spring is here? Today I woke to finding the first signs of an awakening spring. The first of my freesia bulbs are peeking through and the jasmine promises a full bush of its intoxicating scents. As I have said before, the fun of bulbs is that you forget you have them until they bloom in the spring- it never gets old! A lot of my plants didn't make it through our unusually cold winter, except my parsley, that was a complete surprise as I went out to shoot some photos and there in my herb garden...was the best parsley I have ever grown. hum...does that mean it likes it really cold? none of my other herbs made it through, oh well, guess I'll have to get out my seeding flats.
This spicy Szechuan dish is made diabetes-friendly with homemade marinade, tons of veggies, and reduced-sodium soy sauce. Tip: When working with the chile peppers, be sure to wear plastic or rubber gloves to avoid direct contact with the volatile oils.
Kung Pao Chicken
4 servings: 1/3 cup rice and about 2/3 cup chicken mixture per serving CARBs: 24
5 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
10 oz skinless chicken, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar subsitute, or regular
1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 teaspoons canola oil
4 dried red chile peppers, seeded and sliced
4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups coarsely chopped bok choy
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 1/3 cups hot cooked brown rice
1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry roasted peanuts
1. In a medium bowl stir together 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, the sherry, and sesame oil; add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, for sauce: Stir together the remaining 3 teaspoons soy sauce, the water, rice vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch; set aside.
2. In a large skillet heat 2 teaspoons of the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add marinated chicken; stir-fry until nearly cooked through. Remove chicken. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Add chile peppers and green onions; stir-fry for 1 minute. Add bok choy and ginger; stir-fry for 1 minute more. Add the sauce; cook until bubbly. Serve with hot cooked rice. Sprinkle with peanuts.
Several people who read my blog mainly for the homemade beauty recipes often ask if there are ones that are simpler to make, ones they don’t have to go buy exotic oils or products to produce. Yes, there are, actually there are a lot of them. However, before I put anything on Journey I make it and try out on myself, or my friend Brenda (my human guinea pig who is game for anything-ha!) …and that is what we have been doing for the past couple of months. So, over the next couple of weeks… we’ll explore some very easy and great DIY products to pamper yourself.
Mayonnaise-Baby Oil Dry Skin Treatment
2 tablespoons real mayonnaise
1 teaspoon baby oil
Combine both ingredients.
Smooth onto face, neck, elbows and knees; anywhere you feel might benefit.
Leave for 20 minutes.
Rinse off thoroughly with tepid water.
(works great on hands too- I slipped my hands into to re-purposed bread bags while relaxing and was impressed with the results)
Honey-Avocado Invigorating and Revitalizing Hair Treatment
1 medium avocado — peeled and stoned
2 tablespoons honey
Mash together the ingredients in a small bowl.
Massage into hair.
Leave for 20-30 minutes.
Wash hair as usual.
Tightening/Toning Lemon Egg White Mask
Juice from 1/2 a lemon (strained)
1 egg white
Beat together the egg white and lemon juice for 3 minutes.
There is a place for worries – and it’s not in your mind.
Worrying, we all do it, some more than others. My mother-in-law was what I considered to be a master at worrying- I would tease her that she would save up worries to have some for a time when she ran out of things to worry about. At the same time she would tease me about not worrying at all. That is partially true- oh yes; I have my share of things to worry about, but for the most part only let them enter my thoughts momentarily.
I have a young coworker who has been on that worry wagon so much so that lately she has been getting ill. When I mentioned it to her, a flood of worries can forth spilling out with a need for release. After she spoke about many of the things bothering her she also realized that much of her worries were not really that bad or had even resolved themselves, but she missed that because she was so focused on having the worry. Then she asked if I ever worry, I told her I do, but this is also what I do to keep the worried at bay. I have a worry surrender box. It acts much like the unsent written letter some of us use to get rid of anger or pain.
what is a surrender box?
