"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Essential Oils and the Flu

This flu going around is being classified as an epidemic. I am going to save the debate on getting or not getting the flu shot for another time! What I do want to talk about are natural ways that you can keep you and your family healthy during cold & flu season!

Pure Essential Oils work WITH your body. They help aide your body to do what it knows to do naturally. So, in my home, when we feel even the slightest inkling of a cold coming on, we 'Bomb It Out' with a Flu Bomb - not a Flu Shot! It is natural and we know what we are putting into our body.

For my husband and I, we take our flu bomb in capsule form! Lemon, Melaleuca and Oregano. And, if we think we need an extra boost, I throw some Frankincense in too!

Oregano is nature's #1 antibiotic and Lemon's properties including being anti-fungal, anti-viral and an antioxidant. Melaleuca is a very powerful antimicrobial activity against all three of the infectious organisms: Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi!

Of course, we all know prevention is key, right? And dōTERRA also has a wonderful essential oil blend that has not let my family down yet! It is called OnGuard! Friends and family who are using report no sickness or, if someone has come down with something, an incredibly shortened time is spent battling the bug!

OnGuard is an immunity blend that contains pure oils of Wild Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus & Rosemary! We use OnGuard in my household to help PREVENT cooties, germs, cold and flu bugs! Especially during cold and flu season, we apply this oil to ourselves at least every other day, if not every day. My husband likes to just put it right on his tongue [god bless him!]. I dab it on the bottoms of my feet and for my little guy, I do the same. Sometimes I apply it along his spine and massage it in.

So, why the feet or spine?

When you place a PURE essential oil on the bottoms of your feet, it takes 30 seconds to enter your blood stream and begin working. Sure beats the 20+ minutes some meds take, huh? Your spine is also a great place because of all the nerve endings located there. Along the spine we have a higher amount of neurological and arterial activity. This concentrated activity creates greater blood flow and absorption capabilities, which allow for great distribution and heightened function of the essential oil.

When I apply oils along the spine, I use them with coconut oil to help cover the larger area.

Some other rockin' tid-bits about OnGuard:
  • Proven to KILL MRSA! In a study done by researched Jennifer Eddins, OnGuard successful killed off a MRSA sample in a petrie dish after just ONE application and kept it dead for 7 days without reapplication!
  • A school in Utah was having excessive students out sick due to a flu bug. They set up diffusers to run OnGuard in hopes of clearing out the flu bug. OnGuard wiped the school so clean it was discovered nothing survived in the chemistry lab - all petrie dishes wiped clean!!
  • And OnGuard doesn't stop there! It is safe to use in your homemade household cleaners. I have a bottle of water with OnGuard and Lemon in it and I use it as my multipurpose and counter top cleaner.
  • When you have company over and someone is sick, run OnGuard in a diffuser to eliminate nasty pathogens that may be floating around in the air contaminating everyone.
As you can tell, in my house, we LOVE our essential oils. For more info on them, check out my Facebook page! And don't forget, if you are interested, I am having a webinar this evening on how you can use essential oils to help with mood management! Register for it here! It starts at 9pm est.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Adding to the Flock!

Despite the fact we have a little one on the way, we decided we'll also add to our flock this Spring!
However, this time, these chicks will NOT be raised in my spare bathroom. NO WAY JOSE!
Hubby will be making them a nice, warm enclosure within the chicken coop for them.

We already have 6 Golden Buffs and the ladies are wonderful. Still, in the winter with the cold weather and limited sunlight hours, they are laying 5-6 eggs a day. The are nice and very sociable....almost TOO sociable for me ;)

To add to our flock, we have decided on the following breeds.

The Easter Egg'er
This was one of hubby's choices. He wants to get the different colored eggs. *Note - the birds are also all different colors. And sorry, I mean this in the nicest way possible, but dang are they UG-LY!

The Delaware
I am not really sure how we decided on this breed. Hubby wanted a bird that layed white eggs but after going through the breeds offered by our local hatchery for white egg layers, either the availability didn't coincide with our date, or something about the breed was undesirable to us. So, we hopped back over the brown egg laying breeds and ended up with a white hen!

Either way, I have heard god things about this breed and they are cold and heat hardy which is a must for us!

The Barred Rock
This is a breed we both liked. We had it on our original list in last years order, but for reasons I cannot recall, we scratched it and just went with all Golden Buffs. Again, another breed that is supposed to be docile, a good egg layer and cold/heat hardy!

Because we will NOT be raising these chicks in our spare bathroom this year, we decided to order a total of 8, rather than 6, just in case of a casualty. Of course, this is something we'll do whatever we can to ensure it doesn't happen, however, the chances are still there even IF they were going to be raised in the bathroom.

