soup+bread=comfort

I woke up to pouring rain and 46*.  It was dark and dreary.  There was a chill in the air.  I was walking barefoot across my yard.  (grounding, it works)  I slipped on my boots to go tend to my chickens.  As I fed them and gave them treats and fresh water, I told them how it seemed like a soup and bread kind of day.  They all chatted back in agreement.  It sure doesn’t feel like the middle of May.

 

I knew I was going to bake bread.  I try and do one tricky thing and one or two super simple dinner ideas. Each packed full of nutrients and flavor, always lots and lots of flavors.

The soup was an easy peasy choice and you can start to finish have this soup on the table in about 30 minutes.  Not much effort for brilliant results.  I used Brandi of The Vegan 8 fame recipe.  https://thevegan8.com/2018/01/25/tomato-vegetable-soup/

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While flipping through a couple of my bread books, I happily stumbled upon Onion Rosemary bread.  This is a good one.  The recipe calls for one LARGE loaf.  I prefer to make two smaller loaves.  A couple of reasons.  1.   I can keep one and give one to a neighbor.  2.   there are only two of us.  We get tired of the same bread over and over and over.  Now and then, I prefer to divide the recipe in half.  We are able to devour a small loaf of bread in 2 or 3 days.

Here is what you knead (get it, a joke…knead…need, Come on, that was a good one!):  1/4 cup butter (you know I use Earth Balance, vegan butter) 2 cups of onions, chopped finely, 1 envelope of yeast, 2 teaspoons of sugar (I use coconut or date sugar), 1 cup warm water, 4 cups unbleached flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I use Himalayan salt and please for the love of good flavor, measure the salt), 1 HEAPING Tablespoon of finely chopped Fresh Rosemary (fresh makes a ginormous difference).

rosemary*side note suggestion:  At our previous home, I could not for the life of me get my Rosemary to grow well.  I have a friend who was hacking her Rosemary bush back constantly.  So one day, I said, I will trade you fresh Rosemary for a loaf of bread.  She gave me a GROCERY BAG full!  haha.  I did bake a couple of loaves for her and gave her two other recipes to use.  It was a beautiful barter.  I am SURE you have something you can barter with a neighbor in exchange for a handful of their fresh Rosemary?  

Melt the butter on medium/low and toss in those beautiful fragrant onions.  Cook for about 20 minutes until they are golden.  You know they are done when you want to sneak one for a taste.

While those are cooking, in your mixing bowl, combine half the flour, sugar, water and yeast. Let sit until bubbly, takes about 20 minutes.

Next add your remaining flour, salt (measured) and Rosemary.  Mix well with a wooden spoon (if you have or want big arm muscles) or just turn on the Kitchen-Aid.  Gradually add the onion/butter mixture.  This will form a slightly sticky dough.

Use your dough hook and let it do it’s magic for 10 minutes.  Or if you are upset about something or fretting, toss that dough on the counter with a little flour and work it out.  Knead the dough for 10 minutes.  It is a rather satisfying feeling.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment or Silpat.  Arrange the dough in a slightly flattened circle.  Cover with a damp tea towel.  (here is where I set the whole cookie sheet on a medium warm heating pad) Let rise for 45-50 minutes.

Bake 400* for 30 minutes.  Place on a cooling rack and brush with melted butter.  I save a pinch of rosemary and add that to the butter.  The aroma of freshly baked onion bread and rosemary is divine. 20190515_152011

The table is set with big soup bowls, oversized linen napkins, the bread is on a board, sliced & ready to choose your perfect slice…..you sit down………………say Grace and pick up your soup spoon, gingerly take that first small sip.  Oh, my.  Another larger spoonful….and the conversation begins………….

that my friend is comfort, pure and simple.

 

In this together,

Chat soon.

PS.  Printed on the soffit above my kitchen, I have a quote,

“they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” Acts 2:46

nailed it

I create with my hands, a lot.   Here are just a few of my finished cross stitch projects from 2018.

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Similar to most folks, every single hobby I enjoy involves using my hands.  Gardening, baking, sewing, quilting, crocheting and cross stitching.   (Okay, technically, while reading I hold the book or kindle, however, not much wear on my hands.)

Currently, I have been crocheting hats for the grands.  As you can imagine, all those fibers catch on rough cuticles and my dry hands.

 

Don’t even get me started on counted cross stitch.  I am just now venturing into the world of silk thread.  Even the slightest rough cuticle or dryness and it has me putting down the project.

No, you can’t just fix the problem right then.  Oh, sure, putting on hand lotion, seems at the time that it will smooth out the rough spots and you can be on your way.  A quick fix for a short-term solution at best.

