Monday, April 24, 2017

First Cut Flowers For 2017 : Tulips And Bleeding Hearts

I was so excited to be able to bring some flowers inside, a couple days ago. They don't last long, but they sure add some cheer to my day. :)
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; not yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment?
Matthew 6:25

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 6:33

Friday, April 21, 2017

Dandelions: Free, Highly Nutritious, Abundant Food!

Dandelions are plentiful throughout most of the United States.
Dandelions are some of the first fresh greens available in the spring.
Collecting dandelions is usually very easy.
I love foraging for wild greens, especially, in the spring while I wait for my lettuce and spinach to grow.
My lettuce sprouts.

This spring I have been eating a lot of dandelions.
A bowlful of dandelion greens, while not pretty, very appetizing.
We have them all over our yard.
Dandelions all-over our yard.

I use a spade and dig up the whole plant.
Preparing the whole plant for cooking.
It is really easy. I push the spade into the dirt right at the base of the dandelion with my foot, then tilt it back. You can feel the root go, "Pop!" Then I pull the plant out, brush off the dirt and remove any bad leaves.
Discarding the less than vibrant leaves.

I like to get as much root as possible because they are so nutrient dense. I wash and pare them before cooking. I hope to learn how to prepare them for medicinal teas in the future.
Preparing dandelion roots for cooking.
When I have  harvested dandelions I throw them in a sink full of water. I add a splash of white vinegar and soak them for 20+ minutes.
Washing dandelion greens.
I swish them around to loosen up any dirt. Once washed, I cut off the root ends and chop the greens. I discard any opened up flowers. They are to fuzzy for my liking. But, I keep the closed buds. They are pretty tasty.
Chopped dandelion greens.
I bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it comes to a boil I throw the prepared dandelions in the water. I boil them for about 5 minutes.
Boiling dandelion greens to remove the bitter compounds.
Then I pour out the water and drain the greens. This step gets rid of the bitter chemicals in the leaves. I know that it must also be diminishing the vitamins and minerals somewhat, but I can hardly tolerate the bitterness in non-boiled dandelions.
Draining the boiled dandelion greens.
After this point I like to eat the dandelion greens a number of ways. I fix them like I would spinach or other greens, sauteing them with some onions, garlic, and salt.

They make a good wilted salad with bacon grease, apple cider vinegar, and a little sugar (I have used chicken fat, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, and molasses).
They are great in soup, also.
Dandelion soup.
Especially when combined with spring onions and some type of fish.
I made a large batch of dandelion soup with beef bone broth.
When I eat dandelion greens raw I put them into a salad with lettuce and other greens to help dilute the bitterness.
Salad with dandelion greens, narrowleaf plantain, garlic mustard greens, violet blossoms, shredded carrot, cucumber, and lettuce.
Dandelions are high in vitamin A and vitamin K. 1 cup of chopped, raw dandelion greens contains over 200% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A and over 500% of the daily recommended value of vitamin K.

Dandelion greens are also high in vitamin C, Potassium, and Iron.

Dandelions are, also, said to be very good for kidney and liver health.

If you follow this link you can read a comprehensive analysis of the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals contained in dandelions. The chart also compares dandelions side by side with kale and collard greens.

A word of caution: dandelions are a diuretic and a laxitve, so be careful about eating them in huge quantities. :)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How Many Potatoes Can Mr. In The Mid-west Eat??


This challenge for Mr. In The Mid-west came about because I found that the 10 pound bag of potatoes we have in our stairwell was starting to sprout eyes, besides the bag of potatoes that was already open.


 And, since I am on an Autoimmune Protocol Diet and I cannot have any vegetables from the night shade family it would be up to Mr. In The Mid-west to keep the potatoes from going to waste! Could he do it?

Ready, Set, "Go!"


~Day 1~
4/6/17

2 Potatoes For Breakfast


Pictured above: Hashbrowns, Eggs, and Banana Cake.

3 Potatoes For Lunch


Pictured above: French Fries, Fried Filet of Tilapia Sandwich, and Lame Chocolate Pudding.

4 Potatoes For Dinner


Pictured above: Home Fries, Canned Pork And Beans, and Sausage Patties.

~Day 2~
4/7/17

2 Potatoes For Breakfast


Pictured above: Hashbrowns, Eggs, and Banana Cake.


2 Potatoes For Lunch


Pictured above: French Fries, Fried Filet of Tilapia Sandwich, and Canned Pork And Beans.

1 1/3 Potatoes For Dinner



Pictured above: Fried Chicken Legs, Mashed Potatoes, Chicken Gravy, and Roasted Butternut Squash.

~Day 3~
4/8/17

1 Potato For Brunch



Pictured above: Sausage, Egg, Potato, Cheese, and Onion Breakfast Burritos on Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas.

