Natural Healing

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I started, like most new moms, rushing my hurting little ones to the pediatrician at the first sign of fever, runny nose, or cough, usually coming home with a round of antibiotics for an ear infection. Somewhere between then and now, I grew tired of round after round of antibiotics and the multiple trips to the doctor. It seemed like my kids were always catching something. I am exceedingly grateful for good medical care. But as I learn more about how food can heal our bodies, I am learning how there are other, natural ways to ward off infections and heal from various colds. I also purchased an otoscope and learned to identify the early signs of an ear infection developing. I give credit to my good friend Mariel, my go-to natural healing guru, for this natural healing remedy. I am using this on my four older children, all of whom developed colds with a cough, runny nose, and low-grade fever. GOOT stands for Garlic Olive Oil Treatment.

Goot

Goot
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
5-6 drops oil of oregano

Blend all in blender until smooth, then strain through a fine mesh sieve. Put in a glass jar and store in refrigerator. Wait one hour before using. It will stay at full strength for two weeks. Put on soles of feet and also on the chest for colds. I’ve applied behind the ears for ear pain/infection.

My kids smell like spaghetti!

Note: My two month old also developed cold symptoms, with a very congested nose and sinuses. After further research, I decided to apply to soles of her feet and used a cotton swab to apply around the inside of her nostrils. Almost immediately I noticed an improvement in her breathing. Its important to strain the Goot through a fine sieve if you use in nostrils or around ears.

*Please follow your doctor’s advice and recommendations. I am not a doctor, nurse, or offering medical advice. I am a mom looking for a way to help my kids get over their sniffles naturally!

What’s Not to Love About Fall?

photo from gardening.sheknows.com

The only problem with fall is that it goes too fast. Did anyone see October? I’m trying to soak every moment in, enjoy every shade of orange, yellow, red, auburn, green in the massive oak forest we live in. But today the leaves are almost gone. This will be our last fall in Missouri for a time. I feel like God is giving us a glorious send-off in what has to be my favorite time of year. He is so clever, as if he knows leaving in the thick humidity and heat of July wouldn’t capture my sentiment of the midwest…escaping might be in my thoughts then…

I want to share a favorite fall recipe with you, to make when the apples are abundant and cinnamon is almost a verb.  Fresh Apple Cake. My sister just informed me that muffins are basically cake for breakfast. So, following that line of reason, one could say that there’s nothing wrong with cake for breakfast and calling it a muffin. Especially this one, since it does not require frosting. I may or may not have eaten some “Fresh Apple Muffins {cake}” for breakfast this morning….

Fresh Apple Cake

This nutty comfort cake from Sharon Buckner of Rhineland, Missouri, gets a sugary top and caramelized gooey bottom as it bakes.

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups canola, cooking, or coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped (3 cups)

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted

Sweetened whipped cream (optional)

Apple slices (optional)

1. Grease a 13x9x2 baking pan; set aside. In a very large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; make a well in center of dry mixture.

2. In bowl, combine eggs, oil, vanilla; stir in apples and toasted nuts. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened (batter will be thick). Spread in prepared pan.

3. Bake in 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 1 hour. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. If you like, top each serving with sweetened whipped cream and an apple slice. Makes 20 servings.

*recipe adapted from Midwest Living, April 2009

**make sure you toast the nuts! Do not skip this step. It brings out the flavor and greatly enhances the cake.

Pesto…the Frugal Way

 

I’m ignoring the advice and blogging guidelines completely. Lucky you, you get to read my diverse blogging topics. They say to pick one specific field, and stick to blogging about that topic. If you are interested primarily in spirituality or adventure, I do apologize. If you enjoy food-related subjects, than you may like today’s topic. If you are just interested in what’s going on in the Roets’ lives than that’s perfect too. I’ve realized blogging is an outlet for me, and right now, I need one! Sick kids, more change happening in our lives than I can emotionally process, so I’m going to talk about food!

I love pesto! But really, who wants to pay exorbitant prices for pine nuts and Romano cheese? And lets face it. We don’t always have fresh basil in our idyllic herb garden on the patio. My basil is nibbled down to stubs by our hungry over-population of deer. Did you know you can make pesto out of more economical and available spinach and sunflower seeds? And it has a smooth, milder taste even the kids love. Throw in a few leaves of fresh basil or even crushed, dried basil and there you have it: Pesto. We like to eat it with any type of sturdy pasta or pesto-crusted baked chicken breast.

The final convincing argument for Spinach Pesto is the obvious advantage of a raw super-food on your dinner plate. Combined with raw garlic, cold-pressed olive oil, and sea salt I think you can call it a health food.

