Kombucha Made Simple

Posted on January 7, 2017. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , |

A small bottle of kombucha at the store is $2.99!  A whole gallon homemade costs me maybe $1!

First ferment is a pot of organic tea and a cup of organic cane sugar added to the gallon jar and filled with cool filtered water. Then check the temperature to make sure it’s 110 degrees or lower and add  the scoby with a cup or so of old batch.   When the second scoby has been formed you are ready – about 10 days. You can drink now or do a second ferment.

Different colors are due to the amount of green tea vs. black tea I used.

I do this in individual bottles and I add small pieces of candied  ginger and /or fruit juices and syrups I make. Wait another 10 days for a new tiny scoby to form, cap tightly and refrigerate. Enjoy! It tastes great and fuels the microbiome in our guts. A nice side benefit is you get great tasting drinks for really, really cheap!

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Fermenting for Health

Posted on January 3, 2016. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , |


Today I teach a class on the healthy human microbiome.  That is the 3-4 pounds of microscopic organisms which inhabit our digestive tract, mouth, nose, ears, and the entire exterior surface of our bodies.

Often overlooked as we do things to damage this crucial organ, the microbiome does everything from digesting our food to keeping us happy.  Antibiotics use, stress, gluten, sugar, and junk food consumption all lead to an unhealthy microbiome.

But you can change all that by consuming healthy foods including naturally fermented foods.  These traditional foods have huge doses of additional species to help keep us healthy.  Plus they taste good!  Here’s a link to a recipe for Latin American Curtido Kraut which is especially yummy due to the addition of jalapeños!

I’ve been making yogurt, homemade rootbeer and ginger ale, curtido and other fermented vegetables for awhile now.  My favorite website to get supplies is Cultures for Health.  I get no reward for mentioning them here.  I do like to give a pat on the back, though, to great organizations and this is one of them!

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Peanut Butter Balls for Dogs

Posted on November 30, 2015. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Peanut Butter Balls and Charlie

We’ve gone gluten-free at our house, even the dogs!  Here is an easy treat recipe that they gobble up like no tomorrow.

Peanut Butter Balls for Dogs

16 oz. jar smooth natural or organic peanut butter (no sweeteners or other ingredients, just peanuts and salt perhaps.)
1/4 C. wheatgrass powder
3/8 C. coconut flour (or so, you can add more or less to make a stiff dough)
3/8 C. ground flaxseed

Mix all together in a bowl either by hand or with electric stand mixer.  Keep in the refrigerator.  Make balls as necessary.  (You can taste them and even eat them with your dog; all human food-grade ingredients.)

If these ingredients seem odd-ball to you, just look on, you can find them all.  And, yes, peanut butter,  coconut flour, wheatgrass, and flaxseed are all good for dogs!


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Caring for my Hands

Posted on November 18, 2014. Filed under: Health | Tags: , , , , , |

Unguento de la IaiaEpsom SaltsHand bath

Winter in Wisconsin can be brutal in many ways, but the hands take a big brunt of the abuse.  This is because the dry air and extreme cold dry out the skin of the hands and inflame the small joints of the wrist, hand and fingers (29 joints in all).  The body knows it’s not good/normal for fingers to go numb and ache with cold several times a day and it sets up a cascade of discomfort.

This winter I have a new plan:  come in from the cold and immediately treat my hands.  Here’s what I am doing:

1.  Pour about 2 Tablespoons Epsom salt mix into a pan of very warm water.  My current mix includes anti-inflammatory essential oils of turmeric, black pepper, and lavender.  I half-fill a coffee can with Epsom salts and drip in the oils (10-20 drops each) then fill with salts, close and shake it up.

2.  Soak both hands together for about a minute, then one at a time for about another minute each to extend all the digits in the warmth and get the joints loosened up.

3.  Slather with my homemade body butter or with the homemade, “Unguento de la Iaia” I picked up in Spain last month.  This balm is designed for sore joints and the name means, “Granny’s Salve.”  I love this stuff and a future post will definitely be about my adventure trying to reproduce it.  The young gal who made it told me it was, indeed, an old family recipe and that’s got to be good!

As an aside, I apologize to my readers for the lapse in my postings.  I know I owe you promised pictures of my venture into painting.  It will come…

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Herb Garden Walk

Posted on July 13, 2014. Filed under: Health, Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Herb Walk 1


I pulled my tail out of bed at 5 a.m. this morning to drive an hour and a half to Madison, Wisconsin to attend the Wildwood Institute’s Herb Garden Walk.  The tour was given by Kathleen Wildwood, owner of the Institute and her students.  They introduced the medicinal uses of about 7 plants she is growing in the herb garden of her house.  Across the street is a house she rents for classes.

I was surprised how much I already knew and also how much there is to learn.  I am bowled over by the many plants we can grow right here that have powerful medicine in them if you know how to use them.

Kathleen, like a lot of herbalists, asked us to, “Ask permission of the plant to pick a leaf.”  And she thanked the wind and the plants at the end of her talk.  As a person of Christian faith I am sad when the creation is honored and worshipped rather than the Creator, so I just substituted my thanks To God for His many gifts in nature to us.  I don’t think Kathleen would mind.

