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Zombie Juice

Zombie Juice. Tell me that phrase isn’t just a bit disturbing… Makes you wonder why I would name one of my products something like that, huh?

zombie juice

Well, you see, it started out as a bit of a joke. Then, we decided it tasted something like one would imagine a zombie might taste like, should you ever find yourself in a position to taste one.

That isn’t really a good selling point, though, so, after much consideration, I decided to tell people that I named it that because it will prevent one from turning into a zombie should we ever actually experience a Zombie Apocalypse. That sounds like a much better marketing strategy, right?

Fortunately, it is kind of a mostly true statement. At least, I believe it to be, though I haven’t actually had the opportunity to test out our hypothesis. Yet.

You may wonder what would cause me to come to this conclusion. Well, I will tell you.

When I set about creating my Zombie Juice, I was going for an end result that was good for the whole body. A tonic. Something that would boost the immune system, strengthen the organs, regulate digestion, cleanse toxins, and provide lots of vitamins and minerals to the body. I wanted it to have all the ‘anti’ properties…antibiotic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-radiation, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory…I wanted it to be strong enough to knock out any stray bit of illness or disease that might find its way into our system, but gentle enough to be able to take daily to prevent any illness or disease from finding its way into our system in the first place.

There are a couple of tonics out there that came very close to what I wanted, like Dr. Christopher’s Anti plague tonic, but nothing that hit the exact target I was aiming for. So, I turned all mad-scientist and came up with my own formula.

To date, we have had lots and lots of opportunities to test out our Zombie Juice. Colds, coughs, bronchitis, flu, strep throat, dental infections…all those little illnesses that run rampant through the work-place and schools. What we have found has been pretty amazing. It doesn’t just work…it works spectacularly!

It gets rid of infections of all types in about 48-72 hours. It helped clear up colds and sinus infections. It helped with constipation. And, while we can’t scientifically prove it, we all believe its preventative properties have allowed us to slide right through the flu epidemics that swarmed the country. While our friends and family that refused to swallow this ‘awful brew’ hacked and puked their way through, we smiled and choked down the Zombie Juice, germ-free.

I gotta tell you, though, it is some unusual-tasting stuff. Imagine extra-vinegary Worcestershire sauce. With a little dirt added for flavor. Yeah, that’s a pretty close comparison. I have contemplated adding it to salad dressing, though. Maybe in place of balsamic vinegar, cause that might be kind of good and still effective…

My advice to those who let the…unusual…flavor deter them would be this; Suck it up, buttercup! A spoonful of nasty will not kill you. Pansy.

This is one of those times when I am going to share my recipe with you. Generous of me, isn’t it? I will admit, my reasons aren’t entirely altruistic. For the most part, few people will go through the time and expense of tracking down all the ingredients, then properly preparing them. This stuff takes 6 weeks to make and it is a real pain in the ass. So, only the truly adventurous will bother to make this.

Also, I can’t seem to make enough and I keep running out.

So, here goes:

Zombie Juice Recipe

In a half gallon jug, combine:

½ lb organic garlic (minced, smashed or pulverized)

Apple Cider Vinegar (enough to fill the jug ½” from the brim)

garlic vinegar

Let this sit in a dark, slightly warm space for 5-6 weeks. Shake the mixture daily. Strain, squeezing as much of the liquid from the garlic as possible.

Gather up these herbs:

2 pts burdock root, red clover blossoms

1 pt alfalfa leaf, amla root, horsetail, black walnut hull, peppermint leaf, dandelion root, nettle root

½ pt milk thistle see, kelp

¼ pt cayenne, golden seal root

Get a couple of gallons of distilled water. Not tap water, well water or any other type of water. Only distilled water should be used.

Place each herb in its own separate glass container. I prefer glass Pyrex measuring cups.

Add enough water to equal 8 oz.

Place the herb/water container in a pot of water and place on medium low heat. This needs to be simmered down until it reaches 4 oz.

You do not want your herb/water to boil, just a very low simmer. This will take several hours and should be stirred occasionally.

Each herb is going to be brewed separately. This is an important part of the process. Don’t just throw the herbs in together. They must be done individually. Yes, I realize that this may take a couple of days. Do you?

As each tea is done, strain and add the liquid to your vinegar.

When all of the herbs have been extracted, add

2 oz of vegetable glycerin  and 5 oz of raw honey to the mixture.

Mix well.

