Guiltless Chocolates!

Guiltless ChocolatesI saw a version of this recipe on a yahoo grp that promotes eating raw foods. Who could turn down the idea of eating chocolates for health? Not me! I am use to eating spoonfuls of raw butter for the health of my brain and the powerful Vitamin D that it holds, but adding chocolate to it and coconut oil only makes my healthful diet more enjoyable!

Guiltless Chocolates(all measurements are approximate, tweak them as you like)

1/2 Cup raw butter softened

1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil

1 Tbsp almond butter

2 heaping Tbsp “Really Raw” honey (or whatever honey you like)

2 heaping Tbsp organic cocoa (or raw chocolate)

Mix all these ingredients together and drop by the spoonful on a plate. Place the plate in the freezer till hardened. Eat quickly because they melt in your hands. The idea here is to eat raw, so use as many raw ingredients as possible. ENJOY!Variations: unsweetened shredded coconut, nuts, whatever tickles your taste buds!

Back To Basics

Indian MarketIndian MarketI’m not a big fan of Gandhi. I’ve been to his home in India and I’ve read his quotes. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in many ways he had good ideas and in many ways he did not. I’ve seen the poverty in India first hand, a country that has not progressed with civilization. But I’ve also seen their gardens. Boy can they grow okra and eggplant! (Make sure you click on the photos) The food in India is wonderfully fresh and full of flavor.

I saw this quote in the Feb-March 2008 issue of “Organic Gardening” and I had to share it.”To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” Gandhi

I believe that every person, whether they have much land or none at all, should know how to grow food. There are many who live in the city with patio gardens. Granted you may not be able to grow enough to be self-sufficient but you can grow enough to feel worthy of the food you eat. I came to realize that if I could build a hoophouse or even small tunnels to grow winter vegetables in, it would save me the time and money that it takes to travel to the health food store. It’s a good 12 miles to the closest health food store (gourmet at that and pricey), so figuring 22 miles to a gallon in my minivan and the cost of gasoline being close to $3.00/gallon, that would make a head of leaf lettuce somewhere up to …….$5.00 or $6.00. Now that’s some pretty expensive lettuce. Not only does self-sufficiency help me but it also helps our environment. I believe we are stewards and caretakers of the earth. I ‘m not an activist. I do my part. We don’t use chemicals in our home. We don’t use them in our garden. We compost whatever can be put back in the earth including paper towels and newspaper. We choose to use glass over plastic. You get the picture.

Maybe I’ve been listening to too much Glenn Beck, but if our economy is doomed to have a crash unlike any seen in 1929, then I’m going to want to be able to grow my own food. It’s not hard. It takes a little time, but there are many ways to make gardening easy. Like the raised beds. No tiller needed. It took a little work getting it ready, but not much to maintain it. I never walk on them, so the soil is never compacted. My neighbor with 5 young children, grows her tomatoes in large patio pots because she doesn’t have the time to maintain a garden. If I can encourage you to do one thing this year, its learn to grow food. At the risk of repeating myself; “To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”

Seeds are here!

I know it’s early, but better than late when it comes to seeds. I’m always lagging behind but this year, I’ve jumped the gun. I ordered my seeds this year from The Cook’s Garden. I will also get a few heirlooms from Victory Seeds. I hope that you are planning your garden now as winter is quickly passing. Our potatoes go in March 17 (St. Patty’s Day) for zone 7. Since I’m going to try and plant enough to feed our family through next winter, I figure, I’ve got to plant about 50 hills. I usually just plop an organic potato in the ground with a few eyes sprouting. Then gathering up the ground around it during the growing season. Last year I had a beautiful crop.

So far this is what I’ve got in my hands:

*Homemade Pickle Cuc’s *Friggitello Sweet Peppers *Wild Mix Kale

*Osaka Purple Mustard *Indian Summer Spinach *Jackpot Corn

*Emerite Pole Beans *Little Gem Lettuce *Jalapeno Peppers

*Toma Verde Tomatillo*Earlisweet Melon*Sugar Baby Watermelon

*Summer Mix Lettuc *Mild Mix Mesculin*Cook’s Custom Mix Beets

*Kuroda Organic Carrots *Cristoforo Organic Squash *India Paint Eggplant

*Big Mama Plum Tomatoes *Jersey Knight Asparagus *Yukon Gold Potatoes

*Russian Banana Potatoes*Blue Solaise Leeks*Walla Walla Sweet Onions

Plants and seeds still to be added: Cabbage, Spring Onions, Butter Beans and Herbs. However, there’s probably something that will tickle my fancy along the way that I just can’t live without. Oh right, some Hungarian Peppers and okra!!!! And some kind of blue potato, I heard they were delicious.

