Spring Already?

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.

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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!!

6-tallulah-gorge-hurricane-falls-trail

Superfoods for Breakfast

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

eggcup1

 

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.

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Whisk eggs and half and half real good. Add dried spices and whisk again.

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Divide fresh veggie mix amongst the muffin tins – probably 10

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Pour the egg mixture over the veggies about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with desired cheese.

 

eggcup5 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!

eggcup6

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Another yummy recipe using flowers and weeds,

Calendula Egg Cups

Enjoy your day folks!

Anne-Marie

 

Medicinal & Edible Benefits of Hibiscus

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.

hibiscus-close-up

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!

hibiscus-parts

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!

hibiscus-roselle
My Hibiscus plant

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My friend Denise helped me process this giant load of hibiscus. I could not have done it without her. 🙂

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fresh hibiscus peeled from seed pods. Pic Credit*Denise Hardin
hibiscus-seed-pods-denise
the leftover pods pic credit* Denise Hardin
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All my trays of drying hibiscus!
hibiscus-by-denise-hardin
My favorite photographer Denise Hardin

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.

SYRUP/CORDIAL
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.

www.bellavistanaturals.com – Anne-Marie Bilella  – Bella Vista Farm

Have a beautiful day friends!

Easy Peasy Lip Scrub Recipe

Have you ever used a lip scrub? Maybe one of those super expensive, high end ones at the department stores?

I found this easy, peasy lip scrub recipe that I wanted to share with ya’ll! No Tricks, just Treats today – Happy Halloween 🎃

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Of course if you don’t want to make it yourself, I will happily make it for you.

Luscious Lip Scrub Recipe

  • 1 Tablespoon Extra virgin organic coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Raw honey
  • 2 Tablespoons pure cane sugar

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Mix it all in a bowl and transfer into small jars.

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You can put it all in one jar if you want to use it as a facial and hand scrub in addition to the lip scrub. To use: place a small amount on lips, rub gently in circular motions, lick up the extra :D. Let sit a minute or two and wipe off with a wet facecloth.

Now kiss someone so they can feel your soft, luscious lips!

Enjoy –

Anne-Marie

We Won People’s Choice!!!!!

Good Morning Friends –
Just woke up, late, really late for me at 6:45am but it is too darn cold out there. Makes you want to curl up and hide under the covers until Spring. 😀

Guess what?? Just got the email saying I was one of the 3 Winners for the People’s Choice Award. They picked the top three out of 10 contenders with the most votes. Oh my goodness, I am on cloud 9! My family still thinks I am weird because I get excited over this kind of stuff but again, oh my goodness to be a winner among some of the top bloggers, a few of MY favorite bloggers that inspire me. Just…WOW!

What an honor and a blessing to know so many people like what you write about especially when it is an Herbal Medicine post. Now while I curl up with some coffee, look at seed catalogs and order more seed catalogs go visit Wildcrafting Wednesday and check out some of the new posts for this week. Please make sure to comment and congratulate the other two winners. 🙂

If you are a blogger visit early to get your post linked up. If you are just a browser wait until tonight or tomorrow because there will be more posts added from bloggers over the next 24 hours.

Wildcrafting Wednesday The People’s Choice AwardsHave a beautiful day!

Anne-Marie

Wildcrafting Wednesday!

Welcome to the One Hundred and Seventh edition of Wildcrafting Wednesday!

Wildcrafting Wednesday is hosted by:

While traditional wildcrafting refers to gathering herbs and plants in the wild to use for food and medicine, Wildcrafting Wednesday is a weekly blog hop for sharing self-sufficiency and homesteading tips, tried and true home-remedies, and your favorite herbal uses.

It’s a place to gather information on ways to incorporate old fashioned wisdom in our day-to-day life.

It is anything and everything herbal – from crafts to cleaning to tinctures to cooking.

It is remedies and natural cures made at home from natural ingredients.

It is self-sufficient living, homesteading, and back-to-basics tips to save food, money, and resources.

If it involves herbs or traditional methods of homemaking and home healing then we want to read about it!

In other words, Wildcrafting Wednesday is a “one stop shop” for the past weeks best tips and simple steps to become more healthy and more self-reliant! Please join us! 🙂

Featured Posts from Our Last Blog Hop

Each week, we get some incredible posts submitted by amazing bloggers. The following posts are our featured posts as determined by our readers.

Make Your Own Dark Chocolate Bar in 5 Minutes by Learning and Yearning

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Create Your Own Herbal – Free Printable by Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

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How to Make Orange Julius with Real Food Ingredients by My Lamp is Full

 

Thank you to every one of our bloggers who linked up and to all of our readers for helping us pick our featured posts!

 

Guidelines for Participation:

1. Please link up your blog post using the Linky widget below. If you are posting a recipe, only real food recipes are permitted please. This means no processed, packaged, or refined food ingredients!

2. Please link the URL of your actual blog post and not your blogs home page. That allows future readers who find this post and go to your link to be able to find what they’re looking for.

3. Please place a link back to this edition of the blog hop in your post. That way your readers can benefit from all the ideas too. This also helps out the other participants who are hoping to get more traffic to their blogs. If you’re new to blogging here’s what you do: Copy the URL of Wildcrafting Wednesday from your browser address bar. Then edit your post by adding something like, “This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday” at the end of your post. Then highlight “Wildcrafting Wednesday”, click the “link” button on your blogging tool bar, and paste the URL into that line. That’s it! If you prefer, you can grab the button below and insert it at the end of your blog post. Either way is acceptable! 🙂

4. Please only link posts that fit the blog hop description. Old and archived posts are welcome as long as you post a link back as described above. Please don’t link to giveaways or promotions for affiliates or sponsors. That keeps our links valuable in the future since a link to a giveaway three months old isn’t going to be worth browsing in three months time, but a link to an herbal tip will be.