Bottle and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Here is how the adults take it:

When we are feeling run down, tired or sick, or if we know there is an outbreak of some type going around, or should we hear of a possible zombie attack headed our way, we take 2 Tbsp twice a day.

When we aren’t trying to get rid of an issue, we take 1 Tbsp per day…you know, just for general good health…

You can take it straight or add it to a little fresh juice…however you have to get it down is fine.

We don’t suggest giving this to any children under 2, but 2-10 years old, we suggest 1 Tbsp twice a day to fight off illness and ½ Tsp daily to help fend off illness. Nobody wants a child zombie running around town, cause that’s just…well…disturbing!

Of course, we are not licensed medical doctors around here, so you could just chalk all of this up to quackery. I don’t mind and I get it…I know, the zombies and all are a bit much to contemplate. I would never consider handing out any type of medical advice or diagnosis, and I most certainly can’t tell you that herbs and other ‘natural’ ingredients can make you better if you are sick. I’m simply handing out some friendly advice that we believe has helped my family and friends stay a little healthier. And not zombies. What you choose to do with the info is your own business.

So, there you have it. Sounds tasty, huh?

I guess I am little late in posting this. Go figure, huh?

As most of you know, we had our 1st  Annual Harvest Moon Festival in September 2013 and it was…well…let’s call it a ‘learning experience’…

Don’t get me wrong. We had an awesome time, made tons of new connections, met lots of new people and learned a wealth of little things that we hope will help us make our 2nd festival way better! It didn’t quite go how we had planned, though.  Performers didn’t show, schedules weren’t kept and admission was too high. Some of it couldn’t be helped. Some of it could have been avoided. Shit happens, right? But, we had a great time!

 

 

Live music and fire...how can you go wrong?

Live music and fire…how can you go wrong?

We had some awesome vendors! Bless them all for putting up with us as we fumbled our way through the event. We did warn them that it was our first year and we had no idea what we were doing….

josh smothers signs tie dyeThe kids seemed to enjoy the Kiddie Corral! Arts and crafts, three-legged races, hula-hooping…there was something for kids of all ages!

baby in car kids crafting kids hula hoopHorseshoes, hayrides, demonstrations, herb walks, awesome food…we had it going on!

hayride horseshoes Steve on forge

So, this year we are making a few changes. Admission is much cheaper. We really want this to be a family-friendly event, so we needed to make it affordable for families. No-brainer, huh? Yeah…

Our staffing will be a little better trained this year, too. At least, that is the goal.

Our demonstration, competitions and events will stick closer to the scheduled times.

Our bonfire will be bigger.

Our event will be awesome!

And, here are few more random pics from our first go-round

baby shoes bills vinyl craft project cynthiafood table goatsguests1 KC on swing kids crafts kids on hayride tye dye girl vendor 1 vendor 2 elvis

I guess that about covers it. As you can see, we were all clearly having a great time, and things really got kickin’ after dark, but the photographer had gone home by then. Maybe that’s a good thing….?

 

Healthy By Choice

I think it is safe to say that I, by nature, am a controversial type of person. Religion, politics, current events, healthcare….I freely admit that my view on all of these subjects tends to go against the grain. It’s not that I set out to create controversy, but it seems to happen quite often, all the same. I spend a great deal of time biting my tongue whenever any of these subjects comes up in conversation. Mostly because I think the people speaking about them are lacking ~ lacking education, lacking research, lacking common sense…just lacking. In all fairness, I can only assume that people think the same of me. I’m good with that. I tell you this to prepare you for the following post.

On a regular basis I am asked the same question; “Do you have anything that will cure (fill in the blank here ~ cancer, diabetes, gout, IBS, migraines, MD, HIV….)?” My answer is always the same. Yes.

I watch, inwardly laughing as I wait for the inevitable next question. “What is it?”

It is at this point that I usually cannot restrain my laughter any longer. It isn’t really malicious laughter. It’s more of a ‘you asked for it’ kind of laughter. I see the hopeful gleam in their eye; the expectant look on their face, and I sigh. As they wait for me to tell them the name of that one magical herb that is going to fix their ills and make them whole, healthy and nearly immortal, I wonder if it is even worth the waste of breath that I will have to expend on the speech that will deflate their hopes and burst their bubble. The speech goes something like this:

“Well, yes, there are several things that will help heal you of that condition. First, though, I have to ask…how often do you exercise, how often do you spend time outside and what is your diet like?”

