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Archive for September, 2012


One of my favorite fall recipes is curry pumpkin soup. I have made this soup every year for the last 7 or so years. Fall doesn’t begin around here until momma makes pumpkin soup.

Curry Pumpkin Soup:

-1 medium onion, chopped

-1/4 c. butter

-4 cups of cooked mashed pumpkin (a pumpkin about the size of a volleyball)

-Reserved water from cooking pumpkin added to chicken stock to make 4 cups of liquid

-1/2 -1 tsp. better than bouillon chicken soup base *

-1 bay leaf

-1 tsp. sugar

-1 tsp. curry powder

-1/4 tsp. nutmeg

-2 Tabs. dry parsley

-1 cup of milk

-1 cup of half and half

-1 tsp. of salt or more if using homemade broth

-Fresh ground white pepper to taste. (white pepper makes a difference)

-If you like it spicier add a dash or two of cayenne pepper (optional)

If using a whole volleyball sized pumpkin, peel it, scraped out the seeds, then cut into  1 inch cubes.  The seeds and innards make a yummy chicken treat.Add water halfway up to the top of the cubes.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat cover and simmer slowly 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  I used my pressure cooker and reduced the time by 1/2. Removed the cubes, reserving the cooking water, and mash. If using canned disregard and move onto the next step.

Sauté onion in butter until golden.  Stir in pumpkin, water or broth, *chicken base, bay leaf, sugar, curry, nutmeg and parsley.  Bring to simmer and simmer uncovered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Puree in batches in a blender, processor or if you have one of those neat submersion blenders use that.  Add half and half in a thin stream while stirring.  Add milk in the same manner.  Add salt and pepper. Simmer 5-10 minutes additional. And yum!

*I usually use better than bouillon chicken soup base for extra flavor but recently found out that it is not as natural as it claims to be. Read here if you are interested. What I did this time is use my homemade stock to cook the pumpkin in and then added the reserved pumpkin water to additional chicken stock to make 4 cups of liquid and added additional salt to taste.

-Theresa

 

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A yummy treat with only a fraction of the calories!

Serve Carrot Pumpkin Spice Smoothie as a dessert instead of traditional cake this holiday season. Top if off with a crushed graham cracker crust and healthy vegan coconut whipped cream. I made this today and it is simply YUMMY.

Ingredients
4 Carrots
1 medium banana
4 tablespoons of non-dairy plain or vanilla yogurt (optional/alternative for the banana)
1 cup of Ice
2 cups of non-dairy milk of choice (Vanilla Almond Milk or Cashew Milk)
1 tablespoon of Agave

A few dashes of
Madagascar Vanilla
Pumpkin All spice (Nutmeg & Cinnamon as an alternative if pumpkin spice isn’t available)

**You may top it of with crushed graham crakers and coconut whipped cream (see recipe below)**

Directions
1. Put all ingredients in a high speed blender. If you do not have a high powered blender you can boil the carrots to soften them before adding it to the blender. If you have a juicer, you may juice the carrots first then add the remaining ingredients to the blender
2. Blend well. and N-Joy 🙂
**You may want to add a little more water if you like your smoothie thinner and add ice for a thicker smoothie**

Coconut Whipped Cream

Ingredients
One 15-ounce can full-fat organic coconut milk (place in the fridge overnite or until chilled, the colder the more fluffier)
1 tablespoon powdered confectioners sugar or Agave to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla or to taste (optional)

Directions
1. Place the can of coconut milk up right in the refrigerator and leave it there until well-chilled or overnight
2. Open the can of coconut milk from the bottom. Dump out the liquid and there will be a firm, waxy layer left inside. (You can use the water in smoothies, or just drink it straight.)
3. Scoop out this firm layer coconut cream that has solidified in the can.
don’t include anything but the solid cream.
4. Place this cream in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl.
5. Turn your mixer or hand beaters to high speed, and whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Whip until it becomes fluffy and light, with soft peaks. Mix in sugar or vanilla, if using.
7. Serve with fresh fruit, pie, hot chocolate or top it off on your favorite smoothie 🙂
~April

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If you know us pretty well it wont surprise you that we have had a calf out in tinny front yard for the last 8 weeks.  It has been a wonderful learning experience and tons of fun.  It was also fun to sit on our front porch and watch neighbors walking by.  Every time he would moo people would look around really confused.

We got seven when he was only a few hours old.  The big cattle truck pulled up in front of our house and dropped him and a cow igloo off.