Spinach Pesto

3 cups firmly packed fresh organic spinach leaves

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (walnuts, almonds, pine nuts also work)

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves or 1-2 teaspoons dried basil

2 large cloves garlic, quartered

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup olive oil

In a blender combine spinach, basil, Parmesan, sunflower seeds, garlic, and salt. Cover and blend, pulsing several times til a paste forms, stopping machine to scrape sides.

With blender running slowly, gradually add olive oil and blend to the consistency of soft butter.

This makes enough for 2 meals for a family of 6. Freeze for longer storage.

*Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Fresh Basil. Photographer: Sander H. Location: Bath, Maine

planetnatural.com

Home Remedy

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and when I saw cayenne and ginger in the mix I was sold. In the midst of this lovely fall-ish weather we are having, my head feels like it might explode. Congestion, sinues, cough. Somehow I cannot get myself to take any medicine while pregnant, call me paranoid, but an ailment has to be quite serious if I’m going to be passing it on to Little One! I mixed up a batch of this last night, tried it, and Gert caught me sneaking back into the kitchen in no time for another dose. A powerful dose of heat to be sure, but somehow it tastes good. Not recommened for your little kids! Although I’m going to make them one substituting lemon juice for the cayenne. Check out this blog for more interesting and simple recipes: http://nancyvienneau.com/blog/articles/home-remedy/

MAGGIE’S COUGH REMEDY

¼ t. Cayenne

¼ t. Ginger*

1 T. Cider Vinegar (an organic one, like Bragg’s, is preferred.)

2 T. Water

1 T. Honey (use a locally produced raw honey, if possible.)

Dissolve cayenne and ginger in cider vinegar and water. Add honey and shake well. Take 1 T. as needed for cough. Hoo-wee.

*I used fresh grated ginger for this recipe, however if you don’t like the texture, or don’t have any on hand, use ground ginger.

Making Memories

photo from Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park website

Last November, Gert and I decided our Family Goal for the next season of life is to make memories with the kids. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Yes, camping!! Now, when he and I were single, and then married but still childless, we were avid outdoor adventurers. Backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, were right up there with top favorite things to do. And when our firstborn came along, we courageously tried to keep it up. But my zeal was short-lived. I remember one very, very long night in particular with our 12-month old. Camping on a rocky, cold, rainy, beach in Homer, Alaska. The sun didn’t set all night, nor did my eyes shut. Wiggling, squirming, rolling, crying, pooping…you get the idea! That was the unofficial end of my desire to experience the great outdoors with babies.

Now, our kids are 8, 6, 5, and 3…no diapers…and the nervous-but-excited feeling in my stomach agrees with our decision to go make some memories! We packed everything I could remember you’re supposed to bring while camping, and made the 3-hour drive to Johnson’s Shut-Ins. A perfect place to resurrect the camping spirit! So we arrive and immediately I notice all the other campers have huge water containers set up at their sites. Okay, I forgot to bring that. Next, I tell Gert he has to just grab the hotdogs off the grill since I didn’t even think of bringing bbq tongs! Oh, and a kettle to boil water for our coffee? Yeah, didn’t bring that either. I’m starting to think I really suck at this! The sun is baking us thoroughly so of course we decide to go swimming in the heat of the day. Loaded down with towels, a beach bag, water bottles, and flip-flops, we start walking to the Shut-Ins, and begin to notice everyone coming out looks very…tired and dry. And they are all wearing watershoes. So it’s a 15 minute hike to the water, longer because everyone is dropping their towels (which we didn’t even need, the sun has an instant drying affect). But it is so worth it. Beautiful pools of water, little fish for the kids to catch, razor-sharp rocks to fall on…

We swam and fell on rocks for about an hour, and decided to head back to the car. As we passed two EMS workers climbing down the steep hillside to rescue a swimmer with a busted knee, Gert commented to them, “Glad I’m not working today!” And I’m glad it’s not one of us needing that stretcher! It probably took those guys at least an hour to get out of there.

Dinner was an amazing success. It tasted so good after waiting 3 hours for the fire to get started. The kids would’ve eaten sand if we put it on their plates! Nothing like a steak at 9:30pm.

Now its time for my biggest fear. Bedtime. Even though my skillful, creative, able husband promised he fixed the hole in our air mattress, we both knew better. It deflated at least 3 times before we resigned to sleeping on sharp rocks with pockets of air dispersed unevenly around our bodies. Didn’t I pray for cool weather at night?? So why wasn’t I prepared with warm pj’s and blankets? Somehow, the kids had every blanket and sleeping bag we brought! After I found my socks I finally stopped shivering. And then thankfully 4am rolled around (I don’t really know what time the sun came up, it was early though!) and our first night’s stay was over. One night was enough.