Surrender Box There are times when our minds become too full. Our to-do lists, worries, plans, and dreams may be so crowded together in our heads that we don't have room to think. We may believe that we are somehow taking care of our desires and concerns by keeping them at the forefront of our minds. In maintaining our mental hold on every detail, however, we may actually delay the realization of our dreams and the resolution of our worries because we won't let them go. At times such as these, we may want to use a surrender box.
A surrender box allows us to let go of our worries and desires so the universe can take care of them for us. We write down what we want or need to happen and then place the note into a box. By writing and placing our thoughts in the box, we are taking action and letting the universe know we need help and are willing to surrender our feelings. We give ourselves permission to not concern ourselves with that problem any longer and trust that the universe is taking care of it. You may even want to decorate your box and place it in a special place. Your surrender box is a sacred container for your worries. Not only do you free up space in your mind by letting go of our worries and desires and dropping them into your surrender box, but you are giving your burden over to a higher power. Once we drop our worries and desires into the surrender box, we free our minds so we can be fully present in each moment.
Surrendering our worries and concerns and placing them in the hands of the universe doesn't mean that we've given up or have been defeated. Instead, we are releasing the realization of our desires and the resolution of our worries and no longer concerning ourselves with their outcomes. It's always fun to go back and pull the slips of paper out of the box once your requests have been granted. And it's amazing how quickly problems go away and dreams come true when we finally let go and allow a higher power to help us. Fill you minds with happiness and excitement and it will be in your life, fill it with dread and worry and that will be your road.
Have faith in the path of life, our guides, and guardians.
(for my email friends here is the link : Bobby McFerrin - Don't worry Be happy) take five minutes and remember this wonderful song by Bobby McFerrin "Don't worry, Be happy" it is one of my favorites and Ursa, my beloved chow, would get excited whenever she heard this song. it was her song- (btw: our sweet jesse's song was Moon River- he loved it)
two little ones waiting for mama’s return in a friend's backyard. They are soooo sweet and I love raccoons, however, please read the caution note; and if you have raccoons that visit your home- not a good idea.
caution: although these little guys are so adorable, please don’t encourage them into your yards, or handle one if found injured or dead. They carry a great number of zoonotic diseases that can often be fatal to humans – especially the Baylisascaris procyonis: (Bay-lis-asc-aris) The Raccoon Ascarid or roundworm is a parasite of the intestines of raccoons that sheds large numbers of eggs in the feces. Feces contaminated with eggs can become infective to humans after 2-4 weeks of incubation. Exposure to feces during handling, feeding and cleaning can cause a serious disease known as Visceral Larval Migrans and infection of the central nervous system. Oral ingestion of infective stages of eggs is the primary route of exposure. Wildlife Rehab Centers, including me, all over US are now refusing to take in and care for raccoons, which is a shame, but a necessary step in protecting ourselves and our pets.
And then there is the risk to your dogs with Canine distemper virus infection that is probably the most common viral disease in raccoons. The clinical signs and gross histopathologic lesions in raccoons are similar to distemper in dogs. Neurologic signs due to distemper virus infection in raccoons are virtually indistinguishable from rabies induced neurologic disease.
These are only a couple problems, for more information on raccoons and their diseases please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov and search under Raccoon Zoonosis or the specific disease name.
I thought today would be a great day to give a little information on what’s happening with our sweet Lily in Minnesota at the NorthAmerican Bear Center. Choice clips of the den moments can also be found on Youtube- Lily the Black Bear- YT and of course there is her Facebook ~ Lily the Black Bear-FB On January 12th she delivered two sweet cubs, it was expected, just happened a little earlier than her past deliveries with Hope then Faith and Jason. I have waited to post any pictures until we started seeing some fun action in the den. Now is the time, their eyes are starting to open and there is a lot of activity in the den- so visit the webcam- especially if you have some young ones yourself, it is so fun and educational. And…remember, as with all babies, be patient, they sleep a lot so it might be quiet, just wait. Also, if you hear a soft rumbling sound…that is the sound the cubs make when nursing (it can get quite loud actually.) So the fun begins- we think she has one male cub, that is verified, and one female, not verified yet.
