I kept waiting for it…Winter. Not that I like the cold or anything but during Winter I get to catch up on paperwork – ugghhh taxes and stuff. Renewing licenses, certificates, adding all of my receipts and planning for the new year always happens in February. When it is cold outside it is much easier to get work done inside without feeling like you are wasting the day away doing computer or paperwork.
Not this year, well at least not ALL of it! We had like 2 weeks of Winter in January, I think.
Now instead of continuing my planning stage for the garden and my classes, I feel the need to be outside, to hike, to plant…anything out in this beautiful weather. It has been in the 70’s all week long and the trees are blooming. I know we live in the South and all folks but it is not Florida for pete’s sake!
Thank goodness I have interns starting in a little less than 2 weeks because if it is “Spring” now, I have a TON of work to still be done to ready the gardens and my upcoming mushroom forest. Sigh…the life of a homesteader, always things to do and not enough time to do them! Seriously I am NOT complaining, I love my little farm and all that I do and can do here. Hey I could be stuffed in a cubicle somewhere right? Well heck no, not this gal, I would die…
Today is not a day for work either..it will be an afternoon of hiking with the kid. I will be meeting him for a day in the mountains – hooray!!
This morning I am baking a few loaves of bread for preorders and the loaves are all rising on top of my stove. I wanted to make an omelet but cannot, there is no space on the stovetop! I remembered making some egg cups recently in the oven and thought, “Yes, breakfast!”
Not just any egg cups though…a superfood egg cup breakfast. What’s a superfood breakfast you ask? Well it is kind of like the ole everything-but-the-kitchen-sink casserole with very nutritious ingredients!
My choice of superfoods –
Fresh Chickweed – Stellaria meia – I get excited every single time I see it growing in abundance. This is your go to green for a yumminess addition to any salad, casserole, sandwich, you name it. The taste is a mixture of fresh spinach and fresh snap peas, at least in my opinion. 🙂 Chickweed Key constituents – Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, coumarins, saponins. More info including recipes Chickweed and Other Good Weeds Growing.
Kale – well because it is kale…vitamin A, C, K, iron, antioxidants, high in fiber, low in calories and low in fat. Add it generously.
Nutritional Yeast – an inactive yeast made from sugarcane and beet molasses. High in B vitamins. This yeast is nutty, reminiscent of parmesan cheese and a fabulous substitute for cheesy flavor in dishes. “A perfect addition to any meal — providing nutrition while saving calories — nutritional yeast is one source of complete protein and vitamins, in particular B-complex vitamins. It contains folates, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, selenium and zinc, making it a great superfood! It’s low in sodium and fat, gluten-free, and doesn’t contain any added sugars or preservatives.” From Dr. AXE.
Wood Ear Mushrooms (Auricularia auricula) – It’s description is exactly as it’s name! Yep it looks like a creepy, brown, jelly-like ear on a log that is rubbery to the touch. Most people are like, eeewwww you eat those? Well if you ever had Chinese Hot and Sour Soup, you too have eaten those. 😀 Hot & Sour soup is a wonderful remedy for colds, sore throats, congestion. Wood ears have been used in the past for sore throats, for the immune system and as a blood tonic. Most wild edible mushrooms are medicinal. This mushroom is best dried, then reconstituted and sliced or chopped, sauteed or added to soups. I had some leftover from making hot and sour soup so I figured I would add it to these egg cups. Gotta use up leftovers!! By the way when you reconstitute they, they magically grow to enormous proportions so note to self.
Turmeric – always gets added to my eggs. Eat your medicine! The amazing natural anti-inflammatory can be eaten daily fresh or dried. For folks with serious arthritis a stronger capsule or tincture of the compound in turmeric, curcurmin may be needed.
Stinging Nettles – just use like parsley, no one will know and you just added a boost of vitamins, iron, protein, magnesium, selenium, chlorophyll, calcium and more! Benefits and spanakopita recipe HERE
Parsley, garlic, onions, black and red pepper too!!!
Recipe for Superfood Egg Cups
6 farm fresh eggs plus splash of half and half
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
1/4-1/2 tsp. turmeric
pinch of sea salt and black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes or more if you like it spicy
1 Tablespoon Stinging Nettles dried or 2 if fresh
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1-2 garlic cloves chopped
2-3 Tablespoons chopped onion
wood ear or other mushrooms chopped, I didn’t measure, maybe 2 tablespoons
handful fresh kale and chickweed chopped
Pecorino romano cheese to taste or any favorite cheese
First, heavily grease your muffin tin or use liners – I cannot stress this enough, mine stuck even with all that butter. Preheat oven to 350o.
