Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Monday, October 31, 2016

wintering at Aspen Willow

surviving Solitude takes the right Attitude...

Recently starting a new “journey” or path shall we say, I remembered Steve saying I should journal or write about my newest adventure.

Adventure? Yes. This winter I will be by myself in “solitude.” Ah, sounds nice; until things become “horrifically horrible.” (phrase from my “wonderful words according to Margeaux” dictionary.) Ha!

Back to the matter- I will be facing this winter at the ranch not entirely by myself. I do have Samantha and Gypsy, and rest assured they will make a huge difference between “real solitude” where there is nothing other than you; or, there is some kind of companion, a friend.  Such as a dog, cat, bird, anything you can talk to, love, and include you in their life.

Oh, there have been stories of many people who have put themselves into a solitary position. My favorite is Henry David Thoreau’s, Walden, - his account of living out in the wilderness. Although he had to start from scratch, I at least, have a house, cottage, barn and amenities that help things.

Wondering if this might be of interest to others I decided to post my accounts, they may be fun, scary, or even boring... let’s see what happens. I do promise this will NOT be a “reality TV” “blog-istic OMG story” read, that is not who I think I am. But maybe with these postings we will see and learn just who I am.

Now I am in Solitude... developing the Attitude... “this is going to be a blast, no matter what happens; what an opportunity I have been given.” 

OK readers, Samantha, Gypsy, are you ready to begin our adventure?- 

Wintering at Aspen Willow

 a note: I chose the first of November to start this fun project because we have never been at the ranch in Colorado at this time of the year- everything will be new from here on out until May. The weather, the landscape, the wildlife... will all be a new experience, that's what makes it so exciting...adventuring in the unknown. :) 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

thursday's crafts ~ make some Herbal Nosegays

 Here at the ranch in Colorado my first major spring project is to setup a new herb garden, inside and outside. We do plan to have a greenhouse and I know I will have tons of fresh herbs.... more than I could possibly use. This is what I would do in California when I found myself with extra herbs and it works here too. Perhaps I could even sell these at a local farmer's market.... and of course always a great gift idea.

    Have you ever found a great recipe that sounds wonderful but hesitate because it calls for 1 or more fresh herbs? Perhaps you have them in the garden…perhaps not. You’re at the store just about to buy some and your mind says: “but that is so much, I’ll never use it up, it is a waste.”
     Well, no more, announcing the Herbal Nosegay for your kitchen, bathroom, or any room in your house. With these simple steps, you can use those extra herbs in the best way, next to cooking.
     Even if you have fresh herbs in your garden, they need to be trimmed and cut back for better growth…again… comes in the Herbal bouquet for your counter.
     First: the nosegay has an interesting history. The term literally means a "gay or happy nose". This is because men and women carried nosegays in medieval times to mask unpleasant odors.
     Nosegays were popular fashion accessories during the Victorian period. Their mothers taught women of this era how to create these beautiful arrangements to enhance their personal beauty and the beauty of their home. Creating a nosegay is an easy way to craft an arrangement to put in a small vase. They can also be given as gifts.
  1. Start with a miniature vase, small jar, or container. You don’t need to spend money on anything. Usually I have some sort of small bottle lying around. It is best if the opening is small.  What did you do with that last bottle of dried herbs you finished? I once used a Tabasco bottle, washed thoroughly, it worked great, and leaving on the label gave it character. On the other hand, if you wish, go to Michael's, Hobby Lobby, or any craft store and purchase a bottle with a small opening; good time to pick up some paints or labels for decorations too.
  2. Wash the herbs you wish to bouquet and trim the stems so they are long enough to sit almost to the bottom, or at least half way. (that way you don’t have to refill the water so often.)
  3. Fill bottle with water, and arrange the bouquet as you wish.