As far as our AWWP group, Sara Bear and her three fosters, I’ll have some news about what is going on with them after the first of March when a visit to the preserve hopefully repairs the field camera that got chewed on… L yep and by Sara herself~ it needs a trip to the camera ER. ha!
This oyster po' boy was delicious and fulfilled my need for some oysters in my diet…ha! We used fresh oysters, had to remember from my younger days how to shuck the little buggers, but we got through it without a scratch. We use about 5 oysters per sandwich.
fresh oysters- or canned whole
1 cup almond milk- or plain milk
1 egg, beaten
1 cups cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 French bread rolls, about 6-inches each
1 medium tomato
mayonnaise and tarter sauce
salt and pepper
In a medium bowl, mix egg and milk; stir in oysters and let stand for 5 minutes.
In a flat bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, Cajun seasoning, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Take an oyster from the beaten egg, let excess drip off and roll in cornmeal mixture until well coated. Repeat with remaining oysters.
Fry* the oysters in batches for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Split roll; spread mayonnaise on top of roll. On the bottom of the roll, arrange layers of tartar sauce, oysters, tomatoes, shredded lettuces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining rolls, oysters, and filling ingredients. Enjoy!
I saw some recipes that included a sliced pickle in the layers, I think that would be yummie too.
*you can use a deep pan with a small amount of oil or a deep fryer. Steve sometimes dry fries them in a skillet with a tiny bit of oil; also if you could try to oven fry them, just make sure you turn them over half way through cooking and don’t overcook the little guys, the less cooked the more tender and flavorful oysters are.
Along with my thyroid thing of this past summer I have been having all the normal “nasties” that go with this issue…the worst so far is the thinning of my hair- very scary thought for me. My soul-sister and I were talking the other night and both agreed that we would rather deal with having hair on our chins than to have hair that is too thin or balding.Hers so far is nice and thick, mine on the other hand started out very fine and not so thick to begin with.My primary care physician and endocrinologist, both, assure me that my hair will be back to normal once everything else settles down.In the meantime they suggested that I begin a healthy diet regime focused on hair health…along with my regular healthy eating habits.Most of the foods that I found to be “hair happy” foods are ones that are already in my plan, with the exception of lentils and sweet potatoes, which can be added easily enough.The other thing I have done is to stop shampooing every day, and blow drying my hair- or at least using the cold air cycle.I was told to look at the fallen strands of my hair and if I see a tiny bulb at the end- that means it is falling out by the root- an internal issue. If not- it may just be breakage - such as dry and brittle and will grow back normal if I take care.
( please note: that if you are having some hair loss and do not have an obvious reason such as me, get to your doctor or a dermatologist as quickly as you can- don't play around with gimmick shampoos, pills, or self healing ideas, get it checked out by a professional first.)
Best Foods for Healthy Hair
Starting a hair-healthy diet today will mean a more gorgeous head of hair within six months to a year, depending on how fast your hair grows. Add these seven foods to your diet for shiny, lustrous locks.
Eggs are rich in biotin, a B vitamin essential for hair growth and overall scalp health.. Because our bodies make their own biotin in the intestines, and it is plentiful in many common foods, deficiency is very rare. But in those few cases in which people are very ill and don't have use of their intestines, biotin deficiency causes hair loss. So yes, biotin is important for hair health, but you don't need to take supplements. Just eat a balanced diet that includes some high-biotin foods: eggs, peanuts, almonds, wheat bran, salmon, avocados, and low-fat cheese.
Tasty pork tenderloin is rich in B vitamins — folate, B6, and B12. These vitamins are involved in the creation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to all body cells, including those of the scalp, follicles, and growing hair. Without enough B vitamins, the cells can starve, causing shedding, slow growth, or weak hair, which is prone to breaking. Not a fan of pork? Wild salmon (fresh or canned), shellfish, beans, chicken, oatmeal, eggs, peanut butter, fat-free and low-fat dairy foods, and fortified whole-grain cereals are also good sources of B vitamins.