Whisk eggs and half and half real good. Add dried spices and whisk again.
Divide fresh veggie mix amongst the muffin tins – probably 10
Pour the egg mixture over the veggies about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with desired cheese.
Bake 18-20 minutes. They will be very puffy when they come out of the oven but then will fall flat. Let cool just a few moments and carefully using an flat narrow spatula, remove to a plate or cooling rack. Eat right away or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Can be frozen for 1 month!
What is YOUR Breakfast of Champions? Cheerios, Wheaties, donuts or a good well balanced meal? Hopefully you answered the last option. 🙂
My favorite is eggs and kale or a variation of that with whatever I have in the fridge or the pantry. ANYTHING can be put into an egg dish to make a nutritious, satisfying and healthy meal.
Today I made a Kale & Shiitake Omelet. Yum!!! Did you shudder when I said omelet and thought, “oh no, I can’t make an omelet” ? Omelets are easy peasy so long as you have the proper pan and you are patient.
Before I give you this delicious recipe, how about some herbal goodness on the ingredients!
Healthy Benefits –
Eggs – one of the most amazing food items on the planet! Farm fresh eggs are best with chickens that are fed an organic feed. Full of protein, antioxidants, B vitamins, maintains healthy thyroid function, GOOD for the heart, selenium( for the brain) and omega -3.
Coconut oil – good fat that increases your HDL – healthy cholesterol
Butter – well, it’s butter!!! Grass fed is best. Sadly I did not have grass fed.
Kale – high in fiber, very high in vitamin A, C, K.K is known to be anti-inflammatory , cancer preventing benefits, low in calories, easy to grow!!
Stinging Nettle – you know I cannot leave this out of anything – hee hee. Nettles are high in iron, protein, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, fiber, for allergy symptoms, hair growth- strengthener, lots more!!! You can also feed it to your chickens for better egg production.
Shiitakes – well you know these are MY faves. Super high in B vitamins and good source of protein – medicinally:
and cheese – everything tastes yummier with cheese!! 😀
Kale & Shiitake Omelet Recipe
1/2 – 1 cup diced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1/8-1/4 onion diced
1 cup torn pieces of kale
1/2 garlic clove chopped
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder, organic
1 tsp. dried stinging nettle
1/2 dried cayenne pepper chopped, or more if you like it hotter
sea salt and black pepper to taste
butter and or coconut oil
Heat up a small, non stick saute pan on medium heat. Add a teaspoon or so of butter or coconut oil or both( that is how I do it). Add your mushrooms and diced onion. Cook for 5-6 minutes, adding more fat as needed. salt and pepper.
Add kale, garlic, turmeric, nettles and cayenne – reduce heat to medium low and cook until kale wilts a bit – 2-3 minutes.
Whisk eggs together until there is no visible white part. Can add a tiny amount of milk or water.
Add a bit more butter to pan, spread veggies evenly out.
Now reduce heat to low. Add eggs evenly across the pan. Shake and swirl pan to coat. Cook 2-3 minutes – NO TOUCHING!
Then using a large spatula, flip – yes I said flip – you can do it!!! If nervous, you can slide it out onto a plate and then invert plate back into pan.
Sprinkle cheese, whatever you like or not. I used pecorino romano.
Cook 1 minute more. Fold and slide out onto a plate. Eat and enjoy!!
If you love mushrooms, here is a link for some really good recipes at Mushrooming Together.
The colors of Fall are beautiful with the trees changing into an array of yellow, red, gold, orange and brown. You don’t expect to see many plants producing as you do in the Summer.
There are some exceptions of course. The beautiful Hibiscus Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), with its ruby red calyces and deep burgandy stems. After flowering, the calyx swell with a seed pod at which time we harvest the calyces and peel the red outer covering off to use for teas and jellies and more!
The leaves, flowers and calyces are all edible. The calyces are well known around the world for their gorgeous red color for your teas. In Jamaica they call their drink, Jamaican Sorrel which is made from the hibiscus calyx along with fresh ginger and sugar. It is delish!!!