Whats that green stuff on 7’s forehead?  That is some paint the farmer uses to mark the forehead of the calf so he knows who received colostrum.  It’s really important for a calf to drink at least a gallon of colostrum in the first few hours of life.

There were a few things I had to learn about new-born calf care.  The first is that they only eat 2 half-gallon bottles of calf milk replacer a day, no matter how much they moo at you.  They can get scours (the runs) and that is not good for a little calf. Second, you need to keep a close eye on their naval.  If the calf was born in unclean conditions, placed in an unclean area, or just by chance they can develop naval ill. This naval infection if not caught early on can spread  through the bloodstream and settle in other parts of the body.  Our little guy, for whatever reason, contracted this.  I had to give him injections of penicillin in his neck for 6 days and treat the navel with iodine. Yuck! It was the first time I had to give anything an injection and I hope I never have to do it again for my sake and the animal’s.  After about four weeks we started giving him calf starter grain.  Only a little at first, discarding leftovers in the evening.  The rule of thumb is if the calf eats 2 lbs of feed by the end of the day he is ready to be weened cold turkey.  A calf is usually weened a 6-8 weeks. Seven was weened at 7 weeks. Now that he has been weened it was time to move him out to pasture at our friends house.
Here he is in the horse trailer 7 weeks old. Can you guess why we named him Seven?

Here he is meeting his new friends Oreo and Chocolate.

Here is Seven’s new digs. He has roommates, but still way more luxurious than the igloo.He was so happy to get out of that igloo and run free.Eat lots of grass little guy and get fat!

So where did we get seven?  How much did he cost? How much does it cost to feed him?

Seven- Free!  A lot of dairy farmers will give their males away for free or next to nothing. Seven is a Holstein cross.

Igloo-Trade work.

Calf milk replacement (1 bag)~ $70.00 Typically you only need one bag/ calf.

Calf starter grain ~$18.00/bag. You should only feed them this grain for about the first 6 months.  The rest of the 18 months or so the steer will eat grass and hay.

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Here are some recent pictures

IMG_2791 IMG_2792 IMG_2793-Theresa

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Elderberries have been a remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, and Asia. Many studies have shown that Elderberry is high in antioxidants and can be used to lower cholesterol,  improve vision,  boost the immune system, improve coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections, tonsillitis and heart health. Elderberry boosts the immunity by stimulating  the immune system to produce infection and disease fighting proteins which destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell.

A majority of the studies that produced the results above were done using Elderberry extract. Elderly extract has higher concentration of active components than that obtained by simply eating the berries. Elderberry syrup can be very expensive so I decided to try and make my own with dried Elderberries that I ordered off of Amazon.com.

Here is the recipe that I adapted from several different recipes including other health boosting ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup black elderberries
  • 3 1/2 cups of filtered  water
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger root, finely minced, or 1 tsp dried ginger
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 5 whole cloves or a sprinkle of  clove powder
  • 1 cup (or less) raw honey
  • 1 1/4 tsp real vanilla extract
  • a few of sprigs of fresh lemon balm or a couple bags of lemon balm tea.

Add all ingredients except the honey to a saucepan and bring to a high boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until liquid reduces by 1/3-1/2. Remove from heat and let cool enough to touch. Strain and squeeze out the berries and lemon balm.  Add the honey to the liquid and stir well. Store in a bottle or jar in the fridge.

Recommended dosage: 1 tablespoon for adults and 1 teaspoon for children over the age of two. Take once daily for immunity support or every few hours for treatment of flu or cold.

Here are some health benefits from the ingredients used:

Ginger- is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that is used for the most extreme cases of inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Cinnamon – Laboratory studies have found that cinnamon may reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects, and fight bacteria.

Vanilla – Vanilla’s main constituent is vanilli which has antioxidant properties.  Vanilla helps reduce stress and calm nausea.

Cloves –  Cloves have antiseptic and germicidal properties that help fight infections, relieve digestive problems and arthritis pain..

Lemon Balm – relieves stress and insomnia, and helps in healing cold sores .

Raw honey – has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties to keep your immune system healthy and ward off colds and the flu.  It also is a very effective cough suppressant.

***It is recommended to eat only fully cooked elderberries. The unripe fruit, bark, leaves, and stems may contain cyanide which is poisonous. Never eat the green parts of the Elderberry plant.*****

Most research Is from the internet and I am in no way a medical professional.  I would love to hear your elderberry syrup recipe or feedback on this recipe and the effectiveness. We are all learning and constructive criticism or improvement are always welcome.

**ADDITION**

I have also tried to make elderberry extract.