This leafy vegetable is excellent for your body for many reasons, not the least of which is hair health. The power players here are folate and iron. Folate is a B vitamin that aids the creation of red blood cells, and iron (which spinach is high in) helps the red blood cells carry oxygen. With iron deficiency, a condition known as anemia, cells can't get enough oxygen to function properly. The result can be devastating to the whole body, causing weakness, fatigue, and maybe even hair loss.
Along with tofu, soybeans, starchy beans, and black-eyed peas, lentils are a great vegetarian source of iron-rich protein. Protein is necessary for all cell growth, including hair cells. Hair gets its structure from hardened proteins called keratin. Without enough protein for keratin, hair grows more slowly, and the individual strands that do grow are weaker. You should combine your iron-rich vegetables with foods high in vitamin C, because vitamin C improves the body's ability to absorb iron.
Red, yellow, and green bell peppers are a colorful, delicious source of vitamin C, which is necessary for hair health for many reasons. Besides helping the body use vegetable sourced iron — the type found in plant foods — to ensure that there is enough iron in red blood cells to carry oxygen to hair follicles, vitamin C is also used to form collagen, a structural fiber that helps our bodies (quite literally!) hold everything together. Hair follicles, blood vessels, and skin all require collagen to stay healthy for optimal growth. Even minor vitamin C deficiencies can lead to dry, splitting hair that breaks easily.
Beta-carotene in foods is converted to vitamin A in the body, and vitamin A is necessary for all cell growth, including hair. A deficiency can lead to dry, dull, lifeless hair and dry skin, which can flake off into dandruff. Be aware that you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to vitamin A: Too much can cause hair loss. My advice is to add more beta-carotene-rich foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, butternut squash, cantaloupe, dark green lettuces, asparagus, and pumpkin to your meals rather than take vitamin A supplements.
The mineral zinc is involved in tissue growth and repair — and that includes hair growth. It also helps keep the oil glands around the hair follicles working properly. Low levels of zinc can cause hair loss, slow growth, and dandruff. But the amount you get from eating foods rich in zinc — such as oysters, crab, clams, liver, lean beef, most nuts and seeds, peanut butter, wheat germ, fat-free yogurt, and cheese — is plenty to keep your tresses gorgeous.
…with that thought… Steve made me Oyster Poor Boy sandwiches and sweet potato fries for dinner on Sunday- yum.
Remember the two beauties that were staying at the ranch this last summer, Babe and Zilla, who both were mother’s to be? Well, they are doing fine, both very-very ready to have their little ones. Eileen and Jim moved them this weekend off our ranch to theirs to get them ready to go the “maternity” ranch where they will foal those packages they have been carrying around.
My excitement is of course Babe, who has spent the last 3 summers on our ranch and has a place in my heart. Last year she lost the baby halfway through the pregnancy which was a huge disappointment for Eileen and myself. Although Babe still has another month to go, Eileen is not sure she'll wait that long, she does need at least another week for the foal to be viable.
baby bump is now a hangy-down lump
Zilla, Babe, and another
mom-to-be, Splash, in the background
fingers are crossed for everyone to have smooth deliveries and healthy foals
Valentine’s Day is a day for love---- and everyone loves bananas and brownies so why not have a banana brownie dessert for the ones you love on Valentine’s Day? This healthy whole grain chocolate dessert recipe is made in a skillet on the grill. And kids love it- adults love it!
Makes 12 serviings / carbs: 31-
(diabetics if the carbs are too high for you, just cut the serving size in half or use a sugar substitute and enjoy!!)
1. In a large bowl, stir together chocolate pieces, buckwheat flour, sugar, nonfat dry milk powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together egg whites, buttermilk, and vanilla; add all at once to chocolate mixture. Stir until combined.
3. Lightly coat an 8- to 9-inch cast-iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray. (Or nest two 8-inch square or round disposable foil pans together to make a double thick layer; lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.) Spoon batter into prepared skillet or foil pan. Arrange banana slices on top.