I do have one hibiscus plant but it bloomed late so I only have a few calyces to pick BUT I am lucky enough to have some good friends that invited me to the farm they work at to pick all I wanted!
My friend Denise helped me process this giant load of hibiscus. I could not have done it without her. 🙂
Here is an Herb Profile for you about Hibiscus:
Herbal Lesson on Hibiscus
Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as Roselle or Jamaican Sorrel, is a beautiful tropical plant with reddish green leaves, red stems, red calyces and pale yellow flowers with a red center. It can be grown here in Georgia if started early enough because it flowers in late summer.
Edible uses: The leaves, flowers, calyx are all edible. The red calyx swells up after flowering and then peeled to dry for teas.
To make tea: Use 1 T fresh calyces or 1-2 teaspoons dried per cup of water. Steep 10 minutes. Sweeten.
This syrup will keep for at least a year. Once opened, it will keep for months if refrigerated. The syrup is delicious over crepes, fresh fruit, custard, ice cream. To make cordial, a very small quantity of syrup can be added to a glass and filled with water. The syrup can also be added to milk to make a delicious drink.
5 cups sugar
4 cups water
4 cups calyces, chopped
Heat the sugar and water in a large saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the calyces and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently until the volume of liquid is reduced by a third. Remove from the heat and strain. Bottle the syrup while still hot into clean bottles and seal. The strained calyces can be eaten as a dessert with ice cream or custard.
Medicinal Uses: Good for the cardiovascular system – can help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Full of antioxidants, high in vitamin C
Cooling to the body and astringent due to the tartness so helpful for fevers, excess fluid, hot flashes, sore throats.
Hibiscus and Ginger Tea : 4 T fresh hibiscus and a few slices fresh ginger to a quart jar, add boiling water, let steep 10-15 minutes. Sweeten with sugar, honey – I used coconut sugar.
I am celebrating 50 years….born 50 years ago in 1966! Holy moly how did THAT happen?
For the last month, I have been dreading turning 50, thinking I will be an ancient, old lady. 😀 I mean really, 50 – a half-of-a-century.
This week I had the realization that it is always better to celebrate life, successes-even small, milestones rather than dwell on past mistakes or worry about the future and getting old. If I really think about it…I am only middle age because many of my grandparents, great grand parents and great-great aunts have lived to 90 and beyond.
I thought about what I have accomplished up until this point in my life and there has been a-l-o-t of things, exciting things. I could not find all of my photo albums, you know, before we decided to keep all of our pictures in cyberspace? Here is my little “walk down memory lane and celebrate life”. Hope you enjoy it!
Before we get to the pictures – what else celebrates 50 years this year? My mom told me on an apron she gave me: 50 years of the Country Music Awards, the Monkey’s (yeah you have to be old enough to know who they were) 😉 the first Super Bowl and 50 years of Southern Living Magazine.
I was lucky to have my Mom, my Gram and my Nanny – 4 generation of women!
I was a cheerleader in high school but not at school – it was nearly impossible to join. This was with a youth association, we had the best time for a couple years!!
Missing a few years of pics, cannot find those photo albums – grrr 😀
Horses became a big part of my life in Georgia. We rode for pleasure, trails and then competed, became a student of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, attained my own goal of Level 3 Liberty 2010 and Level 2 riding with my current mare Tina(not pictured). The video is here if you care to watch. Freestyle riding video
I was lucky to be picked to work at the 96 Olympics in GA as a barn manager. I was totally excited to braid an Olympic horse’s mane!! The pic on the right is in Oympic Village the night before the bombing.
After 9 years of trying to conceive – our miracle baby was born. The biggest celebration of life!
Look at that munchkin face – so adorable!!
I met my tribe – women who love everything homesteading! I have learned so many things from these ladies and the friendships are treasured and to be celebrated!
The things you learn….
celebrating our first mushroom logs that WE innoculated together in 2013ish
Meeting the famous Rosemary Gladstar – just wow!
So remember, don’t fret about the past or worry about the future, celebrate your accomplishes, live your dreams and enjoy the moment.
Have you ever eaten Shiso, aka Perilla or Beefsteak Plant? If you have eaten in a Japanese restaurant, you may have had this yummy treat without knowing it. The name shiso comes from the Chinese word, zisu which means “purple”. Perilla, as I call it, can be green or purple depending on the variety and where it is grown.