Their face falls a little. Their shoulders droop, the light in their eyes dims ever so slightly. They shuffle their feet and slide their glance to the side as they reply, “My diet is not too bad. I eat a couple salads a week. I probably drink more soda than I should,but it’s diet soda!  I really like apples and oranges. I don’t really have much time to get outside, but I go to the tanning bed once a week, and I Zumba now and then!”

It is because of this very conversation, which I have at least once or twice a week, that I am writing this post. It is time to clear up some common misconceptions. Plus, I can now just direct them to my handy little blog post instead of wasting my breath trying to explain it. Here goes…

There is no magic herb. The Elixir of Life does not exist. It never has, never will. Two hours of Zumba and a five mile run will not keep you healthy. Tanning beds are not the same as real sunlight. Shocking, eh?

I know that some of you, at this point, are gleefully crowing, “Ha! She is finally admitting that natural cures don’t work! I KNEW it!”

Yeah…you are so very wrong. While I will be the first to admit that there is no magic fix-everything herb, I will also point out that there is no magic, fix-everything pill. With all of the hundreds (thousands?) of medicines created by evil pharmaceutical companies looking to make a buck from the suffering, disease-ridden humans out there, not one of them actually ‘fixes’ anything. In fact, there is not one single drug on the market that does not create a larger health issue when taken. Not one.

So, what’s the difference, then, you ask? Why not take the pill instead of the herb? Why not just fill the scrip your doctor hands you and hope for the best? That is an easy answer. Because, while there is no magical herb to fix your ills, there are natural remedies and cures for every single disease known to man. They don’t cause negative side effects. They won’t shut down your liver or kidneys; they won’t cause heart problems; they won’t cause cancer, bleeding rectums, brain tumors or any of the other horrible side effects of your doctor’s ‘magic pill’. Did you get the part about there being a natural cure for everything? Yes. Everything. Your disease or situation is not an exception.

The answer to your problem is this: Set down your coffee, tea and soda (Yes, this includes your diet soda and no, it is not healthier or better for you in any way so quit lying to yourself on that point!). Forget that fast food restaurants exist. Quit buying your meat from the grocery store. Quit buying fresh produce that is covered in chemicals to make it look pretty and last longer. Quit buying food that comes in metal cans, boxes or plastic. If there is an ingredient on the label that you cannot pronounce, put it back on the shelf and step away. Spend ten minutes a day outside. Get your heart rate up for at least ten minutes a day. It is that simple.

Stop with the eye-rolling. Seriously. If you are too simple-minded to understand this basic premise of healthcare that is your first problem. Educate yourself on the dangers of preservatives, GMO‘s, and processed foods. Go a step further and educate yourself on the dangers of the materials used to package those convenient foods you are stocking your pantry and refrigerator with.

Do not say something as ridiculous as, “Those are our only food choices”. Bullshit. Be honest with yourself, at least. Admit that you are simply too lazy to drive to the local farmer’s market instead of the grocery store. Then, head on over to the pharmacy and fill that prescription.

Or, take a little initiative and check out some online resources like localharvest.org that list all the farmers and co-ops in your area that sell real, healthy, chemical and preservative-free food. You just might be surprised at how close you live to one of them! Not only can you walk away with something healthy, you would also be supporting your local economy. This option effects everyone in a positive manner. Less fuel is used to transport your food from the grower to the table. Less money is spent on pretty packaging. Less waste is generated, so less goes into landfills (or oceans, or the atmosphere…). This option has no downside. None. Zero.

You don’t have time to play outside, exercise or prepare a meal from scratch, you say? Really? You seem to have plenty of time to play on the computer, watch tv, go to the gym, go to the ballgame, or generally waste on meaningless pastimes, but you don’t have an extra 30 minutes to prepare a meal using real, healthy ingredients? And, how much time have you wasted in a doctor’s waiting room or at the pharmacy…? Again, I call bullshit.

Don’t know how to cook using real ingredients? Buy a cookbook. Don’t know how to use an oven? Read your owner’s manual. Don’t like the taste of water? Add some fruit to it. Can’t afford a gym membership? Walk around the block…or yard…or parking lot. Just don’t want to do it? Then shut up and quit complaining about being unhealthy. Your health ~ or lack of it ~ is nobody’s fault but your own. Only you can make the decision to change it. Quit your annoying whining. Quit making lame excuses.

