Saturday, June 19, 2010

that brown drink

just ran into this article and thought i would share
i stopped drinking soda because of the whole corn syrup issue
but this gives a few more reasons:

What Happens To Your Body Within An Hour Of Drinking A Coke

In Foods that Hurt on October 24th, 2007

Don’t drink cola if you want to be healthy. Consuming soft drinks is bad for so many reasons that science cannot even state all the consequences. But one thing we know for sure is that drinking Coke, as a representative of soft drinks, wreaks havoc on the human organism. What happens? Writer Wade Meredith has shown the quick progression of Coke’s assault.

The main problem is sugar. It’s an evil that the processed food industry and sugar growers don’t want people to know about. Even dietitians, financially supported by sugar growers and sugary product manufacturers, are loathe to tell us the truth.

Don’t believe that dietitians are influenced by huge corporate concerns that feed people sugar, drugs and other health-defying ingredients? Go to their official website and check out the sponsors yourself. They are right there in plain sight: CLICK HERE.

When somebody drinks a Coke watch what happens…

* In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.
* 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment)
* 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.
* 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.
* >60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.
* >60 Minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.
* >60 minutes: As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like even having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.

So there you have it, an avalanche of destruction in a single can. Imagine drinking this day after day, week after week. Stick to water, real juice from fresh squeezed fruit, and tea without sweetener.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

foraging wild greens (aka "free groceries")

"the woods and fields are a table always spread"
ila hatter (lady of the forest)

it's nice to have a garden
but many times we pull 'weeds' that actually
have more nutrition than the things we planted
in our gardens in the first place.
ie. iceberg lettuce vs lambs quarters

in 1 oz raw lambs quarters @ 12 calories:
Calcium 86.5 mg
Vitamin A 3248 IU
Vitamin C 22.4 mg
Protein 1.2 g
Omega-3 fatty acids 10.1 mg
Omega-6 fatty acids 87.6 mg
and much much more...

try getting that out of a pale iceberg oz! :)

here is a quick video i enjoyed this morning
and wanted to pass it on-

and a portion of an article:

Free Groceries, Safely Foraging For Wild Foods

Tools For Foraging

So, you have a warm day ahead of you and you are ready to fill your larder with wild foods! What are some of the tools that you need to take with you?

Here is a list of the basics, as you gain experience there are things you will want to add to it.

1. A good, sharp pocket knife. This is good for cutting stems, pieces of roots etc.
2. Moisture-proof bags. You can use zipper closure bags, recycle plastic grocery bags, or sew your own drawstring bags with waterproof fabric. You need to be able to keep things separate.
3. A small shovel or trowel for digging up edible roots.
4. A pictorial Guide to edible plants in your area. Sometimes it is hard to tell what something is from just the description. A good pictorial guide is invaluable!
5. A moist washcloth in a waterproof bag for cleaning your hands.

Gathering Food

Be sure that you get permission to forage on private property and be careful about foraging in state parks and preserves. Always make sure that you are acting with in the laws. Don't overlook your own front yard, though. One year we had dandelion greens several times a week harvested from our own front yard! If you have a few acres it is even more likely that you will be able to find natural foods at home. Like anything, the ability to find edible wild plants successfully has alot to do with preparation and practice.

A good rule of thumb is to take only what you need. Remember, the plants will die out if over harvested. Don't let the materialism mentality create greed. It is important that you learn to be a good steward of the bounty of nature. Taking too much of a plant will kill it, taking too many plants form a patch will mean less plants next year and eventually no plants at all. By foraging carefully you will both preserve nature and learn to live in harmony with the cycles of it.

Decide what you are o.k. with. For example, are you going to stick to plants and nuts or are you going to do some hunting as well? Are you willing to try crayfish, frog legs, or wild duck eggs? What about turtles? By adding hunting and fishing to your list, and keeping an open mind, you will increase your ability to glean wild eats.

The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
Price: $13.95
List Price: $22.95
A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guide) A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guide)
Price: $11.22
List Price: $19.00
The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants
Price: $7.77
List Price: $12.95
Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide
Price: $25.10
List Price: $17.95
Nature's Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants Nature's Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
Price: $15.65
List Price: $24.95
Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate (The Wild Food Adventure) Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate (The Wild Food Adventure)
Price: $16.27
List Price: $24.99
Some Wild Recipes

Following are some ways to prepare the free groceries you find. Again, if you are ever in doubt about the safety of a plant best to leave it alone!


Acorns are nearly everywhere and are amazingly versatile little nuts if prepared properly. The bitter taste is from the tannin so it is important to be sure to get all of that out before making your recipe. This is called leaching.