I have come to realize that chickens can be a dime a dozen to take care of, but when you have a small flock and pretty much count on their daily egg output, one passing can be devastating. Because we choose to raise from birth, versus buying an already laying hen, there is precious time involved while that hen matures to laying age. And, heaven forbid, a predator comes in and wipes out your whole flock...or even half of it, well... I just couldn't imagine.

Speaking of predators, hubby keeps tossing around the idea of adding a roo. I am not ready for that yet. If someone could guarantee me he was friendly, docile and acted just like the hens when I was around, I'd say ok. But I am still learning to love these birds and with my luck, I'd have a rooster that wouldn't let me out my back door without fearing for my life!

For those of you Poultry Peeps out there that have roo's, do any of you have any experience with a Golden Buff, Easter Egg'er, Delaware or Barred Rock roo?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Essential Oils: Sleep & Relaxation

So about these Essential Oils I have mentioned a time or two in the past....

Many of you who have been reading for some time know after my son was born, I pretty much became dead set on a healthier lifestyle for my household - from the food we eat to the chemicals we come into contact with. As I began to transition all the chemical cleaners to homemade ones in my home, I started learning about essential oils. And it all took off from there.

Now, in my home, Essential Oils have replaced what is today's modern medicine cabinet. I am not knocking modern medicine. There is a time and place for it. But, if I can keep my family healthy and out of the doctor's office using essential oils - why would I not? And thus far, we've been pretty darn successful! These oils are 100% pure and A-MAZ-ING! And yes, there is a difference. These are dōTERRA Essential Oils. I compared a few of their oils with what was presumably the same oil from a different company - ehhh, not.even.close! I couldn't believe the difference just in smell from one bottle to the other.

Our medicine cabinet went from looking something like this....

To something like this....ok, minus the cute Lavender plant!

One of the things I LOVE about these oils is that they are multi-functional. In our old medicine cabinet, I had to have one specific pill, liquid, cream or ointment for every.single. ache and pain.

For example, one of my personal favorites is Lavender.

Lavender is considered the Swiss Army Knife of Essential Oils! 

Lavender is analgesic, anti-coagulant, anti-convulsive, anti-depressant, anti-fungal, antihistamine, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-toxic, a cardio tonic, cell regenerative 
and sedative. Whoa! What? Yes, for real!

So, some of the things I like to use Lavender for are #1 - SLEEP and RELAXATION! When my son was really little, like 6 months little, I would dab some on the bottoms of his feet if he was having trouble sleeping and within 10-15 minutes top he'd be out like a light! We continue to use Lavender to help with sleep and relaxation. I love to diffuse it with a drop of Patchouli when I am falling asleep!

Lavender is also known for it's amazing-ness in helping with burns. My husband came home from work with what was probably a 2nd degree burn. After a week or so of consistent Lavender applications on the burn, you could barely tell it was there!

Bug bites and bee stings? No problem-o! Dab 'em with Lavender.

Diaper Rash? I like to mix Lavender and Roman Chamomile with some coconut oil!

And the animals! Don't forget the animals! When a storm is brewing our Hound gets very anxious and afraid. I dab him down with some Lavender and he retreats to his 'safe space' and just zones out.

So how about you - do you use Essential Oils? 
And if you do, what do you use them for? And which is your favorite?

I have lots and lots to share about Essential Oils and how wonderful they are so I hope you'll come back for more! And, for those interested, I am holding a FREE webinar this Tuesday evening at 9pm est on Mood Management with Essential Oils. If you are interested, you can register here!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Recipe: Baked Oatmeal

Admittedly, we eat a lot of eggs for breakfast. We have 6 chickens and a 3 person household! You do the math. But, my son seems less than thrilled as of late to be served his daily helping of eggs, no matter what way they are served - fried, scrambled, hard boiled, scrambled with bacon - doesn't matter! So, I have to mix it up sometimes. When I do, I LOVE to make baked oatmeal! It stores in the fridge well and between him and I, makes for a few days worth of breakfast, which, on a hectic weekday morning is perfect!

I LOVE Heidi Swanson's recipe from her book Super Natural Everyday. Below is my version, altered just slightly!

Baked Oatmeal
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey (whichever I have on hand)1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon ( I love cinnamon in my oatmeal!)
Scant 1/2 teaspoon 'real' salt
2 cups whole milk
1 large pastured egg
1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (plus more to butter your baking dish!)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups huckleberries, blueberries, or mixed berries (my personal fav. is raspberries!)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter the inside of an 8-inch baking dish.

In a bowl, mix together the oats, the sugar, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, the milk, egg, half of the butter, and the vanilla.

Arrange the bananas in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle two-thirds of the berries over the top. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Gently give the baking dish a couple thwacks on the counter top to make sure the milk moves through the oats. Scatter the remaining berries across the top.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. It is wonderful warm out of the oven! The leftovers I leave in the baking dish, cover with foil, and store in the fridge. Then I just reheat them the next morning :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back on my Real Food Rant

Do you know one thing I miss since becoming more conscious about the foods I consume? I miss satisfying a craving just by running to a store and grabbing what I want! And let me tell you, at 8.5 months prego, that can be brutal!!