Next on the quit list: Quit saying stupid things like, “Why did God let this happen to me/my child/spouse/parent/friend?” Let’s get real honest here. God ~ whichever one you choose to believe in ~ had nothing to do with it. In fact, every single religion floating around out there has explicit instructions on dietary habits. If you have chosen not to follow those instructions, there are going to be some natural consequences. Illness and disease are one of those natural consequences. Period. Interestingly, all of the religions seem to agree on this one point. What you eat matters. You can’t spin that fact to suit your desires. There is not one religion that says, “Goest to thou doctor and asketh him for a pill to fix you” or, “Drinketh more diet soda with your Big Mac”. Nope. Not one. What all of them do say, however, is, “Eat more fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. Exercise.” Okay, I am paraphrasing a bit, but you get the point. Don’t preach about the importance of religion in your life, then pick and choose which directives you are going to follow. Don’t preach on the evils of homosexuality, promiscuity or abortion while you are cramming pills in as fast as the doctor can prescribe them and carrying around an extra 50 lbs. That just makes you a big old freakin’ hypocrite.

Then, you need to address what you are putting ON your body. How many chemicals do you slather yourself with in a day? Hell, how many do you slather yourself with before lunch? Shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, perfume, lotion, face cream, toothpaste, mouthwash…have you ever actually read the ingredient list on one of your bottles? But, you aren’t quite sure why things like skin disease, brain tumors and cancer are climbing steadily, right? Seriously? Has it never occurred to you that your skin is the largest organ of the body? Your skin takes in and releases the largest amount of toxins. And the hair products? Really? You are rubbing a chemical cocktail on your head every day. You do realize that your scalp is right there over your brain and all those little nerve endings and receptors, right? Like…centimeters away from it…?

Whew…okay, now that we have that out of the way….

Chances are, if you eat and drink the way you were intended to do so, you probably aren’t likely to need any extra help with staying healthy. Most of your ills will right themselves when you treat your body the way it is meant to be treated. Once you quit poisoning your body and start giving it the proper nutrition, you will inevitably find that many of your ‘diseases’ have fixed themselves.

Unfortunately, many of us have damaged our bodies so badly over the years that even a healthy diet, fresh air, sunshine and exercise can’t cure all of our ills. Or, maybe you live in an area that has an inordinately high level of pollution. Or, your job exposes you to toxins that have serious adverse health risks. That’s where herbs come in. Herbs work WITH your body. They don’t trick your body into fixing one problem, only to create another. They simply prod your body to work the way it is supposed to work by giving it the proper ingredients. Some herbs work by helping your body to produce the natural chemicals that keep it functioning properly. Some herbs work by helping to slow down the production of chemicals that are being overproduced. Some herbs work by helping you to relax so your body can heal itself. Herbs work in a variety of ways, but they do work when used properly.

Another frequent comment that I encounter is, “I tried this natural remedy and it totally didn’t work. Natural remedies are silly.” Really? So, let’s say you and your best friend both have strep throat. You both go to the doctor and are prescribed some amoxicillin. Your friend is better in a week, but two weeks later, you are on your second round of antibiotics and still sick as a dog. Does that mean the amoxicillin doesn’t work? No. It just means that it didn’t work for you. So, while your friend has now moved on to trying to clear up the yeast infection that the amoxicillin caused, you are still stuck trying to clear up the strep throat AND the yeast infection. Lucky you, huh?

Herbs and other natural remedies are no different. There is no one-size-fits-all advice. That is why it is so crucial that you don’t simply take herbs as medicine without consulting a real, tried-and-true herbalist. If your herbalist isn’t asking you questions like, “What is your diet like?” “What color is your pee?” or “How often do you poop?” then you probably aren’t dealing with a reliable herbalist. Sometimes, the first herb or herb blend you try isn’t going to work. Tell your herbalist that it isn’t working and they will tweak it a bit…add something new or take something away. That’s just how it works.

It all comes back to this: there is no magic remedy. If you are not willing to give up the junk and replace it with safe, nutritious, healthy foods, then don’t expect good health.

So, let’s recap:
If you are serious about wanting to restore your good health, you need to start with the following:
~Quit eating and drinking crap. This includes anything with ingredients you cannot pronounce and/or don’t know what they are.
~Quit rubbing toxic chemicals into your skin.
~Drink more water.
~Get lots of fresh air and sunshine.
~Exercise.
~Walk barefoot in the yard.
~Laugh more often.
~Love bigger.

