The past several months have been jam packed with activity. Between finishing up school, coaching soccer, lambing, and the farmers markets there has been little time to play. And what’s life without a little play time. So I decided to take a couple of half days off and drive down back country roads snapping photos. Ah, what total bliss!
With the cool spring we have had, everything in the garden seems way behind, okay, including me! We are finally getting lettuce, radishes, onions, spinach, and kale on a regular basis. Our peas and broccoli are coming along nicely and with any luck our cucumbers, tomatoes, egg plants, and squash seedlings will begin to take off. Fingers crossed.
And with everyone going in different directions, cooking dinner has become a shared responsibility. Needless to say, dishes that are both easy and filling are big hits with everyone in our house, especially the chef!
(add or subtract vegetables to your liking and/or what you have on hand.)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons red wine or water
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons peanut oil
- 1 pound American Lamb leg, cut into strips
- 3 medium carrots, finely diced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
- 3 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
- 6 green onions, sliced diagonally
- 1 can (2 ounces) diced pimento, drained
- Hot cooked rice
- Toast seeds in wok; set aside.
- In small bowl, combine soy sauce, wine, garlic, ginger, cornstarch, pepper and cayenne. Set aside.
- Heat wok or large skillet; heat oil. When hot, add lamb strips; stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery and mushrooms; stir-fry with lamb for an additional 2 minutes. Remove lamb and vegetables from wok; keep warm. Add soy sauce mixture to wok; stir until mixture begins to thicken. Immediately add lamb and cooked vegetables; add pea pods, cabbage, chestnuts, onions and pimento. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve with hot cooked rice.
As many of you know, last fall I fell and broke both feet and was immobile for several months. It didn’t take long spending that much time stuck inside before it felt like the walls were collapsing in. All our possessions became stuff, just smothering clutter. I craved open space and simple surroundings.
As soon as I was back on my feet I began cleaning, giving away, selling, and trashing everything that was neither necessary nor loved. My mission to declutter the house soon became a mission to simplify life. And soon I realized it was time to take my philosophy of sustainable farming and transfer it to sustainable living. The question became, what could I make or grow that would require less dependency on weekly shopping while continuing to live a good life?
While I was totally excited to be making my own laundry detergent, I fear my family thinks I have gone crazy. That was until I told them how little I spent on ingredients and how well it worked. Ha! Who is laughing now!
- 1/3 bar Fels Naptha
- 1/2 cup washing soda
- 1/2 cup borax powder
Bring 4 quarts of water to a soft boil. Meanwhile grate a 1/3 a bar of Fels Naptha soap. Reduce heat to medium, add grated soap and stir until soap completely melts.
Add the washing soda and borax and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.
Add quarts of cold water to clean bucket. Add hot soap mixture and stir. Let the soap sit for 24 hours or until slightly gelled.
Store in gallon container. Use 1/3 to 1/2 cup per load.
What a crazy March this has been! We finally got our spring vegetables, including peas, kale, beets, carrots, radishes, and more lettuces planted in the garden this weekend. But looking back at the past couple of weeks, you have to wonder if winter is finally over.
1. To choose open pollinating vegetables whenever possible so I can save seeds for next year.
2. To sow seeds indoors and grow my own transplants.
3. To focus on herbs with both culinary and medicinal roles.
4. To harvest and dry herbs for teas, soap, and salves.
5. To freeze and preserve fruits and vegetables from the garden.
I have seen my share of doctors the past couple of months and greatly appreciate their services. I wouldn’t be walking limp free without a very wonderful doctor. But I am a bit tired of the eye rolls I get whenever I discuss nutrition or more natural alternatives instead of prescription medications.
My rheumatologist won’t even consider that my RA could be linked to food or at least minimized by eating/omitting certain foods. A physician assistant recently totally ignored my excited report that chamomile tea bags helped calm a rash I had on the top of my foot. One that appears only on my foot that was operated on… AND one that three doctors have given me three different diagnosis for. It’s crazy that the daily news is full of all the foods we should and shouldn’t eat, yet repeatedly I run into medical professionals who won’t even listen to the effects of food on one’s energy level, mood, and overall feeling of well-being from the one person who spends 24/7 in my body… ME.
So to that end, I have decided to bombard my cold with nutrition! And what better way to start than with a healthy smoothie.
Good Start Smoothie
Strawberries: Contain Folate and Potassium as well as a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Manganese.
Blueberries: Another good source of Dietary Fiber and Manganese and packed with Vitamin C. Blueberries are known for their polyphenols – which have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Elderberries: Contain an astounding 60% of Vitamin C, 12% of Vitamin A, 11% of Vitamin B6, as well as Thiamin and Riboflavin. They have powerful antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties thought to sooth coughs, sore throats, bronchial infections and to make sinus conditions looser.
Yogurt: Contains Calcium and Vitamin D along with good bacteria for the digestive tract. (Could easily be omitted. I add yogurt for a smoother texture and to be sure I am getting a dose of my daily calcium.)
Orange Juice: Contains Thiamin, Folate and Potassium and is a very good source of Vitamin C.
Banana: A good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese, and very high in Vitamin B6.
- ½ banana
- 2 handfuls of frozen strawberries
- 1 handful of frozen blueberries
- 3 tablespoons of organic yogurt
- ¼ cup elderberry syrup
- ½ cup orange juice
- Starting with banana and add all ingredients to blender. Blend until completely smooth. Add more orange juice as necessary for desired consistency.