Right now I would LOVE a Danish! However, there is no Danish anywhere within reasonable driving distance of me that is going to cut it. Some may look good, but in the end, I know they all taste like garbage and chances are, if I eat it, I will feel like garbage too!

This is good and bad, I suppose! Good because I know better now, but bad because when I have a craving for something, usually my only option is to make it myself. And I am pretty sure I can't make a danish the way I would imagine it to be :)

So, who has an easy danish recipe I could whip up really fast? :)

In all seriousness though, if you have changed your diet to cut out fake foods, processed foods, sugars etc etc, what is a quick go-to recipe you tend to use that helps satisfy a craving? I am curious!

And I also have to ask, when you are at a food store, do you find yourself analyzing the cart behind you? (ha!) I know, did I just say that? But, I can't help it -- I like to see what other people are buying - it is interesting to me. And, it is sad when I see a cart full of canned 'fat free' soups, diet this and that, low-fat yogurts, skim milk and a head of lettuce. It tells me this is someone who is trying to be conscious of their health and what they eat, but in reality, all of that (with the exception of the lettuce) is junk! And with the messed up food system we have here in the states, sadly, too many don't understand that. They think it is all good stuff.

Share your thoughts with me on this!

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Clean Slate - Welcome 2013!

Hi There!
I am back.

I think!

I miss blogging. And the other thing is, I have a lot of opinions swirling in my head and voicing them to only my husband gets boring. He's heard it all before so I think he tends to nod and agree anymore, not really hearing what I say :)

2012 was trying for me. Lots of ups and downs.

A special little boy turned 1 -- gosh, now he is almost ready to turn 2!
And I also became prego with my second child -- which contributed a lot to the lack of tending to this blog. I am not a person who glows being prego. In fact, the only glow coming off me is probably from the sweat that develops on my face after I dry heave every other minute of EVERY.SINGLE.DAY! We are in the home stretch now though, and soon we'll be welcoming another little bundle on the farm!

I also took a plunge and have started my own business with Essential Oils. There will be many more post on this to come - trust me!

Many of you were following along with my sweet mare, Gypsy. I am so sad to say she did not pull through and she passed peacefully, near her pasture with her herd on Sunday, September 16. She let me know it was time, and even though it was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, I know it was the right decision. I miss her so much every single day. There will truly never be another horse like her in my lifetime. And I know her herd misses her too. It sucks. It was a low point of my 2012.

Alas, 2013 is now upon us. And any year ending in a 13 HAS to be a good year, right?
So, I am hoping to dive back into my blog. To talk about life, REAL food, kids, farming and anything else that tickles my fancy.

Tried any new recipes lately? Care to share?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Easy Pantry Meal: Black Bean Stew

Hey There! I am slowly trying to get back into my blogging grove! Thanks for hanging in there with me and welcome to all the newcomers who found me by way of Stacy Makes Cents!

Today I wanted to share a SUPER EASY recipe that is pretty much a pantry meal. It is so filling though and makes great leftovers. And, it is SO GOOD! It comes from a recipe I found via Rachel Ray but I went on to make my own adjustments according to what I have in my pantry. The recipe is so versatile, you can change it up however you like.

Black Bean Stew

4 strips bacon, diced (or coconut oil if you are out of bacon)
24ish ounces of black beans, cooked (if you don't presoak/cook your beans and store in the freezer, which I highly recommend!, two cans of black beans works fine!)
1 Onion
2 stalks Celery
4 Garlic Cloves
1 heaping tsp, Cumin
1 tbs Coriander
1 tsp of chilli powder
1 tbs worchester sauce
1.5 tsp hot sauce
1 can diced tomatos - I like fire roasted for this stew
1 jar tomato sauce
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup rice (not the quick cooking kind)

Cook your diced bacon in your dutch oven pot (or heat your coconut oil if you have no bacon).

When bacon is done, remove and leave grease to sautee the onion/celery/garlic in. Sautee until veggies start to soften. Then add in your beans. (If you do not have an immersion blender, take 1/4-1/2 of the beans and mash them before adding to make the soup more of a stew consistency)

Add your spices, Worchester & Hot Sauce. Stir in to combine.

Add your tomato ingredients and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Add rice, take to a nice simmer and cook 15 minutes or so until rice is done.

When rice is done, if you have an immersion blender, go ahead and give the soup a few whizzes now to make it more of a stew consistency. Salt and Pepper to taste.

This 'stew' is seriously SO GOOD. We like it with a dollop of sour cream and a side of tortilla chips on the side for some dipping :) Hubby likes to add some cheese to his as well. Try it soon on a chilly night. It sticks to your ribs and makes great lunch leftovers Day 2. My toddler loves it too. Don't worry - it isn't too spicy!