Ah….I feel cleansed!

 

 

 

 

Picture this common scenario:

It’s 2 am and you wake to a crying child.  You touch their forehead and are alarmed at the heat radiating from them.  You rush to grab the thermometer and your fear escalates when you see 100…or 101…or 102. You grab the Tylenol or Ibuprofen to medicate your child at the same time you grab the phone to call the doctor.

Okay, now hit the rewind and imagine the scene played out like this:

It’s 2 am and you wake to a crying child.  You touch their forehead and are alarmed at the heat radiating from them. You climb from your bed and head to the kitchen to get your child a cup of warm herbal tea.  When the tea is gone, you take a deep breath and lay your child in bed with you.  You give a silent prayer of thanks that whatever may be ailing your child, at least their immune system is functioning enough to build that fever!

Which reaction is the right one?  Under normal circumstances, the second scenario is the correct answer.  Really.

Yes, I know your doctor told you to alternate acetaminophen and ibuprofen every few hours to relieve pain and get their fever down.  Your doctor really shouldn’t have told you that, though.  Here is why:

Fevers are awesome!  Fevers are the bodies way of killing off all the bad little germs that try to attack you.  If you stop the fever, you stop the healing process.  If your body doesn’t get hot enough to cook those germs to death, they multiply.  Before you know it, your body is overtaken by an army of germs.

Did you know that, unless there is a condition present that affects the hypothalamus (which is exceptionally rare), the fever will not exceed 105 degrees?  Seriously.

Yes, I know that you’ve heard how a high fever will cause seizures and brain damage and other awful things.  In reality, that is unlikely to ever happen unless you fail to keep the body hydrated.  That is why it is crucial to keep the liquid intake high while suffering through a fever.  Your body needs moist heat to do its job, but a fever eats up that moisture fast.  You must replenish it often to protect the body and the brain.

Of course, water is the first choice – unless it is city water that has been treated with chemicals. Distilled water or well water is the best choice when you are sick. Fresh juice is the other option.  Notice I specified fresh?  It is almost impossible to find juice in the grocery store that doesn’t contain sugar, corn by-products or artificial sweeteners, all of which will make the germs spread a little quicker and make the body have to work a little harder to get well. Fresh juice has the added benefits of things like Vitamin C, as well as other vitamins and nutrients the body needs to heal. And, no, Gatorade shouldn’t be an option, either.  Water and fresh juice.  That’s it.

And, let us not forget that acetaminophen and ibuprofen are both known to cause health issues, including liver and kidney damage.

So, let’s go back to the second scenario.  What kind of herbal tea do you give your feverish child?  My first choice is an equal mix of peppermint and catnip.  Both of these herbs are fantastic for helping to relieve general pain, especially pain caused by an imbalance in the system like infection.  They promote sweating, which helps the body to rid itself of toxins and germs.  They help sooth and invigorate the system.  Catnip is also a mild sedative that is safe for all ages, so it will help bring on restful sleep, which will allow the body time to heal itself.

What else can you do to deal with a fever, be it your’s or your child’s?  Warm baths with a couple scoops of epsom salt will help draw toxins out of the system.

Cool wash cloths or cold packs on the forehead and back of the neck will help provide relief from the heat without actually lowering the internal temperature of the body.

Fresh air and sunshine.  This one is really important.  When illness strikes, our first instinct is to crawl into bed, tuck the covers around us and hide from the outside world.  Don’t do it!  Take 10 minutes to step outside and soak up a few rays of sun.  The sun gives your body much of what it needs to heal. Fresh air provides a clean source of much-needed oxygen, without all the nasty sick germs mixed in.

Finally, help your body out.  Garlic, onions, ginseng, astragalus, cayenne, honey, raw fruits and veggies…all of these will boost your immune system and give it some extra ‘oomph’ to kick out whatever is ailing it!

A few years ago, I had a fantastic job at this great little local winery that served delicious lunch creations.  One of them was the most incredible quiche I’ve ever tasted.  While their recipe is top secret and I promised to never, ever, ever give it out, I never promised not to modify it to suit my own taste, then share it.

Over the years, I’ve played around with it quite a bit.  What follows is the best quiche experience you will ever taste.  Feel free to add to it as your taste buds dictate, although it really is perfect just the way it is!  I, of course, like my eggs fresh from the bird’s butt, my milk raw and unadulterated, my cheese homemade and my veggies fresh from the garden, however, I realize that isn’t an option for all of my readers.  Do the best you can with what you have!