     Whalla--- you’ve got a miniature herb arrangement that you can pick up whenever and fill your senses with a whiff.
    You can leave one next to the stove and even pinch off what you need the next time you cook. Check the water every couple of days to keep fresh. Mine usually last about 2 or 3 weeks.
     I also keep one (using my mint, sweet basil, rosemary and a flower from my garden) sitting in my guest bathroom; they even are wonderful if you just let the herbs dry and keep it as a dried bouquet. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

meal ideas~ Ogre Sliders & Pork Mummies

Halloween is coming next Monday, do you have little ones or even big ones with a little one attitude and taste bud? Here are some fun ideas for that spooky weekend party or dinner. 

Ogre and Pumpkin Sliders
Both versions of these mini turkey burgers are delicious. Family and guests can choose the kind they like the best, or they can enjoy one of each!

1 egg 
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground turkey
5 teaspoons prepared pesto
3 miniature fresh mozzarella cheese balls, halved
3 pimiento-stuffed olives, halved widthwise
5 slices process American cheese
10 hamburger buns, split

In a large bowl, combine the egg, bread crumbs and salt. Crumble turkey over mixture; mix well. Shape into ten 2-1/2-in. patties. Grill, broil or pan-fry for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 165° and juices run clear.

Drop 1 teaspoon pesto onto five burgers; top each with a mozzarella ball half and an olive half.

Cut eyes, nose and mouth from each cheese slice to create a jack-o'-lantern. Place cheese on five burgers; cook until cheese is slightly melted, about 30 seconds. Serve burgers on buns.
Yield: 10 sandwiches.

Yummy Pork Mummy
If you're looking for the perfect main entree for a Halloween dinner party, look no further. The pork stays moist under the pyllo "wrappings," and the sauce adds a dijon zip that guests won't soon forget. —

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
10 sheets phyllo dough (14 inches x 9 inches)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 medium apple, peeled

In a small skillet, bring cream and mustard to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until mixture is reduced to about 2/3 cup. Remove from the heat; stir in thyme.

Meanwhile, place pork on a rack in a shallow baking pan. Brush with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 6 in. from the heat for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven; cool slightly. Change oven temperature to 400°.

Set aside 1/2 cup mustard mixture for serving; spread remaining mixture over the pork. Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface; brush with butter. (Keep remaining phyllo dough covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.) Repeat layers four times. Place pork on one edge of phyllo dough; roll up tightly to form mummy's body and tuck in ends.

Place another sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface; brush with butter. Repeat layers three times. Cut into thin strips; wrap around pork tenderloin bundle.

Cut remaining sheet of phyllo dough in half; brush with remaining butter. Cut a 1-in. cube from the apple; wrap in prepared phyllo dough. Position at the wide end of bundle for a head. Save remaining apple for another use. Discard remaining phyllo dough.

Place bundle in an ungreased shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160°. Transfer to a serving platter. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with reserved mustard sauce. Yield: 4 servings.

recipes from: Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

healthy living ~ kids need a healthy Halloween

Healthy Living doesn’t start at 50 years old, or even 30 or 20, it should start the very moment we put that first bite into our chubby little mouths. Holidays are the worst for letting children over-indulge in “bad health habits.” However, you can teach yourself and your children ways to remain healthy during this upcoming Halloween season.

Even if you are not a fan of this holiday, you can use Halloween’s usual candy-fest as a "sweet" opportunity to teach your children lessons in health and nutrition.
Children are naturally drawn to salty, sugary, and unhealthy fatty foods, so this time of year is almost irresistible to them with all the free candy, cookies, cakes and other sugary “goodies” that are literally poured into their hands.  Research shows that sugar suppresses the body's immune system - particularly problematic as we're now in the much-publicized cold and flu season, with the additional risk of H1N1 swine flu.  Sugar can also be destructive to your family's health in a host of other ways.  
With a little planning and foresight, you can help your kids control some of those natural cravings, moderate their sugar consumption and impart some terrific nutritional good sense in the process!  Here are seven suggestions to help take the trick out of the treats your children bring home this Halloween:

Send your children out with a full stomach. Give them a good wholesome meal making sure it’s low in sugar, starches and bleached white flour.  Prepare high protein meals like chicken or beef with veggies like green beans, broccoli, salad and/or carrot sticks.  Have them drink lots of water and minimize any sugary drinks including juices, soft drinks, and sports drinks before going out.  Remind the kids that since they’ll be eating candies tonight, the deal is that they have to eat a good dinner.  They will be motivated to eat up so they can get started.