Perilla is in the mint family and extremely easy to grow although many of you have this growing in the wild on the edge of the woods. Go check and see after reading this post and let me know!
Description and Biology
Plant: small, freely-branching annual herb that grows to 18-30 in. high; stems four-sided and covered with short hairs.
Leaves: opposite, ovate, green to purple with toothed margins; distinctive musky mint-like odor.
Flowers, fruits and seeds: flowers are small, bell-shaped, white and purple with a distinctive ring of fine hairs along the bottom in terminal spikes or emerging from leaf axils; July and October.
Spreads: by seed that either drops close to parent plant or may be transported by wind or water.
Look-alikes: beefsteak plant superficially resembles basil and coleus and can be confused with other members of the mint family.***From nps.gov
Medicinal Benefits of Perilla:
Leaves edible, contain calcium, iron and vitamin C
Good source of antioxidants
Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for asthma, colds, and flu
Seeds high in omega 3’s and support a healthy immune system.
I personally like to combine perilla leaves with kudzu leaves and lemon balm for colds or just a pleasant tasting tea.
MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE WAY TO USE IT?
The following recipe was given to me by my friend Brooke. I tasted one of these pickled leaves and was hooked for life!!! The original recipe, or what was posted was on www.mykoreankitchen.com
Pickled Perilla with Brown Rice Recipe
20-30 Fresh Perilla Leaves
Seasoning Sauce: Mix the following in a medium sized bowl
10 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon korean chili powder
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
optional – 2 tablespoons chopped green and red chilis
Rinse perilla leaves in cold running water and drain them in a colander while getting the sauce ready.
Prepare the sauce by mixing the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.
Layer perilla leaves in a glass container with a lid, about 3-5 at a time either stacked(I could be that anal!) or in a layer. Spread about a tablespoon of the sauce over the leaves. Repeat the process until all leaves are layered with sauce. Any left over sauce can be poured over the top.
Cover and refrigerate. This can be eaten after a few days. It tastes even better after a week! Will keep in fridge for months!!
To eat, cook up some brown rice and fill each leaf with the rice, roll up or squish it together and eat. 😀 Totally yum!!!
Sometimes we get a little carried away and buy too many. So we gotta get creative and use up those bananas instead of giving them to all the chickens…or the horses ….or the dog, well one of the dogs. 😀
I love bananas and I K-N-O-W they come from really, really far away! This is not part of my “try to get all the food as close to home as possible” plan. When I think of that plan and think of bananas, a book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, comes to mind and I can almost hear the author saying ” THAT banana traveled thousands of miles from a rain forest to you” (something like that!).
Anyway that book is an excellent read! I think I need to read it again.
So instead of throwing out all those almost past their prime bananas here are a few ideas, actually 20 of them!
20 Ways to Use Up Bananas
1. Smoothie Time – 1 banana, 1/4-1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2-1 cup almond, coconut or cows milk, a couple ice cubes, flax or chia seeds. Blend it all up! Optional a spoonful of raw cacao – yum.
2.Make banana nut bread, the ole stand by.
3. Make a banana face mask or just spread the banana on your face or what is left inside the peel. It is beneficial to all skin types, full of vitamins, potassium, moisture.
5. Use what’s left in the peel to rub on your feet and put socks on then rinse off for smoother and softer heels.. 6. Make Banana Nutella Muffins – oh..my..goodness these are so very good!
7. Put the peels into your compost pile to speed the break down.
8. Give the really squishy ones to your chickens.
9. Cut them up in chunks, melt semi sweet or dark chocolate in a pot with a teaspoon of coconut oil and using toothpicks or skewers, dip the banana pieces into the chocolate and set onto wax paper lined tray in freezer to harden. Then put into freezer bags.
15. MY PERSONAL FAVE – I do this all the time! Banana “Fake Out” Ice Cream by Rachel Ray. Just cut your bananas into chunks and freeze in zip lock bags and then they will be ready for this easy, peasy “fake” ice cream that is just like soft serve ice cream. I add nutella or raw cacao, sometimes honey or stevia or chopped chocolate chips.