What you need:

10 eggs (I used a combination of duck and chicken eggs for the quiche pictured)

1/4 Cup raw goat’s milk

4 oz cream cheese

3 Tbsp sour cream ( I prefer mine with a little fresh dill and basil added)

1/4 cup cheese, shredded, grated or crumbled. Mozzarella, feta, cheddar, swiss….whatever you prefer will work!

2-3 slices of bread or rolls

1 tsp fresh herbs of choice or 2 tsp of dried herbs

1 Cup fresh veggies, chopped or diced

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Butter the bottom and sides of a glass pie pan or bread pan.
  • Break bread into small pieces and line the bottom of the pan.  You can make this layer as thin or thick as you like.  The bread will help soak up excess moisture from the veggies and keep your quiche from being watery, and also forms the crust.  This is a great way to use up stale bread, or you can substitute this with bread crumbs, also.

bread crust

  • Mix eggs, milk, herbs, cream cheese, sour cream and cheese together, whisking until completely blended.  Pour mixture over the bread.

Egg mix

  • Sprinkle chopped veggies into the egg mixture and gently stir until all the veggies are immersed in the egg mix. I like to put the tomatoes on last and just set them into the top.  It looks prettier when it is done!

quiche raw

  • Cook for 17 minutes.  Remove from oven for 10 minutes. Return to oven for 8-12 minutes, until the sides are golden brown and there is no liquid remaining on the surface of the quiche.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes.

quiche done

  • Top with avocado, cheese, sour cream or whatever else sounds yummy at the time.

quiche serving

Goats and Gardens

I like adventure in my life.  Living on the edge.  Trying new and exciting things.  Things that make people say, “What is WRONG with you?”
I hear that phrase quite often from people who knew me way back when.  I have to admit that, had someone told me twenty years ago that I’d be living on a farm and raising chicken and cucumbers, I’d have punched them in the nose for even suggesting such a thing.  Now, though, I just look at them and smile.

The truth is, I can’t imagine living any other life than the one I have. I step out my door, or stare out my window, and all I see is a world blanketed in the beautiful green of the trees  and the brilliant flowery bits of purple, yellow, white, orange, blue and pink that cover the ground.  I see birds in colors that I never knew existed.  I watch bees and squirrels and butterflies as they scamper and flit through the yard.

in the woods

And, then there are my gardens.  I don’t believe there is any possible way to describe the feeling I get when I step into view of one of them.  The peace that fills me.  The easing of ill feelings and anger and negativity.  The joy and hope.  The reminder of all things beautiful and enduring that life has to offer.  It’s a little corny, I know, but there it is…

Pink flowers

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m kinda proud of my gardens.  All of them.  Even my sorry, neglected vegetable gardens.  Well, not really neglected…more like I-let-them-get-out-of-control-and-there-aren’t-enough-hours-in-the-week-to-catch-up-on-them…  Not that it was completely my fault.  It was mostly Mother Nature’s fault.  She’s the one who sent two solid weeks of rain in the middle of the summer, making it impossible to even get to my gardens. By the time I finally built a raft and rowed out to check on them, I was pretty certain they were done for.  My poor tomatoes, so lovely and full, had started to burst from all the water.  My lovely zucchini were water-logged and beginning to rot on the plant.  Even my watermelons seemed to have gotten just a bit too much water.

wet garden

Alas, as the rain cleared, the sun began to shine and the waters began to recede.  Lo and behold, I discovered all was not lost, in fact.  I pulled the cracked tomatoes, rotting zucchini and water-logged watermelons and watched in profound joy as those hardy plants sprouted new blooms and pushed out another round of fruits and veggies that showed even greater promise! Oh, how I love those Heirloom plants!

Should you ever find yourself in this same position, here’s what you can do to save your garden veggies; as soon as you can get to them, pull all the dead, dying, waterlogged or otherwise affected fruit from the plant and throw it in the compost pile (or feed it to your chickens, goats, dogs and cats like I do).  Pull off any leaves that are spotted or ugly.  Sit back and wait.  New blooms should appear within a couple of days and you can be enjoying a fresh round of fruits and veggies in a couple of weeks.  It is that simple.

