Monday, June 16, 2014


I love pickled and fermented foods. Carrots are some of my favorite foods to both pickle and ferment. There does seem to be some confusion when it comes to  fermentation versus pickled foods. Did you know that not all fermented foods are pickled and not all pickled foods are fermented?


Foods that are pickled use an acidic medium, like vinegar.  Pickled vegetables are not fermented and do not offer the probiotic and enzymatic value of homemade fermented vegetables. But don't ignore them. They can be simple, delicious and healthy to eat your veggies.

Vegetables that you ferment typically use salt, and some filtered water for preserving, creating an acidic liquid that is a by-product of the fermentation process.  This fermentation provides you with beneficial  probiotics and enzymes without the cost of supplements.  Homemade fermented veggies are both fermented and pickled. Fermentation takes a little more time and a bit of a watchful eye. The results are well worth the effort. Don't be afraid to give it a try.

I grew up with fermented foods. My process is based on the way generations of Appalachian Mountain folks have successfully fermented food. No special equipment is required. I don't use whey starters, but I do use a longer fermentation time. I love having jars of fermented veggies and kraut to munch on.


Here are two recipes for carrots. The first is a Pickled Country Carrots recipe. The second is a Simple Fermented Carrot Sticks recipe. I encourage you to try them both and enjoy.

Pickled Country Carrots
1 pound of small organic carrots (scrubbed, ends trimmed off but DO NOT PEEL)
1 cup of water
1 1/2 cups of real Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 cup local honey
2 tablespoons salt
3/4 tablespoon mustard seeds
3/4 tablespoon fennel seeds

3/4 tablespoon black peppercorns

3/4 tablespoon crushed  coriander seeds
1 dried hot chili pepper

1. Blanch carrots for 2 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. Quickly drain and place carrots in a large bowl of cold water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside
2. In a pan, bring the water, vinegar, honey and salt to a gentle boil. Remove from heat
3. Pack a sterilized 1 quart mason jar with the carrots
4. Place remaining ingredients in pan containing the water and vinegar blend. Pour hot brine over carrots until just covered.  Seal jar and refrigerate overnight. ENJOY

Simple Fermented Carrot Sticks
1 1/2 pounds of fresh carrots, trimmed
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups of water, or more as needed
2 tablespoons of REAL sea salt
one large outer cabbage leaf

  1. Make brine by dissolving the sea salt in slightly warm water. Let brine cool to room temperature before using.
  2. Place peeled garlic cloves in the bottom of a quart jar. Cut carrots into quarters lengthwise to the height of the just about a 1 below the bottom ring of the jar
  3. Place carrot sticks on top of the garlic cloves. Pack them in so they are snug, but do not over-pack. Make sure that the brine can still penetrate the carrots.
  4. Pour the 2 cups of brine over the carrot sticks until they are completely covered. Leave about 1″ or so headspace between the brine and the lip of the jar. You can add more water, if needed.
  5. Place the hefty outer cabbage leaf over the carrot sticks and tuck it in to the sides as tightly between the carrots and the jar as you can. Keeping your carrots submerged with this cabbage leaf is one of the most critical part of the process.
  6. Place the lid on the jar and close tightly. If using an airlock system place that on the lid according to the directions on the package.
  7. Place at a cool room temperature, 65-80 being ideal, and allow to culture for 7-10 days or longer, as desired. You can also leave it at room temperature for a few days and then move to a cooler temperature (not refrigeration) of 45-60 degrees to complete the fermentation process over the course of several weeks for better flavor and a more thorough fermentation process.
  8. During the earliest stages of fermentation you will have to “burp” your jar if not using an airlock. For best results do this only very slightly – just barely unscrew the lid until you hear a small amount of the gas escaping and then screw it back on quickly. You want to let just enough of the carbon dioxide out so that the jar won’t explode, but leave enough in so that you achieve as much of an anaerobic environment as possible.
  9. Eventually the formation of carbon dioxide will slow down and you won’t have to burp the jar any longer.
  10. You can eat the carrot sticks right away at this point or move them to cold storage like a cellar, a cool basement, a hole in the ground, or, if you must, a refrigerator.