4oz of dried elderberries

1 quart bottle of cheap vodka or brandy

1 quart jar with lid

Each day, shake the jar and during the first week, Make sure that the alcohol still covers the berries, add more  alcohol if necessary.

After 6-8 weeks, or longer, remove the berries by straining them through the colander. The extract will remain potent for 1-2 years if kept in a cool dark place.

This is extract, it taste like extract, and needs to be added to other things such as tea, seltzer or milk. It still has all the wonderful properties, maybe more, as the syrup recipe. Serving 20 drops for adults and 10 drops for kids once a day for prevention and 3 or 4 times/day during a flu or cold. For kids 2 and over, but I think I will stick to the syrup for my younger ones.

-Theresa

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Today I talked to seven year old daughter about September 11. I showed her some photos on the Internet of the twin towers , the planes crashing into them and the aftermath. I explained why this tragedy happened and why it was important for us not forget about it. I told her that lots of people died in the wreckage and lots of brave people died trying to rescue the people who survived. Also many men and woman die everyday bravely fighting for our country so that stuff like this doesn’t happen anymore . I also explained that that’s why the war is going on so that we could be safe so that we can worship God, go to church, have homeschool, and play safely in our backyards.  I showed her pictures of people in Egypt who attacked the US Embassy and destroyed the American flag.  There are people out there who want to hurt America there are people out there who want to destroy our freedoms. Without these brave men and women who are fighting for their and our lives every day who knows what her country might be like. She started crying not because she was scared for herself but because it’s sad. It is sad. We should be greatful and never forget. Many Americans have become desensitized to this. People are desensitized to those who are dying every day to make sure that this does not happen to us again. Many people actively choose to forget that there is a war going on and live their happy, carefree, tolerent, everyone loves everyone little lives. This war makes these lifestyles possible. So please take this day to remember, but when tomorrow comes don’t forget. Remember those who died and their families. Continue to pray for those soldiers fighting and their families. Pray for our country and the upcoming election. Pray for our freedom. Pray.

Never forget!

Psalm 25:2

 O my God, I trust in You;

Let me not be ashamed;

Let not my enemies triumph over me.

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Over the last couple of years I have been trying to avoid feeding my family fast food.  I have gone from once a week at the drive through to once every three or so months. Honestly I love fast food.  I love those salty fries and processed meats.  My body on the other hand does not.  I always feel sluggish and a little sick to the stomach afterwards. I know what is in those meats and fries and feel guilty whenever I do give my kids this “treat”.  Something else I love from fast food joints is “The Frosty”. Yum.. antibiotics and cow puss.. well no more.  I give you the homemade frosty!  I have two versions for you. One is a “healthier” treat (healthier than the one you can buy at the drive through) and “The even healthier than the first” treat.

What you will need for the “healthier” treat is a 14 oz can of condensed sweetened milk and a quart of  a thick chocolate milk.

“For the even healthier than the first” treat you will need whole milk, organic unrefined sugar or the like, butter, vanilla extract, and cocoa.

First you will need to make the sweetened condensed milk substitute:

  • 3 cups of whole milk
  •  2/3 – 1  cup of unrefined or organic sugar (I would use 1/2-2/3 cup in the frosty.  1 cup makes it too sweet)
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  •  2 tsp. of vanilla

Mix milk and sugar in a heavy pan over medium-low heat.  When steam starts to rise lower heat and allow about two hours, stirring occasionally, for the liquid to reduce to about half. Whisk in  butter and vanilla. Allow it to cool before using.

For the chocolate syrup:

  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup organic unrefined sugar (again you can use less)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Combine cocoa and water in a saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until cocoa is dissolved and add sugar. Whisk, then bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes, whisking constantly.  Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Cool and store remainder in the fridge.

Add chocolate syrup, about 4 Tbsp or less, to a quart of milk.  Mix well.

And for both you need  ice cream maker or blender. The ice cream maker works best but the blender will suffice. If you are using an ice cream maker freeze the bowl for at least 24 hours making sure there is no ice crystals.

Now that you have your condensed sweeten milk and chocolate milk whisk them together and pour into the pre-frozen ice cream bowl . Churn for 25-30 minutes until you have reached a thick “Frosty” consistency.

For a blender, mix ingredients until throughly combined.  Freeze in a freezer friendly container for 2 hours or so, stirring every 30 minutes until you have the “Frosty” consistency

The ice cream maker works best but the blender will suffice. The second recipe might take a little longer to reach consistency.

This would be a great once in a while  Sunday afternoon or after school treat! Have a great week!