1 1/3 Potatoes For Dinner



Pictured above: Fried Chicken Legs, Mashed Potatoes, Chicken Gravy, and Canned Pork And Beans.

~Day 4~
4/9/17

2 Potatoes For Breakfast


Pictured above: Hashbrowns and Pancakes.

1 1/3 Potatoes For Lunch



Pictured above: Cheesy Potato Cakes and Peas.


0 Potatoes For Dinner



No picture available. We ate out.



~Day 5~

4/10/17

2 Potatoes For Breakfast



Pictured above: Pancakes and Home Fries.

1 Potato For Lunch



Pictured above: Individual Shepherd's Pie.

3 Potatoes For Dinner



Pictured above: Pork Ribs, Steak Fries, and Peas.

~Day 6~
4/11/17

2 Potatoes For Breakfast



Pictured above: Hashbrowns, Pancake, and Sausage Links.

1 Potato For Lunch



Pictured above: Potato And Onion Bake, Pork Rib, and Corn.

1 Potato For Dinner



Pictured above: Tumeric Cabbage And Chicken Stir-fry, Potato And Onion Bake, and Peas.

~Day 7~
4/12/17

1 Potato For Breakfast



Pictured above: Egg, Potato, Sausage, and Cheese Scramble.

4 Potatoes For Lunch



Pictured above: Four Small Loaded Baked Potatoes.

0 Potatoes For Dinner



No picture available. We were traveling at dinner time.


~Day 8~
4/13/17

1 Potato For Breakfast


Pictured above: Egg, Sausage, Potato, and Cheese Scramble.

1 1/2 Potatoes For Lunch




Pictured above: Potatoes Au Gratin, and Lettuce, Bean, and Egg Salad.

1 Potato For Dinner



Pictured above: Hashbrowns Casserole, Wilted Dandelion Greens, Hard Boiled Egg, and Crispy Chicken Skin.


~Day 9~
4/14/17

1 1/2 Potatoes For Lunch


Pictured above: Lettuce, Egg, and Bean Salad, Leftover Hashbrowns Casserole, and Leftover Au Gratin Potatoes.

0 Potatoes Left!!!!!!



Pictured above, Empty Potato Sack


Hip-Hip Hooray!!


Guess what Mr. In The Mid-west bought when we were grocery shopping last week?

Another 10 pound bag of potatoes! No joke!

He is still not sick of eating potatoes, in fact, he said he could handle eating Hashbrowns and French Fries almost every day. :)


Monday, April 17, 2017

My Favorite Chocolate Pudding Recipe


Recently, I was looking for my chocolate pudding recipe (NOT pictured above). I couldn't find my recipe. It must be in a storage box 'who knows' where.

I started making the pudding. I have made 1/2 a recipe several times, as well as the full recipe. I couldn't remember if I used 1/4 cup of cornstarch with 2 1/2 cups of milk, or if I needed 1 or 2 eggs, etc...

I Googled, "homemade chocolate pudding from scratch." Believe it or not, Google wasn't much help. None of the recipes on the first page had eggs in them. Then I Googled, "homemade chocolate pudding with eggs." Still no help. The recipes that came up only talked about why they didn't use egg, or called for chopped semi sweet chocolate bars, and weird stuff.

"Thanks a lot, Google!"

The resulting pudding wasn't that great. The texture was a little grainy and loose. :/

So, a couple weeks ago, when we visited my family, I took a picture of my Mom's copy of the recipe. Now I am going to post it here on my blog. That way I will never lose it again. :)

This chocolate pudding recipe is adapted from the Storey's Guide To Raising Dairy Goats   Goat Milk Pudding Recipe. It is the best homemade pudding recipe, in my opinion. :)

My Favorite Chocolate Pudding

2 1/2 cups whole milk
Scant 1/2 cup of sugar
Scant 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 TBS. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

• Mix 2 cups of milk, the sugar, the cocoa powder, and the salt in a heavy sauce pan. Heat slowly.

• While milk is heating, beat the egg. Add to milk mixture, and bring to scalding point, stirring constantly.

• Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, and add to scalding milk, again stirring constantly. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat.

• Add butter and vanilla extract.

• Chill and serve or serve warm if you prefer. Enjoy!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Cloth Pad Cleaning And Care

Storage:

I just keep my cloth pads in the bottom drawer of my bathroom vanity.


You can store your cloth pads wherever you would normally store your disposable pads.

Soiled Pads:


When you remove a soiled pad fold it in half and use the snap to fasten so that it stays closed.

Do NOT put soiled Pads in a bucket of water. You will have mold and mildew problems.

You need to have a bin, or tub, or bucket, or some type of dry container to collect your soiled pads in until wash day. I use a mop bucket, because it is convenient for me.