Monday, May 12, 2014


As the weather is getting warmer, my taste begins to lean towards lighter fair. Grilled veggies, seafood and salads are my staples. This recipe is light, delicious and good for you. Enjoy!

       photo from My Recipes

Grilled Salam & Grapefruit Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

  • 2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (1 to 1 1/4 inches thick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • Healthy Oil
  • 8 cups of mixed baby salad greens
  • 3 ruby red grapefruits, sectioned and seeded

  • 1. Prepare grill.
    2. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper. Coat fillets and onion slices with healthy oil. Place fish and onion on grill rack coated. Cover and grill 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and onion is tender.
    3. Cut onion into bite-sized chunks; break fish into chunks. Place 2 cups salad greens on each of 4 serving plates; arrange grapefruit sections, onion, and fish evenly over greens on each plate. Drizzle Blood Orange Vinaigrette (recipes below) evenly over salads.

    Blood Orange Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup blood orange juice squeezed from fresh oranges ( If you can not find blood oranges, then use any orange you can find that has lots of flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onions 
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Wisk all ingredients together until well blended.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014


    Silky, soft, luxurious, whipped body butter is a simple DIY skin care product. I love whipped body butters. They soothe and nurture you skin beautifully while giving your skin a lilt of scent plus they are sooo easy to make.

    This recipe is easiest recipe I have used. The base of the body butter is just two ingredients ~ Coconut Oil and Shea Butter.

    ~ Coconut oil penetrates deeply into your skin, providing          long-lasting, non-greasy moisture. Coconut oil boasts antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
    ~Shea butter makes your skin feel smooth and soft. Shea butter is anti-inflammatory, hydrates deeply and speeds healing.

     Go ahead, take the plunge and make your own whipped body butter. Or better yet make a few and give as gifts for Mother’s  Day.

    Silky Soft Whipped Body Butter

    •1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil (room temperature)

    •3/4 cup unrefined (Grade A) shea butter (room temperature)

    Combine the coconut oil and shea butter in a mixing bowl (use a hand mixer or stand mixer). Whip the oil for 30 seconds. Turn off and stir with a spatula until well blended, making sure to scrap the bowl well.

    Carefully add your essential oils.  (see different combinations below or make your own scent!) Whip it again for another minute. When white peaks form you will know it is ready

    Scoop it into a glass jar, cover with a lid and label your body butter. If it gets warm in your home you can simply place the jar in the fridge to firm up the body butter.


    ·         10 drops of Orange Essential Oil

    ·         5 drops of Ginger  Essential Oil


    ·         10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil

    ·         4 drops of Marjoram Essential Oil


    ·         8 drops of Rosewood Essential Oil

    ·         3 drops of Rose Essential Oil

    ·         3 drops of Orange Essential Oil

    Monday, April 14, 2014


    Roasted chickpeas have become one of my favorite snack foods. I love the taste, the crunch, and how filling they are. When I saw this recipe I was intrigued. Then I saw it incorporated not only roasted chickpeas but delicious roasted cauliflower and broccoli, I had to try it.

    The bones of the recipe is from Oh She Glows. I did change up the dressing to use real mayo. The results were absolutely delicious. This recipe got the stamp of approval from two of my grandkids who are 3 and 7.  I knew I had a winner when they asked for seconds. Be sure and make extra. This is great stuffed in pita with dressing drizzled on top.


    Roasted Buddha Bowl

     roasting and serving:
    • 1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
    • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
    • 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or one 15-oz can)
    • 1 tbsp Oil, divided
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Cooked grains, for serving (we like quinoa)
    • 1 cup of real mayo
    • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 3 Tablespoon of water to thin out ( add more if needed)
    • 1 large garlic clove crushed
    • ¼ tsp fine grain sea salt


    1. Preheat oven to 400F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
    2. Place chopped broccoli and cauliflower onto one baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tsp oil and mix with hands until coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    3. Place a couple paper towels on the other baking sheet and spread out the drained and rinsed chickpeas. Place 2 more paper towels on top and roll the chickpeas around until completely dry. Drizzle with 1 tsp oil and roll around the chickpeas with your hands until they are all coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    4. Roast the broccoli, cauliflower and chickpeas for 15 minutes at 400F. After 15 minutes, give the chickpea pan a gentle shake to roll them around in the pan. Roast both pans for another 10-15 minutes or until the broccoli and cauliflower are cooked through and the chickpeas are golden in color.
    6. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by adding all dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisking until blended
    7. When the vegetables and chickpeas are ready, remove from oven and place into a large mixing bowl. Add your desired amount of dressing on top and toss until coated. Season to taste. Serve over a warm bed of quinoa or other grain with more dressing drizzled on top.