Offer to buy your children's candy from them. Even if it's 5 or 10 cents per piece, it’s worth not having them consume the unhealthy sugars, dyes and other chemicals in the “treats” for days or weeks on end. 

Have your kids trade in their sweets for a better treat.  Even if the trade is for one or more of their favorite desserts this is a much better option.  Make a special event of it by taking them to their favorite dessert destination.
Offer to trade those bad treats for healthier activities like going to a movie, putt-putt golfing, bowling or some other fun family outing.  The few hours you invest in having fun will make a special memory that will last much longer than a lollipop.

Offer to take your children on a trip to the health food store and let them discover healthier alternatives.  Discover new treats like healthy CocoChia® Snack Fuel Bars or natural chocolate, carob, yogurt-coated nuts and raisins.  
                   The list is endless!  Remember treats are fun, not staples in your diet.

Teach your older children to read labels and ingredient lists. Encourage them to avoid “goodies” with hydrogenated oils and artificial colors. Making them an active part of their nutritional choices now will lead them to making healthier lifestyle choices later in life.

Offer the trick-or-treaters who come to your home healthy treats like packets of nuts, seeds, raisins, beef jerky, popcorn or pretzels.  Take the dollars you'd spend on the treats and convert them to loose change, passing out the coins to the kids.  Take a stand and set a trend!

A safe and healthy Halloween is something all parents want for their children. Teaching children how to enjoy themselves without over-indulging can set the pattern for healthy lives and stop the disturbing increase in obesity and diabetes type II that has become a major public health concern.

Monday, October 24, 2016

purifying ~ the art of smudging

Mystics say the Native American practice of smudging, or purifying a room with the smoke of sacred herbs, can help clear negative energy from a space. And the apparent benefits are steeped in science—when burned, sage and other herbs release negative ions, which research has linked to a more positive mood.

Focusing your true intention to purify your space with a time-honored method can return a dwelling to its rightful place as your sanctuary. One such cleansing method is known as smudging. Smudging originated as a Native American custom, and the modern practice can reinvigorate your living space. The vital action of smudging is lighting an aromatic bundle of herbs and allowing it to burn away the negative energy that has been collected. You can celebrate a new phase in life by conducting a smudging ceremony, or improve someone's day by smudging the space around a friend. Offices and work spaces can benefit from smudging as well, allowing clarity of thought and improved productivity.

The essential object for smudging is the herb bundle. It can be purchased or made by hand. Using a match or candle, put the flame to the smudge stick. Then blow or wave it out, allowing the stick to smolder and the aromatic smoke to fill the room. If you don't have a smudge stick, you can also place loose herbs directly onto burning wood in an indoor fireplace or into a fireproof container with some charcoal. As the herbs begin to burn, the honored method is to use a feather to move the smoke around the person or place you are smudging. You may also use your hands. As you feel the space fill with the herbal scent, take time to consider the parts of your life that need cleansing. Imagine the smoke lifting away all the negative thoughts and emotions around you.

Tradition teaches that each smudging herb is used for a different purpose. So an important aspect of the ritual is finding the right herb for the moment.

* Sage is the most prominent herb and is used to purify and protect one's living area by removing negative energy.
* Sweetgrass is often burnt after smudging sage to welcome in the positive influences.
* Lavender restores balance and creates a peaceful atmosphere. It also attracts love.
* Rosemary is effective for gaining clarity about perplexing problems.
* Mugwort is celebrated for stimulating psychic awareness and powerful dreams.
* Bay leaf is used to protect against colds and flu.
* Cedar is burnt upon moving into a new home. It works as a purifier and as a way to attract positive energy.

