch or smaller piece of limp looking parsley.

Last night, I took a picture of just how much parsley I eat every single day.  I put a pen in the picture for scale.   We pick it fresh and it is put into my daily juice routine.  Beyond daily juice, I also pick and cook with as much as I can.

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The under celebrated herb called Parsley (Latin:  Petroselinum) is filled to overflowing with beneficial nutrients, essential oils, and antioxidants – to the point that it’s often called a superfood.  Along side freshening both you and your dogs’ breath, parsley helps with inflammation, acid reflux & arthritis, this marvelous herb can clean out your liver, kidneys, and gallbladder.

Popeye would have been twice as strong had he known that Parsley has TWICE the iron as Spinach!

Dr. Mercola gently reminds us, eating parsley is an excellent way to detoxify our systems of harmful compounds like mercury.

Do you want strong bones?  If you want to be impressed by parsley, take a look at its vitamin K content – a whopping 574% of the daily recommended value.  This is BIG news, friends!

Parley’s vitamin C content is 3 times more than in oranges, and the vitamin A augments the carotenes lutein and zeaxanthin, helping to prevent eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Dr. Axe is a smarty pants and here is what he has to say about parsley and the “c” word:

Parsley contains unique elements in its oil known as volatile oil components — myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. These powerful oil components benefit the body’s immune system and help fight cancer-formation, in particular, slowing tumor growth, neutralizing oxidative stress and fighting off carcinogens from harming the body. (7)

Parsley is sometimes called a “chemoprotective” plant because it helps protect DNA from damage, stops cell mutation and helps induce apoptosis, or the death of harmful cells. One of Parsley’s beneficial compounds called apigenin has been found to “inhibit progestin-dependent synthesis of human breast cancer cells, significantly delaying the development of, and decreasing the incidence and multiplicity of mammary tumors”, according to research done in 2013 by the American Association of Cancer. 

There are several good sources (those sources are at your finger tips, people) to learn oodles and oodles more about the glorious plant called Parsley.

Time to add some life to your party!   Tonight when you cook those stunning fresh green beans, toss in a handful of parsley.  Tomorrow when you make a gorgeous vegetable soup, again, toss in some beautiful green.  That Shrimp & Grits you are going to serve?  Freshly chopped parsley will add a little somethin’ somethin’.  That ice cream sundae?  Just toss on…….ha, I was just checking to see if you were paying attention.

Here’s to our health and wellness!

ps.  The home school mom came out in me today. haha  Now,  I want us all to do a watercolor painting or chalk drawings of parsley.  I want my chef helper to pick, wash & chop parsley for dinner tonight.  Let’s use parsley in a sentence……

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

good marriages, Uncategorized, vegetables, wellness

mmm

Last night’s dinner was Marvelous Meatless Monday.

Cracks me up to say that.  Get it?  Because we have marvelous meatless meals 98% of the time.

This is funny stuff people.  Hey, word has it, that it is “hip” to have Marvelous Meatless Mondays?  (not to mention lowers blood pressure, saves oodles of gallons of water, nicer to animals, does not contribute to horrid diseases, vegetables heal & all the cool kids are doing it.  Just to see if you were still reading, I added that last part.)

While Mr. Right is still at work, I try to send a before/during/prep picture to tickle his fancy & let him know what’s on the menu.  I knew yesterday’s picture would scare him.  In his voice,  I can hear him saying…..”oh no, that is way too much fresh Thyme.   I am not eating all those weeds.”  ps.  He always does and he always like them.  haha20161017_140446-1_resized

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are right in the middle of the glorious season of the mushroom.

Those Chanterelles were calling my name, the Oyster mushrooms were whispering sweet nothings to me.  The Crimini and Agaricus bisporus (white button mushrooms) didn’t want to be left out.

I turned all those weeds…aka fresh Thyme from our garden into a silky, smooth cream sauce with flavor that almost brought tears to my eyes.  So smooth it slipped off the back of a spoon.

Next, I reduced some Balsamic Vinegar.  I gotta tell ya, when that is cooking, the aroma in my kitchen sort of makes me feel like I know what the heck I am doing.  It is savory and sweet at the same time.  The aroma makes people walk towards your kitchen and ask, “whatcha got cookin’?”

I sliced polenta and started frying.  Yes, I said frying.  I used some left over oil from the Bagna Cauda that I prepared last week.  Oh, be still my heart.  That garlic & oil was the perfect thing to use.  Not much oil, just enough.  I did scoop out the little garlic nuggets of heaven.

Fresh green beans and onions were cooking on a different burner.  It a weird twist of fate, beautiful fresh green beans and little tiny onions played second fiddle to the main dish last night.

Last, but most importantly, I heated the black iron skillet and all those mushrooms got to know each other up close and personal.  A bit of coconut oil and some real salt did the trick to help release some of that moisture.

In the blink of an eye, dinner was ready to serve.

20161017_175808-1_resizedI started with cream thyme sauce then the polenta.  Next, I put those glorious roasted pieces of garlic along with some slightly cooked garlic atop the perfect circles of organic corn.

Hold on to your hats, next layer, those mushrooms in all their glory, were most certainly that.  Glorious.