     images from Oh She Glows

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

    Medicinal Herbal Vinegars

    Medicinal herbal vinegars have been made for hundreds of years. Vinegar is a wonderful medium for extracting the medicinal qualities of herbs. Vinegar is more acidic than alcohol or water, so it is the best way of extracting minerals from herbs. Minerals are important for  our health. They support the bones, heart and blood vessels as well as the hormonal, nervous, and immune systems. Lack of minerals can lead to chronic health problems. Introducing more minerals into our body can begin improving our health in just a few weeks.

    Making your own medicinal herbal vinegars is simple and gratifying.  Make them for yourself or as gifts for your family.  I keep an assortment of glass bottles around to store my herbal vinegars in. If you are new to herbal vinegars, here are a few herbs you may want to consider making your medicinal vinegars with


    • Nettle Vinegar~ Benefits the kidneys and adrenals. It is loaded with iron, calcium, protein and magnesium. It is a very beneficial anti-inflammatory ( you can purchase dried nettle on our website click on the word nettle to go there)
    • Dandelion Vinegar~ Has an anti-inflammatory effect on the intestines. It has traditionally been used for ailments of the pancreas and liver and is believed to ease jaundice and cirrhosis. Dandelion is also a diuretic and rich in potassium.
    • Sage Vinegar~ Can be used as a mild tranquilizer for nervous conditions.
    • Peppermint Vinegar ~ Helps settle the stomach and calms the digestive system. Place 2 teaspoons of peppermint vinegar to a cup of water to ease stomach cramps, diarrhea, or gas. If you add a teaspoon of honey you'll find that it's helps with indigestion. 
    • Rosemary Vinegar ~ Will boost the memory and relieves tension, headaches, and dizziness.
    • Lavender Vinegar ~ Is useful for fighting off anxiety attacks.
    • Thyme Vinegar ~ Can be applied externally to the body to deter fungus growth.
    • Clove Vinegar ~ Is great for stopping vomiting. This remedy dates to China over 2000 years. It is also considered to be an aphrodisiac.

    How to make Medicinal Herbal Vinegar:

    1. Tightly pack a jar full of fresh herbs or 1/3 full of dried herb

    2. Fill the jar to the top with raw, organic apple cider vinegar.

    3. Line the top with waxed paper or plastic wrap to prevent rust if your jar has a metal lid. Let it brew on your countertop, out of direct sun, and add vinegar as needed to keep the plants covered.

    4. After 3 to 6 weeks, strain out the plant material and use on your salads and in marinades for an extra boost of minerals.

    How to use your medicinal vinegars:

    • Medicinally place 1 to 3 teaspoons in a glass of water and drink it daily
    • Use them in salad dressings.           
    • Add them to cooked greens
    • Season stir-frys with them.          
    • Look for soups that are vinegar friendly, like borscht.        
    • Substitute herbal vinegar for plain vinegar in any recipe.     
    • Put a big spoonful in a glass of water and drink it. Try it sweetened with blackstrap molasses for a mineral jolt. This is a great "coffee substitute" and helps prevents and eases arthritic pains.   

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    DIY Wednesday ~ The Natural Laundry Room

    The Natural Laundry Room

    Growing up, one of our daughters was known as the allergy queen. Everything irritated her skin. Clothing itched, soaps and detergent caused rashes and bed sheets were scratchy. The skin irritations led to her being irritated and cranky. This could also lead to me being irritated and cranky…
    I quickly found ways to limit our daughters contact with known irritants. Our laundry room was one of the first rooms that became as natural and organic as possible. We begin making our own laundry soap and found a couple of secrets for laundry softeners. Soon our allergy queen was finding some relief and so were we.


    16 cups baking soda

    12 cups washing soda

    8 cups of grated castile soap

    Optional ~ 10-12 drops lavender essential oil

    Grate the castile soap or blend in food processor and mix it with the baking soda and washing soda. If you want add essential oil.  Stir until all the ingredients are incorporated. Use 1/8 cup for a large load.