1. Crack the acorn using a hammer and shell.

2. Place in a blender with about a quart or so of water and pulse for a few seconds to make the skins come off and float. Skim the skins off and repeat until no more skins come off.
3. Grind the acorns in the water until it turns white
4. Pour the milky liquid through a sieve into a bowl. The material in the sieve should be ground again and then the process repeated.

5. Pour liquid in the bowl through a cheesecloth into another bowl. This material needs to be leached again. Add it to another container of water, shake up and then let set for 10 -20 minutes. Strain again through cheesecloth let sit overnight covered with water. All the milky liquid that passes through the sieve and cheesecloth should be allowed to settle overnight.
6. Pour the water off and cook equal parts of meal and water, about 1/4c each, to check for tannin. Tannin wil lbe easily recognizable by a bitter taste or the mouth feeling dry.

7. IF tannin is detected repeat the leaching process. If not then continue with the recipe.

Acorn Pancakes

2/3 c finely ground acorn meal

2/3 c unbleached flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4c Honey

1 egg (chicken, or duck, goose is too big) beaten

1 1/4 c milk

1/4 c melted butter

Combine dry ingredients. Mix egg, honey, butter, and milk and add to dry ingredients. Spoon onto hot griddle and turn when top begins to bubble.

Makes 10-12


Cattail roots can be dried, ground, and used as flour. The pollen can be used as an extender to flour and also adds a unique flavor.But the easiest way to eat them is as follows, based on a recipe from Prodigal Gardens.

Cattails-on-the-Cob with Garlic Butter

30-40 cattail flowerheads, peeled

Garlic butter:

½ cup unsalted butter

½ teaspoon salt

12 garlic cloves, crushed 1 c fresh basil or cilantro Make garlic butter in a food processor by whipping the butter, salt, fresh garlic and basil together until smooth.

1. Boil cattail flowerheads in water for 10 minutes

2. Make garlic butter in a food processor by whipping the butter, salt, fresh garlic and basil together until smooth.

3. Drain the cattail flowerheads and cover them generously with the garlic butter.

4. Eat them just like miniature corn on the cobs.

from Prodigal Gardens.


The unopened buds of milkweed can be boiled and eaten like broccoli

Dandelion :

The roots can be sauteed with onion and garlic in some olive oil.

Leaves are delicious sauteed with onion, garlic, mushrooms, and bacon.

Sunflower Buds:

Can be steamed and eaten like an artichoke

This is by no means a complete list. Be sure and get a couple of books on the subject and start slowly. Gathering wild foods is a satisfying way to eat organic and save money doing it. There is something empowering about knowing that you can survive without a Kroger if you need to.

and foraging for wild greens:

In his book "Stalking the Wild Asparagus," Euell Gibbons noted how the first sign of spring would be not the robins on the lawn, but the Italians who would swarm out from town to gather winter cress from fields and ditches. Here are a few lines from the book, originally published in 1962:

"The suburban dweller seldom bothers to identify the plant which the immigrants are so eagerly collecting. Such knowledge is strictly for squares. He is satisfied to refer to it merely as "some weed the Italians eat." We have come to a poor pass when we think that allowing ourselves to be bilked because of our own ignorance contributes to our status. And still we think we have a mission to teach the rest of the world "the American way." Heaven forbid this kind of thinking. We do have some things to teach, but we also have many things to learn from other cultures. Unless we realize that cultural exchange is a two-way street, we shall fail, and much of the ancient and precious wisdom now residing in the simple peoples of the world will be lost."

Ponder that thought for a while.

hope you enjoyed a little bit on foraging
and don't be afraid to eat your weeds
(just be sure you know what they are first!)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

drying herbs

i took my second batch of herbs
(spearmint, chamomile, oregano, dill)
and dried them, broke them up without stems
and put them into labeled blue antique glass jars.
my sweetie made me a wrap around shelf very high in the kitchen
and that's where these will find a home.

then i cut down a third cutting of herbs
(oregano, thyme, cilantro, chamomile, marjoram, dill, oregano)
processed some in cuttings for freezing
and the rest went into the dehydrator till tomorrow
when i will put them into jars too.
this way i have very fresh, oils intact, herbs
for teas, recipes etc... for all winter.
during the summer i usually stick to fresh herbs.

i also planted a few containers to keep on the deck
for fresh herbs to use on a daily basis
so i do not have to trek into the garden for every recipe
and every meal as it is prepared.

the garden holds the vast quantities for cutting & processing.

i still have to plant all my sunflower seeds
i have held back because the hoe is hard to work with
my dh used it in concrete making and didn't rinse it
it weighs a TON and is ungainly to wield.

seeing the error of his ways he bought me a new one.

planning a day trip to vermont because we have been
just straight out with very very emotionally heavy
events have sapped us of our vital energy.
time to rejuvenate.
hope to have some pics for the next blogging.
till then