Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Equinox

 I love Equinox. Or as other call it  Ostara. We had a great time celebrating this turn of the wheel of the year. I used my green table cloth, wine glasses with green juice in them, tulips in a vase and Easter eggs with a treat inside.

A friends came over with her children so we had a five year old, seven year old and a ten year old. She also brought her CSA pork roast. Oh my that was a wonderful piece of pig. So tender and delicious! I roasted beets, sweet potatoes, and blue new potatoes. A big green spinach salad and green string beans rounded out the dinner.The grains were not even missed by any of us!

Before dinner began we said what we were  grateful for, go around the table and each share a gratitude.  Then I instructed everyone to hold their candy filled Easter egg and imagine imbibing it with all that will be new for you in the next few months. This is a great mediation. We quietly sat and thought about how our lives are evolving and what was next for us. The kids said they made wishes, like when you blow out birthday candles.

And of course we dyed Easter eggs. We used these wonderful natural egg dyes. The dyes were so vibrant! They used, cabbage, radish, and onion to make the dyes. None of that artificial crap.Look how great they look! No need for the other stuff!
We also created little planters with egg shells. We planted some herbs and flowers. They will stay inside until the weather is better and they get buried directly into the soil. Fun huh?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Finally back on track!

Well it has taken a month of trying to be totally paleo... again. But  I am finally on board, again. I feel so much better! And I am off sugar as well which I think is the hardest thing to do.  Grains- I love rice but I can live without it. Bread and things with wheat, well it took me about three years to kick that bad habit. And it such like a drug for me. I would be clear of wheat for weeks or months and then I would have a little and it was like an avalanche of cravings would hit me. I would then struggle for a long time fighting the craving to get clear from it again. Gluten filled items would spark such an inflammation eruption in my joints. I didn't have gastrointestinal response to gluten for me it was inflammation all the way.

Sugar is my new monster. I have been fighting it for about six months. Or maybe I should say my whole life. Sugar has always been a challenge. And I think it lies at the foot of all my challenges. Ok Maybe that was a bit dramatic. Maybe not everything that has ever gone wrong is the fault of sugar...... or is it? Well I am none the less, fighting the battle valiantly these days.

I am allowing a little bit of dairy. The occasional bite of cheese or a full fat cream with coffee on the weekend. And I am eating berries. And a few other fruits. Although I had an apple tonight~ whew eeee mama~ That was one good apple. But NOTHING with sugar as an ingredient. Chocolate has been a challenge in the past., so none of that. It's kind of like a gate way drug for me. So I will be staying away from chocolate for as long as I can hold out. When I do decide to allow a little chocolate  it will be dark- super dark. Medicinal Chocolate, you know like 88% plus.

Please send you tip or encouragement. I need all the help I can get!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Welcome Home Chicks!

Well after a year and a half of healing from our chicken tragedy, we are ready to have chicks again. Unfortunately some neighbor dogs got into our chicken fence and massacred 18 chickens. To add insult to injury it was my partner's birthday. Not a nice thing to wake up to. So getting back to a place where we can have chickens again has taken a lot of me convincing my partner and an electric fence. 
So we got electricity down to the chicken house and so we have gotten chicks! We keep them in the garage while they are little and need more constant attention. Beside my son loves to hold them, gently of course and that's great for the chicks too. We want gentle chickens that are happy to have us hang out with them in their yard.

I have had chickens all my life. My dad loved to have chickens. We lived out in the woods with dogs so the racoons left our chickens alone. The only challenge we had growing up was the chickens always escaped. So we were constantly chasing them back into the yard.
So this is how we do it! We use a dog kennel to contain them. The kennel has big holes so when they are little I put cardboard walls up so that they don't squeeze through the holes. And also so the cats don't get them. We have hunter kitties so we have to watch closely until they are big enough to defend themselves. 

They need a water container, and baby chick feed.  Bedding is important to help maintain a warm temperature, we used pine shavings. A not breezy place is good too. It's not unusual for people to keep chicks in the house for a week or two if it's cold in your climate.

It was exceptionally cold today so I put them in a card board box inside the kennel to keep them a little warmer. Chicks need a heat lamp to stay warm. We bought chicks from our local feed store.  They had a min of six so we bought six. We may get a few more. We purchased Americana, Rhode Island Red and Orp Buffington. 

The Americana will produce green and blue tinted eggs. These chicks will not produce eggs for four to five months. So we will need to be patient and raise them through most of the summer before we get fresh eggs everyday!

We will feed our chickens organic egg layer once they are older. They will also get all of our kitchen scraps and since I cook for 7-12 people each night for dinner we have lots of scraps. Also we encourage our neighbors to share their scraps with our chicken too and we share their eggs with them. They love all kinds of left overs including meat. yes, chickens are meat eaters. Usually their meat comes into form of worms, and other insects. They love left over ham. Our chicken do not get a lot of meat scraps but the ones they do they love!

Have you ever had chickens? What was your experience?


Monday, March 4, 2013

Elderberry Syrup for Pancakes

I made this elderberry syrup for my friends and family that eat pancakes. Since I am not eating grains these days I didn't get to try it on pancakes. But it got great reviews from my family and friends. Elderberry is known to have anti-viral qualities so it's great to use in the winter when we are all protecting ourselves from the colds and flu flying around. We have been lucky enough to not get ill this season.
I used dried Elderberry, local honey and organic maple syrup. Here is the recipe:

Elderberry Syrup
1 cup dried Elderberries
2 cups water
1 cup local honey
1 cup Maple syrup

Bring the Elderberries and water to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Simmer for about a half hour, liquid should reduce by about half. Then mix in honey and maple syrup. Pour into sterilized jar and refrigerate.
Here are a few fact about Elderberry, from this website:

Black Elderberry Facts

  • Black Elderberry has been found to be effective against the H5N1 strain of Avian Flu (Zakay-Rones et al 1995)
  • Black Elderberry contains a unique compound called Antivirin® that can help protect healthy cells and inactivate infectious viruses
  • When given to patients, scientists have found that Black Elderberry has the ability to ward off flu infections quickly (Zakay-Rones 2004)
  • Black Elderberries are rich in anthocyanins which are a type of flavonoid – anthocyanins are antioxidants that may protect cells from free radicals and support your body’s immune system
  • Black Elderberries have almost 5 times as many anthocyanins as Blueberries and twice the overall antioxidant capability of cranberries
  • Black Elderberry has a more potent antiviral effect than Echinacea