    Natural Non-Toxic Bleach Alternative

    3 quarts water ( I like to use spring water)

     1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is best but you can use bottled)

    1 cup hydrogen peroxide.

    Mix together and store in glass jar. Add 1.5 to 2 cups per load of laundry. You can also use this to clean bathrooms and kitchens!


    Homemade Oxyclean Stain Remover

    2 cups water

    1 cup hydrogen peroxide

    1 cup baking soda

    Combine all ingredients and put in an opaque dark bottle. You can put a sprayer from another bottle top of the hydrogen peroxide bottle.

    Use as a pre-treat spray on stains or add 1/4 of the mixture above (about 1 cup total) to a load of laundry, add water and let soak for 30 minutes before washing.  Usually safe on all fabrics put please test prior to use!


    Fabric Softener

    And finally for a fabric softener consider white vinegar. Add one-half to 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your machine. This is especially valuable when laundering cloth diapers as it will remove the problems usually causing diaper rash. It effectively rids the laundry of soap residue and allows the fabric to be naturally soft as well as balancing the pH which wi...ll extend the life of the fabrics. The smell of vinegar dissipates upon drying and leaves the laundry smelling fresh. If you wish to add fragrance to the laundry apply 2 or 3 drops of essential oil to a damp washcloth and place in the clothes dryer along with the wet laundry. I prefer lavender for its nice clean smell and disinfecting properties. to your washes rinse cycle. If you want scent simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the vinegar.

    Monday, March 24, 2014

    Vegan Monday ~ Warm Spring Salad


    Welcome to Vegan Mondays! This is the first Vegan Monday blog and my own spin on the Meatless Monday movement. 

    Why did I decide to have a Vegan Monday? It seems I am constantly looking for new, delicious and simple vegan recipes.  I need more vegan dishes that not only will my husband and I enjoy but also our grandkids. We use to eat about 75% raw and vegan, but now that is up to around 90%.  I found our health and energy levels improved with less dairy and meat. Fewer issues with inflammation, better sleep and healthier weight have all come with eating a mainly vegan diet. Don’t get me wrong we eat fish once or twice a week, a little organic dairy and occasionally organic meat. When I say occasionally, I am talking a few times a month.  There are times when I feel a need for an organic bone broth or chicken soup. When that moment arises I listen to my body and partake of what it needs.  

    To be honest, if we could afford more organic dairy and meats, we might eat more of it. But on the flip side I truly believe that as an American, we eat too much red meat and too little fruits and veggies.  For us meat is the side dish, not the main course. That brings me back to the need for vegan dishes! So starting today I will be hosting Vegan Mondays which will feature vegan dishes for you and your family to try. ENJOY and remember to eat your veggies.

    Today's recipe is a Warm Spring Salad (from Oh She Glows). It is delicious. Because of the addition of Quinoa, the salad has lots of protein. Where I live, my choices for finding many healthy staples are limited and nothing is in bulk. I currently purchase my Quinoa from Amazon (who is an affiliate of mine). The price is good and I can get it in 4 lb bags.

    Warm Spring Salad ~

    •1 cup uncooked quinoa
    •1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    •1 leek, sliced into rounds or half moons
    •2 garlic cloves, minced
    •1 bunch asparagus, ends broken off and chopped into 1-inch pieces
    •1 cup diced strawberries (optional)
    •3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
    •1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
    •2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to taste
    •3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    •1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or other sweetener)
    •1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt & lots of pepper, to taste
    •lemon zest, for garnish
    1. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and place into a medium pot. Add 1.5 cups vegetable broth (or water) and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low-medium, cover with tight-fitting lid, and cook for 15-17 minutes, or until fluffy and all the water is absorbed. Fluff with fork, remove from heat, and let sit covered for 5 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, grab a very large skillet or wok. Sauté the leek and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add in the asparagus and sauté for another 5-10 minutes or until the asparagus is just tender, but still a bit crisp. Stir in the strawberries (optional), peas, and parsley. Heat for a few minutes and then remove from heat.
    3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, and 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt) to taste. Pour dressing onto skillet mixture and stir in the cooked quinoa. Season to taste with salt and pepper & enjoy! This would also be lovely with nuts or seeds sprinkled on top.

    This is also delicious served cold ~      Recipe and image from Oh She Glows.