16. Adding a ripe banana peel to a roast pan helps to tenderize a roast. Have not tried this one yet.
17. Dry out banana peels on screens during the winter months. In early spring, grind them up in a food processor or blender and use it as a mulch to give new plants and seedlings a healthy start. From Readers Digest.*
18. Attract pollinators to your garden by poking holes into the overripe bananas and setting in your garden somewhere off the ground. Watch the butterflies and bees come. 🙂
19. Whiten teeth by rubbing a banana peel on your teeth, hmmmm…
20. Make a hair mask! Blend a very ripe banana or two in the blender, add a bit of water if needed and a tiny bit of olive or coconut oil. Apply to your hair, leave on for 15 minutes, might as well do your face too. Wash out with shampoo as normal.
Well that about does it! Hope you enjoyed this post and I am soooooo sorry I have not posted in over a month – yikes! Please leave a comment of what you do with your extra bananas!
Try something new…Monday can be a great day to try something new that you haven’t done before.
Ok do you ever just go purchase something on a whim or do you sit and plan out every detail before making a purchase? MOST of the time I have to think about for days or weeks because me like everyone one of you, has to watch their pennies, spending only what we need and then maybe every so often we can get something really cool! A fancy night on the town? …no. A luxurious spa day?…heck no! A new book? Yeah we are on the right track! A bunch of new books at a steal – oh my gosh, I am running out the door!!!
I drug my feet, didn’t read all my emails from Ryan at the Ultimate Bundles, until today – TODAY – the LAST day of their new Ultimate Herbs & Essential Oils Bundle Sale – Ahhhhhh…. but I was not too late. I watched the cool video and saw all the amazing books and stuff in the bundle so I bought it. It was only $29 for it – I had that amount in my PayPal account – YAY!!! So r-e-a-l-l-y it is NOT a splurge but a necessity, am I right? 🙂
The one book that got me, ok there were like 5 but the ones I really want to see is Homegrown Healing, from seed to apothecary by Chris Dalziel AND Safe EO Labels – Set A by Lea Harris
Just thought I would share so if you are so inclined, please use my link below – I would appreciate it and share my link with your friends. IF you get the bundle, send me your name and email to email@example.com and you will be entered into a drawing for a free $30 class or $30 in products from me.
Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups…doesn’t that sound delicious? Last night I read a blog post from GatherVictoria.com and she had this recipe I JUST had to try!!! And you know …if you don’t do it right away, you forget all about it and it gets lost somewhere in cyberland.
I did not have every ingredient that she used so I improvised with what was growing right now!
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is growing like crazy, I had plenty to pick from. The recipe only calls for 3 Tablespoons of petals so you can have enough from 5-6 blossoms. Even though calendula is used mainly for medicinal purposes as a vulnerary herb to heal cuts, scrapes, burns and internal wounds, it is also edible and looks beautiful in a salad or in these cute egg cups. Calendula contains antioxidants in the form of flavanoids and carotenoids(beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A).
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – the leaves of dandelion are diuretic without removing precious potassium and they are very helpful for the liver removing toxins from the body. The green leaves are bitter, bitter is good, but don’t stress, they won’t be too bitter in this recipe!
Tarragon (Artemesia dracunculus) – tasty herb that is used in fish dishes, bernaise sauce and it has a anise-like flavoring to it. I LOVE this herb!
Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) – relative of the beloved quinoa. Otherwise known as Wild Spinach. An excellent substitution for any green that packs a punch of nutrition: Vitamin A, B1,2,3,5,6, C, protein, iron, manganese, magnesium and more! It does contain oxalic acid so you don’t want to eat a ton of this everyday. Oxalic acid can cause kidney stones if you are prone to these.
Gold ole garlic and onions!
This is soooo easy and add anything else you like, be creative, invent a new egg cup!
Recipe for Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups
6 eggs, beaten
splash of half and half
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh dandelion leaves, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh lambsquarters, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh calendula petals
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 large onion, chopped
pinch himalayan sea salt
black pepper to taste
1/3 cup fresh mozzarella crumbled or feta
Wash you fresh eggs and beat them in a bowl with the cream.
Saute onion on med low for a few minutes til soft, add the garlic and the greens. Cook just 1-2 minutes.
Add fresh calendula petals and cheese to eggs. Add the greens mixture, salt and pepper. Mix up.
Grease a muffin tin – grease it a lot, mine stuck!!!
Pour your mixture into the tin, mine filled 11 cups. Bake in a preheated oven at 350o for 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or so and eat them up!
You can freeze the leftovers for a fast breakfast, just defrost in the fridge and reheat in the oven(wrap in foil or a covered dish).