My new favorite site for traditional foods is Mother Linda’s click on the blogroll!

SPRINGS IN THE AIR!

Every year I long to see the first robin. Some years in the Northeast it’s not until Feb or March. But yesterday, I looked out the kitchen window and the trees had a good dozen robins singing on their branches. I danced about the kitchen chanting, “the robins are back, the robins are back!” It amazes me that even though the temperatures night before last were below 20 degrees the robins could also smell spring in the air. There’s always this wonderful particular smell that I long for in the middle of winter. Sometimes when you least expect it, it’s there. The robins reminded me of a passage of Scripture in Matthew 6:26 that talks about God taking care of the birds of the air and how much more He loves us and takes care of us. As I’m writing this I’m also looking out the window onto our front lawn and even though snow still covers the ground the robins are here again today…..do you think they know something we don’t?

Worship

blog-2-016.jpg“Some forms of worship only release their sweetest fragrance to God when offered from the fires of trials and adversity. The sacrifice or praise offered in times of trouble is especially sweet and pleasant to the King of Kings. This is worship from a posture of trust and faith instead of suspicion and doubt.” Finding Favor With The King by Tommy Tenney

Fermentation 101

I thought I’d write on fermentation since I’ve posted pictures of my Kombucha Tea and my son recently had a conversation with his friend about the weird stuff I’ve been brewing. I’m by no means an expert at this but I’ll give it a whirl. Most young people living in the 21st Century haven’t known life without the advanced technology we have today. I was born in 1958 and have seen a few come to be, although my in-laws who are 86 yrs old have seen a whole lot more. In the “old country” where my Grandma came from these fermented foods were a way of life, in fact in America they were also relied upon for the simplest of foods such as bread. The pioneers traveled with necessities and one of those was “Sourdough Starter”. I’m sure most have heard and even tasted Sourdough Bread before and not realized that they were eating a fermented food. However, in order for the pioneers to make their Sourdough Bread they first had to add something called a “starter”. It was this starter that gave the bread the ability to rise. Another fermented food that was eaten by many in the old days as well as today is “Sauerkraut”. Fermentation goes back for millennia. I know in our techie society today it’s hard to believe a world without a refrigerator, but it did exist. One of the processes used to preserve food without the knowledge or ability to preserve with cold temp’s was fermentation. The desert nomads didn’t carry a little frig on the back of their camels, they carried it in the form of kefir grains. They used their kefir grains (a whole new topic) to ferment the milk from their goats so it wouldn’t “go bad”. Most people eat fermented foods today without giving it a thought; yoghurt and bread for example. If we didn’t add yeast (a fermenting food) to dough we’d have flat bread instead of risen bread. If we didn’t ferment or culture milk, we wouldn’t have cheese to put on top of that bread to make pizza! So, as you can see the process of fermentation is not a new one nor is it a weird one. The making of Kombucha Tea is simply taking tea which by the way is a fermented plant….black tea is fermented longer and white tea the least, green being in the middle; brewing the tea, adding organic raw sugar, and then placing what is called a “Scoby” in the tea. If I didn’t place the Scoby in the tea, it would mold, but in placing the Scoby and a 1/2 cup of starter (previous brewed KT) in my brewed tea, it then ferments into what is called Kombucha Tea. An ancient Chinese tea. Which by the way is absolutely delicious! Many people refer to these culturing foods like kefir grains and scobies as “Manna” which roughly translates “WHAT IS IT?” Remember the Jews in the wilderness, when God sent “Manna” from heaven, they cried out “What is it???” Wow, does that make sense. Ok, so now that I’ve explain roughly what fermentation is, I’ll have to also explain sometime why I’m not weird….now that could take some time! Happy Fermenting!!!

Good books on this topic:
Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Katz
Real Food” by Nina Planck
Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon
The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved; Inside America’s Underground Food Movements” by Sandor Katz

See blogroll for The Happy Herbalist for further details and nutritional info.

What A Friend We Have In Jesus!

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