The act of cleansing your space can help you to truly put the past behind you. As the herbal aromas gently enter a room, clearing out accumulated spiritual clutter, you'll be free you to enjoy your abode as the place of respite it was meant to be.

Friday, October 21, 2016

fun friday ~ aging with friends

best part of having best friends when you get older
....we all have wrinkles !

Thursday, October 20, 2016

thursday's holiday craft ~ fun yard ghosties

Halloween is coming up in a couple of weeks, usually I don’t participate with decorating and such but last year I did promise my neighbor to do something to add to the fun for her grandsons who were making crafts to decorate their yard now that they were old enough to really enjoy the fun of…. hallows eve. 

 I remembered seeing something like this in someone's yard last year and at that time thought how cute it looked. My goal was to use recycled or re-purposed items.

yard ghosties
Materials Needed:
Body~  Old White Sheets or not~ who says you can’t have designer ghosts. Wood Sticks, dowels, old broom or mop handles – I used some branches, sticks, that Jesse insists on bringing back from our canyon walks…ha!

Head ~ Anything you have that can be shaped into a ball or head- I used a grocery bag filled with my recent shredding material. Leave some bag ends free to attach the ball to the sticks.

Face~ Paint or Sharpe marker

Neck~ Repurposed ribbon, raffia, shipping rope, fabric cut into a ribbon from old clothing.

Scissors and duck tape

Cut the sheet into squares based on the size of your balls (which is the head of the ghost). Wrap the sheet around the ball, and tie it in place with a piece of ribbon or raffia. Create a face for your ghost.

Push the pole/stick under the sheet and up through the ribbon attaching to the ball with tape. Push the other end of the dowel/stick into the ground. Push it down until you can't see the stick, but so that the sheet still can flow in the wind.

You can place a few in a circle and tie the corners together to make it look like they are playing Ring around the Rosie. You can also line a walkway or driveway with them.

If you make these, make sure you send me a photo so it can be posted here. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

meal ideas ~ autumn moroccan bake

 Autumn is here and so are the pumpkins—to some the name of this recipe sounds…. ewwe, but trust me, it is really yummy and I suggest you give it a try.

          Last night I used acorn squash it was just as tasty as with the pumpkin.  It can be made ahead of time and reheated in the micro. and even frozen and saved for another night's meal- also great for those fall party pot-lucks.

Moroccan Beef and Pumpkin Bake
1          pound lean ground beef
2          C 1/2-inch pieces peeled pumpkin or winter squash
3/4      C coarsely chopped red sweet pepper
1/2      C coarsely chopped onion
2          cloves garlic, minced
1          C frozen whole kernel corn (optional)
1/2      C couscous- microwave-cooked beforehand
1          recipe Moroccan Spice Blend
1          C lower-sodium beef broth
4          oz reduced-fat cream cheese, cut up
1/2      C yellow cornmeal
1/3      C all-purpose flour
1          tbls sugar
1-1/4   tsp baking powder
1/2      C fat-free milk
1          egg, beaten
2          tblspoons olive oil
 Snipped fresh mint (optional)
 Pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large nonstick skillet or a skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook ground beef, pumpkin, sweet pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat until meat is brown and onion is tender, using a wooden spoon to break up meat as it cooks. Drain off fat. Stir corn, cooked couscous, and Moroccan Spice Blend into meat mixture in skillet. Heat through. Add broth and cream cheese, stirring until well mixed. Transfer mixture to 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

2. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and oil. Add milk mixture to cornmeal mixture all at once. Stir just until moistened. Pour batter over beef mixture in dish.

3. Bake about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into topper comes out clean. If desired, garnish with mint and pumpkin seeds. Makes 8 servings (1 cup per serving)

Moroccan Spice Blend: In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

healthy living ~ Onions kill Flu Virus

this is another article that I post yearly- with Flu Season nearing there are other things we can do, and this is one I love and use every year. It Works!!!!! 