4. Arrange medium coals around the edges of the grill. Test for medium-low heat in the center of the grill (not over coals). Place pan on grill rack in the center of the grill (not over coals). Cover and grill for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges start to pull away from the sides of the skillet or pan. Cool for 30 minutes; serve warm.
5. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with strawberries and whipped topping. Makes 12 slices.
Oven Variation: Lightly coat a 6-inch springform pan or an 8- to 9-inch cast iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Spread batter in pan; arrange banana slices on top. Brush banana slices lightly with lemon juice. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 65 to 75 minutes for the springform pan or 35 to 40 minutes for the skillet or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool springform pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; loosen sides of pan and cool 30 minutes before removing sides of pan. For skillet, cool on wire rack 30 minutes before serving. If desired, melt 1-ounce white baking chocolate and 1/4 teaspoon shortening in a small heavy saucepan over low heat just until melted; drizzle atop brownie. Or, sprinkle top of brownie with powdered sugar if desired. Serve warm.
“somethin’ is a bloom’n” This is the time of the year that I get those stuffy, runny, allergen filled sinuses and nasal cavities- If you are like me… individuals suffering from nasal swelling, sinus drainage and sinus dryness will benefit from using homemade moisturizing nasal sprays. Homemade moisturizing nasal spray, also known as nasal wash, is a solution made of salt, baking soda and water. The solution is used to keep sinuses moist, clear of allergens and mucus.
Homemade moisturizing nasal sprays should ideally be mixed every time used; however…extra solution may be kept in a glass jar for up to 48 hours.
A simple recipe for moisturizing nasal spray or wash consists of even amounts of plain salt and baking soda being added to warm water. When preparing the dry mixture, use a small airtight container and mix the plain salt and baking soda together. Mixing 1/2 cup of each together will provide 30 days of 8 oz washes when using either a Neti Pot or nasal wash/flush bottle bought at the local pharmacy. The saline mixture consists of 1/8 teaspoon dry plain salt and soda moisture combined with 8 oz of warm water. This particular mixture is comparable to the salt consistency of your body fluids.
In warm coastal areas a saline solution mixed to match your body fluids may not be salty enough to take care of healing or moisturizing of the sinus cavities. When the above recipe does not seem to work, mix the dry ingredients 2 to 1 instead of 1 to 1. The mix would consist of 2 parts salt to 1 part soda mixed with 8 ounces of warm water. The 1/8 teaspoon of dry salt and soda mixture to 8 ounces of water is still the appropriate mixture. This solution may burn more than the 1 to 1 ratio but is tolerable. However you store the solution, make sure your homemade nasal spray is in a sealed container kept in the fridge (it feels cooler going in the nose and is more refreshing this way).
Using Moisturizing Nasal Spray or Wash
The homemade moisturizing nasal spray or wash is best used in a nasal wash/flush kit or a Neti Pot. A small bulb syringe, usually used to remove mucus from an infant's nose, may also be used. The nasal wash/flush kit contains a measuring spoon, a plastic squirt bottle with a tube that goes all the way to the bottom and directions. The kit costs between $5 and $10 but may be used over a year if cleaned properly after each use.
A true nasal spray uses a bottle like most nasal sprays on the market. A fine mist is squirted into the sinus cavities. A used nasal spray bottle may be cleaned and used to hold the homemade moisturizing nasal spray. It is best to use a bottle that has not contained a liquid that is used as an antihistamine. A straight saline nasal spray bottle would be the best. Simply remove the lid, clean the bottle and add the homemade nasal mixture.
This solution works wonderfully with a neti pot as well, and yes I have tried one of those strange little apparatuses to wash out the nasal cavities…it was just so weird and messy having to drain yourself over the sink- I choose to give myself a quick squirt of moisturizing spray and be done.
It should be noted that homemade moisturizing nasal spray or wash is not a cure for any type of infection. It is meant to moisten and clean the sinus cavities. This solution will not cure sinus infection.
When using the nasal wash/flush bottle for the first time, too much pressure may cause pain or burning in the sinus cavity. Use a slow steady stream of solution to avoid any discomfort.