Wait for it, the moment of pure goodness………the reduced Balsamic vinegar…….I fully admit to being a little heavy-handed.  While a drizzle or a few drops here and there would have been more artistic, I just poured it on.  I can’t help it, I am weak.  I want to lick the picture, right now.

Say Grace and savor that very first bite of marvelous goodness.  I mean savor and breath in.  This is what Marvelous Monday’s are all about.  Right here on one plate.  20161017_175948-1_resized

To sum up:

Marvelous Meatless Monday was marvelous.

We were both clean plate club members.

All the “weeds” were eaten with nary a sigh.

Here’s to our health and wellness.

What did you have for Marvelous Meatless Monday?

In this together, friends.

Chat tomorrow.

vegetarian-quotes-1

healing, health, Uncategorized, wellness

bless, heal, balance

20161003_150740-1_resized_1-1“Smudging is the burning of herbs with the intent to bring about/manifest a desired change in one’s emotions, thoughts, surroundings and reality. Smudging is a golden thread that connects and runs through all cultures, religions and belief systems and has been practiced throughout the millennia.”    Philip Gardner writes so well.  It is a pleasure to learn all that he is offering.

He gently reminds us that smudging is an act of true self-empowerment because it allows you to take responsibility for your well-being.    You can read more by Philip if you follow this link.   http://www.aboutholistic.co.za/smudging.html

balance

cleansing/protection

attract and create positive energy

let go of negative

space for healing

Yesterday, I picked a basket full of sage & rosemary.  Rosemary for mental clarity ~ letting20161003_141143_resized go of negative thoughts.  Sage for purifying, healing, cleansing.

I made 14 bundles.  I used cotton thread and string to bind them into “smudge sticks”.  My fingers, the string, our kitchen, the garbage can, everything smelled wonderful.  20161003_144606-1_resized

Now, I let them dry for 4-6 weeks.  Then we can use them to burn.  It is a lovely housewarming gift to give a friend.  Or something to share with a friend feeling under the weather.

The simple act of Blessing a Space is reason enough.

In this together, friends.

Bless, heal, balance. 20161004_084917-1_resized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

garden, healing, health, Uncategorized, vegetables, wellness

color question

Question?

When you walk through the grocery aisle of spaghetti sauce in jars, how is it that they are all the exact same color?  I am not picking on any certain brand or flavor or company.  I just got to wondering how on earth they get every single jar, can, sauce, paste, organic, expensive, dirt cheap and so forth….. all pretty much the exact same color?spaghetti_sauce-300x220

Earlier today, I was in the kitchen processing tomatoes.  I removed the skins, chopped and filled the slow cooker with 29 tomatoes; three varieties from our garden.  I added my usual:  fresh parsley,  basil, rosemary, oregano, chopped onion, oodles of garlic, S & P.

As I was chopping, I got to thinking, this is a more deep, rich intense red than the tomatoes a couple of weeks ago.   Maybe I let them ripen a touch longer?  More or less sunshine, more or less water?

First picture was two weeks ago, second picture was earlier this morning:

So the question is hanging there.  The longer I don’t answer the question, more pop up.

Just “maybe” food coloring is added to store-bought sauce (similar to store bought orange juice to give uniformity of color) to help it have the right marketing color?  Maybe folks like you and I are trained and looking for a particular color with bits of herbs here and there?  No matter the season, we want our sauce to be the same color as it was 4 months ago.

Our bodies, the wonderful machines that they are, were never ever, ever, meant to work this hard to clean out so much “stuff”; colorings, flavorings, chemicals, additives and on and on the list goes.

We all have heard folks having issues with children “a bit more energetic” then the families would like.  Adults that can’t keep focus and stay on track.  Folks that are more depressed than they were 5 years ago.  More and more among us having headaches, serious headaches, trouble loosing weight and so forth.

I am not saying this is the miracle we all have been searching for, what I am saying is I think it is a strong case of food for thought.

Now, I am well aware that we cannot all can, process, freeze all our own food.  While that might be a wonderful goal, some days, I just can’t do it. Some times I am tired and I just want to buy a perfect tomato in the produce department that someone else tended.  I am still having troubles growing my own basil, so yes, I buy it.  Some days, I run out and just want to buy a bottle of sugar-free ketchup from Whole Foods. I just don’t want to stop and make it.

I just got to thinking, maybe just maybe the answer is…. we all make a little more effort into growing our own something?  Then share.  Yes, I said, share with your neighbor.  Maybe trade a few of these tomatoes for some cucumbers or trade some beans for fresh eggs.  Maybe trade hemming a pair of pants for some beautiful fresh grown radishes? 20160825_111447-1_resized

While not every one has the luxury of baby steps, maybe together we can collectively take small steps towards regaining health and wellness?  Give our bodies a break from the overload of colorings, flavorings … things that are foreign to our bodies.

Just asking the questions is a good start. Maybe having a great discussion over a home cooked meal or a tall glass of fresh juice?

If we put our brains together, oh yes, there is power in numbers, we might come up with some useful and amazing ideas towards sharing health and goodness.  I know, I for one, would looooove some ideas and tips and suggestions.  I am anxious to have a discussion and hear your ideas.

In this together, folks.

Here’s to our collective health and wellness!

Chat tomorrow.