Onions - Can flu virus be absorbed in onions? history and science says... maybe so.

Flu season is coming upon us and, in my constitutionally protected opinion, I feel that in many cases vaccines cause more problems than they help.  I grew up the child of a chemical pharmacist who believed that as well; other than several factors, my father, believed that a child needed to develop a strong immune system that would not be developed through simply being vaccinated. Polio & Small Pox were two vaccines he advocated. Measles, Chicken Pox, Mumps, etc.—up to a certain age, the body would be better off in adulthood if these were acquired naturally by contacting the disease in childhood.  After a certain age, and I believe it was just before puberty, if you did not contact a childhood disease, then, the risk factors outweighed the benefits. 

 I have yet to ever get a flu shot or the flu and for 20 years, I worked right in the hubbub of these nasty germs, having worked in an emergency room all day.  I also truly believe that simple pure soap and water and hand washing is your biggest ally.  All these fandangled antibacterial products have done nothing but create “designer bugs” that will be humanities downfall.  I also think that the more rain and bad weather we have from October to March helps keep the illnesses at bay. Why? Because there is less travel, people stay home and out of public areas, and the “bugs” stay home with them.  Just a thought.

What's the buzz about onions: if you put an onion in a bowel in each room of your house it will absorb any flu virus that would be in your home.  Worth a try... we've got nothing to lose by trying.

A little history on this theory:
In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died.

The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different, the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn't believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.

The moral of the story is, buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home. If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office or under your desk or even on top somewhere. Try it and see what happens. A friend did it last year and they never got the flu.

If this helps you and your loved ones from getting sick, all the better. If you do get the flu, it just might be a mild case.

Whatever, what have you to lose? Just a few bucks on onions!!!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

storytelling gourds ~ inspirations from Nature

The other day as I was trolling through the internet, looking for that unusual and unique craft, something that reflected creativity and had a piece of nature attached… that is when I came across carved gourds.

The gently curving gourd is one of Mother Nature's gifts to humankind. Prehistoric peoples in Africa, Asia, and "the Americas valued this squash like fruit with its woody pulp not for its limited nutritional value but for its utility and beauty. Gourds were the first containers, predating baskets and pottery. A dry, hollow gourd could carry water for a family, store treasured fetish items, or serve as a platter for a hot meal. As time passed, people recognized the important role gourds played in their lives and began to embellish them with artful paintings and carvings. The tradition was carried forward through the ages, and the rough pictographs that originally graced the tough skin of gourds evolved into stunningly detailed 360 degree panoramas illustrating stories of courtship and marriage, planting and the harvest, mythology, or day-to-day existence.

Small pockets of individuals dedicated to preserving the ancient art of creating storytelling gourds thrive, particularly in coastal Peru. A gourd destined to become a storyteller's canvas undergoes a great deal of preparation. Gourds must be allowed to reach full maturity on the vine so that the inner skin grows into a sturdy shell. Once cut, a gourd will be left to dry for several weeks or months, during which time its outer skin is scraped off to reveal the smooth cream-colored surface below. Dry gourds destined to tell a story are painted, varnished, or etched, depending on the needs of the artisan. Finished storytelling gourds can serve as pieces of living history, handed down from generation to generation. Or they can memorialize important events in our lives and provide us with a visual tool that helps us share our own tales with others.

I have no doubt that when you lay hands on a story gourd, you will feel the loving energy of its creator. Crafting an intricate tale using this type of natural canvas takes great patience and great care—a story must be chosen to fit the gourd's unique shape and size. If you wish to create your own storytelling gourd, remember that it need not be perfect. Your gourd will become an important part of your life, as an ‘objet d'art’ and a symbol of your connection to a rich chapter in human history that spans multiple continents, serving you in much the same way it did your ancestors- by touching your soul.