-Theresa

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Are you thinking about planting a winter garden?   My early summer late spring did so well this year my kids and I were sad when it was over.   Then we had a brilliant revelation, we can plant those same cooler weather crops in the fall.

My two-year old saw me post this picture and is running into the kitchen looking for broccoli and yelling delicious.  This is all the motivation I need to plant a winter garden.  I’m going to plant broccoli, spinach, and leaf lettuce.

The trick to planting a cold weather garden is to figure out when and what you can  plant for your area.  This can be done by finding out he average date of the first killing frost in your region. You can do that here .

The next step is finding what crops you can plant. Most seed packets have approximate maturate dates on the back of the package.  Count backwards from the average date of first killing frost.  It is recommended to add three weeks to compensate for shorter days.  I am starting a little late for broccoli so I’m cheating and buying started broccoli plants. Make sure the ground is moist and has a layer of mulch to maintain heat and provide adequate moisture after the dry summer months. The best crops to plant in September are early maturing crops that are fairly cold hardy.

These included are for the Pacific North West other regions especially the southern states will have more choices :

  • Chives
  • Bunching Onions
  • Radishes
  • Early Broccoli
  • Leaf Lettuces
  • Mustard
  • Spinach

 

Here is a chart from Mother Earth News to use for reference.

FALL HARVEST CROPS Days to Maturity
 
beets 55 to 60
broccoli 70 to 80
Brussels sprouts 90 to 100
cauliflower 55 to 65
cabbage 70 to 80
carrots 85 to 95
Chinese cabbage 75 to 85
cilantro 50 to 55 (leaf); 90 to 105 (coriander seed)
collard greens 60 to 100
daikon radishes 60 to 75
green beans 50 to 60
green onions 50 to 60
kale 40 to 50
kohlrabi 50 to 60
leeks 100 to 120
lettuce (leaf) 40 to 50
lettuce (head) 70 to 85
mustard greens 30 to 40
onions (seeds) 130 to 150
onions (sets) 60 to 80
peas 50 to 60
radishes 25 to 30
rutabaga 70 to 80
spinach 50 to 60
Swiss chard 30 to 50
turnips 55 to 60

Here is an approximate planting date guide from Heirloom Seeds website
FALL PLANTING DATES FOR VEGETABLES
AVERAGE FIRST FROST ON –

  VARIETY           OCT. 30    NOV. 10   NOV. 20   NOV. 30   DEC. 10    DEC. 20
 LETTUCE,LEAF   SEPT. 10   SEPT. 20   SEPT. 30   OCT. 10   OCT. 20   OCT. 30
 KALE   AUG. 25   SEPT. 5   SEPT. 15   SEPT. 25   OCT.  5   OCT. 15
 MUSTARD   SEPT. 1   SEPT. 10   SEPT. 20   OCT. 1   OCT. 10   OCT. 20
 OKRA   AUG. 10   AUG. 20   AUG. 30   SEPT. 10   SEPT. 20   OCT. 1
 PEA,GREEN   AUG. 20   AUG. 30   SEPT. 10   SEPT. 20   SEPT. 30   OCT. 10
 PEPPER,PLANTS   JULY 25   AUG. 10   AUG. 20   AUG. 30   SEPT. 10   SEPT. 20
 RADISH   SEPT. 30   OCT. 10   OCT. 20   OCT. 30   NOV. 10  NOV. 20
 SPINACH   SEPT. 5   SEPT. 15   SEPT. 25   OCT. 5   OCT. 15   OCT. 25
 TOMATO,PLANTS   JULY 15   JULY 25   AUG. 5   AUG. 15   AUG. 25   SEPT. 5
 TURNIP   AUG. 30   SEPT. 10   SEPT. 20   SEPT. 30   OCT. 10   OCT. 20
 BEET                    AUG. 20   SEPT. 10    SEPT. 20   SEPT. 30   OCT. 5      OCT. 15
 CABBAGE,PLANTS   AUG. 10   AUG. 20   SEPT. 5   SEPT. 20   OCT. 5   OCT. 10
 CARROT   AUG. 15   AUG. 25   SEPT. 5   SEPT 15   SEPT 25   OCT. 5
 CHARD   AUG. 15   AUG. 30   SEPT. 15   SEPT. 25   OCT. 5   OCT. 15
 COLLARD,PLANTS   AUG. 10   AUG. 20   SEPT. 5   SEPT. 15   SEPT. 25   OCT. 5

So get planting 🙂

-Theresa

Proverbs 25:13- Like the cold of snow in time of harvest

Is a faithful messenger to those who send him,
For he refreshes the soul of his masters.

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