Before practicing the piano, I would soak my hands in very warm water for a few minutes.  Yes, it would help loosen them up and calm the rough spots during 30 minutes of practice time.

These will help albeit for a few minutes.  However, it is not a long-term solution.

Here are a couple of things that have really helped my hands and nail cuticles.

I can’t use any chemicals to remove dried cuticles so……………..

For a few minutes, a couple of times a week, I soak my hands in warmed milk.   Since we don’t drink milk here, I purchase one of those individual size containers of whole milk.

The lactic acid in milk helps remove dead cells and soften the cuticles; the natural fats help replenish dry skin.  After soaking I push the cuticles back.

Try, oh for the love of Pete…….try not to cut your cuticles.  I only typed that to REMIND myself of this.  That is a tricky one.

Once a day, sometimes in the winter, twice a day, I rub a healing oil on my nails and cuticles.  (I don’t think I have to tell you not to touch ANY of your projects until the oils have soaked in and you have washed your hands with mild soap.)

 

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Before I share the recipe, I put all of the ingredients into a roller ball glass container.  It makes it easy and mess free to use.  BIG, helpful tip…………BUY the opener.  Just do it.  Spend the $5.00 and buy the opener.  Stores that sell essential oils usually have them right at the check out stand.  Seems like a waste of money.  Until you actually have to open a roller ball glass or essential oil container. (which will be slippery because you are …duh….using oils)roller ball opener

Into a glass roller ball container, here is what I mix up:

1 1/4 teaspoon Jojoba oil

1/2 teaspoon vitamin e

5 drops lavender

5 drops lemon

5 drops frankincense

5 drops myrrh

You can also add other helpful oils like eucalyptus, grapefruit & rosemary if you like.

One more crazy tip?  I can’t use this after 2pm or I don’t sleep well that night.

The harsh winter months really emphasize how dried out our hands can become.  I hope these couple of tips will help you continue to create and work with your hands, and keep them not only beautiful but healthy.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

let’s streak in June

Hello June.

There is a group I joined called “Streaking like the Cool Kids“. (Facebook group and website)

http://runningslowfaster.com/streaking-cool-kids/

Starting today, the idea is for the entire month of June, to walk 1 mile a day.  30 days 30 miles.

Oh sure, you can obviously walk more, however, you cannot skip a day and make it up later.  You can check in daily, raffle prizes etc. or you can just garner or share inspiration and motivation with others.  Just stop by their group for all the juicy details.

Or just walk.

Walk every single day for the month of June.  Easy enough.

I asked 4 different friends to join me via the social media.  I asked one friend locally.  …………each had an excuse why this wouldn’t work for them. 😦

___________

Enter Mr. Right.  I was telling him about it and he said, effortlessly and without hesitation, sure, I’ll do it with you.

So, he printed off a calendar page, I bought some cool stickers and we are ready to go.  No, I am not a 9-year-old girl, YES, I still think cool stickers are fun to earn!

Since Sweet Liberty has gotten on in age, we no longer walk her on 2-3 mile daily walks.  As a result,  I have gotten in the habit of biking and rebounding daily at home and biking outdoors on Sunday.

I am looking forward to getting out there again, consistently, each day. running shoes

Put on your dancin’ shoes  cute walking shoes and join us.

Here’s to our good health!

In this together friends,

Chat soon.

bees wrap is the bees knees

When you get sick, I mean really, really sick you have to look in the mirror and figure out how you ended up that way.

No, it is not some “kick yourself when you are down” lesson….it is eye-opening, detective work that is the most honest and helpful way to avoid getting into the pickle again. Then you have to start taking action.

For one short paragraph allow me to talk plastic:

Estrogen fed the predicament I got into.  Most food-related plastics – including cling wrap and so-called BPA free containers –  “can release chemicals that act like the hormone estrogen,” concluded a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. 

nature-is-my-medicine

For the last five years, we have tried to reduce and remove the use of plastic. You have heard me preach before about lessening the load of plastic products in our homes and lives.

20180306_110901_resizedToday, I am sharing a charming, useful, reusable, compostable, wipe clean product that really works.  Bees Wrap.

 

Instead of wrapping your hand full of gorgeous grapes in plastic wrap to save for later……………how about wrapping them in a cotton fabric that has been coated in beeswax?

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Fortunately for all of us, this is a beautiful solution.

Beautiful Bees Wrap is the Bees Knees!

In place of covering your lefties in plastic wrap or taking your snack to work in a ziplock bag…may I gently suggest you20180322_152622-1_resized give bees wrap a try?