I will be adding the growing og gourds to my garden here in Colorado. I think learning how to create these beautiful gifts from nature will be a wonderful fireside project. It can be done by hand with traditional carving tools or more modern approach using an electric tool, either way they will be beautiful. Here are a couple of websites that I found of some artisans and their fantastic work that may inspire you. 

Susan Burton
Marilyn Sunderland Studios
Bonnie Gibson 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

thursday's holiday crafting ~ make vanilla extract

this is a fantastic Holiday gift idea...but you need to start now for the best results. (more aromatic and flavorful as it ages) You will be the hit of your friends and family, especially those who cook. I usually make a couple of batches and give them to my culinary friends before their Holiday Baking begins. 

Making your own Vanilla Extract is extremely easy, and is much less expensive than purchasing it. And more importantly... I know the quality of the ingredients it was made with.

 First you need premium grade vanilla beans to get a good product. (Not the dried up ones you find in the stores sometimes). Not all vanilla beans are created the same!

- 3-4 whole organic Vanilla Beans
- 1 cup vodka (traditional) or sometimes I use brandy or bourbon  

Split Vanilla Beans lengthwise with a knife, leaving the seeds inside intact. Place Vanilla Beans in a large jar, cover with alcohol, and cap tightly. Agitate the mixture by shaking the jar daily for 4-6 weeks. You can infuse the Vanilla Beans for as long as you would like, and add new Vanilla Beans to make a stronger extract.

Once that the flavor of the extract has reached the desired strength you will need to strain the resulting extract out of the jar and into new bottles. To make the bottles even more alluring, you can insert a new Vanilla Bean into each bottle and create a decorative label. Vanilla extract will last indefinitely, and will become even more aromatic and flavorful as it ages. Homemade Vanilla Extract may be used in exactly the same manner as commercial Vanilla Extract. 

 You can also make vanilla sugar by putting a split vanilla bean into a jar of white, granulated sugar. Great way to infuse the sugar with vanilla flavor for baking.

from beginning to end-- i love to watch the color deepen

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

meal idea~ october, autumn, and pumpkins...yum

i can't think of October, Autumn, and the falling leaves of the approaching winter without thinking of Pumpkins! here are a couple of meal or snack ideas that I love to bring out during this festive time.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup
The lovely color, exceptional flavor, and creamy texture of this soup make it a nice side dish recipe. It's made with heart healthy soymilk.

 Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped leeks
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups peeled and cubed pumpkin or acorn squash
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or ground nutmeg (optional)
1 cup light plain soymilk
1/2 - 1 cup water
1 - 2 teaspoons sugar 
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds or pine nuts, toasted (optional)

1. Lightly coat an unheated large saucepan with nonstick cooking spray. Add olive oil; heat over medium-high heat. Add leeks and garlic; cook and stir until leeks start to brown, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in pumpkin, broth, pepper, and, if desired, cloves. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
3. Transfer half of the pumpkin mixture to a blender or food processor; cover and blend or process until smooth. Repeat with the remaining half of the pumpkin mixture. (Or use an immersion blender directly in the saucepan.) Return all of the pureed mixture to saucepan.
4. Stir in the soymilk and enough of the water to reach desired consistency; heat through, but do not boil. Stir in enough of the sugar to taste. Serve warm.
5. If desired, garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts. Makes 6 (3/4-cup) servings.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
SERVINGS: 3 cups
1            egg white
2          tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute
1          tablespoon canola oil
1          teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/4      teaspoon kosher salt
1/4      teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4      teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4      teaspoon ground allspice
1/4      teaspoon chili powder
1/4      teaspoon cayenne pepper
2          cups unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil; lightly coat paper or foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine egg white, sugar, oil, lemon peel, kosher salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper; whisk until egg white is frothy and sugar is nearly dissolved. Add pumpkin seeds; toss gently to coat.
3. Spread pumpkin seeds evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until pumpkin seeds are dry and crisp. Cool completely; break into pieces. Makes 3 cups
Test Kitchen Tip: Keep some of these crunchy seeds on hand to use as a topper for salads.
Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed. Place in an airtight storage container. Cover; seal. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes
Miniature Pumpkin Bowl directions below