All in all I was very glad I went and I am energized to grow calendula!  More on that later I have lemon balm to harvest.

MeadowsweetMeadowsweet – a plant to try next

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Quail Eggs

Posted on May 27, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Just Fun | Tags: , , , , , |

quail egg

Keeping with the egg theme, I thought I’d show you a quail egg I bought at the farm the other day.  This was a new food to me.  They are adorable little orbs, tan with brown spots and flecks.  They are hard to crack with tough little shells, but once you do you have a perfectly miniature little egg complete with yolk and white just as you’d expect.  They are quite tasty too!  It’s fun to find and try something new.  The lady at the farm sniffed a little when I asked her if she’d tried them and if so, how she liked them.  “I would never pay that price for eggs, usually just people who are allergic to chicken eggs buy them!”  Oh for goodness sake, you sell them at your farm stand and you have never had the curiosity to try them?  I find that very strange!

By the way, just the other day one of my former students told me he had taken to heart my advice to make friends with beets.  Beets are so good for you, especially your liver.  I used to hate them too, but I told the class that you can decide to change what you like in the food department.  The French are famous for giving their children 10-20 tastes of something new without expectation so that their palates can develop a familiarity with the new food.  Having learned this I started eating a little bit of beets over time.  Grated raw beets and apples with balsamic and olive oil became a new favorite.  Also, scrubbing, making into wedges, coating in olive oil and salt to spread on a pan and roast in the oven for about an hour makes beets delicious.  Even steamed and then just served with olive oil and balsamic drizzle is pretty good.  Well, anyway, the graduate thanked me for the tip because now he eats them all the time.  That was pretty gratifying, maybe someone is listening to me!!

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Ode to the Duck Egg

Posted on April 26, 2014. Filed under: Breakfast Made Simple, Health, Just Fun, Poetry | Tags: , , , |

Duck Eggs

The farmer called:
He’s got 3 dozen.
Our stomachs did a flutter, enthralled;
Spring has truly begun!

To crack them;
To hear them sizzle in the pan;
To eye the white whites,
the orange yolks!

And then to bite
Their luscious ducky goodness
Soaked into the sourdough toast.
Truly a taste of heaven.

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Homemade Body Butter

Posted on April 14, 2014. Filed under: Health, Just Fun | Tags: , , , , |

My homemade body butter turned out great.  Here is the recipe for a luscious treat for your winter-battered hide!

Base Ingredientsbody butter 3

3 oz. coconut oil
3 oz. cocoa butter
3 oz. shea butter
1 oz. emulsifying wax
1/2 Cup organic olive oil


Melt ingredients together on stovetop lowest setting just until melted.  Put in freezer until it starts to harden – about 10 minutes.  Whip in mixer with wire whip for 5 minutes.  Stir in 3 Tablespoons vegetable glycerine.  Put back in freezer for about 5 minutes, then whip again for 5 minutes.  Stir in essential oils, if using, put in jars.


body butter 1body butter 2

By the way, using a small kitchen scale to weigh out the ingredients is a great way to make it very easy to measure solid ingredients like this.  You don’t have to try packing them tightly into measuring cups.  Just put the empty bowl on the scale, zero it out, and start adding clumps of material until the desired amount is reached.

I added essential oils of blue tansy (20 drops), lemongrass (40 drops), and lavender (40 drops).  Blue tansy helps to reduce inflammation and I love the smell, lemongrass is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory and I love the smell, and lavender is a soothing anti-spasmotic and I love the smell!  This threesome will be very powerful to rub into my hardworking hands, aiding my muscles and joints as well as keeping my skin soft and unbroken.


Mountain Rose Herbs – My favorite place for all the base ingredients

Aromatics International – A great source for essential oils.  They test every batch so you are assured of no adulteration.  Test results, use, and safety information all available on their excellent website.

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Baby Kale Harvest

Posted on April 1, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Plants |

Baby Kale HarvestOne of the benefits to starting a whole bunch of baby kale plants early is that you can actually start to enjoy eating them!  Here is my big bowl of baby kale leaves ready to add to my salad.  They are so tender and delicious!

I do think I missed my calling.  I could be very happy as a farmer.

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Salmon Avocado Salad

Posted on March 28, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , |

Salmon Avocado SaladI’ve been inspired by all manner of canned fish lately.  I have just gotten to know sardines, for instance.  This was a can of Sockeye Salmon – Red Salmon, the can said, that I splurged on.  It was definitely a deeper red color and more flavorful than the less expensive canned salmon.  This can was about $8, but we got two delicious and healthy meals out of it.

1 can red salmon
2 Tablespoons (or so) mayonnaise
1/8  Cup finely chopped onion
1/4 Cup finely chopped red or orange pepper
S+P to taste

Can be served on 1/2 avocado for a grain-free meal.  Could also be nice on crackers, as lettuce/cabbage wraps, or toast.

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