A very cute and somewhat discreet option is to use a 'wet bag.'   You could stow it below your sink or hang it on a hook it the bathroom.

The term 'wet bag' comes from the cloth diapering community, I think. It was originally a waterproof cloth bag that you carried in your diaper bag and used to put soiled diapers into while you were away from home.

You can purchase wet bags from companies that market them for cloth pad users like Glad Rags or from companies that are marketing more for cloth diapers like Kelly's Closet. You can find them on Amazon too. Just do a Google search they're everywhere. There are many unique and homemade wet bags on Etsy, like the one below. Click here for link. (NOT an affiliate link)

The afore mentioned businesses also carry small travel size wet bags with two zippered compartments. These are great for carrying in your purse. You can use one zippered compartment for clean pads and one zippered compartment for dirty pads.

Please don't get the idea that when you take a soiled cloth pad off it must be put into some waterproof container because it is so messy and it might drip or something like that. That is just not true. The very center of the pad is usually the only dirty part, and it is not sloppy or oosing all-over the place. Once you fold the pad in half and button it the blood isn't going anywhere. I have been known to put folded and fastened soiled pads straight into my purse just like that to transport home without any trouble.

Cleaning:

I have enough pads that I can wait for my period to be over to wash all my pads at one time. If you don't have enough pads to last your entire period you will need to wash them and reuse them.

The washing method I am going to describe is the way that I wash my cloth pads. There are a lot of ways you could go about washing your pads. I have been pretty successful at keeping my pads relatively stain free with this method. After as many cycles as I have used my pads for there is bound to be at least some shadow stains.

Soak #1:


On wash day, I un-snap all my pads and lay them flat in a 2 1/2 gallon bucket. I run COLD water in the bucket until all the pads are submerged. It is important to use COLD water. Hot water will set protein stains, like blood.

I add 1/4 scoop of powdered hydrogen peroxide cleaner (I use Dollar General's generic brand of a product similar to Oxyclean). Mix pads and cleaner around a little bit to dissolve and distribute the powdered hydrogen peroxide.

Let pads soak for a few hours (3-4 hours usually). I am not going to lie, the water gets really dark. You want all of the blood to rinse out of the pads, and this first soak really reminds you that that is what's going on.

Drain the water. Squeeze the water out of the pads. When I squeeze the water out of my pads I never wring them or twist them. I feel like wringing them out will be to tough on the materials. Maybe I feel that way because I made them myself and I would hate to see them fall apart.  :)

If you have a waterproof PUL layer in your pads you definitely don't want to wring them or twist them. That could damage the PUL.

Rinse:


Put them back into the bucket and fill with COLD water. Swish around, drain, squeeze, and repeat until rinse water runs clear. I usually do this twice.

Soak #2:


Before I soak the pads the second time I rub Fels-Naptha soap onto any stubborn stains.


I don't spend much time stain treating. I just rub the soap on there and throw it back in the bucket.


I use a 1/4 scoop of powdered hydrogen peroxide cleaner, again, and fill the bucket with cold water, again.

This second soak only takes 1-2 hours.

Drain, and squeeze the water out of the pads.

Washing:

You can wash your pads in a regular load of laundry.

I just wash my mine in whatever load of laundry is ready to wash. I don't worry much about the water temperature at this point in the cleaning process.

Do NOT add softener or dryer sheets to loads of laundry containing your cloth pads. Softener can reduce the absorbability of your pads.

Drying:


You can tumble dry or hang dry your cloth pads.

If you have a waterproof PUL layer in your pads it is best not to dry them on high heat. The heat can damage the PUL.

When your pads are dry store them in their normal place. Don't forget to keep one (or two) in your hand bag: purse, baby bag, back pack, etc...

Miscellaneous:

How many cloth pads do you need? The answer depends on what your periods are like and your personal preference.

I have 22 pads in my stash: 2 very heavy/overnight pads, and 20 medium to heavy absorbency pads in various sizes.

I don't have very heavy periods and I rarely go through all my pads.

Some women find that they use more cloth pads than they would disposable pads because they change them more frequently. With cloth pads you don't have to worry about 'using them up,' 'running out,' or 'wasting' any. You can change them as often as you feel like it.

Some women use less cloth pads than they would disposable pads because their periods lighten up after they switch to cloth. This doesn't happen for everyone, but I have heard of it happening for more then one woman.

The chemicals in disposable pads could play a role in why some women have lighter, less painful, periods when they switch to cloth pads. You have to consider how sensitive the tissues exposed to the bleaching and sanitizing chemicals in disposable feminine products are. They are quite sensitive and may not tolerate all those chemicals very well.

That concludes my series on cloth pads! I hope that it has been informative and educational. If you have any questions please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them. :)