1          pd medium baking potatoes, peeled & quartered
2          cloves garlic, peeled
1          cup canned pumpkin
2          tablespoons (Neufchatel) cream cheese 
1          tablespoon butter 
1/8      teaspoon ground sage
1/4      cup fat-free milk
1          recipe Miniature Pumpkin Bowls (optional)
 Fresh sage leaves (optional)

1. In a covered large saucepan, cook potatoes and garlic in enough boiling water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain. Mash with a potato masher or beat with an electric mixer on low speed until nearly smooth. Beat in canned pumpkin, cream cheese, butter, ground sage, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Gradually add milk, beating until light and fluffy. Return to saucepan; heat through.
2. If desired, spoon mashed potatoes into Miniature Pumpkin Bowls and garnish with sage leaves. Makes 4 servings (3/4 cup each)

Miniature Pumpkin Bowls: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cut off 1/2 inch from the tops of 4 miniature pumpkins (6 to 8 ounces each); discard tops. Using a spoon, scoop out seeds and membranes and discard. Place pumpkins, cut sides down, on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or just until pumpkins are easily pierced with a fork.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

healthy living ~ my famous HACV Tonic for Life

I re-post this fabulous tonic every year because I believe it is a tonic for life. So, as a little reminder to those friends who have been around for a long time and a “health flash” for those new to ‘Journey’ here is my yearly posting of my recipe for The HACV Tonic for Life.

Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar combine two of the oldest home remedies for a variety of different ailments. What Are the Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey?

Well, our bodies are prone to a build-up of acid crystals; the fantastic benefits of these ingredients include its ability to flush all those little nasties out of our systems. Because we all tend to eat proteins from meat (unless you are a vegetarian) they unfortunately thicken our blood, however a daily dose of these will help thin your blood allowing much more oxygen to flow freely through our systems.

What is Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar Good For?

Helps with the Function of Insulin- great for diabetics
Helpful in lowering high cholesterol
Helpful in restoring high blood pressure to normal levels
Supports a healthy complexion
Treats sinus infections
Commonly used to relieve sore throats
Relieves constipation
A common flu treatment
Fights symptoms of Candida yeast overgrowth and other Yeast Infections
Helps relieve the symptoms of arthritis (although it will not cure arthritis) and gout
Helpful in treating the symptoms of chronic fatigue
Restores proper pH balance (which guards against disease)
Relieves acid reflux ~ one teaspoon of ACV down the hatch relieves the burn, honest!
An effective treatment for dermatitis
Useful in weight loss 

All you need for this tonic are three ingredients. Although that sounds simple enough, the three ingredients have to be the correct ones.

Apple Cider Vinegar. Buying the right Apple Cider Vinegar is extremely important. The 'MOTHER' must be present and you want your vinegar pure. In other words, you want it organic and don't want it pasteurized. You can find this kind of Apple Cider Vinegar in the health food stores, online, or at a local apple orchard, you might also be able to find the right kind in your local supermarket. Make sure it is organic “unfiltered” vinegar.  Bragg’s is my favorite brand.

Honey  You also need to buy the right honey to enjoy the maximum health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic. Look for Raw Honey not the processed kind you'll find in that little plastic bear in your super market. Most people will have to go to their local health food store to find this type of honey.

Helpful Tip for Honey : There is no need to worry about buying your honey in large container. Its shelf life is years and if you notice your honey crystallizing just sit the container in hot water (enough to cover the level your honey is at in the container), let sit for about 30 minutes in hot tap water and it will start pouring again.

Water:  best to use spring water (free of chemicals), distilled water, or filtered tap water. Tap water has been treated and then filled with chemicals… opps lost a little of the health benefit there.

The HACV Tonic for Life
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup hot or cold water.

Drink one glass daily.
This is a tonic for life because it helps “balance” your body by providing both acid and alkali.