Oh wait! No, that’s not all! Around 7am we started to hear thunder. Was rain in the forecast? We didn’t think so! After quickly checking the weather, we realized we had about 30 minutes before a heavy storm system settled in over southeastern Missouri. Somehow we broke down our campsite in exactly 3o minutes, right as the first rain drops started to fall.

No time for coffee.

I did, however, immensely enjoy throwing away our stupid air mattress in the dumpster.

At home and cleaning up, and after camping you must, I noticed something. Everyone was smiling at each other. We just went through an incredible bonding experience together. It wasn’t problem or attitude free, but when the kids asked me when we could go camping again, I knew we are reaching our goal…making memories together.

Let me leave you with a new, amazing, S’more recipe….SO GOOD!! For your next Family Memory-Making Trip.

 

Gingerbread S’mores

2 Gingersnaps

1 toasted marshmallow

2 squares Cadbury’s Caramello milk chocolate

 

What’s For Dinner Tonight?

This post is for my friends Tabitha and Cindy. I finally found a healthy, flavorful, filling, Daniel-Fast friendly recipe worth sharing! It’s from The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory. The kids gobbled it up, and trust me, the times are rare where the whole family enjoys my cooking! Somehow I have never tasted this flavor combination before and I’m already thinking of making it again next week.

Tuscan Villa Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup celery

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour*

1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

1 whole clove

1/4 teaspoon pepper**

4 cans (15 ounces each) vegetable broth

1 can (15 ounces) green baby lima beans, drained and rinsed***

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed***

1 can (15 ounces) red beans, drained and rinsed***

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 1/2 cups cooked barley

1 large potato, unpeeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup packed chopped spinach leaves

1. Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat; saute onions, celery, and garlic for 2-3 minutes or until onions are tender.

2. Add vegetable broth, beans, and tomato paste to pot; heat to boiling, stirring to prevent sticking.

3. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.

4. Add barley, potato, carrots, and spinach and simmer 10 more minutes until all ingredients are well heated.

5. Discard bay leaves before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

*I omitted pastry flour

**I was super-generous with the black pepper and it added a touch of spice to the soup which I loved! If you don’t like spicy, stick to the suggested amount.

***I really dislike lima beans, don’t like chickpeas unless they are a part of hummus, and didn’t have red beans! So I substituted a can of cannelini (great northern white) beans and a can of black beans instead and it rocked. I really recommend doing it this way!  I also thew in some leftover Italian Sausage I had (for the kids). They loved it.

Cauliflower, Eggplant, and Green Bean Korma

This is a favorite recipe of mine, I bring it out during times we’ve done a Daniel Fast because it is follows all the specifications, is filling, and delicious. I won’t claim it was a hit with the kids, but they ate it without complaining. My husband and I are crazy about Indian food…luckily many Indian recipes are vegetarian or vegan.

What a nuisance our flesh is. AW Tozer said, “Our flesh is with us always and unless conquered on a daily basis, it will bring nothing but trouble.”

How true this is. I’m embarrassed to admit how irritated and testy I was yesterday. I wanted a cup of coffee SO BAD. I had to repent to the Lord and ask his help to overcome my frustration! I’m happy to report today is much better.

So here’s the recipe.

 

Cauliflower, Eggplant, and Green Bean Korma

serves 4-6

scant 2/3 cup cashews

1 1/2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste

generous 3/4 cup water

4 tbsp ghee, vegetable oil, or peanut oil*

1 large onion, chopped

5 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed

1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

generous 1 cup heavy cream**

5 oz new potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

5 oz cauliflower florets

1/2 tsp garam masala

5 oz eggplant, chopped into chunks

5 oz green beans, shopped into 1/2 inch pieces

salt and pepper

fresh mint or cilantro, chopped, to garnish

*I used coconut oil

**I substituted almond milk for heavy cream. Coconut, soy, or rice milk are also good substitutes.

Heat a large, flameproof casserole or skillet with a tight-fitting lid over high heat.  Add the cashews and stir until they start to brown, then tip them out of the casserole into a spice blender. Add the garlic and ginger paste and 1 tablespoon of the water, and process until a coarse paste forms.

Melt the ghee in the casserole over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the nut paste and stir for 5 minutes.

Stir in the cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and turmeric. Add the cream and remaining water and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to the lowest level, cover the casserole, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the potato, cauliflower, and garam masala and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the eggplant and green beans and continue simmering for an additional 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Check the sauce occasionally to make sure it isn’t sticking on the bottom of the pan, and stir in extra water if needed.

Taste and add seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with mint to serve.