My flower gardens are another story completely.  They LOVED all the rain!  They burst to life, covering my walls and ground with glorious color.  My vines vined, my flowers flowered…I have loofa, morning glory, datura, bamboo, castor beans….all of them happier than I’ve ever seen them!

So, riding high on a tide of garden-induced euphoria, I made the decision to add a goat or two to our happy farm family…

That wasn’t completely my fault, either.  See, my grandson needs some goat’s milk to eat, and my cousin (who swears she really does like me!) convinced me I needed some, and I could use some goat’s milk for my products….Anyway…the Universe conspired to make it happen.  Who am I to fight fate?

Meet Latte and Buttercup.

Latte and Buttercup

Latte and Buttercup

You have to admit they are pretty darn cute.  They’re good sports, too.  They didn’t kick me once while I was milking them…not even when they probably should have.  Instead, they just kinda looked at me askance a time or two, and I’m pretty sure that Buttercup sighed in exasperation a few times… Still, I have a gallon of fresh goat’s milk that I got all by myself! Am I unbelievably cool, or what?

At this point, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about.  Well, I’m gonna tell you.  It’s all about the goat milk and how super-duper-awesomely-cool it is.

First, though, let’s get the legal portion out of the way….The FDA says that any kind of raw milk is dangerous.  Deadly, in fact.  It harbors evil bacteria that are lying in wait to cause illness and death.  You should never, ever drink raw milk, or eat any products made with raw milk, or smell raw milk, or bathe in raw milk.  Instead, you should only buy milk that has been pasteurized by an FDA-approved agency until there is nothing nutritional or naturally-healthy about it.  (Do you feel the scorn and laughter I’m not bothering to hide…?)

But, if you are like me and enjoy living life on the razor edge of danger, here are some benefits of goat’s milk…

  • It contains over 50 nutrients, including Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B6, B12, minerals, enzymes, citric acid, amino acids, fatty acids, electrolytes, unsaturated fatty acids, selenium, calcium, potassium, niacin and several more.
  • It digests in 20 minutes
  • It most closely resembles the structure of human milk
  • It is non-mucus forming and non-allergenic
  • It is believed to be of great benefit for many medical conditions, including: arthritis, ulcers, malnutrition, brain disorders, nerve disorders, liver disease, heart disease, fluid retention and cancer prevention.

But, what about the benefits of goat’s milk in skin care, you ask?

  • It slows the effects of aging by helping to rebuild collagen and sustain elasticity of the skin
  • It helps prevent and reverse age spots
  • It promotes moisture retention
  • It contains alpha-hydroxy acids that  are believed to help rejuvenate and heal damaged skin

Unfortunately, raw goat milk is kinda hard to find.  A few states have outlawed it completely.  Most states have severe restrictions on the sale of it.  The danger, you know….

But, if you can get your hands on some, snatch it and run!  Bathe in it.  Drink it.  Gargle with it. Sniff it.  Okay, not really, but you know what I mean, right?  You can cook with it, too.  You know I’m gonna be posting new recipes that include copious amounts of raw goat milk.  Next thing you know, you’ll be seeing my face on America’s Most Wanted. I told you – I like to live dangerously!

Seaweed Veggie Rolls

Seaweed veggie rolls are one of my favorite healthy snacks.  What’s not to love? Beauty, flavor and nutrition graces every bite and it is like a little taste of Mother Nature herself in every mouthful.

How healthy, you ask?  Well…that depends on how many fruits and veggies you add to them, but the seaweed alone is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It is a natural, rich source of protein and iodine, which is essential for maintaining proper thyroid function.  It is rich in carotenes, vitamin C, vitamin B12, and also contains sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, chlorine, sulfur, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, molybdenum, fluoride, manganese, boron, nickel and cobalt. Throw in a variety of fruits and veggies in a rainbow of colors and these are some powerful, energy-inducing snacks!

I refuse to call it ‘sushi’ anymore, though.  Every instantly thinks ‘raw fish’.  Don’t misunderstand…I ADORE sushi, raw fish and all, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I guess they have a ‘technical’ name, but I don’t know what it is. Veggie rolls?  Rice rolls? Seaweed rolls? I’ll just pretend like I came up with the idea for these all by myself and call them ‘Tammi’s Vegiriceseaweed Rolls’.  Has a nice ring to it, no?

Aren't they absolutely gorgeous?

Aren’t they absolutely gorgeous?

How could these beauties not make your mouth water? Trust me…this is one recipe you won’t want to pass on.