You can certainly search Google and find dozens of recipes to make your own.  Or you can purchase them from a number of sources.

I received my beautiful bees wrap from https://www.beefuddledfarms.com/what-we-do

Beefuddled Farms is located in Pennsylvania.  One of the owners is Michelene.  She is a mom, sister, daughter, student, beekeeper, teacher, gardener and the list of goodness goes on and on.

In addition to the bees wrap, one of my favorite things she offers (besides honey) is an exquisite lotion that is smooth, rich and is a pleasure to use.

The beautiful spirit of Michelene is most evident the moment you meet her.  She is knee-deep in the bee business so of course, you can purchase other honey goodies from her or she offers classes.  bee5

One of her products is sure to tickle your fancy.  She has a wonderful website that is easy to use.    Please take a moment to stop by her site, look around, enjoy the pictures, learn something new, and share the name of her business with your friends and family.

You will be most pleased that you took the time to invest in your health and wellness, beecause you are worth it!

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

ps.  In the genre of full disclosure and honesty, Michelene gave this bee wrap to me as a gift.  I value her kindness and am so pleased to share ‘n tell such a high-quality product with you. 

 

 

 

strip tease

If you are like us, you’re in a constant state of learning, studying, researching.

Our healthy change list is just over 135.

Today’s gentle healthy suggestion is Tip number 136!

Do you make an effort to stay away from aluminum?  Most of us smarty pants avoid deodorants with aluminum, as it is known to clog your lymph nodes and mainly affect the risk of breast cancer in women.  By now,  we are all aware that aluminum also has its detrimental effects on our brains and how it functions.

Did you know that the razor you used this morning, more than likely has some potentially hazardous ingredients?

Yes indeedy.  That “moisture strip” they have put on the girlie pink razors (cheap or pricey) contain aluminum salt.  Oh, and did I mention the polyethylene glycol which is a carcinogen? There is more, I won’t go on.  You can read for yourself.  I try, honest I do, not to be a busybody and cram information down your throat.  It is just that I sincerely appreciate it when someone shares a great health tip with me.

Sure you can stop shaving  (not happening here).  You could use a straight edge razor and strop like the 1800’s (I can’t see that being a good choice for me).  You can pay extra ( for not having the moisture strip and pay for postage) and order razors online, without the chemicals.

One gentle suggestion is to IGNORE the gender marketing and buy men’s razors. For some reason, they do not have the “girlie” moisture strip on their product.   They are the EXACT SAME PRODUCT only not pink and sometimes have a longer handle.

Or you can take a pair of pliers and remove the strip. (free and pretty easy, I just asked Mr. Right to be the muscle)

 

If you want to dig a little deeper, here is an article shared by Erin Elizabeth.     .https://www.healthnutnews.com/ingredients-found-in-these-razors-potentially-linked-to-alzheimers-and-organ-toxicity/https://www.healthnutnews.com/ingredients-found-in-these-razors-potentially-linked-to-alzheimers-and-organ-toxicity/

Here’s to our good health,

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

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.

 

splurge

For some twisted reason, Mondays have been hard the last couple weeks.  Getting up feels like a chore.   After I fed and gave fresh water to the dog and the chickens…. I headed for the Bio-mat for an hour.

Then to shower.  I smiled just thinking about using my new fancy schmancy potion!

I made this facial scrub.  I put it in a jar with a fun label.    I just fell head over heels in love with the name. 20170331_121837-1_resized

 

Side note about company names: for a couple of years I owned a company called “The Yellow Button Mustard Company”.  I came up with the name, then I decided to make mustard.  Of course I tied a yellow button on every single jar.  I love mustard!yellow buttons

This time, I have come up with the name “Splurge”.  Now I want to follow where that leads.  Maybe I just like the word?

20170324_150314-1_resized_1Splurge on an extra long bike ride.  Splurge on new flowers for my bike basket.   Splurge with extra coconut cream in my Monday coffee.   Splurge on a snazzy pair of new shoes. (those shoes?  Well made and so comfortable, love)  Splurge on making lotions and potions that are of excellent quality and then use them.

Using a face scrub/moisturizer that smells like little drops of peppermint.  Awwwww, feels like a splurge.

Here’s the behind the scene magic  ( or if you like, the recipe)

1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup baking soda and a few drops of essential oil…whip together.  Splurge on yourself and use it!

Oh la la

Here’s to easing into Monday & please take the time to splurge a little on yourself.  We are worth it.

Here’s to our health and wellness! 20170331_121837-1_resized

Chat soon.