5. Family friendly posts only.

6. Please leave a comment. 🙂

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Dedication to My Best Friend, Lorna

This blog post is a little unusual than my usual posts. Just a bit ago, I was talking to my all time BFF in New York and we were discussing web sites, blogging, social media etc… Lorna, my BFF since 5th grade, wanted my dear son, Jonathan to make a web site for her. I suggested blogging! She was like, “What?!?!, why would I want to do that?” Well, I said because you love to talk as much, if not MORE than I do!!! 🙂 “What would I blog about?”, she asked. ANYTHING you like or want to talk about!

lorna

So for her, this is what I am doing, talking about stuff we like. Yep just all kinds of stuff, not my usual herbal remedies and farm stuff just cool things we have in common. Hope you enjoy this out of the ordinary, fun post!!! Let me know what ya think about it.

#1 Chocolate – chocolate is my all time favorite food, yeah I said FOOD not snack, why not, it has all the awesome goodness that we need plus the oh so happy feeling you get from eating it. Ok now, I LOVE dark chocolate, Lorna loves milk chocolate but ANY chocolate is fabulous!!! Have any of you visited Chocolate Covered Katie? Here is her site and a couple of my favorites from her. Katie calls her site The Chocolate Covered Diet! It s all about healthy chocolate concoctions to satisfy that craving. 🙂

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/

How about some chocolate chip ice cream cookie cups? Oh my goodness!!!!

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My favorite of Katie’s – Chocolate Chip Blondies – Totally incredible AND good for you!blondess

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/05/18/chocolate-chip-blondies-and-theyre-good-for-you/

#2 The General Lee – yeah I said it! We LOVE the Dukes of Hazzard! I was in love with Bo Duke, part of his fan club at one time and Lorna she loved Luke Duke. I remember every Friday night watching the one hour series, singing the theme song, even had it as my ringtone. May just do that again. Come on how could you NOT love Bo. 🙂

Just look at that face –

bo duke

Which by the way brings us to #3 Cars –

I do not love classic cars as much as she does but the General Lee – oooohhhhh would love to own that car.

I am not 100% positive but I think her fave is the chevelle –

chevelle ss

#4 Potato Pancakes –

Lorna makes the best potato pancakes that her Grandma used to make. Yum!!! I don’t have the recipe handy. 😦

My potato pancake recipe is from Southern Living – Fried potato patties. You just use up leftover mashed potatoes, add cheese, eggs and spices, breadcrumbs and fry them up. Delish!!!
potato patties

Here is the recipe –

2 cups of mashed REAL potatoes

1 cup of shredded cheese, any kind

salt and pepper

1/2 tsp. onion and garlic powder

2 eggs

soft homemade bread crumbs

Mix the potatoes, 1 egg, spices and cheese together. Whisk the second egg. Make a meatball size potato ball and dip into the egg then into the soft breadcrumbs, rolling to coat. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Fry in med high pan with oil for 6 minutes per side, press down slightly to flatten. When you flip then ,squish them down like a pancake. Not totally flat just flattened. Drain on paper towels and serve with sour cream, ketchup or anything you want on top!

Hope you enjoyed this evenings post!

Anne-Marie

Please click on my affiliate links if you are interested in purchasing bulk herbs or learn more about herbalism. I do receive a small commission from the affiliates at no cost to you. The commission they pay helps me to continue my education and bring more good stuff to you! 🙂

Chickens Had a Pizza Party!

My animals are spoiled rotten! Seriously. Just the other day, instead of giving my chickens their usual extra snack of leftover bread or veggies, they got pizza. Yep…3 leftover slices of homemade pepperoni pizza!

Oh my goodness, they went bananas over it. One hen even took a piece and RAN away with it!!! 🙂

2 of the Brady girls.
2 of the Brady girls.

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Henrietta and Marsha
Henrietta and Marsha

 

I love my animals. Oh and one of my horses? He feels left out if he doesn’t get what the chickens got for a snack so he will run over to see if he can snag a bite of something special. Final(our old quarter horse)did not make it to the coop in time for pizza but he actually ate MASHED POTATOES this week. Really? Mashed potatoes for a horse? It was hysterical! I did not get a pic of it but did get some of the chickens with mashed potato faces.IMG_0670 LOOK at those potato covered beaks!

Does anyone feed weird, cool, unusual snacks to their critters?
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The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

I have read numerous articles about growing your own lemon tree! Hmmm….now of course if we were in California or Florida, you would say no big deal, right? Well here in Georgia? I heard it could be done so I am going to try it. Has anyone had any success growing a lemon tree? Tell me all about it. I will follow up this tutorial with what’s a lemon good for anyway? Enjoy!

Anne-Marie

Growing Wild

When life gives you lemons, grow trees!

If you’ve ever seen a flowering lemon tree, you’ll understand why. For those of you who haven’t, allow me explain. Their lush, dark green, oval leaves have a glossy texture that shimmers in sunlight. Their delicate white flowers bloom with a citrus fragrance and are soft to the touch. Their exotic nature provides an alluring quality. And, finally, they bear the exciting possibility of fruit!

Typically, lemon trees flourish outdoors year-round in hot, sunny regions, but they can also thrive indoors as edible houseplants in cold-season climates. At the organic food store where I work we have a healthy lemon cutting producing massive fruit in a garage setting all year. It makes for an impressive sight during the dead of a Canadian winter!

And while rooting cuttings is a sensible option for fast fruit, lemon tree cuttings are not readily available in many…

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