Tammi’s Vegiriceseaweed Rolls recipe:

  • 4-5 seaweed wrap sheets
  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Fresh fruit/veggie slices (anything that sounds good will work here.  Carrots, peppers, celery, eggplant, mango, avocado, apples, pears…
  • Cream cheese (Optional.  I like to use cream cheese with herbs like parsley, basil, mint, cilantro, dill, etc.)
  • Fish (Optional. I don’t recommend raw fish unless you know what you are doing, but tuna, salmon, shrimp and even sardines are quite tasty additions!)

Start your rice first.  Mix the rice and water in a glass or stainless steel pan and let sit for 15-20 minutes.  While this sits, set out your cream cheese.  You want this to soften up so it is easier to spread on the rice. If you are mixing herbs into it, do so now.

In a small bowl or cup (I like to use my smallest glass measuring cup), mix your vinegar, salt and sugar.  Place in a pot with appx 1-2″ of water and heat gently until salt and sugar is completely dissolved, stirring frequently. Don’t use wood or plastic utensils with the vinegar mixture. Remove from heat and set aside.

Rice, salt and sugar mix

Rice, salt and sugar mix

By now, your rice should be ready to cook.  Place a lid on the pot and heat on high until the water comes to a boil.  Stir, reduce heat to the lowest setting and let cook until water is completely absorbed.

While your rice cooks, slice all of your fruits and veggies into thin strips, lay out a sheet of wax paper that is larger than your seaweed sheet and get everything set up within reach.  Once you put the rice on the seaweed sheet you will want to work quickly.

Fruit and veggie slices

Fruit and veggie slices

When your rice is done cooking, spread it onto a glass or stainless cookie sheet to cool.  You want to spread it as thin as possible.  When it is no longer steaming and about room temperature, pour the vinegar mixture over the rice and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the rice is completely coated and you don’t have any vinegar mixture puddling underneath the rice.  Let sit for a few minutes while you set out a sheet of seaweed, shiny side down, on your wax paper.

Pour vinegar over rice and mix gently

Pour vinegar over rice and mix gently

Okay, now you are going to want to work quick so your seaweed sheets don’t get too soft and rubbery.  Put enough rice on the seaweed to completely cover the seaweed from edge to edge on 3 sides.  Leave appx 1″ of the sheet uncovered at the bottom so you can seal it up after you roll it.   If you are using cream cheese, spread a thin layer appx 1″ wide at the top of the sheet, on top of the rice.  If you are using some type of fish, place it on top of the cream cheese.  Add fruit/veggie strips on top of  the cream cheese and fish.

sushi assmbly

Grab the top of the seaweed sheet, holding the veggies in place as best you can and roll it up tight enough to be solid, but not so tight that you rip the seaweed sheet.  Seal the roll by wetting down the bottom exposed strip with cold water.  Set aside and repeat until your rice is gone.  I can usually get 4 thick rolls or 5 thin rolls from this recipe.

sushi rolls

Using a very sharp knife, slice the rolls into 1″ rounds.

sushi sliced

Garnish it with some pickled ginger, a dash of Bragg Amino Acids, a little dab of wasabi and you are ready to go! That’s it.  It is really very simple, once you know what you are doing.  Expect a learning curve the first time you make these.

sushi done

Here are a few tips to make your experience easier.

~If you want to be really fancy, you can buy sushi-rolling mats and bamboo spoons at most kitchen stores, but I’m way too cheap for all that.  My cheap wooden spoons work just fine and rolling them up by hand is really not that difficult.

~Keep a small bowl or glass of cold water mixed with a tablespoon of vinegar nearby.  Sushi rice is very sticky and you can use this to dip your fingers, knife and spoon in to keep the rice from sticking.

~If you accidentally rip one of the sheets as you are rolling, you can fix it by cutting a piece of seaweed wrap slightly larger than the tear, wet it and place the patch over the tear, patting it down securely.

~It is very important to use an extremely sharp knife when slicing the sushi rolls into rounds.  A dull knife will tear the seaweed sheets and ruin all of your hard work.  When the knife gets sticky from cutting through the rice, rinse it with the cold water/vinegar mixture.

~Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Sometimes, I like to make the layer of rice very thin and add lots of extra veggies.  Sometimes I like thicker rice and less veggies.  The more rice and veggies, the thicker your roll will be, and the more difficult it will be to roll.